Here’s a little New York club history, kids.
The first Danceteria opened on West 37th Street by Rudolf Piper and talent booker Jim Fouratt as an after-hours club. I first met Keith Haring there where he was working as a bus boy and everyone from Devo to the B-52s played there late. It was closed by the NYPD & NYFD in 1980 as it was an illegal, unlicensed facility.
In 1982, John Argento hired Fouratt and Piper to promote and book the talent at a new six-floor facility, which became the 21st Street Danceteria. It opened to massive crowds and critical acclaim. The regular DJs on the main floor were Jody Kurilla and the late Mark Kamins (who first played Madonna‘s single there and where Desperately Seeking Susanwas shot too) Former Mudd Club DJ Anita Sarko spun on the first floor, where the bands performed, as well Congo Bill. I hosted a monthly party up there called Bad Boy and World of Wonder head-honchos, Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato DJ’d for it. Argento posted this video on Facebook recently. He said;
“What can I say? Low budget, public access TV… Rudolf does the voice over, reiterating long standing door policies such as
‘Latin American Dictators get in for free’…’Walloons only if they’re dressed fabulously.’
I remember him doing the voice over in the fourth floor DJ booth… I believe the soundtrack was from the movie La Dolce Vita. A difference of opinion then, the choice of music looks like the right thing to have done now.”
Over 30 years later it’s still weird. Watch.
(Video edited by Danny Cornyetz (Dee Cortex); hand-coloring by Jessica Jason)