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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

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Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
California Booster Songs

with Dave Bess
Monday, May 17, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Admission is $5

When Burt Bacharach asked, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" almost no one did, but today even people who live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula can point out San Jose on a map. That's the power of the right booster song: the topic of Dave Bess' Monday, May 17 talk in Gualala Arts Center's Coleman Auditorium.

Dave Bess Bess, a college professor with a sense of humor, has been collecting booster songs for California cities for over thirty years and plans to share the gems from his collection in what promises to be an entertaining evening.

How many people know that Woodie Guthrie wrote a song called "Danville Girl?" Probably more than those who can sing Glen Uber's "Bodega Bay" or the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's rendition of "Santa Rosa."

Ever since the composition of "New York, Oh What a Charming City" in 1831, towns across America have tried to promote municipal pride with musical compositions. Sometimes, the tune was literally an advertisement meant as a Siren's song to lure the unsuspecting to a certain destination. Sometimes, it was just to promote good cheer.

Most of these songs never gained an audience beyond the city limits. Not many ever made it to the Hit Parade. Indeed, some might argue that most would be best off forgotten! But in this talk you will hear about the kind of song the Boy Scout Master wrote to be sung at the Fourth of July picnic... or the one by the Episcopal priest saluting the glory of his old hometown. It is easy to find songs about San Francisco, but imagine the joy at learning about "Selma, Home of the Peach" or "When It's Apple Blossom Time Down in Watsonville."

Dr. Bess started gathering songs at Cal Poly Pomona where he was Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. His collection now numbers over 250. (He promises not to sing all of them at this presentation.)

This will be a most entertaining and informative evening. The lecture starts at 7:00 p.m.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.