My sweetheart and I, thanks to the generosity of my lovely daughter, were able to attend the John Lennon Peace Exhibit in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex, in New York City's Soho District this past Friday. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to view, firsthand, many iconic personal items having to do with the John & Yoko Peace Campaign in New York City, from 1971 through 1980.
John's widow, Yoko Ono, has stated that Lennon would want the world to realize that, since his death, the number of people killed by guns in America exceeds the number of US soldiers fallen during the Vietnam war by a factor of 16.
The exhibition also includes the original letter, signed by Lennon and Ono on April Fool's Day 1973, declaring the establishment of the state of Nutopia, in which there would be "no land, no boundries [sic], ... no passports, only people".
Among his instruments on display are the Steinway piano on which he composed Double Fantasy in his Dakota building apartment in Manhattan and the steel Resonator guitar that he played at a "freedom rally" in Michigan in 1971 in support of John Sinclair, leader of the radical White Panther Party. Mister Sinclair had been given a ten year prison sentence for possesing a small amount of pot. Three days after the concert, John Sinclair was released from prison. (Makes one wonder what history would have been like if Lennon hadn't been assassinated in 1980.)
Some of Lennon's clothes are there on display, too. And a portion of the exhibition is dedicated to Lennon's six-year battle with Tricky Dick Nixon's attempt to evict him from the country. Letters of support from the singer Joan Baez and the then mayor of New York, John Lindsay, are shown, as is the green card that he eventually won in 1976.
John's love of New York was quite strong, indeed. Even before arriving in the city in 1970, he drew a sketch of the Statue of Liberty, with his own face replacing the statue's and the eternal flame with his fist raised, indicating Power To The People.
The room is white (including the floor) with films playing here and there (including one showing the naked butts of the two artists). It was well worth the cost of getting into the exhibit. And, it brought back many memories of why John's music and life were so Inspirational for me.