Richard Johnson: Musical Jukebox Celebrating Marijuana at New York’s China Club |

NEW YORK — “Sweet Mary Jane,” a musical jukebox revue celebrating the marriage of music with marijuana, will light up this spring.

Danny Fried, co-founder of the legendary China Club in New York and Los Angeles, forms a band to kick off the show at the Cutting Room on East 32nd Street.

“The time has come for this. We’ve been locked in,” Fried said. “People need to have fun.”

Pot came to New Orleans, where Louis Armstrong was born, in the 1920s with sailors from Asia. “Armstrong smoked pot every day of his life,” Fried said.

Armstrong’s short-term manager, clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow, reportedly had a connection to Mexico and provided many musicians.

The bad guy is the head of President Herbert Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, who once said, “Marijuana is a shortcut to the insane asylum. Smoke marijuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing more than a storehouse of horrible specters.

The show features the music of Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Rick James and Bob Dylan, who reportedly introduced the reefer to the Beatles.

“The show traces the symbiotic relationship marijuana has had across generations of music-makers,” Fried said.

His timing is good, as legalization is spreading across the country and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.

When China Club started in the 80s, its regulars included David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Jon Bon Jovi.


The federal government continues to send pot dealers to jail.

Jonathan Wall, 26, has been behind bars for 21 months for growing and selling weed and will face trial in federal court in Maryland on May 2. Prosecutors say Wall, along with 10 other people, transported more than 1,000 kilograms of cannabis from California to Maryland. over two years. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.

Wall, who rejected a plea deal, said: ‘I’m terrified of spending decades in prison, but what they say I did is not wrong. It is the government that is wrong. »

Jason Flores-Williams, who represents Wall, said to me, “It’s sickening. It’s not my client who should be judged, it’s the government.

Seth Rogen, Jay-Z, Chelsea Handler, Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart are some of the stars now selling pot products.

“It would almost be a joke, if it weren’t so heartbreaking,” Flores-Willams said.


Pharrell Williams has ended plans to bring his Something in the Water festival to Norfolk, Virginia on April 22-23.

City officials had been delighted that the singer wanted to hold the festival at various locations in Norfolk because of the millions of dollars it would have generated for the local economy.

Sources say Williams has already made new plans to hold the festival in June at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC

Williams originally planned to hold this year’s festival in his hometown of Virginia Beach, but pulled out in October because he didn’t like the city’s handling of the aftermath of the death. of his cousin by a cop.

The people of Norfolk who later relied on him to bring the event to their beautiful city will not be happy to hear that he is moving it again.


A silver lining in the tragic Russian invasion of Ukraine is the emergence of Sarah Williamson on the conservative news and opinion site Newsmax.

The former Australian model arrived in Ukraine a few weeks before the invasion of Russian troops.

“When it really started, we were in bed in Kyiv,” Williamson told me over the phone. “We could see and hear the explosions and a big fire in a gas store. It was bright red in the sky.


Jennifer Garner chatted with model Kylie Vonnahme at the premiere of ‘The Adam Project’ at Alice Tully Hall.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo in addition to Garner. Guests at the premiere included Hugh Jackman, who had the night off from his hit Broadway show “The Music Man.” The film begins streaming Friday on Netflix.

Vonnahme is known as “the ice queen” because she swims all winter in the freezing waters outside her home in the Hamptons as part of her beauty regimen.


Tyra Banks, John Legend and Catherine Zeta Jones are among the personalities photographed by the famous photographer Udo Spreitzenbarth. The photographer will have a show at the Carlton Fine Arts on Madison Avenue in the spring.


Australian pop star Samantha Jade, who won the fourth season of ‘The X Factor’ Down Under, performed at the Brickworks Fifth Avenue black tie opening on Thursday.

Jade did a full concert to celebrate the company that makes designer bricks for luxury homes.


(Richard Johnson has been covering the rich and the infamous for decades and was once called by the New York Times “the journalistic descendant of Walter Winchell.” Growing up in Greenwich Village, Johnson is proud to call himself a New Yorker.)

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