SECTION TWO           


(Copyright - 2000 Al Aronowitz)

                                                                   JOHN AND YOKO

There was Harvey the stickball player and I think some woman named Harriet and a man with a mustache everybody called The Count.  Obviously Richard Milhous Nixon has better connections than Allen Klein.  They both threw garden parties this weekend, but it rained harder at Allen's.

There were also five mediums, not the kind you'd find in Lew Mangran's shirt shop.  Allen had summoned them to give a psychic demonstration as entertainment for the guests. As for Harold Seider, Allen's partner and legal beagle, he went around saying that five mediums might better be called "media." As for John Lennon, he kept telling everybody that he had invited his dead relatives.                               

"Personally,? John said, "I'd like to see Eddie Cochran come.  Maybe he and Buddy Holly'll sing us a song."

The party was up at Allen's modest little palace in Riverdale, overlooking the Hudson, where every time you rang the doorbell it played another Beatle tune. The occasion was the 33rd birthday of Allen's wife, Betty, but it also served to celebrate the addition of John and Yoko to the client list of Abkco Industries, Allen's managerial firm.

"I heard Allen was going to invite 50 straights," John said, 'so I invited 50 freaks."

 Was Miss Austria
                  or a freak

They came in limousines provided by the host: Jerry Rubin and friends, Andy Warhol and company, Ornette Coleman and his lady, Howard Smith and his blonde, Jonas Mekas and his camera and a veritable bouquet of others, all of them hand-picked from New York's underground garden in colors that paled the floral arrangements on each of the round patio tables.  There was also a former Miss Austria, but nobody could tell me whether she was one of the straights or one of the freaks.

"I?m really enjoying New York this time," John said.  "I think we are going to stay longer than I expected."

The afternoon started out as brilliant as the guest list, with Marty Ostrow, the recording industry's Clifton Fadiman, leading the plunges into the swimming pool.  An Italo-American rock group serenaded the guests, the neighbors and much of the rest of Riverdale with tunes. Featuring two jumping horn players and a vocalist who reminded me of Domenico Modugno, Elvis Presley and Ernest Borgnine all at once, the group had been recruited by Pete Bennett, Klein's promotion man, somebody you might think had been banned from the cast of The Godfather because the Italian Anti-Defamation League thought he looked too real.

'see if you can get their name in the paper," Pete told me.  'they're called 'the Boys In The Band."?

"It figures," I said, and Pete rushed off to have his picture taken with the two surprise guests of the afternoon, Miles Davis, whom I had brought, and Jack Nicholson, who smoked a lot of cigars and who was in town for the opening of Drive, He Said, a movie that marked his debut as a director.

Meanwhile, I could hear one of Allen's straight guests asking Yoko if she knew what they called a Chinese gossip.

"No," Yoko said, sweetly.

"An Oriyenta," the straight guest laughed.

Yoko was wearing black hot pants and a white crocheted see-through top that didn't reveal anything new.  It was the first time Miles and John had met and Miles asked if Yoko was Japanese.

"No," John said. 'she's a New Yorker."

"Why didn't you marry a nice white blonde girl from London?? Miles asked.

'that's what I thought she was," John said.

Then they walked around to the front of Allen's house, where John showed Miles the psychedelic Rolls Royce that he had given to Allen as a gift.

"In Spain," John said, "I had a black one with the windows painted black.  When I'd ride by, the women would cross themselves."

Back at the party, they were serving omelets, sirloin hamburgers, watermelon balls, slices of filet mignon and crabmeat hors d?oeuvres when Andy Warhol discovered that somebody had stolen his cassette recorder.  Meanwhile, Allen's daughter Robin asked Jerry Rubin for an autograph and Jerry started to write her a poem.

"Just some revolutionary advice," he told me.

"Did you tell her to kill her mother and father?? I asked.

'that's the next line," he answered.

Everybody else
is bogged down
in the past or in the future

The rain and the mediums arrived at approximately the same time, and everybody who was interested gathered in Allen's projection room for the s?ance.  Ornette Coleman commuted back and forth from the bar, where he had been telling one of the straight ladies that only writers, musicians and painters could live in the present.  Everybody else, he said, was bogged down in the past or the future.

The s?ance began with one of the mediums telling Betty Klein that she'd soon be going on a cruise.  It was old news for Betty, who'd been planning the cruise for months.

"Will my husband stay through the whole trip?? she asked.

"Just before the end, is business entanglements will force him to leave early," the medium answered.

When Allen heard that, he laughed and said:

"Listen, that's already been established."

The Mediums (or Media) kept looking at the corner of the room, where John and Yoko were lying on the carpeting.  Yoko, they said, would soon be heading north toward Canada in connection with a court case.

"You, with the glasses," one of the mediums told John.  "I don't know who you are, but you're going to win."

For his part, John kept muttering that he wanted to see Eddie Cochran.  Before the party was over, he had fallen asleep.  ##  



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