Gerde’s Folk City: 50 Years Later, The Decade’s Greatest Afterparty!
By Ann Rebecca Bleefeld
Picture this: Early 1960s mid-teens Brooklynite tomboy makes regular solo sojourns to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. All around car horns honk, cafes and jazz spots overflow onto sidewalks, and over on Bowery Street, bindlestiffs sleep away their woes. For our tomboy, the Greenwich Village milieu was awash in the newfound, fired-up creativity that seized the postwar, workaday world of John and Jane Q Public; everyone was invited to the party, everyone was included.
The bohemian scene was transformed and as the folk music revival settled in, more and more cafés opened. Washington Square Park continued to serve as a locus of Village social and cultural vitality, as MacDougal, Bleecker, and West 4th Streets became major sites of operations for those who came to sing, dance, make music or, simply, commune with others. The path following the poets and musicmakers led along street after street, to cafés, bars and jazz spots. Precluded by youth from entry into these magiclands of folkdome our protagonist was forced to hunker at the walls of their vestibules for a peek at their goings on within. They had names like: Café Wha?, The Village Gate, The Bitter End.
One of the most popular venues was Gerde’s Folk City on West 4th Street. Here were those who were making their way to grandeur in the public eye, the ones who were “signed” to play because their talent, creativity and energetic sensibilities drew crowds. Gerde’s list of musical sorcerers and wordsmiths sings out its own variegated history: John Lee Hooker, Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Maria Muldauer, Carolyn Hester, Bob Dylan, Barbara Dane, Arlo Guthrie, The Greenbrier Boys, Mimi Fariña, Tom Paxton, Eric Andersen, and poet Allen Ginsberg were among countless others who graced Gerde’s with their presence, words, music and fellowship. The mood was electric; a sense of the shared moment alive and palpable. As seasons have turned and leaves fallen, the doors of Gerde’s lay still since 1986.
Fifty years into Gerde’s afterlife, Bob Porco, grandson of Mike Porco, the original owner of Gerde’s Folk City, has put together an event that encapsulates all of the energy, star power and zeitgeist of those earlier, heady days. New and old friends have pledged their presence at what promises to be a great afterparty celebration of Gerde’s, its original owner, Bob’s grandad, Mike, and the full complement of Gerde’s colorful denizens.
The event, co-emceed by Jack Hardy and Dominic Chianese, will feature performances by Sylvia Tyson, Willie Nile, David Massengill, David Amram, Bev Grant, Peter Stampfel, Patrick Sky and scores of other illuminati. The location which now houses The Fat Black Pussycat (the former “Kettle of Fish”), was also one of Gerde’s prior locations. Thus it is a fitting locale for the happenings on June 7 with full bar, lounge areas, top notch eats and a merry air contributing to the festivities. Come and join Bob, Mike and Dominic (yours truly, ever the tomboy, will be on hand helping out) on June 7; sit down a while, join the reverie, say “hi,” give a hug, and lift a glass in honor of people and place in an ever changing world.
Thanks to Bob Porco for helpful insights and information.
One night only/June 7, 2010
Performances begin at 7 p.m.
Venue: The Fat Black Pussycat
130 West 3rd Street
New York, New York
For further information, go to www.folkcityatfifty.blogspot.com
From: womanaroundtown.com/This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 10:00 pm and is filed under Clubs and Cabaret, Feature Home, Playing Around . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.