Woody Guthrie

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with two University of Tulsa faculty members about an exciting Woody Guthrie symposium -- entitled "Standing at the Crossroads of American Cultural Life" -- that will happen at TU's Lorton Performance Center on Saturday the 30th. Our guests are Dr. Randall Fuller, the Chapman Professor of English, and Dr. Brian Hosmer, the Barnard Associate Professor of Western American History.

On this edition of ST, we present an interesting chat with the noted American composer and conductor Michael Daugherty, whose musical works seem to delight in the wide range of American pop culture; he's thus created classical/pop crossover compositions inspired by (to name but a few) Jackie O, Elvis, and Superman.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Dr. Mark Allen Jackson of Middle Tennessee State University. He's an expert on political expression in American folk music, and he's also the author of "Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie" (University Press of Mississippi). Dr. Jackson will be giving a talk at the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa this coming Saturday, the 26th, beginning at 7pm. The lecture is entitled "Woody Guthrie as Political Humorist: His Influences, Expression, and Legacy," and it's free to the public.

On this edition of ST, we get to know Doug Levitt, an American singer-songwriter...and former London-based foreign correspondent (who once upon a time reported for, among others, ABC and NBC). About a decade ago -- or about 100,000 miles ago -- Levitt started riding Greyhound buses all across this nation in order to gather stories, songs, pictures, and memories of those who travel by bus in America.

Today on ST, we speak with Daniel Riedemann, a contractor based in Lawrence, Kansas, who owns and operates the firm known as 19th Century Restorations. This is a company that's restored the childhood homes of Johnny Carson, Nina Simone, and others. About a year ago, Riedemann initiated the non-profit Woody Guthrie Family Home Reconstruction Project, which is raising funds in order to re-build the home of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma --- using, for the most part, the original materials.

"The Woody Guthrie Center is dedicated to celebrating Woody's life and legacy and educating a new generation about his important role in American history," as we read on the Center's website.

Just when we thought the recently revitalized Downtown Tulsa really couldn't get any cooler.... Guthrie Green, a new park located at the corner of Boston Avenue and Brady Street --- in the heart of Tulsa's increasingly thriving Brady Arts District --- opens today, Friday the 7th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3pm. Then, at about 5pm, the music gets underway --- and live, festive, free-to-the-public music (of all kinds, for all tastes) is a big part of what this Opening Weekend for Guthrie Green is all about.

Earlier this month, in the pages of The New York Times Book Review, the acclaimed American historian Douglas Brinkley and the accomplished Hollywood actor Johnny Depp offered a co-written essay that made at least two rather surprising announcements.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Woody Guthrie's hometown will celebrate the folk singer's 100th birthday this weekend, even though a local state lawmaker said Guthrie was "probably not one of the favorite sons" while he was alive.

Saturday marks the centennial of the birth of Woody Guthrie, which will be feted as part of the 15th annual Woody Guthrie Festival in the eastern Oklahoma town of Okemah.

Democratic State Senator Roger Ballenger notes that while Guthrie wasn't popular while alive, fondness for his music grew in the years following his death in 1967.

File Photo

"1913 Massacre" is the name of a song that Woody Guthrie wrote circa 1941; it recounts an early-20th-century tragedy that happened at the Italian Hall building in Calumet, Michigan, on Christmas Eve of 1913, when hundreds of miners, along with their families and friends, had gathered for a party. At that time, Calumet was at the heart of Michigan's then-lucrative copper-mining activity.

[Aired on Monday, March 5th.] On today's show, we look ahead to the exciting and far-reaching day-long symposium, "Different Shades of Red: Woody Guthrie and the Oklahoma Experience at 100," which will happen on Saturday the 10th at the University of Tulsa's Lorton Performance Center. Our guest is Brian Hosmer of TU's Department of History; he's serving as the committee chair for this symposium.