September 13, 2010

The Paley Center for Media Celebrates The Life of John Lennon with Multimedia Initiative

Musical Performance by the Quarrymen, a Photo Exhibit of Rare Lennon Images, two Film Screenings, and Panel Discussions to Commemorate the Music Icon

New York, NY—The Paley Center for Media will celebrate the life and work of John Lennon starting this October, with panel discussions, screenings, a musical tribute performance, and a photo exhibit that will give Lennon fans never-before-seen insight into his life both before and after the Beatles.  To coincide with the week of Lennon’s birthday on October 9, our Lennon salute will include major previews of Nowhere Boy and LENNONYC, a performance by the Quarreymen, and special screenings of Imagine and The U.S. vs. John Lennon for John Lennon’s actual birthday on Saturday, October 9. Preview screenings: On October 4, five days before what would have been Lennon’s seventieth birthday, the Paley Center will screen the soon-to-be-released Nowhere Boy with members of his original band, the Quarrymen. The bandmates will share rarely heard details about Lennon’s early life and perform a few of the band’s songs. Nowhere Boy, starring Aaron Johnson and Kristin Scott Thomas, dramatically captures the crucial teenage years of John Lennon.  For the first time on screen, the film depicts the events and personal circumstances that led to the formation of the Beatles—and the underlying family currents that shaped the creative and inspirational qualities of John Lennon. The same qualities that had a revolutionary impact on the world during his brief forty years of life—and that continue to have immense effect thirty years after his death. On October 7t, the Paley Center will screen American Masters: LENNONYC, a documentary about Lennon’s final years in New York City. During the seventies, John Lennon’s life and artistry became intertwined with the rhythm and diversity of New York City. This preview of the new documentary by Michael Epstein gives rare and emotional insight into the last decade of Lennon’s life as he found personal and creative freedom in a city struggling with crime and a declining economy. The film traces Lennon and Yoko Ono’s fight to stay in this country as the Nixon administration attempted to deport them to their court victory in response to their antiwar activities. We see the pair bonding with New Yorkers as they became fixtures at local restaurants, political demonstrations and sporting events. Yoko has poignantly stated, “New York became a part of who John and I were. We couldn’t have existed the same way anywhere else.”  With unprecedented and exclusive cooperation from Yoko, LENNONYC spotlights never-before-heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions, as well as never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and home movies that have only recently been transferred to video. The film also features interviews with Yoko and artists who worked closely with Lennon during this inspired period including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic portrait of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “New York City” t-shirt).  Screenings From The Paley Center Collection: Starting in October through December 31, the Paley Center will screen the essential documentaries about John Lennon, including Imagine, Gimme Some Truth, and The U.S. vs. John Lennon. Among the screenings will be the rarely seen complete version of What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A, and some newly discovered scenes of John’s and Yoko’s 1969 ‘Bed-In for Peace’ in Montreal. Tuesdays through Sundays – Free for members; Included with General Admission.  Fridays October 8, 15, and 22 at 3:00Saturdays October 16 and 23 at 1:00Imagine: John LennonLegendary producers David Wolper and Andrew Solt transform a wealth of archival footage into an absorbing portrait of the professional and private John Lennon. Delving into Lennon’s own collection of 240 hours of material, the filmmakers have assembled a complex and haunting work worthy of the John’s artistic legacy. (1988; 100 minutes) Fridays October 29 and November 5 and 12 at 3:00Saturdays October 30 and November 6 and 13 at 1:00What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.AThis landmark documentary by the Maysles Brothers is a candid look of the Beatles’ 1964 tour of the United States, as well as a major statement in cinema-vérité filmmaking. The film catches the humor and camaraderie of the young band as they run from fans and perform for their adoring audience.  The Paley Center is pleased to screen the complete version, which is rarely screened. (1964; 81 minutes) Fridays November 19, 26 and December 3 at 3:00Saturdays November 20, 27 and December 4 at 1:00The U.S. vs. John LennonThis acclaimed documentary by the team of David Leaf and John Scheinfeld explores the provocative political activity of John Lennon and the backlash he received for his outspoken advocacy. The film explains how Lennon’s activism against the war in Vietnam made him a threatening figure in the eyes of the Nixon administration.  (2006; 96 minutes) Fridays December 10, 17, 24, and 31 at 3:00Saturdays December 11 and 18 at 1:00Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine AlbumProducer/director Andrew Solt examines the creative process behind one of the most influential albums of all time, Imagine.  The film reveals many facets of the Lennon persona as he creates stirring music at his Tittenhurst Park estate in Ascot England. (2000; 60 minutes) Imagine and The U.S. vs. John Lennon will screen in the gallery on John Lennon’s birthday on Saturday, October 9. The Lobby and Steven Spielberg Gallery Exhibit: This Boy . . . John Lennon in Liverpool
To celebrate the seventieth anniversary of John Lennon's birth on October 9, the Paley Center presents the first comprehensive exhibit of photographs from John Lennon's youth, including rare images of his first band, the Quarrymen, which eventually became The Beatles. The exhibition also features some of the earliest images of Paul McCartney and then George Harrison joining the group. Accompanying the photos will be a video of Lennon speaking about these formative years. Free for Paley Center members or included with General Admission.
 In 1971 John Lennon reflected on the Beatles phenomenon, stating that “the first thing we did was to proclaim our Liverpoolness to the world.”  Because of media, people around the globe quickly seized the Beatles’ style and sensibility, often not realizing the roots of their revolution. As we commemorate John Lennon’s seventieth birthday, the Paley Center returns to the city that nourished him and his band mates. In these rare photographs we see the beginnings of the Beatles, whose music would eventually transform society and culture here, there, and everywhere. This exhibition, cocurated with Beatles scholar Martin Lewis, is the first comprehensive look at John in his beloved Liverpool.  Born on October 9, 1940 when the Germans were bombing England, John grew up in the comfortable section of a city that was removed from the dynamism of London.  Although his family life caused him much pain and confusion, Lennon found inspiration from the radio and movies, which brought the first rumblings of the emerging youth culture.  The skiffle craze of the midfifties encouraged John and his friends to form a group, The Quarrymen, named after his Quarry Bank high school. This exhibition charts the evolution of that band from playing on a truck to celebrate the city’s 750th year to Paul McCartney and later George Harrison joining the group, which eventually resulted in the band’s name change to the Beatles in 1960. The pictures from the early fifties suggest a village locked in the Victorian era. But John and his friends were hearing new sounds from the distant Radio Luxembourg, which made them rethink their own identity. Even in a society where few households had a television set, word traveled quickly about a new sonic force called rock ‘n’ roll. There was no need for an English Ed Sullivan; Elvis and Little Richard quickly permeated the consciousness of the Liverpool teen, most especially John Lennon. Media even in its most analog stage had the ability to shake, rattle, and roll conventional perception. To complete this picture of John, we are screening the essential documentaries, including Imagine, Gimme Some Truth, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, and the rarely seen complete version of What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A.  As you view these photographs, you will see bits of lyrics and perhaps melodies that crept into John’s work. He was very conscious that anyone who succeeded in the entertainment business from Liverpool had to lose their Scouse accent and attitude; he never did. In celebrating John’s life and legacy, let us always remember, he was a man of the world and of Liverpool. Funding for the Paley Center’s John Lennon tribute is provided by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Advertising Week, and Richard Kandel through the Theodore & Renee Weiler Foundation.
For more information about admission and tickets, please visit
 ### The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.  For more information, please visit  


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