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OAK ROOM and the OYSTER BAR at the Plaza hotel Closing, end of January!

This is not as bad as the (original) Russian Tea Room dying, but it is really obnoxious.

My mother and I missed out on the usual stroll through the lobby around Xmas, because now the powers that be, don't let anyone walk through unless they are registered there.
Corporate suck-asses, high-security false value-system, the death of an era.

December 2, 2004 --
It's going to be a lot harder to get a meal at The Plaza "” its new owners are closing three of the hotel's landmarked restaurants, including the historic Oak Room.

Elad Properties, which bought the historic hotel last August, will close the Oak Room and Oyster Bar by the end of January and ONEc.p.s. by Jan. 1.

"They don't perform well and they're losing money," said Elad spokesman, Steve Solomon. This leaves only the Palm Court, where Eloise roamed, and the fabled Oak Bar, which has a limited bar menu.

The company "” which is also turning The Plaza's top floors into condos "” would not divulge its plans for the spaces, but sources said high-end retail boutiques are expected to move in. Since the spaces are official landmarks, renovations cannot be extensive.

The news came as a surprise to Local 100 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, the union whose members are employed in the hotel's restaurants.

"We have not been given formal notification of the closing of these restaurants," said union spokesman John Turchiano, who pointed out that the law requires 60 days' notice.

Local 100 President Peter Ward plans to meet with restaurant employees 3 p.m. today.

Diners were astonished

"I can't imagine The Plaza without the Oak Room," said William Hopkins.

The Oak Room has a history as lustrous as its oak paneling adorned with frescoes and carved coats of arms.

It's where songwriter George M. Cohan lunched every day and Ernest Hemingway drank with F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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Boo! How sad, S'tan.
If it's any consolation, we can say Farewell Insipid New New York, too! Last week New York Magazine proclaimed the "end" of the Meatpacking District in a poorly researched chapter of its year-end "It Happened This Year: A Guide to 2004." In addition to citing Pastis as the beginning of the end of the neighborhood, among the gems given us by reporter Jay McInerney:
This is the inevitable cycle of trendification in the city, trend seekers following the trendsetters into a fringe area of the city. The only difference is that there wasn't a real bohemian or artistic culture that was co-opted and displaced.
He is, like, so on the pulse! Oh, and watch out for those ghosts of trannie prostitutes. Ugh.

The Meatpacking District Got So Popular That Nobody Goes There Anymore.
The half-life of a trendy neighborhood is now a matter of days.

By Jay McInerney

Coming home to the Village from a dinner party on the Upper West Side this past weekend shortly after midnight, I found myself skirting the meatpacking district, cruising east on Fourteenth. You could almost feel the shock wave rocking the Volvo as we crossed Ninth Avenue. A collective moan rose from my friends"”an actor, a journalist, and a publishing exec"”as we looked down the avenue, which was teeming and raucous with Saturday-night heat seekers, illuminated by the drossy fluorescence of the Hotel Gansevoort. The scene required no overt comment from our crowd, only grunts and expletives. "The new Date Rape Row," someone finally said.

So"”that didn't take long. As I recall, it took Soho at least ten years to become a parody of itself, to move from bohemian fringe neighborhood to theme park, from buzzword to cliché, from Samo to Sam Waksal.

When I arrived in town twenty-odd years ago, I lived a few blocks from the district. By day, it was populated by rough men with outer-borough accents in bloody white aprons, carrying hacksaws and haunches of beef. At night, a different sort of worker ruled the sidewalks. It took me about a year to figure out why the gaudy Amazons tottering on high heels after dark were so damn tall and had such deep voices. I was quicker to understand what they meant when they asked if I wanted a date. Years later, when Keith McNally mentioned that he was thinking about opening a restaurant over there, a sidewalk-café kind of thing, I told him that I thought the smell might keep people away. That's how sharp my business sense is.

Pastis was, of course, the beginning of the transformation; the opening of the Hotel Gansevoort"”the physical equivalent of the Tour Montparnasse, another shiny blight on a low-rise neighborhood"”was the tipping point. This is the inevitable cycle of trendification in the city, trend seekers following the trendsetters into a fringe area of the city. The only difference is that there wasn't a real bohemian or artistic culture that was co-opted and displaced. (The meatpackers seem to have been gradually migrating across the river since the nineties.) The only surprise is the speed of the change, the rapidity with which we started to use italics to pronounce the name of the place that, ever since the days of the Anvil, the area's notorious sex club, seemed tailor-made to become a double entendre.

The architectural transformation of the far West Village is a genuine cause for concern"” high-rises are planned for all over the waterfront. Who knows, though . . . the ghosts of those slaughtered animals, if not the trannie prostitutes, may yet haunt the developers' dreams. Before dawn, as the last partyers leave Cielo and PM and Lotus, giant rats patrol the cobbled streets and terrorize hotel guests on the highest floors of the newest towers; and among the entrepreneurs of the area one hears whispers of ineradicable molds and mites imbued in the old brick walls of the former abattoirs.
Hmmm, not that bad an article.
I guess you are displeased Maddy because he neither mentions Mother, nor Hog & Heifers... but one club does not an entire 'culture' make, no matter what we feel about it. Instead, like many artistic/bohemian subcultures, we were parasitic (and happy to be so) and thus from the point of view of profit-mongers, WE were part of the "problem" over there. Exactly: low-rent, no interest in big profit, in love with sleaze and the panorama of the bizarre, seemingly one of the ineradicable molds and mites.

I do love the justice of the "ineradicable molds and mites in the walls of the former abattoirs." ('imbued' is redundant) Now there're abattoirs there of another ilk... heads roll at 4 AM, the breeders' frenzy of who's going home with whom...

Do you recall when the whole neighborhood was inundated with E.coli after numerous heavy rainstorms? Delightful.
Well, it takes a germ to love a germ.
The idea of Jay McInerney & New York Magazine proclaiming the Meat Market dead is so laughable... it's not even funny.
Jay McInerney was always the most hideous yuppie scum. Now he's trying to come off as some kind of 80's bohem. He was a yuppy! I was there. I remember. Jay McInerney and his yuppy friends at a party were always a sign of doom. How dare he write about "The Anvil". He was never there. He was at Jackie though, I'll give him that but it always made me nervous.
And New York Magazine... don't get me started.
I remember when they put us (Pookie represented) on the cover proclaiming The Meat Market as the next big thing. We were mortified and very depressed knowing that being in New York Magazine is death. And the cover to boot! (We sold the club not long after getting out while the getting was good).

I did love the mold thing though.
Believe me, nobody knows about that mold like I do!!!! I fought it for years. I've seen things growing that nobody should ever see. I eventually won BTW, sending it back to hell with gallons and gallons of bleach.
Didn't NY Mag declare the Meat Market the hottest thing ever less than five years ago?
And that was just a real estate scam, we know that. JM saying it's "dead" is just palaver. Bottom line about his loathesomeness: he is both too old/not wealthy enough to attract the women that now go cruising in the bars down there. That's no doubt why he'd like it to be dead. If he could go down there and get laid he would be all for it.

My landlord has 7 buildings in Chelsea and just sold all of them to a corporation that owns the Sears Building. More and more little neighborhoods and small buildings will be going, going goine.
He said he had to sell before the real estate market totally crashes.

That market crashing, if it ever does, might be good news for people like us, who need reasonable rents and don't need everything to change (that is, get more expensive) every five years. But somehow I don't believe it is going to happen.

The House that Jackie built as we know it certainly does not have to be made of bricks and mortar (and mold) though wouldn't it be wonderful if it could again, one day, be manifest.
Wishing us a nice long lease and a rent check one could write without going into a conniption.
The new "hot zone" is the New World Order...

"Goals of the New World Order"

To begin to understand the New World Order (NWO) you need to forget what you have been told about philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats; left and right; Socialists and Libertarians; business and labor; liberal and conservative; black and white, etc.. The planners of the New World Order know they must use, influence, and cater to all of these groups to accomplish the goals they are seeking, which are:

1. Consolidate everything.

2. Commercialize everything.

3. Classify everything.

4. Claim everything.

5. Control everything.

We might call these goals the five Cs of the New World Order. If it is fully empowered, free speech, personality, personal goals and decisions, individual responsibility, private property, private business, morality, Constitutional government, national sovereignty; and religious freedom can no longer be tolerated. Everyone in every country will be subject to the NWO management system. To quote the French mathematician/philosopher, Auguste Comte (1798-1857), one of the most significant early planners of the world management system:

"The most important object of this regenerated polity will be the substitution of Duties for Rights; thus subordinating personal to social considerations. The word Right should be excluded from political language, as the word Cause from the language of philosophy."

"The only real life is the collective life of the race; individual life has no existence except as an abstraction."

He also wrote:

"When the system is fully regulated, the effect of this will be to secure greater unity, by diminishing the influence of personal character."

[Auguste Comte, System of Positive Polity, Vol. 1, LENOX HILL Pub. & Dist.Co.(Burt Franklin), New York,1973. Published by the Author in July 1851]

This means that to the NWO world management system planners you, as an individual, are considered to be without character or personality. Your personal life and personal goals are unimportant to them, unless those goals are consistent with the sociological, economic and religious goals of the New World Order.

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Hi Bobby darling,
Happy New World Disorder 2005!
Apropos of fighting against the machine, I just saw the East Village Art Show at the Chelsea Museum -- so major! It could have been ten times bigger...
Paintings that are so fervent and wild. David Wojnarowicz's "Death of American Spirituality" is one of the most terrifying paintings seen in a long time.
Overarching the experience is the apocalyptic drone of Sonic Youth from the video room. Sue Coe's "Car Hookers" is incredible as is David Sendlich (sp.) horror-sex-fantasy 'Under the Pulasky Bridge." Nan Goldin looked better than ever in this context. All that was missing was Blacklips, though I think they were just a wee bit later. (1990s)

Only complaint is the sound on the Klaus Nomi video wasn't working. Lots of great video though, Finley and John Kelley. I watched about half an hour of "TV Party" and went right back... You know they had it on the second floor at 110 East 23rd, where my former "Whipshack" was also the same time active (1982-1993). Glenn looks sooo young and cute... Walter Stedding too...

Incredible irony of the fervour and disgust so rampantly manifest in these works... knowing that just about every single artist in the whole exhibit had been, was, or was about to be on heroin. My friend & painter Carl Apfelschnitt, who died in the second wave of the Plague used to say, "The antidote for New York is heroin."

NB Patti Astor who founded FUN gallery in her apartment on East 3rd Street (try to do that today, kids) is lecturing on Jan. 27th on graffiti art with Charlie Ahearn and Lady Pink.

"Not to be missed" !!!
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Mao tse Tung did the five C's and then some. It is just another subterfuge to call NWO a management system. As originally instituted as a pragmatic social system it was just called Totalitarianism. The key component is as Comte wrote but in later studies was more specifically called "a closed inner world (of the individual mind)." There in effect is no such thing as an individual anymore. The highest crime is to have a 'private thought.' But the huge difference between the original practitioners of totalitaria, who were extremely successful for years, and the NWO as is needed by the Little Bush Idiocracy, is that the LBI needs the practices of the NWO simply just to buttress its need for perceived legitimacy. That is why the US will need to end up being majorly similar to North Korea by the end of the LBI just for the LBI to have any type of accepted 'believership.' Mao did not employ totalitarianism primarily to instill his regime with legitimacy but to directly marshall the entire social resources of the nation to consolidate authoritarian order, provide for national defense, and project geopolitical interests. Re-shaping society was recognized first of all as a project of re-shaping human consciousness. The actual techniques became catalogued and extremely methodical. Pallid echoes of it could be found in Reagan-era ideological promotions like the Just Say No program. Perhaps more insidious than the open practice of indoctrination practiced by the commies, here in the US the 'brainwashing' techniques have a cross-over affinity with contemporary practices of publicity and advertising. Mao didn't have an advanced technological environment to use as a tool to achieve his totalitaria. Because of that his version of NWO was taught directly to the population instead of being administered by a hodgepodge of legislation and cultural propaganda. And the qualitative result was very different. In Mao's version the effect was that the population knew nothing other than the social law and so believed in the regulations from the inside, as it were. Here, the attempt to impose a NWO has no option other than to present it and its rules as an exteriority to be conformed to, and as such that will meet with considerable resistance.
mao observed none of the social order he placed on his country. he gave std's to women as a girl scout badge for sleeping with him. he acted as a god/emperor and danced and drank the night away forcing his entourage into western clothes and western styled entertainment still preaching conformity on the rest fo the country sending out raiding parties to distroy homes and businesses of his enemies.

who is believing any of this modern american propangda? unless you mean mtv teenagers accepting the latest color or fashion silhouette as buying into the system. yes we saw the manipulations by the republicans of the news with dan rather's demise. and the falsely planted belief by so many that the iraqi war was part of american security, yet those are great lies that people will learn about later when it will really shock them into awareness.

we know our government is being mismanaged and may destroy our way of life, yet hey, was not nyc destroyed on september 11th?

what's life to save? our careers?

in love,

Reading the catalogue for the East Village Art show... recollecting that mad errant time the curators have demarcated for the movement, 1981-1987... We were thoroughly convinced the world was coming to an end, that things were just going to get worse, dirtier, more and more heroin and drug burnouts, more & more "No Future"...
I moved out of the East Village to the upper West side, trading junkie friends for uptown alcoholism...

Little did we realize then the end of the world, our New York world, was going to mean corporate everything, high-priced everything, and finally for 2005 that monumental fascist symbol, Bank of America, glowing neon red on nearly every corner... No, New York won't allow chains to take over! No, New York won't be a mall... ha. Ha. Ha.

One thing concerning the NWO I find particularly disturbing is the re-animation of Christianity. I was reading a number of histories of the 18th century on my last tour in the Styx... the dominant theme being the death of the religion... it was known as 'the Age of Enlghtenment' for its rejection of faith, in favour of the powers of reason. In this context, the rampant pounding of Xian morality in the culture bespeaks its essential emptiness and a resounding knell of Control...

But I don't believe in Reason anymore either. It reeks too much of 'practicality' which is too much about the bottom line, and 'how much' are we going to get out of whatever. I look and look for some place where money isn't controlling every goddamned thing that exists. Don't find.
Yeah S'tan, I'm more for relying on instinct and intuition. Basically, these days, if someone has you reasoning it means you are like a mouse in a laboratory maze. The world is now choked with billions of humans living terminal creeds in pantribal despair. Living with no consideration of money is like swimming underwater, you have to come up sometime. The overwhelming integrity of money leaves only certain metaphysical realms free of its taint. I have always found the interpersonal to be probably the only mode of being alive where one can have any guarantee of being in a cash-free zone.
I am not a bloodie Rainbow person that I think I can (or do I want?) to live without money. What I am talking about is the emphasis that is placed on the profit motive - as being more important than anything else. To the point that no-one recognizes any other reason for doing anything.

There are plenty of interpersonal relationships that are all about "do for me, gimme". Lovers and spouses degenerate into money-sucking. The art world is seriously infected with money-grubbing... that was what was so great about the East Village frenzy, while it lasted. It was not about cashing in. Soho was a blue-chip dead zone in the face of that fervour.

Often at social events I'll see someone who hasn;t seen me in a while, who asks me ... if I am "Still Writing." The implication: since I'm not a fucking media-slut blow-out shilling myself to the gills... since my writing has apparently had "No Result", then I MUST have given it up. I mean Why do Art if it isn't Profitable? They can kiss my petunia.

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I am standing AND applauding you S'tan. If I wanted money I'd have never become an artist.
But I see it in its proper perspective. I need to eat etc. but it's not my driving force or my life's desire to acquire and store money. You can't take it with you but you can do a lot with it to help yourself and others.
And just as we were having this discussion, a bit of blurb on the old New World Order pops up-- before Skull and Bones & the WTO, before Auguste Comte, and even before the European Union with its vacant 666th seat, there was-- The Knights Templar.
The model for all secret world puppet-meisters... the shadowy group that history-mangler Anne Rice used as the inspiration for the Talamasca... the legendary very core of the Illuminatus... has popped into the news recently, in Hertfordshire, of all places, demanding an apology from Rome for its near-extermination in the 14th Century, among other things. And The Vatican, still wary after the enormous publicity surrounding the whole
Opus Dei palaver, is considering...

Hertford, Home Of The Holy Grail
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Great little article hatchie... Love the bit about the secret reeking that no one wants to dig up.

Woder why every time there is a secret coven of some kind, they always have miles of underground tunnels? Is the Motherboards our burrow?

This from the New York Press last week ...
green alert to Jay McInerney!

"A survey of 1,003 New Yorkers between the ages of 25 and 35 revealed that the HOTTEST current pick-up joints in towns are no longer bars, nightclubs, or church groups, but rather chain stores. Topping the list were Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. Further down the list were Rite-Aid, Staples, Home Depot, K-Mart, Subway sandwich shops and Ikea. Many of those surveyed also expressed ... lustful excitement at the possibility that a Wal-mart might be opening in Brooklyn soon.

" 'Most any major nationwide chain will do when I'm looking for a girl,' one 27-year old from Williamsburg said. 'There's something about the comfortably interchangeable sameness of the corporate bosom. When I go to a chain store, I feel loved. And when I feel loved, I also feel I'm capable of loving in return. Well, loving and spending money.' " Big chuckle.

"As it happens, the survey was sponsored by the American Express Corpoation, as they prepare to launch a new credit card."

Not to mention the comfortably interchangeable sameness of the girlfriends' fake bosoms.

Just the fact that people (or in this case, probably a copy-writer) can even begin to merge the image of spending money in chain stores ~ equivalent to ~ getting laid
is a dreadful, nauseous etiolation of the metaphor!!

Just kill me.
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UggggHHHHH!!! Are we losing our minds? Is there any hope left?

Still, on the other hand, it does seem a bit more cruisy whenever I go to the local Mall.

But maybe that's just me.

Where'd I put my Amex card?

And on a more serious note, American Express is the only Credit card company that charges the retailer both coming and going so to speak ie:
If you buy something at our store and use your American Express card we get charged 3.5 % and if you return the item you bought , we get charged another 3.5 %.Thereby costing us for the transaction. In other words if someone bought a $10,000.00 diamond necklace at Cartier
and then returned it and they used an Amex card, Amex would make $1300.00 on the entire transaction and Cartier would be charged $1300.00. Maybe we should start our own credit card company.
S'tan, please, the East Village 'art scene' was not about cashing in on the money? Let's not idealize it tooooooo much. Sorry to cast aspersions on many of your past and current aquaintances, but the EV 'art scene' was just the same catagory of ladder climbers Soho was ALL about. It's just that the EV 'scene' was the only space available on account of that olde arte world staple, exclusivity. Mark Kostabi is really the epitome of the East Village 'art scene' of the eighties. I'm not criticizing the level of creativity, that's not my point, nor was the performance art vying for corporate patronage, performance never does, and of course there was a nucleus of mercurial personalities. But the vast majority of that scene, especially including the gallerists, were all totally angling for the big money gallery careers. Gracie Mansion didn't paste macaroni on a grand piano thinking she was going to have to go without dinner. P.P.O.W., Pat Hearne, etc. didn't end up in Red Hook. They became totally establishment and trafficed in art in quotes. The art writers of the NY Times aren't cumming all over themselves fulfilling copy quota about the current show up at the New Museum because the artists of that scene were relegated to the welfare lines. But then, the New York City art world is the most arrogant, conceited, AND self-deluded of just about anywhere in the world. To paraphrase Tina Turner, "What's Creativity got to do with it?"
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What artist would not like to make a living doing what they love to do? I don't understand your contempt for those who are able to. If it makes you feel better, I do not believe that most of those painters are rich at this moment, but even if they were, this would not make them a bunch of whores.
If they are now getting media attention and a place in history, that doesn't make them sell-outs.

The Soho art scene was crowded then, and getting way too blue-chip and over-valued. The fact that a number of people went out on a string, and with very few resources created galleries and thus a scene is what is important. That alternate realities can be created. You didn't have to kiss Mary Boone's petunia.

You are falling prey to the same logic that says "ONLY MONEY" makes it worthwhile. You subscribe to its opposite: "ONLY NO MONEY" makes it worthwhile. That's not true either.
What makes it worthwhile and valuable is its spirit, whether anyone buys the artefacts therefrom, or not.

In any event, the people who generally BUY paintings are not you and I. They are the wealthy. So neither can we have contempt for collectors. They support painters, who can choose or not to be purchased.

The point of the East Village scene was making one's own reality, not having to suck up to the entrenched powers that were. If Patti Astor made a killing off FUN Gallery I applaud her, because she believed in it and worked for it. But I doubt she is sitting on some throne built from the exploited bodies of poor artists.
Dearest S'tan, actually I am not in any trap at all.

If a person loves something creative that they do, or anything else, they don't have to make a living off it. That is not an idealization either, it is a fact of being alive.

And in the 'art world' making things rich collectors buy means you are making things that necessarily flatter the tastes and opinions of those collectors. That act has nothing to do with being a creative person, is the opposite of creative freedom -is actually a grotesque limitation on the infinite possibility of creation, and in fact is a form of self-censorship. The sad thing is the majority of artists have been taught self-censorship. And then the public has been taught that self-censoring artists are fabulous geniuses.

I have no contempt for any person or persons in themself. I do have loads of objections to the social and economic operations people fulfill in their places as pawns for the existing social and economic order.

"whore" is your word, not mine.

Media attention and a place in history do not make a person an artist. They make a person a social typification of an artist. A kind of costume. This is completely antithetical to being a creative person. And is just part of the forlorn and impovershed White Order's Zoo.

Spirit has no value, in part that is what makes it spirit.

My point is that the art scene in the East Village was not some utopia or self-righteous alternative to Soho. It may have had a little bit to do with controlling one's own career and livelihood, but that is something to be expected from anyone, artist or not. It can not be truthfully said that any of the artists looked at art as being pragmatic, nor did they look at society primarily in terms of change. It was not some beautiful temporary autonomous zone. It may have had a few real outsiders and contrarian individuals, but in the New York City art world being such a person rarely escapes being just another pose.

Did some wild art come out of the east village art scene of the 80's? Possibly.

But that scene did not exist apart from the same progressively death-oriented thoughts, feelings, ideas, and restrictive definitions of what being creative is, imposed by the dominant state of culture.
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Oh Bobby you know I mean no monetary, or in that sense, earthly value.

And it is hard for me to say we should value spirit because that would be to sort of impose a kind of control on spirit. ( and you of all people know how much spirit figures in to my existence )

-anyway, this is getting in to a whole different discussion. You are so good at instigating these shifts in consciousness.
No of course if you are an artist you don't HAVE to make a living at it, but it would certainly be wonderful if we could. Seven you seem to think that is an impossibility, this is what irks me. I have to believe somewhere there is an editor who would not make me bow and scrape to get published. Wouldn't you?

Artists who are purchased by the wealthy collectors are not necessarily making things to flatter their tastes. Artists do subsist in our culture as a parasitic entity, I grant you that, but the issue is the EV USA show isn't as bad as you make it out to be. And alot of that art wouldn't flatter anyone's Park Avenue living room.
Have you gone to see it?

Here is Marcel Proust in 1896 writing on the 'persona' of the artist in Paris, through the point of view of two poseur bourgeoisies Bouvard and Pecuchet:

"Every artist is a humbug, estranged from his family, never wears a top hat, and speaks a special language. He spends half his life outsmarting bailiffs who are always trying to dispossess him. The other half is spent dreaming up grotesque disguises for masked balls. Nevertheless, artists constantly produce masterpieces, and for a great many of them an overindulgence in wine and mistresses is the sine qua non of their inspiration if not their genius. They sleep all day, go out all night, work God knows when, and with heads flung back and limp scarves fluttering in the wind, they perpetually roll their cigarettes."

I think most people still consider the artist in exactly this manner! And not as any kind of social engineer.
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The "Only Money vs. Only No Money" thread here made me think of this...
Odd that about 28 years ago I was having a very similar discussion one day in a loft on Mercer Street owned by a cocaine dealer friend of my brother's who had laundered his money by buying up a great deal of that neighborhood. Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word had come out the previous year and someone was playing a then-unreleased demo of a song by Joni Mitchell, composed as a response to Wolfe (The Boho Dance.) Naturally the concurrence was that Wolfe was an asshole and Mitchell a genius. I also remember that Larry Rivers was there and we laughed about the fact that his gallery was completely mystified by his latest work and was begging him to "stay on track" and keep grinding out commercial product. It was shortly after this that the exodus began-- first to the wilds below Canal Street, and then to the East Village.
The reason we all moved to the East Village, if I remember correctly, had less to do with rents than with the fact that the spirit of CBGB's still held sway and that a morning walk down Second Avenue or Avenue A was literally like being in a real village. One ran into poet, painter, filmmaker and punk singer alike. Everyone knew everyone else, and everyone was working on something new. Of course the fact that the monthly rent bill was under $75 was pretty cool too. This was before Gracie and Patti Astor, pretty much before anyone except... Jack Smith!
I lived with the writer/artist David Wojnarowicz and a str8 couple who were heavy duty Bruce Springsteen fans in a building at Second Avenue & 10th. David was literally the most non-commercial, non-art world type of guy. Hated every aspect of the bloodsucking commerce and asskissing that goes hand in hand with NYC's art scene. Turned down many a chance to "make it big" and strike it rich. Needless to say, I supported us both by working as the graveyard cook all the way across town at The Empire Diner. (Monica Lynch, later of Tommy Boy, was the waitress, btw, and together we managed to feed a lot of those starving artists for free out of the Diner's back door! It was also here, in this chrome and black glass Deco monstrosity that I first met our Empress... but that's another story.)
The gallery owners who came along shortly after did indeed believe in the work rather than the profit. And there is certainly nothing wrong with them later turning a profit on that belief.
After all, I own quite a few pieces by David as well as others; these will probably be my "retirement fund" someday :-)
David was later commissioned to do an enormous installation in the Park Avenue duplex of a "collector." Much of this was constructed from old newspaper and junk found on the street and has probably long since crumbled to dust. But the fee for this installation enabled him to eat and buy supplies for an entire year. I remember him agonizing a great deal over whether this was "selling out." Seems funny in light of today's whoring which is so much more unabashed.
As far as the relationship between heroin and the East Village art explosion, I would like to set the record straight, from my perspective at least. The really great artists from this time period were, for the most part, not junkies. They may have dabbled as David did, but they were not regular users. The only exception perhaps, was Jean-Michel. And he was part of an entirely different milleau-- Warhol, and that was most definitely Uptown. But heroin, at the time was everywhere. Runners calling out the names of brands of dope were everywhere, as were the warning cries of, "¡Bajando!. The streets were literally paved with it, many died from it, so it is little wonder that our perception is, in retrospect, that the drug fueled the art and music "explosion" of the Eighties in a big way. What the drug actually did, though, was to underscore, by its proximity, our outsider status and the impression that we were really living "in the belly of the beast."
Though I haven't yet seen the New Museum show, I am actually curious to see what they have left out. That would be very telling. It certainly is a very daunting concept to attempt a retrospective of work from this era. By 1984, there were 57 galleries there in full swing. Not to mention hundreds of clubs, theatres, bars and other venues. For that fact alone, what happened in the EV will most likely never happen again.... anywhere.
I would also like to point out, for those who believe everyone is rolling in it, that very recently, Futura 2000, one of the brilliant graffiti artists from this era, and who is represented in the Saatchi & Saatchi collection, could be found working behind the counter at Kinko's.
And don't even get me started on the subject of Mark Kostabi...
Last edited by hatches
God Hatchie I wish I'd been supporting someone like David Wojnarowicz at the time. Thank you for the poignant tale of his making a mountain of gorge trash in swank digs. Me I was ensconced uptown with the Luddite classicist, painter Duncan Hannah who loathed the whole downtown scene and would go into rages over grafitti art. My easy-earned dominatrix dollars ("she's lording it over a hot slave tonight" Rene Ricard used to croak) went to fuelling this fantasy of a 'New Romantic' revolution. Ho-hum! I escaped and started publishing my stuff in East Village Eye, Bomb, and other experimental rags.

I spent one memorable evening running in and out of every bar in Soho and the EV with Rene as he worked on his famous review of Jean-Michel's first show ever. As we got drunker and drunker, we fought over every period, comma and hyphen like maniacs, and were finally thrown out of someplace on Seventh Avenue South, only to get mugged by two Spanish guys with knives... you know the drill.

When you get to the show, buy or steal the catalogue, for one thing there's an adorable shot of Mommy and Daddy in it, lookin' like babies just outa the crib! The blow-by-blow of the year-by-year development in the neighborhood is so overwhelming, the curator has truly done a great job.

So far I haven't come across ANY heroin tales in the catalogue, and I concur with you in re J.M. Basquiat, though I could name a few more heroin heroines who made good, despite the fashionable addiction... It is hard to believe that at one point I realized every single friend I had was a junkie. And though I wasn't, what was I, a hifaluten "authoress" who had written a book about something no-one had even heard of, some kind of weird godawful "dominatrix" world, that was maybe something even worse than junk!

That's an idea as an addendum to the entire subject: the subculture of girls working in
the sex-industry to support their artist boyfriends or their own art-habits. You see the depressing side of it in Sue Coe's paintings. But it was certainly the golden day of the go-go girl!
Last edited by S'tan
Making a living off your writing should not be an impossibility for you, S'tan. Alls you need is to find an agent/editor who doesn't want YOU to be the sub in some Paris gallery performance!

Between your and Hatches' input here it is like no one really needs to go to the museum show.

S'tan, are you sure it was Proust? I think it was rather Flaubert who wrote Bouvard and Pecuchet, unless Flaubert stole it all. You're such a Francophille.

Stomp on me for one more criticism of the EV 80's show. For me the zone then was not attractive because of the art galleries. Anytime commercial enterprise, no matter how committed the directors of it may be to 'art', springs up in noticeable numbers it reads to me as colonization. And in the EV 80's scene I think it is a total gloss to overlook the role those galleries played in 'civilizing' the zone. The art scene was overridingly for white people. What seems to be missing from this recent 'official' History show is the real anchoring role played by 'organizations' like CHARAS El Bohio, ABC No Rio, Gargoyle Mechanique, Robots, El Taller, etc. These were specifically not commercial enterprises, were truely committed to non-commercial, non-mainstream, non Art Star creativity. And several of those organizations, to prove the point, still exist now, long after the hucksters of the image haze of the EV 80's art gallery scene gained their promotions to the white collar world.

But let us not get too distracted by all the art junk. What S'tan and Hatches are really responding to (and with), and Daddy as well, are the lives they lived, in and around the EV scene at that time.
Last edited by seven
It is a short story of Proust's, where he re-animates Flaubert's Bouvard and Pecochet as irredeemable pedants who are set on a sentimental education (or re-education) of Parisian society... something like that.

The 2 complain often about the 'new art' which then consisted of Symbolists and other Decadent thralls... Here is another nice quote for you. One of the pedants is fancifully addressing Wagner:

"Your music, sir, is full of monsters, and all one can do is -- keep inventing. In nature herself, the mother of simplicity, you only like the horrible. And hasn't M. Delafosse written a melody on the bat? Why doesn't he choose some nice bird?"

Thank you for remembering that Paris reading story! It was not the last time I was driven into a closet.

Enough nitpicking. Now you and Troy have to actually go to the East Village Art show, and then get back on here and write a COMPLETE review.
We are waiting.
I remember the 80's and the east village and the junkies and everyone mentioned but I had enough sense at the time to stay in the west village with the rest of the fags. Of course I can tell tales about lotsa dead people but I think I'll save it all for the book.

I still want to see the EV show when I am in NYC in Feb.
Hattie if you don't write that G.D. book I'm going to kill you!
(Oh wait, that's no good is it?)
I forgot about you at The Empire Diner.
And Monica Lynch... I had no idea.
When I moved to New York (to go to Art School) I was working at FOOD restaurant on Prince & Wooster Streets. (One of the three restaurants in the newly named SOHO district. There was The Broome Street Bar, The Spring Street Bar and Food on Price Street). We also used to feed artists. It was cool. Unlike you though Hattie, I am a fool and have lost most of the art that was given to me in exchange for soup. Once in a while I find something by Jack Smith or Ray Johnson shoved in book though. Oh well.

And Stan,
I so remember you and Duncan Hannah.
And when Rene was added into the equation...
words cannot convey the evil.
It was gorgeous.
I was living with the notorious art critic Edit DeAk at the time (before I knew The Empress of course). She was, as was everyone at the time, scared to death of your "Evil Trilogy". (Later she teamed up with Rene). Edit was the first person to write about Grafitti Art (1974) She was the editor of ART-RITE Magazine and was the first person to write about...
well, everyone.
Where am I going with all this?
Who the hell knows.
This is a very hot topic though and I should stop rambling and let you guys discuss it intelligently.

I also agree with seven that The East Village Art scene would have LOVED to be as successful as the Soho scene. Pat Hearn wanted to be (and did become) Mary Boone.

And that picture of The Empress and I is hysterical. Miss Understood says I look like I just got off the boat from some third world dump.
(I did).

{This post was pre-recorded.}
Johnny I remember that so well, but I do wonder why you all'ins thought we were so dangerous. We were rowdy as hell but I guess I was in my own world and did not
realize how mad we appeared.

I learned so much from Rene... and not just about 'brusquerie' if you will, trusting in your instincts and speaking your mind, but 'how to" make a bon mot out of it, so it hit home and couldn't be erased... He is my spiritual father but when I see him I don't hardly recognize him. In my novel "One Decadent Life' in compensation I make him a REFORMED heroin addict, to retrieve the genius...

After Duncan and I broke up (1980) I would dig up Edit and Rene, and assuredly THAT threesome was a terror. I remember when you lived at Edit's. I went to a party there, and it may have been the first time I ever met Chichi. She was just like she is today, so brainy and with that smiling irony. She scared me as a True Dominant Woman! When she was the bartender at Danceteria or some other manifestation of the Rudolph/Jim Fouratt impresario routine, we started talking...

Rene, Edit and I would go charging into clubs and bars and never pay for anything. (0r at least I would try to and the two Sacred Monsters would just steal money off the tables...) We would dance frenziedly trampling the hoi polloi... Edit used to tell people I drank blood because she would say "You Never Age!" btw I have never drunk blood.

What is Edit doing now, anyhow?

PS You know Pat Hearn passed away?
Last edited by S'tan
Though I liked a lot of the art at the New Museum show it was not actually about the art. As much as I liked the kooky dancing bee video for its low-budget, tres gay, faux MTV production value, Klaus Noami's video (with sound so lamentably under-amped), the Jack Smith AMAZING 1962 film -the show is about the scene and the people and not really about the art at all! Not too subtle about that either, since the whole upstairs gallery is devoted to 'class' pictures and headshots of the scenesters who are presented as such and not as artists. Probably the most interesting visual of the whole show is the display of gallery announcements.

What one comes away with from the show is that there was no really ground-breaking art, no history-shattering aesthetic advancements, as hard as the Vaisman/Bickerton et. al clique tried in the end. The only people that really moved forward were Levine, Simmons, and maybe Goldin -the photographers.

So what the show really documents and canonizes is that the EV 80's art boom was a gallery movement. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of fun art to see at the show. The toughest piece though was Martin Wong's painting with the poem by the late criminal/saint/poet Miguel Pinero -and the photo of the duo in the museum's upstairs shrine is the edgeyist among the deadpan group shots and embarrassing headshots. Excepting out the charming Chi Chi and impossibly impish Daddy snap.

It is a mark of the level of vapidity of much of the art that the emphasis in this museum show is on the artists as personalities -as being wild bohemians- and their art is relegated to being an incidental aspect of their status.

I bet this show will not generate any substantial reviews about the ART, just loads of nostalgia about the people and the scene.

In an era that is the result of over 20 years of conservative villification of the arts it is also interesting to note that a museum will skew a major retrospective of a period towards emphasizing the personalities of the artists and stay away from presenting the art as being important for some reason that has significance and gravity for society in general.

Emphasizing the personalities of the scene and the nostalgia for it also says something about the whole art sector in New York City. How parochial.
Last edited by seven
Oh, that is a beautiful question.

I am STILL charmed. When I walk out of my East Village building near Avenue C and the first thing I hear from way up the block on a rainy early morning is the voice of Miguel Algarin, founder (along with Miguel Pinero and several others) of the still-in-existence Nuyorican Poets Cafe, as he sings a poem for no other reason than to greet the day, bounce sound off the buildings, and maybe, spark me to dance up the street into his embrace.
Last edited by seven

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