It’s been 40 years since John and Yoko decided to protest the Vietnam war by broadcasting live to the world from their boudoir at Montreal’s Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Issues of war and peace still dominate the headlines, making this year’s anniversary of their headline-grabbing “Bed-In” as topical as ever. To commemorate history’s most high-profile use of bedroom politics, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, in collaboration with Yoko Ono, has curated an exhibition called IMAGINE: JOHN & YOKO’S PACIFIST ANTHEM, which will run from April 2 to June 21, 2009. The free exhibition will track the wide-ranging artistic and musical dialog that took place 40 years ago, including various documents, works of arts, records, sound-reels, and photographs.
The famous protest took place May 26 to June 2, 1969 in the hotel’s Suite #1742. From their bed there, John and Yoko spoke to over 150 journalists each day, and in the US alone, 350 radio stations carried reports on the world’s best-known peace activists, who found an implausible, but completely unique way to get their message out to the world about the war in Vietnam. The highlight of this protest, of course, was John Lennon’s composition of the anthemic “Give Peace A Chance” song on June 1st. He wrote the piece on the spur of the moment, converting the suite into a recording studio under the direction of André Perry. Ultimately, some 50 artists and celebrities contributed to the recording, including Petula Clark and Dr. Timothy Leary, which was immediately broadcast worldwide.
To mark the anniversary, The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel is inviting guests to relive history and experience their own bed-in through the Imagine Package, which includes one night accommodation, a CD featuring “Give Peace a Chance,” breakfast-in-bed for two or buffet breakfast in Le Montréalais restaurant, and a copy of the lyrics of Give Peace a Chance. Available from March 1 to June 21, rates start from $199 per night, in a Fairmont room or, for the full experience, from $599 per night to stay in the actual John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite (#1742) where the bed-in took place. (Both prices based on double occupancy). To make a reservation in the Lennon Suite, please call the hotel directly at 514-861-3511.
For visitors seeking a more economical alternative, twenty plus hotels in Montréal are offering “A Second Night At Half-Price” package with rates starting at $104.