ANITA SARKO RIP

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Like many who knew and loved Anita, I was shocked by her death, which was announced last night. My Facebook feed blew up as so many people of our NYC era felt compelled, as I did, to say something about this remarkable woman.

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I met Anita when she was the DJ at the Mudd Club, my home away from home on weekends. My pal, the brilliant designer Robert Molnar, worked the door and very kindly let me in for free as I usually didn’t have the cash to pay the paltry entrance fee. Anita and I got to talking every time I was there and I was always in awe not just of her glamazon style but the depth of her musical knowledge. Everyone knew her. Everyone wanted to be her.

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We stayed in touch sporadically over the years and I recently saw her at Marcus Leatherdale’s photo show in April. She looked amazing and was full of energy and her usual wit and we made plans to make plans, and then I got super-busy…as we do. And now she’s gone.

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My friend Vivien Goldman made an especially brutal and honest observation that women of a certain age, once lauded for their skills and their savvy and their perennial grooviness, now have no value in our society. The writer Michael Musto made the same comment – that Anita felt marginalized and despaired of her professional future. I totally understand the feeling. The NYC world we came of age in doesn’t exist any more. I am very lucky to have a niche as a ghostwriter now because there is no way I could have survived as a journalist – which Anita evidently struggled with as she tried to reinvent herself. (It must have been especially disheartening when 22-year-old idiots are paid six figures to DJ a party and she couldn’t get work.)

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That she succumbed to the depression lurking in all of us is heartbreaking.

MARK KAMINS RIP

Back when I’d just moved to NYC, my hangouts were the Mudd Club down in the deserted darkness of Tribeca before it was chic, and Danceteria on W. 37th St., on a nondescript commercial block. I still have my Danceteria membership card.

One of the other regulars in Danceteria was, of course, the very young and very ambitious Italian girl name Madonna. My friends and I paid her no mind. But the DJ did. He was a brilliant mixologist, rivaled only by the divine Anita Sarko, who did the spinning at Mudd and who is still as gorgeous as ever. The DJ’s name was Mark Kamins, and he not only went out with Madonna (let’s just say he was not alone), but he introduced her to Seymour Stein, who signed her to Sire Records in 1982 (when he was in the hospital and she nagged him so much he caved), and produced her first single “Everybody.” I still have a copy of that LP too.

So I was totally bummed to see that Mark just died, apparently from a massive heart attack. He was only 57. He was my generation.

Madonna gave a gracious statement to the Hollywood Reporter: “I’m very sorry to hear about Mark’s death. I haven’t seen him for years but if it weren’t for him, I might not have had a singing career. He was the first DJ to play my demos before I had a record deal. He believed in me before anyone else did. I owe him a lot. May he Rest in Peace.”

You can see more comments and photos on Mark’s Facebook page, which is public.

He knew how to make people get up on the dance floor. He knew how to make people happy. So that is a life well-lived.