Tag Archives: yoko ono

Imagine Peace holiday giveaway

20161211_0805041Well folks, I got nothing this week when it comes to a review. I am currently reading a very good book (non-Beatles related), just nothing to write about this week. But since it’s the holiday season, I decided to give something away to my loyal followers and readers since you’re the ones that keep me going week after week.

During our trip to the Imagine Peace Tower last month, the boat tour company offered us our pick of buttons from a basket as a souvenir of your trip to the tower. The basket was filled with buttons that said IMAGINE PEACE in the 24 different languages that are on the Peace Tower. Being a little greedy I picked out two in Italian. 14591671_212499435841158_2426614261419048137_n

So lucky readers, I’m going to give away one of my Italian Imagine Peace Tower buttons AND a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post. The only thing I ask is that you write something either holiday or Peace related.

One entry per person and I will pick a winner on Sunday, December 18, 2016.

Best of luck and happy holidays!

 

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Trip Report: Imagine Peace Tower, Reykjavik, Iceland

20161106_2035071Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a four day excursion to Reykjavik, Iceland. Earlier in the spring, I had seen a great deal (3 nights for $499 each including air, hotel and breakfast) and couldn’t pass it up. It included a Northern Lights tour which just added to the excitement of going since seeing the Aurora Borealis is on my bucket list.

When I booked our trip for November, I didn’t even remember that the Imagine Peace Tower was in Iceland. That realization came on October 8th when I read that Yoko Ono was on her way to light the tower for it’s 10th anniversary. The tower is only lit from John Lennon‘s birthday on October 9th until the anniversary of his death on December 8th. I believe it’s also lit on John and Yoko’s wedding anniversary and her birthday. The light comes on one hour after sunset and is turned off at midnight.img_3971

The tower’s history according to the website is: IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. It is situated on Viðey Island in Reykjavík, Iceland. The artwork was dedicated to John by Yoko at its unveiling on October 9th 2007, John Lennon’s 67th birthday. 

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The only way to get to Videy Island is via ferry boat. My husband and I decided to take a walk to the dock and catch the last ferry out for the day at a cost of about $12 each. In the winter, the ferry only makes 3 trips to the island and only on weekends! Unfortunately, after walking over a mile in a damp drizzle (the same way we spent the entire 4 days), we arrived 5 minutes too late for the last ferry out! You can see the Imagine Peace Tower in the picture with me pointing to it (that little whit dot!) from the pier at the dock. To add some perspective, Videy Island is the same size as the country of Monaco…0.7 square miles.

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After a disappointing Northern Lights excursion the night prior and now missing the last ferry out for the weekend, we were not about to miss out again on this vacation! We went back to our hotel and booked ourselves on the night’s Imagine Peace Tower Tour hosted by the Edding Whale Watch company. Cost = $80 each for a two hour tour.

As our luck would have it, it rained. And I don’t mean a gentle rain…I mean it rained sideways! Add in the fact that it was about 45 degrees fahrenheit and yeah, it would make for a miserable evening on any given night…but we were off on a once in a lifetime trip to see the Peace Tower up close and in person! And there were 7 other people just as crazy as us on that boat.

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This is what it looks like up close in the rain. Our guide that night, Megan said that in the rain is the only time you’re going to see the light refracted, producing that rainbow effect. I asked her what it looks like in the snow, and she said the light reflects off the snow and makeimg_3970s that light brighter.

Underneath the tower are time capsules. Each one holding a years worth of wishes that people around the world make. The wishes are stored there until the year 2040 (John’s 100th birthday) when the first capsule will be opened. A lot of wishes come from the Wishing Tree that is a building on the island.

20161106_2105271It’s not a very attractive tree…Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree may have been in better shape. But none the less, we added our wishes to the tree while enjoying hot cocoa after walking back in the driving rain (it’s about 1/3 mile from the dock to the tower). You can also make wishes through the Imagine Peace Tower website at this link.

Despite the weather (hey, they did provide us with those yellow rain parkas you see in the photos!), we wouldn’t have missed this experience for the world. It was the highlight of our trip to Iceland…and an added bonus since I didn’t even think about it when I booked the trip. If you’re a true Beatles freak like myself, spend the extra money and take the night tour whether in the rain, sleet or snow…you won’t want to miss this!

And…unlike the northern lights (which we never saw), this is a guarantee!

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Around the circumference of the Imagine Peace Tower, the words “Imagine Peace” are written in 24 different languages.

 

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Book Review: “Dakota Days” by John Green

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One thing leads to another…

I found out about Dakota Days by John Green (1983) from reading a book that I had previously reviewed. Who is John Green? Well, a lot of Beatles fans know him as Charlie Swan…Yoko and John’s tarot card reader! Yes folks…even the psychics cashed in on Lennon’s death!

A mere 260 pages, this book is a hoot! Who knows how much of it is factual (probably not much), but it amused me to no end. The book opens with Yoko placing a call to her tarot card reader, John Green, to let him know that John Lennon has moved back home after his “long weekend”. She tells Green that he must change his name to Charlie Swan because John is going to be jealous that he has the same name as him! SERIOUSLY!

For those of us who are not Yoko fans, this book just proves that she really is just as crazy as we all believe she is. (For those that are Yoko fans, this book will be filled with lies). From the beginning, John Green makes himself out to be the Ono-Lennon’s greatest marriage and financial counselor, but fails to mention he was apparently fired by Yoko after he didn’t warn of Lennon’s murder.

One standout moment in this book…when Yoko discloses to Charlie Swan that she originally went after John Lennon to get Paul McCartney’s attention. It was Paul she originally had eyes for. She then continues on to say that Paul is very sexually attracted to her…she can tell by the way that he looks at her that Paul McCartney wants her!

It’s one bizarre moment after another. This book is really a waste of paper, but for a good laugh, Beatles freaks should read it.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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Article in People Magazine – July 4, 1983

people_070483I just recently stumbled upon this article that was in People magazine in July 1983. It’s about all the books that were coming out about John Lennon after his tragic death. Some of you may find it completely irrelevant, but I found the author’s opinion of the books and their authors very interesting…

 

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20085405,00.html

 

Enjoy!

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Book Review: “Who Killed John Lennon” by Fenton Bresler

9780312034528Who Killed John Lennon? By Fenton Bresler was given to me (along with a copy of Fred Seaman’s The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir) by someone who was trying to explain to me the conspiracy theories behind John Lennon‘s murder.

Again, this is a book (published in 1989) that has been on my shelf for over 5 years now and I decided it was time to finally getting around to reading it in its entirety. I had made two other prior attempts, but I finally dug up the patience needed to get through Fenton Bresler‘s belief that Lennon’s assassin (or better to known to Beatles’ fans as “He whose name shall not be spoken”) was not a lone gun man, but instead a CIA pawn who had been brainwashed and at the command of a ‘controller’  shot John Lennon.

Why did it take such an effort to read this book? Well, for one, the author (an English lawyer) spends an exorbitant amount of time detailing the CIA hypnosis/mind control programs of the 50’s and 60’s. In fact, he takes it even farther back to when the CIA didn’t even exist. Mr. Bresler even explains how the conspiracy theories tied to the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert and John Kennedy also help to prove his theory of a planned and well executed assassination of Lennon by the U.S. government because of Lennon’s political views and his power to gather masses to protest various political policies. The author also walks the reader through the premeditated killing on the night of December 8, 1980 and the days and months that followed as the killer was lead through the American judicial system. Bresler then backs it all up with documentation that he gathered in his 8 years of researching this book.

The more I read this book, the more I realized there was no conspiracy to kill John Lennon and that the assassin was a lone gunman who was psychotic. It seemed with every passing chapter, the theories became more and more far fetched with even the author seeming to become paranoid because the U.S. judicial system allowed Lennon’s killer to have visits and phone calls within days of the shooting, apparently bringing to a light that just about anyone (read ‘controller’) could have contacted Lennon’s murderer to continue to manipulate what he said to the authorities.

I will say, thought, that this book does have an upside in that it does quote many legal documents and court transcriptions that I had not yet read and that just about anyone interested in the case against the murderer would find very interesting. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon” by Robert Rosen

It would seem that I’m always late to the party. Once again, I stumbled upon this book – Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon by Robert Rosen while looking around on Amazon. They like to suggest books for me and sometimes I’m a sucker for their suggestions. This is one of those times.

This book was written in 2000 and then revised after the author got HIS journals back from Yoko Ono. Sound strange? Well, it is. (And yeah, the cover is just as ugly in person…what was he thinking?). The author starts out telling of his friendship with John Lennon’s assistant Fred Seaman before Seaman got the primo job at the Dakota. Rosen also claims that Seaman immediately came to him after getting the job and said, “We need to write a book!” Apparently, Rosen thought nothing ill of this suggestion and went along with taking daily notes from Seaman about the misadventures going on in John Lennon’s life. The problem is, in the end, after John is killed and Seaman has turned over John’s journals to Rosen to transcribe, Rosen changes teams and suddenly is anti-Seaman and ends up “working” for/with Yoko. Hmmm…

This whole opening scenario, or back story, if you will, left a bad taste in my mouth. I spent the whole time wondering if the author has any scruples at all and what was his motivation for writing this book except to make a fortune off of the Lennons like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry that met John and Yoko in passing? The book itself is very good and there are some tidbits in there that I don’t recall having read elsewhere, but then again…this is the guy that transcribed Lennon’s journals and then, after stabbing Fred Seaman in the back, uses Fred’s book as a source! He also lists May Pang’s book as one of his sources.

So where does this leave me when it comes to reviewing this book? For those that don’t know me, I’m pro-Fred Seaman and pro –May Pang…I loved both their books. And, even though this book is a great source of information for those that want to know EVERYTHING Lennon, I just don’t care for the author. Something just ain’t right. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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Review: “International Pop” exhibit at Philadelphia Museum of Art

War is Over pop artThe International Pop art exhibit is currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15, 2016.  Unlike a lot of other traveling art exhibits, this one is free with paid admission to the museum.  They also offer free guided tours of the show sporadically throughout the day of the show, but my husband and I found it a little too artsy for us, so we decided to walk it alone and discuss the works among ourselves.

Here’s a description of the exhibit from the museum’s website:

Focusing on work made from 1956 to 1972, the exhibition presents Pop art as a movement that is at turns celebratory, critical, and probing in its message.
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This exhibit includes paintings, drawings, ads, posters, and videos from around the world that are consider part of the pop art movement.  And how could these years (1956-1972) be complete without references to the Fab Four.  On display is John & Yoko’s War is Over poster (signed) and copies of albums Sgt. Pepper’s and the White Album.

If you dig the works of Andy Warhol, there are several of his pieces on display.

If you’re not sure if this show is for you, check out the International Pop trailer:

Additionally, musician Ben Vaughn created a musical playlist as a companion to this exhibit.  It includes two songs by the BeatlesDrive My Car and Tomorrow Never knows.  This soundtrack is only available on Spotify:
  

This exhibit only contains about 150 pieces of work from around the world, so if you decide to go you will have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the museum or spend a day walking around Philadelphia.  And for that reason…

I rate this exhibit, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” by Elvis Costello

Well folks, here it is…the book that took me way to long to read!

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is a 670 page memoir from Elvis Costello.  Written in his poetic hand with a lot of discussion and samples of the lyrics to his songs, you’re going to wish this book came with a soundtrack to follow along with the stories.  It’s not that I don’t know Elvis’ music, but being more of the pop music fan, I’ve never felt the need to listen to any of  his entire albums.  Maybe it’s my own fault then that I had trouble keeping up.

But there are other problems too.  Mr. Costello loves to tell you of his family history, just not in one or two neat and tidy chapters.  He likes to digress throughout the book, never letting his reader know at any given moment what decade they may end up in whether it be with his great grandparents or parents or someplace else in time.  I could almost swear that several times, he flashed back and never came back to the original story he had started telling.

Still, some the stories he tells of the artists he’s worked with are truly amazing.  He sings the praises of working with Johnny and June Cash, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and so many others.  (Note: Oddly, I got to the part about his working with Allen Toussaint the day after Allen passed away.  Cue Twilight Zone music.)  Elvis worships his father and tells the heartbreaking story of his passing within days of the untimely death of his wife (Elvis’ stepmother).  And yes, he talks about working with Paul McCartney, but I was surprised that it wasn’t with as much gusto as I would have expected.

Unless you’re an over the top Elvis Costello fan that has followed his every move from the very beginning of his career, don’t plan on this being a fast read.  Sit back and just enjoy the storytelling.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Movie Review: Mugshots: John Lennon – Death of a Beatle

I found this movie through Amazon Prime and decided to give it a go.  Apparently, “Mugshots” is a whole series of movies about either famous people who have been murdered, famous murderers or famous murders.

Mugshots: Mark D. Chapman – John Lennon: Death of a Beatle – is actually not a bad documentary for Lennon fans, if you can get past the taped interview of Mark David Chapman.  But if you are one of the folks that lives by the belief that “he who’s name shall not be spoken”, should also not be heard, then you’re going to have a big problem with this film.

The movie is more of the story of John Lennon, his life growing up and his life as a Beatle.  Several very familiar people participated in the making of this documentary, including such names as Pete Best, Bob Gruen, and Scott Muni.

At times, it almost appears as if this is two separate stories being told…that of Lennon and that of his killer, with each of the stories being able to stand on it’s own if it had to.  Chapman’s words are haunting…his story is strange…and his reasoning just unfathomable when you hear him tell it.  Yet, like a train wreck, it’s hard not to look and listen just to try to comprehend what he did.

If you’re a true Lennon fan who has to know every detail, then yes…watch this film.  If you love Lennon, but believe Chapman’s name should not be spoken, then watch Hard Day’s Night.

This documentary is well made, but because of my own personal beliefs on the subject…

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “Ramones: An American Band” by Jim Bessman

I picked this book up several years ago at an online clearance sale.  My intent was for my husband to read it, since I really never dug The Ramones.  Then I found out that they were heavily influenced by the Beatles. And, there is no lack of Beatles references in this book! Even the story of them rewriting the lyrics to a John Lennon song and getting Yoko’s permission to record it.

Ramones: An American Band was published in 1993, long before Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Marky, or any other Ramone wrote their autobiography. In fact, it was written prior to the band breaking up in 1996, so it’ll bring you right up to what was the present moment of the band at that time.

The Ramones are credited with creating Punk music. What a lot of people thought was just a joke band that would never last went on to become one of the greatest bands of all time. This is a band who was the influence behind the Sex Pistols, Debbie Harry and so many Punk bands of the 70’s and 80’s. And though they never enjoyed huge commercial success or even a #1 hit, Spin magazine ranked them the second-greatest band of all time trailing only the Beatles.

I’m glad I took the time to read this book and to get to know the Ramones. This book has made me want to pick up each of the band members autobiographies and get their individual views of how the Punk scene looked from the inside.

You can still buy this book online at all the major retailers, with used copies starting at $0.01.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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