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Old Mar 25, 2012, 01:31 PM   #1
Hari's Chick
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Default Living in the Material World LA Grammy Museum (review)

I was finally able to go see the Living in the Material World exhibit yesterday. Today is the last day, and I figured they may begin disassembling it today... so yesterday was the day.

The museum was pretty crowded, good turnout. Lots of people wearing Beatles shirts all over the place. George's exhibit was on the second floor and accessible only via the stairs. Most people took in the fourth floor and proceed down, down, ending their visit with the gift shop and the George special exhibit, which share that second level.

As you enter the second level, the gift shop is open expanse to the left and the George special exhibit opens in front of you. The gift shop had a jumble of musical memorabilia, but there were no special event items beyond just the book from Olivia. They had some Beatles LOVE shirts and George's CDs. Above the cash register was the only room for any sort of permanent wall display. The rest of the walls held shirts to purchase. The museum had chosen to display behind the cash wrap- a large image of John Lennon and a large image of Tupac. To the right, coming off the stairs was a television playing a tribute which was focusing on MJ. Straight ahead, George. For me this was like standing within my musical trinity. :)

The George display was catacombed within parallel alcoves, surrounded by three walls. The right wall held a classy display timeline. It did a pretty nice job of outlining major events of George's life. I must say for a novice it might have been a bit confusing, as the dates interlocked and sometimes say June 1967 might come along on the bottom before Jan 1965, perhaps along the top but paces forward. It was an exercise in holistic thinking, leaving the linearaly inclined detailist puzzled. But perhaps there were not many of those. I could follow it, of course, because I could recite the events backwards in my sleep.

Anyway, the timeline was lovely, with graphics from George along the top, like a chalkboard- large writing more as design. There was a drawing of a duck I'd never seen (Blow Away sketch?) but it was partial. Along the back wall were photos from the performers at Concert for George. Very nice. Finally a picture of Ringo, who was really slighted on the timeline, imo, and also slighted on the facing wall which showed some of George's own photographs. That wall illuminated George's fondness for the fish eye lens and taking pictures of Paul in mid drink. :) No Ringo, but nice ones of George himself and John and Paul.

Along the next (left side) wall were actual song scraps, reproductions which we've seen in "I, Me, Mine"- along with a few notes not reproduced in "I, Me, Mine." Little lines here and there were a very first peek. Amazing and wonderful. You could see under the glass George's crumples, and stains appeared in original colors, whereas in the black and white book you needed to guess at what the spill was. :) I report: seeminly mostly tea stains. You read it here first. Further along, the museum had placed mixing boards where you could fiddle and remix some of George's songs. These were very popular. Facing the song sheets and mix boards was a wall of pictures, many I believe from Olivia's book, which I still have not afforded so cannot say absolutely.

Now... the middle sections, the catacombs. Facing the gift shop, so at the very front... was a nice Indian flavored display with George's Bangla Desh suit to the left, then a reproduction of a letter from Ravi (asking George to influence kids to give up drug and making plans to speak with him further on this topic). George's sitar sat prominently and also information about George's affection for the instrument and how he introduced it into the songs. Lovely display. George's Bangla Desh suit was small. :) I'd guess at the usual 5' 11" for height, but my goodness what skinny legs. :) Very cute. The suit was very well tailored, nice quality you could really notice in person.

Walking to the next segment, we begin a more or less chronological stroll through George's life. A school notebook was on display where George was taking notes on 13th century architecture. He was detailing how in the 13th century building advances allowed them to use less lumber in their buildings. He identified from a sketch king and queen posts, and seemingly got distracted after a few notes and began to draw guitars! :) So cute. He had two guitars sketched below his notes. Another sketchbook had drawings of guitars and a cello and washboard. Next to the top right guitar he had named it "Arthur." :) A third sketchbook seemed to be dealing with guitar pickups and wiring.

Across from the sketchbook was another large glass display case. Far left, George's Hamburg jacket was displayed. Awww. You could really see it had been well loved. It was all rumpley and the zipper was very worn. That jacket had kept George warm and cozy while he was adventuring away from home. George's Gretsch displayed next to some letters home to his family. So sweet. One was a letter accounting for his adventures with Peter on his first trip to America. He writes it was "hot as hell!" In another he addresses Lou and Harold, Snr, and Peter and relays his early Beatle adventures in America and how he and the boys were making fun of the woman they were staying with, having big laughs. And in another... Where is Lou, Snr?! George addresses the postcard to "Dad and Pete (and Mum if she is back home)"- something like that. It made me wonder where Lou was off adventuring to. The case housed George's passport, with an early scruff pic on top and below one with his Beatle coiffure. The display made note to explain how George needed to update the passport from "student" to "musician." Aside was his Rickenbacker 360/12c63. The display gave high marks to the sound produced, attesting to George being largely responsible for changing the sound of rock and roll with the help of this guitar. The famous jumbo acoustic electric was displayed. Also we saw some records in a nice old fashioned case, courtesy of the Harrison clan. The alcove displayed George's suit from the field scene in HELP- jacket and pants! Again, what a skinny little thing. He was more slight than you even imagine. Next to that was his Shea Stadium jacket.

Another alcove, far left, displayed George's pink pin stripe suit. (All together: Skinny little thing!) This case went into the psychedelic period and fashion. Rocky hung proudly, and I can't impart how cool it was to see Rocky inches away under glass. It's so different than seeing pictures, just amazing. The display had George's kurta shirt, his All You Need Is Love jacket, and his Mad Day Out stripped pants outfit. Next to Rocky was George's Rosewood Fender Telecaster.

Next display- George's Zemaitis! This one had the yin/yang and such cool ornamentation on the head. Up close you could see many Oms and a beautiful "ohnothimagen." Now, the museum says this is the guitar used on Faster. Perhaps. But it is not the Zemaitis used in the Faster video. Not even close. George's World Citizen Passport, issued by Swami Vishnudevananada (to help support Swami's round the world peace flight in the early 1970's) displayed above the guitar. The passport was beautifully illustrated with a small painting from Peter Max, a disciple of the Swami. The museum had printed George's words from a UNICEF speech where George explains how he is tired of being seen as white, or Hindu or Christian. He said he considered himself a citizen of the world only, no labels. He said he has no religion, that he believes "in the sap which runs through it all." :) The case honored Dark Horse Records as an overall theme/backdrop. There were buttons and backstage passes from the tour. In the center were George's overalls and his Om shirt from the tour, the yellow and red one. The patches on his overalls were so neat to see. I've never been able to clearly identify the one on the right pocket. It is a custom made Friar Park patch with a bald monk! There is a dark Horse patch on the left pocket, easier to place, with it's multi headed horse logo. George's dobro was aside. Below were Genesis books for "I, Me, Mine" and "Live in Japan."
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Old Mar 25, 2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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There was a section displayed to honor the Wilbury's who of course won the grammy. The grammy was there (didn't George make a remark about using it for a doorstop? They did not recount that! haha) There was George's Wilbury shirt, the guitar which he later used as a format for the replica he issued for children in 3/4 size. The Handle With Care jacket was featured prominently. A banjo uke was displayed upon which George had written "reaching the high spots now." On a yellow pad he had written out the words for "Dirty World."
Near the exit, the George garden fountain was displayed so beautifully. Indian paintings adored either side. A beautiful picture of George hung on another wall, where he is sitting in a white ornate gazebo looking out over water.

All in all, beautifully done. However.... big a couple HUGE misses. Number one... no mention, not one, of Srila Prabhupada or the Krishna Consciousness movement. What? Whoever assembled the exhibit definitely wanted to present George as a Yogananda person. I love Yoganandaji. But it is unfair to George because he adored Srila Prabhupada as well- and knew him personally. They were personal friends and George even asked to be initiated at one point. Even after Prabhupada's death George had truckfulls of flowers delivered to the manor each year on Prabhupada's birthday. George donated the Manor to ISKCON and all the Living In the Material World album was taken from Srila Prabhupada's teachings. George passed with two devotees at his side, chanting Hare Krishna and photos of Rama and Krishna to gaze upon. How could Prabhupada's love and influence go unmentioned?

Also, Lou junior was entirely ignored. I mean, she was never mentioned nor pictured. The timeline only featured George, Peter, Harry, and Mr and Mrs Harrison. Where is Lou? She needed to be there.
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Old Mar 25, 2012, 01:34 PM   #3
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Old Mar 25, 2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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thanks for sharing. wish I could have seen it.
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Old Mar 25, 2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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Bless you for sharing this, Hari's Chick!

Add to it I really can't wait for Lou's book to come out. I just love her and I enjoy watching Lou on LouTube. She is such a dynamo! She sounds like Louise French all over again, our lovely Lou! Loving and outgoing who would do anything under Here Comes the Sun for her family....Let's raise our glasses to Lou!

If not for Lou, no George on Ed Sullivan....The Beatles without George is like Chrysler without Dodge; baseball without the American League; the cone without the ice cream; the beak without the eagle; the computer without the modem....well, we get the idea. George was a vital part and you just had to have him. Hats off to Lou for nursing George back to health in 1964!
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Old Mar 27, 2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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Glad you guys enjoyed it!

I wish everyone could have seen it. The video is a good accounting, and the review might serve to illuminate the bits of paper not detailed in the video. Taken together, I believe this gives a good likeness of being there. :)

And yes, BB! Where's Lou?! :) We certainly need her there. I remember the nice hug she gave me at Fest. God bless Lou. :)
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Old Mar 27, 2012, 02:48 PM   #7
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I'm glad you got the Harrison hug from Lou!

She's Louise French's daughter, all right!

I just love Lou!
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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Best Review Ever!!

Wow, thank You THANK YOU!!!

This is so great to read and in so much close detail!

Seeing the stuff like the bangladesh, Wilburys, hamburg, Shea and 74 tour clothes must be UNBELIVEABLY special! i didnt know all this was gonna be there!!!

So special and auspicious you saw it on the last day too, the last glimpse, and your musical trinity was there to for it!!!
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Old Mar 31, 2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWW View Post
Seeing the stuff like the bangladesh, Wilburys, hamburg, Shea and 74 tour clothes must be UNBELIVEABLY special! i didnt know all this was gonna be there!!!!
It was so special! I'd wanted to go from day one... I'd have been completely heartbroken if I'd have missed it.

When I saw the Bangla Desh outfit, first item of G's clothes I saw there, I just stood in front tears just came. It was so overhwhelming... tearing up now thinking of it! Just so special... (George is shaking his head in heaven: "girls!") :)
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Old Apr 01, 2012, 07:07 PM   #10
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Bless you so much, HC!

I wanted to read those framed documents - were those letters George wrote or letters to/about George from other family members?
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Old Apr 04, 2012, 12:14 AM   #11
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BB, you mean the framed items from the Youtube video beginning about 1:27? Those are George's songs. Many were the ones we've seen in "I, Me, Mine." A few were ones not included in the book. :) On one or two, George had taped pages together- also in another area of the exhibit he did this. It seems he liked to extend paper by taping pages end to end. :)
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