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John A Starnes visited Yes Yoko Ono in Miami:

I just made the pilgrimage from Tampa to Miami to experience YES Yoko Ono on its last U.S. stop and as someone who discovered her remarkable creative energy when I was a 16 year old here in Tampa back in 1969 I was so moved I spent the day there, surprising even the gallery director who has known Yoko for 8 years and clearly "gets" her approach to evoking the human spirit in wordless subtle yet powerful ways.

I got goosebumps upon seeing 'Glass Keys to Open the Skies' in person just as I have from photos of this magical work. I watched 'Cut Piece' three times, having ALWAYS wanted to see it...now I MUST own it to show friends. I FINALLY got to see after many years of wishing to to see the video for 'Walking on Thin Ice'...the flashing lake images I'd seen only snippets of before, especially now in these times of war drums, evoked for me feelings of nuclear (not "nuke-ya-lurr" as Bush pronounces it) detonations.

I felt compelled several times to place stones from the unmarked large wooden bowl on the floor and the one marked "sorrow" into the one labelled "joy"...I was so pleased to see that many others had felt the same...the Joy bowl had many more rocks in it.

The telephone rang twice, seconds apart and a guard energetically told a nearby young Japanese woman to answer it...she picked up the second time and others gathered around.

I put my own wish, to have dinner some time with Yoko and just chat, on the "Wish Tree" and read some of the wishes...remarkably eclectic, some joyous some sad, many echoing the wish that John could still be with her.

'Fly' was amazing...I have always loved the album and the film is remarkable in potraying the body of a young woman as a geography of sorts.

'Bottoms' surprised me....to be SO close to a human butt in motion creates remarkably surrealistic fluid shapes and I soon stopped seeing each one as a pair of buttocks as I listened to the voice over....I had NO idea the human butt could come in SO many shapes and textures and with various ways of moving. I enjoyed this one far more than I expected!

Both installations of 'Play it By Trust' were also surprisingly moving; the smaller one was open for people to sit in but the guards cautioned me to back up when I got a foot from the larger one...I was just trying to see the chess pieces.

It was a remarkable experience to see "Yes"...that white ladder loomed like an obelisk in that room...I forget the director's name now due to my emotional state that day but she said she got to walk up it and that it WAS the original. When I touched it later a guard chastised me but I pointed out that the sign said not to get ON the ladder...he gave me a lecture about it being improper to EVER touch art in a gallery so I took the time to point out to him the MANY interactive pieces in the show and that I had been told I could bite the apple (which I did) and had he seen the show himself...he said yes but I doubt he "got it" else would not have chastised me. But he WAS pleasant.

I sat on the floor and put on the headphones to watch and listen to "Erection" and Yoko's soundtrack...I had always thought it might be a boring Warholesque slo-mo piece of one view of that building but instead John VERY artfully wove together slow motions PHASES of its contruction, both day and night...in view of the technologies available to him then I was stunned by the seamless editing, all done with a peaceful gentle transition, especially the construction cranes.

I could go and on for many more paragraphs as the experience was so alluring and enthralling... I hope all can attend and see (and feel!) for themselves.

My only disappointments was being stopped from taking photos with my digital camera as the lighting was perfect and I SO wanted a photo of the ladder. I would also have loved to take close ups of the enigmatic instructions she had directly written onto the white walls of the gallery. I was also disappointed at the scarcity of the items for sale in the gift shop...the director said even at the opening there were no videos for sale and I SO wanted to buy a copy of 'Cut Piece' and 'Fly'.

As a Florida native delighted to have moved back home after 15 icy years in Denver, to experience 'YES Yoko Ono' helped to deepen my feeling centered back where I belong, as it was in Tampa that I was lucky enough at a young age, when I was still oh so full of self loathing and sadness, to encounter first her poetry then sculptures then her amazing music when I bought the beautifully illustrated "Live Peace in Toronto" the summer it was released.

I encourage all to visit this remarkable retrospective here or in your global travels as it reveals the remarkable depth and breadth and longevity of Yoko Ono's creative energies.....no wonder John fell in love with her!

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