Serving as both a fundraiser and a tribute to the late John Lennon, the Kennedy Center’s spring gala on Monday (May 8) night was entitled Come Together — a fitting name for an event that brought together a broad swath of artists, including Corinne Bailey Rae, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Jim James, Amos Lee, Taj Mahal, Esperanza Spalding, and Steven Van Zandt.
Master of ceremonies David Duchovny also attempted to weave the theme into his opener. Noting he was addressing “the 500-pound red-and-blue gorilla in the room,” he said, “We are not going to make this a political event.” Then proudly sharing his “liberal Hollywood status” he quickly added, “I don’t believe politics should be in the arts, but the arts should be in politics.”
It was a message that likely wasn’t lost on at least half of the bipartisan room. Whether the decision to honor Lennon this year was a direct response to the current administration, an attempt to find peace in discordant times or a little bit of both, it’s pretty tough to experience his music without any political reckoning.