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Back in the days when big clubs were a dime a dozen (Mars, Area, Palladium, Roxy, Limelight, Tunnel, Tracks, Sound Factory etc) I have to confess that Club USA, formerly located in Times Square, was one of my favorite all-time spaces. Though there were certainly other clubs that had superior DJs, what I loved about Club USA was its club-as-adult-amusement park conceptualization. The immense main space with the stage and the giant mural against the far wall, with an arena-like second floor circling above from which clubgoers could gaze down and watch the happenings below, the circular slide from the mezzanine level (always brought out the kid in me) with an attendant to hand you a burlap sack to slide on so you wouldn't burn your bum, the Bladerunner-esque, neon-illuminated bar, the passageway upstairs lined with 25-cent porn video booths, the acoustically superb Thierry Mugler room at the very top, and of course the sumptuous lounge in the basement with that groovy 60s retro carpeting. I remember Mother and Daddy briefly doing a night there in that little performance room in the basement. The crowd I found to be a relatively healthy mixture of downtown denziens, club kids, Euro trash and out-of-town tourists, stars and the usual B&T. It had the feel of a wonderfully realized adult playland. Lee Chappell presided, and I remember one high point was in the main room one night when an army of club kids looking like otherwordly monstrosities in giant platforms and clown makeup marched out on stage while the Euro trash/tourist audience looked on with horror. This "show" culminated with some bargain basement Codi Ravioli imitator transexual flashing her surgically-sculpted vagina and it was the absolute END. One woman in the audience choked on her cocktail and fled the room.
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I agree with both of you. No, it certainly was not my idea of heaven either. It was actually hideous at times. (I worked there for a bit). Although in the beginning some fab people came it was really built for the new Times Square tourists.

Some of the design elements were incredible! The club was designed by Eric Goode (Area, MK, Bowery Bar, The Park etc.) He can be genious. (Area and MK) The fetish lounge on the second floor has never been topped. The flashing Times Square Billboards on the dancfloor, the two story adult slide, the peep show booths all that was brilliant. It's just that when things cost that much money... well, someone's got to pay. It turned into Planet What's it called within weeks. But It was a beautiful club.
Nowheresville was great, and such a great name. I usually ended up in that room when I went to Club USA. And without a doubt the club's genius was in its design, certainly not the music or the clientele. I didn't realize Eric Goode of Bowery Bar/The Park fame was the designer but I'm not surprised .... it was gorgeous.

But you're right, Daddy about the amount of money spent. I like to think of Club USA as the Titanic of nightclubs: huge, beautiful, wastefully extravagent, over-the-top and .... short-lived. If memory serves me right it only lasted about a year before shutting down. Like Titanic, Club USA sank soon after the launch of its maiden voyage.
For me it was an axis, Club USA was the peak, I always think of it like Woodstock...the point where everything you were working towards climaxed then began to fall apart.

The press interest in club kids was at a high, and you could say we were too.

If we had only known the path ahead of us.

I remember going to the pre opening, and hanging out with Marky Mark, while he touched my roommate's boob.

I remember the wonderful lighting in the bathrooms.

The one really horrible thing was that model party they used to have...on the stage... that was really gross

You know what? I remember the tons of free pills... then these long coversations by the elevator..there were weeks when I never seemed to get beyond that bench outside the elevator.

It was funny because you had different drug zones at USA, now that I think about it.

The bathrooms downstairs had a particular "check your coat, do Coke, check your face, and get charged to get to the roof"

After touching up your face and your senses, you would show off the new outfit on the main dance floor for a bit, bump into someone and take some photos in the little photo booth....

skip the second floor, there was never anything there except tourists looking at the slide

The elevator ride was always off the coke edge, ride up and down a few times, usually with someone weird like Juliette Lewis, Leonardo DiCarprio, Chaz Palmentari (SP? you know The Bronx Tale..Peter Gatien funded movie), David Lee Roth, Blossom (with new big boobs) or the one guy from Married With Children (Bud I think)..he was quite sweet actually...

well by the time you would get out of the elevator on to the Mugler room floor, you would have those free pill tablets shoved down your throat by Michael Alig...go grab a drink at the bar, skip the dark cavern at the back where Bela and Freeze stayed holed up (another coke zone)...

... go up those stairs to say hi to the dj and at that point you would usually do Special K and then challenge yourself by trying to get down the stairs before the pills and the K hit

...or if you stayed one sentence too would be trapped up there for a good portion of the night...note there was no railing and the stairs were quite high...

...or I guess if you had poor timing you could sit down and scoot down stair by stair ( not the glamourous route, but you do what you have to sometimes)

the back stairs from the Mugler room, was also to become a big K zone

if you timed everything right though..before you knew were back by the elevator, a full round completed, greetings to everyone, and fully loaded...cocktail in hand, pill kicking in and what was sometimes referred to as CK1 (coke and k speed ball if you will...equal parts of both)

... a wonderful feeling really

...I would never really remember the next day what I talked about, but the conversation always seemed really important, ground breaking, and exchanged with someone really attractive

By the end of these conversations (2 hours often), the exodus to the main dancefloor would happen..we would all parade down, dance a few songs, then exit the side door to the office to get our money....then go to another club for a second gahter some troops, then back to Gramercy

there were two camps of club kids at this time, one on 22nd street and one on 24th street (Gramercy)...we would all huddle at 24th street generally.. strays who were stuck working at other clubs, like Webster Hall, would meet up here too....

Fully assembled, we would then gather our money, and through process of elimination, determine two or three people to go to 4th and C and buy all the heroin.

By the time you got your makeup off, the heroin would be would then do two lines...then apply a cheap Mint Julip Mask

we would then all lay around, with green faces into the morning

we took some videos too..god knows were they are now

it all seemed rather easy and fun...
Waltpaper, I LOVE your description of those chaotic club kid days and your comparison of Club USA with Woodstock. Looking back, it DID somehow seem like the beginning of the end, like those infamous, hell-raising Jazz era parties in 1929 just before the Stock Market Crash. I remember being in the main room one night when an army of club kids marched out on stage from behind the curtain like an unstoppable, all-conquering nightmarish armada, painted monstrosities in giant platform boots destroying everything in their path and spiraling out of control. It was glorious and very Last Days of Pompeii.
Well...a book...

I was offered a book. I started working on it with Michael Alig, a coffe table book, but it became too broad...almost like an encyclopedia...

and that's not what I wanted to do

I wanted to focus on our specific group, basically what I knew about...the second generation club kids...the products...the ones who were sold once the concept crystalized...

Michael, being in jail, having alot of time on his hands, wanted to cover everything and everyone...but I saw that as a very early flaw in his book of his own...too dense....

I have learned to appreciate editing.

I also didn't want to dwell on that one aspect of my life...being a club kid

Althought there was so much information and experiences there...

"I've got dreams to remember"...Otis

I have always believed being creative is fine, coming up with and idea...

... but the real rush, the real victory is when you slash the throat of your idea and toss it away least that's when i shoot my wad

You find people who get one idea and they hold onto it for dear life...

...they don't understand that, as part of the must take your idea to the slaughter house once it is old enough

I believe in the sacrifice.

I understand from living in the hills of Missouri, the importance of burning the field...

You can only love life by loving death...that's Manson's gig....

There were many dimensions to our little clique... the more cult aspects...

... we were all marked with secret marks

...we were, as far as I knew, the only people shooting ketamine and exploring the near death that time

..then writing and painting about it...discussing it intellectually

Ketamine shooting had last been explored by 70's psychedelic elitists..."altered states" and that lot

We were dealing in freemason terms really
...architecture, and degrees of information

very Crowley...Jack Parsons...L. Ron...and my beloved Anger..

Most of the scene didn't even know about what we were up to, it was very inside circle...

in regards to james and his book...he was really your basic drug addict

there isn't much there, but he is quite comical

I did like the chapter about working a room

we gave him his respect, and he is sweet, james...

...I guess he's like your grandma who smells bad and sits in the corner speaking in a word salad..

we were students of Pschic TV and the Legendary Pink Dots and Skinny Puppy and skateboard culture of the late Eighties in suburbia...coming from a different school

We were not trust fund babies like James, we were middle class....

there are so many things to write about that James was not in on, nor could he comprehend it if he was

...I think i will begin a book...

thanks for giving me that nudge Johnny
Welcome, Walt. Let me give you another nudge to write the book. The unique perspective of your circle is one that definitely needs to be recorded, Freemasonry, Crowley, Anger et al...
James always reminded me of Margo Howard-Howard: even down to the look the he sported towards the end, glasses, messy wedge-cut hair, and odd drag. And her "I Was A White Slave In Harlem" was very entertaining as well. The important thing is just to start writing it and don't worry about who will publish it...
I know, Johnny, I should talk.
I would be interested in an historical account of the 80s Pyramid years as well. Though I arrived in New York during August of 1988, my first couple of years clubbing were largely confined to the bigger places (Palladium, Traxx, Tunnel, Sound Factory, etc) and I didn't really "discover" the Pyramid until the Linda Simpson-Channel 69 era (early 90s). Do tell.
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My very first time at a nightclub was at Club USA - or maybe the second. When I went it was some sort of Alice In Wonderland theme, with hula-hooped Tweedles Dum & Dee, a Chesire Cat in a striped catsuit, and a drag Alice having a tea party on a gogo platform with the Mad Hatter. At some point they played "Plastic Dreams," which had that clock-bonging sound that sounded like it was 14-o'clock so it seemed particularly relevant. It was so neat to see all the decorations and work that had gone into the evening. As I left, I got a flier (which I probably still have somewhere) for the next
"Darling!" Friday at USA - "Space Girls Are Easy" - which had a picture of a bouffant-headed woman who had a vagina in the center of her forehead. I don't know what the name of the night was called that I actually went to.

Later times that I went there were fun, but they never had the same fun theme like they did that first time I went. The only other place that really could live up to that was Jackie 60, of course. Even just the Jackie fliers were a work of art - but then I suppose I'm preaching to the choir - ha ha...
Though the crowd wasn't so hot, the Club USA space stands out in my mind as one of the most beautiful clubs I've ever seen. In fact in terms of a big club it's my ideal. I loved the slide, the murals, the psychedelic carpeting in the basement, the giant mural, and so many other things about it. It even had a roof, where in warmer months you could go to chill and gaze at the Manhattan skyline. It was gorgeous.
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You brought it back, the memories,the fabulous times everything that my friend's and I still to this day talk about. I remember the big slide and the room that my friends and I would call the "porno room" I remember we would walk by and there would be these nasty perverted old men that would try to kick it to us with sweat running down their faces from being in there. lol, lol I loved the room that we would call "the love boat" I can't exactly remember where it was I know it was on the side somewhere it was kind of small & dark. Oh, what about the parties that they would have in the rooftop? soo many times going up through the spiral stairs to get up there I would almost bust my ass with my high platform sandles.
Even now, after all the clubs I've been to there hasn't and will never be a club like U.S.A it was such a great unique place a real original that stood real to it's name.
I'll never forget the last party that I was invited to, it was the "New Years Eve last dance" party that we were invited to by this promoter that we knew then. He invited us and told us that we should really go, we asked why and he told us that it was going to be the last dance @ U.S.A, of course we're still upset that we didn't go. FrownBut we really had good times and that I will never regret. Thanks for the memories!! ;*)
Yeah, I hated the idea of a big box club in Times Square. Even back when Bonds was open it felt rather dated (although Bonds had some rather unique features like the giant inflatables). So, NOWHERESVILLE was the only thing that got me to enter USA. I remeber the night I preformed there a short play by Rene Ricard with Alba Clemente and her daughter Nina. The club was packed that night 'cause Prince was doing a "surprise" performance - which was incredible to watch. NOWHERESVILLE at least tried to give the big soul-less club a little authenticity - but not nearly enough. Don't miss it at all.
I was performing with Anitra as Men Smash Atoms ( and I met Michael Alig at Disco 2000 and I thought this is an interesting scene so I created Krash Boom TV to record the weekly events and to get my ugly mug on television.

I presented 10 minutes of club related events at the beginning of each 1/2 program (from Limelight, Tunnel, Club USA and numerous other locations) with openings, outlaw and theme parties which featured club personalities Alig, Desi Monster, Kabuki, Astro Earl, Olympia, Richie Rich, Angel, Sofia, Walt Paper, Lahoma, Amanda Lapore, Kenny Kenny, Miss Understood and numerous other walking works of art.

They created their own extraordinary make-up and drop-dead costumes, masks and other accouterments - some were actors, performance artists, painters, photographers, graphic designers and had numerous other talents outside their club personas which were only enriched by those skills.

The opening of USA was a madhouse, that Bundy guy, the son, was calling me a fag vampire and other bullshit in the elevator and when I responded with some Shakespearean quotes, you know - the ones where Hamlet fucked his mother, his bodyguards crashed me to the floor. I found out later this was Bundy-son's regular gig, even doing it at private parties. Alig had them all thrown out and we continued to have fun.
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