This Ain't No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995

James Lough, Author
James Lough. Schaffner (IPG, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-936182-52-7
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-936182-53-4
Open Ebook - 297 pages - 978-1-936182-54-1
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"Since 1883, New York's Chelsea Hotel provided safe haven for countless cultural creative," but this exuberant oral history focuses on the period 1980-1995, arguably the landmark's final stretch as a haven for bohemian misfits. Part of the magic, gatekeeper and manager Stanley Bard offered "dirt cheap" rents to artists and often accepted artwork as payment. Lough arranges anecdotes from interviews with dozens of hotel "veterans," whose memories are peppered with cameos of famous fixtures such as punk rocker Dee Dee Ramone or writer and street hustler Herbert Huncke, credited with coining the term "beat" in Beat Generation. Yet, "Some Chelsea celebrities are celebrities only at the Chelsea"; readers will meet obscure personalities like Linda Twigg, the blonde "gangsterette" who ran a gambling parlor from the second floor, or "graveyard artist" Scott Covert whose collages feature rubbings of luminaries' tombstones. Drug-fueled debauchery and artists living "close to the bone" in service to their work fill these reminiscences along with nostalgia for the enclave of "freaks and weirdoes." Lough's conversational style connects narrative threads as he bemoans the creative conditions in contemporary NYC and wonders can "counterculture survive in an atmosphere almost entirely comprised of wealth?" (July)
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