September 2009


johnyokoRScoverFor Purple fashion magazine, Sean Lennon and his girlfriend, model Kemp Muhl recreated the legendary Rolling Stone cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken by Annie Liebowitz. 

The photo shows a nude Lennon clutching a fully-clothed Ono in a subtle gender role reversal with the sensitive Lennon appearing vulnerable and submissive to a serious and strong Ono. In the recreated photo, Sean Lennon takes on the role of his mother being fully clothed and clutched by his nude girlfriend.

The original photo was taken the day John Lennon died on December 8, 1980 in a photo shoot for Rolling Stone. The photo was published on the cover of Rolling Stone as a memorial to Lennon in January 1981.

You can see the photo of Sean Lennon here on the Huffington Post

(from Press Release)
WF-JulianLennonOpening on June 17, 2009 in Liverpool, the world famous Beatles Story gives visitors the opportunity to experience a unique personal narration of life with John Lennon – by his son Julian, and Julian’s mother, Cynthia, with the opening of “White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon.”

(Photo © Mark McNulty)

Beginning in Merseyside with the meeting at art college of John and Cynthia, it follows the journey from their clandestine marriage and the birth of Julian, both of which coincide with the sharply increasing trajectory of the band’s fame and fortune. The exhibition culminates in the story of Cynthia and John’s separation and divorce, giving visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the personal journey of a normal family’s struggle to cope with the effects of fame thrown upon them; particularly relevant in today’s celebrity conscious society.

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John Lennon’s Help! cape
(Courtesy of Julian Lennon Collection)

Nothing demonstrates this more acutely than the title of the exhibition, ”White Feather”. During a tender moment when Julian was a child, John first spoke to him about the white feather.

As Julian explains: ”The white feather is so prevalent in my life. One thing for sure is that it’s always represented peace to me. And one of the things my father said to me was that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be ok, or that we were all going to be ok, it was by in some way, shape or form presenting me with a white feather.”

Then, around ten years ago while Julian was on tour in Australia, a group of Aborigines presented him with a white feather, asking him to be the voice for their plight. It was a breathtaking and inspirational moment for Julian. This episode motivated Julian to set up The White Feather Foundation, a charity that embraces environmental and humanitarian issues and helps to raise funds to improve the life of others.

Julian Lennon says: ”John Lennon is an idol to millions of people who grew up loving his music and ideals, but to me he is the father I loved and lost. I hope this exhibition lets people see another aspect of his life and our time together as a family. This collection represents something of great importance to us as it is part of our history.”

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Postcard from Julian to John
(Courtesy of Cynthia Lennon Collection)

“Rather than have everything locked up in storage in a safe packed away for no one to see I felt it would be better to be outside, especially in this city, the city of Liverpool for the fans to see,” Julian said.

He also spoke emotionally about how the personal possessions have been brought back into family ownership: “Slowly but surely I have been gathering things. Nothing was passed down to me after Dad passed. The only way I could actually regain any of my dad’s belongings, or the Beatles work, was to go out and buy them myself. I felt that not only for my sake but also if I have a family of my own, whether it’s in their personal possession or at an exhibition like this, they have a chance to see their family history”.

“White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon”, takes place at the recently expanded world famous Beatles Story within the new Mersey Ferries terminal building on Liverpool’s renowned waterfront before touring worldwide.

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John Lennon’s Afghan coat
(Courtesy of Julian Lennon Collection)

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Electric guitar with inscribed plaque reading
‘To Julian from Daddy Christmas 1973’
(Courtesy of Julian Lennon Collection)

Items include:

• John Lennon’s Afghan coat
• John Lennon’s Help! cape
• *Paul McCartney’s recording notes for Hey Jude
• John Lennon’s Honda ‘monkey bike’ motorbike
• Electric guitar with inscribed plaque reading ‘To Julian from Daddy Christmas 1973’

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, which owns the Beatles Story, says: “This is a story about a family; but it is also a story of global significance and one that opens up the lives of John, Cynthia and Julian in a way never seen before. We are in the business of creating the world’s number one Beatles experience at the Beatles Story and to have this exclusive on our doorstep – John’s home town – is a privilege.”

White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon is presented by The White Feather Foundation charity. The White Feather Foundation is currently being set up by Julian Lennon.

The White Feather exhibit runs from June 17 to December 31, 2009

http://www.whitefeatherexhibition.com/

Photos and story by Olivia Rodriguez

Landing at the Liverpool John Lennon Airport was simply thrilling. I decided to take a bus into Liverpool so that I could see the lush green landscape and come along side the ocean.

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The bus left me off near the Albert Dock, how perfect is that? I made my way up the four short blocks to John Street where the new Hard Days Night Hotel (which opened in 2008) is located.

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As I rounded the corner to my left, the hotel is prominent with the Union Jack flying high and proud, and the four majestic statues of the four wonderful men that created such magnificent music.

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Hearing the doorman say in that fabulous British accent, “Hello Luv” made me feel as if I was home. Strange, how something so simple can evoke such warm feelings. As tired as I was from my 12 hours plus travel from the States, I felt suddenly energized as I entered the lobby hearing Beatles music!

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The Hard Days Night Hotel truly does a fantastic job of displaying photographs, art work and bronze statues throughout the hotel. In the lobby, a huge black and white metal banner depicting scenes from the movie “A Hard Day’s Night” hangs across the ceiling. The lads smiling faces look down as if to greet their guests. Above the reception desk hang sheet music of Beatles songs. Every where you look there is Beatles memorabilia or current art pieces, such as the bronze bust of Lennon or Beatles beach chairs (pictured below).

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The Beatles music plays ’round the clock in the lobby and restaurant. And the first song that plays in your room is …What else? A Hard Day’s Night!

My room had an incredible painting of John, wearing his signature glasses and cap, and a rose to honor him.

hoteljohnroom

I got to peek into the luxurious McCartney suite which had a huge knight in armor and a huge painting of Sir Paul on one wall; the Lennon suite has a white piano.

One day while writing my postcards, sitting in the lobby on a very
groovy orange-colored club chair, I looked up and saw a fantastic painting of John and “In My Life” came on. How poignant those words are and so painfully descriptive, we no longer have him or George…”though some have changed”. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, tears rolled down my cheeks. My thoughts drifted to 1964 when I saw The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, and now here I was in their homeland writing to my friends about my experience.

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The different bars and lounges, and entertainment rooms have incredible memorabilia and giant photos of John, Paul, George & Ringo. The bars have Beatles song names, like “The Two of Us”.

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Even the stairwell going up five floors is lined with giant photos of the lads from back in the early days to the present, as well as photos of Julian, Sean, Yoko, Linda and Maureen.

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During the Mathew Street Music Festival, the hotel had various performers in the lounges downstairs. We got to see Gavin Pring; he performed his George Harrison repertoire at Harry’s Bar downstairs. He was fantastic, so much like George, witty and charming.

And a trip to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cavern Club…

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…and the Casbah Coffee Club.

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I did not get too much sleep during my stay due to all the activities including the Liverpool Beatles convention (pictured below) at the Adelphi, but my memories of the Hard Days Night Hotel are still fresh in my mind.

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I don’t know if I will ever return to Liverpool, but the stay at the Hard Days Night Hotel was memorable. Walking into the lobby and seeing John’s face is a vivid image I will keep close to my heart.

Find out more about the Hard Day’s Night Hotel at www.harddaysnighthotel.com

This picture of Beatles artist, Shannon, is from the opening of the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool in 2008.

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For more info on Shannon’s art, visit http://www.theshannongallery.com

Photos courtesy Candy Wright

Amst-Hilton

Back in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had just got married on March 20 and decided to spend their honeymoon at the luxurious Amsterdam Hilton (pictured above) in the Netherlands spending a week literally in bed, but without privacy — in fact, inviting the press to hang out with them in their hotel room. Why? To promote peace, of course.

Amst-Bed

“When we got married,” John Lennon recalled in 1980, “we knew our honeymoon was going to be public anyway, so we decided to use it to make a statement. Our life is our art. That’s what the bed-in was. We sat in bed and talked to reporters for seven days… In effect, we were doing a commercial for peace…”

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The bed-in took place from March 25-31, 1969 in suite 902 of the Amsterdam Hilton. To stay in the “John and Yoko Honeymoon Suite” it would now cost you $1600 a night. To mark the 40th anniversary of the bed-in, the Amsterdam Hilton allowed the public to be able to visit the famous suite between March 21-29. The Amsterdam Hilton also had a photo exhibition on display called “From Holland with Peace.”

Amst-table

After renovation of the hotel, the suite was renumbered as 702, and is now decorated with a white decor designed by Yoko Ono featuring the famous peace slogans that John and Yoko posted in their hotel room during the bed-in. There are also John Lennon CDs on hand to play in the room.

Amst-room

At the time, John and Yoko were ridiculed by the media for having a bed-in for peace, but they had the last laugh since the media still reported the event, and as a result, got their message out. A few months later, John and Yoko would hold another bed-in in Montreal where they would record the famous anthem “Give Peace A Chance.”

Amst-guitar

The Amsterdam Hilton is offering a hotel special through the end of 2009 called the John and Yoko ‘Bed-in for Peace’ offer. For more info, visit the Amsterdam Hilton website.

remstrboxset-smA great amount of time and thought was put into the construction of the Beatles Remastered Stereo Box Set CD packaging. This is a refreshing contrast to the minimalist packaging featured in the original CD releases from the late 1980s.

The Stereo Box set comes in a rectangular black box with a magnetic flap closure on the side. You can easily open it up to find two stacks of CDs. However, the CD cases are not exact replicas of the original albums. (The mono box set contains exact replica packaging.)

The cover photos are the same, but in some cases, the back cover photos are different. The front covers look slightly different from the original album covers since the cover photo does not cover the whole CD flap. Apple has added The Beatles logo vertically on the left side on the front of every CD.

All of the CD cases (except for The White Album) are a tri-fold which unfolds to the length of three CD flaps all covered with rare photos. The right flap contains the CD and the left flap contains an additional booklet. The booklet contains rare photos from the time period of the album and includes the original liner notes as well as new historical notes for each album.

sgtpepper-remaster

The CD packaging features soft, glossy covers (not the usual hard plastic cases). Personally, I prefer plastic CD cases. They are easier to handle especially when you are in a hurry to grab a CD to listen to on your home stereo or in your car. With the soft cover cases, I am worried about possible damange just from day-to-day handling of the CD case with fingerprints and possible tears.

Before, I wondered if I should keep my original set of Beatle CDs. Now I know I should keep them for their plastic cases and maybe transfer the remastered CDs to the plastic cases for day-to-day use and keep the glossy new packaging safe in its attractive box.

The rare photos of The Beatles contained in each of the remastered CD cases are a definite plus. The Magical Mystery Tour CD even contains the original color booklet that was included with the original album. The White Album includes a mini version of the original poster that was included with the album release, although the four color photos of each Beatle are only featured directly on the CD case, and not as frameable pictures.

The booklet for Sgt. Pepper contains a page showcasing all the cutouts that were included in the original album. You could cut them out yourself, but I doubt you would want to ruin the CD booklet. Plus they are very tiny replicas of the original cutouts.

Many photos included in the CD packaging are alternate takes during the same photo shoot of the famous pictures we all recognize, like the back cover of The White Album features the four individual shots (from the original gatefold) of The Beatles but at slightly different angles.

For devoted collectors, the packaging alone justifies a reason to purchase the Stereo Box Set. One additional bonus is the DVD including all 13 mini-documentaries that were made for each Beatles album.

If you’re still unsure whether to try out the remasters, you can listen to a comparison of a sample of old CD versions compared to the new remasters in this CNN article.

The MEAT FREE MONDAY campaign was officially launched on June 15, 2009. Paul McCartney, his daughters Stella and Mary McCartney, Yoko Ono and many other celebrities were in attendance.

Watch a video about the ‘Meat Free Monday’ launch:

Over the last few years scientific data on livestock’s contribution to climate change has been increasing. Having a MEAT FREE MONDAY every week is a simple way to start making a real difference in the world. The more people who join in, the more difference we can make.

Sir Paul McCartney explains:
“I think many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world. Having one designated meat free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make, that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once. For instance it not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism.”

The Meat Free Monday website will feature useful tips and recipes from Linda McCartney’s cookbooks as well as the UK’s leading chefs. It will also provide a community of support and information for those who want to know more about the way diet choices can influence a healthier environment.

The campaign is supported by Linda McCartney Foods. The complete Linda McCartney range can be found on the brand new Linda McCartney Foods website.

Watch a video of Linda McCartney talking about her first vegetarian cookbook, Home Cooking

For more info, visit the official website (www.supportMFM.org)

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