No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999 (powerHouse Books) has surprised a lot of people. At the Samsung 837 space panel discussion on the book and the marvelous era it remembers the author, DJ Stretch Armstrong, told me that he was pleasantly surprised it was going into its second printing. He was also surprised that it was now being sold in museum shops – a recognition of the efforts to impress from untold numbers of graphic designers and club folks back in the day. In an age before the internet a physical notice of an upcoming event was, of course, the best way to promote.
Flyers were mailed, handed out on street corners and at club and event exit doors. Like mailmen, flyer distributors braved all weathers and the wraths of the streets to deliver party promos. A cottage industry employing thousands of people then disappeared with a technological leap…and the art of the flyer was relegated to club openings and very special events.
The 837 panel was moderated by Armstrong, along with co-author and Hip-Hop chronicler Evan Auerbach. Several hundred people came to support (and also enjoy all the virtual reality and gizmos offered at 837); Giant Step’s Maurice Bernstein actually put the event together in celebration of this unique space’s one-year anniversary. (He had helped curate the programming at 837 for the first six months.)
The panel also included nightlife legends DJ Db Burkeman, Jessica Rosenblum, Bill Spector, DJ Clark Kent and myself. It was a lively discussion about the way things were back when and what is missing today. I offered my plan to make nightlife great again: build a great wall between Bushwick and Williamsburg and make the Williamsburgers pay for it.
After the panel the crowd got their groove on to DJ sets by Clark Kent, Hex Hector and Jazzy Nice.