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Inquiring Minds series kicks off with Guthrie

Most people know Woodie Guthrie for his anthemic "This Land is Your Land." In 1941, the folksinger and activist composed 26 songs in 30 days traveling the Columbia River and visiting the Grand Coulee Dam project, penning tunes as an employee of the Bonneville Power Administration that included "Roll On Columbia."

Olympia actor/teacher/musician/historian Joel Underwood brings the singer and the times to life with "That Ribbon of Highway: Woody Guthrie in the Pacific Northwest" at 2 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Harstine Island Community Hall, 3371 E. Harstine Island Road North.

The Harstine Island Community Club, in association with Humanities Washington, hosts the Inquiring Minds series. Admission is free. To get to the hall, turn left off the Harstine Island bridge and then drive 3 miles north.

Underwood taught high school history for 25 years before earning a master's degree in American history with a focus on folk and protest music. He received the Woody Guthrie Fellowship and was granted access to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma to research the singer's time in the World War II Merchant Marines. Underwood continues to tour as a musician, both solo and with his daughter.

The Inquiring Minds series continues with Peter Blecha and "Stomp and Shout: The Untold Story of Northwest Rock & Roll" at 2 p.m. Feb. 25. Blecha, the director of the Northwest Music Archives and an author, talks about the musicians who laid the foundation of the regional music scene before grunge, including Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix.

Harriet Baskas will present "Weird, Wonderful and Worrisome Objects in Washington State's Museums" at 2 p.m. March 24. The Seattle author of nine books, Baskas says most museums display no more than 10% of their holdings, and she uncovers some of the stuff from the museum's back rooms: a Spokane institution that holds Big Crosby's toupees and a museum in Lynden that's home to a 150-year-old pickle.

Des Moines resident and screenwriter Steve Edmiston spotlights "UFO Northwest: How Washington State Spawned Men in Black" at 2 p.m. April 28.

Edmiston will talk about an incident Aug. 1, 1947, when the crash of a B-52 bomber in the Puget Sound area triggered an FBI investigation of "The Maury Island Incident," an infamous UFO sighting and history's first alleged encounter with the so-called "Men in Black."

The FBI's records from 1947, which were sealed for decades, reveal Cold War fears, jurisdictional disputes, cover-ups, false confessions, a courageous FBI special agent and the hands-on involvement of then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Author Bio

Gordon Weeks, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald


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