Friday, February 20, 2015

THE FOLK PROCESS- PORCO STYLE

Me with two hands on Richie Havens
©bobporco, Vincent Vok photo

HAPPY CHINESE NEW ERA!

Exactly 5 years ago……

I was at the bar that was once Folk City on 3rd St with Vincent Vok. We were just talking. And he said, 'If you build it they will come.' He was right.

And later that night Vincent barged his way backstage at Carnegie Hall using, of all names, mine.

He was right on that scheme, too.

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2.20.15

exactly 5 years ago, on 2.20.10, I woke up and got ready for my second day of work.

I was meeting with Happy Traum

and Eric Weissberg to interview them in person. I was just armed with a pen and paper for my interviews back then, but for some reason, I recorded Happy and Eric with my old DV cassette recorder. I saw it once. It's around here somewhere….

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Exactly 5 years ago on February 19, 2010, I got the grand idea to host a 50th Anniversary concert for Gerde's Folk City.

It was quite a day. Unlike any other. And many of my days have since have also been quite unique.

Vincent Vok told me, "If you build it, they will come."

The party went off without a hitch, thanks to help from friends.

Later in 2010, I continued to informally interview many of Folk City's stable of artists. In 2011, not much happened. In 2012, I hosted a monthly concert at the Gaslight in Macdougal Street. In 2013, I started filming the documentary in Gerde's. In 2014, I marched on with the material I've gathered on Mike and Gerde's.

Along the way, cool things have happened.

One day, I ran into Peter Yarrow on Bleecker Street. Another day, I was invited to Arlo Guthrie's house to interview him. Another day, I spent an afternoon with José Feliciano. What happens tomorrow is anyone's guess. Joan Baez may fall in love with me... but I'm stretching it.

I have an idea of what may take place tomorrow.

Even if you don't believe in sending distant "POSITIVE VIBRATIONS" as my Rasta friend says, maybe just give it a try.

I was involved in- not one- but TWO meetings where the future of Positively Porco was sent down the road with more rubber under the cushion. It's all good. But I thought I'd ask for an extra dose of "good."

This isn't an "oh by the way, I happen to be raising funds for the film" kinda post. Just a mention that, your good wish will only translate in more entertainment for YOU some day in the future. You're welcome.

The film is a part of it but it includes more concerts, benefits for kids' music lessons and just more good-deed-doing in general. It's the Folk process- Porco style.

Five years ago, I didn't plan to meet Terre Roche, Suze Rotolo and Richie Havens all in one day. That's just how it happened. 

Don't be shy. Think Porco.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Uncle Bobby said on a recent album: "If ya see me go by/ put up a prayer"

Positively,
Bob



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




2.20.15

Richie Havens didn't make the 50th Anniversary. Neither did Suze.  Richie was touring and toured on until a year ago. Suze was ill, and that was the only day I met her. Just that day. Day one.  






(blog post under construx……..

Monday, February 2, 2015

MIKE PORCO arrived in NYC Feb 2, 1933



Yes, yes…It's become well known that Mike Porco was once one of the baddest ass characters from the 1960's Folk and Blues Revival. He owned and ran Gerde's Folk City and what makes it more unbelievable is that he never took the stage in his club to perform, he never recorded music and he never wrote songs. But what a baddass!!

Why??
Because he was the honest club owner in Greenwich Village. From what I hear, the only one. His fair treatment of all musicians kept them coming back for work year after year. People relied on Mike for work and he kept the doors open for 20 years thusly providing crowds with top shelf entertainment.

He is remembered fondly for a thousand other reasons. That's just one of the topics that will make POSITIVELY PORCO the most feelin'est goodest film you will ever partake in when you see it in 2016. The film stars Mike Porco and Gerde's Folk City. All his good friends report the whole truth to me on film and in the process, tell and teach me what it's all about.

Oh, and there's a ton of music that came out of Folk City. Hard to believe that a carpenter/cabinet maker from Calabria would one day be credited with practically inventing the 'Open Mic' free-for-alls that we so commonly see today. New York's Greenwich Village didn't have one until Charlie Rothschild, Robert (don't call me Shapiro) Shelton and Mike came up with the idea.

''Call it a Hootenanny,'' they said.

Here's Mike reciting the rules for the open mic:


The story of the Hoot….that's another story.

What most people don't know is that Michele Porco had a most unwelcome start to his life in America. Despite that, he 'made it.' 

I'm positive he didn't envision, that in 1985, the City of New York would proclaim September ''Folk City Month'' and that he would be the Pope of Greenwich Village during his time there. And I'm sure he didn't think there would become a not-so-distant correlation between he, Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson.  

yes, the actual SS Conte di Savoia


It all started with a journey on the Conte di Savoia. Mike Porco stepped foot in America 82 years ago today. Reports of his shadow went undocumented.

Below is my first 'Mike Porco Report.'





PS!

This is the final push for crowdfunding. Of course, instead of a dozen "producers" making it possible for me to hire the right people, I prefer that only one or a couple of people step forward and say, "Bob, we got a fucking winner here."

Feel free to back this movie. A little or a lot. It will go a long way. And if you are not seeking a bumper sticker or a t-shirt, please share it with those who may be interested. Many thanks!!!!

Here is the portal for funding

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Strugglin' Downhill with John Cohen



THE HOOT is a great concept. It's a community-based Folk Fest (aren't they all?) spearheaded by Mike+Ruthy, the fantastic songwriting duo from West Hurley, NY. Both have Roots and Blues in their soul and have made a great career with their skills. As friends of my own, I've watch them morph into local stars and visionaries while they raise a family together and produce infectious records. LOCAL is the key word here since West Hurley is a stone's throw from Woodstock and its surrounds.

The Hoot takes place in the Winter and Summer at the Ashokan Center where Ruth's father, Jay Ungar is music honcho. Of course, Jay and Molly are national treasures in their own right, and the family connections spread far and wide throughout the community. The 'community' includes folks like my daughter, Angelina, and me. We were there this weekend along with, what seemed to be, the ENTIRE Ulster County community. Frigid weather didn't stop hundreds of families and other music lovers from all around descend on Ashokan to enjoy several intimate performances, both in the great hall and in the intimate Pewter Shop: a small cabin where it's standing room only.

I'll post pictures from yesterday's highlight for me- A front row seat to watch friends of mine play with a friend of my grandfather, Mike Porco. John Cohen is known by thousands of Greenwich Village aficionados as Folk Revival original and one who was at Gerde's in 1960 when music first arrived. To see him performing with tomorrow's Folk Music preservationists was certainly a treat.

Amy Helm stood behind me as we watched the Downhill Strugglers: John Cohen, Eli Smith, Jackson Lynch and Walker Shepard.
















Be sure to check out the trailer for the Folkumentary under construction.
It's about Mike Porco and Gerde's Folk City:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

POSITIVELY scenes from a Folkumentary

Below you will see several moments from the past year of shooting Positively Porco, the real life story of Gerde's Folk City and my grandfather, Mike Porco. Some may say that Mike Porco's life was full of historic moments. It's true. He and his club were witness to legendary events during the 1960's Folk and Blues Revival and the revival of the revival in the 1970s. His name didn't become as well known as some of his friends like Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez but, soon, folks will recall his name in the same breath. 
Let's have a little conversation about bringing this film around the world. Help wanted; Producers, executives, interns and awesome people with deep pockets and connections needed. THANKS



























POSITIVELY PROMO

Sunday, January 11, 2015

POSITIVELY PORCO- Mike Porco's vinyl collection WOW


Jim McGuinn, banjo





These albums can no longer be found in stores. In other forms, yes. But these are artifacts.

The recordings have become digital for all to purchase for their own listening pleasure, but you'll need to search for these albums still in plastic, handled with care, mostly by me.

40 and 50 year old vinyl…once owned by Gerde's Folk City originator, Mike Porco.

Many of what you see below are gifts TO Mike Porco, not necessarily bought BY Mike Porco, but these are his very ones left behind for me to find.

They sit where Mike left them 22 years ago, in the bedroom where dear old Dad now lives and sleeps.


pristine




unopened


I guess it would be assumed by the 300,000 readers of my blog that I love my Pop. Of course I do, but that's not the point. The point is that I wonder: Does or did my dad love his dad? My guess would be no. But that's ok. They were family to each other. And my father not only inherited Mike Porco's records, but also his bed, his 'stuff' and his Lauderhill, FL condo.

practically sitting on the albums



I just returned last night. I photographed some of the albums and I took a gasp at the pictures. I wondered, who would really treasure these things besides me??

I have plans to mail a few to myself….but I said that LAST year when I last went to FLA to interview my dad, Bob Sr. and Mike Porco's other son, Angelo. The interview is part of the Mike Porco/GERDE'S FOLK CITY documentary.

In 2013, I took video of my discovery of Grandpa's collection, but it was staged. I had gone through them years ago only to find them again and again every time I visited my father. But they are SO FUCKING WOW that I definitely must UPS some of that shit to myself.

I will keep them for 'safe keeping' but I just don't have the room nor can I claim that they are more valuable to me than to the artist on the label….or to the fans and collectors of COOL SHIT.

Thanks to my father for keeping the place 'just so' as if it were all a museum, when really, it's just that he sweeps away the path that he has already worn day after day. Dust will collect elsewhere in the room with the vinyl. 

I can collect dust from Mike's time there if you truly want something to remember him by.



Lucinda Williams, not for resale






not for sale


~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can, however, say that these albums ARE worth something to me now. (Thank you Grandpa! They may come in handy…)

I have begun another, (YES, ANOTHER!) crowd funding campaign. My 69 blog followers and 40 twitter followers and I will fund my FOLKUMENTARY ourselves and savor to premiere when we bring it around the world!….right?

''Crowd'' as in: People who know Mike Porco, know the scene, know about the people in the scene, care about the people in the scene and want to see the scene get a feature length documentary completed about the scene….as in $$$$

I don't have a slew of big time (not small time) producers to call. Does one simply just call Scorsese or Ken Burns? No, silly. They need my number, or I need theirs. Help wanted.

So in the meantime, I'm selling some 'stuff' to get BREAD to hire some BIG GUNS to dress POSITIVELY PORCO up in a sweet tart package and tote the film world wide. Believe it.

And for those who say 'Bob, you're stealing from Mike' or 'you're pimping Mike's stuff' I say, yup. Fuck off and put my project under someone's nose instead of complaining. Make yourself useful…or buy a sticker and shut up. 

And for those who 'dig it'….if you know me, I'll give you your album(s) for yourself to keep. For those who may want Mike Porco's personally owned Dylan albums, here is a place to open discussion: ROCKETHUB

Here's the catch: you gotta know who Mike Porco was, know that these were his personal items, know that Dylan, Simon, George Harrison, The Clancy Brothers and nearly every one in his collection were once his friend. You must also take utmost care in preserving the album, or else I'll just let them sit where they have for the last 22 years. Included may or may not include: Introducing the Beatles, The Basement Tapes, Bringing it All Back Home, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Blood on the Tracks, Still Crazy After all These Years, STILL IN ORIGINAL PLASTIC MINT COND. Many other rare pressings also available. Make offer pay through rocket hub.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On display (with all varying combinations of product and price considered) are:

VINYL IN PLASTIC:

Introducing the Beatles
Vee-Jay recording 1062

Bob Dylan- Basement Tapes, Blood on the Tracks, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (possibly others)

Simon and Garfunkel- Greatest Hits

George Gerdes- Obituary

Tom Intondi- House of Water

Jack Hardy- various titles

Judy Collins- Hardtimes for Lovers (with hole punch)

Paul Simon- Still Crazy

Peter, Paul and Mary- Late Again

Many other artists. List provided.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OPENED VINYL

Dozens including very good condition:
Dylan live at Budokan, Blonde on Blonde, Infidels, Shot of Love

Jimi Hendrix- Electric Lady Land
(not for sale)

Simon and Garfunkel- Wednesday Morning 3AM, The Graduate, Parsley, sage, Rosemary and thyme 

Knob Lick Upper 10,000

Jose Feliciano

Chad Mitchell Trio w/ Jim McGuinn

The Clancy Brothers- A few albums, worn nicely

Brother John Sellers- Baptist Shouts (actual album known to have once hung behind the stage at original Gerde's)

The Song Project- In Rome

The Beatles- A Hard Days Night soundtrack


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SLEEVE ONLY, NO JACKET

Several 
Fast Folk Musical Magazine pressings.

Other acetates and first pressings given to Mike by several artists.







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


PS- Those albums signed by the artists inscribed ''To Mike'' are certainly precious and not for sale. Thank you Lucinda Williams, Victoria Spivey, Sally Spring, Vinnie Vok



PPS- It occurs to me that there may be only a few albums in such condition unopened for decades such as The Basement Tapes, Bringing it All Back Home, Introducing The Beatles Vee-Jay 1062, another Side of Bob Dylan and Blood on The Tracks…..The Beatles album or the Basement Tapes may not have a price you can think of. But do try. Contact me: folkcity50@gmail.com