Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Take It From Me: John Lennon: The New York City Years

John Lennon once said, "I have a love of this country. Two thousand years ago, we would have all wanted to live in Rome... and now this (NYC) is Rome. This is where the action is." The current action is located at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex on 76 Mercer Street nestled in between art galleries and upscale boutiques. Aside from the usual treasures, including but not limited to a bedazzled jumpsuit that once belonged to Elvis, a letter that Paul Simon wrote to Art Garfunkel while he was at summer camp, and an assortment of old and decrepit looking furniture from CBGB's, is an exhibit put together in part by Yoko Ono titled John Lennon: The New York City Years.

New York City was the setting for many of Lennon's political stunts and solo musical endeavors which is evident throughout the exhibit which includes memorandum from his struggles against deportation (such as his green card and letters of support from celebrities and NYC locals), album covers, articles of clothing such as the famous New York City t-shirt (pictured above), and an art book by Ono which ended up being Lennon's inspiration for the song, "Imagine". Are you familiar with that tune?

Also on display are three guitars of Lennon's and the piano that used to be in his bedroom in the Dakota. In addition, four films are projected onto the walls in opposite corners of the room showing assorted music videos, talk show clips of interviews, evidence of their political activism such as their bed-ins and appearances at protests, and clips from their art films. There is also a small white phone with vague instructions to pick it up if it rings. You may find Yoko Ono on the other end of the line.

The oddest and most moving object at the exhibit was a nondescript sealed bag containing the clothing Lennon was wearing when he was shot. Ono wrote an accompanying statement about how the man who once had everything was returned to her in a simple paper bag and in keeping with her fashion, left markers for people to sign their names to a protest to prevent gun violence which will eventually be sent to President Obama.

All I am saying, is give this exhibit a chance... and peace. Give peace a chance too.

New York City mp3

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