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By Posted on 0 , 11

California motorists may soon have an opportunity to help in the efforts to feed the hungry in California with new John Lennon inspired specialty license plates. The plate design features John Lennon’s iconic self-portrait sketch and the words “Imagine No Hunger” inscribed on the bottom.

They are available now for pre-order at and will only go into production after 7,500 pre-paid applications are received by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The proceeds from the sales are set to go to the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB), which partners with more than 40 food banks across the state to help feed an estimated two million Californians in need.

The cost of the plates range from $50 to $103, depending on the customization of the design. The Imagine project is being sponsored by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).Yoko Ono Lennon authorized the use of her late husband’s image.“Imagine is a great word to spread around and I’m happy to do this because it’s helping a very important charity,” Ono said in a press release.

Organizers say Lennon’s legacy as a humanitarian makes him a powerful symbol in the efforts to fight hunger. “Working together we can realize a hunger-free California,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. “The Imagine plates not only raise awareness of the scope of the challenge, but also directly help alleviate hunger in our state,” Bacho added. The Lennon license program was officially launched in Anaheim on Saturday and events to promote the new design are being planned for the coming months in San Francisco and other cities. Organizers say they’re excited about the project and this unique chance to get Californians involved in the fight to end hunger.

“The Imagine license plate offers an opportunity for Californians to say ‘hit the road’ to hunger in our state,” said Sue Sigler, Executive Director of California Association of Food Banks.



By Posted on 0 13

A rock valued at $17,500 because it was part of a Yoko Ono art installation has been stolen from display at a Toronto museum, police confirmed. The weather-worn stone carries the words “Love yourself,” inscribed by Ono, and was an element in her work entitled Yoko Ono: The Riverbed. While visitors to the Gardiner Museum had been encouraged to make contact with the art, they weren’t supposed to leave with any of it – although one woman did.
“It’s a totally interactive (exhibit),” police media officer Gary Long told the Toronto Star. “[T]here’s a bunch of rocks on the ground and people can walk up to them and pick them up. She just picked it up and walked away with it.”

“Stone Piece features a pile of river stones that have been honed and shaped by water over time. Ono has inscribed some of the stones with words, such as ‘dream,’ ‘wish,’ and ‘remember.’ Visitors are invited to pick up a stone and hold it, concentrating on the word, and then placing the stone upon the pile of other stones in the center of the room.”


By Posted on 0 , 3

Ono is currently showing work at galleries in both Toronto and Vancouver, continuing a long tradition

Yoko Ono is currently showing her interactive installation The Riverbed at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum and her instructional work MEND PIECE at Vancouver’s Rennie Museum, continuing a long history of association Ono has with Canada. So CBC Arts asked Toronto-based artist, writer and curator Dave Dyment to offer up a brief history of Ono’s Canadian roots.​
Despite an ongoing revaluation of her work as an artist, activist and musician, Yoko Ono is still most associated with the distinctive sound of her singing voice, which was first introduced to a wider audience on a record calledLive Peace in Toronto 1969, released in December of that year.

The performance was recorded at Varsity Stadium as part of a 12-hour music festival called “the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival,” which also featured performances by Bo Diddley, Alice Cooper, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Doors. Ono and John Lennon were the surprise, last-minute guests. Their makeshift band — which included Eric Clapton and Yes drummer Alan White — rehearsed for the first time on the airplane from London to Toronto. Having never played together before, the group performed three 1950s classics, a lone Beatles track and two recent singles before Lennon announced, “And now Yoko’s going to do her thing…all over you”.

The primal screams that followed were perhaps too much for the audience amassed to see classic rockers like Little Richard, who recalled beer bottles being thrown at the stage during Ono’s set. Screaming, screeching, caterwauling, warbling and other pejoratives were used to describe her singing in the press. Now, decades later, Ono is credited for inspiring the work of countless musicians and has collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga, Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, The Beastie Boys, Peaches, Anohni, tUnE-yArDs, RZA and The Flaming Lips.

Journalist Ritchie Yorke interviews John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto in 1969

Side A of Live Peace in Toronto closed with a spirited version of the song “Give Peace a Chance,” which Lennon and Ono had recently written (and recorded) in a Montreal hotel room during the couple’s Bed-In Protest for Peace. After spending their honeymoon in bed at the Amsterdam Hilton, hosting an extended press conference to promote peace, the couple wanted to bring the event to America. Unable to gain entry due to a cannabis conviction the year prior, they decided to broadcast across the border from Canada.

The Toronto concert gave Lennon the confidence to finally disband the Beatles, something for which Ono is often blamed. A myriad of other factors — the death of manager Brian Epstein, the decision to stop touring, the failure of the Magical Mystery Tour film and various business quagmires — actually precipitated the group’s demise, but Ono’s name has become synonymous with, and shorthand for, the misogynistic notion of a meddling and disruptive wife. The couple’s peace activism would bring them back to Canada only months later. They held a press conference at the Ontario Science Centre to announce a Peace Council to be set up in Toronto, as well as a major Peace Festival to rival Woodstock (with other Beatles possibly performing, alongside a dream line up that included Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley). They stayed at the Streetsville farmhouse of Ronnie Hawkins, where three additional phone lines had to be installed to accommodate their press endeavours, resulting in a $9,000 phone bill. They also took the train to Ottawa to meet with then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who Ono described as “more beautiful than we expected.”

Yoko Ono’s “Mend Piece,” part of her exhibition The Riverbed, currently at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum.

However, the proposed Toronto Peace Festival never materialized, and Ono would not perform in the country again for another 27 years when her Rising tour brought her to Lee’s Palace for a sold-out intimate performance in 1996. A “comeback” album of sorts, Rising saw the beginning of a long collaboration with her son Sean Lennon, then only 21. Ono’s Canadian roots go back even further: one of her earliest performance works, A Grapefruit in the World of Park, was performed in Montreal, in August 1961. The work was part of the Semaine Internationale de Musique Actuelle, a week-long festival of new music and performance organized by Canadian composer Pierre Mercure. Other participants included John Cage, Edgar Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Toshi Ichiyanagi, Ono’s first husband.

She returned to Toronto in 2001, when the Art Gallery of Ontario hosted the first ever large-scale multimedia retrospective of her work in North America. The exhibition “YES YOKO ONO” featured 150 sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs and other media, illustrating the breadth of her prolific output. It also included video and photo documentation of performance works, such as Cut Piece, where the artist knelt on the stage beside a pair of scissors, inviting audience members to come and cut a piece of her clothing and take it away with them.

“YES YOKO ONO” also included examples of Ono’s work within Fluxus, a loose-knit collective of artists that can be viewed as one of the first international art movements, and the first to include women playing key roles. In the lobby of the AGO, a Wish Tree — now perhaps the artist’s signature interactive work — conflates the score-based practices of Fluxus with a Japanese tradition. Viewers are invited to write and affix their wishes to the branches of the tree. 15 years later, the artist’s largest iteration of the project featured 121 trees arranged in front of Edmonton’s City Hall, as part of the city’s inaugural Nuit Blanche. “Keep wishing,” the instructions read, “until the branches are covered with wishes.”

Ono’s work can currently be seen at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, in an exhibition titled Yoko Ono: The Riverbed, until June 3rd, and at the Rennie Museum in Vancouver, (Yoko Ono: Mend Piece) until April 15.



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A promo copy of “Double Fantasy” signed for KCPX on Dec. 8, 1980, is on the block, with a starting price of $50,000.
In the hours before John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980, he and wife Yoko Ono posed for a Rolling Stone photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, sat for a radio interview with RKO’s Dave Sholin, went off to a recording session at the Hit Factory studio, and autographed a couple of copies of their joint album “Double Fantasy,” which featured Lennon’s first new music in five years.
One of those autographs was famously for Mark David Chapman, the man who, a few hours later, would shoot and kill Lennon outside the Dakota apartment building at 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York City.
Another was inscribed to Salt Lake City radio station KCPX.

After 30-ish years of being owned by Utah-based DJ and former KCPX employee Gary “Wooly” Waldron, the album has changed hands a few times. This past Tuesday, it went online for a two-week bidding process being conducted by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
Opening price: Fifty … thousand … dollars.
And who knows where it goes from there.
“It has this very emotive and poignant history that can take it out of the normal bracket of what it’s worth,” said Giles Moon, Heritage Auctions’ consignment director for entertainment and music. “Because of that, there’s really nothing comparable. It’s really something of an unknown quantity. It could absolutely take off.”
Bert Keane, then the national promotion director for Warner Bros. Records (which oversaw manufacturing, distribution and promotion of Geffen Records), accompanied Sholin to Lennon and Ono’s apartment for the radio interview.
In a “Certificate of Authenticity” dated July 22, 2010, Keane detailed some of the day’s events and some of the history of the notched, promotional copy of the album.
“We arrived before noon and spoke with John and Yoko for approximately 2½ hours. After the interview, I had John autograph the album for Gary Waldron of KCPX radio station which he did on the inner sleeve,” Keane wrote.

The inscription, signed with a blue felt tip, reads: “To KCPX/Love, Yoko Ono/John Lennon/[caricatures of Lennon and Ono]/1980.”
The COA also details Lennon’s subsequent request for him and Ono to catch a ride in Keane’s limo to the Hit Factory. On the brief walk out to the vehicle, they encountered Chapman, and Keane encouraged Lennon to autograph the apparent fan’s own copy of “Double Fantasy.”
Meanwhile, on Dec. 16, Keane mailed his autographed promo copy to Waldron, who had been planning to use it as a call-in giveaway.
Obviously, given what had happened, that plan changed.
“I knew I couldn’t do anything with it. Beatles fans were still reeling,” Waldron told The Tribune in a 2009 interview. “For fans and people in the music business, it was very much like the Kennedy assassination. You knew where you were when you heard the news and remember it today.”
Moon said that, in the 30 years he’s done that job, this album with Utah ties is one of the more unique items he’s come across.

For one thing, obviously, there’s always interest in memorabilia tied to The Beatles: “I hate to use the term ‘iconic,’ but they are icons of the 20th century. There’s never going to be a lack of interest in them,” Moon said. “They’re the very pinnacle. No one really touches them.”
Furthermore, though he acknowledged the album’s personal inscription might deter some potential collectors, Moon is inclined to believe that will instead increase its appeal to others.
“From my point of view, that actually makes it more desirable, because it gives it a great history,” he said. “You can work your way back to the original owner. It’s very important to establish the provenance and history of an item. The history of this one is very powerful. It’s quite well-documented.”

And that history, that specific timeline, is what proved to be the crowning jewel for this album.
It was signed by Lennon just hours before he died. That makes it incredibly special.
“It’s a pretty amazing artifact. It’s one of his very last autographs he ever signed,” Moon noted. “That it was signed on the day he died makes it particularly significant. That makes it stand out.”
Heritage Auctions put the album on its website and opened it to online bidding this past Tuesday. It will stay there until April 15, when it will be transferred to a “live” auction in Dallas, starting at whatever dollar figure it’s worked its way up to in the interim. The “live” auction can still entail live internet bids, but will also include bids placed over the phone, as well as those placed by prospective buyers appearing in-person.
Waldron, now a weekend DJ for local classic rock station 103.5 FM “The Arrow,” declined a request to be interviewed anew about the piece of music history he used to own, writing in an email, “Sorry I can’t help you but I have nothing more or new to say about that.”







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From May 2018, the Museum of Liverpool will show a ground-breaking exhibition, exploring the personal and creative chemistry of this iconic couple and their ongoing Imagine Peace campaign.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko, at Museum of Liverpool from May 18, 2018 to April 22, 2019, is a free exhibition, celebrating the meeting of two of the world’s most creative artists who expressed their deep and powerful love for one another through their art, music and film. They used their fame and influence to campaign for peace and human rights across the world, transforming not only their own lives, but art, music and activism forever.
Featuring personal objects alongside art, music and film produced by John and Yoko, the exhibition is drawn from Yoko’s own private collection, some of which has never been displayed.
Yoko Ono Lennon said: “I am so happy and grateful that we are having our Double Fantasy -John & Yoko show in Liverpool.“This is where John was born and I know John would be very happy too.“We were a very simple couple just loving each other every day and I just wanted to show the simple truth of us.“In our personal life we were pretty simple people, and we made all sorts of things with love for each other. Everything was made out of love.“We found that we were both very strongly interested in world peace. I feel John and I are still working together. I always feel his warmth next to me.”

Taking a chronological journey, the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 Dec 1980.
Through interviews, quotes and lyrics, the story of their personal and creative relationship along with their political activism and peace campaigning, will be told in their own words for the very first time.
From the intimate to the iconic, the exhibition brings together unmissable objects and artworks including:

  • Hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including In My Life, Give Peace a Chance, Happy Xmas (War is Over) and Woman.
  • Grapefruit –Yoko’s artist book, which she gave to John as a gift in 1966. Published in 1964, the book represents a seminal piece of conceptual art and was a direct influence on the lyrics and ideas behind Imagine.
  • Original artwork by both, including Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple, as well as The Daily Howl, a hand-made book by John from his childhood and numerous examples of his distinctive line drawings. The exhibition also features conceptual work the couple produced together, such as War is Over, Plastic Ono Band, and elements of their first collaboration Acorn Peace.
  • Many personal items, such as John’s wire-rimmed glasses, Yoko’s large Porsche sunglasses, iconic items of clothing, such as John’s New York City t-shirt, and items from their wedding outfits.
  • An extremely rare Sardonyx guitar used by John on the album, Double Fantasy, and the acoustic Gibson guitar, illustrated on by John, from their 1969 Bed-Ins.
  • John’s hard-won Green Card.
  • Items from the couple’s famous 1969 Bed-Ins in Amsterdam and Montreal.
  • A rolling programme of the films that John and Yoko created, and music videos made under Yoko’s supervision. A music room, overlooking the Mersey with the couple’s albums played for visitors will feature album cover art.
  • A recreation of the Imagine mosaic circle in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York. An intimate and contemplative space, it will also reflect on the global impact of John’s death.

Sharon Granville, Director of the Exhibition for National Museums Liverpool said: “We have worked closely with Yoko and her team for several years to tell an intimate story of the couple’s relationship and work, using her and John’s words wherever it was possible. Setting this against a backdrop of the volatile late 1960s – Vietnam War, civil rights protests and social unrest and revolution across Europe and the USA – reveals just how creatively and bravely the couple harnessed their fame and influence to express their radical ideas, challenge preconceptions of the role of artists in society and promote universal themes of peace, love and equality, which continue to have strong resonance and importance today.”
Liverpool remained with John throughout his life. Testament to this is Yoko’s own longstanding connection to the city and her decision to have this incredibly personal exhibition celebrating their life and work at the Museum of Liverpool.
Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a major part of Liverpool’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as European Capital of Culture.

This exhibition has been made possible with the kind permission of Yoko Ono Lennon.


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The younger sister of Yoko Ono today revealed how John Lennon encouraged her to take art seriously.

Setsuko Ono, 76, who paints and creates dream-like sculptures from sheets of welded steel, is to have an exhibition of her work in London for the first time.
She had previously worked in development at the World Bank in Washington DC for 28 years, only pursuing art as a hobby.
She said: “John came with my sister and the little boy [Sean] to my house and of course there I was just displaying everything, and he just said, ‘Well, you should really take seriously your passion for sculpture’. And that I took really as a wonderful compliment,” she said.
On retirement in 2003, over two decades after Lennon’s death, she tried for her first public exhibition at the Eighth Havana Biennial.
The show will run at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation at Japan House from Thursday and at Asia House next month.