RINGOLEVIO: A Life Played for Keeps by Emmett Grogan
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RINGOLEVIO: A Life Played for Keeps

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Before Kenny Wisdom of Dean Street. Brooklyn, became Emmett Grogan founder of the Diggers in the Haight-Ashbury love ghetto, he had already lived several lives. Burglar and thief, heroin addict at age 15, Mediterranean playboy and avant-garde film maker at 17, London porno writer and sometime dynamiter for the IRA before he was 20. And he was good at all his chosen trades; he took care of business; he kept a low profile; he was fast and tough and smart and so is this stunning autobiography -- carefully crafted, understated, exact and powered with the high-voltage outrage of the Brooklyn street gangs where he first learned to play his life ""for keeps."" Unlike the hippies whom he fed by stealing sides of beef from the San Francisco meat markets, Emmett had no illusions about flower-power, acid visions, non-violence, and love. He was a survivor of the blues life, a renegade whose ""frame of reference is a style of life and death that has been censored from history"" and he wanted ""more than the oakey-doke without askin."" Unimpressed by the celebrityprophets of the Counterculture, he hawked no visions: his hero, when he still had heroes, was Willie Sutton, the Brooklyn burglar who lived down the block when he was a kid, before the cops came and took him away; Kenny learned about power and money making the great wheel go around from the Anastasias who controlled the waterfront back in the '50's. And he got his own training down on Hester Street when the Wild Aces and the Chaplains played the last game of Ringolevio and Kenny Wisdom jumped 27 feet from a tenement window ledge to holler ""ALL FREE!"" in a jailbreak that ended the game forever and began Kenny's own emancipation from the ""Judas-goat society"" and his launching as a full-time felon-liberator. And this is the record of how he went about it, down the fire escape, in jail, across two continents and 15 years. And it never falters.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1972
ISBN: 1590172868
Publisher: Little, Brown