Thursday, October 31, 2013

“Left Wing, Right Wing, Chicken Wing - it’s All the Same to Me”

That’s part of a Woody Gurthrie quote and the rest is “...I sing my songs wherever I can sing ‘em”.   "Hard Travelin’ with Woody" is a tribute show performed and written by Randy Noojin.  It will be at The Edge Center in Bigfork in November.  The show is all about times in this country during the depression and dust bowl. Woody Guthrie lived in it, wrote and sang about it and became a leading social activist concerning it. This show helps explain those times and a man who tried to help the people. On stage Saturday, November 9th 7PM. $10 adults. $5 children.

Randy Noojin  (above) and "Hard Travelin’ with Woody" has thrilled audiences around the country since 2011. If you are old enough to remember the hard times, you will appreciate the honesty, and, if you are too young, you can get a small taste of what it might feel like back then.

Woody Guthrie's (above) reputation as “saint of the working man and poet of the people” came about because of his experiences and work during those hard times. "Hard Travelin' with Woody " is a solo performance with music. Randy Noojin is a playwright as well as a performer.  His play "You Can’t Trust a Male" is included in Applause Books’ Best American Short Plays ’91 ’92.  The film version of his play "Unbeatable Harold"  premiered on Showtime starring Dylan McDermott, Phyllis Diller, Charles Durning, and Gladys Knight. Randy has acted in hundreds of plays in New York plus has numerous film projects to his credit. He is a very talented professional and your trip to Bigfork to see Randy will certainly be worth the effort.

This show covers real events with songs and monologues about the people and challenges they faced when a whole way of life failed. Woody Guthrie is an iconic figure in entertainment and Randy Noojin took on a monumental task in portraying him. Randy wrote the show in 2011 and has toured with it across the country. Randy says that he "...was impressed by his reputation as ‘saint-of-the-working-man and poet-of-the-people’ and used a pinch of 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Odets' Waiting for Lefty' to forge my structure and content.  I wanted to find things that Woody said back then that I want to say to America today.”

Controversy followed Guthrie (above and below) like a magnet. During WWII he was very anti-Fascist.  He joined the Merchant Marine and shipped out three times.  Once his ship hit a mine and once it was torpedoed.  He lost two of the three ships he was on before the FBI pulled his seaman papers because of something he wrote for a Communist paper in 1944. A witness named him as a communist in 1952 for the Un-American Activities committee. His second wife, Marjorie, claimed that was not true, because he was not welcome there due to not following the party line.  He was finally taken off of the FBI and Un-Americans watch list because of his illness.  He suffered from Huntington’s disease and died in 1967. His hometown,  Okemah, OK, rejected a Woody Guthrie day when he died, its library had to sneak books in about him, and it took four decades before a Guthrie portrait hangs next to Will Rogers in the Oklahoma capitol.

This certainly contrasts with Guthrie’s professional life.  Rolling Stone magazine calls him the most important American Folk musician of all time. In 1988 he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of fame, and received a Life-Time Achievement Grammy award.

Bob Dylan (above in 1963) considers Guthrie his personal hero and met him in 1961. Guthrie was the primary influence in Dylan’s career and has said “I was a servant to sing his songs.  That’s all I did.  I was a Woody Guthrie jukebox.”  Above information from:

Here are some more “Woodyisms”:

“Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don't change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow”

“I made ever thing but money and lost ever thing except my debts. I ain’t communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life”

“If you play more than two chords you’re showing off.”

Above from:

Below is a wall mural painted in Woody Guthrie's hometown.

Come to Bigfork on November 9th and, if you get the feeling that you've been transported to a labor rally in 1940, that is OK, it is the setting for part of the show.  The show even covers Guthrie’s temptation to seek fame and fortune…see what happens to that...on stage at The Edge. From the program below a final “Woodyism” “If you can’t be great, belong.”  Woody’s son Arlo says he heard his dad say that and wondered what it meant.  This is what this show is all about.  Being stronger as part of a group facing corporations and their "anything for a profit" way of doing business.

No comments:

Post a Comment