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Clubs in Flux: Digital Archives

The Pink Flamingo: Clubs in Flux group exhibition was held at the cell theatre in Chelsea during the summer of 2022. As part of this group exhibition, curators Jess Dilday, Anton Lapov and Andrew Fish gathered nightclub ephemera and stories to display at the month-long show. This ephemera, and the stories behind them, live on via this website. Enjoy!

Lauren Silberman – The Lost Happy Hours, 2020

These images of closed NYC nightclubs and empty dance floors are each a testament to the surreal time during lockdown when New Yorkers (as well as the rest of the world) were stripped of the opportunity to convene with others in public spaces. Images of empty and closed off locales reveal the presence of emptiness and the void of spontaneity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, laid bare in the absence of people. In New York City, there is usually chance and possibility around every corner and bars and night clubs are one of the types of public spaces that provide that. For Lauren Silberman, who often photographs people and communities, these spaces took on their own personalities and she sought to elevate the significance the role each of these places play in the New York nightlife community by making them her subject.

You can see more of Lauren Silberman’s work here.

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Martyn Gallina Jones – Portraits at The World 1985/1986

“One afternoon I wandered into The World and spoke to the person who seemed to be in charge. I told him that I would like to set up a portrait studio in the club and photograph the patrons. He wondered if I was looking to charge for my services. I told him no, I simply wanted to have the opportunity to photograph the diverse population of people who came through the club. He told me to knock myself out . . .”

“So, in the Fall of 1985 I set up my “studio” in an upper floor space at The World and over the next several months did
my best, as an as yet untrained, self-taught photographer to capture something of the essence of the people who
accepted my invitation to sit for a private portrait.” – Martyn Gallina Jones, photographer

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Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen – Catcher in the Eye, Gershwin Hotel

  • Image of Peter Gatien & HR Giger, dressed in all black and with their backs toward each other, posing.

While at the International Center of Photography in NYC for school, Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen started the project “Catcher in the Eye”. It was a performance project wherein Jacob took on the role of Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, going out shooting phonies in the streets of New York. Most of the images were created in the club scene, the art scene such as the Gershwin Hotel and the Wall Street scene. The project was exhibited on the 86th floor of The Empire Building, where there was a fashion show, a full free bar and a DJ at the opening. With this project, Jacob started showing the images in the club scene, where he encountered Leeza Ahmady. Leeza Ahmady was working for Peter Gatien to get more art into the clubs, and a lovely art partnership soon started to flourish.

Together they curated exhibitions in “The Library” in the basement of The Tunnel, while they planned the 1998 re-opening of Limelight. At an exhibition that Leeza curated at Ace Gallery, where Jacob also participated as an artist, Jacob struck up a conversation with a guy called Les Barany. Jacob mentioned that they were planning on making the new Limelight into an exhibition space, and redesigns of the different rooms were on their way. As it happened, Les Barany was HR Giger’s US Agent and once they got started about a potential HR Giger Room at the Limelight, there was no way back.

You can see more of Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen’s work here.

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Benjamin Schwaeber – Various NYC Nightclub Flyers, 90s-2000

Ben worked with Andrew Fish to gather these flyers from Limelight and other clubs around NYC in the 90s and early 00s. Many are designed by Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen (see above).

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Carmelle Safdie – Downstairs 87 parties, 2016

  • The three flyers for the Discovery party series on a rack next to a TV which is displaying the Discovery of the Shape music video, which in this shot has a still with a person with their arms raised dancing on the dancefloor.
  • Fliers from the Discovery party series, including a pink flyer for Discovery of the Circle, an orange flyer for Discovery of the Square, and a blue flyer for Discovery of the Triangle. There is also 3 white flyers with the drink menu.

In 2015 Carmelle Safdie was the inaugural artist-in-residence at Downstairs 87, the basement level of Leftfield Bar at 87 Ludlow Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For her residency, Safdie redesigned the venue interior with murals, furniture, light fixtures, and a song-activated sign, and hosted a series of dance parties — Discovery of the CircleDiscovery of the Square, and Discovery of the Triangle — in the space. She also used the bar as the set for her 2016 music video Discovery of The Shape. The party titles, flier design, and Discovery of The Shape song lyrics are sourced from Bruno Munari’s visual case study books on geometric shapes. Safdie’s installation also served as the backdrop for nightly parties and performances through the summer of 2016.

Along with the flier ephemera, we were able to display the Discovery of The Shape video in our archive as well. More about the video:

This video presents a staged dance party in which the artist’s friends perform various roles in a nightclub scene. The footage was filmed at Downstairs 87, where Safdie reimagined the venue’s basement level bar as part of an artist residency program. Condensed into a three-minute burst of music, geometry, and partygoers at play, Discovery of The Shape details the multifaceted components of Safdie’s installation, while showcasing the interactive, social, and ephemeral aspects of the project.

See more of Carmelle’s work here.

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Yung Oh Le Page – 3D Limelight Poster, 1991

Limelight was one of Yung’s first jobs upon moving to NYC at the age of 19, which he felt gave him a front row seat to a vibrant downtown scene.  One of the weekly events was Michael Alig’s Disco2000, a Club Kid led night of debauchery and mayhem.  Having just started his lifelong fascination with stereo photography and 3D imagery, and intent on creating an anaglyph 3D collage, Yung collected a dozen posters, which were quickly put into storage, only to see the light of day over 30 years later. 

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Alyce Currier – Mapping Techno Ephemera + Spontaneous Affinity

  • Mapping techno ephemera posterboard with some examples of what has been submitted in the past.
  • Mapping techno ephemera posterboard with examples of the ephemera that has been submitted, along with 3 copies of the latest Spontaneous Affinity zine.

With inspiration from Queering the Map, Mapping Techno Ephemera aims to create an archive of the “residues of sleaze” (as coined by Madison Moore) left behind by ephemeral nightlife, with a focus on queer and queer adjacent spaces that focus on techno and related forms of electronic dance music – evocative objects, images, and documentation that capture some of the poignancy (or not) of these moments. Situating those moments on a map helps us see the parallel reality often being created in even the most unexpected corners.

Spontaneous Affinity is 1-2x monthly online mix series, accompanied by written interviews focused on how featured artists have been shaped by the dancefloors they inhabit and how they’re actively shaping the spaces they’d like to see. The interviews are published as an annual zine, collecting the year’s interviews for deeper reading and reflection. The Year 3 zine actually covers about 2 years worth of interviews, with 16 artists featured. It also includes responses to a small survey conducted on the state of the dance music community. Spontaneous Affinity is intended as both an attempt to hearken back to slower, more personal music coverage, and an oral history of the people making dance music culture happen, especially in the tenuous North American creative economy.

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Aesha Waks – Former Cage Dancer at Limelight

Photo of Aesha Waks in what looks to be a bathroom in the 90s. She's looking upward, pointing two fingers up in a pose. She has on a black hat, black jacket with gold buttons and a pearl necklace.

Aesha Waks
Former cage dancer at Limelight

Aesha was introduced to the Limelight nightclub at the age of 14, doing her first runway show for Allen and Suzi Vintage clothing shop. She saw the cage suspended from the ceiling and knew that was where she wanted to spend the next few years of her life. Bringing her mother to chaperone she became the first underage in-house cage dancer that Limelight ever had. This led to opportunities as a house dancer for Palladium and Tunnel. Aesha then went on tour with The Mad Stuntman and Reel 2 Real (“I Like to Move It”) traveling the world as a dancer and choreographer. She also developed a rap career and released singles with The Mad Stuntman. Aesha is still a professional musician, dancer, model, and actress. She can be found on Instagram @AeshaHashWaks.

Curated by Andrew Fish

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DJ Marlow – DJ Keoki and DJ Marlow at Limelight, circa 89/90

DJ Keoki & DJ Marlow standing next to each other, circa 1989. DJ Keoki is on the left with a white longsleeved shirt with red figure 8 patterns. DJ Marlow is on the right with a black shirt with a tattoo design that has white lettering in the center. The photo appears to be taken at a club.

DJ Keoki & DJ Marlow
DJs at The World, Save The Robots, and Limelight

DJ Keoki was growing in prominence playing mostly new wave and alt (Depeche Mode, Heaven 17, etc.) in clubs around NYC when DJ Marlow met him through a mutual friend from NYU. They met at The World nightclub in the downstairs room and VIP lounge. They clicked immediately and Marlow became his roadie, starting for him on the tables. Keoki then moved to the upstairs dancefloor at The World – as well as the main floor of Limelight – where he
played deep house and techno music. At this time, he was known as “Superstar DJ Keoki.” DJ Marlow continued to play a variety of new wave, and house music at more intimate venues and private parties. On some occasions she played with other DJs at Limelight in the smaller downstairs room, and downstairs at The World. She also started for DJ Keoki when he played at the infamous after-hours club Save The Robots.

DJ Marlow retired on New Year’s Day, 2000, at the age of 30 to become a full-time graphic designer. Superstar DJ Keoki continues to play international festivals and parties as one of the most popular DJs working today.

Curated by Andrew Fish

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Club Stories (Filmed and Curated by Andrew Fish)

During his Into the Limelight exhibition, Andrew Fish interviewed several clubgoers about their experiences in NYC nightlife over the years.

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Algoclub: Light Mode/Dark Mode by LiveCode.NYC

Algoclub ran from July 25 – August 1, 2022 and featured live coding performances, installations and daytime workshops by LiveCode.NYC. To read more about this exhibition, click here.

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Black Bliss Rave by the Black Bliss Rangers

Black Bliss Rave ran from August 2-8, 2022 and featured paintings, installations and performances by the Black Bliss Rangers (Iman Young, Zella Vanié and Tay). To read more about this exhibition, click here.

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Into the Limelight by Andrew Fish

Into the Limelight ran from August 9-14, 2022 and featured paintings and stained glass installations, as well as a curated DJ lineup by Andrew Fish. To read more about this exhibition, click here.

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This webpage was created by Jess Dilday, who wishes to keep gathering archives for this page! If you’re interested in contributing NYC nightclub ephemera (digital or physical), please contact Jess at

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