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VC’s Diversity in Culture Festival: ZOOM with Music Journalist Tony Fletcher, drum with Professional Latin Percussionists

April 11, 2023

Drums Circle and Tony Fletcher at Ventura College’s Diversity in Culture Festival

It’s the Boy About Town! As part of Ventura College’s Diversity in Culture Festival this week, tomorrow Wednesday 4/12/23 at 1pm via ZOOM is my Burning Man, skiing, and Kilimanjaro climbing buddy Tony Fletcher who is also the rather famous and important music journalist Tony Fletcher, author of Boy About Town (which is also the name of a song by The Jam which may or may not be written about Tony!)

Boy About Town

On Thursday April 13 at 330pm, join us at Ventura College for a free drum circle organized by my students Chis Knox and Dawson Gaynor and sponsored by DW (founded in 1972 by Don Lombardi and John Good). Located in Oxnard, CA,  its family of brands include PDP, Latin Percussion, Gretsch, and Slingerland (with Latin Percussion founded in 1964 in New York, New York by Martin Cohen).

Featured artist Randal Adams has played hand percussion for over 30 years and  plays with numerous local bands as percussion backbone. Led by professional musicians Joshua Trask of Oxnard’s DW Latin Percussion division and hand percussionist Randal Adams aka DJ Hunter, along with Ventura College students and professional musicians Chris Knoxley and Dawson Gaynor, the “We are Rhythm” drum workshops includes interactive instruction, a stomp clap basic rhythm to get brains primed to follow a rhythm lead by someone else, then with loaned instruments in hand, we will learn more about a few different rhythms including 3 or 4 different grandfather beats. Special thanks to Don Lombardi, John Good, Chris Lombardi, and Rich Sikra, and all the people in the DW family of brands that made this possible through all of their hard work. 

Best known for his biographies of drummer Keith Moon and the band R.E.M., Tony Fletcher started out by creating zines in his teens about the live music scene in London in the 1970s. Tony also makes music in two projects, leads The Rock Academy in Woodstock, NY, does podcasts, and attends Burning Man where we met. In this session, Tony will share entertaining stories about music as well as writing about music. All are welcome in VC room LRC 128 (in the library building basement computer lab) or via ZOOM link (see below).
Driven to write at a young age, the fortunate circumstance of punk rock in London in the late 1970’s gave Tony the opportunity to start a music fanzine and to find the audience to read it. But none of it came easy. In this discussion, Tony shares his journey from amateur teenage fanzine writer to middle-aged professional book author, and the pitfalls and struggles along the way.  What are the drivers and distractions to keep writing over the years?  
Tony will address the Ventura College Diversity in Culture theme by reading and sharing from his 2011 memoir Boy About Town about growing up in London in the late 1970s at a time that immigration had led to widespread racism and potential fascism, about the struggle within popular music to promote and defend multi-culturalism, about living in a demographically shifting New York City and writing a book about how its immigration patterns have impacted on American music.
Tony traces his adventures in his autobiography Boy About Town, a book club selection for my Ventura College English classes, and which is available in the VC library. Tony also is the bestselling author of several major music biographies, among them In The Midnight Hour: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett (2017), A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths (2012), Perfect Circle: The Story of R.E.M. (2010), All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77 (2009).

Born in northern England, and raised in South London, where he started his own music magazine at the age of thirteen, he emigrated to New York City in the late 1980s. When not traveling with his family, he makes his home near Woodstock in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. A contributor to Salon and the Wall Street Journal, his writing has also appeared in MojoRolling Stone, the New York TimesSpin, and Newsday, and he has written for many publications, radio, and television shows worldwide. Check out his Website for more:

Art Predator aka Gwendolyn Alley is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: ENGL V01A – English Composition – 30338
Time: Apr 12, 2023 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 0118 3680
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