Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983
Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992, both also published by Duke University Press.
The Basement Den at Club 57
CBGB regulars Ann Magnuson, Susan Hannaford, and Tom Scully took over the running of Club 57, located on St. Mark’s Place, in the spring of 1979. With Magnuson taking the lead role, they introduced an eclectic program that included DJ-ing, the screening of old B-movies, performance art, alternative art shows, and special parties that attracted a crowd of students from the School of Visual Art, among them Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. The venue’s culture drew heavily on irony and kitsch. As with the Mudd Club, dancing took on a primary position, even though the venue’s roots were in punk. Steve Mass couldn’t straightforwardly ignore developments at Club 57. Beginning in the summer of 1980 he started to offer work to several core members. Around the same time Mass started to experience profound tensions with one of his principal DJs, Anita Sarko.