I thought I would start a separate topic for this here, so as not to become entangled in the "I'm From Normal Parents" Pyramid threads...

My writing partner, Kestutis Nakas (Titus Andronicus, When Lithuania Ruled The World) and I are currently at work on a book on the early years of NYC's seminal Pyramid Club, 1981 through 1985, and would be interested in interviewing people for this project. We are seeking artists, musicians, performers, photographers, gogo dancers, bar employees, as well as customers and locals who would be willing to be interviewed live on tape, over the telephone or via email.

If you were involved with The Pyramid after 1985, feel free to get in touch, but realize the work on that part of the story will start much, much later.

Yes, it's finally gonna happen! This week we interviewed quite a few of the surviving initial movers and shakers... So, if you were there, get in touch directly here:

pyramidclub@earthlink.net
Original Post
Oh Hattie! What a choice project! I hope you get an amazing array of stories to choose from. The Pyramid has always fascinated me. Every time I've been there I'm completely overwhelmed with a thousand vibrations I can't begin to interpret and identify. I can't wait to read these stories!!!

Oh Oh Oh ... please, please, why did you fire Daddy??
I guess it would be mean to say "Tonya, ya have to buy the book!" Big Grin

But there are (already) many more interesting stories. Let's just say I was the hatchet man and not the judge and jury (was there a jury?) And look at it this way: if I hadn't done it, "Anne Boleyn" Dynell might still be there, spinning at "1984"!

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It's true.
Hattie was just the messenger (the only one still sober enough to dial a phone at 2 in the afternoon).
And it's also true, I would probably still be there playing the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack if Hattie hadn't fired me.
(But not at "1984" thank you very much!)

You see, I was into this "Disco as Retro" thing, I LOVED Disco. The tackier the better. I used to wear these stretch Jordache jeans and blow my hair out like Denny Tario (He was the star of this TV show called "Dance Fever" and the man who taught John Travolta how to dance). I changed my name to "Johnny Dynell", this sort of plastic Las Vegas disco name. It was brilliant except that I was just a little bit too early. Disco wasn't even dead yet and I was trying to resurrect it. I just came off as some goofy guido from Staten Island.

And The Pyramid Club was VERY advanced. It was a brilliant group of people that would change the world. I just didn't really fit in at that time. New Wave was coming in and a young upstart DJ named "Sister Dimension" was playing it (to the joy of the East Village Saturday night crowd I must add).
Johnny Dynell had to go!

I HATED New Wave (and still do). It's just too wimpy. The Smiths, Joy Division, Morrisey all that crap made me puke. It just wasn't great art like K.C. And The Sunshine Band!

So that's the story Tonya.
Actually, it's not really that interesting as Hattie said. Just another day at The Pyramid Club. There were MANY MANY real scandals to come so you all should really buy the book.
Of course I got the Jordache thing. I had even seen Johnny around before the Pyramid opened in those things and thought, "Well, how brilliant!" The thing you have to realize Tonya is that the only retro thing going on at that point really was about the '50s! So Johnny, the hair, the jeans, the Danny Terrio-without-the-coke, really stood out in the crowd! The only people sporting that look then were the most clueless of the clueless, and the most petrified of porn stars-- which was exactly the send up, of course.

Nonetheless, Lizzie Borden Hathaway took an axe...
I DJed at Pyramid too, in 1981. I have also always hated new wave music. I was playing funk, early hip hop, soca, 60's go go music and stuff like that. I was hired after I came with John Sex to DJ and set the mood for his show.

Bobby Bradley fired me, supposedly for not playing new wave. But I think the real reason was that I had just quit Pulsallama, so there was no way the band was going to play the Pyramid. (The whole time I was there, he kept asking me to get Pulsallama to play there. I kept explaining that the stage was too small, but he never remembered and asked again every week.)
As Francesca (the infamous sex-change beauty from Studio 54) told me...
"Disco is out, New Wave is in. We only listen to New Wave now".
Of course this was in like 1987 when, as Miss Understood pointed out, the New Wave scene was over.
What she was reacting to was the revolution caused single-handedly by The Pyramid Queens. "Uptown" was out and "Downtown" was definitely in. It really was a revolution.
It was the end of the eighties. One depressing Sunday night in Edelweis Hattie was tending bar, and I was complaining about the poor quality of the trannie chasers. When it was so close to the old 42nd St. they were particularly scuzzie. Hattie said "I think you might like a club I know about," or something to that effect. One night I went down to Pyramid and saw Blacklips, and realized I wasn't crazy after all. I was awed. Wendy wouldn't let me pay for drinks, and no one-absolutely no one- made fun of my half-assed suburban matron drag outfits.
Please don't leave me out ! I've been lost but i found myself in Beijing 8 yrs. ago. I've cronc. the club scene here and have been dj-ing beijings biggest hio hop club bla bla bla... Don't forget about me !
The Pyramid .... as a whole scene in itself ...saved my sanity. I was hired by ( forgot his name) as stage and tech. person. but 2 days later he wanted me to be a bar dancer. it was then as i told him "that's not for me" ..that "hattie" after hearing the news...came to me and said... "don't worry..you're NOT going anywhere!" a week later,, they bought out the rights to the club or name and the rest is fuckin history ! If Hattie and Sista D. did not take over the CLUB's FUTURE.... That whole scene would have swirled into a Crack TOOT and SpeedBall haven. I came in the winter of 82 (from 8bc) which was of course a whole nother story for some other time. The PYRAMID was and still is (in my heart) The Greatest club microcosom scene of it's time. The later yrs. just as interesting ! Sorry for "the yawning" during some of the 1000's of shows i tech.'ed thoughout my 7 yrs. but .... Had i not SEEN it with my own eyes.... I could not have known the influence it would have on so many sucessful artists from That time. I loved ALL the STAFF i worked with (except maybe..??) WIGSTOCK .... oh my god ! look what that did for Tasteful / Tasteless ART (with or without Hair) !

Please.... don't forgot me ... i had 2 weeks to live when i got taken off the streets by the cops and put into a drug program in 94 ... i survived to spread the word to CHINA ... ART/MUSIC saved my life ! The Pyramid was my TEMPLE of LOVE, My saving grace , my downfall (when nothing compared) and my re-birth when i realized ..... IT will Never Happen again.
The last thing is ...please contact me (any staff member or performer) ... If you'd like to do shows in China .... Say hi. I have massive documention on The Club scene here in Beijing + some things that wern't stolen during my street yrs. of that time. This is in Memory of my Brother DAVID CROCKER (stage/mc/lighting) whom i loved more dearly than anyone in this world. We had countless hours on the couch (in the tech.room) backstage ...goofing on all the silly shows ... funky attitudes and overall gayness of the scene that "MELTED TOGETHER" DISCO,HOUSE,PUNK,HARDCORE,PERFORMANCE ART,ATL.,fILMS,MEDIA & all the rest.... i've never seen since and it's my model for my future club here ! Dana Southern (Sound/lights/mc/dj/stage/performance artist..pyramid 1982 - 89
Bobby Bradley... that's who hired me. That fuck almost got me BOOTED. I'll always owe you for hat hattie.

David Tritt... What was the main topic of our "tech room chats" i'll remind you ....PUSSY..(who,what,when,where,why & how) next...it was "do u have any drugs"...i really need a dooooobie ! Except for 1 or 2 other tech staff (we were all stright ... no matter HOW much pressure from countless offerings of free sex by the same sex) am i an asshole to say such things ?) We had a great tech crew ...ie josh ,ralph(wolf), chris clem.,craig O., Crocker, mr Ratt(at rat r) ! we had our own LOCKED room (which impressed the ladied greatly) Bernard n Lewis would even check in on us. They got most of the pussy(fact) ... ray-be's (rest in peace) ... Murphy's law ... gwar (1st nyc show at the pyramid) .... There wasn't any other club that had so many staff from so many different lifestyles. Anyone hear from Craig or chris clem ? german Wolf(ralph)... i did some shows at limelight and he was doing lights. we blew a splief and i never saw him again. ????
quote:
we were all straight ... no matter HOW much pressure from countless offerings of free sex by the same sex


Well you all were the best looking tech staff on the planet-- what did you expect? Eek

But seriously, everyone really loved you guys because you could take a piece of gaffers tape, a bit of mylar, a clip light, and a bent bobby pin from Bunny's wig and run a show that was technically flawless!

BTW I emailed you privately, Dana, I hope you check your Yahoo! account.
Excuse the gift for gabbing (i'll be good)

It's nice to know.....that however small our "tech budget" was ..we were able to present a "multi media event" nightly using 'cardboard,broken 8mm & slide projectors, "a sealed beam pin spot" as a followspot and 3 mirror balls. I was shocked to see that here in China ... they are clueless to "inventive ideas" The clubs i've worked at here don't have professional staff. They press one button and the lights never stop. Nothing gets CLEANED (we were always cleaning equipment ) That's why "the tech budget could stay so low end) Look what Creig did for the sound system ! He was great to work with. last thing .... Rat at rat r ... at the cat club .... gigi alen opens the show .... Lights himself on fire ... club is cleared ... boss is raving mad .... 1 hour later rat at rat r hits the stage .... as their soundman (many times) i thought that was their Greatest show ! You guys rocked. d
Hey Dana, sorry I haven't been on to say hi.

The tech at Pyramid was amazing. You and David Crocker worked Miracles with NOTHING! I learned a lot from you guys. (I'm totally serious!) When we built JACKIE 60 and MOTHER, The Pyramid Club was our template. Especially in terms of staging, lights and sound. JACKIE 60 was always about performance (in a bathroom or on stage). Sometimes there were no working toilets but there were ALWAYS lights on stage.

I remember doing sound checks with you guys at The Pyramid. You were as professional as The Paradise Garage, and that's saying a lot. The sound and lights were always flawless.
(well, usually pretty good if it was early enough in the night before you all got too high).
I know that you went on to work at The Palladium, the complete opposite of Pyramid. Great tech because of lots of money.
But you should be very proud (and I know that you are) of your days at The Pryamid. She will go down as a groundbreaking moment in New York City herstory. And it's because of the performances that happened there.

Oh, and I want to go to China.
You my dear are too kind ! don't stop now !!!! No really,,,, it wasn't any ONE person but the entire GROUP (along with all the "performers" of course) that made that scene so fun and BUSY. I think you posted a pic. with you and Mr. sex and another "girl". I remember you also... you were never a BITCH to us downstairs as some OTHERS could be (ie...Inter. N. Crisis on the rag, lipsynca at a soundcheck although SHE was professional and we loved her SHOWS) yea...lots of "queers" had their moments at our expense. We would retreat to the tech room and giggle around a doobie at the "starpower" ! Of course...i loved Crisis too ... who couldn't help but love her as she whipped out her favorite "BREASTS" to the SALIORS in town for fleet week. I have a big mouth sometimes ...i know.... but i love you all none the less. It's so nice to be HOME again ! Thanks Dad
I was never a "BITCH" to you guys because I wanted access to the sacred "Tech Room". It wasn't much to look at but the vibes alone from that room could knock you out. If I remember correctly you guys had a key or a lock or something that kept EVERYONE out. It was genius.
Forget about the club, tell us about "The Tech Room"!
I bet Hattie never saw the inside of it!

This is a pic I took of International Chrysis in 1986.

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I look foward to reading this book on the early Pyramid years.
I went to the Pyramid during these years. I only have a comp flyer from those years, it's from 84 and says something about a mud wrestling championship between Ethyl Eichelberger and Ranting Tanya Ransom.
I didn't think the music went too much into new wave, well not in the same sense as the Ritz new wave music was. I always found the music at the Pyramid some of the best, there was always songs that I never heard that I would hear at the Pyramid. I didn't really know anyone at the Pyramid,, sort of knew Alan, one of the dancers. I was a loner goth queen.
maybe not the vibes as much as the thick dense cloud of "smoke" in there. rasta's at heart ! In fact... a joint was "a key" ! both hattie and sista had keys but would be too dressed to the hilt to carry them around. Loreta B always knocked 1st and sometimes would say "i know you're in there because i can smell the weed from the street...SO OPEN UP" !

2ND... NEW WAVE MUSIC... sucked with all that moaning in and out of "key" and way to many "versus" ! I love the house/Disco and to this day... i think alan had the largest collection of rare or unheard of DISCO. pyramid also played a lot of "hip hop"

babette... hi ! do you know anyone on 75th st. ?

lastly... i seem to remember the demise of our "club" came shortly AFTER "acid house" entered with the NEW manager(that jewish guy) and although he mellowed out a bit at the end ... it was too late ...he already ran it into the ground. (anyone remember "the meth" that spread though our club) everyone was doing it ! people ..i never saw doing drugs were sniffin that shit left n right. (we know who we are !) i lost hope through that period and it became a JOB to go to work again instead of something to look forward to. enough said ! bye if anyone thinks i "rant to much here"... tell me.... i'm alone here in china and am tickled pink to be back with the one's i love most. okay,bye
Hi Dana, sorry, I don't know anyone from 75st.

I moved around a lot in those days but I never knew anyone from 75st area.


At the time I was hanging out with this guy who was a new wave freak, so I followed his lead to the clubs, so that's why I am influenced by new wave, although I do like the other music that was played in the clubs.

I did like the shows that Pyramid put on, you probably know the names. I really liked John Sex with his hair that would touch the ceiling. The show I liked was when John had a Christmas light jacket that lit up, the shows were so camp. It's sad about John and others who are no longer with us.

I also liked the guy who took the money in the early days. I don't know his name, he was kinda tough looking but he seemed so nice to me. One night some yuppie dude was giving him a hard time and he sort of raised the price of admission on the guy and at the same time, let me go in for free, pissing the guy off. I don't think the other guy came in. I liked him, he was a nice guy to me. Too bad I don't remember the names,,,,,,,well, I never knew most of the names anyway.

I didn't hang out too much in the downstairs area or the upstairs area, I liked to dance, so I was mostly on the dance floor. I would dance until my mascara would look spooky running down my face
Lets see....tough guys "on the door" ????

RAY BEE's (local skinhead and sweetheart "if he liked you") i think he died though and that's a cryin shame.

Jimmy gestpo (local skinhead and front man for "Murphy's Law. again...if he liked you ..you were "IN" if you gave him shit...you could expect a "beating" then or after you left the club. (wasn't that WHY they were hired ?) Being able to see "whispers" on sundays, hardcore bands on monday and so on made the best club in the world. (BET) !

Barnard n lewis ... could get down no problem but were usually gentlemen. (any word on them hatches ? )

I must thank you "messy" for the outstanding pictures and if i hadn't been a junkie also i would never have seen the HUMOR in those pic's. I laughed and it was needed ! Thanks again !
I remember all of you...well, most of you.
And if Brian is Hatches then I have you to thank once again for letting me still come in after my father called you.

I spent loads of time in the DJ booth...how come noone has yet to mention Ivan?
....and I spent time propped on the beer boxes next to the ice machine in the wait station, where Stephan named me "Queen of the May."
I screamed when songs I liked came on.
I mean high piercing screamed- like the girl in that "dont need this pressure" song
I did a fine job of giving Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd an utterly pointless tour of the Mood Lounge, which in hindsight pretty absurd, but who the hell cares.
I helped to redesign the loft upstairs for a New Year's event...Painted for a day and a half!

the first night I ever went to the pYramid was in high school....all the guys I liked were bisexual or gay, and I was at a party, and this guy I was friends with came out to me and I said thats IT...I cant TAKE this anymore! Everyone is GAY! I'm going downtown to the Pyramid!!!
and there I went...at least three nights a week for about three years....

What ever happened to....Grace, Joey, Richard, Tanya, Peggy, Robert, Michael Rios, Russell..I kept a diary when I was that young and in my first few weeks out at pYramid, I would remember and record the names of everyone I had met that night...too bad I dont have that kind of marketing ability today!!!

I remember when there was no DJ booth for me to hang out in (boo hoo) and they had to climb through some strange hole in the wall...that had to be a fire hazard..for sure!

I did "rounds" at pYramid...I was outside, inside, DJ booth, mood lounge, tech room, backstage...everywhere...

Then people took me out to breakfast at 103's or Nightbirds which were both so awesome and funfilled, or we would go to after hours places like Save the Robots or Berlin...warm drinks - no ice - no refrigeration - no air conditioning...but great music....

then once I was exposed to the club scene I became corrupted...got a job at Danceteria...had a problem one night working as elevator girl, then the club closed...went to work at Palladium...then went back to school and left the scene.

I doubt any of you remember me...but let it be known that the pYramid cocktail lounge played a very signicant part in my early adulthood and will probably require an entire chapter in the autobio.
L
Hi Lisa Lisa, I also went to 103 and nightbirds after a night out. I liked Nightbirds, it was more grungy(?). 103 sometimes had too many people that would come and gawk at the strange downtown people,, in other words,,,tourists from New Jersey. I didn't know this person but I would always see CC from the clubs at 103. I sort of knew Tom at Nightbirds, I would go there many times by myself after a night of clubbing, eating and reading a comic, my mom never let me read at the table at home, but it was OK with Tom.

The only person that I know from the clubs that others here might know is Miss Shanon. I first met her at Enz store, then at Lee's. I would only have small talk with her, we never talked to much.
Lisa, I probably saw you in 103 but we most likely didn't meet.
i loved ivan ivan and still do although i have no idea where he's at these days. Ivan was a professional when it came to his dj job. almost always SMILED as he escorted you out of the booth (not u lisa lisa). btw... that hole was my "downtime before showtime space" and that hole got fixed because all those queers keep disconnecting the cables leading to the amps. and some dj's had lp's stored in there that went missing.....that wasn't like that for very long.... but "time" isn't my best recall.

remember when "madonna" came with her new husband (sean penn) who got in a fight outside the club that got a lot of media attention. She was there to see "MARTIN" (doing his last pyramid dj gig....what a beautiful person he was. she stayed quite awhile up in the dj booth and at show time....she got kicked out (nicely though)..... btw...i did ask about ivan but not "in public" here. i would also believe that although some may have not known your name...they did however know YOU (lisa) you were there more than 3 nights a week (as i recall) and the chair of boxes by the ice machine forever pissed off the busboys but was a prime location nonetheless.
Near the end of producing Dominatrix with Ken Lockie (co-producer) and Stuart Arbright (the "band"), Ivan brought another performer to Ken, fresh from the Pyramid stage and the tech room to boot. And that was me. Ken and Ivan produced my 2 song "development deal" with Geffen's money. Through Ken Lockie I met one of my heroes, Keith Levene of Public Image Ltd. He later borrowed a mixer of mine. Ivan also produced the English language remake of Les Rita Mitsouko's "Marcia Baila". The Dominatrix single was also lifted from another, more obscure single, Die Dominas I think it was called released by that woman who also had a clothing line I think. Ivan claimed that HER claim of rip-off was bull, but if you listened carefully to both you could tell that Lockie studied the original and this informed his contributions to the hit.
daddy, you wanted glimpses of the inside of the tech room? I can give 'em . But be warned, it was usually pretty normal in there.

Sometimes I'd walk in on one of the, uh, senior staff sniffing drugs. I'd walk in sometimes and the lighting/stage person (me: sound) would have two little piles of coke and direct me to sniff them. Much later we we talked about it and I realized this was meant to cut any motivation I might have to tattle. I did have sex in there once or twice.

I guess overall it was more laid back than the other offices (my favorite name for an office: "the wig office"). But how would I know?

We'd gossip. Chris or someome rigged up a ventilation system drawing air in from below and out from above. The big TV came in and that changed things. Dear Mark Oates and I had a few very intense talks. He's gone too.

Maybe the best part was being right off the dressing room--not what you want to hear, daddy?
I remember the tech phone to the dj booth that was fixed to the stairs to the stage . . . and what a thrill it was the first time (and everytime, I guess) that I picked it up. How a screw up like me ended up being the emcee . . . that had a lot to do with Mark Oates.
But that phone ringing meant "Showtime"

Finally in the "Cuchifritos" or "Hapi's BackDoor" days (daze - it's all a grey (gardens) blur) the tech-phone broke and no one was there who could or cared to fix it. Probably someone stole the copper wire to sell for drug money. That more than anything signaled to me that the Queen of Clubs was indeed a corpse. You'd have thouth some of the many thousands of other signposts along the way would have sunk in.

Other fun memories, when Sister Dimension called me to put me on probation and say, "Hapi, a Pyramid Dancer does not pull her panty hose down around her ankles and lift her dress over her head." after a particularly wild (what I thought was 'artistic') go-go gig.

That reminds me. Hattie once explained that it was illegal to expose one's pubic hair in a NYC bar or some such wording that was on the books - as to why I couldn't wear a see-through dress. So I remember being very proud of myself and thinking that I was getting one on against "the man" by walking on stage totally nude with a shaved bush.

Funny to be remembering all this now as I sit here writing this in a full Birka from my Underground Bunker in an Undisclosed Location.

Hatches - do you think China is ready for Hattie & Hapi Hattie & Hapi Hapi and Hattie's Fried Chicken Review?

xxoo Haplestilskin
FOUR things 1)I just found this site tonight,and am I thrilled!! Just seeing the familiar names is making me feel at home. It all started by typing Brian's (Hattie)name into Google to find him. 2)KESTUTIS, I have wondered
for years what you are up to and would be very happy to offer up what I can for your book collaboration.
3)DANA, I went to Shangai last year for the Guy Bourdin opening at the Shanghai Art Museum and then on to Beijing...What an incredible place . I went to one of the best warehouse parties with video and audio dj's from Berlin and an acquaintance Isaia working with them, that I have been to in years. The scene and lifestyle there is top notch. you were lucky to end up in China!
4)DANA,you said "in memory of my brother David",that puts a somber note on things,and I hate to think what that means. I have very fond memories of David.
It's Aleta, I forgot that part.. I hate to lable myself like this ,but for a memory jolt,I was Paul Roule's girlfriend & business partner in New World,a night bartender and two day a week theme (country day & martini cocktail hour)happy hour 'hostess'. The music selection was integral to the ambiance.
hey aleta , your home like the rest here. i said almost the same thing when i 1st got here many months ago. .... welcome and so you know ... sometimes, it seems that people are again very busy being fabulous and don't post right away.

David was "David Crocker" /mc/lights and stagemanand yes ... he and i were very good friends and were very much like brothers. he died in 1992 or around then and i heard about it a week later while i was still a street junkie .... his passing has made think so much about him. Baby Gregor too ...we hung out alot at the end of his life and i still have both of their voices from answering machine tapes i managed to keep while losing 98 % of everything else.

beijing is so fuckin great. been here almost 9 yrs. and just did a dj show at Angel club kast friday. keep in touch will ya. i'll be back in the summer to nyc for a month or so. bye

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