A BRIEF HERSTORY OF JACKIE 60
"The Jackie Factory delivers the most fantastic nightlife in the
city." -Time Out New York
Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire began the 20th century of inventive nightlife and New York's JACKIE 60
finished it with a spectacular finale three days before the century's end. JACKIE 60 was begun in
1990 by local night life luminaries
CHI CHI VALENTI and
JOHNNY DYNELL, dancer/ choreographer
RICHARD MOVE and London fashion designer
KITTY BOOTS. Disillusioned with the stale, over-commercialized
state of the New York night, the four set out to create a club environment that was performance oriented
and distinctly underground in tone. Beginning at the 14th Street nightclub Nell's, they developed the
Jackie 60 formula, with its weekly themes and live, stream-of-consciousness MCs. In March 1991, the
Jackies moved their newborn Tuesdays-only club to a small bar in the then-seedy Meat Market district,
which later became the underground venue MOTHER.
To its fanatical mixed following (some of whom had abandoned clubs decades ago), Jackie 60 fast
became a Mecca. The club assumed a level of audience sophistication unparalleled in Gotham, and Jackie
regulars from designer Marc Jacobs to pop supernova Debbie Harry consistently rose to the challenge.
Every week, the club's decor, performers and soundtrack were transformed according to theme, which varied
from Hasidic hip-hop (Fiddler In The Hood) to classic murder (A New Year's Most Foul) to supermodel angst
(Pooped-Out Party Girls.)
As the decade moved on, the creative explosion in and around Jackie mushroomed. Jackie's monthly VERBAL ABUSE
midnight poetry soirees gave birth to the literary zine (and later the
e-zine) of the same name. Several hit dance records
bore the unmistakeable live Jackie 60 sound (featuring the club's "Jackie MCs" including Paul Alexander) - like the
iconic THE JACKIE HUSTLE, in association with ARTHUR BAKER.
JACKIE'S PLAYHOUSE, the club's theatrical wing, staged original plays and adaptations (most notably those
penned by Valenti and Michael Musto, including the seminal "Cokewhore" and "The JonBenet Ramsey Story").
The "Jackie Hackers" series (a club-computer laboratory begun in 1992) birthed the INTERJACKIE site in 1995
(one of the first and most poular underground club websites, now archived on the massive
JACKIE 60 had come far from its beginnings as a group of friends entertaining each other, but remained insistently
true to them. Something happened every Tuesday that was unexplainable, a "communal club reality" with its own
logic and its own star system. Empress Domination came the closest on the liner notes for THE JACKIE HUSTLE
EP- "They live for Jackie because she's little dark, and different. They live for Jackie, because she feels like
New York again."
By 1996, Valenti, Dynell and their merry band had outgrown the once-a-week time slot and their limited production
facilities. Backed with little more than JACKIE 60's legend, the couple took over the run-down premises on West
14th Street where Jackie "lived" and tackled their greatest challenge to date - to apply "Jackie Family Values"
to a full-time nightclub. From MOTHER's opening in 1996 until her closing in June 2000, she was the epicenter of
Gotham's nocturnal creativity, where others learned the rarified art of creating imaginative club nights. The
Jackie Factory team (now joined by Pyramid Club co-founder
HATTIE HATHAWAY) continued to create their
international night life landmark anew every Tuesday and MOTHER also housed several Jackie offshoots including
the cyber-fetish weekly Click + Drag (born of INTERJACKIE) and Move's Bessie Award-winning dance performance series
MARTHA @ MOTHER.
In March 1999, her producers announced that JACKIE 60 would close as a weekly party at century's end -December 28,
1999. The final night, a thousand celebrants came out for the glorious ending to a club experience that had spanned
(and helped to define) a decade. The last year of Jackie 60 Tuesdays were filmed by JACK GULICK for a documentary focusing
on the club's performers and regular audience that is currently being edited.
Photo of Jessica Rabbit Domination by Paul Brissman