Isn't This a Time!
Folk music impresario Harold Leventhal had already lived a few lifetimes by the time he started championing 1950s and early-’60s artists such as Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, and the Weavers. Guthrie, Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Weavers—who Leventhal booked despite being blacklisted in the 1950s—and other folkies convene on Carnegie Hall during this Nov. 29, 2003, tribute concert to the 50 years the New York-born former left-wing activist and WWII veteran Leventhal spent supporting folk music. The performers may lack a certain spark—Guthrie was 56 at the time, Seeger 84—but what age has dulled in the voice can’t mask what these songs mean to them: “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You” and “Have You Been to Jail for Justice?” can feel cliché, but they come densely packed with generational significance for the people who were there, man. Of course, the most difficult mental hurdle to overcome is watching this endearing tribute without thinking about Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind, since Leventhal—who passed away last October—was the inspiration for the Irving Steinbloom character in that folk satire.