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.
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.
Sure, there’ll be some downtowners in the running at Monday’s James Beard Foundation Awards (Hearth, Christina Tosi, wd-50, David Chang). But they aren’t the only locals getting big upped: as part of Lower East Side History Month, some folks who are decidedly not celebrity chefs are getting some recognition.
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.
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.
Tomorrow, as part of the CBGB Festival, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong will discuss the Downtown Collection’s recent acquisition of their Nightclubbing archive of punk-era concert footage. In this week’s installment of their column for The Local, they speak with Tish and Snooky Bellomo, who will be playing with the Sic F*cks tonight at Bowery Electric and tomorrow at Fontana’s. That band was hardly the only one the Bellomo sisters had a hand in.
In the beginning, there was the Stillettos: Debbie Harry, Elda Stilletto and Roseanne Ross. As flashy and trashy as glam bands got, they played CBGBs so early in the game that the Ramones opened for them. By 1975, Debbie Harry had gone on to form Blondie. Elda transformed the Stillettos into the Stilletto Fads, with Tish and Snooky Bellomo as back up singers.
The Bellomos were no strangers to the CBGB scene. “We used to come down to the city from Riverdale,” said Tish. “We would hide our ‘subway’ shoes in some hedges outside of Max’s and CBGB and change into our cool stilettos and rock-and-roll wear before we went in, then change back on the train on our way back to the Bronx so we wouldn’t scare the neighbors.” Their fashion sense paid off: realizing how hard it was for New Yorkers to get the cool tight black pants that English kids wore, they used $500 to open Manic Panic on St. Marks Place in 1977. “Sometimes, we only made a $2.50 sale all day,” recalled Snooky, “but everyone would drop by, so you almost didn’t care. It was a while before we started making any money.”
Meanwhile, they sang with the Sic F*cks – at CBGBs, Max’s, Mudd Club theme nights, and wherever fun was to be had – and with the Stilletto Fads. More →