martes, 30 de junio de 2015

Beatles' drummer gets his due in 'Ringo'
Beatles' drummer gets his due in 'Ringo'
Biographer separates life of the 'funny' band member into three parts
By Bob Ruggiero
June 26, 2015

The Beatles early in their career, shortly after Ringo Starr joined the group. Note the short-lived "bug" band logo on Starr's drums. Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma Keystone
The Beatles early in their career, shortly after Ringo Starr joined the group. Note the short-lived "bug" band logo on Starr's drums.
Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma Keystone

In his signature song for a little pop group from Liverpool, England, Ringo Starr warbled "I get by with a little help from my friends."

Well, those friends better be proficient in iCal and multitask scheduling because the diminutive Billy Shears is a little busy these days.

Starr, recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist (the last Beatle to be so honored), has released a new CD, "Postcards From Paradise." He's the face of both a new ad campaign for Skechers and his own #PeaceRocks social media movement. And he's headed back to the concert trail this fall with the latest version of the All Starr Band.

Did we mention that he turns 75 on July 7? And that he has, thanks to an insanely healthy lifestyle, plenty of boundless energy (as Houstonians saw firsthand last year during his gig at The Woodlands) and only a slightly higher body-fat percentage than, say, Gollum.

In the first major biography of the "funny Beatle" in nearly a quarter century, Michael Seth Starr (no relation) charts the life and career of the man born Richard Starkey.

The book separates Starr's life into three parts: pre-Beatles, Beatles and Post-Beatles. Readers learn that growing up, Starr - beset by a variety of medical ailments, some life-threatening - spent nearly three years of his youth confined to hospitals.

Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach's wedding day, April 27, 1981, with the two other surviving Beatles and their families. Linda McCartney is holding James, her son with Paul McCartney. The other child is Bach's by a previous marriage, Gianni Gregorini. Photo: Terry O'Neill
Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach's wedding day, April 27, 1981, with the two other surviving Beatles and their families. Linda McCartney is holding James, her son with Paul McCartney. The other child is Bach's by a previous marriage, Gianni Gregorini.
Photo: Terry O'Neill

A besotted fan of U.S. music (especially country), he and a friend went so far as to visit their nearby U.S. Consul, filling out forms and looking into factory jobs for a planned emigration to … Houston. Because that's where bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins lived.

His memorable moniker was a gift from his former bandleader, Rory Storm, who first christened him "Rings," due to his penchant for fingerwear. Later, Rory and the band gave themselves cowboy-style nicknames because they were all fans of cowboy movies. John Wayne played "Ringo Kid" in the movie "Stagecoach."

The book's wild ride through Starr's career with the Beatles from 1962-70 is filled with fascinating stories and quotes - the text is a combination of original interviews and previously sourced material - though many of them will be familiar to the more-than-casual Beatles fan. Admittedly, though, it is convenient to have all this material in one place and part of a brisk retelling.

The casual fan and reader will find humor in many of the book's details. For example, Starr's wordless, melancholy stroll on a riverbank in the movie "A Hard Day's Night" - for which he won acting accolades - was actually filmed in the morning while he had a wicked hangover from partying too hard the night before. The planned scenes with dialogue were scrubbed.

And when the Beatles visited Rishikesh, India, in 1968 to study under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Starr brought one suitcase filled with nothing but baked beans, as his sensitive stomach couldn't handle spicy foods. Not surprisingly, he and wife Maureen (who had a phobia about insects) were the first to exit the outdoor compound after only two weeks.

The intense, all-the-time pressure of being a Beatle could also get scary and downright bizarre. In the early years, lines of sick and crippled children would be presented to the band backstage - as if the touch of a Beatle could cure them. And one time, at an elegant party at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., a member of the tuxedo-and-jewelry crowd whipped out a pair of scissors and, without word or warning, cut off a chunk of Ringo's hair.

The book's best section, though, examines Starr's life and music after the Fab Four's messy dissolution. Starr often was adrift professionally without the musical gifts of his three former bandmates who, as a credit to the drummer's geniality, were all happy to lend a hand on his solo records. He was adrift personally, too. A series of high-profile romances and a nonstop jet-set lifestyle provided ample opportunity to fall into severe alcoholism.

That he spent so much time partying with fellow substance-abusing drummers Keith Moon and John Bonham - as well as Alice Cooper, Harry Nilsson and John Lennon - led to some "lost years" and talk-show appearances where Starr was clearly drunk. Smoking upward of 60 cigarettes a day didn't help, either. Starr and his second wife, actress Barbara Bach, finally got clean and sober in the late '80s after one too many violent altercations. Both made complete turnarounds and today are many years happy and healthy… though maybe a bit too healthy. "Every time I see Ringo, he smells of kale!" Eagles singer/guitarist Joe Walsh (Starr's brother-in-law) told Rolling Stone earlier this year.

Just how good a drummer Ringo Starr is and was is always a subject for debate, with fans, music journos and fellow skin thumpers taking all sorts of positions.

Was Ringo Starr just an average technician who got lucky by being in the Beatles? Or was his no-frills/no solo style perfectly suited to the material? The author doesn't take sides but quotes plenty of advocates for both of them. And they generally fall toward the latter.

"Ringo: With a Little Help" is clearly the definitive biography of one of the most famous musicians - or, heck, people - of the last century (though author Starr could not get subject Starr to participate). And, while he did get help along the way, Richard Starkey richly deserves this solid literary treatment.

Bob Ruggiero is a Houston-based music journalist who many moons ago competed in a Beatles trivia contest that was supposed to be emceed by … Ken Hoffman. He currently is writing a biography on the funk-rock group WAR.

lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Autographed McCartney guitar shows up at appraisal event
Autographed McCartney guitar among items appraised at Ela library
By Karie Angell Luc
Pioneer Press
JUNE 29, 2015

Paul McCartney was not in the building Sunday, but the singer's signature thumbprint did show up in Lake Zurich.

An autographed blue Fender Squier Bullet guitar was among the items brought in for free appraisals at the Ela Area Public Library fifth annual antiques and collectibles appraisal event, featuring author and antiques expert Mark F. Moran of Iola, Wis.

It is likely McCartney did sign it, said Paul Jados of Hawthorn Woods, who brought in the guitar owned by his daughter.

Paul Jados of Hawthorn Woods brought a Paul McCartney signed guitar to see what it was worth. (Karie Angell Luc, Lake Zurich News)

Jados purchased the guitar for $500 seven years ago as a graduation gift to his daughter and thought he'd find out its value.

"I recommend holding on to it," Moran advised.

Jados said he is a "huge" Paul McCartney and Beatles fan.

"When I was growing up, there were four Gods: Paul, Ringo, John and George," Jados said with a laugh.

The event, which lasted about three hours, allowed patrons to bring in their treasures on a sign-up basis to the Frances Redmon Meeting Room at the library, 275 Mohawk Trail. Lake Zurich.

"I think it's all about our patrons," said Terri Meyer, library event coordinator. "There's a calling for it."

Moran, who does private consultations as well, said the Lake Zurich event filled up very quickly with interesting items to appraise.

"I do many programs in northern Illinois, and the quality of the items that we see in Lake Zurich are always amazing," said Moran, who valued a Pierre-Auguste Renoir etching at $350 that afternoon (because it was made after Renoir's death in 1919).

Moran said the most unusual thing he's appraised was a searchlight from a celebrity's yacht.

On Sunday, Moran also considered ivory statues brought in by Jeri Alles and David Hanley of Hawthorn Woods, and inspected a decorative table passed down from Anna Simo of Chicago to her great-granddaughter Char Pietrowski of Lake Zurich

Not everyone has that needle in the haystack item, and some are disappointed to hear the truth.

"As an appraiser, I have to be diplomatic," said Moran, who has been involved in the antiques business for more than 40 years and uses multiple databases to corroborate his findings and opinion.

Moran said he does not evaluate coins, Beanie Babies, weapons and Nazi memorabilia, among other categories.

The author of more than 25 books on antiques and collectibles, Moran has been a guest expert on the PBS series "Antiques Roadshow."

His advice to collectors?

"Buy something you like, don't buy it just because you think it might be good investment," Moran said.

"Buy or collect things that make you feel good.

"Buy quality," he added. "If you do that, then you don't have to worry about the value."

Karie Angell Luc is a freelancer for Pioneer Press.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

Ela Area Public Library
Karie Angell Luc, Lake Zurich News
Paul Jados of Hawthorn Woods brought a Paul McCartney signed guitar to be appraised.
Ela Area Public Library

Ela Area Public Library

Ela Area Public Library
Karie Angell Luc, Lake Zurich News
Mark F. Moran, an appraiser from Wisconsin, uses his laptop to help come up with a price for Paul Jados of Hawthorn Woods, who brought a Paul McCartney signed guitar.
Ela Area Public Library

(Karie Angell Luc, Lake Zurich News)
Paul Jados of Hawthorn Woods brought a Paul McCartney signed guitar to see what it was worth.

Sean Lennon Talks Yoko, Kanye & His Favorite Beatles Songs
Sean Lennon Talks Yoko, Kanye & His Favorite Beatles Songs
By Natalie Weiner
June 26, 2015

Sean Lennon recently gave an exclusive interview to the Humanity, the biannual publication of denim brand Citizens of Humanity, where discussed his inspirations (perhaps unsurprisingly, his famous parents John Lennon and Yoko Ono rank high on the list), his favorite Beatles songs, and what he thinks about Kanye West working alongside his father's former collaborator, Paul McCartney. 

Lennon attributes his first musical efforts to the work of his prodigious father, but not in the way you might think -- “It’s not like I had the Beatles hanging out jamming in my house," he says. "When he died," he tells Humanity, "I remember feeling like there was sort of a vacuum that had been left. I used to just try to play the piano to connect with my idea of what I thought he was, being a musician and stuff. I think at first my inspiration came from just wanting to find some connection to my dad."

Sean Lennon

His mother, Yoko Ono, is equally inspiring as a musical collaborator. “She’s incredible in terms of her lyrical capability," he tells the magazine. "I mean she’ll write like 3 or 4 songs a day in the studio. That makes it really fun, so often we’ll make it up as we go along.”

Lennon's favorite Beatles songs? " 'Strawberry Fields' and 'I Am the Walrus,' " he says, "the stuff that’s really more out there.”

The artist hasn't had a chance to listen to the most recent Beatles output, though -- Paul McCartney's work with Kanye. “I actually haven’t heard the music he did with Kanye," he tells the magazine, "but I thought it was really funny that people didn’t know who he was and all the Kanye fans were like 'Man, that Paul is going to be really famous after Kanye worked with him.' I think it’s cool that Paul wants to work with Kanye, it’s kind of fun, it makes the world more interesting that those two people want to collaborate."

"Kanye often seems silly," he concludes, "but I think he is a real artist and I do like his music.”

Read the entire interview in Humanity magazine here. The print issue of Humanity magazine will be available from July 1st at Colette, Book Marc stores, Gagosian galleries and LACMA.
Interview by Aska Matsumiya
Portrait by Robert Deeb


ASKA MATSUMIYA: I imagine you must have had a really stimulating childhood, being around lots of artists and musicians. Who were some that really influenced you?

SEAN LENNON: Well, yeah, I guess. I mean, I wonder if that’s really true. Because my dad wasn’t around, you know, when I was young, and my mom is a musician. I did see her make records, but she’s not intrinsically a musician; she sort of thinks about art as conceptual, so the medium, whether it’s music or film or sculpture or painting, is sort of secondary and the concept of the art is first. And so I was kind of raised around her ideas of art being conceptual and so I don’t know—it’s not like I had the Beatles hanging out jamming in my house. I was actually living alone with my mom and sort of watching her make art from her perspective, and I wouldn’t really say that I was brought up around a lot of musicians. I wasn’t, really. However, we did have pianos in the house, and that’s how I came to music. Just playing the piano.

AM: What’s some of the music or even projects of your parents that were most formative? What were the different things that you think really helped you develop as an artist?

SL: I feel like what initially got me into playing music was, you know, the fact that my dad was a musician and he was in the Beatles, and I listened to that music a lot when I was a kid. So I think when he died I remember feeling like there was sort of a vacuum that had been left, and I used to just try to play the piano to kind of connect with my idea of what I thought he was, being a musician and stuff. I think at first my inspiration came from just wanting to find some connection to my dad.

AM: So music was almost a way for you to get to know your father?

SL: Yeah, and I would say it still is.

AM: What are some of your favorite songs of his?

SL: I tend to like the more elaborate stuff. I like the period between Revolver and The White Album; that period is my favorite. So, Sgt. Pepper’s, Magical Mystery and then the more psychedelic stuff; that’s just where my taste is, because I like the more experimental songwriting, more progressive songwriting. It seems a lot more ambitious, you know, very orchestral and sort of experimental recording techniques, so my favorite songs are like “Strawberry Fields” and “I Am the Walrus.” The stuff that’s really more out there

AM: What about your mom’s music? What are some of your favorites? I love her lyrics.

SL: Her lyrics are really great. Actually I got to produce her last two records, which were really some of my favorites, and Plastic Ono Band.

AM: What’s your process of working with her when you’re producing her records?

SL: She’s very spontaneous, so she writes really quickly—she’s very different from me in that. I sort of belabor the lyrics. It really takes time to figure out what I want the song to be, whereas she just doesn’t hesitate. She writes really quickly, so often we’ll just be kind of jamming in the studio and she’ll start writing lyrics and she’ll be done with the song within a few minutes. She doesn’t like to keep working on it over and over again. She gets kind of bored, I think. I feel like she thinks that the magic is the spontaneity; she likes to work really fast, and she kind of gets disinterested in something that’s too prolonged. She’s incredible in terms of her lyrical capability. I mean, she’ll write like three or four songs a day in the studio. That makes it really fun, so often we’ll make it up as we go along.

AM: How did she go about introducing or even teaching music and art to you?

SL: She’s not really that kind of parent. She never really went out of her way to introduce me to anything. She just sort of does her thing. She led by example. She would be making records, I would often be just sort of hanging out in the studio because I was a kid and that’s where she was, so I would just sit around and hear her record or watch her. I feel very comfortable in the studio because I spent a lot of time in the studio as a kid. She wasn’t that kind of person to sort of force anything on me; she’s not one of these people who’ll sit you down and say like, “Learn this and this is what you have to know and not know.” She has a pretty laissez-faire attitude.

AM: I understand you recently played with Paul McCartney. I was wondering what your relationship is with him, and what you thought about his recent collaboration with Kanye West.

SL: I actually haven’t heard the music he did with Kanye, but I thought it was really funny that people didn’t know who he was and all the Kanye fans were like, “Man, that Paul is going to be really famous after Kanye worked with him.”

AM: Yeah, that was the best.

SL: That was really funny. I haven’t heard what they are doing together, but I’ll definitely check it out. I think it’s cool that Paul wants to work with Kanye. It’s kind of fun—it makes the world more interesting that those two people want to collaborate. But I don’t really know; I haven’t heard the music yet. Kanye often seems silly but I think he is a real artist and I do like his music.

AM: Do you feel writing music comes really naturally to you?

SL: Yeah, I would say that it does. You know, I don’t know why that is, but it does come pretty naturally. I don’t know if it’s something that I learned or if it’s something that I was born with, but I always hear music really easily. But it takes me a lot longer to write the words.

AM: What ignites you to make music?

SL: It’s hard to say. I find everything pretty inspiring. I get really inspired by films, and other people’s music and, yeah, the world can be such an overwhelming place, you know. Violence, American and European international policy, the Middle East—I find myself always driven to write music as a way of processing all the stuff that’s going on. I feel like that’s why I end up making music or making art, as a way of venting frustration. You just have to let it out somehow.

AM: Your parents definitely expressed their political and worldviews in their music.

SL: Yeah, they definitely did, and you know I think they were probably some of the best at doing that, at sort of merging their political philosophies with their art. I don’t think everybody’s that good at doing that, you know. I think it often comes off as pedantic or heavy-handed or preachy, you know, when artists try to tell you how they feel politically, but I think my parents were very adept at merging their spiritual and philosophical views with their music, their art—they were uniquely fitted for that. When somebody tries being political they can sound condescending or something, but I think when they did it, it was really inspiring and it made you want to jump on the train, you know.

AM: Is there anything of theirs in particular that really made an impact on you?

SL: I think it’s different for me. It’s like somebody might be a fan, like I’m a fan of Jimi Hendrix, you know. There is a performance that he did of the song “Machine Gun” that sort of represents a period of my life in a certain way that’s really important to me, but when it’s your parents it doesn’t really feel the same way. It’s not like you stumble upon some aspect of their work and it resonates with you the way you would with your favorite musician or your favorite film. With your parents it’s like everything they are is a part of you, you know, it’s in your cellular structure. So it’s harder to identify or pinpoint certain ideas or certain lyrics or certain pieces of work that might represent something to you, because everything they did is inside you. It’s like trying to identify your face from your mouth and your heart. I think that with my parents they’re sort of the baseline of all of my views of the world and my perspective on everything in the world. I mean, I learned how to pee in a toilet from them, so it’s a little hard to distinguish the lyrics from how to use a knife and fork, and I know that everything that I am, from learning how to walk on the right side of the street or cross the street when the light changes, I learned everything from them, so I really couldn’t distinguish any specific piece of work that I resonate with more or less because it would almost be silly. They actually taught me everything.

AM: How do you create your own identity working in a field where your parents are both such icons? How do you distinguish yourself?

SL: It’s sort of interesting. I think it’s going to take me a lifetime to come to grips with the degree of their influence and their presence in the world. It’s so strong, and I think ultimately it’s impossible for most people to perceive my personality, my characteristics independently from my parents, which actually took me a long time to understand. I think I’m still trying to understand it, because for me, I’ve never struggled with trying to identify or distinguish myself from my parents. I think people who are close to me don’t have any trouble distinguishing me from them. But I think the world at large still does, and most people will never be able to distinguish me from my parents. It’s complicated, but let’s put it this way: It’s just never been a great motivator for me, this idea of trying to separate myself from them, because I never really felt that I wasn’t my own person; it never occurred to me that I might not be. I guess I never really felt responsible for other people’s struggle with figuring out who I was.

AM: Does it affect your approach to creating music? Like, I would imagine that maybe you’d be a little nervous to share your music with the world.

SL: Well, I think in the beginning I was less nervous, because I didn’t really have any idea of what people were like; I didn’t realize that people were only seeing me through the lens of my dad. I had never encountered that kind of distortion before. My friends and family never presented their views through John Lennon’s ideas. So when I first started music I wasn’t worried at all. I just thought everyone was going to see my music the way I saw it, so it was sort of like a shell-shock, going out to the world and realizing that no one really was going to look at me, that I was only going to trigger a memory of someone else. I realized my dad is so universal that I was almost invisible; it was impossible for people to see me as anything other than a trigger for the memories and ideas of him, and I think that made it more and more daunting to make music, but at the same time I think that my personal relationship to music was really evolving.

AM: My last question is what do you think our generation is going to be remembered for musically—what’s our contribution to music history?

SL: It’s an interesting question. I think it’s a very exciting period, an innovative time, you know; music is in an interesting place. I mean, I’m feeling very hopeful. The kids I meet today, they know so much about music history because of the Internet, and they’re able to listen to every record that’s ever been made and a thousand times if they want, and so they become experts and sort of scholars in the history of music. Maybe in a few generations who knows where that’s going to lead to. I mean, it could lead to a total renaissance in music, and there is going to be some artist coming up in the next 10, 20 years that leads to some sort of golden era of creativity that’s going to be birthed out of all of the things that are available now.

sábado, 27 de junio de 2015

Hearing Yoko Ono All Over Again
Hearing Yoko Ono All Over Again
JUNE 25, 2015

In the spring of 1962, Yoko Ono sat down at a piano onstage at the Sogetsu Art Center, then a hub of experimentation in the thriving Tokyo arts and music scene. She gently, almost imperceptibly, touched the keys. Soon she started breathing heavily, as if the all-but-inaudible playing had exhausted her. She smoked a cigarette, in slow motion.

Seven performers sat at a table, microphones in front of them, and started solving math problems: Each time an equation was solved, they emitted a sound of their choosing. A tape of birdsong played, and a telephone rang. Other performers started asking one another questions, in French. The emperor’s voice blasted from a loudspeaker. Performers sat in chairs reading newspapers, then sawed off the chairs’ legs. At last, sometime around 1 in the morning, the performers stood up and stared out, locking eyes with spectators so intently that one came onstage and pinched the performers’ noses.

A fight broke out. It would not be the last about Ms. Ono’s music.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon in their first public appearance as the Plastic Ono Band, at Varsity Stadium in Toronto on Sept. 14, 1969. Credit Associated Press

In recent years, Ms. Ono — the subject of “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971,” on view at the Museum of Modern Art through Sept. 7 — has won renewed critical consideration for her artworks of the 1960s, such as “Cut Piece,” a 1964 performance in which she sat impassively while others sliced her clothes off. Her status as a musician has changed, too, though here the reassessment has been less complete.

A small but vocal fan club has rediscovered her records from the 1970s and found in “Fly” or “Sisters O Sisters” forgotten feminist anthems or anticipations of punk. Her recent fifth act as a neo-disco queen has resulted in a dozen — yes, 12 — No. 1 records on the Billboard Dance Club Chart, including “Hold Me,” and lately she’s collaborated with younger admirers like the Flaming Lips, Antony Hegarty, Lady Gaga and the Beastie Boys alumnus Adam Horovitz. Few of her new admirers, however, have paid much attention to her music before 1968, solidifying the falsehood that Ms. Ono was a fine artist who turned to music only upon her marriage to John Lennon.

On the contrary, as the curators Christophe Cherix and Klaus Biesenbach affirm in “One Woman Show,” Ms. Ono was a musician and composer from the start of her career. Many of her artistic innovations now celebrated, such as her proto-Conceptualist use of instructions and scores, have roots in the musical avant-garde of New York and Tokyo. And the artificial division of her output into an early artistic career and a later musical one has obscured the enduring connections between the two.

The album cover of “Fly,” by the Plastic Ono Band. Credit John Lennon, via Lenono Photo Archive/Yoko Ono

Ms. Ono, born in 1933, was the eldest child of merchant aristocrats devoted to both Japanese and Western music. Her mother played the samisen (a string instrument similar to a lute) and sang. Her father had an early career as a concert pianist before going into banking, and he was determined that his daughter would fulfill his own musical dreams — going so far as to measure her hands at night to assess her future as a pianist. The family sent her to the Jiyu Gakuen, a progressive kindergarten housed in a Frank Lloyd Wright building, which taught girls piano, composition and music theory.

“We received homework in which you were supposed to listen to the sound of the day, and translate each sound into musical notes,” Ms. Ono recalled in 2002. “I realized that since the singing of many, many birds was so complex, I could not possibly translate it into musical notations. I didn’t have the ability to, is how I first thought. But I immediately realized that it was not a question of my ability, but what was wrong with the way we scored music.”

The Onos moved to Scarsdale, N.Y., when Yoko was 18; she attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied composition. Her initial college works leaned heavily on the 12-tone technique of Schoenberg and Webern, but soon her early frustration with the limits of musical notation returned. Her first instruction piece, dating to the summer of 1953 and later published in her breakthrough book, “Grapefruit,” takes the form of a musical score: “Decide on one note that you want to play. Play it with the following accompaniment: The woods from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. in summer.” Beneath that, on the bass staff, is a held F note, while just above the treble staff she writes, “With the accompaniment of the birds singing at dawn.”

Ms. Ono during a performance in the Chambers Street Loft Series, held in 1960 and 1961. Credit Minoru Niizuma, via Lenono Photo Archive, New York

Ms. Ono dropped out of Sarah Lawrence, moved to New York and soon eloped with Toshi Ichiyanagi, a young composer then studying at Juilliard. The New York musical vanguard at the time was under the spell of D. T. Suzuki, who taught Zen Buddhism at Columbia, and the composer John Cage. Mr. Ichiyanagi enrolled in Cage’s renowned course at the New School and became a favorite student (and a rehearsal pianist for Merce Cunningham’s troupe). Ms. Ono audited the courses, too, and Cage’s influence pervades the early work of both these Japanese students. In 1961, the two played their music at the Village Gate, the noted downtown club best known as a jazz venue.

Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ms. Ono’s closest relationships were with musicians. With the Minimalism pioneer La Monte Young and the electronic composer Richard Maxfield, she presented a series of musical performances in her studio, a cold-water walk-up in a neighborhood that would not be called TriBeCa for decades to come. “THE PURPOSE OF THIS SERIES IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT,” read the program announcements for the Chambers Street Loft Series, which ran from December 1960 to June 1961 and featured music by Mr. Young and Mr. Ichiyanagi; dance works by Simone Forti; and a spatial environment by Forti’s husband at the time, Robert Morris. Cage and David Tudor came; so did Marcel Duchamp and Peggy Guggenheim.

The next spring, Ms. Ono returned to Tokyo after more than a decade in the United States, though in the shadow of her more famous husband — a sensation she would soon experience a thousand times over. Her two years back in Japan were momentous. By the end of them, she had divorced and remarried (twice, both times to the jazz musician Tony Cox), entered a sanitarium, unveiled “Cut Piece” and published “Grapefruit.” In Tokyo, she also pushed away from music and would not embrace it again until the late 1960s, and on a much more public platform.

A photograph from Ms. Ono’s performance piece “The Pulse.” Credit Akio Nonaka, via Shinchosha Publishing Company

“Works of Yoko Ono,” as her concert at the Sogetsu Art Center was called, was the prologue to a six-performance series by Cage, whom Mr. Ichiyanagi had invited for his first Japanese sojourn. On one evening at Sogetsu, Ms. Ono lay on the strings of the open piano, her long hair hanging off the side, while Cage and Tudor thwacked the strings with a variety of objects. It was a watershed in the history of the Tokyo music and art scenes, with numerous magazines writing about “Keji shokku”: “Cage shock.” But Ms. Ono was miserable. “Who was I,” she later said, “but Toshi’s wife and John Cage’s friend?”

Mr. Ichiyanagi remained in Japan and went on to compose symphonies, chamber works and vocal compositions, often making use of precipitous glissandos and prerecorded elements. . (He is now 82, and his most recent opera, “Legend of the Water Flame,” had its premiere in Yokohama this winter.) Ms. Ono, who moved to London and then New York, looked away from music, moving on to performances with more or less explicit Zen themes — the pokerfaced “Cut Piece,” the meditative “Evening Till Dawn” — and to the often precious objects and sculptures that take up a fair bit of the Modern retrospective.

It was probably inevitable that Ms. Ono’s return to music would not receive the consideration it deserved, not when the most famous person in the world was playing guitar on her records. Lennon and Ms. Ono’s initial musical collaborations, from the murmuring and surprisingly listenable “Two Virgins” (1968) to the more dubious, heartbeat-backed “Wedding Album” (1969), occasioned almost unreal hatred, and still do in the sewers of online commenting. Her solo recordings of the early 1970s barely had a chance, and Ms. Ono recorded nothing from 1974 until 1980, when she and Lennon released “Double Fantasy” weeks before his murder.

A cover of one of John Cage’s “Shock” albums, with Ms. Ono sprawled on the piano.

Yet Ms. Ono’s musical efforts in the first years after their marriage show the clear influence not only of Lennon, who’s often seen as the “victim” of their intertwined careers, but also of her earlier training and collaborations.

One of the Plastic Ono Band’s first records featured “AOS,” a seven-minute runabout with Ornette Coleman, who died earlier this month; Ms. Ono begins at a high-pitched keen, descends to deeper, orgasmic breathiness, then growls ferociously as Coleman’s saxophone lets loose with chaotic sixty-fourth notes. Many of the Plastic Ono Band’s early recordings in fact owe substantial debts to Coleman and other free jazz performers, to Karlheinz Stockhausen and Cage, and indeed to Mr. Ichiyanagi’s early aleatory compositions.

At the Modern, Mr. Biesenbach and Mr. Cherix have devoted a room to Ms. Ono’s recordings from the late 1960s and early 1970s, as a solo artist and with the Plastic Ono Band. It’s decorated with vinyl LPs of “Give Peace a Chance” and “Who Has Seen the Wind?” and posters for “Mrs. Lennon” and “Mind Train.” The quavering “Why?” plays on a loop, but have a seat on the banquettes, put on your headphones and queue up some tunes, from her astounding “Don’t Worry Kyoko” (1971) to more traditional recordings like “Approximately Infinite Universe” (1973), which features some of Lennon’s best guitar solos.

In their time, they may have seemed incomprehensible. But people said that about “Cut Piece,” too.

A version of this article appears in print on June 28, 2015, on page AR8 of the New York edition with the headline: Hearing Her All Over Again.

Yoko Ono at the Museum of Modern Art during the installation of “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971.” Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times

The Beatles in Israel: The concert that never was
The Beatles In Israel: The Concert That Never Was
By: Saul Jay Singer
The Jewish Press
Posted on: June 24th, 2015


The Beatles are still enormously popular in Israel, much as they are across the world, but only Israel has a John Lennon Peace Forest. (The Jewish National Fund sought, and received, permission from Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, for the Peace Forest project, which began with the planting of trees by Jewish and Arab children on a plot of land outside Tzfat on Tu B’Shevat 2006.)

Yet by no means was this always so. While Beatlemania was sweeping the world in the mid-1960s, the Beatles were generally viewed in Israel as a corrupting influence, few of the their hits found their way onto Israeli radio, and Israelis’ exposure to the Fab Four was generally limited to reading about them in the newspapers.

Under such circumstances there was no logical reason for the Beatles to perform in Israel – but in 1964 one man, an Israeli promoter named Yacov Ori, had other ideas.

Ori knew the Beatles had a Jewish manager, Brian Epstein, the so-called Fifth Beatle who first discovered the group in 1961 and is credited for much of their success. As the eldest son of devout Jews, Epstein was the scion of the union of two wealthy Jewish families whose fortune was established by Lithuanian immigrant grandfather Isaac, who opened a furniture store in Liverpool in the early 1900s. Brian was bar-mitzvahed at the family’s synagogue in Greenbank Drive, Liverpool.

After an untimely death from an overdose of sleeping pills at age 32 – mere weeks after he paid a traditional shiva call in Liverpool upon his father’s death – Epstein himself received an Orthodox Jewish burial and a Hebrew grave stone.

In any case, Ori discovered that Epstein’s mother, Malka, had relatives living in Israel, and through them he persuaded Epstein to bring the Beatles to the Jewish state. Plans were made for Chipushiot Ha-Ketzav (“the Rhythm Beatles”) to play at Ramat Gan Stadium on Thursday, August 20, 1965.

(It’s interesting to note that, in an entertaining pun, many anti-Beatles Israelis referred to the band as Chipushiot Ha-Zevel or “the dung beetles.”)

Exhibited on this page is a very rare ticket to that concert, which never took place – and therein lies a tale.

* * * * *

Any number of false narratives regarding the reason the Beatles did not perform at Ramat Gan continue to circulate, ranging from a dispute between Ori and another music promoter, Giora Godik, to the recalcitrance of Golda Meir.

According to the latter account, the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Golda, who, as minister of foreign affairs at the time of the Beatles debacle, considered the band to be a corruptive influence. There is, of course, no evidence that Golda even knew, or cared, that the Beatles existed, and the true story is very different – and much more interesting.

First, Ori was faced with what proved to be an insurmountable problem: Israel was short on foreign currency and the government maintained strict supervision on every dollar leaving the country. Ori simply could not secure the requisite foreign funds to pay the Beatles, who scoffed at the very idea of being paid in Israeli lira, so he pursued the only possible solution: he and Israeli promotor Avraham Bugtier joined to make an official application to the Finance Ministry, the Israeli government agency charged with determining which foreign artists should be given those precious and rare dollars. The ministry flatly denied the request.

Many of those who know the story feel the concert would not likely have been held even had the Israeli government approved the promoters’ access to foreign currency because the organizers – who did not fully grasp the true scope of the Beatles’ worldwide popularity and the demand for them – would have been unable to raise the funds necessary to pay the substantial fee demanded by Beatles management.

In January 1964, Ori and Bugtier appealed the Finance Ministry’s decision by submitting a petition to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Authorization of Bringing Foreign Artists to Israel, Israel’s official guardian of good taste and morality. Operating under the auspices of Israel’s Education Ministry, the committee was charged with bringing performers to Israel, evaluating their artistic level, and preventing problems during their performances.

(The committee was then headed by director general Yaakov Sarid, the father of Yossi Sarid, who went on to become a controversial leftist Knesset member and who also later served as Israel’s minister of education under Prime Minister Ehud Barak.)

The thirteen-member committee denied Ori’s appeal and adopted Resolution 691, to wit: “Resolved: Not to allow the request for fear that the performances by the Beatles are liable to have a negative influence on the [country’s] youth.”

Israel thereby replaced Beatlemania with Beatlephobia.

Israel banned John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr from playing to the nation

The two promoters filed yet another appeal, in response to which the committee launched a comprehensive investigation of the Beatles, including the solicitation of information from Israeli embassies around the world and from the foreign ministry’s cultural relations department. Israeli media blasted the group and insisted that the committee act to protect the nation’s youth; one newspaper even went so far as to complain that committee members had been listening to the “yeah-yeah-yeah howls which are capable of striking dead a real beetle.”

Ori again met with failure when the committee ultimately issued Resolution 709, ruling that the Beatles would be denied the requisite permits to perform in Israel because the band’s music was of no artistic value; because its appearances had led to mass hysteria where they performed; and because its influence would undermine the values of Israeli youth. It later added that even American officials dealing with young people had called for banning the group from performing due to rioting, mass hysteria, injury, and the need for police intervention.

The “mass hysteria” cited by the committee undoubtedly encompassed not only the general Beatlemania phenomenon then crossing the globe, but also the specific madness that had been generated when British pop singer Cliff Richard, who dominated the British rock scene pre-Beatles, played Israel in 1963. Many hundreds of fevered Richard fans went to Lod Airport to welcome him, shrieking, screaming, and trespassing onto the tarmac, and the police were barely able to maintain order. Fearing a repeat of this behavior for the Beatles, the committee cancelled their concert in the alleged interest of public safety.

But the matter was by no means final, as the debate in Israel over the Beatles grew, even reaching the hallowed halls of the High Court of Justice. In April 1965, the court ruled that the committee did, in fact, have the authority to bar foreign performers from performing in Israel and that it had not exceeded its authority in refusing to permit the Beatles to play in Israel.

In February 1966, the Beatles issue even “rocked” the Knesset when Minister Uri Avneri posed a parliamentary question to Deputy Education Minister Aharon Yadlin regarding the committee’s reasons for not allowing the Beatles to perform in Israel.

Avneri argued that the band members, who had also become favorites with members of the British establishment, had even received awards from Queen Elizabeth. In response, Yadlin reiterated the view of the Education Ministry that the band had “no artistic value” and that its appearances generated mass public hysteria causing damage and requiring police intervention.

Back in 1999 I was considering writing an article on the Beatles and Israel and, as such, sought to interview Ori. I found a listing in the Israeli phone book for an entertainment agent named Yakov Ori at 17 Strand Street in Tel Aviv. I called his office, only to learn that he had passed away in 1980.

* * * * *

Ultimately, the Israeli government came to recognize the error of its ways and, at a ceremony at The Beatles Museum in Liverpool in January 2008, Ron Proser, Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, formally met with John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and presented her with an official letter addressing John:

We would like to take this opportunity to rectify a historic missed opportunity which unfortunately took place in 1965 when you were invited to Israel. Unfortunately, the State of Israel cancelled your performance in the country due to lack of budget and because several politicians in the Knesset had believed at the time that your performance might corrupt the minds of the Israeli youth.
There is no doubt that it was a great missed opportunity to prevent people like you, who shaped the minds of the generation, to come to Israel and perform before the young generation in Israel who admired you and continues to admire you.
The letter, which the Israeli Embassy in London also sent to the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and to the relatives of the late George Harrison, concluded with an invitation to McCartney and Starr to perform at a celebration of Israel’s 60th year of independence:

We are happy to invite you to perform in Israel’s independence celebrations and to fix a historical mistake from 1965 which prevented [Israeli] audiences from seeing a band which influenced a whole generation.

Palestinian groups around the world sent an open letter to the surviving Beatles and to the families of the deceased members of the band demanding that they honor the Palestinian cultural boycott of Israel and refuse to ever perform in Israel.

Paul McCartney bravely stood up to the hate groups, accepted Israel’s invitation, and, in celebration of Israel’s 60th Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, played Tel Aviv on September 25, 2008; a ticket from that historic concert is reproduced on this page.


(Years earlier McCartney’s post-Beatles band Wings had accepted an invitation to play Israel in 1979, and dates were secured in Tel Aviv for July or August. However, a strong disagreement between Wings promoter Harvey Goldsmith and the management of what was then the only hall in Tel Aviv that could host such rock concerts, forced cancellation of the proposed performances.)

When McCartney initially announced plans for his 2008 concert, he received numerous death threats. For example, terrorist spokesman Omar Bakri Muhammad publicly proclaimed that “Paul McCartney is the enemy of every Muslim…. If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel. He will not be safe there. The sacrificial operatives will be waiting for him.”

Israel, taking the threats very seriously, reportedly assigned a security detail team of some 5,000 officers and guards, including 20 elite Mossad agents, to protect him. McCartney would not be intimidated; as he told the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: “I got death threats, but I have no intention of surrendering and I’m coming anyway.”

Speaking to Israeli reporters he said, “I’ve heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it yourself is another.” He acknowledged the country’s earlier Beatles controversy by noting that he was finally coming to Israel “forty-three years after being banned by the Israeli government” and he promised to give Israelis “the night they have been waiting decades for.”

And he did: in the face of continuing threats from Islamic and Palestinian leaders, McCartney became the first Beatle to play Israel, performing “Give Peace a Chance” and “Hey Jude,” among favorites, before some 40,000 fans in Ganei Yehoshua Park in Tel Aviv. He sprinkled his performance with various Hebrew phrases, including wishing the crowd a “shanah tovah” (Rosh Hashanah was five days later) and adding “ze mi’paam” (this one is from a long time ago) before singing “All My Loving.”

McCartney: "When I was told there was a concert in Tel Aviv I was looking forward to it. I've never been to Israel and the Beatles were banned originally, but I was conscious of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict."

Before playing “My Love,” he declared “ze l’Linda,” dedicating the song to his late wife, Linda Eastman. (Many people do not know that Linda was Jewish, which means, of course, that McCartney’s children through her are Jewish as well.)

Though he carefully avoided political statements during the performance, McCartney met before the concert with Israelis from the One Voice Movement, whose mission is to empower Jews and Palestinians to push for peace and a two-state solution. He had also been scheduled to visit Ramallah, but that visit had to be cancelled for security reasons. Instead, Sir Paul visited Bethlehem where he stopped at a school for Palestinian children learning music.

* * * * *

Finally, I can’t write about the Beatles without recounting an amusing reminiscence of a Shabbat lunch I spent at my friend Ira’s table, circa 1970, which, I think, illustrates the band’s far-reaching impact on Jewish life and Jewish thinking.

The topic of conversation that afternoon was the reasons for the decline of contemporary morality and the decay of society and its institutions, as various positions were put forth spanning the breadth of political and philosophical thought. And then Ira’s elderly grandmother, a fine Jewish lady who, though she barely spoke English, was sharp as a tack, weighed in with a fervent opinion that essentially ended the discussion.

With fire in her eyes, fury in her nostrils, and the certainty of a person who will tolerate no dissent, she passionately spit out, in her thick Yiddish accent: “It’s those Beatles!”

viernes, 26 de junio de 2015

Paul McCartney Delivers Show-Stopping Charleston Tribute In Columbia, South Carolina
By Ed Mazza
The Huffington Post
Posted: 06/26/2015

Performing in South Carolina on Thursday night, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Paul McCartney dedicated a song to the victims of the mass shooting in Charleston.

"We pray that people of all colors will be able to live together in peace and harmony," the musical icon said before playing the 1970 Beatles classic, "The Long And Winding Road."

Nine black churchgoers were killed in a racially-motivated shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17. Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspected gunman, was captured the following day.

McCartney also honored the victims at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware last week, and that video can be seen above.

Thursday's performance was at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, the state's capital, about 115 miles from the scene of the attack.

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Sir. Paul McCartney dedicates song to #charleston

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McCartney dedicates"The Long and Winding Road" to all the people of Charleston. #CharlestonStrong

Live and Let Die
June 25, 2015 Columbia, SC

June 25 2015

In tonight's news of "things I won't be buying," this $125 denim jacket.
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Eight Days a Week!
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McCartney dedicates"The Long and Winding Road" to all the people of Charleston. #CharlestonStrong
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If you leave for the bathroom during "We Can Work it Out," you and I probably can't work it out.
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The house is packed @CLAmktg for Sir Paul.
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Columbia, SC
June 25, 2015

Photos: Greg Perry

Couldn't have happened to a greater guy: Rick Glover aka Fans On The Run on stage with Paul McCartney tonight in Columbia, SC. WTG Rick !!!!!!!
Tnx Dana!

Rick Glover, Mr. Fans On The Run on stage with Sir Paul tonight in Columbia, SC. We are beyond thrilled for him, WTG !!!!
Thanks Greg Perry for the fantastic photos!

jueves, 25 de junio de 2015

Paul McCartney honored by the City of Columbia
Paul McCartney honored by the City of Columbia
by WACH Fox News Center
Posted: 06.24.2015 

Paul McCartney Way unveiled to celebrate @PaulMcCartney coming to @Columbiasc TOMORROW! #OutThere (

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced Wednesday that Thursday, June 25 will be recognized as Paul McCartney Day.

The move correlates with McCartney's concert Thursday night at Colonial Life Arena.

Wednesday also saw Mayor Benjamin rename a part of Gadsen Street, 'Paul McCartney Way'.

These honors were bestowed upon McCartney, as the City of Columbia wants to honor his contributions to rock n' roll history.

Wednesday also saw Mayor Benjamin rename a part of Gadsen Street 'Paul McCartney Way'.  / Twitter/Steve Benjamin

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced that Paul McCartney will play in Columbia on June 25, 2015.

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2015

PAUL McCARTNEY IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA : John Paul Jones Arena (June 23 2015)

Charlottesville, VA.
June 23 2015
John Paul Jones Arena

Soundcheck, Charlottesville:
Honey Don't
Hi Ho Silver
All my loving
C moon
Miss Ann
It's So Squeezed - Buddy Holly lol
Follow the Sun
Midnight Train
Ram On
Lady Madonna

Photos: Jay Dillon

June 23 2015
Paul McCartney en la John Paul Jones Arena setlist y fotos
junio 23, 2015

Paul McCartney se presentó esta noche en la John Paul Jones Arena en Charlotesville y esto fue lo que tocó.


Eight Days a Week
Save Us
Got to Get You into My Life
One After 909
Temporary Secretary
Let Me Roll It
Paperback Writer
My Valentine
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
We Can Work It Out
Another Day
Hope for the Future
And I Love Her
Here Today
Queenie Eye
Lady Madonna
All Together Now
Lovely Rita
Eleanor Rigby
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Another Girl
Hi, Hi, Hi
Can’t Buy Me Love
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End







2015-06-23 Paul McCartney John Paul Jones Arena Charlottesville

My photos suck. My camera sucks. I suck.