Box of Vision – John Lennon’s 70th Birthday
On October 9th John Lennon would have been 70 years old. Gallons of ink (digital or otherwise) will be spilled for the occasion, and here is my submission.
There are an enormous number of activities, gatherings and products on offer, and my favorite is Box of Vision. Created by Jonathan Polk with the blessing of Yoko Ono, the commemorative limited edition box is individually numbered. With a lovely half tone image of Lennon (and his drawing of his piano) on the white canvas box, the heft of Box of Vision confirms it is no slapdash assembly. Although the box contains no music, it is intended (like its predecessor for The Beatles) for the fan to house much Lennon memorabilia in addition to the treasure trove provided.
The centerpiece is a 166-page hard bound book containing all of Lennon’s LP artwork, both solo and John/Yoko releases. The 12” x 12” design showcases the stunning original size of the albums, gathered together for the first time. Clearly designed to recreate the original vinyl experience in scope, Box of Vision has a patented expandable storage system for the CDs and booklets as well. Throughout his career Lennon leaned on his interest in art. Although he only spent a few years in art school, he surrounded himself with artists. It was no surprise when Yoko gained his attention with her avant-garde forays in film, art and eventually music.
The Box of Vision also includes “Catalography,” which is a full color discography / catalog of albums, advertisements, and handwritten notes by Lennon. But the most clever parts of this collection are four blank discs (two CDs and two DVDs), each with Lennon/Ono art on the surface. This reminds me of the ambitious but short-lived effort by a cool British record label in the 80s, which released an album on one side of a cassette and blank tape on the other side. Box of Vision closes with a hidden magnetic clasp, providing a satisfying sense of completeness.
Box of Vision is not for the casual fan, it lists for $125. But no more than 7500 fans will revel in the meticulous care of Polk’s gorgeous design.
Many of those fans will also be in line for EMI’s reissues of Lennon’s remastered CDs, including a stripped down version of the already three decade old Double Fantasy. It was 30 years ago that Lennon was murdered.
Other noteworthy events leveraging Lennon’s 70th birthday include the long-awaited release of the stunning bio pic “Nowhere Boy.” Brits can already get the film on DVD, and a few of us were lucky enough to see it at Sundance last winter.
Yoko Ono is leading a revolving cast of musicians in concert in LA, in the astutely named “We Are Plastic Ono Band.” The Grammy Museum will host Yoko for an evening of discussion, on the eve of the museum’s John Lennon “John Lennon, Songwriter” exhibition.
If you are in NYC on November 12, get ye to the Beacon Theatre to see an eclectic line up of artists paying tribute to Lennon in a benefit for Playing For Change: Jackson Browne, Shelby Lynne, Alejandro Escovedo, Aimee Mann, Meshell Ndegeocello and others.
Set your TiVo’s for the November 22 airing of “American Masters: “LennonNYC” documentary.
And finally, set your calendar for October 9, 2040 when three John Lennon time capsules will be unsealed after thirty years.
THE JOHN LENNON Box Of Vision®
John Lennon, Songwriter