Reply to "Grey Gardens At Irving Plaza"

Well, you beat me to the punch, as usual Daddy!

However, I cannot really take credit for the name. When Daddy and I were discussing the club's concept, having just visited Irving and seen what it was-- a crumbling, dusty former burlesque house (this was before renovations)-- the conversation went something like this:

Hatches: I see it as a cross between an Edward Hopper painting... you know the ones he did of his wife stripping onstage in the ruined theatre... and a huge crumbling Southern Gothic mansion, dripping with spanish moss and full of dustcloths, shrouded mirrors and spider webs... like the house Edgar Oliver and his sister, Helen, lived in and raised themselves as teenagers, after the death of their parents... you know, holes in the warped wood floor where the kudzu has poked through, with tons of ghosts...

Daddy: You mean like the movie Grey Gardens?

Hatches: Exactly!

Daddy: That should be the name!

Hatches: Of course!


As it progressed, it became a concept where all things past continually overlapped, and not necessarily in sequence... sort of like the psychic layers that overlap in a very active haunted house: Victorian meets flapper meets MGM meets Colonial bawdy house meets Vaudeville-- anything old! I also became obsessed with the idea that year 1919 was the most pivotal year in recent Western Civilization, so there was a liberal sprinkling of that, along with 1950s Paris and Weimar Germany.
Kind of an advanced concept for a night club, dontcha know--even back then. A lot of people did get it though. Now, such a convoluted idea might never get off the ground.
Of course, GG never made any money. We used to be happy when it broke even once or twice.
But it was beautiful. And theatrical. Those are the things I am most proud of. And we did the setup in about 20 minutes. Where the hell did we get the energy for all this?

About the Emily Post... Some one, Douglas John, I believe, had given me a copy of the famed etiquette book-- the "Special 1943 Wartime Edition" naturally. One night I decided to read from it, totally unplanned and unrehearsed-- with quite a few adlibs thrown in. i seem to recall it was all about introducing people... That's where "Mr. John Dynell Of New York" came from. At the finish of my reading, I slammed the book closed and a huge cloud of dust came rolling out. Honest to God, that was unplanned too, and the crowd roared! And it was dust, too-- real dust. After that, of course, I had to use talcum powder to produce the same effect. Another great schtick born accidentally-- the story of my life!
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