Author, actor, and raconteur Robin Hirsch ran the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York’s Greenwich Village for 41 years until he was forced to close it in 2019 due to rising rent. The restaurant was renowned for its basement nightclub where singer/songwriters, jazz bands, poets and comics played on a tiny stage. Shows were short so that different groups perform each night.

Robin who’s a writer and actor, has performed several shows about his life and the prejudice he felt being a German Jew in post war London. In New York he found endless outlets for creative expression. He established a stable of talent at his café where people incubated new work and the famous rubbed shoulders with the aspiring. Career advice? Robin says he’s always stumbled into opportunities and grasped them but nothing was planned. He’s an introvert who has had to learn to be an unflappable MC, host and artistic director. He says his British education has helped him make it all seem effortless when in fact he’s always been shy.

Links Gordon Skinner’s 30th Anniversary VideoSharon Kaufman’s 35th Anniversary TributeRobin as author:LAST DANCE AT THE THE HOTEL KEMPINSKI”one of the best books ever written on the long arm of the Holocaust”  Jewish Book News

As poet:FEG: Stupid Poems for Intelligent Children”searingly smart and challenging” (New York Times)As author/performerMOSAIC: Fragments of a Jewish Life

Photos of the café:

ABOUT CREATIVE CONFIDENTIAL  Each week in Creative Confidential Jude Kampfner chats to an independent professional performance or visual artist about how they survive and thrive. They share details of moving between projects, becoming more entrepreneurial, finding the best opportunities and developing a signature image and style. Her guests range from lyricists to novelists, videographers to sound designers.

A broadcaster, writer and coach, Jude gently probes and challenges her so that whatever your line of creativity you learn from her advice and the experiences of her lively guests.


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Theme music composed by Gene Pritsker.

Show Producer and Editor, Mark McDonald. Launch YOUR podcast here.