Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

by Patti Smith

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Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:01 am

MAX’S KANSAS CITY

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Pg. 116:
Max’s Kansas City was on Eighteenth Street and Park Avenue South. It was supposedly a restaurant, though few of us actually had the money to eat there. The owner, Mickey Ruskin, was notoriously artist-friendly, even offering a free cocktail-hour buffet for those with the price of a drink. It was said that this buffet, which included Buffalo wings, kept a lot of struggling artists and drag queens alive.

Mapping it:



Pg. 117:
On our first visit we only made it as far as the front section. We sat in a booth and split a salad and ate the inedible chickpeas. Robert and Sandy ordered Cokes. I had a coffee. The place was fairly dead. Sandy had experience Max’s at the time when it was the social hub of the subterranean universe, when Andy Warhol passively reigned over the round table with his charismatic ermine queen, Edie Sedgwick.

Pg. 233: We had been asked to open for Phil Ochs at Max’s Kansas City in the last days of the year. Lenny Kaye and I would spend both of our December birthdays and New Year’s Eve merging poetry and rock and roll.

From 1965-1982, Max’s Kansas City, located at 213 Park Avenue in Manhattan, was THE nightclub and restaurant for the creative world’s most talented and revolutionary artists, poets, musicians and fashion designers. Max’s played host to the likes of Andy Warhol, the B-52s, Betsey Johnson, The Velvet Underground, Devo, Debbie Harry, John Chamberlain, Robert Raushenberg, William Burroughs, and many more…

Considered the birthplace of punk, glam-rock and pop art, the space was also where some of rock’s most raw and iconic moments took place. It was the site of Aerosmith's first New York City gig. Columbia Records president Clive Davis later signed Aerosmith to his record label there. Bob Marley & The Wailers opened for Bruce Springsteen at Max's, commencing Marley's career on the international circuit.

The synergy of art, music and fashion at Max's Kansas City produced an unparalleled number of influential collaborations.

The artists tended to congregate in specific sections.

The Front Room was initially taken over by painters, sculptors and poets, exchanging ideas. Max's famous art clientele were notorious for not paying their tab. Thus, Max's owner Mickey Ruskin would at some point ask for money, spurring panicked artists to offer him one-of-a-kind pieces to cover their debts. Consequently, Max's ended up with original works of art made by some of the most famous artists of the time.

Max's became the venue for new art and fashion. Instead of showing their work at openings, artists would show at Max’s.

The Back Room, drenched in the blood red from Dan Flavin's fluorescent light sculpture (see tidbit 7C), is where Warhol held court at his famous round table.

The Pack was the area sandwiched between the front room and back room. The regular celebrities who hung out in The Pack included Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan, Peter O'Toole, Jane Fonda,Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty. Models Verouschka, Twiggy, Apollonia and Andrea Portago also frequented the pack as well as the fashion crowd, Maxime de la Falaise, Fernando Sanchez, Halston, Giorgio di Sant'Angelo and Betsey Johnson. Politicians were regulars too – Ed Koch and Bobby Kennedy.

The Upstairs was home to the iconoclastic New York music scene, with performances by Max's house band The Velvet Underground, the irreverent New York Dolls, and undiscovered musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley and Billy Joel. Debbie Harry was a waitress at Max’s and returned years later to perform in the band Blondie.

"I met Iggy Pop at Max's Kansas City in 1970 or 1971," recalled David Bowie. "Me, Iggy and Lou Reed at one table with absolutely nothing to say to each other, just looking at each other's eye makeup."

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David Johansen and David Bowie at Max’s Kansas City, New York City, 1974.

Upstairs at Max’s – You Eric Clapton fans will love this:



Max’s lost popularity by 1974, and it’s doors closed in December of that year. Max’s reopened in 1975 under the ownership of Tommy Dean Mills, and it became one of the birthplaces of punk showcasing bands such as B-52s Devo, Blondie, Ramones, Talking Heads, Misfits, Annie and the Asexuals,and The Fleshtones. It closed the doors of it’s first site for good in 1981, but was reopened again by Mills in 1998 at a new location—240 West 52d Street. But it closed shortly after opening due to litigation by Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin, who claimed that she owned the trademark to Max's Kansas City and was granted a temporary restraining order to prevent use of the name. The former owner Ruskin, had passed away in 1983.

Although Max's Kansas City closed, its spirit of helping those in need lives on. Founded by Yvonne R. Sewall in 1996 and incorporated in 2001, The Max's Kansas City Project embraces the Mickey Ruskin philosophy that artists should never have to go hungry. The project provides emergency funding and support to those in need to help pay for rent, food or medical bills.

But the Max's Kansas City Project does more than just support current artists. Through their Fearless Youth program Max's Kansas City Project makes available for teens substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and encourages exploration in the creative arts.

[youtube]OuyQfxo0ocs [/youtube]

You’ll love this slide show. Not only are Patti and Robert in it, but so is another one of Johnny’s associates.





CBGB

Pg: 245:
CBGB was the ideal place to sound a clarion call. It was a club on the street of the downtrodden that drew a strange breed who welcomed artists yet unsung. The only thing Hilly Krystal required from those who played there was to be new.

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1977

Mapping it:



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CBGB (Country, BlueGrass, and Blues) was a music club at 315 Bowery at Bleecker Street in Manhattan in New York City. Founded by Hilly Kristal in 1973, it was originally intended to feature its namesake musical styles, but became a forum for American punk and New Wave bands like Ramones, Misfits, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Mink DeVille, The Dead Boys, The Dictators, The Fleshtones, The Voidoids, The Cramps, Blondie, The Shirts, and Talking Heads.

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Hilly and Paul Simon

You may also want to know what OMFUG stands for. Hilly Kristal answers as follows: "That's more of what we do, it means OTHER MUSIC FOR UPLIFTING GOURMANDIZERS." And what is a gourmandizer? “It's a voracious eater of, in this case, MUSIC.”

In later years, it would mainly become known for hardcore punk with bands such as U.S. Chaos, Agnostic Front, Murphy's Law, Cro-Mags, Warzone, Gorilla Biscuits, Sick of It All, and Youth of Today. The storefront and large space next door to the club served as the "CBGB Record Canteen" (record shop and cafe) for many years.

Eventually, in the late eighties, the record store was closed and replaced with a second performance space and art gallery named "CB's 313 Gallery." The gallery went on to showcase many popular bands and singer-songwriters who played in a musical style more akin to acoustic rock, folk, jazz, or experimental music, such as Dadadah, Toshi Reagon, and The Shells, while the original club continued to present mainly hardcore bands and post-punk, metal, and alternative rock acts.

Some notable events:

1974: Ramones Play CBGB for the first time August 16.
1975: The Talking Heads play their first show at CBGB, opening for the Ramones.
1977: The Police make their US debut in November. Attendance was sparse.
1987: Guns N' Roses play an acoustic set at the Record Canteen.
1991: Pearl Jam plays secret show for Fan Club.
1992: Nirvana cancels show due to $300 door/security expense.
2006: The club closed on October 15, and the final concert that night was performed by Patti Smith.

[youtube]I2jhOoJMrZQ[/youtube]

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Patti Smith outside CBGB on its closing night on 15 October 2006.
Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images



Hilly Kristal died on August 28, 2007, at age 75 from complications of lung cancer.

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Alan Rickman will play Hilly Kristal in an upcoming movie entitled CBGB, to be released sometime this year.

How would you like to be a little tipsy (or stoned) and have to go to the bathroom in here?

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Debbie Harry (Blondie), 1975:

[youtube]1WJVr4QStm4[/youtube]

Patti playing at CGBG, 1979:

[youtube]slpT2VNfIgg[/youtube]



Sources:

cbgb.com
classic.maxskansascity.com
maxskansascity.com
The Guardian
Wikipedia
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Gilbert's Girl
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Re: Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:23 am

A quite young John Waters .

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Re: Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby Theresa » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:49 pm

"I met Iggy Pop at Max's Kansas City in 1970 or 1971," recalled David Bowie. "Me, Iggy and Lou Reed at one table with absolutely nothing to say to each other, just looking at each other's eye makeup."


Love it! :harhar:

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Re: Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:47 am

Alan Rickman will play Hilly Kristal in an upcoming movie entitled CBGB, to be released sometime this year.

The trailer was released in August! (I guess there's one advantage to coming in late to a discussion and playing catch-up). :) Here's the youtube link:



"Anything you WANT to do?"
"We're working on something now."
"Something positive?"
"Yeah.. it's... it's called.... 'I wanna sniff some glue'"
:harhar:

I honestly don't know if I'll love the movie or hate it - Hollywood's take on history and all - but I'll definitely go see it. :yes:

Patti is being played by Sting's daughter, Mickey Sumner. Interesting. According to Facebook the World Premiere will be in NYC on October 8th, and it will be in theaters on Oct 11th. No word yet on international dates, but they said they'd have a list of cities soon.

The soundtrack reads like an ONBC Tidbit on "New York Punk -- the Early Years"! :bigwink:

(Which reminds me... I need to post a thought or two - or 30 :lol: - on that tidbit).

Seeing as how I already own "CBGB Forever" , and were it vinyl, it would be worn out by now, the purchase of this soundtrack seems inevitable. :biggrin:
Last edited by RamblinRebel on Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:53 am

Almost forgot!
Liz wrote:You may also want to know what OMFUG stands for. Hilly Kristal answers as follows: "That's more of what we do, it means OTHER MUSIC FOR UPLIFTING GOURMANDIZERS." And what is a gourmandizer? “It's a voracious eater of, in this case, MUSIC.”

THANK YOU!!! I've been wondering about that for years!!!

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Liz
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Re: Just Kids Tidbit #10 - Max's Kansas City and CBGB

Unread postby Liz » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:43 pm

Cool! I'm glad I could be of help. :biggrin:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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