Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She's Fought Them All...and Won.

Yoko Ono is 79 years old. She recently celebrated a birthday and I just came across this recent photo of her wearing boxing gloves. Could she look any better? There's aging and there's aging WELL. She's regrouped a new incarnation of the Plastic Ono Band, with son Sean Lennon by her side, and most recently played a live gig over New Years' with my friends and yours, The Flaming Lips, which was a pairing made in Heaven (though I couldn't physically attend).

Pretty far cry from when Beatles fans who hated her (and EVERYONE seemingly hated her, but John loved the fucking hell out of her) called her the "ugly Hawaiian" who was stealing a married man and breaking up a (far cry from) happy family.

(Kate would tell me I look in my track suit (that she gave to me) the same way Yoko looks in her track suit, and I'd take that as a VERY high compliment. It's not a suburban mom-ish track suit. It's a bitchin', work-it-girl, very New York type of track suit. Oh! It's the track suit in my profile pic!)

A lot of people simply equate her with an ear-piercing lack of vocal talent, when nothing could be further from the truth. She's capable of delicate soprano harmony, she plays multiple musical instruments, her music has been re-mixed by some of the world's most prominent club musicians and her albums have topped the Billboard dance charts for the last few years. She draws, she paints, she does fantastic artistic installation pieces and has been a fighter for world peace and awareness her entire adult life.

She continues to fight and this photo of her in the boxing gloves was just such a fantastically powerful image for me, I had to share it. She's always been my inspiration, she follows me on Twitter (uh, she follows a lot of people), and I love the woman to pieces.

When John was acting like a dope while they were married in the mid 70's, she shipped him off to Los Angeles with their young, pretty assistant to keep him company and told him he couldn't come home until he was ready to be a fucking grown up MAN. She said something to the effect that it was becoming obvious that the whole world didn't want them working together anymore, and his immaturity was simply too much for her to handle. She said, "I just wanted to think straight, 'cause I couldn't think straight anymore."

Two strong personalities like John and Yoko in a marriage would bound to be tension-filled at times, I would imagine. Especially two serious artists. Over the years, they would dabble in heroin use together, try primal scream therapy, clean up, write and perform albums together (her participation was far more interactive and upfront than, say, McCartney's inclusion of his wife Linda on basic keyboards and backing vocals when he toured with Wings). As I said, they separated for a year and a half.

While they were separated, they would communicate via phone a lot, each telling the other about dismal dates they'd endured, projects they were working on, and, essentially, John would beg to come home. "No, you're not ready yet," Yoko would tell him. Yoko lives and works on instinct, and her instincts and abilities as an empath are nothing short of amazing.

Seeing one another backstage at an Elton John concert, they locked eyes, talked a little, and got back together. Soon thereafter, their reunited front would produce their son, Sean, after Yoko, during their relationship suffered multiple miscarriages and all the doctors at the time told her she was too old to carry or have a baby, at 43. She proved the doctors wrong. Once again, the Lennons proved the world wrong.

Her intuition was very strong before John was murdered. After the release and subsequent success of their final album together, "Double Fantasy," in 1980, work was stressful, the press was stressful, managing being parents of young child and running a number of business ventures were stressful, and Yoko suggested to John that he and Sean go back to Bermuda to chill out for a while; that she'd take care of things in New York. (John had gone to Bermuda with Sean to ultimately write all the songs that appeared on "Double Fantasy" that he brought home from his vacation.) But this last time, John refused. He refused to leave Yoko's side. Maybe Lennon's murder was ultimately inevitable, but Yoko surely must've just been like, "If you'd just done what I suggested and left town...." or something. But the universe had different plans for John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Yoko continued to fight, however. She fought to maintain the Lennon legacy and estate in the manner that not only her husband would've wanted but also to always respect the fans and not just to put product out for profit--she has been hugely generous to many philanthropic organizations, while the fans were able to enjoy new and unreleased tracks and songs and actually get to SEE John's likewise amazingly whimsical artwork in public for the first time ever.

(Hell, somewhere I still have my John-drawn naked John and Yoko embracing stationery that I would only use for VERY special correspondence that I got at a Lennon art exhibit I saw in 1990 in Chicago. Perhaps some saw it as overkill of the Lennon legacy, but she licensed Lennon's children's artwork for a baby/nursery line RIGHT when Luke was born so his whole nursery was done in John Lennon animal drawing renditions. Luke loved his John Lennon rattling bunny so much that Craig and I bought an extra one to swap out JUST IN CASE Luke ever lost his, which he never did, and now is a raggedy, worn, barely surviving anorexic bunny whose face is falling off. Bunny #2 is still relatively white-ish looking and far fluffier.)

Anyway, I sort of got sidetracked there, but I must say that Yoko Ono has imbued in me, personally, confidence, mindfulness, has shown me vision, hope, that a woman CAN do anything she wants, have anything and anyone she wants if she is SMART, and because of her, I want to be a better artist and a better fighting badass. I hope to be, at age 79, as rockin' and riotous at Ms. Ono.

Bless you, Yoko.

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