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.
1981: Accelerating Toward Pluralism
Mass continued to curate a dissident music program as well as interlocking fashion, performance, film, and video events, but by the end of the year his core crowd had started to disperse. Club 57 also splintered after Magnuson stepped back from managing the venue in September 1980, even if her successors maintained the manic level of activity. With the Peppermint Lounge, the Ritz, and TR3 also going strong, competition within the art-punk party scene rose a notch when Jim Fouratt and Rudolf Piper struck a deal with Maurice Brahms to launch “Modern Classix” at the Underground in May 1981. Rubell proceeded to fire Mike Stone and invite Fouratt and Piper to run Studio 54. Meanwhile after-hours rock-dance venue AM/PM invited disco producer François Kevorkian to DJ, and the midtown discotheque Bond’s shifted to live shows that featured bands such as the Clash.