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Woody Guthrie at 100

SXSW Showcase Reviews

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 16, 2012

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by John Anderson

Woody Guthrie at 100

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 15

The celebration of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday, a yearlong event, kicked off in Tulsa, Okla., five days ago. Panel moderator and Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli explained this week's events in Texas and those planned for the rest of the year as a celebration of the folksinger's legacy – why he was important then, now, and in the future. Two of Guthrie's children spoke about the man they knew. Nora Guthrie claimed that the Woody at 100 celebration will "visit as many states as possible to replant the seeds of his ideas. Of course we started in the red states." Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley spoke of an upcoming book that he helped curate, House of Earth, Guthrie's "only fully realized novel," and how it will broaden the artist's reputation of being incredibly difficult to pin down to one art form. Arlo Guthrie was his usual persnickety self, rambling and highly amusing, yet he offered the most cogent analysis of why his father and Pete Seeger remain important in the 21st century. "They were links on a chain. They weren't singing in the key of 'me,' they were singing in the key of 'us.'"

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