Yoko Ono is 70 – wow. This time around the carousel of fame, the club crowd has embraced her idiosyncratic caterwauling:
- A few weeks after her 70th birthday, Yoko Ono took the microphone in a throbbing downtown disco over the weekend, doing that warble thing that inevitably unravels into orgasmic moaning. It was long after Friday night had passed into Saturday morning, but for many in the club Arc, near the Holland Tunnel, the evening was still young.
As the music from the disc jockey pounded behind her, Ms. Ono danced her way out of a leather jacket, looking trim and athletic in black T-shirt and tight pants.
“Are you in shock?” asked Ramon Nieves, a shirtless man on the dance floor, staring in unqualified delight.
The warble was a prelude to “Walking on Thin Ice,” a song she released shortly after John Lennon’s death in 1980, and before many of the people in Arc were born. The club’s disc jockey, Danny Tenaglia, recently remixed the song as part of a project to introduce Ms. Ono’s music to the rave crowd. An album of remixes, featuring Mr. Tanaglia and other popular club D.J.’s, will come out later this year or in 2004, said Rob Stevens, managing director of Mind Train records.
….In 2001 a New Jersey production team called the Orange Factory asked to tinker with some of her old music. Mr. Stevens, who produced recent recordings for Ms. Ono, suggested “Open Your Box,” a provocatively smutty song that was once banned for its sexual frankness. The loving weirdness of their remix moved her to tears, she said.
“I always had such a feeling of being an outsider,” she said. “The club audience seemed to understand me. I thought I was far out, but they’re far out in their own right.”
She has made occasional appearances in clubs to perform the song, shouting commands like “take off your pants” to an audience young enough to be her children or grandchildren. “I don’t have a focused concept about age,” she said.
“Walking on Thin Ice,” which is to come out as a commercial single on March 25, is the fourth song from the remix project. Besides Mr. Tenaglia’s version, the single includes remixes by the Pet Shop Boys, Felix Da Housecat, Peter Rauhofer, FKEK, the Orange Factory and Rui Da Silva.
“I don’t know what I want out of it,” Ms. Ono said. “I don’t want anything. I’m just enjoying the unfolding. Which is how my life is.” [NY Times]
I think the problem with Yoko is that she has always been – since way before John met her – an avant garde artist, and avant garde artists don’t fit very well into the world of mass entertainment/celebrity. Of course she’s weird – avant garde artists are all weird, it’s kind of in the definition. It’s partly her fault: she forced herself on John’s public, but she backed away from that strident self-promotion 30 years ago and has been generally gracious ever since – time to give her a break.