Thursday, May 15, 2003

Knip's eye view

Yoko believes Lennon's work helps people 'Come Together'


Yoko Ono really, really wants to be in Cincinnati this weekend. "But physically, I can't do it. I'll be with you in spirit."

OK, Yoko, we give up. Why do you want to be here?

It's because of Come Together, a three-day show of hundreds of pieces of John Lennon's art - some for viewing, some for sale - starting in his days with the Beatles and going up to his death in 1980. The show is sponsored by Downtown Cincinnati Inc., with proceeds benefiting Adopt-A-Classroom.

Adopt is one of many of Ono's pet causes. AIDS is another. She recently gave $1 million to New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis to fight the war. In addition, she supports a whole galaxy of art, education and music programs.

Yoko Ono
"When I can help, I do," she says. Most of the time nowadays, it's with money rather than personal appearances, because at age 70 she's slowing down. But not quitting.

And yeah, she still lives in New York's Dakota, site of John's murder, because, "It's home to me. It always will be. My home, our home."

Better yet - and this is what keeps her on the international stage - "I'm still a risk taker. I always have been. I always will be."

Fine. Let's hit her with 10 questions.

[IMAGE] Self-portrait by John Lennon
What: Come Together, a show of John Lennon's art work.
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 525 Vine St., across from Fountain Square.
Cost: Free, but they request a $2 donation.
One message I'd like people to take from John's art:

Well, it would be some kind of inspiration and encouragement for you to do your own thing. Exposure to John can do that for people.

If John were working today, he would be:

Doing exactly what he was always doing. Extremely experimental work. Probably something with the Internet and Web sites. And I'm sure he'd be making rap music.

One thing that makes you really happy:

Knowing that I am promoting and showing John's work in a way he would like.

One project I always wanted to try but never have:

There is none. When I come across something I want to try, I do it. I just try to do it well.

The most important thing art does for people:

It encourages and inspires.

If I had unlimited time:

I wish so much I did have unlimited time and years remaining in life. But it's not to be, so I will keep on doing what I'm doing now. I work with many causes because there are so many areas where people need help. And because the world is getting smaller every day, it becomes more important to help each other.

The thing I hear most often about John's art:

That people are surprised that it's so totally professional, not just some pop star dabblings. They're surprised by the energy and the vitality they find it in, too.

One thing people misunderstand about me:

Oh, that's a million things. But you know, I decided a long time ago that the best thing I could ever do was to concentrate on being me. People say things about me, but I think most people are starting to understand me better.

One thing I'll never forget:

Of course it's John's passing. It happened so suddenly and was just such an incredible thing. I thought we would grow old and be together forever. In a way, we are still together and always will be.

One last thing I'd like to say:

This is crazy, but it's that I didn't go to Cuba. It was reported, but I didn't go. I don't know how that started, and how even my close friends believed I went, but I didn't go. You have my word on that.


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