Poet at Passim's

At least, as December rolls in and the first snow lies mushy on the ground, and you've already slipped on
By Peter R. Melnick

At least, as December rolls in and the first snow lies mushy on the ground, and you've already slipped on a patch of ice and landed on your ass, cursing because there's no escaping the fact that Cambridge Winter is here and because, baby, it's cold outside--I say, at the very least--you can comfort yourself with a wide selection of excellent December folk music around Cambridge.

First, the flash. Allen Ginsberg returns to Passim Coffeehouse, 47 Palmer St., tonight through Sunday. As in past year, Ginsberg will present a potpourri of poetry and music, accompanied by several friends. Tuesday and Wednesday John Fahey and Mark Dix, two highly respected acoustic guitarists, appear on the Passim stage. Fahey's exceptional finger-picking technique--and his singing style--influenced his nationally-known guitarist-friend Leo Kottke, with whom Fahey has recorded. Tickets for all shows are $4.50, and you can buy them in advance or at the door (be warned--Ginsberg is always well-attended). Shows are at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

For those of you who like sweet-voiced singing, Judy Collins will sing and play Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. at Symphony Hall. A family affair.

Thursday, Larry Friedman leads off a new set of faces at The Back Room at The Idler, located at 123 Mt. Auburn St. Friedman sings and plays contemporary acoustic guitar music. Friday and Saturday nights, Spider John Koerner an old friend to the Idler crowd, returns. Koerner, a seasoned performer, plays excellent acoustic guitar in a straightforward, upbeat style and puts on an enjoyable show. Sunday, the Idler presents Elliot and Rosenthal. (No, they are not a '20's murder trial, but aside from that, you're on your own.) Tuesday night, Paul Orsillo sings and plays guitar in a country and western style. Wednesday night, Kirkpatrick and Myers play and sing--something--for you. Shows begin at 8 p.m. all nights.

Sunday afternoon, Joe Val and The New England Bluegrass Boys perform in the Winthrop House Junior Common Room at Harvard. The four-man band puts out a professional bluegrass sound, featuring tight vocal arrangements. The concert begins at 2 p.m., and admission is $2.

So. Nothing has turned you on so far? You figure you're choosy, and I figure you're boring, but wait: there's more at the door. Saturday night at 8 p.m. Michael Cooney performs traditional American and British folk music at the Joy of Movement Center, 536 Mass Ave. Cooney, as much folklorist as musician, should put on an entertaining, varied show, playing everything from banjo and 12-string guitar to kazoo and penny-whistle. Admission is $3.

And for young nostalgia bums (who need all the material they can get), Bill Fravis will put on a "comedy folk" show 9:15 Saturday night at the Sword-In-The-Stone Coffeehouse, located at 15 Charles St. in Boston. Fravis plays a lot of political comedy from the '50's and '60's--and the Vietnam war, etc.--for $1 a head.

Then there's always this guy from down the hall. He plays a little folk guitar, and sings (sort of), and if you're not doing anything, why he'll be only too happy to play a chorus or two of "Blowin' in the Wind" for you, although he could do with a new set of strings.