Film screening on folksinger Phil Ochs

03/16/2017

Meegan Ochs-Potter feels confident that if her father, legendary folk singer Phil Ochs, were alive today, he’d be invigorated by the political climate. “I think this would bring him back to [making music]. It’s such a galvanizing time,” Ms. Ochs-Potter, who lives in Woodacre, said. Two pivotal pieces of Mr. Ochs’s legacy—his ability to entertain and his strength in organizing—will be honored this weekend at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. As part of the center’s Valley Arts and Lectures program, the 2011 documentary “Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune” will be shown, followed by an interview hosted by Suzanne Sadowsky with Ms. Ochs-Potter. The evening will include a community discussion on ways to become engaged and how to remain involved. Sharp storytelling and a focused political message told through a vibrato tenor voice defined Mr. Ochs’s career, which paralleled with the upheaval of the 1960s. He began performing in coffee shops in Greenwich Village, churning out protest songs that plucked subject matter from newspaper articles. (His debut album title, “All the News That’s Fit to Sing,” is a nod to The New York Times.) He spent his entire career advocating for peace and civil rights until his death in 1976. Ms. Ochs-Potter was only 12 years old at the time of his suicide, but she said he instilled in her a lifelong passion for politics and social justice. She serves on the board of the Lagunitas School District, where she has a child currently enrolled, and champions voter registration; before registration forms became available online, she used to bring fresh paper documents with her wherever she went. “I grew up without having another way to see the world,” she said. “I can’t see a world where I don’t vote. It’s in every fiber of my being.” For the past 24 years, Ms. Ochs-Potter has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and is currently its director of special events. “The work I do there is a way of continuing my father’s work,” she said. Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune will be shown at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center on Sunday, March 19 at 6:15 p.m., preceded by a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and children age 10 and older are welcome.