Sunday, April 16, 2017

Julian Lennon "Touch the Earth" Book Signing Event - Union Square, NYC, April 15, 2017

My son and I meeting Julian Lennon at the "Touch the Earth" book signing event on Saturday morning, April 15, 2017. It was a thrill to meet him!

Julian Lennon's new children's book, "Touch the Earth"

Julian Lennon recently wrote a children's book titled, "Touch the Earth."

As the name might imply, the themes of the book are environmentally friendly, trying to get kids to recognize some of the detrimental things that we in our culture have been doing or are allowing, while also providing hope that these mistakes can indeed be stopped, that the damage can be contained, if not undone, and that the future can still be bright for children. 

Well, Lennon was in New York this weekend to promote the book. It was one of only two book signing events that were publicized to promote this book, although Lennon did mention that he is doing some spots on television.

On this day at the Barnes and Nobles at Union Square in Manhattan, New York City, Lennon sat down in conversation with Dennis Elsas, a popular and famous radio disk jockey and rock historian, who mentioned at one point that he had done interviews with both of Julian Lennon's parents at points in the past.

Lennon spoke about his extensive activism, trying to bring irrigation to areas much in need of water, and he also touched upon his advocating for issues with aboriginal peoples. This he does through hisWhite Feather Foundation, and he discussed the almost eerie story behind the name of the organization. His famous father, John Lennon, had told him once during one of the rare times that they had gotten together that if anything should ever happen to him, that if he should die, then Julian could know that his father is okay in spirit through the appearance of a white feather. Then one day a couple of decades ago, while Julian Lennon was in Australia on tour, he was suddenly visited by dozens of aboriginal peoples who presented him with a white feather, and wanted him to help give voice and recognition to their cause through his celebrity. 

The appearance of this white feather really had a profound impact on Lennon, and he had a choice to make, which he described in this talk. Would he continue to be a rocker, or would he try and do something bigger than himself, be a part of a larger cause. The white feather helped to sway his decision, and Lennon went ahead and became an activist, and has remained so ever since.

Elsas mentioned early on how eclectic Lennon was, and how he seemed to delve in so many different areas, including but not limited to music, photography, painter, activist, and now, an author. All of that, of course, and it should be noted that he was the inspiration behind three songs for the legendary Beatles, including "Lucy in the sky with Diamonds" and perhaps their most iconic song, "Hey Jude." When asked what he would put no a resume for career, Lennon simply said, "Artist."

Indeed, that pretty much covers everything. Lennon suggested that his getting into photography helped him in one way, because he suggested that his memory is so very bad, that it helped to have photographs to remind him of where he was and what he was doing. 

Now, I will admit that the ties to the Beatles history and lore was no small part of how I became a fan of Julian Lennon, although there is much more to the man than that. First of all, I remember his music in the 1980's and early 1990's, and was a fan. Yes, he was a good musician in his own right. Somehow, however, his musical career seemed to take a back seat in recent years, although when asked by Elsas if it might be revived, Lennon said that it could very well be. He did qualify that by suggesting that it would be unlikely to release a full length album, because people's attention spans these days just is not strong enough to justify it. However, he was interested in getting together with his half-brother Sean Lennon (John Lennon was their mutual father, although Sean's mother is Yoko Ono). He mentioned that they were supposed to make music together, but that they wound up talking and catching up instead. Sean apparently is a very funny guy, and he had Julian rolling on the floor with laughter. In the future, the two would likely get more serious about making music together, Mr. Lennon suggested. 

Lennon has a lot of things going on right now, with his photography, and this recent book release, plus all of the promotion and the exhibits associated with his art. He mentioned that the next few weeks will be crazy, as he is bouncing back and forth between New York and Los Angeles, before going down to Brazil for one of his exhibits. After that, he joked, he would go to sleep for a few weeks.

There are also some scheduled exhibits down the road in Japan, apparently, too. Busy guy!

Yet, despite how busy he is, one thing that I kept hearing from people during the event was how nice he was, how level headed and down to earth, for someone with such a high profile, and an insanely famous last name. You might think that a guy with such obvious associations to the Beatles would have a bigger head and ego, but he indeed seemed very approachable. He held babies and little children, really seeming to get along with the little ones. At some point, he even pretended to walk away with one of the babies, jokingly. Overall, he was very accommodating with his fans, trying to give them everything that they wanted. 

This was one event that I was very happy to be in attendance for. Especially since there was not much time in between when I found out, and the actual event, and I count myself lucky to have moved and to capitalize and do what was necessary to attend. That included waking up quite early on my first day off in almost 12 weeks, and getting my son up, then driving nearly an hour to Jersey City to take the PATH Train to New York, to Union Square, specifically. 

It was worth it, though. I have long wanted to see Julian Lennon in person, although I had admittedly hoped it would be in a musical concert somewhere. That has not happened yet, although in some ways, this was better! My son and I both walked out with signed books, and we actually got to talk to the guy a little, and listen to what he had to say, more generally. Indeed, he is a down to earth guy, with a good head on his shoulders, and he focuses on actions that we can all take to try and make this world a better place, each of us in our own, small way. 

Here are some of the pictures, as well as very short snippets of video (because the memory on my phone is quite short) of this event:

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