After adding “Working Class Hero” to my repertoire last week, I was pleased to have my editor assign me to a Lennon gig. So I donned my best flower-child frock, strapped a guitar to my back, and took my shoes off before stepping into Monmouth Museum’s Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-in for Peace Exhibition. Actually, there was a “no shoes, no service” policy, so I had to attend in my regular rocker street clothing.
Just as well, I needed the arch support.
I asked the receptionist what the response has been like since Give Peace a Chance opened on March 6th. She told me the exhibition is very popular, mostly among adults who grew up during the rise of the Beatles, but the millennial, such as I, enjoy it just the same. Speaking of a high-concentration of millennials, the Monmouth Museum is located on the Brookdale Community College’s campus in Lincroft, New Jersey.
The main gallery is 2,300 square feet of Lennon during his cozy peace mission. The walls are adorned with photos and illustrations of Lennon and Yoko in their bed in Room 1742 in the year 1969, at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada.
In talking about the Beatles, museum patron Donna Coulson, tells me: “I knew that I loved them right from the beginning… I have all those,” motioning to the display case of old Beatles records. As a woman who had the pleasure of sitting next to Sid Bernstein at the Triad in NYC last year and is a part of a Beatles meet-up group that celebrates John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s birthdays and death days, Donna is quite versed on all Beatle buzz. “We have a Beatles Trivial Pursuit. My friend and I play and neither of us has gone down on any of the questions.”
“I am a 60’s flower-child dying to get out of my blue suit.” After absorbing some history, I asked Donna her thoughts on the Bed-in. “I thought it was stupid, but it was very Lennon.” I could not have asked for a better response, even from a die-hard fan.
“People thought it was about sex, it wasn’t. That got press attention. For me, it was his music and philosophy. I think if he was still alive today, he would still be doing things like the Bed-in; even if he was poor, he would still live by the same philosophy.”
Fellow millennial and Lennon fan, Zach Jones, shared with me some insight. “Considering that I was born 7 years after John’s death, he’s had a pretty huge impact on my life. The thing that inspires me more than anything about John is his unrelenting honesty. He was always totally candid about the way he saw the world, too, and how he felt we could change it. Any celebrity who chooses to use their influence to improve the world instead of their own ego and image is to be admired, and John remains the most brilliant example of such compassion 30 years after his death.”
So don’t take my word for it, take Lennon’s. Give Peace a Chance is an interesting piece of pop history that should not go unexplored and can be appreciated across all generations. The exhibit runs until May 8th. You can enjoy a wining and hippie-fying evening on April 15th during “Hippie Hour.” Visit www.monmouthmuseum.org for hours, “Hippie Hour” reservation information, and general admission pricing.