John Pietaro M.A. is a creative writer, journalist, cultural organizer and performer.
A staff columnist and critic of the NYC Jazz Record, he recently completed Reels Long Lost, a poetry chapbook, and is finalizing a new set of jazz poems, Smoke Rings. Current projects include a novel, Of Seconds and Shadows and his performance ensembles the Flames of Discontent and the Red Microphone.
“John Pietaro defies the disappearance of the proletarian writer. He is one, improbably, right now. Like Nelson Algren, whose prose his sometimes resembles, his triumph is to not turn away” - Paul Buhle
”Pietaro’s straightforward urban writing style is reminiscent of Beat literature, with a clear progressive view” - ‘People’s World’ book review
“John Pietaro is a creative and passionate writer wielding a take-no-prisoners clarity of voice” - Patricia Martin, poet/communications professional
-On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation (in prep for publication 2019)
-Reels Long Lost: Whispered Words poetry chapbook (2018)
-Il Biglietto 2 (Genoa, Italy: Sibello, 2018) - Pietaro contributed essay "Passing Shadows in NYC Transit" to this anthology edited/translated by Erika Dagnino
-Night People and Other Tales of Working New York (self-published, 2013)
-Harvey Pekar/Paul Buhle’s SDS: A Graphic History -Pietaro contributed chapter “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore” to this collection largely written by Pekar, edited by Buhle(Hill & Wang 2007)
-Magazine/journal/blog credits: The NYC Jazz Record, Z, The Nation, CounterPunch, the Wire (UK), Levure Litteraire (France), People's World, Way Out West (Japan), the Industrial Worker, Struggle, Fifth Estate, Political Affairs, AllAboutJazz, the Socialist and many more
-Arts-activist blog: http://theCulturalWorker.blogspot.com
Pietaro is a proud member of the Author's Guild, the National Writers Union, the Academy of American Poets, PEN America and the Jazz Journalists Association. Literature as a weapon of social justice is at the core of his arts philosophy. A primary influence remains the work of Leftist militant writers of the 1910s-60s, the bold auters of literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, theatre works, reportage and screen- and teleplays that forged a new day. His work is also inspired by the writers of New York's punk and post-punk movements.
On the communications front, Pietaro founded New Masses Media as a publicity and concert production company, through which he’s been engaged as Publicist for a variety of underground jazz artists and events.
Pietaro produces the annual Dissident Arts Festival (founded 2006) and has curated the performance series New Masses Nights among numerous concerts, readings and panel discussions. Over the years he's organized multi-arts events throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as the Hudson Valley towns of Woodstock, Kingston, Beacon and New Paltz NY. Sites of his events include the Brecht Forum, El Taller Latino, ShapeShifter Lab, the Firehouse Space, the Knitting Factory, 5C, the Sidewalk Cafe, 17 Frost Theatre of Arts, Henry Winston Unity Hall, the Colony, the Byrdcliffe Theatre, Howland Cultural Center, Union Square Park and more. Pietaro has been a guest speaker at Left Forum, the Workers Unite Fim Festival and the Vision Festival.
As a percussionist, spoken word artist and multi-instrumentalist, he has performed and/or recorded with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Amina Baraka, Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra, Erika Dagnino, Ras Moshe's Music Now, the Flames of Discontent, Matt Lavelle's 12 Houses, Rocco John's Improvisational Composers Ensemble and others. He also leads the spoken word/improvisational music quartet the Red Microphone which has collaborated with Ms. Baraka in performance and recording. In 2017, Ms. Baraka also performed a dramatic reading of Pietaro’s work “Her Side of the Road”.
Pietaro plays drumset, hand drums, vibraphone and various percussives with doubles on banjo and voice.
Performance/cultural organizing site: www.DissidentArts.com
‘Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone’ (ESP-Disk, 2017)
'Harmolodic Monk' (Unseen Rain 2014)
Erika Dagnino: 'Signs' (Slam 2013)
'The Red Microphone Speaks' (Dissident Arts 2012)
The Flames of Discontent: 'Revenge of the Atom Spies' (2007)
The Flames of Discontent: 'I Dreamed I Heard Joe Hill Last Night (Rhode Island Labor Society 2005)