There are several recent children’s books out about Pete Seeger, each targeted for different age groups, with different formats and writing styles. Stand Up and Sing conveys Seeger’s remarkable talent, convictions and courage without being preachy or talking down to children.
Gone but certainly never forgotten, Pete Seeger’s life and music will stand front and center this Saturday afternoon as the Ash Grove Foundation honors him with a hoedown on Wilshire. The lineup features a mix of 10-minute musical tributes, personal recollections and spoken word. Guests will include local blues demigod Bernie Pearl, singer Claudia Lennear (seen in the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom) and civil rights movement protest singer Len Chandler. (Grammy-winning singer Ben Harper, ex-Blaster Dave Alvin, Chicano rockers Quetzal and others are unconfirmed invited artists.)
If the music isn’t enough to draw you in, City of Quartz author Mike Davis will also participate in the proceedings, as well as poet-filmmaker S. Pearl Sharp and people’s lawyer Art Goldberg – there’s even talk of his sister Jackie appearing, too. See you there at the First Unitarian Church’s Fritchman Hall, 2936 W. Eighth St.;
Lara Bergthold remembers the afternoon she and Norman Lear arrived at Pete Seeger’s rustic home overlooking the Hudson River, a house Seeger and his wife Toshi had built themselves years before. Bergthold, a prominent political and communications strategist and former executive director of the Lear Family Foundation, was the associate producer of Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, a 2007 documentary about the famed folksinger and social activist, and had recently brought Lear into the project. The two had been chauffeured from Manhattan in a Mercedes sedan and were eager to discuss ideas to improve the film that had so far been shot by director Jim Brown.
“When we pulled up to his house,” says Bergthold, “Norman and I get out of the back, and Pete walked around us and to the driver and shook his hand and invited him to come in for salad. He considered the driver to be the person he should greet first and it didn’t matter that the driver was a nameless person.