Mudd Club

former nightclub in New York City

The Mudd Club was a nightclub in the TriBeCa area of New York City, USA. It was open from 1978 to 1983. It was a place for underground music and counterculture events. It was located at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan and was opened by Steve Maas, art curator Diego Cortez and downtown punk scene figure Anya Phillips.

The Mudd Club
Mudd Club building facade in New York City
Location77 White Street, Manhattan, New York, United States
Coordinates40°43′3.57″N 74°0′8.43″W / 40.7176583°N 74.0023417°W / 40.7176583; -74.0023417
OwnerSteve Mass, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips

History change

The Mudd Club was named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, a doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. It closed in 1983.[1]

To space for the Mudd Club was a loft owned by artist Ross Bleckner. Steve Mass described the future venue as cabaret to get the space from Bleckner. Mass said they started the nightclub on a budget of only $15,000.

The club featured a bar, gender-neutral bathrooms and a gallery. Keith Haring ran the gallery and selected artwork to show on the fourth floor.[2] Live performances included new wave, experimental music, literary icons Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, and catwalk exhibitions for new fashion designers Anna Sui and Jasper Conran.

From the start it was an "amazing antidote to the uptown glitz of Studio 54 in the '70s".[3] As it became more frequented by downtown celebrities, a door policy was established and it acquired a chic, often elitist reputation.

Many of Manhattan's up-and-coming cult celebrities went to the Mudd Club. Other people 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, the B-52's, the Bongos and Judas Priest,[4] artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his then-girlfriend Madonna;[5] performers Klaus Nomi and John Sex; designers Betsey Johnson, Maripol and Marisol; and underground filmmakers Amos Poe; Vincent Gallo, Kathy Acker, and Glenn O'Brien.

Live music at the club featured New York no wave bands like DNA, Nona Hendryx's Zero Cool, the Contortions, and Basquiat's band Gray. In 1979, Talking Heads performed songs from their new album Fear of Music. Tim Page 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, DJs David Azarch, Anita Sarko and Johnny Dynell played a mix of punk, funk and curiosities.

Six months after it opened, the Mudd Club was cited 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".[6]

After its first few years, Studio 54 celebrities like Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and David Bowie began to go there. In 1981, the Mudd Club's Steve Mass began going to the more informal Club 57 on St. Mark's Place. He began hiring people from the Club 57 crowd (including Haring[7]).[8]

Mudd Club entry tickets, white with black print, are extremely rare. The Mudd Club closed in 1983. It had just become a regular club and was not so special anymore.[9]

The band Talking Heads mentioned the club in their 1979 song "Life During Wartime". The Ramones included it in their 1980 song "The Return of Jackie and Judy". Nina Hagen mentioned it in her 1983 song "New York / N.Y.". Elliott Murphy sang about it in his 1983 song "Off the Shelf". Frank Zappa named a song for the club on his album You Are What You Is.

Mass opened another Mudd Club in Berlin in 2001. It was at located at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 17. This Berlin club was small club for touring bands.

In 2007, the arts organization Creative Time placed a plaque on the NYC building to mark the club.[10]

Related pages change

References change

  1. Blanks, Tim (February 25, 2001). "Mudd Quake". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  2. Gruen, John (ed). Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography, Prentice Hall Press, 1991.
  3. Musto, Michael. "Farewell, Queen of the Mudd Club," Archived 2009-07-20 at the Wayback Machine Village Voice Le Daily Musto Blog Aug. 17 2008.
  4. "Judas Priest's Rob Halford on 50 years of metal, handcuffing Andy Warhol, and touring with Ozzy Osbourne". Consequence. 19 October 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  5. Fretz, Eric. Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography, Greenwood Press, 2010. Chapter 3.
  6. People, July 16, 1979.
  7. Haring, Keith. Keith Haring Journals. Penguin, 1997.
  8. Hager, Steve. Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene. St. Martin. 1986.
  9. O'Brien, Glenn. "A Dialogue with Diego Cortez," Jean-Michel Basuiat 1981: The Studio of the Street, Chrata, 2007.
  10. Kennedy, Randy (April 29, 2007). "Touring Warhol's Space, and 32 Other Art-History Sites". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2010.

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