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Tiki Central Forums » » Bilge » » Happy Birthday Yoko Ono!
Happy Birthday Yoko Ono!
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 15, 2003
Posts: 3006
From: San Diego, Ca.
Posted: 2005-02-18 12:41 pm   Permalink

Yoko Ono's 74 today! To celebrate she's performing live with Sean Lennon at Tonic in NYC.

From wikipedia.org:

Yoko Ono Lennon (b. February 18, 1933) is a Tokyo-born American musician and artist. In Japanese, her name is written СҰ Ñó×Ó (Ono Y¨­ko), meaning "Ocean Child".

Born into a privileged background, she attended the exclusive Gakushuin academy in Tokyo from primary school all the way through to the college division. After 2 months at the university, she moved with her family to Scarsdale, New York and enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College.

In 1956, she married composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. They divorced in 1962. She married American Christian fundamentalist filmmaker Tony Cox on November 28, 1962. The marriage was annulled on March 1, 1963; they re-married that June 6, and divorced on February 2, 1969. Their daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox, was born on August 8, 1963.

An early member of the Fluxus art movement, Ono is best known for marrying The Beatles' John Lennon. They met when John visited a preview of an exhibition of Yoko's. He was taken with the attitude of the exhibits, such as a telescope looking at the word 'Yes' on a ceiling, a block of wood with protruding nails to be hammered in, and a decomposing apple. They married on March 20, 1969 on the Rock of Gibraltar. Their son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, was born on John's 35th birthday.

Ono is often accused by Beatles fans of breaking up the band; however, in a 2003 interview by Jay Leno, she revealed the disappointment she felt by the breakup and how it impacted upon a life that she was used to. There are Lennon fans who, in addition, blame Ono for the experimental phase (considered bizarre and somewhat unpopular) that Lennon explored in his work immediately following the Beatles' breakup. On the other hand, many fans consider¡ªas Lennon consistently attested¡ªthat Ono had a profound and beneficial influence on his body of work.

In 1987 she was one of the speakers at artist Andy Warhol's funeral.

Ono performed with Lennon on several of his albums, beginning with the 1968 Two Virgins and including those recorded under the name of the Plastic Ono Band. Ono also achieved moderate success as a musician in her own right. Many of her earlier songs retain the surreal quality of her art and films; however, her later songs are more conventional. In the Spring of 1980, Lennon heard new wave artists such as Lene Lovich and the B52's and felt they sounded like Ono's music. This led to their collaboration on the 1980 album Double Fantasy. Quite a few of her songs have been covered by other prominent musicians, including Elvis Costello's, among others, one of "Walking on Thin Ice."

Recently she began expanding her music to dance tracks. In 2002 she released a double-single called Will I? / Fly, each with some remixes. In 2003 she had more success with new versions of "Walking on Thin Ice", remixed by top DJs and dance artists including Pet Shop Boys, Orange Factory and Peter Rauhofer. There were so many mixes, and their popularity was high enough, that she made plans to remix more of her material. She made much of her music available through Apple's iTunes Music Store and was glad of the results. An album compilation of all the WOTI mixes was also planned.

Many of the friends she had worked with on her Thin Ice single, as well as in the art world in general, were gay. Continuing her DJing, in 2004 she remade her "Every Man Loves a Woman" song in support of same-sex marriages, releasing a single with remixes that included "Every Man Loves a Man" and "Every Woman Loves a Woman" versions (as well as straight versions, too).

Ono has allegedly had a turbulent relationship with Paul McCartney for some time in a dispute centred around the writing credits for many Beatles songs, traditionally credited to Lennon-McCartney. McCartney had wanted to change the order to "Paul McCartney and John Lennon" for some songs that were solely or predominantly McCartney's, but she would not allow it. She had also wanted to remove the McCartney credit for "Give Peace a Chance".

Her photograph of Lennon's spectacles, bloodstained from when he was fatally shot outside their Manhattan apartment building on December 8, 1980, sold at auction in London in April, 2002 for about $13,000.

She currently resides in New York City.

Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins (1968)
Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions (1969)
Wedding Album (1969)
Live Peace In Toronto (1969)
Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Fly (1971)
Sometime In New York City (1972)
Approximately Infinite Universe (1973)
Feeling The Space (1973)
Welcome: The Many Sides Of Yoko Ono (1973)
A Story (1974/97)
Double Fantasy (1980)
Season Of Glass (1981)
It's Alright (I See Rainbows) (1982)
Milk And Honey (1984)
Every Man Has A Woman (1984)
Starpeace (1985)
Onobox (1992)
Walking On Thin Ice (1992)
Rising (1995)
New York Rock (1995)
Rising Mixes (1996)
Blueprint For A Sunrise (2001)
"Will I"/"Fly" (maxi-single) (2002)
"Walking on Thin Ice" (maxi-single) (2003)
"Every Man Has A Man Who Loves Him" and "Every Woman Has A Woman Who Loves Her" (singles promoting gay marriage) (2004)
External links
Instant Karma (http://www.instantkarma.com/), magazine dedicated to John and Yoko. Since 1981.
Yoko Ono fluxus debris! (http://www.artnotart.com/fluxus/yono--.html) @ art / not art
::: ONOWEB (http://www.jeclique.com/onoweb): an international network of info and original projects about Yoko from our contributors
Yoko Ono Box (http://www.a-i-u.net/) An extensive unofficial Yoko Ono Site
~ ONOVOX (http://www.domeus.co.uk/forum/onovox): spam-free discussion listserv with commented daily Yoko news.
Yoko Ono (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0648780/) at the Internet Movie Database
"Yoko Ono Makes Old Song Gay Friendly" (http://launch.yahoo.com/read/story/12027174), Associated Press article, July 8, 2004.
Yoko Ono's Snow (http://www.newmusicbox.org/page.nmbx?id=48vw06) review by Tom Johnson Originally published on February 7, 1977
1995 Interview with Yoko Ono (http://home.nyc.rr.com/alweisel/usyokoono.htm)
UbuWeb: Yoko Ono (http://www.ubu.com/sound/ono.html) featuring fluxus pieces and later songs

From All Music Guide:

Few women in the history of rock & roll have stirred as much controversy as Yoko Ono. Although her romance with John Lennon was hardly the only factor straining the relationships between the individual Beatles, she made a convenient scapegoat for the group's breakup, and was repeatedly raked over the coals in the media for the influence she held over Lennon, both in his life and his music. Ono's own work as an artist and musician didn't mitigate the public's enmity toward her; to the average man on the street, her avant-garde conceptual art seemed bizarre and ridiculous, and her highly experimental rock & roll (which often spotlighted her primal, caterwauling vocals) was simply too abrasive to tolerate. That view wasn't necessarily universal (or true), and in fact the merits of her work are still hotly debated. Regardless of individual opinion, Ono has left a lasting legacy; she was an undeniably seminal figure in the history of performance art, and elements of her music prefigured the arty sides of punk and new wave (whether she was a direct influence is still debated, although the B-52's did admit to drawing from her early records). Moreover, between Lennon's assassination and the myriad drubbings she's taken in the press and the court of public opinion, an alternate portrait of Ono as a strong, uncompromising survivor has emerged in more recent years.

Although her link with John Lennon will always be foremost in the public's mind, Ono's own life story is fascinating in its own right. She was born February 18, 1933, into a wealthy Japanese family in Tokyo. Her childhood was somewhat lonely and isolated; her father, a banker and onetime classical pianist, was transferred to San Francisco a few weeks before she was born, and her socialite mother was often busy throwing elaborate parties. She didn't meet her father until age two, when the whole family moved to San Francisco. However, they returned to Tokyo three years later to avoid the anti-Japanese backlash that was beginning in the United States in response to Japan's growing military expansionism. Ono was educated at the Gakushuin School, the most exclusive private school in Japan (the Emperor's sons were her classmates). She began classical piano lessons at a very young age, and later received vocal training in opera. In 1945, her mother took the family to the countryside to escape Tokyo, in time to survive the massive Allied bombing of the city; however, rich city dwellers were unwelcome, and the Ono children were often forced to beg for food.

After the war, Ono's father transferred to New York, and she moved to the U.S. in 1952, where she studied music at Sarah Lawrence College. During this time, Ono became enamored of classical avant-gardists like Schoenberg, Webern, and especially Cage. She also began dating Juilliard student Toshi Ichiyanagi, who shared her interests and became her husband (over her family's objections) in 1956. The couple moved to Manhattan, and Ono made ends meet by teaching Japanese art and music in the public school system, among other sporadic jobs (she'd rejected her parents' wealth and the attendant lifestyle). The couple's Chambers Street loft soon became a hot spot in the nascent downtown New York art scene; Ono frequently staged "happenings" (sometimes in partnership with minimalist composer LaMonte Young) that featured music, poetry, and other performance, and John Cage used the loft space to teach classes in experimental composition. During this period, Ono's art was largely conceptual, sometimes existing only in theory or imagination; she created a series of instructional pieces suggesting nonsensical activities, which were later published in book form as Grapefruit in 1964. Her first solo show was at George Maciunas' gallery in mid-1961, but the same year, Ichiyanagi and Ono separated, with the former returning to Japan. That November, Ono performed at the Carnegie Recital Hall (not the main hall), an event that featured a miked-up toilet flushing at various points throughout the show. It received negative reviews, however. With her parents' encouragement, Ono returned to Japan in March 1962, seeking a resolution to her marriage.

Once in Japan, Ono became lonely and depressed; not only was her marriage effectively over, but she received more negative reviews for her performances in conjunction with John Cage. After an overdose of pills, she was committed to a mental institution and kept under extremely heavy sedation. Fortunately, she was rescued by Anthony Cox, a jazz musician, film producer, and friend of LaMonte Young's who had traveled to Japan hoping to study calligraphy with her. Cox threatened to publicize the callous treatment Ono had received at the institution (her sedative dosage was abnormally high), and secured her release; the two became romantically involved, and when Ono became pregnant, she made her divorce from Ichiyanagi official and married Cox. Their daughter Kyoko was born in 1963, but Cox's sometime volatility put a strain on the relationship, and they separated in 1964. Cox returned to New York, and Ono followed a few months later, after which the couple reconciled.

Once back in New York, Ono resumed her art career to considerable attention from the avant-garde community; by this time, George Maciunas had become the leader of an art movement dubbed Fluxus, whose philosophies were compatible with (and even influenced by) Ono's, prizing abstraction and audience interaction. Ono performed at the Carnegie Recital Hall for a second time in early 1965, and debuted her seminal "Cut Piece," in which audience members were invited to cut off pieces of her clothing with scissors. In September 1966, she traveled to England for an art symposium, and "Cut Piece" helped make her a sensation in the London art world. In November, she got her own exhibition at the famed Indica Gallery, which was ardently patronized by John Lennon. Lennon was impressed by her work, particularly a piece where the viewer was required to climb a ladder and hold up a magnifying glass to read a small inscription on the ceiling that said "Yes!" The two read each other's writings, and Lennon financed an exhibition in which Ono painted various everyday objects white and cut them in half. In the meantime, Ono and Cox had begun making experimental films, usually centered on the repetition of simple movements; their fourth effort, Bottoms, consisted of 365 close-ups of nude buttocks (the idea was to fill the screen with motion when the subjects walked). British film censors were scandalized, and Ono became an even more notorious public figure with "Wrapping Event," in which she wrapped the lion statues beneath Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square with white cloth and tied herself to one. She also sang in concert with pioneering free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman at the Royal Albert Hall. The avant-garde was becoming increasingly suspicious of her visibility, which only intensified when Ono and Lennon began having an affair that spring.

Fans of Lennon the pop musician couldn't understand what he saw in Ono, but it's important to know that Lennon was an art student prior to falling in love with rock & roll, and had long harbored an interest in avant-garde art. The difficulty with understanding Ono's art was that its impact came largely from her ideas; from putting new contextual frames around everyday objects, or asking her audience to complete an experience with their own imaginations. For example, most of Ono's pieces were white, so that the audience could imagine their own colors (or, in the case of her all-white chess set "Play It By Trust," to create ambiguity); even her so-called "Blue Room" was all-white (viewers were supposed to stay in the room until it turned blue). Her first musical composition, 1955's "Secret Piece," existed only in her mind (she was unable to transcribe the notes of a bird song effectively), and, in 1968, she announced a 13-day dance festival that would take place entirely in the imaginations of anyone who participated. In 1971, she took things a step further by presenting an imaginary art exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and filmed the spectators as the real works of art. As an artist, Ono dealt in concepts, not craft (i.e., practiced, developed technique and training in a specific medium). Her work wasn't what most people recognized as art, which was why many Beatles fans dismissed her as a talentless charlatan. Lennon, on the other hand, saw someone who could help him find a new direction.

Lennon and Ono's first musical collaboration was on the highly experimental Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins, which was recorded around the beginning of their affair and released toward the end of 1968. None of Lennon's fans knew what to make of any aspect of the album; not the odd snippets of noise, faint dialogue, and sounds from the immediate environment, and not the fully nude photographs of the couple on the record jacket, taken from the front and rear. They were further dismayed with Lennon's participation in Ono's bizarre public events, such as appearing together in black plastic bags as a statement about judging by appearances. (Ono herself long suspected that fans' hostility was due to their discomfort seeing Lennon with a woman who was not only strong-willed, but of a different race.) After Ono's divorce from Cox, the couple married in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969, and took advantage of the publicity surrounding their honeymoon to hold "Bed-Ins for Peace" in Amsterdam and Montreal (the latter of which produced the single "Give Peace a Chance"). Cox was later able to gain custody of Kyoko, pointing to Lennon and Ono's drug intake, and disappeared with the child, whom Ono would not see again for 25 years.

The second Lennon/Ono album, Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life With the Lions, was released not long after their wedding; it spotlighted Ono's cathartic, wailing vocal improvisations, as well as addressing her first of several miscarriages. It was quickly followed by The Wedding Album, one side of which featured more Ono improv, the other of which consisted of nothing but the couple calling each other's names. Over the next few years, Lennon and Ono continued their peace activism, and entered primal-scream therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, which began to inform both of their individual careers. In 1970, they each recorded an album backed by the Plastic Ono Band; predictably, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band was the less structured, more avant-garde of the two. Ono followed it in 1971 with the double-LP Fly, which featured more conventionally structured songs as well as her typical experimentalism. 1972 brought the Lennon/Ono protest-song album Sometime in New York City, which was roasted for the simplicity of its sentiments. Ono returned in 1973 with two of her strongest solo statements, the brutally intense, explicitly feminist Feeling the Space and the more varied Approximately Infinite Universe, both of which featured less musical involvement from Lennon. Perhaps that was symptomatic of the problems the couple had been having; they split up for a year and a half toward the end of 1973, exhausted from their constant time together and their battles with U.S. immigration over Lennon's threatened deportation. Ono recorded a more accessible album, A Story, in 1974, but it was shelved and remained unavailable until 1997.

The couple got back together in early 1975, and Ono was finally able to bear a child, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, who was born on John's birthday, October 9. Lennon dropped out of show business for several years to raise his son and effectively become a house-husband, while Ono took charge of his business affairs. Although she contributed some of her most accessible songs to his 1980 comeback album Double Fantasy, she did not return to solo recording until after Lennon's assassination on December 8, 1980. The harrowing, grief-stricken Season of Glass was released the following year to highly complimentary reviews. Ono followed it in 1982 with the more hopeful, pop-oriented It's Alright (I See Rainbows), and had a minor success with the single "Never Say Goodbye." 1985's Starpeace continued that optimistic trend, and teamed Ono with producer Bill Laswell and other downtown New York scenesters, but failed to connect as her previous two efforts had.

Ono gradually returned to visual art, creating installations and also exploring photography. Interest in her previous work led to several retrospectives over the course of the '90s, and in 1992, Rykodisc reissued her complete back catalog on CD, as well as the six-CD box set retrospective Onobox. In 1995, she recorded a new album for Capitol called Rising, which featured son Sean and recalled the harsh experimentalism of her early recordings. The same year, her musical play New York Rock debuted off Broadway. 2001 brought another new album, Blueprint for a Sunrise, which updated the feminist tone of Feeling the Space while being somewhat more accessible.

Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., Th.D., D.F.S

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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5859
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2005-02-18 12:49 pm   Permalink

Happy Birthday Bitch!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1345
Posted: 2005-02-18 12:49 pm   Permalink

And the most shocking thing in all this is: Something useful came out of a Jay Leno interview???

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Johnny Dollar
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Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3070
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2005-02-18 1:02 pm   Permalink

i'm yoko for coco puffs!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3293
From: Victoria, BC
Posted: 2005-02-18 1:16 pm   Permalink


"Ono and Cox had begun making experimental films... their fourth effort, Bottoms, consisted of 365 close-ups of nude buttocks (the idea was to fill the screen with motion when the subjects walked)"

Now there's a visual!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 744
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2005-02-18 4:27 pm   Permalink

I heard her party was in full swing before she arrived. Once she got there it broke up.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 29, 2002
Posts: 1794
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2005-02-18 5:03 pm   Permalink

One of my favorite Yoko Ono moments occured when John & Yoko were co-hosting the Mike Douglas Show for a week in 1969. In one episode Chuck Berry came on as a guest and John & Chuck got up and played a song together. About a minute into the tune (Johnny B. Good I think) you could hear this screeching noise and Chuck whirled around and looked at his amp thinking he was having a feedback problem or something, then he looked over in astonishment to see Yoko off to the side of the stage warbling her shrill white noise into a microphone as John seemed oblivious to the whole thing (probably happened all the time so not to worry).

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2005-02-18 6:39 pm   Permalink

John and Yoko's appearance on the Mike Douglas Show was in 1972 (but what's 3 years between fellow TC'ers? )

Abbie Hoffman's fellow Yippie-in-arms, Jerry Rubin of the infamous Chicago 7 was also a guest that week, and I believe he was on the same show when John & Yoko performed with Chuck Berry. In fact, I think Jerry guested in the band during that performance. You don't see that kinda counter-culture stuff anymore now do ya??!!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2004
Posts: 530
From: Enchanted Bay Area, CA
Posted: 2005-02-18 8:04 pm   Permalink

At Yoko's last show at SFMOMA, she had a 'wishing tree' that consisted of a very large ficus tree, and next to it was a tray of string tags and golf pencils. The idea was that participants fill out their wish on the paper tags, then attach them to the tree. By the time I visited, the blank string tag supply had long since been depleted for the day (or hour?) and people had used scraps of paper and gum wrappers, whatever they had on them that they could write on & fold over a branch of the tree. A few of the wishes were very sweet, written by children, with heartbreakers like, "I wish mommy and daddy wouldn't fight so much," and "I wish I had a dog." The last two I read were written by adults, and they were, "I wish I had a hamburger," and "I wish Yoko's art was better."

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Geeky Tiki
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Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 533
From: Las vegas
Posted: 2005-02-21 4:10 pm   Permalink

I kinda like Yoko, I'm glad she's kept her mind at work - even if I don't dig a particular thing she does, I'm glad she's out there being challenging.

I always had this notion of John that he needed a dominant partner to kinda take things over, on an emotional level. So, Yoko seems a good fit - she almost kinda mentored him.

Just like I have friends who seem to exist only in the context of their current relationship, maybe John had Paul as his dominant figure in his life, and when Yoko replaced Paul that caused friction in a larger context than Yoko just being Paul's buddy's wife. Paul and Yoko relationship seemed more like rivals for custody of John than anything else.

I wonder if Yoko and Linda somehow replaced the niche that been occupied by the other man? Coming of age at age 30 isn't so nuts if you consider Beatlemania hitting a guy at age 18 may delay his development at some level.

Psychobabble, sorry.

Happy Birthday, Yoko.

[ This Message was edited by: Geeky Tiki on 2005-02-21 16:13 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2004
Posts: 332
From: Huntington Beach Ca.
Posted: 2005-02-22 10:48 am   Permalink

I'm fairly convinced that Mark Chapman was gunnin' for Yoko, but was just a really poor shot.

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