Thursday, October 22, 2015

40 YEARS AGO- ROLLING THUNDER at FOLK CITY on Mike Porco's Birthday

Bobby Dylan

In October of 1975, Mr. Dylan was hanging around the Village quite often.
He was wrapping up his recording sessions for the DESIRE album and was spending time
with lyricist and Broadway producer, Jaques Levy, in New York. They were plotting a tour. What kind of tour…?
only they knew.

Dylan had returned to the road with The Band in 1974. His most critically acclaimed album,
(perhaps ever)
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, was on the store shelves for less than a year. The Basement tapes
had finally been released only 4 months prior.
His fans were eager for more. He had returned to the front of the pack with a vengeance. 
Any ol' tour could have satisfied. But Dylan had something majestic in mind.

Jack Hardy, Odetta, Mike Porco

Well, it turned out that Mike Porco was having a birthday.
Folksinger Jack Hardy had it in mind to gather some of Mike's friends
(read: musicians) and throw him a surprise party at his own club.

Thursday October 23rd 1975 was his 61st birthday. Mathematicians and can
deduce that today would be Mike's 101st birthday.

We had a 100th party for Grandpa last year. BUT TODAY
being born this day 40 years ago at FOLK CITY.

David Amram, David Massengill, Rob Stoner amongst Mike Porco's friends
celebrating Mike's 100th last year

So….back to 1975!
Jack Hardy quietly spread word around that Mike will have a surprise serenade for
his birthday.
Word travels fast in this small town. Mike's old friend and prodigal son, Bob Dylan,
got wind of the bash and
decided that ''tonight is the night.'' The tour he was plotting with Levy
will be brought to the light at Folk City.


Dylan had confided in his DESIRE bass player, Rob Stoner, that, with some help,
''auditions'' were going to be held at Folk City for the stage show
he had planed with Levy.
There was nothing specific discussed, but like lightning, a buzz was generated around NYC
that Dylan was going to crash Hardy's party for Mike.

Dylan also had it in mind to record the entire tour on film. This night would
become part of the film Renaldo and Clara.
Cameras and lights were set up at Folk City with a little lie told to Mike
that it was for a documentary on Folk Music.
Rob (Rothstein) Stoner

Larry 'Ratso' Sloman

The main word-spreaders of this historic event were Larry "Ratso'' Sloman and
Songwriter, David Blue. 
Within hours, ''every Folk singer you could imagine'' descended on Folk City
to become a part of this happening.
Some other luminaries also came to sing and hang out. Bette Midler, Patti Smith,
Eric Andersen, Tom Waits and Allen Ginsberg were there.

Young Ratso

Bob Neuwirth

T-Bone Burnette, Rosie, Phil Ochs

Allen Ginsberg

Ramblin' Jack Elliott

As it turned out, every Folk singer (except for Dave Van Ronk)
really did show up for the party. It went into the wee hours with Phil Ochs
taking the stage as the Friday sun was dawning.
But in the hours (and hours!) prior to that, Folk City was,
as Rob Stoner told me for my documentary
''The very nexus of the cultural universe.''

Buzzy Linhart and Bette Midler sang 'Friends.' Patti Smith sang.
Eric Andersen performed. Ramblin' Jack, Ginsberg and a slew of others,
including the regularly scheduled acts of 
Nancy Lee Baxter and Jack Hardy performed.

Of course, everyone was waiting for Dylan and he didn't disappoint.
He took the stage with the Queen of Folk, Joan Baez, for the first time
in years. They sang 'One too many mornings' and an old traditional tune.
The crowd who was there still talks about this occasion to this day
with utter amazement.

How could Bob Dylan, at the height of his career, choose a 3rd Street bar to kickoff 
an historic tour like Rolling Thunder
Well, Mike Porco was his friend. Gerde's Folk City was where it ALL began for him.
It was the best place to showcase it. 
And Mike's birthday…well, it wasn't forgotten. Happy Birthday was sung for him
about a dozen times that night.
Footage of the cake and a warm hug between
Bob and Grandpa was taken by the crew and seen by me 39 years later.

And the tour itself…?
Well, let's just say, it's history now. 

Porco, Dylan, Andersen, Baez

David Blue, Bette Midler, Ginsberg

Momma Dylan, Baez, Dylan, Stoner

was a concert ending the first big leg of the Revue.
As with all the shows in this Medicine Show, each performer asked to come on tour
played a set of their own followed by a set of Dylan culminating
in a final sing along and bow.

At The Night of the Hurricane, Dylan's mother, Mike Porco and virtually
everyone else ''behind the scenes'' were invited on stage for the finale.

Madison Square Garden. Packed house. Italian immigrant and steadfast supporter
of Folk and Blues, Mike Porco, finally realized what it was like
to be applauded by 19,000. A hug from Bob Dylan was enough for him
and that's what he got.


Mike Porco, Bob Dylan
Folk City


Monday, September 28, 2015

BRIGHT NEW FACE at Gerde's Club- September 29, 1961

Someone was gonna discover Bob Dylan, somewhere.

But as fate would have it, one could argue that Robert Shelton discovered him at Mike Porco's Center of Folk Music. It could have been San Francisco or Los Angeles, but it wasn't. It was at Folk City in NYC's Washington Square. Young Bobby had the chops, he brought his talents to the Village, he received plenty of support from his peers, Mike Porco hired him to play and a star was almost born.

You see, my grandfather first hired him in April of 1961. He was a hit! And he was welcomed to open the shows at Gerde's later that year, a stint beginning on September 26, 1961. He opened for The Greenbriar Boys, but they were not the main topic of New York Times music critic Robert Shelton's review below. The review, which Dylan himself stayed up all night to fetch from the early morning paper delivery, was THE ONE that made him the talk of the town. Fifty-four years later….

Bob Dylan at Gerde's Folk City


 Mike Porco experienced a major boost in business once he welcomed
Folk and Blues in his restaurant on West 4th Street in 1960. It became a good luck venue for aspiring singers and songwriters.

After Shelton's review, Bob Dylan became the toast of the Village scene. He was one of a few musicians to be ''discovered'' at Gerde's. As Bob Dylan's notoriety and career went into the stratosphere, songwriters from all over delivered themselves to Mike Porco's club, hoping to be seen by the critics and music producers looking for new talent.

Mike Porco had to work tirelessly to keep the machine well oiled. Because of it Mike Porco and Gerde's Folk City are being honored as I speak. They are featured in an exhibit on New York and the Folk boom at the Museum of the City of New York because it truly was, NEW YORK'S CENTER OF FOLK MUSIC.

Because the one and only Bob Dylan claimed Gerde's as his turf, the legend of Mike and Gerde's loomed larger than just 'the guy' who owned 'the place' where Dylan started. They were friends and it seems that Dylan went out of his way to help Mike out throughout the years.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to see a Porco honored on the walls of the 
Museum of the City of New York.

My daughter Angelina sees Grandpa at the museum

We took the bus downtown to Washington Square

Mike, Cisco Houston

Bob Shelton (center),
First high profile review of Dylan, later biographer

Mike Porco's personal copy, saved in a Gerde's menu holder

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world…..
Friday brought me to the Brooklyn Americana Folkfest
to see Mike+Ruthy

The weekend culminated in the great
Washington Square Old Time Music and Bluegrass
This is taken very seriously by these historic pickers. It is the only time they get to see each other as in the past.

Musician, Producer Barry Kornfeld

Village stalwart Roger Sprung.
60 years and counting in the Square

Legendary Eric Weissberg came to town from Woodstock

So as you can see: There's something still going on here. Mike Porco would be happy to know that many of his friends are still working and still pickin'. He also would be proud to know that a film is being made on his legacy and his club. POSITIVELY PORCO will make people smile.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The year:

The YouTube clip below discusses more….

And without much redundancy, Folk City had to move from W4th Street.
Mike Porco was lucky enough to land an anchor piece of real estate
on 3rd Street by 6th Avenue.

This venue location would go on to witness
the depths and rebirth of the FOLK SCARE
and their recurring offspring.

The highlight at 130 W3rd, of course, without question or doubt, was 
Thursday October 23, 1975.
Almost 40 years exactly.
Mike Porco's 61st birthday surprise party.
Bob Dylan returned home 14 years after his 
career began at Gerde's.
He used the occasion to kickoff the Rolling Thunder Revue.
None of the videos below discuss the Rolling Thunder…
you're just supposed to know all about it.

What I find surprising is that many of Mike Porco's friends
and even some of the musicians who lived or worked in the Village at the time
do not remember exactly when Folk City moved.
I found the Village Voice ads…It re-opened in early November 1969.


POSITIVELY the 1960s
Explanation of Gerde's Folk City's move from West 4th Street
to West 3rd Street
in 1969

And I'm posting a few clips that have passed through my laptop
over the Summer of 2015.
(More on the meetings I've had this year in a later post….
I've met Bill Keith, Fred Hellerman, Noel Stookey, 
Maria Muldaur and a few others so far this year.
There must be a bus of these people following me….) 

Biff Rose at the Folk City 50th Anniversary

Erik Frandsen at BB King's
May 31, 2015

on Gerde's Folk City
and Mike Porco
(File under: NON FICTION)

Don't 'like' it of Facebook. L-O-V-E IT!!!!
POSITIVELY PORCO is on Facebook:


POSITIVELY PORCO can be found on YouTube:

Details and history on GERDE'S FOLK CITY can be found at:

More info on Gerde's Folk City:



© 2015, bobporco, FRIENDS OF MIKE PORCO, LLC

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


A concert to benefit….

Earthquake Situations 

in countries 
Ravaged by 
Economic Hardship and Famine 
due to 
Austerity Measures imposed on the poor 
After the Crash 
Before The Flood


It's a long title for a Benefit Concert. I'll probably just refer to it as "BEFORE THE FLOOD.''

When my next concert is held, the performers shall be paid by ticket sales AND
each ticket will support victims of The Flood of 2015.

If a flood or earthquake is not manufactured and provided prior to the concert date, (lettuce spray) then each ticket shall support music lessons for adolescents in the town of the concert.

Great idea…I know.


Monday, August 17, 2015


It's unlikely that I will ever promote this particular post on this particular blog in the infinite space of the Internet on this particular planet. 

After all, once a person enters the web to search, read, learn etc, one truly enters the infinite space of the cosmos. No?
You show me a man who says the Internet as we know it is a finite entity, and I will show you a fucking liar.

This bit of 'gossip' is small by comparison to infinite space.

The reason I won't advertise this little space of mine is because it's my first spice-tongued response toward an entity that shall soon be named below. 

I have been such a good boy,,,, never politicizing my blog with my opinions of trivial matters such as politicians and pop culture. Fuck. all. of. dat. 

Even with this planned post resembling meanness, I bear in mind the advice of Liam Clancy, given to Bob Dylan by Liam when they were both young and ambitious: 

No Fear
No Envy
No Meanness

It's a law to live by, in my eyes. It's not just a suggestion to stage performers. That's what I have gained from it. Not that I take advice that well...


Robbie Woliver has 'issues' with little ol' me. Over what? I'm not sure.

To lend some perspective, without intentions of sounding mean, I will paint a picture of our relations here. Sometimes the facts sound like a mean description of someone else.

These are facts. 

Robbie Woliver and two partners bought and ran Folk City from Mike Porco in 1980

Robbie et al organized the 25th Anniversary festival to honor Mike Porco and Folk City held in NYC in 1985. 

Robbie et al closed Folk City in 1986.

I graduated high school in 1987. 

So as you can see, I was, and still am, the KID in the equation... Punk kid, maybe. I am I. Get to know me, you'll soon see me better.

Who is Robbie Woliver, you ask?
That's my point exactly.

It has been told to me by those who know him best, Robbie Woliver has a tiny fan club. Fact.

I will state other facts (READ: No meanness) but I will first point out that a mutual friend has witnessed Robbie making a special note (an outright mention) of an existing rivalry between he and I. 

Firstly, as asinine as that sounds, I like a good competition as much as the next guy. But when I'm supposed to be an active participant in this perceived "rivalry," at least let me in on it so I can participate in the beating. 

To that end I say, one cannot succeed in a rivalry that doesn't exist. 

The word is comical every time I type it: Rivalry

I am one of a kind, niggahs. YOU just be hatin'.

No one has done anything for GERDES FOLK CITYtm and Mike Porco's good name and honor for the last 30 years but me. Another FACT, muthafukka. I have done more, mostly by fucking accident, in the last 5 years for my granddaddy than Ribbie and all others combined:
His partners, his #1 fan, Paul Simon, Dave Van Ronk and even Mike Porco. He passed in 1992. I am the one who has given his flesh in a handshake to his friends 18 years after his death. The living ones are current friends and respected elders to me here on Earth.

There is no competition. go home, bitch.

Most importantly to note here, I have something Robbie Woliver, his posse, Bob Dylan and Izzy Young don't have: PORCO BLOOD

I have just made renewed contact with my Uncle Angelo's son, Ronnie. Ron and all 8 Porco grandkids of Mike Porco have spit more Porco blood down the drain while brushing their gums than non-Porcos will ever have. 

Is it quite the name to boast?! Porco??!!
It's not like Vanderbilt or Jeter. But hey, my name has gotten me into Dylan's business office, backstage at a Baez concert and in the homes of Arlo Guthrie, John Hammond and José Feliciano to interview them on camera. Let's see Derek Jeter do that. 

Clearly, there is no rivalry on my mind. I'm only going on about HERE it and wasting time on it because I'm on vacation. And it bothers me a bit because I have offered to "join forces" and help out in the past. Not any more. He's made enough pseudo popularity for himself on Mike's name. He won't on mine. fuck him

In my spare time, I'm moving forward with my plans on honoring Mike and his friends in a movie. And I'm doing just fucking fine without the help of...robbie small r. 

There's a competition in someone's swirling mind somewhere, but I am a lifetime away with my own world-changing project. Chinese proverb: Man who says it cannot be done, should not interfere with man who is doing. 


I can only guess at where this rivalry (hahaha) stems. 

Back in 2010, I jumped into the Greenwich Village crowd like a kid cannonballing the elders at the swimming pool. 

I burst in on everyone out of the blue. I emailed and called dozens of people and asked them to help me put on a 50th Anniversary party for Gerde's Folk City. Everyone said yes. I was blessed

Sylvia Tyson, Eric Weissberg, Happy Traum, The Roches, Biff Rose, Vince Martin, David Bromberg, Frank Christian, Jack Hardy, Bev Grant and 30 others played a 6 hour concert on a Monday night. Fact. Some of You missed it. 

Along the way, just weeks before the day of the show (June 7, 2010) Robbe asked me to call it off. Why...You ask?! (I think that's when I discovered a douchebag)

Thanks to me, I said no. The show was captured thanks to crowd funding.

He had it in mind to group together our efforts to get Folk City inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...the following year in 2011. He had it all planned out…. 

We're all still waiting. Fact. 

When, in 2012, I was organizing and hiring Mike Porco's friends (Tom Pacheco, David Amram, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, David Massengill, Stefan Grossman) to perform at the famous Gaslight on Macdougal Street, I thought it would be ok to post some advance notice of MY monthly shows on Robbie's "official" Folk City page on Facebook. WRONG. Mike Porco's grandson was not welcome to post music shows. He didn't even accept a 'friend' request... Had some other douchebag email me to say that Mike shouldn't have a presence on FB. Two little pussy asses.

So Robbie blocked my ads. And he never supported one show. And he never helped spread the word. Must have been out of town for a year. And he was 'out of town' another year when I offered to drive to Long Island to meet him. He was out of town for the 50th Anniversary and I never met him in NYC at ANY concerts in support of his 'friends.' Facts. (Way to go!)

Finally, after 5 years of him avoiding me, we only first met June 15, 2015 at the FOLK CITY exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Mike Porco and the Gerde's Folk City of the 1960s is featured prominently for good reason. He did something special for 20 years. DOWN IN ONE PUNCH

The folks that closed Folk City, the Gaslight, the Commons…eh…not mentioned at all. Forgotten. Footnotes. Nice try but Mike Porco WAS AND IS Gerde's Folk City. "Gerde's Folk City" is a state of mind; a token memory of New York's golden age. The curator got this one right. The show is NOT called "New York and the Gaslight'' or ''Macdougal Street: New York and the Folk Boom.'' 

Gerde's Folk City- the imperial GerdesFolkCityTM- 
is not made in the image of the people who currently own the name.

The people who had the foresight (or is it just thievery?) to trademark the words "Gerdes Folk City" imagined that by Trademarking a state of mind and assuming the name would mean that all roads shall be paved through the trademarker and their business card. It doesn't. 

Mind boggling. 

Yeah. So enough about me. What  about YOU think about me? Do ya care?? You shouldn't. This is just a gripe being thrown into the public space if the interweb. Puking on the sidewalk, for your historical reference. 

Gerde's Folk City is reportedly re-opening, 25 years after being promised to the masses, somewhere in NYC, I'm told. (do not hold your breath) Best of luck selling enough beer and French fries to remain open in this town. I won't drop a dollah in the well. I ain't going. Won't put a Porco blessing upon it. I won't curse it or discourage others to go, but I don't want to go. robbie et al have made a slight name for themselves by being, probably the only ones, offering enough money in 1980 to pick up after Mike Porco. Where would they be without him, I wonder…. Same place they'll be without me, I guess: Living on LI pretending.

They may go down in history known as the folks to close Folk City, not once, but TWICE. I don't hope that's the case. It will be interesting to see if a buzz can be generated by the upstarts on the street now, but to succeed as a club owner, one needs to display unbridled love for the artists. (I'm still working on my BIG project to prove myself. You'll know it when you see it)

My impression of Rob, based on how he promised and never delivered money and recording rights to all of the participants of the 25th anniversary, is that he is a cheat and a liar with coward on top. 

I just don't see re-opening the Yankee Stadium of Greenwich Village after 30 years of not being in "on the street" at-ALL. (Tourist trap alert)

This reminds me of how, years after stopping production, the Volkswagen Bug was miraculously brought back from the dead. They put the engine up front, a flower holder built-in the dash, mass produced them in silly colors and sold them to little girls like a dirty peddler. Girls around the nation were able to get in touch with their hippie side. Does anyone take them seriously? Seriously?

I could go on. 

And I will. 

On my path. Starting after I publish this. I've already been there. I took the pledge to my own manifesto to support and promote music in the VEIN of Mike Porco. He wasn't an angel. But don't tell that to many of my current friends. He was/is loved. Fact.

My oath, taken to my daughter to provide a legacy of some sort, is routinely discussed with her. She knows my focus.

Beyond Angelina, my allegiance is only to Mike and the SCENEMAKERS of yesteryear. All others?,,,, drive on. 

Good luck to whom ever owns the rights to Folk City these days. It doesn't fucking matter to me and, I'm assuming, it doesn't matter to Porco's everywhere. 

Take a cursory glance at my entire blog and search the infinite space of the Internet. I've posted here along the way. You can see where I've been. I've been openly printing concert pictures, backstage shots and sometimes you'll get plans and ideas regurgitated here.

You will find Mike Porco's name in search engines more today than 5 years ago. Fact. Part of the mission.

Other people have pretended that Mike Porco hardly existed. They mention him in the most minimal way. It's insulting. If he were alive, he'd wonder WTF!

Keep searching. You'll see all the things I've done to support artists in and around New York. My mission is clear. Don't think for a minute that, in the vast uncertainty and wonder of this world and the cosmos surrounding, that I have the time to involve myself in a 'competition' to see who can support artists 'better' and show more respect to the greatest musicians in New York today. Mike Porco did his job. I'm DOING my job. Fact. Case closed. 

If someone should like to assume the identity of 'gerdes folk cityTM' and put it on their business card, HAVE AT IT, fuck you and good luck.


Apologies for diverting from the credo of "no fear, no meanness, no envy..."....Mike Porco didn't have a mean bone in his body. But I am not Mike Porco. 

Part of Robbie's resurgence is based around a theatrical play called HOOT. It's about the club. It's Fictitious but has historical references throughout. 

Mike Porco's part is acted and played with reverence by good friend Vincent Vok. Robbie said to me over the phone one day: It would be cool if you only could play guitar, I'd put you in the show.

Shows how much he knows about me. Every jerk I know already knows I'm a shitty guitar player. Drive on.

PS- Should I discover that Mike Porco's name or likeness is being used for capital gains at the ''new'' Folk City, I will NOT call a lawyer. I will personally come downtown and smack around the little bitches brash enough to try.