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Patti Astor...THE QUEEN OF THE DOWNTOWN SCENE!

11 May 2014

As we write our blog, Ms Astor will be in the air, making her return journey to the USA. She was only here for a few days but my did she make an impression on us Brighton folks! 

You all all too aware of her involvement in the 1983 hip hop film Wildstyle, playing the role of the reporter Virginia. Wildstyle was voted in the top ten films of all time by The Rock and Rock Hall of Fame and also been exhibited as part of an 80's art retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago...not bad!

But you may be less aware of the gallery that she ran in the East Village, New York with her partner Bill Stelling in the early 80's, called the Fun Gallery? Yesterday, Patti read snippets from her book, Fun Gallery. She recalled her famous barbeques where Keith (Haring that is) would hang out, always loving her potato salad (sweet!). And the time that Paul Simon was hounded at the gallery by her mates, following him around, singing his songs loudly but with slightly different lyrics (!) He wanted to purchase a rather expensive Basquiat but (as it turned out) the piece had already been sold to another well known customer...he wasnt happy! And there was so much more....Madonna, Fab Five Freddy, the list is endless.

Fun Gallery stood alone, an authentic underground art space which, thanks to her, was one of a kind. She was a forerunner in her ethos as a gallery owner and it was with sadness that she remembered when the first 'money men', moved in downtown,trying to emulate her unique model of a gallery space. Rents went up and it was no longer about the street style and art.....that's when she made a swift exit (St Marks cinema becoming a Gap was the final nail).

We could have listened to Patti's anecdotes and stories all day but she is a busy lady indeed. We are hoping that she will be back with us really soon (watch this space, top secret for now) for some continued misbehaviour and naughtiness. If you didnt manage to get your hands on her autobigraphy yesterday, we wont rub it in, but we have a sneaking suspicion that this tiny run (acheveived with blood, sweat and tears on Patti's part) may well become a collectors item so keep your eyes open.

Thanks Patti....you were (are) a TOTAL LEGEND and we miss you already!