‘The club was a place to be optimistic, to be goofy’: New York’s Club 57

By Interview: Matt Barker

Ann Magnuson and other Club 57 regulars in the early 80s

I moved to New York from West Virginia in 1978 to be an intern at an off-off-Broadway theatre. I was 22, with ambitions of becoming a theatre director.

The city of New York was bankrupt; it was a dangerous environment. I still had memories of having a switchblade held to my throat within an hour of setting foot in Manhattan, when I first visited in 1975. But I was out every night downtown: there were lots of modern dance and theatre events happening in abandoned spaces, behind shabby storefronts.

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Source: ‘The club was a place to be optimistic, to be goofy’: New York’s Club 57