Arts Education Visual ArtsApril 13, 2011


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.

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Cat Cosentino
Cat Cosentino

Singer/Songwriter Blogger Cat is as singer/songwriter based out of Asbury Park and Red Bank New Jersey. Her performance can best be described as a blend of folk rock and indie vibes communicated through a voice both soulful and sweet. Cat is a spontaneous writer; her favorite waves of inspiration come when she is particularly moved by the sound and story of other musicians. She writes so that when you listen, you will be moved to write as well. Cat is an improv comedian, an actress, a choreographer, a filmmaker and writer, a musical theatre artist, and a poet. Cat is a proud member of Tim McCloone’s volunteer band The Holiday Express. She is also the host of CoCo Cookbook (cococookbook.com), teaching college students to cook simple, creative, delicious meals with a sense of humor and verve. Visit: catcosentino.com

  • http://www.liveyourlifecoach.com Donna Coulson

    Cat: Thanks not only for the fun interview but also for your interest in things Lennon. I feel the Torch has been passed by a Baby Boomer to the Millennial Generation to enjoy the music that lasts through generations–the light-heartedness (Obla Dee, Obla Da; Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), romance (Michelle, Lovely Linda), getting through tough times (Hey Jude) and celebrations (Birthday). Always have music in your Soul, you’re less likely to burn out or get discouraged by tough times or irritable people. Smile :)
    Donna C

  • Joan Athey

    Thanks for the bright and breezy commentary on Give Peace A Chance. Lennon would be very happy that his celebrity status continues to attract interest as a gateway to messages of peace and non violence which were major concerns for him as it is for Yoko today. The beautiful photos are powerful. The history is intriguing. When you take a look at the hundreds of wishes people have hung on the wish tree, you get an idea of the heart of a community. Especially the hopes of the younger people who are so keenly aware of today’s problems with no place to express it. Let’s get more people dropping by the Museum before the exhibition closes in May.