Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
September 2, 1971, Vol. XVI, No. 35
The McCartney Burial: ‘His ego was his amigo’
By Blair Sabol
Maybe it’s time for A.J. Weberman to change his script — or better yet, to get off the stage altogether. Being the foremost Dylanologist, or garbageologist, was brilliant for last year’s routine, but revamping it for Paul McCartney as this year’s “capitalist pig” campaign is like giving an encore after the audience has gone home.
There was the pathos of an empty house about Weberman’s “McCartney Burial” last Thursday in front of Lee Eastman’s (Linda’s dad) Park Avenue apartment.
Not only was Paul absent (even when he’s in town he never stays with the in-laws) and the Eastman family conveniently tucked away in its Southampton retreat, but there wasn’t even a street corner garbage can available for analysis. As for on-lookers, Weberman drew only two blase doormen, three smartly decked Bergdorf belles on their way to the women’s lib proceedings (appropriately tagged with feminist insignia and 14K gold renditions of the smile button — “Is this a faction of Friedan? The Times didn’t list a demonstration for this locale”), and one threatened-looking nurse playing peek-a-boo from a doctor’s office window.
The remaining 30-odd consisted of the full range of media, including a good cross-section of videotape artists. Evidently Sony video cameras slung over the shoulder are taking the place of gas mask bags packs as this year’s accessory.
Weberman gave two performances (that’s in case you came late or your tape broke) of his poem “A.J. Weberman’s Funeral Oration for Paul McCartney” (“It is time he catered to the lame tastes of Life Magazine / And broke up the Beatles / Yea his ego was his amigo so he said cheerio”), then pulled a coffin out of his hearse for a rather lifeless special effect, and finally launched into the second act of his persecution and assassination melodrama, charging Rolling Stone newspaper with various and sundry acts of establishment piggery.
After the media dispersed, Louis Abolafia (talk about schticks) took off with his “Love Candidate for ’72” press releases while the videotape crews stopped taping themselves and decided to follow Weberman down to the Rolling Stone offices on East 56th Street for an office looting and that tired routine of pie throwing. (At least they have economically changed their flavors from last year’s lemon cream pie to a plain plate of Reddi Whip.)
Weberman, his tape crew, and his Rock Liberation Front entourage were finally admitted, some minor “man-you-motherfucker” fist fights were fought, and a few “you-pig-prick” punches were pulled, after which Weberman left with an unimportant set of office files (filled with Rolling Stone advertising rate cards and miscellaneous mundane memos). Perhaps all this was done in hopes of publishing “the Rolling Stone Papers”? Who knows?
But what’s worse…who cares? At least Weberman and friends got off on the day’s outing and surely they’ll have one hell of a home movie in the video footage alone. But after all, isn’t that what it was all about? In the end it was home movies more than theatre. And usually only the family enjoys its own show.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]