Events July 12 and July 14 at the Columbus Arts Council’s Rosenzweig Arts Center will mark the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth. Photo by: Courtesy photo
July 7, 2012 3:07:11 PM
BY JAN SWOOPE
When Woody Guthrie died in 1967, he left behind eight children, about 1,000 songs and a musical legacy that helped shape the American folk movement. July 14 marks the centennial of the Okie's birth. The Columbus Arts Council is joining a worldwide celebration of the milestone.
On Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m., the public is invited to a free screening of the PBS American Masters documentary "Woody Guthrie: Ain't Got No Home" in the Omnova Theater, located on the second floor of the Rosenzweig Arts Center.
The movie follows Guthrie from birth, through his many musical incarnations, to his lasting impact.
"A study of Woody and his music is a study of some of America's most turbulent times, including World War II, the Dust Bowl, the Depression, civil rights movement, and the 'red scare'," said Beverly Norris, coordinator of the Guthrie events.
Although the screening is free, reservations are appreciated. The film immediately follows a free reception in the main floor gallery opening an exhibit by The Possum Town Quilters, 5:30-7 p.m.
On Saturday, July 14, at 7 p.m, "This Land is Your Land" showcases local performers interpreting Guthrie's music, as well as that of other folk musicians of his era (1930s and '40s) and up to the 1950's and early 1960's folk revival heavily influenced by Guthrie. Among those performing are Paul Brady, Mike Cooper, Monty Yates, Joe St. John and Larry Priest. If interested in performing, contact the arts council at 662-328-2787 by July 12.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Guthrie's catalog includes political, traditional and children's tunes, but most will remember him for "This Land is Your Land."
During the 1930s, the self-taught musician traveled among migrant workers and hobos from Oklahoma to California, earning his nickname, the Dust Bowl Troubadour. Those experiences fed his stories, songs and autobiography, "Bound for Glory."
He read, wrote, drew cartoons and painted, all while studying politics, economics, science and religion. Guthrie was often associated with U.S. communist groups though he seemingly was not a member of any.
Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg have all cited him as a major influence.
"Woody is generally recognized as the godfather of American singer/songwriter and folk music," said Norris. "While he was at times a controversial figure, he still inspired generations of musicians."
Both Guthrie events are in the Omnova Theater at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St., Columbus. They are made possible by generous support of Omnova Series sponsors Clark Beverage Group, Mitchell Distributing, WMSV Radio, and Wingate Inn, and event sponsor Coffee House on 5th.
For tickets or more information, call 662-328-ARTS (2787) or visit columbus-arts.org.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.