Hurrah’s

by

02/04/2002

36 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Hurrah’s began as a nexus for disco (in the early days it was a rival of Studio 54 and Xenon), then moved over into what was still called “new wave.” It was booked by Jim Fouratt, famous for coining the slogan “The Man Can’t Bust Our Music” at Columbia Records in ’68 and for being one of the leaders of the Stonewall uprising the following year. The one evening I was there, the Voice and Soho News ads said the Teardrop Explodes and Echo & the Bunnymen were to play. This would have been their American debut; at the time each act only had a single out, readily available at 99 Records and not-so-readily available at Bleecker Bob’s. But when I arrived at Mark Abbott, Jose Abete and Donald Miller’s apartment at W. 101st on Friday from Bard College, I was told by Donald (who had just started his ensemble Borbetomagus) that the English bands weren’t playing; I can’t remember if he knew the reason but it perhaps had to do with the American Federation of Musicians regulations on performers from overseas, or perhaps a problem with airfare. Instead, the Comateens and the Individuals were on the bill; this would have been the third or fourth gig ever for the latter band. So Donald, his girlfriend Sharrie Sanders (to whom I’d introduced him some weeks before) and I went to the club.

I don’t remember much about the bands except that the Individuals were already doing the kind of “Hoboken sound” that became so familiar to college students four or five years later. What I remember about Hurrah’s was that it still had a lot of disco-style mirrors and lights. And also this: sometime before the Comateens went on Donald grabbed me by the shoulder, spun me in the direction of the bar, and shouted in my ear: “Look!”

I beheld two men standing at the bar, facing each other, very deep in conversation, their profiles silhouetted against a light source either behind the bar or adjoining it. One was a shorter, white-haired man; the taller man had dark hair. The shadowed profile of the shorter man was not familiar, but the equally shadowed profile of the other could never be mistaken by anyone who’d watched TV in 1968.

“It’s Tiny Tim!” I gasped. “But who’s that with him?”

“Charles-Henri Ford,” Donald replied.

What could those two have been talking about? The erstwhile Herbert Khaury can no longer tell us, but perhaps one of you websurfers may want to ask Mr. Ford about it over tea at the Dakota one of these days.

1979

Comments
Rate Story
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

§ 4 Responses to “Hurrah’s”

  • Fin Hunt says:

    This brought back memories. a group I played in, the Invaders, played there. Our group was actually responsible for Jim Fourrat becoming the booking manager there. another guy was booking it, the club had just started booking “downtown” bans, and he was stealing money from the bands & the club. We complained to the owners of the club after we opened for the Dead Boys and didn’t get paid the percentage that we were supposed to.A week later he was gone & Fourratt had his job. We wound up getting another gig with the Only Ones & we got half the door, about five grand, pretty nice money in those days. Fourratt booked some great shows there.

  • Christopher Duquetet says:

    I was fortunate to have been taken to a party at Hurrah when I was 18 yrs.old, a dancer at the Gaiety Burlesk who had learned how to REALLY dance at the Gallery downtown and underground. Hurrah was uptown and aboveground: it was all white, I remember amyl nitrate (poppers) were emitted onto the dancefloor. Barry Manilow and his all-male entourage followed Mick Jagger and his all-male entourage around the club, in and out of the VIP room. It was kind of fun to watch while my escort, Christopher Estridge, artist and club presence and my mentor, passed me joints. It was kind of the predecessor of Studio 54. I felt like a hustler in Times Square, a drug user downtown, and an extra in the stage of celebrities uptown. I wrote about all my nocturnal exploits dancing in clubs from 1976 – 1980 in my book: Homo GoGo Man, a fairytale about a boy who grew up in discoland. The title is a play on words of the species ‘homo sapien’; the tale is about a gay man who avoided extinction.

  • Christopher Duquette says:

    While Studio 54 and Xenon were all the rage to the celebrity set in the late 70’s, I had yet to go to any disco that was north of 23rd Street. My mentor, Christopher Estridge, took me to one of the most underground and private of all the uptown clubs called Hurrah, which was discreetly hidden on the third floor of an unmarked building in the Lincoln Center part of town. I wore a white La Coste polo shirt, chic for anyone from any walk of life to look preppy by simply wearing it with the collar turned up. I didn’t turn up my collar, but I did sew an extra alligator logo from another old La Coste shirt no longer wore. I would never wear the LaCoste shirt I removed the defining detail of, the allligator, as it didn’t have the ribbed edge treatment on the short sleeves that I required to accentuate my biceps. I sewed the second alligator perpendicular to the original horizontal one, as if one was fucking the other. I was still a subversive rebellious adolescent afraid to conform and afraid of rejection, going to an uppity club that Christopher had been personally invited me to attend that special night. It was a private birthday party for Mick Jagger, who was trolling in and out of the VIP rooms with an entourage of other men, no women. Barry Manilow was also present, and was carrying out the same insecure suspicious routine of appearing and disappearing into the VIP lounge with his own gaggle of men following his every move. The club was tastefully white, from the carpeted seating platforms to the walls and the tents of material hanging from the ceiling. The dance floor contained an amyl nitrate machine in its ceiling that pumped the heart-pounding gas into an inescapable cloud that would ignite any dancer’s heart and flush their face so they could lose themselves in even a bad song. As a gesture to the guest of honor, the Hurrah DJ played the Rolling Stones’ foray into the dance music genre with their offering “Missing You”.

    I’ve been haunted in my sleep
    You’ve been starring in my dreams
    Lord I miss you
    I’ve been waiting in the hall
    Been waiting on your call
    When the phone rings
    It’s just some friends of mine that say,
    Hey, what’s the matter man?
    We’re gonna come around at twelve
    With some Puerto Rican girls that are just dying to meet you.
    We’re gonna bring a case of wine
    Hey, let’s go mess and fool around
    You know, like we used to.
    Missing you.

    Christopher and I sat on the carpeted platforms watching Mick and Barry with their respective entourages ignoring each other’s obvious presence. We smoked a few joints, finding the entire charade amusing until the two celebrities encountered each other head on and seemed to exchange a few pleasantries, their subordinates keeping a safe distance behind their respective superstar, until they were once again a train of insecure men (all gay I’m sure, like the commanders they followed) through yet another private door. Christopher and I left the club shortly, not digging the music or the atmosphere, but laughed for years later about witnessing Barry Manilow cruising Mick Jagger at Club Hurrah. Celebrities behaved as awkwardly and badly in dens of iniquity as anyone high on drugs. If there were security cameras capturing the celebrations in Studio 54 that were made available for public consumption, many reputations would have been ruined.
    I wrote about my overextended NYC disco experiences, dancing professionally and recreationally from 1976 – 2004, until I crashed and burned from the excesses of the lifestyle in my book Homo Go Man: a fairytale about a boy who grew up in discoland, which I read selected chapters in bookstores and social groups of all ages, accompanied by a DJ playing snippets of songs relevant to text, threaded throughout the book. I am available for consultation on any project celebrating the hedonistic disco era. Review video clips on YouTube under ‘Homo GoGo Man’.
    Christopher Duquette
    xristo_pherre@hotmail.com
    845 337 7048

  • John Phillips says:

    Manhattan Project, the music band featured in the Hurrah ad on your site, wrote & performed ” watch those steep steps”, a warning I gave from working the red Hurrah door as guests exited the door, to the worn edges of the steep marble steps. I am featured standing at that door, in the Bill Bernstein Photographs coffee table book, the end of Disco photographs. Howl! Happening: an Artura Vega Project, LES gallery, is planning a Hurrah event, following the “VJ Dairies”, screening of November 14, 2017, TBA.

§ Leave a Reply

Other Stories You May Like

Nearby Upper West Side Stories

Down The Hall And On Your Left

by

In the spring of 1989 I rented an apartment on 75th St., between Columbus and Amsterdam. The apartment, if you [...]

Too Close, No Comfort

by

Living in New York means living close to other people and sharing too many aspects of your own life with them.

We Had Never Heard of Pearl Harbor

by

I hated Saturdays. We had been moderately observant Jews in the small German town where we had lived before we [...]

Home Is Wherever You Are Until They Tear It Down

by

For three years my girlfriend, Erin, lived in Dakar, Senegal, and though I never even made the trip there, I developed an attach

Doin’ the Pigeon

by

Next time you’re in Theodore Roosevelt Park, be sure to look out for Perihelios.