Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Richard P. Havens

'we are all connected'
(Photo Vincent Vok)
On March 20, 2012, Havens announced on his Facebook page that he would stop touring after 45 years due to health concerns.[22] On April 22, 2013, Havens died of aheart attack at home in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was 72.[23][24][25][24] The BBC referred to him as a "Woodstock icon",[26] while Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young said Havens "could never be replicated".[26] The Daily Telegraph stated Havens "made an indelible mark on contemporary music",[27] while Douglas Martin of The New York Times reported that Havens had "riveted Woodstock".[28]

(Havens riveted more than Woodstock. He riveted his peers)


One more show to round out the yearlong Friends of Mike Porco series. The first 14 were at the famous Gaslight.

Twelve musician friends, 13 songs. Entire album played before your eyes.

The venue for May 21 is the very same basement of the Folk City from the 1970s and 80s. 

5 bucks. Can't go wrong. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


IZZY YOUNG recently came to NYC to do interviews for my documentary on Mike Porco and Gerde's. Folk City began as an idea in the minds of a stranger named Tom Prendergast and Israel Young. It was called "The Fifth Peg" for the first 5 months of 1960. Izzy is the only man on earth that could tell me the story. And in the end, he taught me a ton more about bricklaying.
I knew he was no schmuck right away, partly cuz he said so
(photo Dave Peller)

A lovely walk with my friends Terri Thal and Izzy. Beautiful people

Laughing one's ass off

Izzy smells a fucking rat

self portrait

Tracey Grisman sketch at brunch

stills from the formal interview

Dave Grisman and Izzy at the Folklore Center's last location on 6th
Izzy not letting Happy go 

Getting the scoop at the scene of the crime, 4th and Mercer

Talking man-to-man
(photo Jack Hirschorn)

Interview with Journalist Frank Beacham
(photo Jack Hirschorn)

Still on 4th and Mercer

(photo Jack Hirschorn)

A still from the video footage
Jane, Happy and the Wizard of Iz

"The Pink Penguin?! What the fuck?"

Saturday, April 13, 2013


May 21st
The FREEWHEELIN' 50th Anniversary All Star Jam
All 13 songs performed by a baker's dozen performers.
130 W. 3rd Street
The Village Underground
former home of Folk City


Samoa Wilson
Willie Nininger
Rick Ilowite
Ernie Vega
Randy Burns
Judy Gorman
Mike Heaphy
Richard Chanel
Nick Holmes
and Terre Roche

Side one
  1. "Blowin' in the Wind" – 2:48
  2. "Girl from the North Country" – 3:22
  3. "Masters of War" – 4:34
  4. "Down the Highway" – 3:27
  5. "Bob Dylan's Blues" – 2:23
  6. "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" – 6:55
Side two
  1. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" – 3:40
  2. "Bob Dylan's Dream" – 5:03
  3. "Oxford Town" – 1:50
  4. "Talkin' World War III Blues" – 6:28
  5. "Corrina, Corrina" (Traditional) – 2:44
  6. "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance" (Dylan, Henry Thomas) – 2:01
  7. "I Shall Be Free" – 4:49

Friday, April 12, 2013


 I always thought is was over-the-top-cool that Mike Porco was friends with John Lee Hooker to begin with. John Lee Hooker would be at the bar if he wasn't on stage. And Dylan watched every move Hooker made when he was closing the show. The performers had to do 2 sets each night, except for Fridays and Saturdays where they had to clear the club for 3 shows each. Dylan-Hooker-Dylan-Hooker-Dylan-Hooker in one night.!!!!!!!!!!!!

"There were earlier nights, at Izzy Young's Folklore Center on MacDougal Street and out in East Orange (where Dylan played Jimmie Rodgers's "Southern Cannonball"); later, there was Carnegie Hall, and the gone-electric boos at Forest Hills. But Gerde's was the official coming out, the start."

That, a quote from this LIVE FROM NEW YORK 
piece from New York Mag.

Some new details given....setlist, Hotel Dylan stayed at....nice touch. Accurate and tight paragraph in a New York nutshell. Couldn't have done it better myself. (Of course I can. It's my fucking blog, and what I say goes). But in a New Yorker's 'voice,' this paragraph says: Don't question whether Dylan starting at Gerde's matters. It matters, trust me.


The HuffPost got the word out in their entertainment section yesterday:

Dylan's opening act night at Gerde's was the "Opening Act heard 'round the world!"
Dylan's fan base, like the universe at this moment, continues to expand into regions unknown. They all learn, sooner or later, that he shot off like a rocket from Robert don't-call-me-Shapiro Shelton's review of the week of shows at Gerde's Folk City.

Mike Porco's copy in a menu sleeve

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Mike Porco takes Bob Dylan to get his cabaret card on April 10, 1961. Later that night, Dylan meets Joan Baez at Gerde's. The next night, Bob starts working professionally. What a difference a day makes.
~Bob Porco

Who knows how many other young men arrived in New York City in the winter of 1961 looking like James Dean and talking like Jack Kerouac? It would have been difficult to pick Bob Dylan out of the crowd at first, considering how much he had in common with the other Bohemian kids kicking around Greenwich Village. Artistic ambition? Check. Antipathy toward mainstream culture? Yes. A desire to put his middle-class identity behind him? Definitely. But the singular creative vision that would separate Dylan from the rest of his peers and change the face of popular music wasn't really in evidence yet. What Bob Dylan did have, though, in addition to his guitar and harmonica, was a unique stage presence and a vast library of American folk songs in his repertoire. On April 11, 1961, he got his first real chance to put those on display with his first major gig in New York City, opening for bluesman John Lee Hooker at Gerde's Folk City.
Bob Dylan had just arrived in town a few months earlier, but as the prominent producer/talent scout John Hammond would write in the liner notes of his debut album one year later, "The young man from the provinces began to make friends very quickly inNew York, all the while continuing, as he has since he was ten, to assimilate musical ideas from everyone he met, every record he heard." Dylan befriended not only his idol Woody Guthrie—whose hospitalization in New Jersey had been the initial impetus for Dylan to come east from Minnesota—but also some of the significant figures on the burgeoning Downtown folk scene, like Jack Elliot and Dave Van Ronk. Dylan would write about this period in "Talkin' New York" (1962), which included a verse about his breakthrough gig at Gerde's:
After weeks and weeks of hanging around
I finally got a job in New York town
In a bigger place, bigger money too
Even joined the Union and paid my dues.
Gerde's was probably the most important folk-music venue in New York City at the time—the club that every folk act with a national profile played when they were in town. Dylan had previously joined other unknowns like himself onstage at Gerde's during the club's Monday "Hootenanny Night," but the invitation to appear on a regular bill presented a bit of an administrative problem. At just 19 years old, Bob Dylan was too young to obtain the necessary union card and cabaret license. One of the clubs owners, Mike Porco, was interested enough in getting the young man on the bill, though, that he signed on as Dylan's guardian—"the Sicilian father I never knew I had," as Dylan put it.
A number of major developments in the year that followed would set Bob Dylan on his road toward stardom, but the very first of those was his appearance at Gerde's Folk City on this day in 1961.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

ISRAEL YOUNG in NYC to shoot documentary on GERDE'S FOLK CITY

Izzy graciously brought journals from Sweden

Let's get on the subway...

....and go to Brooklyn....

...and have dinner with Vince Martin

Man amongst men at Jalopy Theater
The Fabulous Jalopy Theater

Waiting for late night trains sucks


Carnegie Hall

Bloody cold first day of shooting

Back on Macdougal

Holding court with Dave Peller

Cub reporter, David Massengill

Visiting the Gaslight

110 Macdougal Street

Wrapping up daytime shoot
(Photo courtesy Jack Hirschorn)

On the corner of 4th and Mercer,  Jonathan Levin working hard
(Photo courtesy Jack Hirschorn)

Dinner with the Traums, Happy and Jane
(Photo Dave Peller)