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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Visions & Voices: Woody Guthrie's Los Angeles: A Centenary Celebration

Date: Saturday, April 14, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. PDT
to Saturday, April 14, 2012 | 5:30 p.m. PDT
Location: Bovard Auditorium
Event Contact Email:

Saturday, April 14, 2012 : 8:00am - 5:30pm

University Park Campus
Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

Admission for the conference is free. Reservations required. To RSVP, click on the links below beginning Wednesday, March 21, at 9 a.m.

USC Students: To RSVP, click here.
USC Staff and Faculty: To RSVP, click here.
General Public: To RSVP, click here.

Related Event: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert at Club Nokia
Saturday, April 14, 7:30 p.m.

USC students who register for the conference can purchase discounted tickets for the Club Nokia concert for $20 each (two-ticket limit per USC student ID). Instructions will be provided after you sign up for the conference. For concert details, see below or click here.

Born Woodrow Wilson Guthrie in 1912, Woody Guthrie became the nation’s most recognizable and important folk singer before the folk revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. A conference and concert will mark the centennial of his birth and his lasting significance.

Distinguished scholars, musicians and writers will come together for a day-long conference with discussions and performances that will explore Woody Guthrie’s rise to fame in Depression-era Los Angeles. They will discuss Guthrie’s itinerant wanderings through California and the far West, the Dust Bowl culture he drew upon in his songs of commentary and protest, and the backdrop of Los Angeles at the dawn of the Second World War.


8 a.m.: Coffee and pastries

9 a.m.: Welcome
Bob Santelli, The GRAMMY Museum
Chris Sampson, USC Thornton School of Music
Ed Cray, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

9:30 to 10 a.m.: Keynote Address

10 a.m.: Musical Performance
Students from the USC Thornton School of Music

10:15 to 11:45 a.m.: Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles: A Musical/Political Evolution
Ed Cray, Moderator
Darryl Holter, The Shammas Group
Ron Briley, Sandia School
Pete La Chapelle, Nevada State College

11:45 a.m.: Musical Performance
Students from the USC Thornton School of Music

12 to 1 p.m.: Lunch Break (on your own)

1 p.m.: Musical Performance
Students from the USC Thornton School of Music

1:15 to 2:15 p.m.: L.A. and Woody Guthrie
Darryl Holter, Moderator
Radio and the Evangelical Crowd in 1930s L.A.—Philip Goff, Indiana University/Purdue University
Sound and Fury: Talkie Technology and Labor Unrest in the L.A. Film Industry in the 1930s—Emily Thompson, Princeton University

2:15 to 3 p.m.: Woody’s Influences across Space and Race
Ramblin’ in Black and White: Race and Migration in the Works of Woody Guthrie—Dan Cady, Cal State Fresno, and Doug Flamming, Georgia Tech

3 to 4:30 p.m.: Beyond Woody
Bill Deverell, USC, Moderator
Woody Guthrie, Tom Joad and the Forging of an American Political Tradition—Bryant Simon, Temple University
Guthrie, Steinbeck and the Popular Front—Rick Wartzman, Drucker Institute
California Border Blues: Guthrie, L.A. and Tijuana—Josh Kun, USC

4:30 p.m.: Musical Performance
Students from the USC Thornton School of Music

4:45 to 5:15 p.m.: Talking About Woody
Bob Santelli Interview with Special Guest

Following the conference, a concert will be held at Club Nokia at L.A. Live on Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. with Jackson Browne, Crosby and Nash, Dawes, John Doe, Richie Furay, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Morello, Joel Rafael and Rob Wasserman. Ticket prices range from $39.50 to $99.50. For info on purchasing tickets, click here.

The celebration is a collaborative effort between the GRAMMY Museum, the Woody Guthrie Archives and four distinguished universities: University of Tulsa, Brooklyn College, Pennsylvania State University and USC.