Stars to perform at Woody Guthrie fest at Brooklyn College

September 12, 2012 From Brooklyn College
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`Okie’ found a home in Coney Island

The Grammy Museum, the Woody Guthrie archives and the Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College plan to celebrate the centennial of folk music legend Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn, where he lived for more than 25 years, married and eventually died.

Although Guthrie came from Oklahoma and sang country music, he moved to Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island in the early 1940s. After his physical condition, due to the disease Huntington’s Chorea, deteriorated in the 1960s, he was removed to Kings County Hospital, where the died.

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Brooklyn’s Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration will take place on Sept. 22 and will include a tribute concert at the Brooklyn College’s Whitman Theater, featuring Pete Seeger, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Judy Collins, Tony Trischka, the Klezmatics and others.  Arlo Guthrie, who was originally supposed to perform, had to bow out because of family concerns.

Prior to the concert, Brooklyn College will be hosting a daylong conference titled Woody in New York.

At the concert, a star-studded lineup including Pete Seeger, Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Judy Collins, Tony Trischka, The Klezmatics and others will be performing classic Guthrie songs. Ticketing information, including pricing and on-sale dates will be released in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to be producing such a remarkable series honoring one of the great artists in American folk music,” said Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli. “The lineup scheduled for the Whitman Theater show in Brooklyn speaks volumes about Guthrie’s influence.”

Also on Sept. 22, the Hitchcock Institute will host a daylong public conference. The event will feature a mix of scholars, journalists, and musicians to reflect on Guthrie and his contributions to 20th century American cultural life, with an emphasis on the time he spent in New York City from 1940 until 1967.

Conference participants will include:

  • Sean Wilentz (keynote speaker), professor of American History at Princeton University and a leading Bob Dylan historian.
  • Ray Allen, professor of music and American studies at Brooklyn College and author of “Gone to the Country: The New Lost City Ramblers and the Folk Music Revival.”
  • Jorge Arévalo Mateus, head archivist and curator of the Woody Guthrie Archives since its establishment in 1994.
  • Ronald Cohen, emeritus professor of history at Indiana University Northwest and a leading authority on American folk music and culture.
  • Michael Denning, professor of American Studies and the director of the Initiative on Labor and Culture at Yale University.
  •  Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s daughter and director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives.
  • Will Kaufman, professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire, England and author of “Woody Guthrie: American Radical.”
  • Robbie Lieberman, professor of history at the University of Illinois and expert in political protest moments.
  • Ernie Lieberman, member of the Gateway Singers in the 1950s and the Limelighters in the 1960s and an activist in People’s Songs, a New York City-based organization that blended folk singing and politics.
  • Dave Marsh, leading rock and folk music critic and author of “Pastures of Plenty: A Self Portrait, The Unpublished Writings of an American Folk Hero, Woody Guthrie.”
  • Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, CA and author of “This Land is our Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song.”
  • Elijah Wald, journalist and folk blues guitarist and author of eleven books on American folk and popular music.

Closing the conference, folk and pop luminaries Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Steve Earle, and Billy Bragg will participate in a roundtable discussion, moderated by Bob Santelli.  

The Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration is one of the largest and most comprehensive centennial celebrations ever staged for an American music icon. For the most up-to-date information and a complete schedule of events for the entire Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration, visit

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