Article from The Village Voice about Suze Rotolo's death Posted by Marcia Stehr (Marci Foreman) on February 28, 2011 at 4:45pm The Village lost a life-long partisan and a true voice last Friday, with the passing of Susan Rotolo after a long illness, at home in her Noho loft and the arms of her husband of 40 years, Enzo Bartoccioli. Suze Rotolo was a talented artist (the maker of artist books and delicate book-like objects), as well as an illustrator, a sometime activist, an erstwhile East Village Other slum goddess, a devoted wife, a proud mother, a poet's muse, a good comrade, and late in her too-short life, a published author. She was intensely private but as the radiant young woman on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, she became a legendary figure and even a generational icon. Just writing that I can hear her annoyed chortle--although she did humorously allow, after years of dodging rabid Dylanologists, that she was some sort of "artifact." Growing up in Queens, a few years later than Suze and a few neighborhoods east of hers, I knew her name (although not how to correctly pronounce it) long before I met her, just a mom in the park. Our kids, Luca and Mara, went to the same Sullivan Street playgroup; our families were friendly, both in New York and on Cape Cod where, thanks to a network of her late parents' leftwing associates, she and Enzo always managed to find the most amazing Wellfleet Woods cabins or ocean-overlooking shacks. Susan, as we called her, was intensely loyal. She retained many childhood friends, even while guarding her personal life. She was a woman of strong opinions and fierce standards (a demanding connoisseur of inexpensive table wine, a cook whose pasta was never less than perfect). She had no use for religion and deeply appreciated political theater--not just Brecht but the Billionaires for Bush, with whom she was affiliated during the 2004 election. She had a healthy sense of the absurd. She listened to jazz on WKCR and was delighted by her son's career as a musician and luthier. She thrived on spirited talk. (A sign pasted to her TV screen read "Conversation!") She was, to the very end, a person of enormous cheer. In her memoir, unavoidably titled A Freewheelin' Time, Susan calls Dylan "the elephant in the room of my life" but the book (subtitled "A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties" and prefaced with a Village street map) is essentially about her youth--how it felt to be a working-class red-diaper baby, the child of Italian-born anti-fascists living in Sunnyside Gardens, a teenager in love at the epicenter of the folk revival, an art student in Italy, a tourist of the revolution in Cuba, an off-off Broadway stagehand. The story is hers and so is the voice (no ghost writing allowed). She signs off with the words "we had something to say, not something to sell." Goodbye, Susan. Ave atque vale. Love, Jim
This picture of the group the Outcasts was taken outside the cafe Wha? in 1965. From left to right:Joe Sherov (lead singer and harmonics), Bobby Diamond (drums), Steve Lichtman (bass), Andy Benjamin (lead guitar), Jack Malken (rhythm guitar)
Happy Traum at the Gerdes Folk City 50th Reunion 6/7/10 "Buckets Of Rain" and talks about Dylan
"BRING BACK THEM GOOD OLD DAYS!" ~ Comments from our members!
Lisi Tribble about Gerdes Folk City: "Jay Byrd was the last hooter- Dustin Hoffman based his character "Hawk" in Ishtar on him. Enamel the Camel. The Roches. Rick Danko. David Massengill. George Gerdes. Eric Andersen. Mark Johnson. Gregory Fleeman. Jack Hardy. Robin Williamson. Tret Fure. Ferron. Sammy Walker. Lach. . .--Anderson,
Bob Dylan was also below age when he first played there. Mike signed his guardianship forms."
"I loved it when the Village was still like a small community, a town within Manhattan, and mostly "regulars" would hang out.....I always felt so welcome there... Bring back them old days!"
"This website is gonna catch on fire. Great idea! When I get to something other than an iPhone I'll upload some pix and stuff. I'll be keeping tabs...I Think this kind of organized exposure for the artists willing to perform is Great. going to blossom"
~Bob Porco (grandson of Mike)
"Thanks so much for putting this whole thing together, and for inviting me to participate. I have such wonderful memories of the Bitter End and all the other coffee houses: Gerde's Folk City, The Gaslight Cafe... saw so many wonderful artists perform."