Yesterday, we got the sad news that Maggie Estep, arguably the face of the ’90s East Village slam movement, died at 50. Today, we spoke to Bob Holman, who helped propel her to fame as co-director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Mark Pellington, who directed her classic “Hey Baby” video. Here’s what they had to say.
Maggie came out at the Nuyorican Poets Café when the Nuyorican had just reopened. Slam had just emerged in Chicago and I imported it here – and it became their signature, where the multiculti voices found a home. Maggie’s punk-absurdist, angry-comic voice was a leading edge. I ran the slams, so I was the one who called her up and told her, “Oh, you really are good, you really do have to come back and let us hear some more.”