Bound to be Glorious
An event-packed Steinbeck Festival reveals not-to-be missed performances and discussions, done in a Woody way.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The Steinbeck Festival re-populates the world of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, often with friends, relatives and experts – from now and his nascent years – thrown in for good measure. Step into the shoes of John Steinbeck on walking tours, with panel discussions and multimedia archives, or follow his legacy through the groups and civic issues to which he gave his powerful and often controversial voice. In collaboration with the Guthrie Archives and the GRAMMY Museum, the year’s Woody Guthrie-focused fest works in the balladeer’s voice and message as it was during the Dust Bowl, and how it, along with Steinbeck’s work, remains relevant today.
With 67 events packed into four days, these are some events from the festival that go beyond the museum image of Steinbeck as author, providing a living history experience of what begot a Californian heritage:
12:30-4:30 | Steinbeck Country Ag Tour with Vearl Gish. | $40; $45.
See how the Salinas Valley affected young Steinbeck’s outlook, walking out into the fields of historic Spreckels where John and his father worked in the sugar beet plant.
10:45-11:30am | Steinbeck’s Legacy in the Literature of Working People, with Persis Karim.
Steinbeck wrote the book, literally and figuratively, on the underdog. His authorship redefined who had a voice and who spoke with authority.
11:30-1:00pm | Lunch at the Steinbeck House. | $25.
Enjoy a home-cooked meal at John Steinbeck’s birthplace and boyhood home, a Queen Anne Victorian now run by volunteers that serve lunch Tuesday through Saturday every week, with a special tea menu available Saturday afternoons.
12:00-12:45pm | Woody 101: Who Was Woody Guthrie and Why Is He Considered America’s Greatest Folksinger? with Robert Santelli.
An authoritative voice from the dustbowl and beyond, Guthrie’s lyrics reveal him to have much more in common with Steinbeck, making him a beneficial festival companion.
A folk song is what’s wrong and how to fix it or it could be
who’s hungry and where their mouth is or
who’s out of work and where the job is or
who’s broke and where the money is or
who’s carrying a gun and where the peace is.
– Woody Guthrie
4:00-4:45pm | Voice of the Silver Lotus, with author Thomas Steinbeck.
Thomas Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s son and an author in his own right, lends sympathetic voice, full of romance, to Cantonese life in the Monterey of 1900 in his historical novel.
6-8pm | Opening Reception: Woody at 100, with Woody’s daughter Nora Guthrie, and Robert Santelli of the GRAMMY Museum.
10-10:45am | Mr. Joad Goes to Washington: 1939 and a Cultural History of The Grapes of Wrath, with Matt Langione.
A look at the touchstones and voices of 1939 from WWII to Gone with the Wind, Lou Gehrig and FDR, enlightens the landmark impact of Steinbeck’s novel.
7pm | Woody Guthrie Cenntenial Concert.
Husband-and-wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody’s granddaughter) and Johnny Irion (John Steinbeck’s great-nephew) celebrate Woody’s 100th with their country-rock duo.
Community Free Day, Monterey County residents get in free with ID from 9am-5pm.
10:00-11:30am | Live from Burton, Somerset.
A live simulcast conversation with Burton, Somerset, where Steinbeck lived in 1959 while translating Sir Thomas Malory’s King Arthur, where listeners can hear from Burtonians with personal memories of Steinbeck.
1:00-2:30pm | One Okie Migrant Family’s Story: A Thumbnail Sketch, with Mike Martin.
See what they really saw, and what Steinbeck tried to depict, with a multi-generational collection of photographs and accounts by families of their personal struggle that brought them from Oklahoma to the San Joaquin Valley.