Marquee Moon (Book)
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Two kids in their early twenties walk down the Bowery on a spring afternoon, just as the proprietor of a club hangs an awning with the new name for his venue. The place will be called CBGB & OMFUG which, he tells them, stands for “Country Bluegrass and Blues & Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers.” That’s exactly the sort of stuff they play, they lie, somehow managing to get a gig out of him. After the first show their band, Television, lands a regular string of Sundays. By the end of the year a scene has developed that includes Tom Verlaine’s new love interest, a poet-turned rock chanteuse named Patti Smith. American punk rock is born. Bryan Waterman peels back the layers of this origin myth and, assembling a rich historical archive, situates Marquee Moon in a broader cultural history of SoHo and the East Village. As Waterman traces the downtown scene’s influences, public image, and reputation via a range of print, film, and audio recordings we come to recognize the real historical surprises that the documentary evidence still has to yield and come to a new appreciation of this quintessential album of the New York City night.