Y is for Yes, Yoko

I’ve thinking about Yoko Ono a lot lately. Part of it is the fact that last month was the 40th anniversary of John Lennon & Yoko’s famous (or infamous, depending on your POV) bed-ins, the first at the Amsterdam Hilton, as people who have heard the Beatles’ single The Ballad of John and Yoko can tell you. A second bed-in was in Montreal, where Give Peace A Chance was recorded.

But as an ex pointed out to me a long time ago, before she knew Beatle John, there was Yoko Ono, the avant garde fluxus artist. I recently discovered a retrospective of her work took place between 2000 and 2004, called “Yes Yoko Ono”, including at MIT in 2001. Indeed, it was, famously, “yes” that attracted John to Yoko. In the mid-1960s, John went to an art gallery, climbed a ladder leading up to a small printed YES on the ceiling which one looks at through a magnifying glass; it was the positive message that drew him in.

The notion that she “broke up the Beatles” is no more true than Linda Eastman breaking up the Beatles when she married Paul McCartney; perhaps an element of truth amidst many, many other factors.

Yeah, sometimes she screams when she sings. Although the very first time I heard Remember Love, the GPAC B-side, it was more childlike in delivery. (Note: the video has visuals that may offend some.)

The blogger Samurai Frog quoted Any Major Dude with Half a Heart in noting that “Even after 28 years, her husband’s murder must be a horrible pain to bear, but Yoko Ono is marketing — exploiting — her widowhood a little too publicly and cynically, exemplified by that ‘John would say…’ shtick, as if Lennon was a sage-like Confucius rather than a complex man with some serious limitations. No matter how swell Yoko thought her husband was, it is nauseating. It perpetuates the false notion that Lennon had special insights into the human condition.”

And she can make artistic decisions that are disturbing to some. The Lennon items that are part of a new exhibit that launched a couple months ago at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex for John Lennon: The New York Years includes Lennon’s famous New York City T-shirt, his upright piano from his Dakota apartment, a posthumous 1981 Grammy Award for the couple’s album “Double Fantasy”, but also John’s bloodied clothes from December 8, 1980.

Not incidentally, her biggest commercial single, Walking on Thin Ice, came out after that tragic event. It and Kiss Kiss Kiss from Double Fantasy were also dance-hall favorites.

Still, the enmity Yoko brings on is quite remarkable in its vitriol. June Chua, writing about Yoko’s 70th birthday a few years back, noted: “In a Watch magazine article about her 1996 CD, Rising, the reviewer suggested John’s killer ‘could have saved us all a lot of grief by just aiming one foot to the right.’ The violence in this statement is reprehensible. Yoko watched the person she loved slaughtered in front of her. She had to hold his dying body as life drifted from him…Yoko didn’t fit the stereotype of rock star girlfriend/wife.”

Yoko and Olivia Harrison, the other Beatle widow, seem to be getting along well, at least in public settings such as the opening of the Cirque du Soleil performance of Love, which featured Beatles’ music.

Meanwhile, Yoko is still making music in her own name and offering scholarships in John’s.

Music namechecking Yoko:
Oh Yoko by John Lennon from the Imagine allbum
Dear Yoko by John Lennon from the Double Fantasy album
Be My Yoko Ono by Barenaked Ladies
Allen Klein, former Beatles manager, died July 4. Link to picture of Allen, Yoko and John.

For ABC Wednesday


July Ramblin’

There is this guy I see on the bus; saw him yesterday. He is what one would call in the vernacular unbalanced. Sometimes he talks to other people, but usually it’s to himself, running down a bizarre checklist. In my professional building, I saw this woman walking towards me yesterday, also engaged in conversation. Initially, I thought she was talking to me, but then I surmised she was talking on one of those tiny communications devices.
Or was she?
There were only two TV shows on my summer schedule. No, The Greatest American Dog (or whatever it’s called) is not one of them. The one running currently is the return of The Closer, so recent that when I saw my DVR trecording last night, I didn’t remember why initially.
The other, I’ll admit, was Million Dollar Password, now on hiatus. I loved the show with Allen Ludden, and still like it, but its real flaw is that no one in his or her right mind would ever go for the million dollars. To do that, one would have to have succeeded at the $250,000 level, which no one has done yet, then risk all but $25,000 of that to get five passwords out of five, with no errors, offering no more than three clues each.
If-Then Contingencies and the Differential Effects of the Availability of an Attractive Alternative on Relationship Maintenance for Men and Women (PDF)
Yes, this is heterocentric, but I SO love the title.
“Temptation may be everywhere, but it’s how the different sexes react to flirtation that determines the effect it will have on their relationships. In a new study, psychologists determined men tend to look at their partners in a more negative light after meeting a single, attractive woman. On the other hand, women are likelier to work to strengthen their current relationships after meeting an available, attractive man.”
I love adjectival forms of place names. a person from Albania is an Albanian. A person from Albany is also an Albanian. Make of that what you will.
Another canard foiled:
Evidence Shows That Tax Cuts Lose Revenue from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
“The claim that tax cuts ‘pay for themselves’ — i.e., cause so much economic growth that revenues rise faster than they would have without the tax cut — has been made repeatedly in recent years and is one of the many tax policy issues that is likely to receive renewed attention in light of the upcoming election. As explained, this claim is false. The evidence shows clearly that tax cuts lose revenue.”
Interesting Scientific Experiment
I’ll probably see The Dark Knight at some point. It’s only playing at least 12 screens in the county. My wife wants to see it, mostly because her high school kids will likely have seen it and she wants to keep up on their influences. Question: Do I need to, or ought I, see Batman Begins before seeing The Dark Knight? Lots of positive reviews, so I’m more interested in the negative ones, such as this one and this one, the latter with 300+ comments, most of them not appreciative of the reviewer’s POV. There’s also this mixed review in Salon; of particular note to me is the first starred comment.
I saw this a couple months ago: Wedding Album [IMPORT] by Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
I own this on vinyl, that is the first two, album-side-long cuts. #1 is Yoko saying “John!” then John replying “Yoko!” sometimes talking, sometimes yelling, for about 25 minutes. #2 is an interview and is at least interesting.
Add-ons #3, #4 and #5 are B-sides of Instant Karma, Merry Xmas, and Cold Turkey, respectively, performed by Yoko. Heck, why not add Remember Love and Sisters O Sisters, other Lennon B-sides done by Ono?
1. John & Yoko
2. Amsterdam
3. Who Has Seen the Wind? [*] – John Lennon & Yoko Ono, John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono
4. Listen, the Snow Is Falling [*]
5. Don’t Worry, Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow) [*]
In any case, at $76, no way in heck do I buy this.


The Great 28

Twenty-eight years ago today, Lynn Moss made an honest man out of Fred Hembeck, a story he’s written about here (June 23), here (June 23), here, and ESPECIALLY here. Kudos to you both. Go to Fred’s MySpace blog and send them your best wishes.
And speaking of Mr. Hembeck, he e-mailed to remind me that Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia are set to appear on Larry King’s CNN show June 26 (9 pm Eastern, 8pm Central) to discuss the first anniversary of Cirque de Soleil’s Fab-inspired “Love” show. Incidentally, my wife went to the Cirque de Soleil show “Delirium” this week in Albany with a friend of hers, while I stayed home with Lydia. She said it was very good, but that she needed to watch some more MTV or something, because of all the frenetic movement.
The other music-related thing I’ll be taping this week is “Paul Simon: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song”. On my local PBS station, it airs Wednesday at 9 pm, and features a bunch of folks singing the songs of Simon. It was taped last month.
I’ve never golfed in my life, yet I was intrigued by last weekend’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, The Problem With ‘Par’; If players at this weekend’s U.S. Open can’t hit the target score, who can? by John Paul Newport (June 16, 2007). Specifically, this paragraph:
“The notion of par has always been somewhat mushy, and is further confused by the word’s other English-language usages. In most PGA Tour events, for instance, subpar scores are par for the course. Unless, of course, a pro is feeling physically subpar, in which case he might shoot above par. On the other hand, only amateurs with decidedly above-par skills can ever hope to post subpar scores.”
If I lived in the Los Angeles area, I think I would apply for this job out of sheer curiosity:

The following position is available at E! Networks:
Job Title: Researcher
Organization: Research
City: Los Angeles
State: CA
Full-time position with benefits providing research, public records and ready reference.

Description: Provide entertainment research in support of all Comcast Entertainment Group units (E!, Style, G4, E! Online, International) including the following:
* Supply in-depth story and background research to assist writers and production staff.
* Locate court documents for legal backup.
* Access public records to locate individuals and track assets.
* Review copyright and trademark records to establish ownership and locate rights holders.
* Answer “ready reference” questions.
* Vet scripts for accuracy and perform fact checking.
* Help maintain both conventional and digital archives and databases.
Skills: College degree required; experience working in a library, archive or research setting; excellent organizational skills; extensive understanding of online databases, particularly Lexis/Nexis; excellent writing, spelling and grammatical skills; ability to work well under pressure; interest or experience working in the entertainment field a plus.
E! Networks is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Contact Gina Handsberry at E! Entertainment. Please direct all inquiries to her at ghandsberry@eentertainment.com. She writes, on a listserv I access:
“This is not a media research position (i.e., we do not analyze Nielsen data). Rather, it is a show research position (we provide content research for the programs on the network) and would be well suited for a librarian, information professional, or anyone who has experience doing research for journalistic endeavors. It’s not an easy position to fill, so I thought a post here couldn’t hurt!”

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