Monday, August 25, 2008

Arthur Weinstein

Glamourbrain alerted me to the death last month of New York club face Arthur Weinstein.

Weinstein opened HURRAH, a club at Broadway and 62nd Street, in 1976. When it closed down he ran a number of ‘illegal after-hours clubs downtown that mixed the fashionable and the young and artistic. The kids had radically odd colors of hair, and the coat-checker was a transvestite’ (New York Times). The clubs included the Jefferson in his apartment on East 14th Street (1980) and the Continental on West 25th (1981-83). His partner 'Colleen gave the Continental a characteristic look, at once kitschy-retro and futuristic. She put up several dividers, creating little rooms, and pasted them with wallpaper from the Fifties and Sixties. She had Futura 2000, the graffiti star, cover a wall in the former loading dock and put a giant aquarium tank in the main space' (Observer 2004).

As recalled in the Observer interview, running these clubs involved dealings with corrupt cops, mobsters and the FBI- one night at the Jefferson 'the Public Morals Squad raided us. With axes. That was some night. A guy who was part of the sanitation police was there and he started fighting with them. And they beat him up. He went to jail. He had a gun on him.'

Later Weinstein ran a legal Lower East Side club called the World and in the 1990s designed lighting for clubs including The Tunnel (1990-1998), The Limelight (1990-98) and Club USA (1993-1996).

Brooklyn Vegan has a nice appreciation of his life, with lots of interesting comments from people remembering seeing bands at his clubs (including Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pixies) and Fred Giannelli from Psychic TV recalling a 1988 PTV Halloween gig at Weinstein’s The World.

Weinstein was also an artist, photographer and sometime resident of the famous Chelsea Hotel – there is an interview with him at the Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea blog. The Hotel Chelsea blog is fascinating by the way – everybody knows about William Burroughs and Leonard Cohen staying in the Chelsea, but did you know about Elizabeth Gurley Flynn?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm commenting just to say how happy I am that there still arepeople who know who Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was.