08 March 2009

Beatle Reunion

You always wondered: what would it be that brought the remaining Beatles together for a concert? Would they raise money for hunger, music education, homelessness, AIDS?

The answer is surprising but maybe not so much. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are going to play in a concert together on April 4th at Radio City Music Hall to raise money so that children can learn to meditate. The idea is that this will calm them down — the kids, not Paul and Ringo — so they won’t need Ritalin or psychiatrists.

It’s almost perfect synchronicity: back in the 1960s, the Beatles went to India and learned all about meditation. Now they’re coming together for movie director David Lynch’s private foundation which has been funding the Transcendental Meditation movement in the US for the last few years.


TM was famously lampooned during its heyday in the mid 1970s by Woody Allen in Annie Hall when Jeff Goldblum, playing a partygoer, is overheard saying into a phone, "Hello? I forgot my mantra."

TM and Maharishi University of Management (MUM) were founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who died in February 2008 at age 80. The Beatles met him in 1967 and visited him the following year in India with a big contingent including Mia Farrow and the singer Donovan — who is also on the April 4th bill. Huge chunks of their music following that experience —The White Album, Hey Jude, Abbey Road, and Let it Be — were influenced by this experience. The beautiful chant in "Across the Universe"— Jai guru deva om—was a tribute to the Maharishi.

The price of meditation is not cheap. Tickets for the show — which also features Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Betty LaVette, Ben Harper, and Moby — range from a low of $1,250 to a VIP package that costs $100,000. You’ll be happy to know the deductible part of that ticket is $93,625.

The VIP packages include a "celebratory brunch" and a post concert party at the Four Seasons restaurant hosted by Lynch and his long time benefactor, quirky Bridgewater hedge fund self made billionaire Ray Dalio. Married to a descendant of the Whitney-Vanderbilt fortunes, 58 year old Dalio has a net worth of $4 billion according to Forbes. And even though he gives millions to Lynch, Dalio lists on his website that he hunts and kills the food he eats with a bow and arrow. Someone should tell him there’s a Whole Foods now in Greenwich.


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