Tuesday, March 3, 2009


What Desperately Seeking Susan Shrine would be complete without an ode to the FANTASTIC club,Danceteria. In the club scene we get to see Madonna's old stomping ground where, just a couple of years before, Madonna performed! Danceteria was the perfect setting for Susan to first meet Gary and it also served as a send off for Madonna's greatest song, Into The Groove!

Danceteria was a well-known four-floor nightclub located in New York City which operated from 1980 until 1986. Throughout its history, the club had three different locations, most famously at 30 West 21st Street, Manhattan, which served as the location for the disco scene in the film Desperately Seeking Susan. The first Danceteria was located on 38th Street and according to DJ Mark Kamins was located on 38th Street "and it was an illegal Mafia club with no liquor license, but we sold drink tickets". Kamins credits the first Danceteria with being the first club to play videos and have two separate DJ's play 12 straight hours. It was reputed to be one of the centers of new wave music in New York and was frequented by musicians and other artists who later became famous, such as Madonna, Sade, Keith Haring, the Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J. DJs such as Mark Kamins—who gave Madonna some of her music's first public exposure there—performed there. For a time, there was also a satellite version of the club operated in the Hamptons on Long Island, NY. The 21st Street location was sold to be converted to luxury condominiums, slated to open in 2009.

From an interview with Mark Kamins... "Madonna was a regular at Danceteria. She had great style and had to be the center of attraction. She always hung out in the booth, one day she gave me a demo to play {I'll play anything} it worked. At that time I was working with the Talking Heads so I knew the people at Sire Records. I played them the demo and they gave me a single deal. I produced "Everybody" and it went to #1 in the dance charts. The rest is history."

"New York was so musically creative then," Kamins says. "The late 1970s was a very bad time. The Bronx was burning. There was no work. We were political, but there was nothing to motivate us other than music. There were no rules. Musically everybody experimented and wanted to try something new. The Danceteria was a very special place, like Warhol's Factory." Sade worked behind the bar, Keith Haring and the Beastie Boys were bus-boys, LL Cool J was the lift operator.-Mark Kamins

"First of all, I think Danceteria was a magical space like Andy Warhol’s Factory or Max’s Kansas City or CBGBs. Jim Fouratt and Rudolph had this amazing finesse to hire people that they believed in. Why were the Beastie Boys the sweepers at Danceteria? Why was Madonna one of the dancers? Why Sade was the bartender at Danceteria? That’s crazy shit man. So you’re talking about a magical moment, a magical space, and a magical time where it was the beginning of something. Even Karen Finley was the bartender, and LL Cool J was a busboy. Rick Rubin, who is now one of the greatest producers in the music business, his first gig was playing with the Beastie Boys on the second floor of Danceteria because I had to go to a gig in Europe. I have a Polaroid picture of that night." -Mark Kamins

"It was one of those places where we lived. When the club closed, Keith went to the subway and painted his little figures until we opened the club at noon and started cleaning. He lived at the Danceteria, we all lived there. It was more than a club. Everybody there was doin' something."-Mark Kamins

Madonna used to sit on the steps of the new-wave dreamland Danceteria—where she was a hat-check girl, Keith Haring was a busboy and the Cramps played next to the Buzzcocks or Birthday Party—and tell nightlife kings like Steve Rubell she was going to be a very big star. In 1982, when the club reopened at 30 West 21st Street, she got a DJ to play her demo there.-New York Observer

"She seemed like this girl from out-of-state who wasn't totally in the know yet," said artist Futura 500, while another Danceteria regular claimed: " She'd do outrageously stupid things. Like there was a girl who worked at the Danceteria who had a really striking style and wore her hair a certain way. One day Madonna came in with her hair cut and dyed the exact same way. We'd say, 'Is she nuts?'


  1. so fucking cool, scrap. did you notice behind her before she hits up gary glass at the bar it says club sandwich? i NEVER noticed that before. great flyers and shyt. love hte mailing list card!!! its all just fantastic. NBS shyt. :up:

  2. Thanks Babe! That means alot to me that you are enjoying it! I never noticed the Club Sammy sign. Very interesting. They sold food there so maybe thats the name of the eatery inside. In any case it's been loads of fun looking for and reading about Danceteria.If only I had been a few years older in 1982! Oh well!!!