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Debbie Harry’s dress, Kim Gordon painting and other NYC punk artifacts in the Mudd Club rummage sale

Though it only existed for five years, from 1978 to 1983, NYC’s Mudd Club served as one of New York—and American—underground culture’s most crucial incubators. Talking Heads and Blondie were fixtures there, and artists that emerged from the scene it galvanized included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Madonna, the B-52s, Kathy Acker… you get the point. It was the gnarly, buoyantly creative flip-side of Studio 54’s disco-glamour coin, a lightning-in-a-bottle moment that can’t be recreated.

This week, Mudd Club co-founder Steve Mass has contrived a Mudd Club rummage sale to benefit the Bowery Mission, a long surviving homeless shelter/food kitchen that remains in NYC’s onetime Skid Row, now, like basically all of Lower Manhattan, a playground for the privileged. The event will be held on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at Django at the Roxy Hotel. Admission ain’t cheap. It’s $200 a head to get in, but again, the money goes to a homeless mission. What that gets you is a chance to buy a Vivienne Westwood dress donated by Debbie Harry, an original painting donated by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and other items donated by Sting, Maripol, Patti Smith, and other members of the Downtown demimonde.

Via Bedford and Bowery:

Mass assures us that, rather than being a Sotheby’s-style auction, the rummage sale will be “like we had it in the old days,” with $50 dollar trinkets casually laid out next to more expensive items. “If Marc Jacobs donates a dress from that period and it’s $4,000 or $5,000, it might be next to a pair of shoes of someone who lost them in the Mudd Club in 1980.”

That pastiche, Mass said, was true to the club’s sensibility. “We were merging all these disciplines, which hadn’t been done before in a club,” said Mass, citing the presence of filmmakers like Kathryn Bigelow, writers like Candace Bushnell and Jay McInerney, photographers like Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin (both of whom are hosts), and fashion designers like Anna Sui (another host) and Marc Jacobs, both of whom had early shows there.

The event will be open-bar, and will feature performances by the B-52s Kate Pierson and the Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, plus DJs and more to be announced.

Here’s some BADASS footage of the Cramps at the Mudd Club in 1981, from the contemporary NYC access cable program “Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kim Gordon’s video love letter to Danceteria, early 1980s
H.R. Giger and Debbie Harry interview, 1981

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa: ‘New York & Elsewhere’ full documentary from 1980

Frank Zappa: New York & Elsewhere is an Austrian produced TV documentary directed in 1980 by Rudolph Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, aka DoRo productions, who are best known for their work with Freddie Mercury and Queen.

Frank Zappa: New York & Elsewhere consists of interviews with Zappa intercut with performances at New York’s Mudd Club and at Upper Darby’s Tower Theater, in Pennsylvania, from May 1980.

The picture quality is poor but the sound is okay, and is not covered with German voice-over. Tracks include “Mudd Club,” “Beauty Feels No Pain,” “Chunga’s Revenge.”



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa performing at The Mudd Club in 1980
05:50 pm

Pop Culture

Frank Zappa
Mudd Club

The Mudd Club (did I fuck anybody in this picture?)
Frank Zappa performing at New York City’s Mudd Club in May of 1980. From the German documentary Ein Leben als Extravaganza - Das Genie Frank Zappa.

This clip includes a brief interview with Mudd Club owner Steve Maas.

The video quality ain’t great, but it’s rare and and I know of no better quality copies anywhere.

I basically stopped listening to Zappa after the first couple of Mothers albums. But, as someone who spent many nights at The Mudd Club, I consider this a worthy contribution to the history of New York’s downtown music scene.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment