Once upon a time on the Bowery
Talking Heads, 1977
This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”
They say time heals all wounds, but Virginia Thomas did not get the memo. Earlier this month, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas displayed a level of kicked-up resentment most of us usually reserve for when our old school bullies and ex-boyfriends try to friend us on Facebook. Deciding that 19 years was exactly long enough to stew in one’s juices, she called Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, whose allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas turned his Supreme Court confirmation hearings into a public drama and polarized a nation – and asked for an apology. Hill promptly alerted campus security, but not, we hope, before laughing long and hard at the cheek, the unmitigated gall of what Mrs. Thomas later referred to as “an olive branch.” Hill has said “I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony.”
But perhaps as we settle comfortably into the second decade of the 2000s, other survivors of a generation or so past are gearing up for a reconsideration of how it really went down. Surely if Virginia Thomas can request reparations from Hill for having the temerity to come forward with her accusations all those years ago, it’s only a matter of time before others similarly wronged will have the courage to come forward and say, as Virginia Thomas has, “I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation.” Herewith our top nominees. And if anybody screwed you over in the grunge era and your phone rings early on some weekend morning, consider letting it go straight to voicemail.
No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.
Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.
Dictators, Bowery 1976
Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.
Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.
Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”