Yoko One took the witness stand in a Manhattan courtroom this week in an attempt to prevent a former aide to her late husband, John Lennon, from releasing photographs Ono claimed were unauthorized. Ono appeared with her son, Sean Lennon, and testified Fredric Seaman is exploiting Lennon's legacy by selling $75,000 worth of Lennon memorabilia and attempting to sell 374 photos of Lennon. Ono, 69, said she and Lennon asked Seaman to sign a confidentiality agreement when he was hired in 1979. Lennon was killed on Dec. 8, 1980, outside of the Dakota apartment building where the Lennons lived.
"We decided we wanted to keep our lives private," Ono testified. "We had to. It was a very, very tense time." Seaman countered he owns the pictures, which he claimed were taken with his own camera. "This case is about the underside of the music business," said Seaman's lawyer, Glenn Wolther. "It's a far cry from the idealized world of 'Imagine'."
HIP HOP DJ CHARGED WITH ASSAULT
New York DJ Funkmaster Flex of WQHT Hot 97 FM is charged with attacking rival DJ Big Steph Lova of WWPR Power 105 FM last week in front of the Hot 97 studios in lower Manhattan. Steph Lova, whose real name is Stephanie Saunders, filed charges against Funkmaster Flex, whose real name is Aston Taylor, charging the 33-year-old DJ verbally abused her, then hit her, choked her and scratched her. Funkmaster Flex was charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault and released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance next month. Flex has reportedly had it in for Steph Lova since she conducted an interview with rapper Nas in June during which Nas accused Flex on the air of accepting pay for playing records.
GARCIA ART FOR SALE
A selection of early oil paintings, watercolors and sketches by the late Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead, will be on view at Johnny's in Darien, Conn., starting Oct. 19 and running for several weeks. The works to be displayed date from Garcia's high school days through the 1970s. Few of these works have been seen in public. Most have been in storage for decades. A few have been sold through outlets in Las Vegas, art galleries in San Francisco and private sales. The works are from the private collection of Hank Harrison, manager of the Grateful Dead from 1965 to 1973. Harrison acquired these pieces directly from Garcia. In addition to the art works, pieces of memorabilia from Garcia's personal effects will be on sale. Included will be letters by Garcia, one of the black shirts he wore, and rare Herb Greene photos autographed by Garcia. Photos of the artwork will appear on johnnysrecords.com by early October.
Priscilla Presley celebrated the release of her former husband's greatest hits package, "Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits" Tuesday at New York's Hard Rock Cafe. Priscilla was joined by the Strokes, "American Idol" star Justin Guarini, Eve 6 and New York Giants running back Tiki Barber at the bash, held by RCA records. Also on hand was the traveling Elvis exhibit, Mobile Graceland, which features 18 artifacts that have never before left the Graceland mansion, where Elvis died. Among the artifacts is the D.E.A. badge given to Presley by Richard Nixon when Elvis visited the White House and proclaimed he was ready to do his bit for the war on drugs.
AMERICAN IDOL 2
Think you're better at imitating Stevie Wonder than the finalists on "American Idol?" Here's your shot -- the producers of "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" have set the first auditions for the next installment of the show for Oct. 21 in Detroit. Auditions will continue in New York on Oct. 24. Over the next two months the show's talents scouts will hold tryouts in Atlanta, Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. Simon Cowell, the acid-tongued critic from the first show, will be back to torture the contestants again.