Arts & Entertainment

Countdown: The Cold War Hit Parade

Ross Altman Photo Courtesy of Warren Garfield

Musical Performance by Ross Altman

Date & Time: Saturday, August 9, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Allendale Branch Library
Address: 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106
Information: (626) 744-7260 or visit

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” – from a poem by Theodore Roethke in the 1950s

In conjunction with its series, “Critical Mass: The Culture of the Cold War,” and on the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, the Allendale Branch Library presents “Countdown: The Cold War Hit Parade,” a musical performance by folk singer Ross Altman, on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. Light refreshments will be served.

Join Altman and the Allendale Branch for a journey of rediscovery with songs and stories from the late great Cold War – a chart-topping, heart-stopping one-man show of music to take to the fallout shelter. Altman’s international set list will include songs by American dissidents Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Malvina Reynolds, Paul Robeson, The Weavers, and others; Russian dissident Alexander Galich; East German dissident Wolf Biermann; and poems by e.e. cummings and W.H. Auden.

Some of the songs to be performed include “Old Man Atom,” by Vern Partlow, one of the first anti-nuclear songs of the postwar era; “Let Me Die in My Footsteps” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” by Bob Dylan; “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” by Ed McCurdy; “Talking Cuban Missile Crisis,” by Phil Ochs; and “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” by Pete Seeger. Altman will also perform several of his original songs about the Cold War, including “Ethel and Julius,” “Red Diaper Baby Boomer,” “The CIA’s Greatest Hits,” and “DROP!”

A red diaper baby (a term which describes a child of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party or were sympathetic to its aims) whose father was blacklisted as an unfriendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), folk singer, guitarist, and music historian Ross Altman continues in the tradition of Woody Guthrie “to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” He grew up on the folk music of Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Theodore Bikel, Josh White, Big Bill Broonzy, and later on Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and Malvina Reynolds. In addition to his busy performance schedule, Altman writes a regular column for Southern California’s FolkWorks. He is president of the Santa Monica Traditional Folk Music Club, and was awarded the Music Legend of 2010 by the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival. He is a member of Local 47 of the Professional Musician’s Union (AFL-CIO). Altman records for his own label, Grey Goose Music, named for a children’s song by Leadbelly about an indestructible goose.

For further information, contact the Allendale Branch Library at (626) 744-7260 or visit More details are also available at the Allendale Branch Library Facebook page:

July 31, 2014

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