“The Fun: The Social Practice of Nightlife in NYC” by Jake Yuzna— Nighttime in New York City

the fun

Yuzna, Jake. “The Fun: The Social Practice of Nightlife in NYC”, Powerhouse Books, 2013.

Nighttime in New York City

Amos Lassen

Like many other cities, New York comes alive after dark but New York City does so in her own special way. The city’s nightlife has always been a major tourist draw while at the same time provides a great many options for New Yorkers. New York has always been the cultural capitol of this country and a place where creative expression has always not just been accepted but encouraged.

“The Fun” looks at the city’s nightlife and tells us all about it as well as documents the new forms of those responsible for it since 2000.  We see this in profiles of some 30 people which includes who are considered to be the movers and shakers—Susanne Bartshce and Ladyfag; hybrid forms like Xtapussy and FCKNLZ; the continuation of minimal wave and goth communities through Pendu Disco; and the vibrant queer scenes of JUDY, Frankie Sharp, and My Chiffon is Wet.

New York is both weird and innovative and we certainly see that here but what we really see are those who are the voices of the scene—Rob Roth, Genesis P-Orridge, and Michael Alig, curators and critics Claire Bishop, and Jake Yuzna, as well as journalist Michael Musto who gives “both historical context and contemporary understanding of nightlife as a vital artistic practice that has been marginalized by the arts sector for hundreds of years”.

Overall the book covers the history of New York’s nighlife as it has changed from the discos of the 1970s to the megaclubs of the 80s to the rise of the club kids, drag and performance art to the music in the downtown clubs such as Pyramid and Mother and the rise of Brooklyn as a new hotspot in the 2000s and the rise of places such as
“Luxx, Secret Project Robot, Silent Barn and other hybrid arts/music/nightlife venues; and on into the many vibrant and emergent forms found today”.

The book is a celebration of New York and its originality and unique artistry—a city that real creates when the sun goes down.

Those responsible for this exciting publication are:

“Jake Yuzna, a NYC-based cultural producer focusing on nightlife, cinema, performance, design, and institutional apparatus. In 2011, as head of programming at the Museum of Arts and Design, Yuzna conceived and founded THE FUN fellowship in the social practice of nightlife, the first, and to date only, fellowship to support nightlife practitioners. Yuzna has curated projects for MoMA PS1, the 4th Moscow Biennial, and Intermedia Arts. Also know for his film directing, Yuzna was the youngest recipient of a fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in filmmaking. He has also received fellowships from Creative Capital Foundation, Creative Time, Jerome Hill Foundation, Frameline Foundation, and others. His debut feature film Open, was the first American film to receive the Teddy Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010”.  

“Claire Bishop, an art historian and critic based in the History of Art department at CUNY Graduate Center, New York since September 2008. Previously Bishop was an associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Visiting Professor in the Curating Contemporary Art Department at the Royal College of Art, London. Bishop edited Participation (MIT Press, 2006) and Installation Art: A Critical History (Routledge, 2005) and has contributed to Artforum, Flash Art, and October”.

“Michael Musto, an American columnist, author, and journalist. For over 26 years, Musto has written the “La Dolce Musto” column in the Village Voice, covering gossip, nightlife, politics, and personal issues. His books include Downtown (Vintage, 1986), Manhattan on the Rocks (Henry Holt & Co., 1989), and most recently, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back (Vantage Point, 2011)”.
“Maria Lind”, a writer and curator, as well as the director of the Center for Curatorial Studies Graduate Program at Bard College. She has curated internationally at a multitude of institutions and festivals, including Kunstverein München where she served as director from 2002 to 2004. In 2009, Lind received the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.

““Genesis Breyer P-Orridge”, an English-born singer-songwriter, writer, artist, and cultural engineer. P-Orridge’s early confrontational performance work in COUM Transmissions in the late 1960s and early 1970s along with the industrial band Throbbing Gristle, which dealt with subjects such as prostitution, pornography, serial killers, occultism, and P-Orridge’s own exploration of gender issues, generated controversy. Later musical work with Psychic TV received wider exposure, including some chart-topping singles. In the 1980s, Genesis and performance artist Lady Jaye Breyer began their androgynous life project BREYER P-ORRIDGE wherein there merged their identities through plastic surgery, hormone therapy and behavioral modification”.

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