Prior to its first ever Tulsa performance, the internationally renowned collective will accept the prize during the celebration of Woody Guthrie Center’s 10th Anniversary, May 5 – 7 in Tulsa, OK
TULSA, Okla. – Pussy Riot, the internationally renowned collective whose politically charged performances have challenged oppression around the world, will accept the 2023 Woody Guthrie Prize on May 6 in Tulsa at Cain’s Ballroom, followed by a Pussy Riot performance of its Riot Days multimedia show. The Prize presentation and Pussy Riot performance will both occur as part of the Woody Guthrie Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration, May 5 – 7.
Maria “Masha” Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova will accept the prize on behalf of Pussy Riot, which also will be represented by Olga Borisova, Diana Burkot, Taisiya Krugovykh, Vasily Bogatov, Taso Pletner and Alexander Cheparukhin at the May 6 event at Cain’s Ballroom. Following the presentation by Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s daughter, the group will be interviewed by Robert Santelli, executive director of the Bruce Springsteen Archive and Center for American Music.
The evening will conclude with Pussy Riot’s performance of Riot Days, which The Guardian described in its rave review of a 2018 show in London as a “mix of music, documentary footage and scathing political commentary based on [Masha’s] memoir of the same name.” According to Pussy Riot manager Alexander Cheparukhin, who is also the creative producer of Riot Days, the piece was performed in numerous countries around the world last year, but the May 6 performance in Tulsa will mark its U.S. debut.
The Woody Guthrie Prize is given annually to an artist who best exemplifies Woody Guthrie’s spirit and work by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change. Past recipients of the award include Joan Baez, Chuck D, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Lear, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and Mavis Staples.
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist protest and performance art collective founded in 2011. Members of the group have been repeatedly imprisoned in Russia for speaking out on human rights issues in their home country.
Pussy Riot wishes to express their gratitude to their St. Louis friend Susan Barrett and her company Barrett Barrera Projects – she helped Pussy Riot a lot in 2021 and 2022, the most difficult time for them, she sponsored evacuation of arrested Masha from Russia, as well as she helped other girls – Diana, Olga, and Taso – to escape from possible arrests in Russia and to relocate in different countries of Europe.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the non-profit Woody Guthrie Center®, which opened in April 2013. The center is a subsidiary of the Tulsa-based American Song Archives, which also manages the city’s Bob Dylan Center®.
“As artists who, like Woody Guthrie, have the courage of their convictions, there are no contemporary artists more worthy of this recognition than Pussy Riot,” said Cady Shaw, director of the Woody Guthrie Center. “They have paid a very personal price for speaking their minds on the most serious issues of our time, yet they continue to fight for justice and freedom.”
The event will anchor a weekend of activities that will also feature:
- Free, family-friendly concerts May 6 at Guthrie Green, including the Secret Sisters, Margaret Glaspy, Jonatha Brooke and Hot Toast Music, plus a maker’s market and food trucks.
- Free screening of the documentary “The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack” following by a Q&A with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and film producer Aiyana Elliott.
- Free admission to the Woody Guthrie Center and Bob Dylan Center all day on May 6.
- Free presentations May 6 by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, Woody Guthrie Publications vice president Anna Canoni and the Woody Guthrie Faculty Teaching Collective.
- Woody Guthrie Center night at the Tulsa Drillers home game on May 5.
- A special members-only concert on May 7 by the legendary Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Bobby Carradine.
Follow the Woody Guthrie Center on social media for more details and additional artists as they are announced.
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About The Woody Guthrie Center
The Woody Guthrie Center, opened in 2013, is dedicated to spreading Woody Guthrie’s message of diversity, equality and justice to a new generation who can create their own ripples of change. The center honors Guthrie’s life and legacy by educating visitors, teachers, students and scholars about his relevance today and his important role in American history through on-site programming, classroom materials, youth music programs, artist-in-residence programs, school outreach, internships, fellowship opportunities and the Woody Guthrie Center Archives.
For more information, please visit www.woodyguthriecenter.org/10year.