The Palladium

OK the Palladium, before it became a glitz pallace it did have some great rock shows. Like Nick Lowe or The Plasmatics One night Wendy O blasted the hood off a White Caddy and almost took out the people in the first five rows when it landed in "way" the wrong place. It being punk times they loved it and screamed for more. Needless to say Wendy never quite topped that moment. Wendy did come back and do the buzz saw act in the Mike Todd room but it was just not the same. She did shock some of the silk jacket set from the Upper East Side. So it was kind of fun watching them get shocked. The best show ever in Mike Todd was the night two girls dressed up in 1900s Japanese house wife drag and tried to walk on bowling balls strapped to their feet , then stood on their heads revealing their crotches and smashed raw eggs on each others privates. I am not sure it it was art or not but it was very entertaining and the "Silk Jacket" set ran for the door, so we loved it and gave them extra drink tickets to show our devotion. Does anyone remenber who they were I would love to know?

X
I know I said that I never liked The Palladium but that's not really true. I didn't like the "trying to pretend it's Studio 54" thing that permiated the first year or so. The Steve & Ian "VIP room to nowhere" sort of thing. (If it wasn't for Haoui Montaug running the door it would have been a TOTAL nightmare) but...
I DJ'd there for many years and have to say there were some brilliant things about the place too. The tech for instance -lights, video, staging etc. was the best I've ever expirenced in any club -anywhere -ever! And it was just as good when it closed as when it opened. Some amazingly talented people (like Night Porter).

But my favorite Palladium story was what I"ll call "Lambada Con". I don't know how many of you remember the Lambada Dance craze in the eighties.

quote:
The word lambada refers both to the rhythm - a fusion of carimbó and merengue - and to the dance, which incorporates elements of forró, samba, merengue and maxixe (the 19th century Brazilian dance which was a tremendous success in Europe). The dance is sexy, yes, but it is danced by all kinds of people, of all ages and sexes, without the "dirty" connotations given to it by very bad Hollywood movies. It's very graceful, fast-paced, and believe me, when you have to move your feet and body that fast on the dance floor without tripping all over yourself and falling on the dance floor, the LAST thing on your mind is sex...Anyway, the rhythm originated in the Amazon, was later adopted by Bahians, who proceeded to create the steps...and the rest is history!


Anyway, the whole thing was made up. Just a big con. "the rhythm originated in the Amazon -later adopted by Bahians" bla bla bla... BULLSHIT! It was thought up by a French gnat who recorded a couple of "Lambada records" and had a hit. To make a long story short...
The Palladium got caught up in this ruse and became "The Home of Lambada". Every (I think) Thursday night they would have Lambada bands, Lambada dancers and ME playing Lambada music all night. The only problem was the whole thing was bullshit! It was the same band every week. They just put different names in the ads and had them wear different costumes. And the dancers (billed as Brazillian Lambada dancers) were about as Brazillian as the Puerto Rican girls at the check-out counter. The guys and girls would just get different costumes every week. (In the beginning anyway) And as far as playing Lambada music all night... THERE WERE ONLY 2 RECORDS!!!!!
I played each cut 3 or 4 times (as did the band) and then mixed in obscure Merengue songs and some Samba hoping that no one would notice. Also, at some point in the night, the dancers would give Lambada lessons. (read: Lap Dance) That would eat up alot of time.
IT WAS BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!
And it became a big hit for months.
Eventually more Lambada records were made and people really did learn "The Forbidden Dance". And after a while somehow it became real -it went on MTV etc. But I'll never forget those heady first few months of the "Lambada Con".

PS
As you can imagine, back stage at that time was the hottest place in New York. The Puerto Rican girl dancers and their hot Latino stud partners running up and down the back stairs half naked, changing costumes. And the band (and Chi Chi & Alba) smoking joints in the dressing room... Everyone wanted to be there.
That's when I had the idea to promote a party backstage at The Palladium. We used the back door and opened a bar in one of the dressing rooms. Everyone just hung out on the stairs and in the DJ booth lounge. It was hysterical. It only lasted for a few months but it was really hot. I think we called it "Backdoor Lambada" or something stupid like that.
And now that I think of it... in a way, that is really how Jackie 60 started. With those same people who use to hang out backstage with us.
Actually, I think alot of you were also the first people on The Motherboards.
Some things never change.

"The Forbidden Dance"

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Ah yes, the Lambada! I also remember that puzzling Voice ad, searching for "Lambada Bartenders!"
Jayne County was just reminding me the other night about Gabriel Rotello's stint in the Mike Todd Room, Anita Sarko, and the night I did a dance on a table, wearing an orange micro-mini with matching cape, with-- Steve Rubell. The table collapsed, and so did we.
Back in the day (1991-ish) for a while I frequented the Palladium on Tuesday nights for the Love Machine. It was really fun. Lahoma Van Zandt was the hostess and she used to fall down all the time. She was anorexic-thin and sometimes she smelled kinda funky. I also think Lee Chappell was involved somehow also, I don't remember who the DJ was but it was someone famous I think. Girlina was one of the drag regulars and there was some queen who would show up in Queen Elizabeth the First drag. The space was really gorgeous and there were lots of freaks there. Once several friends from Denver came into town and I took them there ... they thought all the freaks were great and there was a whole crowd of people doing coke en masse in this back stairwall. I went to a few parties in the Mike Todd room also.
I remember the Palladium having alot of great art. I can't remember when but they had this big Keith Haring backdrop and some other art on the back wall. One time this guy in silver body paint was sitting against this painting and when he left there were silver hand prints all over it. I also remember the Love Machine tuesday night party, I think this was after the union square place closed. They had a room downstairs right next to the men's bathroom that I remember being in one night, small dance floor and people all over in the dark corners.
I was pushing my son in his stroller past the Palladium (site) yesterday...and ended up telling him about the club..(poor tyke is only 2 and is probably damaged for life with Mommies tales already).... cos i think it was a great time for me there... 1991, I had JUST arrived in NYC.. my first wk here (sent here by my job) didn't know ONE person here, had never even been here before.. first wk in, i was telephoned by Kelly Cuttrone (remember her! Where is she now) inviting me to a party (i was working as a tv producer and she was a publicist!)... so, the very first wk i arrived in the city..i went alone to this party in the engine room for Quentin Crisp... I met Chi Chi, Johnny (you both might not remember!) other folk invited for this private sit down dinner - lee chappell, Ed Callahan, Baroness Sherry, Kelly Cuttrone, Jason Weinberg... that first wk at that party I also met one of my best pals since i have been here, Greg Di Stefano -(hi Swifty!)..
Many a night Greg and i would end up sweaty on that dance floor at one of Lees parties...
It was also the club where one NYs Eve i ended up in there and picked up two HOT HOT Moroccan boys (the only two straight men in the whole place...arguing for their money back as the club was 'gay') I helped out the situation and took them both home...brought in the NY in real grand style.....
So................all in all the Palladium was good for me!!
Anyone remember the "right to resist" concert at palladium circa 1988?They had groups like de la soul and that poet singer who sang"you wanna suck my pussy,you wanna suck my dick" Whats her name??It was a three day 24/7 concert ,keith harring did the artwork for the poster.I spent two days backstage where there was open bar and buffet food for the whole time.I know it all sounds like a pipe dream but I was really there.....really!I think it's disgusting what they've done with that space.What a useless purpose for such a historic site not to mention the old tropicana turned into a deli now a shoe store I think..Oh well at least I got to witness it; poor young-ins.

[This message was edited by christopher 262 on 02-19-03 at 09:30 PM.]
Against all odds - Palladium was undeniably fun. No one believed it could be hip - it was just too big, but somehow it all pulled together. I saw some great shows there: Gwen Guthrie, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, El Grand Combo, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Joyce Sims, even Vanity 6! Sister Dimemsia DJ-ing in the Michael Todd Room. I used to wonder just how much extra insurance the club had to carry to have banks of televisions on hydraulic lifts spinning over the dancer's heads. The art instillations were incredible: the Kenny Scharf lounge (in it's original incarnation), the Keith Haring mural (finally returned to the Haring Foundation just before demolition), the Francesco Clemente frescos (fortunately saved before demolition and now in Naples), and the Basquiat panels (now in the collection of the Met). But it was the reworking of the space by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki that was the quiet champion of the club. I'll never forget that building anticipation as you walked the long arched entranceway then turned to ascend the dramatic steel staircases pulled by the thumping music.

Of particular interest to me was a vogueing style that, to my memory, was unique to the Palladium. Across the center of that cavernous dance floor, voguers would battle sitting on the shoulders of their house sisters, high above the rest of the crowd. It's were the House of Xtravaganza found a 16 year-old Jose - later to choreograph Madonna's "Vogue" and currently the Father of the House.

The club also retained from its former music hall life a labyrinth of secret back staircases that, if you were well acquainted with them, could be put to very good use. After the first year the club was open, I had stacks of those multi-colored square cards to get into the Todd room. I'm sure there are still a few of them in the pockets of old jackets.

Now if somebody could just tell me how all those parties ended...
I did TECH there for 2 yrs. That was a spooky space. as tech... we climbed all the time . there were places where nobody had been for 40 yrs. The staff were great... the mangament were royal ASSHOLES. No free drinks, no free friends on the guest list. it was like the nazi's running the whole thing right into the ground. Before it became "a club" i saw susie and the banshies,new yrs eve. with "the dolls" and many other bands. The club though will always get my upmost respect in the TECH field. it was MILITARY the way a crew of 10 could run that whole club with shows.the filming of "Carletto's way" was a memory to remember, Latin Thursdays . HIP HOP block parties on the weekends. Club MTV -w- Downtown Julie brown. (that bitch didn't even say "thanks" for a birthday gift i gave her on her birthday, cunt must have thought i was a nobody !!!! even though i was ! RIOTS, SHOOTINGS, DRUGS GALORE ... oh yea... the palladium rocked in it days. The END was .... needed what it became in it's last yr. was a SHAME. such a grand place. I saw the hole in the dance floor my last time in. it was gone 2 months later.
What a great topic. I just re-read it.

I don't know if I agree with you nite porter,
quote:
The best show ever in Mike Todd was the night two girls...

I think the best shows ever in Mike Todd were the nights that Tom Cruise used to go in that back tech room with his yuppie boy friends and...

Oh, gotta go.
"You wanna suck my pussy...well let me suck your dick...suck your dick bastard bitch...ohhh i wanna put my winner in yer ass." Lyric's by the 1 and only "Karen Fenley" Please don't forget another piece by her.... I went to the art world and nothin happened...i quit drinking and smoking and nothin happened..i went to the Tunnel and palladium and nothin happened..ect ect. Yuppie......bla bla bla i'm not gonna let you GANGRAPE me anymore! (in her loudest shill)

I love Karen and i thought she was a goddess(she was a steady at 8bc) who had "issues" to work out. then one night i saw her husband(at that time) harry kipper on stage in a dipper doing poetry. It changed my life(like rocky horror as a teenager did)
pre club palladium was the place to see an arena act on a smaller stage.
speaking of which and on another subject amybody see "The clash" at the BONDS shows that were oversold and caused a riot in times square.
NYC in the 80's was IT !
okay...i'll go reflect now ..... bye d
could be and i wouldn't doubt it !i worked "a corp. party" show of hers(bette) at the bank of america on ???? fuck if i remember now ??? but she was " a case in point" and i can see where the 2 may have found some connection. Married...that's scary !

i remember 1 steady dj during that time was "glen fresia" (spelling wrong,dj right) who wasn't a prick.
lahoma..... was a peach..c'mon. sitting on that stool at the door with so much make on "mary kay" couldn't keep up the supplies to the east coast. Were talking "multi layers" of brown /orange and gold. i loved her because she always seemed to know when to stop being a diva and shut the fuck up. She could "wig" on folks who didn't TIP or tip well and would come down the back stairscase in a huff n puff about some yuppie fuckhead on n on. Pricless though & so glad i saw it !
Palladium opening night was a zoo. 1984 or 1985 if i remember

Jerry Rubin did his wednesday networing parties there after he stopped them at the Fleishman owned studio 54 . .

also remembr a big Grammy pre party there around 1992..

model agencies did some christmas parties there in the VIP area

MTV did its corporate christmas party there once or twice, which we crashed.

fun days.

Always did the Michael Todd room.
became a necessity when the place turned bridge and tunel.
Networking parties, Model agency parties, Corporate parties and Yuppies...

The Palladium was the beginning of the end of New York Night life.

When Chi Chi walked into the club on the opening night she just looked around and said, "This is a temple of shit".

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