Kerouac March 12, 1922-Oct. 20, 1969 www.jackkerouac.com
In 1949, Jack took a road trip from the East Coast to San Francisco
with Neal Cassady and his ex-wife Luanne. Jack would cross America
and Mexico several times in the next decade, sometimes driving with
Neal Cassady in a car, sometimes hitchhiking. These cross-country trips
comprised much of the content for Jack’s most famous work, "On
"On the Road", and Jack’s other novels, have made a significant
impact on American literature. His “spontaneous prose” told tales
of the Beat generation, making him the talented and reluctant spokesman for
the hip youth of the 1950s.
The New Lost City Ramblers
John Cohen, Mike Seeger,
and Tracy Schwartz
our perspective of forty years we can now see that all along they [the
New Lost City Ramblers] have played a role greater than we had imagined,
that of national poets who, like the poets of all times and peoples,
have shaped and nurtured our collective imaginations around its truest,
Jon Pankake, 2000
forty years now the New Lost City Ramblers have given us a great gift.
They have returned to us music of our own which in our great modern
haste we had lost or forgotten.
Born 1900, Biala, Poland.
Died 1982, Provincetown, Mass, USA
in Biala, Poland in 1900, Jack Tworkov came to the United States when
he was thirteen. He studied at Columbia University and the National
Academy of Design, under Ivan Olinsky. He also studied at the Art Students
League with Guy Pene DuBois and Boardman Robinson. While working with
the WPA, Tworkov met Willem deKooning, and together with other abstract
expressionists, they founded the New York School, which flourished
in the 1940's to the early 1950's. Tworkov was also a founding member
of The Club, one of the primary avant-garde art forums in New York
in the early 1950's. He taught at American University, Black Mountain
College, Queens College, Pratt Institute, University of Minnesota,
the Fieldston School, and Yale, where he was the Chairman of Art at
the School of Art and Architecture from 1963-1969. He won the Corcoran
Gold Medal at the 28th Biennial Exhibit of American Painting in 1963.
Tworkov died in 1982.
Matter was born in New York in 1913. Her father, theAmerican modernist
Arthur B. Carles had studied with Matisse. Her mother, Mercedes de
Cordoba, was a model for Edward Steichen. Ms. Matter grew up in Philadelphia,
New York and Europe.
painting under her father's supervision at age 6, and studied art at
Bennett College in Millbrook, N.Y., and then in New York City with
Maurice Sterne, Alexander Archipenko and Hans Hofmann.
in 1953, Mrs. Matter taught at the Philadelphia College of Art (now
University of the Arts), Pratt Institute and New York University. Based on
her teaching experiences she wrote an article for Art News in 1963 titled ''What's
Wrong with U.S. Art Schools?'' In it, she lamented the phasing out of the extended
studio classes required to initiate ''that painfully slow education
of the senses,'' which she considered an artist's life work.
prompted a group of Pratt students to ask her to form a school based
on her ideas, which led, in 1964, to the founding of the New York Studio School.
addition to her art and teaching, she wrote articles on artists, including
Hofmann, Kline and Giacometti. She wrote the text for a book of her
husband's photographs of Giacometti, four years after his death, published
in 1987. Merecedes
died nineteen years later in 2001.
Alan Lomax was born in Austin, Texas in 1915. He began his career in
the 1930s, working with his father John A. Lomax to develop the Archive
of Folksong at the Library of Congress. Between 1933 and 1985, he traveled
the American South, the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Eastern Caribbean many
times to seek out and document African American songs, tales, and oral
in democracy for all local and ethnic cultures and their right to be
represented equally in the media and the schools - a principle he called "cultural
was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1986, an honorary doctorate
of philosophy from Tulane in 2001, and a Grammy in 2002 for his life-long
contributions to music. He joked that he had driven more miles in search
of songs than anyone else on earth. He died on July 19, 2002.
Phillip Goldstein in Montreal,
Canada on July 27, 1913,
Guston was a notable painter in the New
York School, which also numbered many of the Abstract
Expressionists, such as Jackson
Pollock and Willem
De Kooning. In the late sixties Guston helped to lead the transition
from Modernism to Post-Modernism in
painting, abandoning the so-called "pure abstraction" of abstract
expressionism in favor of more cartoon influenced renderings of
various personal symbols and objects.
Smith was an artist whose activities and interests put him at the center
of the mid twentieth-century American avant-garde. Although best known
as a filmmaker and musicologist, he frequently described himself as
a painter, and his varied projects called on his skills as an anthropologist,
linguist, and translator. He had a lifelong interest in the occult
and esoteric fields of knowledge, leading him to speak of his art in
alchemical and cosmological terms.
Folkways issued Smith's multi-volume Anthology of American Folk Music.
The Anthology was comprised entirely of recordings issued between 1927
1932, the period between the realization by the major record companies
of distinct regional markets and the Depression's stifling of folk
music sales. Released in three volumes of two discs each, the 84 tracks
of the anthology are recognized as having been a seminal inspiration
for the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. The 1997 reissue by the Smithsonian was embraced with critical
acclaim and two Grammy awards. Harry Everett Smith died at the Chelsea
Hotel on November 27, 1991.
1955, Robert Frank set out to observe and photograph the United States.
Supported by a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, he traveled across
the country for two years. The result was The Americans, a visionary
work and a milestone in the history of photography
Swiss by birth, Frank traveled the world before settling in the United
States in 1953. He eventually befriended the Beat poets (Jack Kerouac
wrote the introduction to the book The Americans) and became one of
the key visual artists to document this bohemian subculture in both
photography and film, including the highly influential cinematic work
Pull My Daisy. Like the Beats, Frank sought to reveal the profound
tensions he saw in all strata of American society during the outwardly
optimistic 1950s. His photographic journey encompasses rich and poor,
black and white, north and south, offering a glimpse of what makes
these people and places truly American.
Born May 3, 1919
addition to being America's best-loved folksinger and an untiring environmentalist,
Pete Seeger is a national treasure. He has been at the forefront of
the labor movement, the struggle for Civil Rights, the peace and anti-war
movements, and the fight for a clean world. He has been a beacon for
hope for millions of people all over the world. Once blacklisted from
national television for being unafraid to voice his opinions, he was
given the nation's highest artistic honors at the Kennedy Center in
December 1994. In January 1996 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame. Although he left Harvard during his second year, in the
spring of 1996 he was awarded the Harvard
Arts Medal, presented annually to a Harvard graduate who has made
an important contribution to the arts. He won a Grammy Award for Best
Traditional Folk Album of 1996 in February 1997 for his Living Music
recording "Pete." At the end of April 1999, he traveled
to Cuba to accept the Felix Varela Medal, that nation's highest honor
for "his humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment
and against racism."
Herald was best known as guitarist and lead vocalist for the Greenbriar
Sept. 6, 1939, in Greenwich Village, he was a founding member of
the 1970s folk collective The Woodstock Mountain Review and an
accomplished solo performer. He carried the flag for traditional folk
and acoustic music throughout his four-decade career.
Boys were at the forefront of the folk-influenced
music that set the tone in the early 1960s. They toured with Joan
Baez, and Herald's song "Stewball" was covered by Peter, Paul
Mary. As a singer and session guitarist, Herald recorded with Linda
Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Doc Watson and Ian & Sylvia.
was an elegant guitarist and a yodeler of some repute, as well as an
said in a 2000 interview with the BBC: "Pete Seeger was the person
who let me know that I could sing, in the sense of saying, 'Come on,
sing along with this tune here, if you feel the spirit, and maybe you
will hear your voice sailing above the crowd, and you'll see what fun
it is.' That was at summer camp in 1954."
Rinzler (born Ralph Carter Rinzler) played an important role
in the revival of folk music in the late '50s and early '60s. In
addition to playing mandolin and singing with the Greenbrier Boys,
he helped to uncover and introduce folk musicians including Bill
Watson, Clarence "Tom" Ashley, and the
Balfa Brothers to an international audience.
drawn to music from a very young age. Fascinated by the family's wind-up
phonograph at the age of two, he began listening to Library of Congress
field recordings by the age of seven. As a freshman at Swarthmore College,
he was inspired by the playing of Pete
Seeger to teach himself to play the banjo. Much of his early
repertoire was culled from Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk
Music. Together with Seeger's
half-brother Mike, who later launched the
New Lost City Ramblers, he traveled through Maryland, exploring
the state's thriving country music scene. Joining the Greenbrier
Boys in 1958, Rinzler added
a folk music sensibility to the group's predominately bluegrass sound. A
year after Rinzler's
death in 1994, a two-day festival was held in his memory in New Market,
1926- April 1997
Ginsberg is probably one of the best-known contemporary poets in recent
history. He was born in 1926 in Newark, NJ and received his B.A. from
Columbia University in 1948.
of the writers of his period, Ginsberg had a desire to attain the mystical.
The metaphysical poets of the nineteenth century, including William Blake,
were perhaps his greatest influence.
to the almost epic poem Howl, Ginsberg has authored numerous books.
Many of his writings were interpreted as controversial and even obscene.
Ginsberg is perhaps one of the most respected and revered Beat writer's.
Corso was born on March 26, 1930 in New York. He has spent time working
as a manual laborer in New York City and as an employee of the Los
Angeles Times. In addition, he was a merchant seaman on Norwegian
vessels and has had some acting experience, including an appearance
in Andy Warhol’s film, Couch.
As a writer
in the 1950's and 60's, Corso became a key member of the Beat movement.
He pressed for social and political changes and Allen
Ginsberg even called him an "awakener of youth".
though he may have reached his apex in the 1960's, Corso today still
continues to have an influence.
Brooks was a first generation Abstract Expressionist, friend of Jackson
Pollock. One of the first "stain painters," James Brooks
made his first stain painting around 1947-48. As such he was one of
the "fathers" of Lyrical Abstraction.
is an underrated American abstract painter. He lived and worked in
Eastern Long Island. Currently his paintings, while under known, look
uncannily current, especially in the light of the Lyrical Abstraction
generation that started in the late '60s.
1940, folklorist Alan
Lomax recorded Woody in a series of conversations and songs for
the Library of Congress. Also during the 1940s, Woody recorded extensively
for Moses Asch, founder of Folkways Records. The recordings from this
period, which have been reissued under the Smithsonian Folkways label,
continue to be touchstones for young folk music singers/songwriters
Woody Guthrie returned to settle in Coney Island, New York, with his
wife and children. The peace he had fought so hard for seemed finally
within his reach. It was during this time that Woody composed Songs
to Grow On,
a collection of children's songs which gained him a great deal of success,
yet again. However, soon thereafter, Woody's behavior and health began
to deteriorate, becoming increasingly erratic and creating tensions
in his personal and professional life. He left his family once again,
this time for California with his traveling protégé,
Ramblin' Jack Elliott. In California, Woody remarried a third time,
to a young woman named Anneke Van Kirk and had a daughter, Lorina Lynn.
more and more unpredictable during a final series of road trips, Woody
eventually returned to New York, where he was mistakenly diagnosed several
times as suffering with everything from alcoholism to schizophrenia. In fact,
Woody suffered from Huntington's chorea.
Woody admitted himself into Greystone Hospital in New Jersey, one of
several that he would go in and out of for the next thirteen years.
While at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York, Woody Guthrie
died on October 3, 1967.
Charles Adnopoz was born in August 1931, in Flatbush, NY. From a very
young age, his dream was to be a cowboy and, when he was just 14, he
ran away from home to join a rodeo. He took a job as a groomer for
two dollars a day and started learning how to play guitar.
parents finally tracked him down, they convinced him to come back to
New York and finish high school. It was during this time that Jack
began playing out in clubs around Greenwich Village.
Woody Guthrie on the radio, Jack decided to track him down to see what
he could learn from the troubadour. Elliot was going by the name Buck at the
time, and quickly became a young protégé of Guthrie. Over the
next half-decade, Guthrie and Elliot traveled together, with Jack learning
everything he could want to know from his aging hero.
traveling years, he managed to befriend Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac,
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other great writers. One night while Jack was singing
up the road, Woody snuck away and left his protégé in California.
Jack headed down to Los Angeles with another travel mate, and didn't
stop traveling for quite some time.
he'd recorded six albums for the British folk label Topic. Since then,
he's made nearly 50 records, including the forthcoming I Stand Alone,
due out June 20, 2006. In 2000, the award-winning film The Ballad
of Ramblin' Jack was made about Elliot's life.
Seeger's fame is often overshadowed by his older half-brother Pete
Seeger's notoriety, but his contributions to the American folk canon--both
as a member of the New Lost City Ramblers and as a song collector--are
pretty impressive in their own right.
In the 1950's
and 60’s, musician-collector Mike Seeger, inspired by the great folksong
collectors of the 1930's, visited traditional musicians of the rural South.
Mike Seeger has devoted his life to singing, playing and documenting southern
traditional mountain music. He has toured throughout the world as a soloist
and as a member of the Vanguard old-time music group, the New Lost City Ramblers,
of which he was a founding member. Mike plays a variety of traditional styles
on banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, trump, harmonica, quills, lap dulcimer,
autoharp and other instruments. He has produced nearly 70 recordings and has
been nominated for six Grammy awards.
of the most noted Appalachian old-time musicians, banjo player and
Holcomb spent most of his life in the small town of Daisy, KY,
and was one of the most authentic exponents of American mountain folk
music. Indeed, he never had any professional ambitions but become a
recording artist and participant in the folk revival circuit after
being recorded for the first time in the late '50s. Holcomb's
style is stark, epitomizing the keening, at times pained vocals associated
with Appalachian music, with a repertoire stuffed with traditional
songs that had passed among generations, as well as some songs that
he likely learned from early country records. Folk musician and archivist John
Cohen coined the term "high lonesome sound" to describe Holcomb's
music, and the phrase has since passed into common usage to describe
bluegrass and Appalachian music as a whole. He cut several albums for
Folkways and made some concert appearances on the college/festival
scene throughout the 1960s and 1970s, giving his last show in 1978. Holcomb
died three years later in 1981.