Today is the 100th birthday of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, better known as Woody. I first learned about him in third grade from a very groovy music teacher (it was 1973), but didn’t really get heavily into his music until my early twenties. My best friend in high school’s parents were serious folk fanatics, their old records provided the education. His Dust Bowl Ballads were a huge influence on the songs I created for my play House of Trash in the 1990s, and more recently (last year) for The Ballad of Jasper Jaxon. We’re doing a musical tribute to him in our current show Travesties of 2012 in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. I hope you’ll come see and hear it! Details are here.
Archive for July 14, 2012
Just got the news from Ian Hill that George Stoney has passed away. He was my academic adviser during my short stint at NYU Tiisch, for no other reason than that he was randomly assigned. At the time I knew only vaguely that he was a documentary maker, and that (at the time) seemed an unfortunate match-up. And Stoney (already quite elderly two decades ago) seemed less than interested in my own dreams and intentions. He just kind of rubber stamped my paperwork during our brief interactions. It wasnt until I began to work at Brooklyn Community Access Television in about 2006 that I learned that he had been a towering and revered figure in the public access community, essentially the guy who started the movement. If I’d only known or cared back then! I’ve since come to have a deep love and respect for public access, having spent a good bit of time working in the field and even creating some programs. It’s kind of the electronic equivalent of indie theatre. But in the early 90s when I was at NYU, I’m sure I considered it (like most people still do) a kind of joke. So now I am left with regret at the lost opportunity to have learned more from the man. He was 96 when he passed; you can learn more here.