“Free Coffee. No Talking”


The Caffe Espresso moved uptown and morphed into The Folksingers, probably to take advantage of the scores of young people who had “discovered” folk music. Russo and Brentano, as this group was called, were local guitar and banjo players who were friends of Carol’s. We went to hear them often. Mike Russo was actually a very talented player and I found an old video of him made in Seattle. You can tell the influence of old blues singers on Mike.

Years later when I began teaching at the Museum Art School in Portland, I met his parents, Sally Haley and Mike Russo, both excellent local painters. The younger Mike painted houses to support his music playing. His art was more musical than his parents, but clearly a love of beauty ran through the family.

My little sister saved this flyer and framed it and gave it to me many years ago on my birthday. It pleased me greatly and it hangs in my library next to another poster she saved for me–a signed play bill for Pete Seeger. More about him another day.

Reading that flyer now, I am amused at how seriously the venue took the musicians. No talking! At least the coffee was free. And you can’t beat a $1.00 cover charge. Even then.

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