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Woody Guthrie in New York

Hosted By: The City Congregation For Humanistic Judaism

When most people think of Woody Guthrie, the image coming to mind is the hard-traveling Okie who crisscrossed the country during the Great Depression. But for most of the second half of his life, Woody lived in numerous locations in New York City. This program, presented by TCC member Deb Freeman, will highlight some of the places that were significant to his life and work.

Woody wrote his most famous song, This Land is Your Land, while staying at a fleabag hotel in midtown Manhattan. He attempted – with little success – to live in a commune in Greenwich Village with Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers. He spent a number of years raising his children on Mermaid Avenue in Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

Woody’s second wife, Marjorie Mazia, was Jewish, and he learned a lot about Judaism from her and from her mother, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt. The program will relate some stories about his collaborations with his mother-in-law, about Arlo Guthrie’s hootenanny bar mitzvah in the East Village, and about a second life for Woody’s music when groups like Wilco and the Klezmatics composed melodies to lyrics he had written but never recorded.

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