Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts of the people, from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms, punk and popular arts . The Cultural Worker celebrates revolutionary creativity and features a variety of essays, reviews, fiction, reportage, poetry and musings through the internet pen of this creative writer, journalist, musician and cultural organizer. Scroll straight down and you'll also find an extensive historical Photo Exhibit of cultural workers in action, followed by a series of Radical Arts Links. The features herein will be unabashedly partisan---make no mistake about that. The concept of the cultural worker as a force of fearless creativity, of social change, indeed as an artistic arm of radicalism, has always been left-wing when applied with any degree of honesty at all. No revolutionary act can be truly complete in the absence of art, no progressive campaign can retain its message sans the daring drumbeat of invention, no act of dissent can stand so strong as that which counts the writers, musicians, painters, dancers, actors, photographers, film and performance artists within its ranks. Here's to the history and legacy of cultural work in the throes of the good fight...
john pietaro

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dissident Arts Festival Celebrates the Radical Left (from "Downtown Express")

From "Downtown Express", "The Villager" and "The East Villager" newspapers, New York City:

Dissident Arts Festival celebrates the radical Left

BY LILY BOUVIER | “The arts are a weapon for social change!” — urges Lower Manhattan’s “Dissident Arts Festival.” In the name of social justice, dissidents and cultural workers will gather for this evening of progressive poetry, music and film — in celebration of radical Left culture (and in solidarity with the struggles of workers and the globally oppressed).

This year’s sixth annual festival will begin with a screening of long-blacklisted labor film “Salt of the Earth” (followed by discussion by film artist Kevin Keating). Then, musical performances from radical poetry/jazz ensemble Upsurge!, post-modern jazz band Secret Architecture, 1930s-meets-contemporary-improv band Radio Noir, jazz violinist and vocalist Gwen Laster, singer/songwriter Judy Gorman and labor/peace choir The NYC Metro Ragin’ Grannies. Political satirist Dave Lippman and poets Steve Bloom, Jackie Sheeler, Angelo Verga, Rashidah Ismaili, Robert Gibbons and Sara Goudarzi will also take the stage. Folk-protest songs, improvisation and contemporary composition will tear down boundaries and bend rules — calling dissidents to take action.

At the Brecht Forum, center of Left education and culture (451 West St., btw. Bank & Bethune Sts.). Aug. 13, 4-11pm. Sliding scale admission: $6/$10/$15 (free for Brecht Forum subscribers). For info and a schedule of events, call 212-242-4201 or visit


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