Thursday, April 3, 2014

Executive Producer job opening: NO PAY

Executive Producer...

It's the one job where you don't get paid for anything, you get to pay for everything. Who would want that job?

This is my first ever "blog request." I heard somewhere that the internet can be used to reach millions of people. So I'm asking those reading to SHARE THIS blog address/email with a friend who is into the whole 'Washington Square Folk revival' thing. It's a big deal.

Neil Young and Spike Lee can raise millions through online 'Kickstarters' because they are known by millions. 

I have sold concert tickets to 90 different people. I have 300 Facebook friends and enemies, 3,000 views of my film trailer, 700 people on my email list and 68 followers on my blog. 

My dead grandfather has more exposure on Facebook than I do. Yes, I manage his pages but there are still only about 1000 people there who know about POSITIVELY PORCO

Byoncé has 24,000 Twitter followers. I have 28

There have been 2 deep pocketed Angels so far and only one more might get it done. So I appeal to those who KNOW someone else who might be more interested in it. I'd like to reach someone who sees a story that would appeal to a worldwide audience.

Those who already know about Gerde's and it's unbelievable history, may wonder where the project stands. Some assume that it's already done. Not close. But more than a 3rd down the road. Smooth sailing. But it needs a good kick in the pants to get done by January 2015. A small crew completes it. I've been blessed with great interviews and material thus far. There's enough for the whole story here already. 

But it needs more. And it needs a good and proper outfit, once it's done, to parade around to International film festivals. So in a round number sorta way, Positively Porco needs six round numbers, comma in the middle, crooked numbers to the left. Not much, really.

What the film makes at the box office is a mystery. But there will be a 3 disc box set and extras to package with it. Positively Porco will have a shelf life as long as there's an interest in Folk music. That's a long time. There's a small town near Belfast that shouldn't be deprived from seeing this film.

How do I feel about my own project? Read my blog. It's all there. Every individual that ever bought a Bob Dylan record will have more than a curiosity about Gerde's. I'd like to deliver.

But in reality, Bob Dylan was one of hundreds from Gerde's Folk City. Mike Porco was their friend.

... And for the Porco twist, I've just posted my offer to the world wide web! This should only take a matter of HOURS to finance!!

You may say ''blogging'' is an unorthodox way to find an Executive Producer, but e-mail itself was once unorthodox. So was the internet. And the Q-Tip. 

How about an Italian Restaurant filled with Jewish banjo players? Try THAT for unorthodox!


What makes tomorrow a different day for me, you ask?

Yesterday, only folks that I saw in person knew that I was shopping my project for a backer. Now that I've spammed everyone I can think of while lounging on the couch, the phone may ring tomorrow. 

I may come to my senses tomorrow and say "Did I really just pimp my movie last night?!" The answer is yes.

So please give my email to that special someone who may want to be on the board of Positively Porco. I would never know if I don't ask. Please and thank you. 


Don't forget….

The MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK is opening an exhibit next year called, you guessed it, Folk City. The free advertising gods have smiled.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Second airing of 'The Folklorist'
BBC4 tomorrow


Izzy Young, famous for being one of the "grown ups" on MacDougal Street in the 1960s, will have an audio biography featured on BBC 4, Thursday Feb 20th. 

It will air 11:30 UK time but be available to hear for a few days after at this link:

It's a great half hour piece dedicated to Izzy's life and times. It includes the story of how Izzy and Mike Porco opened GERDE's, the first Folk Music cabaret in Greenwich Village. 
In front of 110 MacDougal

A goose pimpled out-of-towner
got the thrill of her life

Interviewed for this BBC clip are Lenny Kaye, Terri Thal, John Sebastian and little ol' me. (I snuck in there in the 20th minute)

Izzy stayed at my place the night before the interview last June. I was happy to deliver him to Des Shaw and Seth Lakeman for the recording. We took the subway down to Washington Square and after the interview, the affectionate Izzy took my arm as we walked across the square. He didn't need me to keep his balance. That's just Izzy. Long live Izzy!

Enjoy the BBC show. 


Israel G. Young will be featured in the documentary POSITIVELY PORCO- the unbelievable story of Gerde's Folk City. Check out the trailer!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


            It's gonna be tough to top my good fortune this weekend. Wise Elder and generous host, Sonny Ochs, welcomed me to a far away land over the hills and through the woods. There, a happily situated cabin was the setting for another interview to be seen in the upcoming documentary POSITIVELY PORCO. It's about Gerde's Folk City and Sonny has a long history there.

           One might say her 'career' began there as an organizer of shows, volunteer extraordinaire and keeper of the flame. She began hosting tribute shows for her late, great brother Phil at Folk City in the early 80s and ever since, she's been a staple at Folk gatherings all over the Northeast and beyond.

           Apart from the interview, Sonny and I shared down-home time together off camera. I was more than happy to offer some manual labor (shoveling and cooking) in return for her letting me have a gander at some of Phil Ochs' personal items. I also got to play her guitar which was the last guitar played by Phil. It was also played by a few of his friends since 1976.

           Sonny wasn't the only personality I spoke with on film. Peggy Duncan worked for Mike Porco as a barista on 4th Street and then extensively at the second location on West 3rd. She also worked for Robbie Woliver who bought Folk City from Mike and for her loyal service, she was rewarded with some pretty cool artifacts. (see below)

           So as I said, the vibes were in rare form these past 24 hours. I played a guitar played by Phil Ochs and held the original signage from outside of the original Gerde's. I have no doubt things only become more fun and exciting going forward because that's the way it's been. But today…priceless.


How one stays young
Sonny showed me the path

The 'Phil drawer'
Sonny and Peggy:
a garage somewhere in upstate NY

'Says it all'

Close enough to visit

Saturday, February 15, 2014


The last guitar Phil Ochs played was his sister's

I'm grateful to Sonny Ochs for being free with her guest room and with keepsakes of Phil Ochs.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


LARRY ''RATSO'' SLOMAN joins me for a discussion about Gerde's Folk City and its notorious owner, Mike Porco. Footage will be added to the first documentary on GERDE'S FOLK CITY, Positively Porco.

Mr. Ratso's first novel is the stupendous and tremendous chronicle of the legendary 'ROLLING THUNDER REVUE' starring Bob Dylan and his troupe of troubadours. The book is the most intimate and complete account of how the tour developed and rolled on through the historic first leg. Near the end of the tome, Larry has included the most extensive interview with Mike Porco known to exist in print.

Ratso and Porco crossed paths backstage at Madison Square Garden during the 'Night of the Hurricane,' a concert devoted to springing Ruben Carter from jail for something he never done. It was a cause Bob Dylan was committed to which the book and song 'Hurricane' explains in full. He coulda been the champion of the world, ya know.

Nearly 5 pages of ON THE ROAD WITH BOB DYLAN was given to Mike Porco's conversation. In the background, the concert rages on. It's classic. Mike tells early stories of making sandwiches for the young Dylan and encouraging him to comb his hair once in a while. Mike tells the story of visiting Dylan in France where they shared some Father/Son moments. If you need confirmation from anyone that the two shared THAT kind of relationship, read the book.
Larry consults the Old Testament

Of course, the ROLLING THUNDER REVUE kicked off at Folk City on Mike Porco's 61st surprise birthday party on October 23rd 1975. Bob Dylan has footage and hundreds have the memory of the night. Ratso's book has it in black and white.

Our interview was conducted in the Village Underground, the space that was once Mike Porco's office at 130 W3rd Street. If walls could talk….

Incidentally, Ratso and I hung out 53 years to the date of Bob Dylan's first appearance on stage at the original W4th Street Gerde's. After proving to Mike that he was at least 18 years old, he played the HOOT. You may know the rest.


to check out the official trailer for 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Pete Seeger

Playing 'Turn, turn, turn' at the Sloop Club, Beacon, NY Feb 2010
It was my first open mic. I lost sight of Pete when it was my turn. I didn't want to embarrass myself.
Turns out he was sitting behind me playing along. 

Sloop Club, May 2010

Looking for picks.
Flyer for Gerde's 50th posted on the board behind him
Pete and me, Aug 2010

Victorio Roland Mousaa with Pete
Sloop Club, Aug 2010

Pete and Loudon Wainwright, Symphony Space Oct 2011
Pete and Suzanne Vega, Oct 2011

Pete and Arlo, first steps of a march to Columbus Circle, Oct 2011

Occupy at Columbus Circle
Sloop Club, Dec 2010

Sloop Club, May 2012

Me reading a note Pete sent for all of us at the Folk City 50th

In the wings at Symphony Space, Nov 2012

Oscar Brand and Pete, Museum of the City of New York, June 2013

Izzy Young, Mike Merenda, Happy Traum, Oscar Brand, Pete
June 2013 
June 2013
FOLK CITY benefit
June 2013

Beacon Waterfront, Aug 2013

Summer Hoot, Aug 2013

Aug 2013

Pete and Family Merenda at the Hoot

My last picture of Pete,
Beacon Pumpkin Fest, Oct 2013