Here's yet another fleeting glimpse of the past I bumped to on the `Net. I forget what I was searching for, but I came across this sadly undated and uncredited photograph on this sprawling forum dedicated to photographs of graffiti, of all things. If you're intrigued by street art, I'm dead sure there are some more amazing photographs to be found on it, but it's pretty exhaustive to pour through -- especially given that a lot of the shots are simply of tags of the forgettable chicken-scratch variety, but I'm digressing.
In any case, given that Filth, the debut LP by SWANS was first unleashed in 1983, I'm guessing this photograph dates back to around the same time. I'll let my more eagle-eyed compatriots try to place the location of this corner (can anyone name the address?), although I'm relatively certain it's somewhere on the Lower East Side (not exactly a stretch).
Closer scrutiny reveals that there are two gigs being advertised here, the first being a triple bill of the post-No Wave triumvirate of Sonic Youth, SWANS and the seemingly forgotten Rat at Rat R, all playing the unlikely venue of Wolman Auditorium way the hell uptown at Columbia University (quite a trek for these East Village OverLords). The second gig -- the night before -- was a SWANS show going down at a joint called the Sin Club at 272 East 3rd Street, just off Avenue C.
At the top of the selection of flyers is something advertising "Soviet Sex." I had no idea what that was about, so I did a little Googling, and evidently they were an arty punk band from the Netherlands, ... and they weren't entirely all that bad (see below).
In 2012 -- three decades later -- Sonic Youth is on indefinite hiatus in the wake of the separation of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. I have no idea what became of Rat at Rat R, but they haven't released an album since 1991, which doesn't suggest that they're still a going concern. SWANS reformed after a long hiatus around 2009, and have their just released their second post-resumption opus, The Seer, which furthers their inimitably intense music in suitably expansive, sensory-engulfing fashion. Don't bother looking for it in your local sports bar's jukebox.
I have no idea what's become of Soviet Sex.
The Wolman Auditorium up at Columbia was razed in 1996. I regrettably never darkened the doors of The Sin Club, so I'm not entirely positive, but these days, that storefront at that particular address plays host to a dry-cleaning business.