Banana Nutrament

Interview With Reporter Who Interviewed Yoko Ono

I'm at a birthday in the Lower East Side and my friend Lisa casually mentions she's late because she was at the Dakota interviewing Yoko Ono. Everyone nods and exhales a "Greeeaat", while I sit there barely able to contain a "whothewhatnow"?

I should add that Lisa is a big muckety muck at the Associated Press. It would never even occur to me to reach out to Ono's PR folks -- not that I have anything relevant to ask. So the next best thing is to shake Lisa down for details, like some schoolgirl upbraiding her more popular friend.

BN: I'm not a writer, but do you have any idea how jealous your getting to do this made me?

Lisa: It started to sink in after about the fifth time you said that.

BN: I got to confess I find Yoko Ono more interesting than John Lennon. Not that John isn't great -- they both did so many incredible things with their lives. How did you score this plum assignment?

Lisa: She's such an enigma. I got the assignment because she authorized the musical "Lennon," which just opened. I do a lot of theater interviews that wouldn't make you jealous.

BN: Were you intimidated entering her home?

Lisa: I think I would have been intimidated entering the Dakota even if John had never lived there. They've got all these gates and doormen in uniforms. But it definitely freaked me out to be in a place where he lived.

BN: You mention in the piece the Imagine piano, and lots of family photos everywhere. Did she have lots of images of John up? Any Beatles memorabilia? Gumball machines filled with cocaine? Any contemporary art lying around? Give us the goods.

Lisa: I couldn't snoop around too much. It wouldn't be very professional to wander off and root through drawers. But in the white room she has a picture of John in a New York shirt on the piano and a Magritte painting above it. She collects Magritte.

BN: So she has refined taste in home design?

Lisa: Yes, and the apartment is huge. She has a sofa in the kitchen.

BN: Did she cut off any of her clothes during the interview?

Lisa: No, but she wore a low-cut shirt. At 72, showing cleavage is pretty bold.

BN: Did you really know all that stuff about Fluxus or did you look it up before you met?

Lisa: I knew about her art, but the Fluxus movement in general is a bit hard to describe. I researched it.

BN: Does she still hang out with LaMonte Young?

Lisa: I have no idea. I guess I should have asked.

BN: Why couldn't I have gone too, posing as your strapping young assistant, manning the tape recorder and all things mechanical?

Lisa: I think you might have drooled on her.

BN: You pretty much own the name Lisa Tolin on Google. I mean, no one comes close. Any other Lisa Tolins out there frustrated by your total name domination? Do you think a challenger to the throne will ever emerge?

Lisa: There is a middle school soccer player named Lisa Tolin, I think. If she goes pro, I'm screwed.

BN: On a scale of 1 to 10, how retarded is the phrase 'bloggerati'?

Lisa: I'd give that a 9. I also hate 'blogosphere,' though I'm apparently in the minority.

BN: So pretty much now that I've outed that I know an AP editor, I'm guessing you'll never do a piece on mp3 blogs and interview me extensively, making sure to correctly spell our URL at the end of the widely syndicated article?

Lisa: I was thinking about it, but spelling the URL correctly would kind of take the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

BN: When I'm famous in ten years, are you going to call in a favor and demand that you be allowed to interview me?

Lisa: Yes, and I will want to bring in an assistant to man the tape recorder.

More about Lennon on Broadway

John Lennon - Oh Yoko!
**Buy it from Amazon**

Yoko Ono - Walking on Thin Ice
**Buy it from Tigersushi**