Punk – Isabelle Anscombe, Dike Blair (1978)


“While I was ‘Punk light’ (Well – more into its offshoot, New Wave) back in the day, the music still resonates today. I was never one to stick a safety pin in my face, ‘dance’ in a mosh pit, or Heaven forbid – spit. Anyone who shoved or spat on me usually earned a punch in the face. Anyway… The images and newspaper clips featured in this book give an outsider a pretty good idea of punk and its roots. I’m glad that I bought this book way back in the early 80’s, ’cause some of the prices here – one copy is over $300! – are the antithesis of what punk is. …”
amazon

‘The History of American Graffiti:’ From Subway Car to Gallery Arts


“Since its explosion onto city walls and subway cars in the 1970s, the increasing popularity of graffiti as an art form has won commercial success for its artists and a regular presence in pop culture and the contemporary art world. A new book, ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ comprehensively documents the evolution of this often controversial art movement across the United States. As kids, authors Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon tagged city walls. Today, Gastman is a gatekeeper between the underground artists who work on the street and the mainstream world of galleries; Neelon, a Harvard grad, is a graffiti artist and educator. For ‘The History of American Graffiti,’ they tracked down thousands of photographs, from freight trains to city streets, and conducted hundreds of interviews with graffiti artists, ranging from pioneers to the biggest stars. Young people were the key players in shaping the contemporary graffiti movement, says Neelon. The first modern graffiti writer is widely considered to be Cornbread, a high school student from Philadelphia, who in 1967 started tagging city walls to get the attention of a girl. But it was only in the 1980s that galleries began to showcase graffiti as artwork. …”
PBS
YouTube: ‘The History of American Graffiti’: From Subway to Gallery

Nightclubbing: Danceteria


“Danceteria sent shockwaves through the city’s party scene when it opened in May 1980, all the way down to the Mudd Club, where its owners had spent a fair amount of time hanging out. Dedicating the basement to DJing, the first floor to live bands, and the second floor to video, the venue presented revelers with a novel element of choice, not because of the range of entertainment but because all of the options were available at once. The shift to sensory overload was unmistakable as two bands appeared live every night, two DJs shared the turntables, and experimental filmmakers curated showings within a groundbreaking video lounge. In isolation, each floor oozed with the alternative inventiveness of downtown. Taken together, they offered a level of explorative creativity that threatened to dwarf the offerings of Club 57 and the Mudd Club. Yet in contrast to both of those spots, Danceteria was located not in downtown but midtown, toward the Eighth Avenue end of 37th Street, where commerce ruled the streets. With Jim Fouratt and Rudolf Piper at the helm, the mongrel explorations of the Lower Manhattan party scene were set to storm the city center. …”
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
NY Times: ‘Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor’ Charts a Kinetic Scene in the Early ’80s
amazon: Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980–1983

Volume One: The International Discography of the New Wave (1980)


“The cover states ‘A complete guide to: new wave/punk records, small labels, distributors, record stores, fanzines, radio stations, clubs.’ I picked up my copy of Volume at This Ain’t The Rosedale Library here in Toronto back in 1981. It was the first punk discography that I was aware of, and I snapped it up. I had only seen a few fanzines, and was amazed to find hundreds in Volume’s pages. The countless bands, and record releases for each was astounding, and certainly caused me to expand my horizons whenever I ventured into records stores. If you didn’t know how big the punk scene had become on the world stage, Volume certainly set you straight. It was an effort to give you a snapshot of what was out there, what to look for, who to contact, and where to go. A reference and resource for and about the new music of the age, and those that enjoyed it, and participated in it. Volume tried to cover the then burgeoning change in music. Spotty in places, and sometimes off the mark, it nevertheless gave readers a fantastic glimpse of what was going on, and how to go about getting involved. … – Mike Vainio”
amazon 

Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side – Clayton Patterson (2005)


Captured is the definitive anthology of New York’s underground cinema in its creators’ own words. New York’s Lower East Side has been a fountain of creativity and art since the early 1950s, a free-wheeling bazaar of ideas and artists that has challenged and shaped mainstream culture. Captured tells the story of film and video in the Lower East Side and the East Village in the artists’ own words. Over one hundred contributors discuss the early years with Allen Ginsburg, Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, Taylor Mead, and Jonas Mekas, as well as the wild ’70s and ’80s with Jim Jarmusch, Steve Buscemi, Louis Guzman, Nick Zedd, and many others. Movements such as No Wave and the Cinema of Transgression are covered, as is the story of Pull My Daisy, considered among the true progenitors of ‘indie film.’ Captured is part formal history and part inspirational text, to remind people on the outside looking in how often their contributions form the invisible pillars of American art and popular life. To quote the great pop art filmmaker Jack Smith, ‘Art school? Art school? I didn’t have the luxury of going to art school. I had to come to New York and go straight to work making art.’ Captured is a must-have for fans of independent film and students of cinema everywhere.”
Seven Stories Press
NY Times: The Lower East Side, Up Close and Personal
evergreen review – Review: Clay Patterson’s Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side
amazon

Tom Johnson – The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982


“The ten years, from 1972-1982, during which Tom Johnson closely followed the developments in the new music in New York and reported his experiences in the Village Voice, constitute the most innovative and experimental period of recent musical history. A considerable number of his articles and reviews has been brought together in this collection. Together they provide a lively impression of the genesis and the exciting adventure of the new music, of the diversity of utterances that were part of it from the very start, and of the circumstances and opinions which prompted it. Johnson recorded the emergence of a generation of composers and musicians which has set out to probe once more all conventions of the Western musical tradition and to remove the barriers between different cultures and various artistic disciplines. That process is still in full swing. Therefore it is of interest today to read how that process was triggered.”
Mediamatic
W – Tom Johnson
[PDF] The Voice of New Music: New York 1972-1982

The Mudd Club


Anita Sarko DJ-ing at the Mudd Club, ca. 1980.
The Mudd Club was a nightclub in the TriBeCa area of New York City, USA, that operated from 1978 to 1983 as a venue for underground music and counterculture events. It was located at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan and was opened by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and downtown punk scene figure Anya Phillips. The Mudd Club was named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, a doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln‘s assassination. It closed in New York in 1983. In order to secure the space for the Mudd Club (a loft owned by artist Ross Bleckner), Steve Mass described the future venue as cabaret. Mass claimed to have started the nightclub on a budget of only $15,000. The club featured a bar, gender-neutral bathrooms and a rotating gallery curated by Keith Haring on the fourth floor. Live performances included new wave, experimental music, literary icons Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, and catwalk exhibitions for emerging fashion designers Anna Sui and Jasper Conran. From the start it functioned as an ‘amazing antidote to the uptown glitz of Studio 54 in the ’70s’. As it became more frequented by downtown celebrities, a door policy was established and it acquired a chic, often elitist reputation. The Mudd Club was frequented by many of Manhattan’s up-and-coming cult celebrities. Other individuals associated with the venue included musicians Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, David Byrne, Debbie Harry, Arto Lindsay, John Lurie, Nico with Jim Tisdall, Lydia Lunch, X, the Cramps, the B-52’s, the Bongos and Judas Priest; artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his then-girlfriend Madonna; performers Klaus Nomi and John Sex; designers Betsey Johnson, Maripol and Marisol; and underground filmmakers Amos Poe; Vincent Gallo, Kathy Acker, and Glenn O’Brien. …”
Wikipedia
NY Times: The Doorman at the Mudd Club Tells All
Basquiat’s world: Downtown NYC and the Mudd Club (Audio)
amazon: The Mudd Club