Tag Archives: art

Let’s do a Woody Guthrie festival on his birthday this year! Are you in?


If he had survived, he would have been 106 on July 14. It’s a Saturday and a good day for a cookout and a singalong. The incredible Gerardo Contreras of UAW 848 is willing to do the cooking. I believe that both KNON’s “Workers Beat” program and Dallas AFL-CIO would sponsor and benefit from any money we raise.

My idea is to assemble a small choir to perform and lead audience participation songs, just as Woody or Pete Seeger would have done. Individuals or groups might want to do their own performances, but some songs, like “This Land Is Your Land” cry out to have everybody sing.

There are hundreds of songs to choose from, but here are some of the best-known ones.

All You Fascists Bound to Lose (choir- singalong)

Biggest Thing that Man Has Ever Done

Deportee (Anthony Esparza)

Do Re Mi

Hard traveling

I Ain’t Got No Home / Old Man Trump

I’ve Got to Know

Jesus Christ

“Talking Unions”

Oklahoma Hills

Philadelphia Lawyer

Pretty Boy Floyd

Ranger’s Command

This Land Is Your Land (choir-singalong)

Tom Joad

Union Maid

You Gotta Go Down  and Join the Union

Labor’s musical tradition tends to get lost every now and then. Let’s re-discover some of it!

–Gene Lantz

I’m on KNON radio 89.3 FM in Dallas at 9 AM central time every Saturday. Podcasts are available from the “events” tab. If you want to know what I really think, check out my personal web site

Movie review: Nocturnal Animals, Written and Directed by Tom Ford, 117 minutes


I really like Amy Adams. Apparently, so does director Tom Ford, because he keeps her in close-up most of the way through this movie.

The opening credits, arguably the best part of the movie, really grab one’s attention. Having grabbed it, though, it doesn’t do anything with it. Maybe it’s art, but it doesn’t teach me anything or change me in anyway. It’s just shocking without any actual effect or purpose.

Amy Adams, always a fine actress, puts on art shows but doesn’t really believe she’s doing anything worthwhile. She remembers her ex-husband, played by the very able Jake Gyllenhall, who put his heart and soul into his art, and she wants to recapture youth, love, and real commitment. She’s reading his novel. It’s full of sex, violence, and violent sex. It really grabs one’s attention, and Amy Adams has to job of convincing us in the audience that it means something.

But it doesn’t, and neither do the wistful wishes of Amy Adams’ character. And neither does the entire movie. Art, to be art, needs to do something besides shock us and grab our attention.

–Gene Lantz

Listen to “Workers Beat” at 9 CST every Saturday morning on 89.3FM and

If you want to know what I really think, look at my life’s lessons site

In the Q&A last Saturday, a woman asked the exasperating eternal question, “Why do people act and vote against their own interests?” Everybody wants to know that.

The answer is that the entire culture, set up and controlled by the employers, is working against us. They own virtually all the advertising industry, the publishers, the movies, the news sources, the schools, the concert halls — everything that hits us intellectually and emotionally. And it’s constantly!

“Society is everywhere in conspiracy against the manhood [and womanhood] of each of its members.” — Thoreau


Artists fight back in coffee houses with limited audiences. They do even better on the internet. There’s a “union song playlist” on YouTube, (click here) for instance.

Democracy has a way of inserting itself even in commercial cultural enterprises. The movies, for example, have to sell tickets, so they can’t constantly preach against everything we believe. I enjoy writing reviews because there are some good things said in movies like “The Free State of Jones” (click here) where the main character explains that his band of Mississippi guerrillas are not exactly fighting for the North in the Civil War. He says they’re fighting against the wealthy, and that’s not the same thing.

Of the world of art and culture, I believe my favorite area is the daily newspaper comics. I can imagine that the cartoonists try hard to stay neutral on the issues, but they have to cultivate an honest audience; consequently democracy sneaks in again. “Dilbert,” which always shows management as idiots, is my favorite of course. Recently, “Non Sequiter” showed St Peter working the handle on a trap door that sent Republican politicians immediately Down Below. “Doonesbury,” of course, punishes greedy politicians mercilessly.

My own radio show, “Workers Beat” on KNON radio (click here) is an exception to the rule. But the rule remains that the bosses control almost everything that influences us.

–Gene Lantz

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