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.

FRANKIE KNUCKLES RIP

Without Frankie Knuckles, there would be no house music. As the DJ at the Warehouse Club in Chicago back in the disco era, fans of his spinning shortened the club’s name…and there you go.

Frankie made it cool to dance to disco, especially if you were young, black, and gay—a mix not often welcomed in inner-city Chicago in the 1970s  and early 1980s (and still now, thanks to the homophobes in this country). He also made it cool to remix and replay, even disco tunes at a time when it was slagged off in the media. I mean, how could you not love someone who called house music “disco’s revenge”?

Or who told the Chicago Tribune: “God has a place on the dance floor.  We wouldn’t have all the things we have if it wasn’t for God. We wouldn’t have the one thing that keeps us sane – music. It’s the one thing that calms people down.

“Even when they’re hopping up and down in a frenzy on the dance floor, it still has their spirits calm because they’re concentrating on having a good time, loving the music, as opposed to thinking about something negative. I think dancing is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. And it doesn’t cost anything.”

Frankie died unexpectedly the other day. He was only 59.

There’s a lovely, un-snarky tribute here: http://gawker.com/frankie-knuckles-discos-revenge-and-gay-black-music-1556413442.

And another by my pal, the incomparable Hal Rubenstein: http://observer.com/2014/04/the-man-who-danced-next-to-me-a-remembrance-of-frankie-knuckles-1955-2014/#.UzxAD4D4tTs.facebook

Now go crank it up. And then salute the Godfather of House.