I did some reading of New York Magazine’s coverage of the first New York experiences of some now notable New Yorkers and I had two favorite music bits. The first was Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. noting that back when he came in the 90’s you needed connections to work at Kim’s Video. The second was this paragraph from Chuck Close:
We’d go to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Andy Warhol’s nightclub extravaganza that he ran on St. Marks Place. But the main thing was the watering holes, chief among them Mickey Ruskin’s Max’s Kansas City. Andy and his entourage would be in the back room with Rauschenberg and his entourage, and we younger artists like Robert Smithson and Dorothea Rockburne and Mel Bochner would tend to be in booths up front. There would be huge fights. Usually someone would come in and say, “I just saw so-and-so’s show and it’s great,” and then everyone would put him on the spot to explain why it was great, and they’d become more and more aggressive, and sometimes they would freak out, throw a drink, and walk out. There was music upstairs—Janis Joplin would be leaning up against the jukebox with a bottle of Southern Comfort, singing along with Edith Piaf with tears streaming down her cheeks. Mickey would trade artists’ work for a tab, so there was a big John Chamberlain sculpture in the front—a huge galvanized piece that was the coat rack for the whole place. Along one wall was a really beautiful Donald Judd, and in the corner in the back room was a red Dan Flavin that put a particularly eerie hue on top of all the pale Warhol Superstars.
The image is just incredible. It’s stereotypical of Joplin’s image, but still powerful I think.