Joan Friedenberg, Ph.D., and Bill Bowen
Joan Friedenberg, Ph.D., (Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University) is a 30-year professor of education, author, and international consultant and Bill Bowen is a 35-year journalist, including 23 years at the Palm Beach Post. Both overlapped their careers with a penchant for performing music — Joan (keyboard, guitar, harmony arranger/vocalist), a classically trained musician, has played and sung in several bands and choruses in New York, Illinois, and Florida, and Bill (guitar, harmonica, banjo, vocals) has had several stints busking in bars and restaurants from Jupiter to Key West. Their meeting in 2010 was fortuitous, as their performances in various Palm Beach County venues as the harmony-centric PinkSlip Duo led to using their complementary talents as writers and educator to create programs about their musical heroes. Recent ventures include “Woody Guthrie: 100 Years of Song” at the Lake Worth Playhouse in March 2013, written and directed by Joan and Bill, which elicited standing ovations and favorable reviews, “This Land is Your Land: The Life and Song of Woody Guthrie” for FAU-Jupiter LLS, and “John Lennon: Nixon’s Pariah, The Left’s Messiah” for FAU-Jupiter LLS: and Grand Edventures.
Bleecker Street and Beyond
The Greenwich Village Music Scene of the ‘60s
Beat Generation poets held forth in the parks and coffee shops of New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1950s, but by the next decade, a new movement was taking over — a wave of politically conscious, guitar strumming poets who turned the Bohemian coffeehouses of the Village, like The Gaslight Cafe, Gerde’s Folk City, The Bitter End, and more into the focal point of the sixties folk revival. Inspired by the Weavers and others, young troubadours like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, Simon & Garfunkel and the Kingston Trio, rose to prominence there while others, like the Mamas and the Papas and The Lovin’ Spoonful had a more oblique connection. In a live music-spiced examination of this cultural phenomenon, singing duo Bill Bowen and Joan Friedenberg, who perform professionally as the PinkSlip Duo, retrace the steps of these music legends and iconic locales — and bring you with them. PowerPoint photos illustrate as the story wends its way through the Village, with commentary that recalls its coffeehouses and folk and pop heroes and their poignant ballads, sung in harmony-rich arrangements, for an educational and nostalgic journey.
If I Had a Hammer
The Life and Song of Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger honed his banjo skills while traveling in Appalachia and became the most stalwart of America’s troubadours for social justice, peace and the environment. He founded such iconic groups as the Almanac Singers and the Weavers and continued to entertain and rally crowds around their causes after others of his generation had long since faded away. Seeger sang for striking workers and union rallies in his youth, withstood with aplomb the brunt of the McCarthy communist witch hunt, bore with dignity the 19 years of blacklisting from TV appearances because of his communist associations and continued performing and singing for causes he believed in right up until his death in March 2014 at age 94. This powerful program blends the story of Seeger’s life, illustrated with dramatic photographs (via PowerPoint), with a live performance of his songs by Joan Friedenberg and Bill Bowen, who sing professionally as the PinkSlip Duo. Seeger penned iconic songs like “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” “Turn Turn Turn” and “If I Had a Hammer.” His lyrics will be projected on a screen and the audience encouraged to sing along. PinkSlip’s music combines with gripping photography and intellectually stimulating commentary for a unique and unforgettable experience.
Messages in Harmony: The Songs of Peter, Paul & Mary
Peter, Paul and Mary came together as a result of auditions held by promoter Albert Grossman in 1961, and with their rich harmonies and mellifluous voices became one of the most influential groups of the sixties folk revival. Peter Yarrow, Mary Travers and Noel Stookey, whose middle name “Paul” Grossman insisted on using to complete the catchy group name, had top 10 hits with four of their first five singles, and introduced Bob Dylan to the world with “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” This powerful program tells the story of Peter, Paul and Mary’s rise from Greenwich Village to the national spotlight, with live performances of their songs by Joan Friedenberg and Bill Bowen, who sing professionally as the PinkSlip Duo. Power Point photos illustrate the commentary of their story, and projected slides include lyrics for audience sing-along. Peter, Paul and Mary were credited by members of the Weavers with “taking the torch of folk music,” as evidenced by their performance at the 1963 March on Washington, on the same podium with Dr. Martin Luther King. PinkSlip’s music combines with gripping photography and intellectually stimulating commentary for a unique and memorable experience.
Feelin' Groovy: The Life and Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, with voices that blended like siblings’, rose to prominence in 1966 applying Everly Brothers-inspired harmonies to Simon’s songs and they quickly became the most popular folk-rock duo of the '60s.
This powerful program traces the arc of Simon and Garfunkel’s success from their childhood beginnings in Queens, N.Y., when they began singing together at age 12 and blends dramatic PowerPoint photographs with a live performance of their intricate close harmony songs by Joan Friedenberg and Bill Bowen, who sing professionally as the PinkSlip Duo. Lyrics to the songs will be projected for audience sing-along. By 1963, the duo had already built a reputation around Greenwich Village, after singing together throughout high school and cutting a record as 16-year-olds. But their debut album for Columbia languished until their producer went back into the studio and added electric guitar, bass and drums to “The Sounds of Silence,” and Simon and Garfunkel had a hit. They released six albums, winning 10 Grammy Awards and you’ll hear many of those songs performed amid stimulating commentary on their career as a duo in this unique and memorable program.