BEVERLY HILLS, CA–So Yoko Ono’s in the house. Here to promote Lennon NYC, an American Masters special coming to PBS November 22. Critics were shown a clip and it looks pretty cool, all about Lennon’s last decade, his fight to stay in New York, a city Yoko said was “the city he loved so much but it killed him.”
The 77-year-old was dressed all in black with dark round Lennon specs and sporting a black hat. Full of energy at first, she seemed to crash toward the end of the session, which was easily the most well attended of the two day PBS portion of press tour.
One reporter seemed to strike a nerve when he asked why she chose to continue to live in the Dakota after Lennon was gunned down on the front steps of the Manhattan condo 30 years ago this fall. Ono found the remark “slightly racist” and “maybe sexist, too.” She simply wanted to stay in the place she shared with her spouse. “You cherish the memory of that person,” she said. People who say, “How day she’s living there” are sexist, she tried to elaborate, because “all guys wouldn’t care. They would just live in the house, you know.”
Yoko later tried to pass her outburst off as a joke, but an artistic temperament has always been part of her kooky charm.
Yoko went on to say that it was great that Beatles music is “still around in such a heavy way” but that their music really wasn’t all that hip, even at the time. “I think that probably Rolling Stones was hipper,” she said. What the? Who the? Why I outta…
I finally grabbed the mike toward the end of the session. The woman was right there. Might as well try and find out if a famous Lennon in New York story was fact or myth. Not sure if the question was answered (American Masters producer Susan Lacy gets into the act) but Ono did show she still has a sense of humour:
QUESTION: Yoko, we’re all TV critics in this room. I wonder what your memories are of a famous story about Paul McCartney visiting you and John in New York, and you’re watching “Saturday Night Live,” and there was a story that —
YOKO ONO: Oh, yeah, yeah. Paul came —
QUESTION: — you actually went to — what actually happened? Did they get in a cab? Did they almost do it?
YOKO ONO: That’s exactly what happened.
SUSAN LACY: Why don’t you tell everybody the story.
YOKO ONO: Oh, if I remember it correctly. So Paul and Linda visited us, and we were all watching the TV, and we said, “Oh, you know, one day we’ll go there,” or something like that. It was just a little sort of mention, you know.
SUSAN LACY: And then didn’t somebody on the show said —
QUESTION: Lorne Michaels offered a check for 3,000 if the Beatles would reunite and come down.
SUSAN LACY: Lorne Michaels said, “I’ll give $3,000 of a check if Paul and John come and record — come to the show right now.”
YOKO ONO: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SUSAN LACY: I think the question was did they get in a cab and go there.
YOKO ONO: No, no.
SUSAN LACY: They were going to, though.
YOKO ONO: It’s not because they were not interested in $3,000.