It's been an exciting month in the life of this Porco. It has been an exciting journey for me since day one when I contacted Suze Rotolo in 2009. I told her that I was working on a biography on Mike Porco. Now I'm working on a documentary all about Grandpa AND his Folk cabaret, Gerde's Folk City.
I've been able to learn much directly from my grandfather's friends. They've welcomed me as a friend in many cases and they've been very generous when sharing their memories of the Village heyday. I've had some great encounters in short periods of time thus far, but nothing has compared to the last month...so far.
For instance, this past June 7th I interviewed Vince Martin and Dominic Chianese. The final bit of our day was the actual 'interview,' but the lead up was perhaps more fun. We captured video of Dominic at his weekly jam session at Conte's corner market on 89th and York Ave. Then we met Vince at Cafe Reggio for what became a free concert for the patrons and at least one video camera. Bravo!!
As fate would have it, the famous Clearwater event hosted June 15th at Croton Point on the Hudson featured some more Folk City kindred spirits. David Amram, Judy Collins, Mike+Ruthy, David Bromberg, Sonny Ochs....were all there because this is what they do.
Izzy Young was flying back to New York the next day on Father's Day. If I never felt like part of the family before, I did when Izzy asked me to meet him at JFK and host him "for a night or two." Dave Peller was instrumental in making up for times and places I could not be there for Izzy. It was a "gang of three" as Izzy put it. We had much fun and Izzy had much to speak with Dave about since they both were part of the 'scene.' Dave was a roommate of Ratso Sloman and Phil Ochs before he became Izzy's attaché. We three ran into Ratso in the elevator one day. Coincidence??
On June 20th, the Museum of the City of New York held their FOLK CITY concert to promote next year's FOLK CITY exhibit. The exhibit is about FOLK CITY not about THE Folk City. Go figure. It was for this event that Izzy was Flown in from Sweden and it was at this event that I was able to 'hang' backstage with many historical figures that knew Mike and know me. Very honored to be considered. PORCO POWER!
So what's it like to spend time with Izzy Young, Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Peter Yarrow, Josh White Jr, Tom Chapin, Lucy Kaplansky, Happy Traum and Joan Baez all three days apart? I'll tell you. The trick is to see all but one on one day and then travel to see Joan Baez in concert on Saturday the 22nd in Bethel, NY. The full moon was kind to me as I was greeted at the ticket booth with "AS" passes. In Bethel talk, "AS" means After Show. Not bad. I went to touch the hand of a legend. She decided a hug was better for the occasion of meeting a Porco decedent. I took part in the hug with much delight. I also met her son Gabe who, like me, was in the larvae stage at the time of WOODSTOCK. He on stage inside his mom, me somewhere in the Bronx inside mine. What fun!
Miss Judy Collins was an original part of June, but unforeseen circumstances forced us to postpone our June 13 interview. She, readers, will be part of a future blog post. She won't use it for her resumé but maybe I will.
I was bummed about missing the Judy Collins interview. I needed a dose of the venom. But Jeezus!! What could be added? How about a trip across the country to California? Why not? I was able to secure another visit and interview with Brother Bruce Langhorne and George Gerdes. Bruce was in rare form on July 6th and George was George on the 7th. Yesterday. What great footage I got from them both.
I will share it with you all in time. The story of New York's first honest-to-God Folk Music cabaret will astound the world. All these people are living proof.
|Dominic at Conte's|
|Shooting at the old Folk City site|
|Me and David Amram at Clearwater|
|Dave Peller and Izzy Young|
|Me and Izzy leaving for brunch|
|Mr. Big Balls|
|Mike Merenda, AC Newman, Happy Traum|
|Oscar Brand, Josh White Jr.|
|Yeah Joan, I can't believe it either!|
|And the moon was FULL|
|Gabe Harris and me|
|Izzy Young, Washington Sq.|
June 24, 2013
|Mr. Tambourine Man and Mr. Porco|
|Bruce Langhorne at home in Venice, CA|
|Shooting a documentary is serious stuff|
|George Gerdes making room for himself in LA|