Arts at Old First: David Ritz, "The God Groove," with Jody Rosen

August 24, 2019, 6:00 PM

729 Carroll St
Old First Reformed Church
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Arts at Old First is honored to host acclaimed music biographer David Ritz  frequent collaborator with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Marvin Gaye  to present his memoir The God Groove: A Blues Journey to Faith.  Raised Jewish, Ritz found belief in Christ through his immersion in the lives and music of some of the great musicians of the 20th century, and his memoir is a story of art, redemption and transformation with a soulful soundtrack like no other. Jody Rosen, culture critic and writer for the New York Times Magazine, joins Ritz for a conversation about his unique journey, as part of Old First's ongoing literary series on art and faith.  Audience Q&A and book signing to follow.

Seating is limited; RSVP required.  A wine reception follows the event.  Books offered for sale by Community Bookstore. A portion of all book and ticket sales benefits the Old First Restoration Fund.

Please note: online ticket sales end at 3:00 PM on August 24, but additional tickets are available at the door.

David Ritz is a songwriter who has collaborated with stars like Janet Jackson and Marvin Gaye, as well as a renowned ghostwriter who has authored more than fifty books for some of the biggest stars in music: Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Lenny Kravitz, Joe Perry, Smokey Robinson, Don Rickles, and Willie Nelson, to name a few. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Essence, People, US, Art Connoisseur, and TV . He lives in Los Angeles with Roberta, his wife of 47 years.

Jody Rosen is a Contributing Writer for the The New York Times Magazine. His writing on culture, politics, and music has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and many other publications. He was the music critic for New York Magazine, Slate, and the Nation. His new book, Two Wheels Good: The Bicycle on Planet Earth and Beyond, is forthcoming from Crown.

Arts at Old First carries out Old First's mission to offer hospitality to creative and art-minded community groups. This includes the annual Brooklyn Bluegrass Bash, the annual Park Slope Messiah Sing-along, and various other events supporting the visual, literary, and musical arts. Arts at Old First events benefit the Old First Restoration Fund.

Old First Reformed Church, founded in 1654, is a diverse, open, and supportive church community that welcomes persons of every ethnicity, race, and orientation to worship, serve, and love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Its 200 members and adherents are from all walks of life and reflect a diversity of backgrounds.

Old First's main sanctuary had been closed since 2011 when plaster fell from the ceiling, revealing wear in the 19th century structure.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Place and a hub for community events in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the building is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration project, supported by grants as well as community contributions.  More at