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