Club News

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl and Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to “perform”, and there is no charge.

 “There is no standard set for the singing here, but we set a very high standard in listening.”
—motto of the
An Góilín Traditional Singer’s Club, Dublin, Ireland

Date January 6 January 20 February 3 February 17 March 3
Setup Joel Rutledge Melissa Sarenac Stephen Hopkins Melissa Sarenac Melissa Sarenac
Bulletin Board Yvette Tannenbaum Bob Dunn Bobbie Raymond Faith Yvette Tannenbaum
Host/ess Stephen Hopkins Ed Hilton Phil Morgan Don Murdock Pazit Zohar
Host/ess Joy Salatino Pazit Zohar Tes Welborn Pazit Zohar Ed Hilton
Singing Room Estelle Freedman Debbie Klein Judy Tergis Dave Sahn Yvette Tannenbaum
Theme Freedom Wind Rain Storm Falsely Accused Relations** Irish, Celtic, British Isles
Cleanup Joel Rutledge Bob Dunn Marlene McCall Chuck Oakes Faith

 ** Includes: Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Sisters, Brothers, Husbands, Wives.

Board Meetings

 The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month — potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.

January 10: Ed Hilton’s house

February 14: Phil Morgan’s house

March 14: Melissa Sarenac’s house

 NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, February 26, at
Abe and Joan Feinberg’s

Club News

 After several years as President of the San Francisco Folk Music Club Board of Directors, Faith Petric is handing over the gavel to Board member, Ed Hilton. Congratulations, Ed!

 Sylvia Herold, Chuck Ervin and guests put on a show every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 at Julie’s Tea Garden in Alameda. This intimate, mostly acoustic performance showcases harmony duets by Chuck and Sylvia. Folk songs, cowboy classics, Victorian parlor ballads and pop songs from the swing era to the ’60s. Regular musical guests include Paul Kotapish, Robin Lewis and Keith Little. Address: 1223 Park Street in Alameda. No cover charge.

folknik Open House

 The annual folknik Open House will be held at Camp Harmony, with light refreshments, the usual display of past folkniks, and a chance to meet and thank all the fabulous, hard-working folknik page editors who produce the folknik six times a year. If you appreciate getting the folknik, this will be the time to say so!

 There will again be a drawing. The prize or prizes will be music related. The winner must be present to claim the prize.

 The time and place for the open house will be Thursday, December 29 in Sommer Lodge from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. The drawing will be at 3:00 p.m.

SFFMC T-shirts

 If you have missed getting one of the SFFMC T-shirts, you still have a chance! The shirts, in azul celeste and bordelais (or light blue and maroon, if you prefer) come in a variety of sizes from medium to XXL and will be available at Camp Harmony. Look for them in the registration hall. Price: $15.00.

 In case you missed the March/April, 2005 “review” of the T-shirts by Susan Frank, we are reprinting part of it here:

Couture Premier—SFFMC T-shirts

 A fashion and historical first--club T-shirts were unveiled on the redwood catwalk to universal swooning and pouring rain at Camp Harmony. Over sixty were snapped up immediately by folk fashion glitterati who recognized the naissance of the Nouveau Folkie Mode.

 Design is by our superb SFFMC member, Valentine Doyle. A thousand kisses also to Garry Wiegand, who arranged production and delivery and supervised backstage model prepping, champagne and valium.

Any changes?

 We are still taking corrections for your addresses, etc. for future corrections pages for the directory. Send them to Ken Hayes at also a copy to Susan at

Camp Harmony Workshops

Leaders and instruments needed. For those of you who will be at Harmony, we have beginning workshops scheduled for autoharp, banjo, guitar (one for kids and one for adults) dobro, dulcimer and mandolin. Anybody up for teaching the beginning fiddle or harmonica workshop? Also, loaner instruments for all beginning workshops are useful, so if you have an extra instrument you might be willing to loan, by all means bring it to Harmony. But please let Joan Hall-Feinberg know so she can let the instructor know it’s available. 

Musicians Against Sweatshops (MASS) urges performers to endorse and market only merchandise produced by unionized factories—be they overseas or on U.S. shores; i.e., the price of the average concert T-shirt is roughly the same as the monthly wage of the sweatshop laborer who made it. (877) 992-7827.

January 2006 Events

 Annie and the Vets will open for Country Joe McDonald:

For more information see and

The White Cockade Scottish Pub, 18025 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, CA opened Friday, September 2. Another great place to hear and play great music. Phone (831) 338-1414.

Caffè Lena History

(being the inspiring true tale of a historic little folk venue, past and present, somewhere in New York)

In May of 1960, Lena and Bill Spencer first opened the doors to a small café on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, New York. They called it Caffè Lena. Neither one had ever done anything like this before. But they figured it was a good place to open a café, make enough money to travel and pursue their individual interests. He was a sculptor. She was an actress.

In the ensuing years, Lena created a legend. It is the oldest continuously‐run coffeehouse in America. Caffè Lena has been associated with artists who have had a profound effect on American music. Bob Dylan played there on his first tour of the East. Don McLean first played “American Pie” on the Caffè Lena Stage. Arlo Guthrie sang there long before the rest of the world heard his music.

While a lot has been made of the many artists who have performed at Lena’s, the real secret to the magic of Caffè Lena was Lena Spencer herself. She and her café became one. It was more than just one of the finest listening rooms anywhere. The charm and simplicity of the woman is reflected in the café which she created. It was a home for artists and audiences alike.

Lena is now gone. She had left a legacy which friends all over the world recognize as a special place where artistic endeavors of all kinds can feel welcome. 

Lena Spencer—In Her Own Words

“How do you condense in a few short paragraphs the memories, the experiences, the love that spans two and a half decades? They’d fill a book and someday they will. The story of a vision and hope for dream fulfillment shared by Bill, trips from Boston to Saratoga, chugging along in the recalcitrant Morris Minor, to spend the weekend with hammer and nails, mops and brooms, then back to Boston to jobs to make a little money to buy the chairs and tables, the sputtering espresso machine, the cups and saucers and all the paraphernalia needed to open the doors on a venture with an uncertain future.

“And the early folksingers, strangers to us at first, but soon to become close and devoted friends: Dave Van Ronk and Dick Weissman and Logan English and Molly Scott who recommended and introduced us to their fellow artists and the list was started. The weekly Monday night trips to New York and the Hoots at Gerde’s, the visits to Izzy Young at the Folklore Center on McDougal, the Gaslight and the Bitter End, the Feenjon; and in Boston, the Golden Vanity and the Yana and all those places where we met and heard so many more and the list grew and grew.

“What memories there are! The young hopefuls seeking a stage to further their hopes and dreams; the heartbreak when they were shattered; the joy when they were realized. Ian Buchanan giving up his weekend gig to Reverend Gary Davis because he needed the money more. …And the all-night talk with Mississippi John Hurt after the show and a late night meal at Hatties. And the wonderful sessions with Joe Venuti and the afternoon concert when Maxine Sullivan joined him.  And the magical evening that went on until five a.m. when Bob and Evelyne Beers brought their Thanksgiving guests by and we sang and sang. And Sonny Matthews with his gnarled, arthritic fingers playing Scott Joplin rags like a virtuoso. And Pasha, that great old Siamese who stood at the top of the stairs to help me greet the guests and most of the time meowed in perfect pitch. And loving and devoted Tom Gregory, who sat at the back table doing his crosswords and who, despite his impaired hearing, knew when the music was good or bad and turned his hearing aid up or down accordingly. And John Wynne-Evans who brought such good theater to the café and gave me the opportunity to realize my acting ambitions.

“Every single person who graced our tiny stage, the great, the near-great, the not-so-great, they are all, in their own way, responsible for my still being here. I’ve lasted for some twenty-five years. I’ve done some things right, I’ve done some things wrong, but right or wrong, I’ve always tried to do the best I could. And I couldn’t have done it without the help of God and a lot of love from a lot of wonderful people. Thank you and God Bless You All.”

Love, Lena    1985