“I came to New York City in 1978 and, while I worked every day as an intern at Ensemble Studio Theater, I spent nearly every night at CBGB or Max’s Kansas City seeing bands. It was at CBGB where I met many of the people who made up the seminal art, music and performance scene that was exploding in New York City in the late 1970s and throughout the1980s. I met Susan Hannaford and Tom Scully at CBGB who, as producers of The New Wave Vaudeville Show, brought me on as director. That show launched the career of New Wave operatic icon Klaus Nomi, and led me to manage the now-infamous neo-Dada cabaret space, Club 57 (Stanley Strychacki, founder) where I was able to indulge in the off-center ‘alternative theater’ I was interested in. The women of that club formed the nexus of The Ladies Auxiliary of the Lower East Side, a group I envisioned as a twisted version of the Junior League that my mother had been part of in suburban West Virginia. The Ladies hosted many events at Club 57 and we created the all-girl percussive ‘orchestra’ Pulsallama to perform at our Rites of Spring Bacchanal. I also performed in a variety of other bands and ‘alternative theater’ pieces at Club 57 and in other clubs (as well as downtown theaters and galleries) including the The Mudd Club, Danceteria, The Pyramid Club and CBGB. I collaborated frequently with like-minded performers such as Eric Bogosian, Kestutis Nakas, John Sex and Joey Arias (see opposite photo of Joey and I in “The Andy and Edie Show”) and staged my own one-woman shows, theme parties and art shows in clubs in both NYC and LA. Here are just a smattering of images from that output! Stay tuned, a LOT more to come!”
In 2011, Ann Magnuson and Kenny Scharf curated a show, East Village West, featuring some of the creative output of Club 57 and other East Village artists. To read Richard Metzger’s Q&A with Ann and Kenny about the show and this prolific time period, click here.