Mudd Club

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The Mudd Club
Mudd Club facade NYC.jpg
Mudd Club building facade in NYC
Location77 White Street, Manhattan, New York, USA
CoordinatesCoordinates: 40°43′3.57″N 74°0′8.43″W / 40.7176583°N 74.0023417°W / 40.7176583; -74.0023417
Opened1978
Closed1983
OwnerSteve Mass, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips
 
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The Mudd Club
Mudd Club facade NYC.jpg
Mudd Club building facade in NYC
Location77 White Street, Manhattan, New York, USA
CoordinatesCoordinates: 40°43′3.57″N 74°0′8.43″W / 40.7176583°N 74.0023417°W / 40.7176583; -74.0023417
Opened1978
Closed1983
OwnerSteve Mass, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips
Mudd Club plaque on building in NYC

The Mudd Club was a TriBeCa nightclub that was opened in October 1978 by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and Anya Phillips, a figure in the downtown punk scene. The Mudd Club, located at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan, quickly became a major fixture in the city's underground music and counterculture scene, until it closed in 1983.


Contents

History

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.[1]

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”.[2] 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. 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 and The Bongos; artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and his then girlfriend Madonna[3] and (later) Keith Haring;[4] performers Klaus Nomi and John Sex; Designers Betsey Johnson, Maripol, and Marisol; underground filmmaker Amos Poe; Vincent Gallo, Kathy Acker, and Glenn O'Brien.

Its live music policy was best known for New York "No Wave" bands like DNA, The Contortions, and Basquiat's band Gray. The B-52's did their first New York concert at the Mudd Club; the group Talking Heads performed songs from their new album Fear of Music there to a packed crowd of punk rockers. Tim Page (music critic) produced several concerts at the Mudd Club in 1981, in an attempt to meld contemporary classical music with rock and pop. On the dance floor, DJ's David Azarch, Anita Sarko and Johnny Dynell played a unique mixture of punk, funk, and curiosities.

Six months after it opened it was in People Magazine: “New York’s fly-by-night crowd of punks, posers and the ultra-hip has discovered new turf on which to flaunt its manic chic. It is the Mudd Club.... For sheer kinkiness, there has been nothing like it since the cabaret scene in 1920s Berlin.”[5]

After its first few years, the Studio 54 celebrities like Andy Warhol and David Bowie began to show up. In 1981, The Mudd Club's Steve Mass began showing up at the more informal Club 57 on St. Mark's Place, and began hiring Club 57 crowd (including Keith Haring[6]) to help acquire part of that downtown scene.[7]

The Mudd Club was closed in 1983, when some regulars felt "at the end, it was not much fun anymore. I mean, it had just become--kind of like the hangers-on to the hangers-on at the Mudd Club."[8]

The club is mentioned by Talking Heads in their 1979 song "Life During Wartime", by the Ramones in "The Return of Jackie and Judy", by Nina Hagen in her 1983 song "New York / N.Y." and by Elliott Murphy (who performed at the Mudd Club) in his 1983 song "Off The Shelf". Frank Zappa poked fun at it in a song named for the club on his album You Are What You Is.

Steve Mass has since moved on to open the Mudd Club in Berlin in 2001 (located at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 17); this Berlin club was considered an intimate venue for touring bands.

In 2007, the arts organization Creative Time placed a plaque on the NYC building to commemorate the club's existence.[9]

On October 28–29, 2010, there was a 30 year reunion of Mudd Club artists and regulars was held at the Delancy Lounge nightclub. Many bands and performers from the Mudd Club and Club 57 performed, including The Bush Tetras, Three Teens Kill Four, The Comateens, and Walter Steading. A crowd of 40 and 50 something regulars re-met for the first time in years.[10][11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Blanks, Tim (February 25, 2001). "Mudd Quake". The New York Times Magazine. http://partners.nytimes.com/library/magazine/specials/20010225mag-muddquake.html. Retrieved January 13, 2009 
  2. ^ Musto, Micheal. "Farewell, Queen of the Mudd Club," Village Voice Le Daily Musto Blog Aug. 17 2008.
  3. ^ Fretz, Eric. Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography, Greenwood Press, 2010. Chapter 3.
  4. ^ Gruen, John (ed). Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography, Prentice Hall Press, 1991.
  5. ^ People, July 16, 1979.
  6. ^ Haring, Keith. Keith Haring Journals. Penguin, 1997.
  7. ^ Hager, Steve. Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene. St. Martin. 1986.
  8. ^ O'Brien, Glenn. "A Dialogue with Diego Cortez," Jean-Michel Basuiat 1981: The Studio of the Street, Chrata, 2007.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Randy (April 29, 2007). "Touring Warhol's Space, and 32 Other Art-History Sites". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/nyregion/29plaque.html. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ Mudd Club / Club 57 / New Wave Vaudeville Reunion website
  11. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth. "Its Name Was Mudd," New York Post, October 23, 2010.

External links