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Saturday, October 26, 2013

A mix from the notorious gay n.y.c. club The Anvil

The notorious club The Anvil opened in 1974 at 500 West 14th street in the currently oh so trendy meatpacking district.  Back then it was truly the definition of seedy.  There was a real free-for-all attitude in the club.  Gay men danced in their jock-straps and the smell of poppers and ethyl nitrate were in the air.  Felipe Rose of the Village People was discovered dancing here in a full American Indian garb with headdress.  Bobby "DJ" Guttardo was one of the d.j.'s that went on to have the most success.  His name seems to be on hundreds of my disco 12 inch releases as the remixer.
DUSEBERG ON AIDS the poppers story

On the bottom floor ground level of a landmark hotel called The Strand, I remember standing outside one morning with my friend George.  We were too intimidated to go in.  It seemed real hardcore to us and our suburban mindset.  Freddie Mercury was a regular, guess he had no problems with the atmosphere.

Declaration of Robert J. Cipriani includes passages about The Anvil

This mix is from 1983 by a DJ called David Antony at a party called So Many Men.  It's a great piece of history.  A mix that features all sorts of dance sounds from right after the term "disco" had fallen out of favor.  Some seem to forget that clubs like The Anvil were also a serious dance party and not only a sleazy dive.

The downstairs part of the club was like a huge back-room with dark passageways.  The club closed it's doors in 1986 just as New York was at the peak of the A.I.D.S. outbreak and many of the most popular establishments like the St. Marks Baths had to close their doors.  They became too synonymous with the outbreak.  Even some activists pointed their fingers at clubs like The Anvil and The Mineshaft.  And so a real after hours institution went by the wayside and remains only a memory for it's many punters.  Men who also frequented The Saint and Fire Island and the whole N.Y.C. gay leather scene of the time.  A N.Y. Times article from 1985 about the new climate of caution

It's now the 28 room hotel The Liberty Inn.  The Liberty Inn Sex Hotel A hotel with hourly rates.

The second album by U.K. new wave legends Visage was named after the club.  The Anvil was the last Visage project that featured Midge Ure.


Christiopher Duquette said...

I was a dancer at the Gaiety Male Burlesque 1976 - 1980. I hoofed in underground clubs in NYC: the Anvil, where Candy Stevens performed drag with silicon hips, tips, lips and cheekbones as well as spun music while I danced on ANY day of the week when I no place to sleep. I tell more lurid details about the Anvil as well as other clubs: 12 West, the Gallery, Crisco Disco, Flamingo, Paradise Garage, Studio 54, the World, Sound Factory, the World,....
in my book, Homo GoGo Man
by Christopher Duquette
now available on DonnaInk
& Amazon

ExpatMichael said...

Christopher thanks so much for writing. I will definitely read your book!