Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

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Despite being completely hosed with final projects and exams, I took a break for an hour today as it was the last day of the John Lennon art exhibit in downtown Ann Arbor. (For those who weren’t aware, Thursday was the 25th anniversary of his death.) Only two of the art pieces were actually originals (and not for sale) — two drawings that were eventually included in In His Own Write. The rest of them… well, I’ll just copy the back of the program:

John’s primary medium was line drawing, either pen, pencil, or Japanese sumi ink. The limited edition artwork in this exhibition consists of lithographs, serigraphs and copper etchings hand reporduced from the original drawings. Each edition is limited and hand signed by Yoko Ono, and comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Lennon Estate guaranteeing that no more will be released. Also included are very rare Bag One lithographs, signed and numbered by John Lennon.

When I saw that there were prints for sale, I thought that perhaps I had found my father’s Christmas present… until I saw the prices that is. The cheapest print was an unframed copy of Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to “Stepping Out” for $200. The most expensive was an unframed lithograph, signed by John, entitled “Bed in For Peace” for $20,000. (Lyrics to “Imagine” were $2500 unframed and $2900 framed.) In comparison, I have a book entitled Lennon Legend: An Illustrated Life of John Lennon that ran for $40 which includes reproductions of handwritten lyrics to “In My Life,” “Day Tripper” (for sale at the exhibit for $1600), “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Instant Karma” ($800 at the show), “Imagine,” “Beautiful Boy” ($1000 at the show), “Starting Over” ($1000) and reproductions of a number of his drawings. They’re not framed, and they’re not signed by Yoko, but I still think I got a much better deal.
Even though I couldn’t afford to buy any of them, it was still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Beatles music was piping through speakers — and it was the first time I really got to hear it in stereo, with the speakers on opposite sides of the gallery. I had never realized that “Honey Pie” has this awesome call and response segment in which the vocal tracks alternate from one channel to the other until I heard it today. “She was a working girl, North of England way,” came from my left, “Now she’s hit the big time,” came from my right, and “In the USA,” came from my left again. It was a very cool way to experience Lennon’s art and music.

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