Monday, February 07, 2005

MUDD Club, NYC, 1979


APOLOGIES- The hits have exceeded my download quota and one of my servers has suspended my photos until the beginning of next month, so check back. I can't afford to pay for an upgrade. Unless you donate, of course!

The MUDD Club was my preferred place to go in NYC as it always attracted an eclectic, interesting crowd. Like most NY nightclubs, one needed either an invite or combined attitude / looks to get past the doorman. It's probably still the same in NY. I always breezed through, which was a great boost to one's ever fragile self-esteem. Secretly you were hoping not to be humiliated by being instructed to "wait" behind the rope indefinitely, like the frustrated outcasts in the photo. I experienced this once myself- in front of HEAVEN's doors (the one located in London, UK), which I never did get to enter. The doorwoman who refused me very disdainfully called out in the general direction of the line-up, "Aren't there any REAL gays out there..." - I wanted to kill the bitch. In consolation, it has been said that "HEAVEN is a place where nothing ever happens." I'll have to take the Talking Heads word (lyrics) for it.

mudd club waitingforgodot
(For what? Why? Is it my white pants? The beard? The moustache? My face?) Actually, you'll note there are no girls in that line-up.

mudd club
Once in though, you did wonder sometimes what 'standards" were really in place and if your inclusion was in fact an ego boost!

mudd club
An original zipper shirt... wonder if he ever caught his chest hair in it! I still have one of these vintage zipper shirts- they're a hazard- mine's always pinching my nipple!

Then there was the "second floor"- more exclusive, literally! I remember going to the Mudd Club with a New Yorker who passed the front gate with me, but when it came to the second floor, they would only let me go alone. So I said sorry ( but to my "escort"!) and left him there until it was time to get my ride home. I know it sounds mean, but I fully intended photographing the upstairs and if truth had it, I probably got him into the club in the first place! What ego! Bad girl!

mudd club
Two of the most unforgettable punks I've ever seen! My one regret is that I never got to know them beyond this photo. His button, partly obscured, reads "Punks Against Nazis." Years later I became Facebook friends with him (ie.2009), and can now identify them as Kat Martinez & Scott Severin, Mudd Club, 1979!! There is going to be a Mudd Club reunion in NYC on Oct.30, 2010- search Facebook for the Mudd Club group and join for more info.
mudd club
The photographer (Linda Dawn Hammond) in '79.

mudd club
This from David Scharff (Student Teachers singer) :
The Mudd Club shot with the guy wearing a bandana over his face...and the striped shirt and junkie looking girl...he was an old friend of mine named Tommy Melendi, but we called him Tommy Toast because he used the word Toast to describe all things good and bad. Somebody way too stoned
was 'toast', a really great concert was 'toooast!' went on and on like that.
He got strung out on dope for a long time so I don't even know if he's alive these days...but we had a blast back then.
mudd club

I only discovered in 2005 that the 2 gorgeous girls I photographed that night were (L-R) Sandy Linter and model Gia Carangi...
It was a long time ago, so my memory of what was said between us is vague. I had no idea that she was a famous model - I just liked the way she looked. Upstairs at the Mudd club was restricted access but I was somehow allowed to join this fun, eclectic crowd. Never been fazed by fame, my main objective was interesting and hopefully subversive content in terms of my portraits. If Gia had even mentioned she was a model, I wouldn't have realized she meant Vogue cover stature! I expect I may have told her of my own mishaps in LA the year before, when someone had tried to get me into modelling. Nasty business. I hated the insensitivity and callousness of the men who controlled the modelling world and didn't want to be objectified. I had already chosen to be behind the camera, creating, and not in front of it. I found Gia beautiful in a very basic, feral way, and never forgot the images I took of her. When I printed for this show I included them, completely unaware of who she was! Someone recognized her by chance on this blog and informed me. It's funny, as I've seen the film with Angelina, and when I printed the photos of Gia, remarked that they had similarly sensuous mouths! (Still unaware of her identity) I also remember thinking as I watched the film that I'd have loved to have photographed Gia- and not realizing that I already had in fact! I have to admit that I don't like the way photographers often portrayed her in the fashion magazines I've seen- the plastic Barbie doll look- they were underestimating her true beauty.

mudd club
mudd club
mudd club

Thanks from Linda Dawn Hammond and Doctors Without Borders (MSN), to all who participated in the Ebay auction! Please continue to give generously to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders/ MSN)- a most worthy cause!!!!


About Me

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Linda Dawn Hammond,MFA, AKA Dawn One, is a photographer and journalist. As a teenager in 1976, she began covering music events for various magazines. During the late 70s she became involved in punk, documenting an insider's perspective of the music, political and social scenes in Montreal, Toronto, NYC, the UK and Europe, included in this blog as photographs and commentary. Linda Dawn Hammond continues to work as a photojournalist, specializing in music, cinema, art and politics. As a fine arts photographer, she has exhibited in galleries in North America and the UK, and published widely.