Lennon Still Resonates

DVD Documentary: The US vs. John Lennon — A film for anyone who thinks the government is out to get them and everyone who loved Lennon and The Beatles and/or recalls 1960s political radicalism fondly. When Lennon finally landed in New York City after the break-up of The Beatles, he and Yoko One became immersed in leftist activism and the revolutionary fervor of the times. And the government didn’t like it, all the way up to Attorney General John Mitchell and even President Richard Nixon. David Leaf’s film captures Lennon’s delightful spirit and politically charged artistry at the time and uncovers documentation of efforts at the highest levels of the government to deport him. After a long and protracted battle with the Immigration & Naturalization Service he finally won his green card and was able to make New York a home where he could escape his Fab Four fame and enjoy a measure of peace and happiness. And, yes, backed off from politics, yet the basic statements he made about peace and actions he and Ono undertook to achieve that end, naïve as they may seem to some, after all this time have a lovely resonance.

CD: Real Animal by Alejandro Escovedo — Disclosure: Escovedo is both a friend and a professional associate who I’ve done PR writing for and was involved in the benefit effort after he suffered a near-fatal health crisis due to the effects of Hepatitis C. But when I say that his latest after a series of brilliant albums that combine many shades of rock as well as his Mexican roots and symphonic touches is the rock’n’roll record of the year, I’m seconded by my equally political music critic peer Dave Marsh. An album that traces his musical journey and his influences, Real Animal both rocks like, yes, an animal and also has it gorgeous moments of subtle beauty. If you want to hear how vital and full of heart real rock’n’roll can still be (as well eloquent, smart and balls to the wall), this is an album that will not just renew your faith but inspire. I’ve had it for months before its July release and play it over and over and over, and it gets better with every listen.

DVD Feature Film: Eye Of The Dolphin — I may not be much of a follower of family movies, being a single and childless (as of yet) middle-aged man. But this lovely film about a troubled teen who finds redemption with her estranged dolphin researcher father in the Bahamas thanks to the beautiful and brilliant animals he works with seems to me the ideal film to bring parents and their kids a little closer together. It also makes very important points about dolphins and mankind’s relationship with them in subtle yet effective ways while being a touching and lovely story that can bring both a tear to the eye and delight to a crusty old cynical bachelor like me.

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2008

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