Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On the Group OWS Bench

The VW Microbus
Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie are joining the Occupy Wall Street protest. Yippee! I gotta admit, Pete is hard to take, but Arlo has been a hero since, let's see, my parents gave me Hobo's Lullaby for Christmas when I was 11 or 12. My first record and still a fave (incidentally, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner are all over it).

I'm sure there'll be some singing of "Alice's Restaurant" down at Zucotti Park, especially with Thanksgiving within sight. And why not, these kids have earned it.  Not sure, though, whether to recommend they stream the Arthur Penn movie of the same name (in which Arlo starred). Oh, it's good all right, but so so sad. All that youthful energy shot through with drugs, power trips, and death. And it was only 1969! Vincent Canby had it right in his Times review when he called it a "very loving movie" whose structural weaknesses "couldn't bother me less."

Where does the BQE come in, you ask? Arlo's drive, in the nefarious VW Microbus, from West Stockbridge, Mass., where he was staying with Ray and Alice in the desanctified church, to see Woody, dying in a Coney Island hospital. He meets Pete Seeger in Woody's hospital room, and they do nice versions of "Pastures of Plenty" and "The Car" ("Let's go riding in the car, car...").  Pretty damned moving. I couldn't figure out how to upload the clip, but you can watch it here.

A word to the wise, OWSers: watch out for the littering; that's how they get you.

(This post goes out to my parents who introduced us to Arlo Guthrie, VW Microbuses, and the idea that a society could be about fairness, justice, and peace. They have only themselves to blame.)


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, but...®, Woody Guthrie died in Creedmore hospital in Queens (the tall yellow brick building(s)) just south of Grand Central Parkway in eastern queens (near where GCP crosses the Cross Island Parkway.)

    Woody lived for many years in Coney Island, (as did Arlo) but....

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