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Here’s What Happened at the Mudd Club Rummage Sale

Last night, the legendary Mudd Club made a slight return, as Steve Mass, the owner of the ’70s and ’80s hotspot, hosted a rummage sale to benefit the Bowery Mission. Items included a beehive wig belonging to Kate Pierson of the B-52s, who performed “Roam”; a cheetah-print jumpsuit donated by Deborah Harry, who was also floating around (it was scooped up by a Jersey City vintage shop); photos by Godlis and William Coupon, also in attendance; and this piece by Kim Gordon, going for $10,000.

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Chris Stein of Blondie: ‘Miley Cyrus at Her Craziest is Not Really Dangerous’

All images by Chris Stein from the book "Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk," and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

All images by Chris Stein from the book “Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk,” and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

Few people personify the downtown New York aesthetic like Chris Stein. As the guitarist of Blondie, he’s helped to define—and defy—what people talk about when they talk about New York. Fortunately for us, he was documenting his adventures in the dangerous old New York, as proven in his book of photographs. These were shown at the Chelsea Hotel in September, and a new show opened yesterday on the other side of the pond at the Somerset House in London.
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Blondie Checks Into the Chelsea Hotel For 40th Anniversary Photo Show

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

In a two-fold celebration of the 40th anniversary of Blondie’s formation and guitarist/co-founder Chris Stein’s photography book release, the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery is hosting a week-long exhibition. The show features ephemera and photographs from Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk as well as the work of other important photographers who were in and around the New York City punk scene of the ’70s and ’80s.
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‘We’d Found This Cave Out of Time’: A Look Back at Glam Rock’s Club 82

(Photos: Aileen Polk)

(Photos: Eileen Polk)

When Judy Garland, Kirk Douglas, Liz Taylor and the glitterati of the ‘50s wanted to walk on the wild side, they headed to the East Village’s Club 82, “New York’s After-Dark Rendezvous.” The notoriety of the basement club, at 82 East Fourth Street, came from its elaborate stage shows performed by 35 female impersonators. Strippers, dancers, comedians and singers, all men in drag, staged three shows nightly, seven days a week well into the ‘60s, when the novelty wore off and the club’s popularity faded.
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There’s a Debbie Harry Bobblehead (and No, It Doesn’t Have a Heart of Glass)

(Courtesy Aggronautix)

(Courtesy Aggronautix)

Nothing is real but the girl, but what about this?

That’s right: there’s now a Debbie Harry bobblehead. Till now, we’ve had to settle for the Debbie Harry Barbie, which, as you can imagine, looks pretty much like any other Barbie (which has confused a lot of folks who’ve seen it displayed in our office alongside our Ramones collection).

This new doll — limited to 1,000 2,000 units — is made by Drastic Plastic, creators of the Iggy Pop bobblehead, and it’s being shipped Monday by Aggronautix, makers of “throbbleheads” in the likeness of East Village punk legends GG Allin and Handsome Dick Manitoba. The Debbie doll will set you back $24.95 and can be ordered here.

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Watch Glenn Branca Hold Forth On Bowie, Byrne, CBGB, Sonic Youth + His Own Bad Self

As excited as we were to celebrate Glenn Branca’s 65th birthday at the B+B Newsroom last week, we didn’t expect our discussion with the trailblazing composer to be as epic as, say, the time in 2001 that we were blown away by his 100-guitar symphony beneath the Twin Towers, and (more recently, in 2010) the debut of his 15th symphony at Le Poisson Rouge. How wrong we were: the master rolled into 155 Grand with a bottle of whiskey and, just like when New York spoke to him in 2004, immediately lit up a cig. We weren’t about to tell him to put it out.
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Watch the House Videographers at CBGB Call Richard Hell a Crybaby

As you may have read over at Rolling Stone, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong — in what’s sure to be one of the highlights of the CBGB Festival — are screening some of their rare late-70s and early-80s concert footage at Bowery Electric tonight, between performances by Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, Syl Sylvain of the New York Dolls, and Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols. We were lucky enough to have the authors of our weekly Nightclubbing column into the B+B Newsroom last Friday, along with Richard Boch, who’s working on a memoir of his time manning the door of the Mudd Club, and Pat Irwin, the guitarist for the Raybeats, 8 Eyed Spy and the B-52s, who spoke about his recently unearthed collaboration with Philip Glass.

If you missed Friday’s discussion, watch the replay above. Here’s what the gang had to say about Suicide (we spoke to Martin Rev of that band back in June) and the evolution of the Ramones.
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Nightclubbing | Student Teachers, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

(Photo: Steve Lombardi)

It’s that time of year again: Spring break! While college students are streaming like lemmings to the usual spots — Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean — there’s been an uptick of revelers heading for New York this year. You can see them — earbuds in, texting and stumbling around the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, updating their absent pals. We hope they’re enjoying themselves.
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Nightclubbing | Levi and the Rockats

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

At CBGB, it was a crapshoot what you would hear on a given night (maybe folk rock, maybe noise bands) and we, the audience, said bring it on. If the music was good, we listened to it. But over in England, there was a culture war raging that was alien to most variety-loving New Yorkers.

Teds were the original “rebel teenagers” of the late 40s and early 50s, with their own unique clothing style and love of early rock and roll. They endured as a niche group for years, enjoying a resurgence in the 70s. They held on to their sartorial and musical traditions – and with it, an unfortunate penchant for violence, a behavior certainly fanned by the British tabloids. Though the gritty details remain debatable, it seemed inevitable that the conservative, volatile Teds would pick a fight with the publicity-loving, anarchic punks. The natty Teds didn’t like safety pins and they sure didn’t like the Sex Pistols.

Leee Black Childers remembered going to a rockabilly show in London in 1977 while touring with the Heartbreakers as their manager during the “Anarchy in the UK” tour. “When the lights went up, Teds suddenly descended on us and threatened to beat us up for being punks,” he said. “This kid, Levi Dexter stepped up and stuck up for us and we were saved.” Childers asked him if he had any friends, because with his looks he could start up a band. Levi recruited childhood friend Smutty Smiff and a few others and Childers became their manager. Keep Reading »

Nightclubbing | Blitz Benefit, 1978

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

Video contains explicit language, but you already knew that.

Village Voice ad.

The East Village was a very different and much more dangerous place in 1978. But it was still a shock to everyone on the Downtown scene when Johnny Blitz, the Dead Boys’ drummer, was stabbed in a fight on Second Avenue. Street violence isn’t quite what it was in those days, but one thing hasn’t changed: the problem of musicians and medical insurance, or the lack thereof. To help meet Blitz’s mounting medical bills, the CBGB community rallied with a four-day event, the Blitz Benefit (please, don’t call it “Punk Woodstock”). With a t-shirt created by the Ramones’ design guru, Arturo Vega, and more than 30 bands performing, it was a heartfelt outpouring of help and money for one of our own.

Billy Blitz, Johnny’s brother, recalled being just a teenager when his brother was stabbed. “I was in Cleveland so it was all new to me,” he said. “When I got to New York for the benefit, Stiv Bators [lead singer of the Dead Boys] and Tish Bellomo picked me up. They were shooting moons out the car window on the way to the club. I couldn’t believe it!” Keep Reading »

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Nightclubbing | A Night at CBGBs

The Local is pleased to launch a regular column in which Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong sift through their voluminous archive of punk-era concert footage as it becomes part of the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library. They’ll share their favorite stories and clips along the way.

The Nightclubbing archive.

The Nightclubbing archive.

Pat: On a hot sticky night in July, 1975, I began videotaping punk bands at CBGBs. It was during the CBGB Rock Festival of Unrecorded Bands, with 40 groups that formed the core of the nascent music scene downtown. I was part of Metropolis Video, a video collective of eight, most of whom worked at MCTV’s public access department. That first night, we shot Blondie (still doing some covers, like the Velvets, Femme Fatale), the Talking Heads on their third or fourth gig out of RISD, and the Heartbreakers, a downtown super group with Richard Hell, who had just left Television, and Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan of the Dolls. It was their first Manhattan date. It was exciting and we shot now and then for about a year but the center would not hold and the collective dissolved.

Luckily, I met Emily Armstrong and after a night seeing Patti Smith at CBs, she agreed to work with me and a new partnership was formed. Our first band was the Dead Boys in 1977 and we continued for the next four years, often at CBs but also at other clubs like Max’s, Hurrah’s, Mudd Club, and Danceteria.

Emily: Now 32 years later, N.Y.U.’s Fales Library is making everything new again. The Downtown Collection is preserving and restoring the Nightclubbing archive of nearly 100 musical performances, 20-plus interviews, video art projects and more. It will be available for scholars (yes!) to rifle through and enjoy. I hope they do – I know I did. Keep Reading »