Thursday, December 26, 2019

Porco podcast with Rico and Petrus

12.23.19 at the Washington Square Hotel Stephen Petrus- Author/Curator of art exhibit Folk City Richard Barone- Musician, Event guru Bob Porco- One-track mind There's very little intention to over edit this conversation. I'm thankful for the time Richard and Stephen shared. We plan to take a few seconds out of this clip to make a promo. Turns out I'm leaving it as is, for the most part....for now. It's experimental but we discussed the vital importance that the Gerde's Folk City 60th Anniversary party must be an absolutely, positively sold out show. BUY TICKETS A link from venue: Link for ticket sales: Facebook event page: Blog post: Come celebrate  The 60th Anniversary  For world renown cabaret  Gerde’s Folk City Folk City was the epicenter of the Washington Square Folk and Blues Revival It was known for being the first paying gig for a constellation of Folk and Rock legends. Gerde’s became the premiere showcase for America's most critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, Bluesmen and traditional Folk artists from around the Country. Folk City ultimately hosted acts as far and wide as Gospel matinees on Sunday in 1960 to Sonic Youth in the ‘80s.  Hear songs from the vast music catalog of Greenwich Village come to life. Our All Star house band will pay tribute to the anthems of American music history. Solo performances by Texas Songbird Carolyn Hester- Folk City’s first ever Act! Multi dimensional song craftsman James Maddock Terre Roche of the Folk Rock pioneers, The Roches Worldwide Mod Rocker Willie Nile Bandleader extraordinaire, Rolling And Rockin’ Rob Stoner The drummer is class act Konrad Meissner  Your show’s Hosts:  Richard Barone of The Bongos Original proprietor, Mike Porco’s grandson, Bob Porco

Sunday, December 8, 2019

FOLK. ROCK. BLUES. ROOTS - Folk City at 60

Don't think twice!
Buy a couple of tickets today.

Music lovers,

It’s that time of the century again!

New York City’s first “honest-to-God Folk Music Cabaret”** is celebrating another decade of making a difference in America. 

Gerde’s Folk City was the place where “the cross fertilization of musical eras and styles forged important links in the chain of American Music.” (I can’t say it better than Suze Rotolo!)

We’re offering a night of music, words and multi-media to commemorate the conversion of my grandfather’s Italian restaurant into one of the world’s most influential music venues EVER. 

In 1960, my dear friend Israel Goodman Young and Mike Porco made a handshake deal to create a “little club” by inviting America’s best traveling musicians to come in from the cold for an honest week’s work. 

In February of that year, Porco, Oscar Brand, Charlie Rothschild and Logan English invented what we now call THE OPEN MIC. 

The free Monday night Hootenanny was the deal breaker between Izzy and Mike. Word of this free stage show literally traveled across the Nation. Folk City went on to host The Village’s first “talent night” starring Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Simon and Garfunkel throughout the years. 

The thought of eventually getting hired for a week was every musician’s goal. 

And that’s how it all started. 

Sixty years later, Gerde’s Folk City still matters. I have the great honor to invite us all to get together again and cheer Mike Porco’s good name. 

The links to info and tickets are included here. 

Link to venue:

Ticket sales:

FaceBook event:

Our line up includes:
Carolyn Hester- Mike Porco’s first hire!
Rob Stoner
Terre Roche
James Maddock
Willie Nile

Bongo frontman Richard Barone and I are hosting. Join us!

Times Square is 45 blocks from the original Folk City but there’s a train that’ll get you there. 

Folk, Rock, Blues and Roots,


**That’s a quote from Dave Van Ronk. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

GERDE'S FOLK CITY at SIXTY concert announcement

Come celebrate 
The 60th Anniversary 
For world renown cabaret 
Gerde’s Folk City

Experience songs from the era performed by an All Star band. 

Hear voices from the past come to life.

The subway you will need to get there

Folk City was the epicenter of the Washington Square Folk and Blues Revival. 

 The seminal club hosted the first professional gig for a constellation of American Folk acts during the Washington Square Revival of the 1960s.

Beginning in 1960 and virtually overnight, Folk City became the premiere showcase for America's most critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, Bluesmen and traditional Folk artists from around the Country.

At the center of the action was Mike Porco, the enigmatic restauranteur and champion of struggling talent.

Gerde's Restaurant was an Italian eatery situated ‘off the beaten path’ East of Washington Square and MacDougal Street yet it became the unlikely launch pad of a musical movement.

For the next 20 years, Gerde's was a beacon of light for the professional traveling, and oft times wayfaring, musician dreaming of an audience for their work. Blues masters were playing the Greenwich Village clubs passing on their knowledge to many aspiring new comers.

In his autobiography, Bob Dylan called Gerde's "the preeminent Folk club in America." Folk City's distinctive fraternity of such aspiring young artists and legendary recording stars borders on myth. 

Folk City ultimately hosted acts as far and wide as Gospel matinees on Sunday in 1960 to Sonic Youth in the ‘80s.
Suze Rotolo said that Gerde's was where "the cross-fertilization of different styles and musical eras forged important links in the chain of American musical history."

In early 1960, Mike Porco added a Monday night 'Hootenanny,' widely regarded as New York's first "open mic." Mike Porco, an opportunist who was never one to turn away a crowd, was instrumental in, literally, setting the stage for the music revolution of the 1960s.

In a short time, Porco became a steadfast supporter, champion and surrogate father for those reshaping the sound of American music.


West 4th and Mercer was where America’s timeless songs were born and bred. 

Folk. Rock. Blues. Roots. 

Come celebrate ‘New York’s Center of Folk Music’

Hosted by Mike's grandson, Bob Porco 
and Bongo frontman Richard Barone.

Complete list of performers 
with link for tickets
and details on the show.

The Iridium
January 24, 2020

From the inside of Gerde's on W.4th St. LIFE Magazine was there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


I had a good old fashioned belly laugh today. Then another. And one more. 

Everything old is new again. 

If my grandfather were around to see this, he’d be clipping out ads from the Levi Strauss catalogs and magazines. He was proud of any mention. I am too. It’s just so......

GOD this is funny! Levi’s is taking the likeness of Folk City alum and creating a clothing line inspired by Greenwich Village fashion trends of yesteryear. Smart move. Add your own ketchup stains and elbow grease. No Village jacket would be worth a penny unless one can sleep on a roach infested floor with it.

It’s a pillow!
It’s a bed!
It’s an umbrella!
It’s a blanket! 
It’s a shopping bag with pockets for shoplifting!
It’s so West 4th Street!

I’m still laughing at its brilliance. I don’t think Mike Porco would be offended that they have taken Gerde’s name in vain. Robbie, who owns the name, may already be aware of this fabulousness. Does Charlie Rothschild know about this?

Charlie is the one credited with coining the phrase that pays, Folk City. 

In 1960, it was the punctuation of Gerde’s Folk City. Before then it was Mike and Izzy Young’s brainchild, The Fifth Peg at Gerde’s at 11 W4th. And before that it was just Gerde’s. And before THAT it was at 11 West 3rd, not West 4th. 

Folk City is Charlie Rothschild’s phrase. God bless him. 

The clothes line seems built for spring/Fall. It looks a little Dylanesque, no? Bobby should know. Can we start a CBGB line of bandanas now? Perhaps a 1990 line of just flannel shirts. All clothing should be absorptive for cleaning up vomit or beer spills. Or vomit.

The Village is on corporate minds. It’s in the “news” today thanks to Levi’s. 

It’s proof positive. The name has value. It matters. This makes people curious. 

Rod MacDonald, Bob Gibson, Tom Intondi

Ramblin Jack (Marcia Stehr) 

Monday, July 22, 2019


Invent thyself, again and again and forever again.
Rob Stoner, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan

Louie Kemp, Cisco Houston, Bob Dylan, Mike and Helen

Bobby Neuwirth was there


Rosie Smith

Helen Smilowitz was a sweet woman to us kids. She must have lived with my grandfather for 30 years by the time of her demise.

She made it on to the big screen in The Rolling Thunder Re-vue film! One can almost hear her ask The Bard, ''Hey Bobby! How are the kids?" 

The big man-kiss shared between Bob Dylan and Mike Porco is their business. It only demonstrates their father-son relationship.

Easily, that's my favorite scene in Scorsese's Re-vue. Mike Porco's handsome face can be seen a few moments later when Rosie invites 'Joan Baez and her friend' to the stage on October 23rd 1975. If you look you'll see Joan, Bob, David Blue, Helen and a peacock chested Mike Porco applauding. 

Folk City was heading toward closing before that night. Crowd sizes were in full decline. There were lean years for everyone in that business. The size of the musician's crowd, however, never shrunk. There were still lots of competitive acts in the Village then and the best performers still came out of Folk City.

On a warm Autumn day in October, Dylan decided to bring the circus through town. Grandpa had a boom at the register. Beer sales were up!! Our family was raised on beer sales. 

There was a decade long uptick in numbers of musicians from all around the country coming to Folk City because of the buzz Rolling Thunder created. 

Some think that the patented Porco two hand head grab and kiss was mainly ''a thank you, Bobby'' for saving the business (and perhaps Greenwich Village) in one fell swoop. I would not argue.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Witness to the whole thing

pictured on Netflix
My surrogate grandma Helen Smilowitz, Mike Porco, Baez
and Bobby Dylan

Ronno said: Twaaannnng, twaaannng, twaanng twaaannngg

Eric Andersen, Patti Smith and the actual headshots seen on Netflix here on this blog post
Beth Van Over (J. Ritchie's cousin)
Elroy (Name Unknown)

Phillys Lind
Phil's headshot (thanks Peggy Duncan)

Barry Kornfeld
Hosted the Hoots
played on Wednesday Morning 3AM

Happy Traum, Gil Turner, Bob Cohen B.D.D. (Before Delores Dixon)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Mike Porco Birthday party observations by Rob Stoner, Larry Sloman, Rod MacDonald, Eric Andersen and my father, Bob Sr

Rolling Thunder Revue observations by Rob Stoner, Larry Sloman, Rod MacDonald and my father, Bob Sr

A Father's Day post for the men in my life. Mike Porco did something so noble and good in his lifetime that he is my all time hero. I forgive him for not coming around to birthday parties too much. He was busy at his club getting people together.

My grandfather made his film debut in Martin Scrorses's Rolling Thunder Re-Vue. Look again, you'll see him. Camera A resting on his shoulder like a pirate's parrot, it shows Bobby's face as he greeted his surrogate father on his birthday. BIG KISS on Mike's cheek. A second big kiss on Bob's cheek. Knocks his hat off. Sweet. Sweet!

And then he was gone. Out of picture. But the vibe at Folk City was thickly captured for a couple minutes immediately after. Patti Smith handed my grandfather a tiny horse as a gift. The birthday cake fell on the cabaret carpet.

''What a mess''

What's important is that the moment was used in the film. I'm proud and happy that Mr. Porco was recognized by Martin Scorsese and the look on Mr. Dylan's face was worth the price(s) of admission. The respect shown profusely by Bob Neuwirth is gushing out of the silver screen. Mike has that kind of energy to this day. I think I saw my grandfather lunge at another man in order to kiss him. But I'll have to watch the flick again to see for myself. 

'The hug' was the image I was expecting to see when I caught up with the June 12 release. Lincoln Center is a walkable jaunt from my apartment through the Park and I bought two consecutive showings. The first show had much laughter by a large crowd. The second show was curiously quieter.

Like when Dylan says, 'Allen Ginsberg was a great dancer' or that he doesn't remember Von Dorp it's taken as fact because the audience trusts Bob implicitly. 

I was hopeful as I watched the rest of the film. Would they come back to Folk City again towards the end, I asked. You'll have to see for yourself. I was not disappointed although I thought they would show Bob and Joan perform at Folk City after midnight of the birthday party. Maybe we heard a bit and don't quite know. 

Another wonderful clip Martin Scorsese chose was the scene at the bar. 

Do you like my dress?
Why'd you get married?!
Why'd you get married before me!?
Thinking will fuck you up.


Are we watching touches of Spinal Tap or just an inside joke?

Some Twitterati are upset that there are 4 instances where Martin Scorsese takes poetic license. 

Firstly, for those who write reviews of the Revue, ball the critique up and shove it high up. Do these people watch the discovery channel and critique the dusting methods of the archeologist in the pit with the bones? please 

I call this clip observations of the birthday party. Before it was a Tour, it had to be-a Birthday Party for someone somewhere with witnesses processing the event. Cool. (That's what I have here for youtube view. I'm even posting my own observations directly to the Google cloud before I save these words. Take it leave it ball it up wait for it in the Positively Porco doc)

Secondly, the slight of hand Martin Scorsese tossed in did not diminish the stunning footage he chose to use. Kudos and many thanks for that. 

Scorsese didn't choose any apparent long shots from the back of the hall. Any long shots were from the stage out. The rest of the time, he chose on-stage camera shots and front row shots from under Bob's hat.

Not much else for the songs. Seemingly, 3 or 4 songs were from the same show. Awesome. Count the hairs in the brow. Study.

Many shots punch one in the face from the screen. Mick Ronson sounds so FUCKING GOOD with these remasters. The camera kneels at his feet. 

Stoner, Howie Wyeth, Mansfield et al all speak for themselves in the film. So tight it's hard to imagine what supergroup could be assembled with todays players. Untouchable tightness. 

Yet the film put us all on the Stage. Right there in plain sight of other camera and sound men. Von DorFP was off that day.

Which also makes me think that it would be silly to ask Mike Porco, or Stoner or Ratso or Scarlet Rivera for a review of the movie. They were inside. I bet they rest easy seeing what 2:22 was used. It took 44 years. Nuff Said.

This clip is part-a something else I've made for the film on Gerdes I'm doing. Patience is a thing. 

This small audio talk is about the preamble with a little street action with Dave Van Ronk thrown in. It ends with a note from the Dec 8, 1975 concert. Stoner, Ratso and my father continue on speaking in film in the 'big clip' to discuss the tour and Phil Ochs.

By the way, as far as my observations (not a review) go, I saw Phil Ochs, Grandpa, David Blue, 3rd Street, Highways, byways, friends like Ramblin Jack, Stoner Ratso, Eric Andersen and Scarlet. The emotion and energy in Bob's voice during this period was for all to see.