So, I've mentioned The Kennel Club in a number of posts, but haven't posted just about the club itself. The Kennel Club was the epicenter of pop culture when it opened in 1984. Although it was run by David Wildmann and Lee Paris, it was more of a co-op space, especially when it came to design and content.
Poetry readings, and Orson Welles film night, Museum of Modern Art videos, fashion shows, art shows, performance art and the best in punk, new wave and now sounds on a great sound system and in a great dance space.
The Kennel Club was a mutli-leveled fun house; five rooms plus the outdoor deck, and was decorated by Scot Thorne - who seemed to have painted just about every available space, splattering end tables with drops of neon color and smashing tiles to reglue them as the bar top. A huge mirror was painted black and white to make it look busted. Even the pool table was completly covered with glitter. The Kennel also had a staff artist: Mark Scott if I remember correctly. He'd have art students all over the place doing exhibits and helping others with installations or break-downs. This was the first club that took the concept of going out to an art form! Every night people were dressed in their own individual creations - from hair to clothes. It was quite a showplace!
When you walked up the staircase at 1215 Walnut - plasic arms and legs protruded from the walls and there was a big version of the 'CHANCE' Monopoly card painted on the wall of the staircase.
The front room was a video lounge (so '80s) and my friend Seth Jacobs and I produced some great parties there - screenings of slash/gore flicks gone wild. Sleeze-A-Rama was the name of the series.
The deck was the best part of the whole club - tucked away in the back part of the building, you would step out and be surrounded by bricks - until you looked up and saw the moon and the stars. Some of the best conversations happened on the deck and it was a great escape from the thump of the club.
The Kennel Club - as all Pennsylvania after-hours clubs are, was a members only space. Pictured above is the very first temporary member card I got from The Kennel Club, as well as my official Member Card for 1985 Pictured here is the back of that card, which obviously was issued new each year.
Every club in Philly had a personality. The East Side Club was raw energy and dark. The DCA simply oozed gay and Black Banana was chic. The Kennel Club was artsy - but to me, it was home, sweet home.