Showing posts with label Pyramid Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pyramid Club. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2019

A visit to the Pyramid Club on Avenue A

[Angel working the front door]

Interview and photos by Stacie Joy

Setting up for an evening event at the Pyramid Club, 101 Avenue A between Sixth Street and Seventh Street, is serious business.

The iconic space has two floors, although only the top floor is open at the time I drop by to chat with Maria Narciso, club manager. She’s getting the DJ, sound and lighting techs squared away while providing the door person tickets, and briefing security on the night’s plans.

I ask about her history with the nearly 40-year-old Pyramid, the current state of affairs in nightlife and what she sees for the future of the space, which served as a defining club of the East Village scene in the 1980s. (Find more comprehensive history here and here. As Tricia Romano wrote in 2014: "[The Pyramid] served as a safe haven for freaks, geeks, weirdos, queers, and dreamers to come together and create. Sometimes it was bad; sometimes it was beautiful. But it was never boring.")

[Maria Narciso]

Were you a Pyramid regular before working here? What drew you to the Pyramid Club?

I wish I could say I was a Pyramid regular before working there. Actually, I was born in Manhattan but raised in Texas, and always dreamed of one day returning. I kept up with NYC and, because of my love of 1980s music, I kept in touch with happenings at the club.

Once I returned, I found the Pyramid Club Facebook page and started following it. My connection with the Pyramid is actually a love connection. I met the general manager Quirino Perez (resident DJ TM.8), we went on a date, and then I went to the club. I fell in love! I started to hang out there, as his girlfriend, then I saw a need for a hands-on person to assist him, and I was hired. [Congratulations to Maria and Quirino are in order — they are now engaged and hope to be married at the club.]

[Quirino Perez with Narciso]

You’ve described working here as a labor of love. Why is it important to you to keep the spirit of the Pyramid alive?

I’ve enjoyed many clubs in many cities and countries, but I never encountered something magical like the Pyramid: The foundation set by the original promoters, the community the drag queens and punk rockers created, the values, the inclusiveness — I found it all so intriguing.

I think it’s amazing that our community consists of young, old, gay, straight, rich, goths, and everything in between, yet everyone respects themselves and those around them. We are a community, a family, and that is priceless. When we say, “Come as You Are” we really mean it.

There are many regular evenings here throughout the month, including No Return Post Punk Society, Defcon NYC Industrial and the Rapture Dark Thursday 80s Dance Party. What is consistently the biggest draw for the Pyramid?

In a city with many options, we are blessed to have a regular following who come every weekend, regardless of the event. Each event/promoter has their own following and everyone is able to blend in and enjoy both levels, even when the music genres are different. It's not surprising to see goths dancing at one of our Madonnathons or our Class of 1986 “Pretty in Pink” Prom, and see neon-covered young people dancing to post-punk or industrial music.

It’s an amazing environment where everyone can actually dance like no one is looking/judging, and I believe it’s what has kept us successful. Besides the community factor, consistency is what works for us. Our patrons know what to expect, cover is always the same, drink prices are low compared to other venues in the area, music is always 1980s with a little 1970s and 1990s, everyone is treated equally, and our staff is very friendly.

[Nette Moreno, coat check and bartender]

[Vicky and Russell]

[DJ Mike Stalagmike]

While the Pyramid is well-known name to longtime residents, do you see it resonating with a newer generation?

Believe it or not, there are many longtime residents, some living just blocks away, who are surprised to find out we’re still open! Many find us online, or walking down Avenue A, and share stories of their experiences back in the 1980s. A lot of the newer generation express interest in the nostalgia of the 80s.

The music reminds them of growing up listening to what mom and dad played on the car radio. It’s amazing to see groups of 20-somethings, dancing along with patrons that have been coming over for two or three decades, or entire families coming over to dance! Sometimes we find ourselves educating them on particular artists, songs or genres. For example, someone asked about a picture of a lady on our walls, and it was Boy George.

What’s next for the Pyramid Club? Are you hopeful for a 50th anniversary?

If the owners don’t decide to sell, and we are blessed with good health, then we’ll do this until we can’t anymore. It saddens me to see news about businesses shutting down, and their patrons reminiscing. We’re living in very uncertain times; the neighborhood is in constant change. A 50th anniversary would be EPIC!


The Pyramid Club is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. and is available for private events at other times.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Pyramid Club reopens tonight

The club at 101 Avenue A between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street closed early last month... a sign on the door pointed to a vacation, the Pyramid website said there were renovating.

Either way, Pyramid's Facebook announced that the bar-club will reopen tonight. ... with a Back to the '80s (19) dance party tomorrow night.

The Pyramid held its 35th anniversary last fall.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Pyramid Club is closed for vacation (or renovations) until next month

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Pyramid Club is closed for vacation (or renovations) until next month

The Pyramid Club is now temporarily closed … there are "closed for vacation" signs up … pointing to a March 3 return…

However, the Pyramid's website points to a closure for a renovation…

A reader told us that the Pyramid didn't close until after this last Saturday; that the renovations would be contained to the downstairs.

Meanwhile, events such as the End of the Weak party Sunday nights will be at Lit Lounge for the rest of the month…

The club at 101 Avenue A between East Sixth Street and East Seventh Street held its 35th anniversary last fall.

And we've heard the Pyramid-is-closing rumors for as long as we've done this site (start of the eighth year).

Friday, October 31, 2014

At the 35th anniversary of the Pyramid Club

Photos and text by EVG contributor Stacie Joy

The 35th anniversary party Tuesday night for the Pyramid Club was filled with more media and PR people than guests.

Sponsored by Stoli vodka (whose new marketing campaign is targeting East Village mainstays), there were Stoli drink specials as far as the eye could see and several famous people to gawk at, like Taye Diggs (he played Benny the landlord in the first Broadway production of "Rent," in case you wondered about the connection), Andrew W.K. (the Stoli “Professor of the Party”), and Andy Rourke from The Smiths (DJ’ing ’80s hits when I left).

Truthfully, though, I was there for Lady Bunny. She was the life of the party — singing and dancing and then secreting me away downstairs for some one-on-one time.

Lady Bunny told me that she started go-go-ing at Pyramid in 1983 by undercutting the other drag queens by $10 (they normally made $50 and she only charged $40), and quickly became a resident go-go dancer at the club at 101 Avenue A for the next 15 years.

She said the manager was a junkie and she felt he’d be happy with the extra money to put toward drugs. Of course this was before the Giuliani years when cabaret licenses were impossible to score. The East Village’s underground scene was exploding, and bringing its music, drag queens, drugs and culture to the masses.

A low-rent Studio 54, with poor but always-fabulous people is how Lady Bunny described the Pyramid Club. She informed me that we couldn’t sit around crying and bitching for what has changed, what we’ve lost; that we should acknowledge it, celebrate it, and create policies that will create change for the future.

Social media got a chunk of her blame: so many people out there documenting everything with their phones instead of being in the moment and enjoying what’s occurring in real time. We talked about how depressing the news can be and how she recommends that we log off, go out and enjoy what’s happening now in the city.

Friday, May 31, 2013

At 'Don't Hide the Madness'

At the Pyramid on Avenue A last night, Lydia Lunch hosted "an evening of spoken word in the raw" titled Don't Hide the Madness. It was a benefit for Howl! Emergency Life Project.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there and shared a few photos from the evening...

Among the many performers...

Bibbe Hansen...


Tony O'Neill...


Nicole Blackman...


Our Q-and-A with Lydia is here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reverend Jen's Anti-Slam is back; starts tonight at the Pyramid

Starting tonight, Rev. Jen's Anti-Slam will be holding forth at the Pyramid Club at 101 Avenue from 7-9:30 (followed later by the BritPop/New Wave night).

Here's the official news release:

Thursday, December 20, 7-9:30 p.m. (and every Thursday thereafter)
Still only $3

After evil developers bulldozed the Anti-Slam's first home, Collective: Unconscious (where it was held for nine years), things haven't been easy on the little open mic that could. It has moved to a theater that closed, to several different bars, to a hair salon (for 2 nights) and finally to Bowery Poetry Club, which closed this summer for renovations. Now after a five-month hiatus, the Anti-Slam is back and it's staying downtown!

For over 16 years, the Anti-Slam has continually provided audiences with some of the best entertainment the city has to offer. Pros and amateurs alike share the stage, and both are given equal respect and a place to try out new things. Each performer gets 6 minutes of stage time and a perfect "score" of 10. Everything is welcome – comedy, poetry, music, interpretive dance, primal scream therapy, prose, genius and stupidity. It is truly the home of the visionary, downtrodden and tired. As always NYC's only "It Elf" Reverend Jen hosts.

On this occasion, we asked Reverend Jen a few questions ...

On the changing Lower East Side/East Village nightlife dynamic:

"We haven't let gentrification stop us from being a vibrant community. It's been tougher to find venues, but in the past year, we have seen the birth of ASS Studios (Art Star Scene Studios) the most underfunded motion picture studio in history, the Assdance Film Festival and Faceboyz Folliez,which celebrates its one-year anniversary this Saturday at Bar 82.

"The only changes to the latest incarnation of the Anti-Slam are the day of the week it falls on (Thursday instead of Wednesday) and the fact that it's only two-and-a-half hours long instead of 5 or 6. Nothing will ever replace the old Collective (which, by the way, is still an empty lot) but the spirit of mad eccentricity and creativity is still alive. Everyone will still get a 10."

On returning from "retirement":

"Taking a break from the Anti-Slam is a necessity every once in a while. Promoting my book 'Elf Girl' while also making movies, working a day job, writing a screenplay, making paintings and finishing two other books exhausted me.

"Then the Bowery Poetry Club closed and I took it as a sign from the universe. I was planning on continuing the break when someone from Pyramid contacted me so I thought why not. Like post-"Glitter" Mariah Carey, I will likely be hospitalized for exhaustion. But I miss everyone so it'll be worth it."

[Photo via]

Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Unicorn tonight at the Pyramid

The third installment of Last Unicorn, an "artisanal dance night." (And maybe it will be the last with Sandy on the way...doom!)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tonight, the Last Unicorn returns to the Pyramid, until the seas go dry

From the EV Grieve inbox...

On FRIDAY SEPT 28, we shall dance once more pon de floor with our superpsychedelic 'chef's choice' dj's, radical go-go pushers & special guest performers.

'the unihorned wonder' ~REVE~
'the great performer' ~MIKE DIANA~
'legendary lord of the dance' ~DON ENG~
'tiny might rapper' ~HILA THE KILLA~

'the sultan of swag' ~MIKE BILL$~

When will we stop partying? Only when the sun rises in the west, sets in the east. When the seas go dry, when the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.

$6 - entrance to both!!

...and this Hila the Killa video is a good one...


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wet hot American summer with Jugger-nut

We weren't able to see Jugger-nut perform at the Pyramid on Avenue A last Wednesday. .. but we kind of feel like we were there via these photos that photographer Walter Wlodarczyk shared with us ...

And Jugger-nut plays the Grand Victory in Williamsburg tonight with a bunch of other cool bands as part of Imaginary Friends' residency. Details here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tonight at the Pyramid Club: 'Rise great spirit of Avenue A!'

From the EV Grieve inbox... heh ... at the Pyramid tonight starting at 10 ...

Tonight join Rosalie Knox & Jacquelyn Gallo as we journey into the unknown where unicorns frolic, faeries shine & nails get did.

With musical offerings by DJ MIKE BILL$ and DJ MAX GERONIMO, we summons the olden gods of yore who once burst through ye olde Pyramid Club with splendor and majesty. Rise great spirit of Avenue A!

If it pleases the court, our pro go-go dancers including seasoned contortionist AMAZING AMY + majorly bonerific ARIC-SHUN aka JUGGERNUT + the unihorned wonder REVE and many more will grip their feet and steady their beat to music curated by the best djs in our friends list — all MC'd by Mr JOHNNY BIZARRO himself.

A place where only oddity reigns supreme, costumes are encouraged.

Searching into the darkness, we jump into the abyss. What do we say to the God of death? Not today.


$5 - entrance to both!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

An end of an era at Pyramid — so long 1984!


It's the last night of 1984 in the East Village.

For 18 years, fans of '80s music have flocked to the storied Pyramid Club on Avenue A nearly every Friday to enjoy songs by artists from the Smiths to Cyndi Lauper spun by the party's promoter and D.J. Chip Duckett.

But now Duckett said he is pulling the plug on the party and moving on to other projects.

"Honestly, it's just time for me to move on to something different," Duckett said. "1984 has lasted almost twice as long as the '80s lasted. People who can drink legally now were three-years old when this party started."

And now, something obvious...

Friday, July 18, 2008

"First of all, their hair rules"

That's the MC introducing Nirvana at the Pyramid Club on July 18, 1989. Nirvana made their New York City debut that night as part of the New Music Senimar. They played a 14-song set. Other bands on the bill that night were Cows, God Bullies, Lonely Moans and Surgery. (This information came from the Nirvana Live Guide.)

Here's some grainy footage of their NYC debut:

During "Floyd the Barber," a drunk gets on stage. He's eventually shoved off by Kurt Cobain and second guitarist Jason Everman, who was later kicked out of the band. (This was his last show with Nirvava, who were so disappointed in how they played, they cancelled their remaining four gigs on this East Coast tour. )

Meanwhile, here's a video for "In Bloom," some of which was shot in and around East River Park, the Financial District and the South Street Seaport the day before their Pyramid Club gig. The peformance footage for the video was shot in April 1990.

This article by Joe D'Angelo and Jem Aswad published on provides more background about the performance at the Pyramid Club and the "In Bloom" video:

According to Michael Azerrad's "Come As You Are," the definitive Nirvana tome, the show was far from the band's best: One of the few who refrained from heckling was Iggy Pop, who cheered encouragingly. After the show, bassist Krist Novoselic was so disappointed with the performance that he shaved his head bald in the Jersey City, New Jersey, motel where the band was staying. This explains why, in the video, he's seen with hair in some scenes and resembles Kojak in others.

Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon stitched in the story's silver lining by bringing A&R man Gary Gersh to the show. Not long after, Gersh signed the band to Geffen Records, the company that released Nirvana's breakthrough, Nevermind, in 1991, after Moore convinced Kurt Cobain that signing to a major label wasn't selling out. The video, however, offers no indication that the band was on the verge of a bad night.