Monday, August 20, 2012

Celebrating Woody Guthrie's 100th Birthday

All Aboard--

We're Bound to Celebrate!

RIDGEWOOD, NJ – Poets, musicians, fans, an award-winning chef, and anybody who’s interested or curious, will gather Saturday, September 8 at 1 p.m. at Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church (271 Lincoln Avenue at West End Avenue) to celebrate American folk music legend Woody Guthrie in this 100th anniversary year of his birth.

Besides the scheduled performers, the festival will feature an open mic session welcoming any poets to offer readings on Woody's themes of social, political, and spiritual justice. Drop-in musicians are also invited to perform. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food to support the food bank work of the church.  A free-will offering will also aid Disaster Response Services of World Renew (formerly CRWRC) in light of drought issues in the Mid-West. The event follows area poets’ and musicians’ rousing Fats Domino and Elvis Presley celebrations held previously at the same church. 

Guthrie, an Oklahoma native, formed his first band, the Corncob Trio, at age 18 while living in Texas. It was the start of decades of travel during which he wrote nearly 3,000 songs. He died of Huntington’s disease in New York City in 1967. Guthrie’s music influenced his son Arlo, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, the Weavers, and countless other performers.

The Clifton-based Victoria Warne Band will perform the beloved “This Land Is Your Land” and other songs by Guthrie, including “Dusty Old Dust (So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya),” “Ain’t Got No Home,” “Vigilante Man,” and “Dust Bowl Blues.” 

Celebrity chef Jesse Jones of Chef Jesse Concepts from South Orange, will visit to share some of his special chili and other toppings for the Woody Guthrie favorite -- Nathan's hot dogs! The All-American food spread is provided at no charge. 

The distinguished lineup of poets scheduled to appear includes:

 Laura Boss of Guttenberg, NJ, editor of Lips literary magazine and first-place winner in the Poetry Society of America contest. Laura Boss is a first prize winner of PSA's Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. Founder and editor of Lips, Laura's other awards for her own poetry include three Fellowships from the NJSCA and an ALTA Award (funded by the NEA). Her poems have appeared in The New York Times. Her six books include Reports from the Front (CCC) and Arms: New and Selected Poems (Guernica Editions). Her newest book is Flashlight (Guernica Editions).

Maria Mazziotti Gillan of Hawthorne, NJ, is a recipient of
the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions). Her latest book, The Place I Call Home, is forthcoming this September (New York Quarterly Press).

Maria is the Founder/Executive Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also Director of the Creative Writing Program and Professor of Poetry at Binghamton University-SUNY.

She has published fourteen books of poetry, including The Weather of Old Seasons (CCC), Where I Come From, Things My Mother Told Me, Italian Women in Black Dresses, and her latest book, What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (all by Guernica Editions). With her daughter, Jennifer, she is co-editor of four anthologies: Unsettling America, Identity Lessons, and Growing Up Ethnic in America (Penguin/Putnam) and Italian-American Writers on New Jersey (Rutgers)

Charles H. Johnson of Hillsborough, NJ, is the 2011 New Jersey Poets Prize winner for his poem "Leaving." His third poetry collection, Smoke Signals, was awarded a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence. A Middlesex and Monmouth counties (NJ) Arts High School poetry instructor, Charles won a 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize Award for Literary Excellence for his collection Sam's Place. A 2004 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist for his book, Tunnel Vision, he was a first-place winner of the 1998 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards and has had poetry published in a variety of literary journals and newspapers.

He is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet in the Schools and conducts weekly poetry workshops for the Middlesex County. He has been poetry editor for the online literary magazine Identity Theory and was poetry reviewer for the Home News Tribune.

Other poets appearing include:

Laine Sutton Johnson of Hillsborough, NJ, recently completed her poetry chapbook, 3D. She received her B.A. in English at Wagner College and her M.A. in Speech and Theatre from Montclair University, and in 1998 received the NJ Governor’s award for outstanding Speech and Theatre Teacher.

After teaching for 38 years, she retired in 2004, but remains a teacher for the NJ Art & Education program. Laine has written several songs -- such as "Moon People,"  "I Ain't Got No Tomorrows," "Old Misty Lace," “There Is No School Today,” and "Brother of the Tree," performed at the Bitter End in NYC. She has read poetry at several venues including the Paterson Poetry Center, Walt Whitman Poetry Festivals, and with her poet husband Charles H. Johnson at No Ordinary Joe's Cafe in Red Bank (April 2012) and in Princeton Library (May 2012.

Laine has published poetry in Paterson Literary Review, Edison Literary Review, Lips, Identity Theory, Confluence, The Idiom, Paterson: The Poets' City, Thatchwork, among others. She received the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards Editor's Choice recognition for her poems, "Pasta ala Bessie" and "Polka Dots"

James Gwyn is a Clifton, NJ, poet known for his politically “incorrect” poems. Gwyn has been writing poetry and fiction since The Sixties, and his series of chapbooks, The Dubya Poems, evoke the alternative presses of that era. Over the years, Jim has appeared as a featured reader in many venues throughout New Jersey and across the United States.  In 2011, he was invited to read at the Dylan Thomas Poetry Center as part of the First International Poetry Festival in Swansea, Wales.

In addition to the honor of receiving first prize in the 2008 Allen Ginsberg Poetry contest, he has received five Pushcart prize nominations. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, among them: The Paterson Literary Review; Paterson: The Poet's City; Poetry of Place; Lips; and Seventh Quarry: The Swansea Poetry Quarterly. 

Francesca Marguerite Maxime is a broadcast journalist in New York City, currently working as an on-air Anchor/Reporter/Host at EBRU-TV and WNYC Radio. She has worked in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford, Pensacola, Syracuse, and Binghamton.

Francesca will be published in upcoming editions of the New York Quarterly (NYQ) and in the literary journal, Lips. Her forthcoming book of poetry, Rooted, will be published by NYQ Books (Fall of 2012).

Featured musical guest is the Victoria Warne Band:

Victoria Warne is the lead singer and guitarist for the band by the same name. Her band includes Steve Giordano on bass, George Schaefer on drums, and special guests Gregory Gwyn, Joe Jacovino, Cathy Vita.

Victoria Warne is a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who has performed extensively in the New York metropolitan area. She has recorded with drummer Danny Gottlieb, Spyro Gyra’s Julio Fernandez, and even shared the stage with legendary jazz great Billy Eckstine. She has headlined at the prestigious JVC Festival in NYC, along with the “55” Bar, renowned worldwide for its guitarists.

Most recently, she was featured at the International Rory Gallagher Tribute in Glasgow, Scotland, and as an opener for Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Joe Louis Walker, Kinderhook, and Commander Cody’s Bill Kirchen. She has recorded 2 CD’s as a leader, “Live At The Savoy," and “Fluorescence”, an all original collection which blends elements of blues, rock, and jazz into a unique musical style that is adventurous and passionate.

Chef Jesse returns to cater an All-American menu:

Chef Jesse Jones of South Orange, NJ, is known for his Southern Cooking with a Country French twist. He has earned a loyal following and celebrity clients, who love his style as much as his dishes, and victories at cooking competitions, including Ultimate Chef of Bergen County, NJ in 2010.

In Northern NJ he’s gaining a reputation as a celebrity chef, between catering for Tyler Perry at 98.7 Kiss FM, posting recipes on The Alternative Press, hosting Chef Jesse Live cooking demos and opening a pop-up restaurant serving prix-fixe Sunday dinners in South Orange, NJ in 2012. He goes by “Chef Jesse” and to know him is to believe in him.

His charisma and natural storytelling personality attract people near and far to his unique style. Chef Jesse attended Hudson Community Culinary Arts Program in Jersey City, NJ where he learned his technique. But he inherited his passion for cooking from his mother, Mrs. Mildred Jones, and his grandmother, Mrs. Hannah Jones. Under their tutelage, following them around in their home kitchen in Snow Hill, North Carolina, Chef Jesse honed his culinary vision and developed his flair for New Carolina Cuisine. He was raised in the South, providing inspiration for his Southern style, and later in Newark, NJ, offering him access to top training opportunities at culinary schools in the kitchens with the area’s top Master Chefs.