John Lennon and Yoko Ono duet during their 1969 Bed-In for Peace, the subject of a new installation opening this weekend at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft. (Photo ©Joan Athey/ Peaceworks Now Productions)
Need a reason to get out of your pajamas and leave the house this weekend? The Monmouth Museum is offering two chances to do just that and you can even keep the PJs on.
Opening on Sunday afternoon (and previewing with a fun fundraiser on Saturday evening), the exhibit known as Give Peace a Chance recreates those eight days in the late spring of 1969 when the recently married John Lennon and Yoko Ono held court inside Suite 1742 of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Their playfully public Bed-In for Peace resulted in massive media coverage, friendly (and not so) visits by fellow public figures and a subversively silly, enduringly catchy Top 20 anthem.
With the singalong lyrics to “Give Peace a Chance” taped to the walls, John and Yoko lead a chorus of Hare Krishna followers, fans and celebrity friends (including Tommy Smothers and Tim Leary) in an image captured by Gerry Deiter. (Photo ©Joan Athey/ Peaceworks Now Productions)
The Bed-In actually the second such piece of PJ’d peace-performance art by the popculture power couple, following a well-documented Amsterdam honeymoon in March 1969 (a week that gave the world “The Ballad of John and Yoko“) was famously attended by groovy guru Timothy Leary, nehru-jacketed TV star Tommy Smothers, 60s pop songthrush Petula Clark and a steady stream of politicians, writers, clergy, and media characters that the leaders of “The Plastic Ono Band” played like Shankar at the sitar.
Also crammed into the elegant Quebec suite (a hastily arranged substitute for a Bahamas resort that proved too seasonally sticky for a week in the sheets) was Gerry Deiter, a Brooklyn-born fashion lensman (turned photojournalist and activist) who wrote eloquently on “the birth of this global anthem” and who passed away in 2005 after an exhausting round of public appearances in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Lennon’s death.
Some 40 large-format prints of images by Deiter the only photographer to have documented the Bed-In for its duration form the centerpiece of Give Peace a Chance, an illuminating and interactive installation curated by the photographer’s friend and representative Joan Athey. Athey will be present at the Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) to offer commentary on the photographs and a historical recap of the event during a special Preview Party, going on from 6 to 9p on Saturday, March 5.
In addition to an opportunity to view the touring exhibition prior to its local opening, guests at Saturday night’s party will be able to “take a souvenir photo in the re-created Queen Elizabeth bedroom,” as well as to “enjoy Beatles music and gourmet foods.” Tickets for the preview are $50 per person, and can be reserved by phone at (732) 747-2266, ext 5, or via email.
The following afternoon, March 6, the Museum hosts a public-welcome opening reception between the hours of 4 and 6p. In addition to taking in stories from Bed-In participants and other audio/video presentations, attendees will be able to “explore a re-creation of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel bedroom and play guitar as John, Paul, or George on stage in The Beatles: Rock Band Studio.” Admission to Sunday’s event is $7 (free to students and staff of BCC and the Monmouth Museum with valid ID) and Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace continues during regular museum hours in the main gallery through May 8.