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COOL 2 DO: COVER STORY

Anthony Pomes was 3 years old when he first heard The

Beatles - his big brother's "The White Album." No, he didn't play it backward

and discover that Paul was dead. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" went right

over his head. But the lullaby voice on "Julia," the memory-song John Lennon

recorded about his mother, entranced the toddler.

One morning five years later, as the third-grader awoke to get ready for

school, he noticed there was nothing but The Beatles on the radio. John Lennon

was dead. Later, Pomes' guitar teacher told him he'd heard the dreadful news

from Howard Cosell on "Monday Night Football."

Lennon died 26 years ago today, murdered in front of his home, The Dakota,

in Manhattan. To mark the date, Pomes and his Mostly Moptop band play a

memorial concert at Five Towns College, one of a handful of commemorations in

the area.

"I wanted to celebrate what he gave us," says Pomes, who by day is

marketing director for Square One Publishers in Garden City Park. A

self-proclaimed "Lennonologist," Pomes serves on the advisory counsel for Five

Towns' John Lennon Center for Music & Technology on the Dix Hills campus. The

center, brainchild of a Five Towns vice president, Martin Cohen, was dedicated

in 2005 by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, who embraced Cohen's proposal for an

academic center focusing on Lennon's canon as a way to inspire student

creativity.

Tonight's John Lennon Memorial Ceremony and Tribute Concert, at the Dix

Hills Center for the Performing Arts, begins at 7 with readings by former

Suffolk County poet laureate George Wallace and others, including Pomes.

The concert follows at 7:30, with a three-part theme representing, Pomes

says, the "three P's" of Lennon's mature career: "passion, his late Beatles

years; perspective, early solo releases like 'Instant Karma'; and peace, in his

re-emergence with the 'Double Fantasy' album just before his death."

Pomes is also working on an adaptation of Lennon's unproduced play with

music, "The Lennon Play: In His Own Write," to be produced at Five Towns in

June.

"I think if he were alive today," Pomes says, "he might be known as much as

a writer as a rock star."

Unlike many Beatles fans, who blamed Ono, in part, for the breakup of the

Fab Four, Pomes credits her with re-energizing Lennon. "He was drifting away

from The Beatles anyway," he says. "But there was an outpouring of creativity

when she came into his life. Lennon plugged into his muse."

Joining Pomes tonight in the Mostly Moptop tribute (the band's name

reflects its habit of sneaking in Kinks or Stones covers, or one of its

original songs, amid The Beatles classics) are Paul Michael Barkan, John

Tabacco, Edward Franz and guest percussionist Don Larsen.

But don't expect to see any Beatlesque moptops, says Pomes, the band's

Lennon figure. "We're a sound-like rather than a look-like Beatles band."

WHEN&WHERE

"We All Shine On ... Celebrate John Lennon." A sing-along to his words and

music, 4 p.m. today, Strawberry Fields, Central Park, Manhattan. Meet at the

mosaic at 72nd Street and Central Park West (across the street from The Dakota,

where Lennon was shot on his way home); free.

John Lennon Memorial and Tribute Concert. 7 p.m. tonight poetry readings by

George Wallace and others, free; 7:30 p.m., a concert by Mostly Moptop, Dix

Hills Center for the Performing Arts, Five Towns College, Burrs Lane, Dix Hills,

$20; 631-656-2148, dixhillsperformingarts.org.

Circus Minds Lennon Tribute. The band Circus Minds plays a John Lennon

tribute, along with its own original songs, starting around 10 tonight at

Chesterfields, 330 New York Ave., Huntington. Cover, $5; 631-425-1457,

chesterfieldsblues.20fr.com.

26th Annual Lennon Tribute. A celebration in theater, dance and music with

David Dorfman Dance, Wendy Osserman Dance, John Passafiume Dancers; singers

Garland Jeffreys, Michelle Shocked, Ben Taylor, Sonya Kitchell and Jan Owen;

and the folk group Aztec Two-Step.

7 p.m. Sunday, Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 W. 55th St., Manhattan, $55;

212-352-3101, theatermania.com.

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