The Legacy of Lena Spencer and Her Caffè Lena
Jocelyn Arem, Caffè Lena History Project
Folklorist Jocelyn Arem will speak about the life and legacy of Lena Spencer, the co-founder of Caffè Lena, the oldest surviving folk-music coffeehouse in the United States. Born Pasqualina Rosa Nargi to Italian immigrants, Lena Spencer moved to Saratoga Springs, New York, with her husband Bill in 1958. Inspired by the burgeoning folk revival movement, they opened a coffeehouse and theater with a European feel and homelike atmosphere. Spencer dedicated her life to nurturing generations of artists, some of whom became world famous, including Bob Dylan and Spalding Gray. Arem will read excerpts from her upcoming book, Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse (powerHouse Books, 2013), including samples of Spencer’s previously unpublished original writing, and will play excerpts from archival recordings featured on the companion CD project.