Get Lost on the Bowery, 1969-1989

I realize that this is the second day in a row I’ve pilfered a post from the prolific EV Grieve — and I hope that anyone who reads AHNY regularly is already a regular reader of his site anyway — but just in case you’re not, I can’t let you overlook a link and interview he has up today.

The link leads you to 98 Bowery, 1969-1989: View from the Top Floor, a website by Marc H. Miller that chronicles, mostly through photographs, his twenty years living on the Bowery between Hester and Grand (think Congee). Organized and in most cases originating as conceptual art projects (paparazzi self-portraits, for instance), the photos offer an intimate account of art and music scenes downtown, with a heavy emphasis on the dizzying decade of the 1970s. My favorite set is a series of photos Miller took of his partner, Bettie, with the stars of the fledgling NYC punk scene: “Bettie Visits CBGB.” As a documentary tribute to the club and its cast of regulars, it’s fantastic, but what really pushes it over the edge is Bettie’s presence in each photo.

Here she is (in the dark blue) with Talking Heads:

cbgbtalkingheads.jpg 

I would have been profoundly grateful to Grieve simply for pointing me in the direction of this fantastic archive, but he went the extra mile and interviewed Miller. A highlight:

What do you want people who visit 98Bowery.com to take away from the site?

The
site is my story and the story of people I knew and worked with. It’s
also unavoidably a small lens on the bigger downtown art and music
scene in the 1970s and 1980s. During those years, I had no doubt that I was at the heart of the action, and I want people to see things as I experienced them.
History can be very selective but it can also be nudged along by good
story telling. That’s what I try to do with the site. Some of the
events and some of the people are fairly well-known. Others are less
so. Hopefully the site will give people a bigger picture of those
years.

The rest here.

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