The Mudd Club Rummage Sale is the only Mudd Club event Steve Mass has hosted in New York City since the club closed in 1981. Co-founder Mass has rallied his old pals for the first-ever official Mudd Club celebration — a charity rummage sale later this Thursday night benefiting the Bowery Mission Women’s Project.
The famed Mudd Club opened its doors at 77 White Street in October of 1978, just steps away from the new Roxy Hotel, where the event is being held. For five years Mudd Club supported New York City’s downtown music, fashion, and art scene giving exposure to artists and performers like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Lou Reed and many more. Mass says;
“It’s not going to be a Sotheby’s-type deal but more like a church basement sale.”
A Cindy Sherman photograph might be next to a T-shirt from Sting or a painting by Walter Robinson. Many club regulars either worked in fashion or went on to make a name in it: Anna Sui and Betsey Johnson are donating dresses; Maripol, Madonna‘s look-maker, is donating some of her iconic rubber jewelry as well as vintage Fiorucci t-shirts. Mannequin king Ralph Pucci contributed a mannequin/sculpture by Kenny Scharf.
To create buzz in the early days, Mass would go to the Parsons School of Design and invite students to the new multi-level emporium.
“They would tell all their friends because where else could they get in free and be treated like celebrities? I didn’t know it happened to be Anna Sui.”
My old pal Robert Molnar was the Mudd Club’s doorman while working on his own clothing line. After he turned away some Hell’s Angels, their leader, who went by “John the Baptist,” beat him up.
“I was begging for my life. It was ridiculous.”
The B-52s were regulars both on stage and off — Kate Pierson is donating a wig and a dress, while Fred Schneider is giving up items like the cowbell he used on the ’89 Love Shack tour. Fred worked the coat check when the club opened in 1978.
“People felt so bad for me that they kept bringing me drinks. I got really tipsy and Robert [Molnar] had to take over. I lasted one night.”
When it came to booking music, the club welcomed everybody from the Cramps to early hip-hop acts like Fab 5 Freddy who just met with Mass for lunch yesterday, donating the items below.
Debbie Harry donated a metallic blue Vivienne Westwood trench dress, Kim Gordon a painting. Items range in price from $10 to $1,100. With an open bar and live performances by Kate Pierson and the Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, the evening promises fun beyond shopping.
The Mudd Club Rummage Sale benefiting the Bowery Mission is at the Django at the Roxy Hotel on Nov. 19. you can still get tickets here.