We remember him well in the Chelsea Hotel, but Leonard Cohen’s New York City existence spanned beyond just the hotel where a makeshift memorial sprung up on Thursday after his death at the age of 82. Cohen came to New York City in 1966, just a year before the Summer of Love, and his breakthrough years there brought him into the orbit of Warhol and the Velvet Underground, the Beats, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Jimi Hendrix. He wrote songs for Nico and penned “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” after a night with Janis Joplin.
In the early 1970s, New York actor Tony Zanetta performed in underground theater in plays by Andy Warhol, Jackie Curtis and Wayne/Jayne County. His portrayal of Warhol in the play “Pork” would have him meet David Bowie in London. When Bowie visited New York in 1971, Zanetta guided him through the town’s nightlife. He soon became part of Bowie’s inner circle as tour manager of the Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs tours and helped run Bowie’s MainMan management organization. Zanetta had not seen Bowie in over 40 years when he learned of his death this week. Below, Zanetta recalls the exciting time when Bowie arrived in New York an unknown who would soon become a superstar.
You’d think the recent revival of CBGB as an airport restaurant would be sufficient humiliation to convince New Yorkers to let go of their old haunts. But no. Hot on the heels of the Mudd Club rummage sale and the 50th anniversary celebration of Max’s Kansas City comes another 50th anniversary celebration of Max’s Kansas City.
Up till now, our footage of DNA at the Mudd Club was as close as you were going to get to reliving a night at the legendary Tribeca club frequented by Warhol, Haring, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Lydia Lunch and pretty much everyone else who was anyone in downtown New York between 1978 and 1983. But on Nov. 19, you’ll have a chance to experience something close to it.
I walked into Film Forum in something of a haze, trying to gather my wits before squeezing into a packed theater for the screening of Laurie Anderson’s new film, Heart of a Dog. As soon as I grabbed my ticket and walked into the atrium I saw her, standing there casually, arms folded, her ever-present spiked hair a perfect pewter grey. A wry, all-knowing smile pulled her small face into dignified, criss-crossing lines, completely vulnerable to my open-mouthed gaze. Did she smile at me? Give me an all-knowing nod? Impossible. Well, I remember at least that she looked sad. But how could I remember that? She wasn’t looking directly at me, right?
Next month, Oct. 27, will mark the second anniversary of Lou Reed’s passing, but his legacy lives on: on Oct. 30, Rhino will release a six-disc 45th anniversary edition of Velvet Underground’s Loaded, featuring three different mixes of the album, unreleased versions of tracks such as “Cool It Down” and “Sweet Jane,” a newly remastered version of the Live at Max’s Kansas City show from August 1970, an unreleased recording of a May 1970 club gig in Philadelphia, and other rarities. And the jam-packed box set is just the beginning of it. If you’re a fan of Lou and his wife and fellow creative dynamo Laurie Anderson, mark your calendars for the following.
While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.
It’s not often you see Monty Python and John Lydon in the space of a week, but there was Britain’s other living legend at St. Vitus last night, chatting with Pitchfork’s Jenn Pelly about his new autobiography Anger Is an Energy. The book, out this week, tells how a childhood bout with meningitis shaped his personality (“I’m a shy, sensitive kind of fellow,” he insisted to the incredulous crowd at St. Vitus) and then goes on to recount his trailblazing and troublemaking with the Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd., and, of course, his later dalliances with reality tv (that time he showed off his “fried-egg breasts” in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!) and butter commercials (“the most anarchistic thing I’ve ever been presented with”).
Rhode Island’s favorite finger-pickin,’ acoustic-guitar-wielding, non-country act Deer Tick is ten years old — to celebrate, the band is setting up shop at the Brooklyn Bowl for five nights and playing a slew of cover sets drawn from classic albums like Lou Reed’s Transformer and Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True.
Echo and the Bunnymen — the ’80s band that was covered by ’90s stalwarts like Pavement to the Flaming Lips — unleashed some covers of its own last night during the second of two sold-out shows at Irving Plaza.