22 Intimate Photographs Capture Celebrities at Clubhouse Max’s Kansas City, the Wildest Bar in 1970s New York

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“I met Iggy Pop at Max’s Kansas City in 1970 or 1971,” recalled David Bowie. “Me, Iggy and Lou Reed at one table with absolutely nothing to say to each other, just looking at each other’s eye makeup.”

For a decade Max’s Kansas City ruled New York, becoming the premier spot to eat, drink, dance, party, and frolic. Proprietor Mickey Ruskin opened the nightclub and restaurant in 1965, drawing top talents like Allen Ginsberg. William S. Burroughs, and Robert Rauschenberg. But when Andy Warhol and his entourage started hanging out in the back room, Max’s quickly became the place to be. Soon David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed were regulars, along with Warhol’s latest superstars like Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, and Holly Woodlawn.

In 1970, Croatian émigré, Anton Perich arrived a Max’s, by way of Paris. An activist in the Lettrism group during the 68 Revolution, Perich was an avant-garde filmmaker. He made friends with some busboys on staff, and they said it was the best job in America. In 1972, he joined the staff, which included busboy Carlos Falchi, manager Eric Emerson, and waitress Debbie Harry, whose presence eluded him.

For the next two years, Perich would fill in when someone called out. As he remembers, the best time to work was late at night, when the famous and the infamous alike could come and let down their hair. No one batted an eye when Perich pulled out his camera for a photo. As you can see from the photos here, they were more than happy to oblige – or sometimes, not even aware. He was soon contributing his candid snaps to Interview before going on to launch NIGHT in 1978, his very own publication.

Rockers James Williamson, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed

Model Donna Jordan and writer Fran Lebowitz

Ramones front man Joey Ramone

Model Bebe Buell (right) and an unidentified woman

Warhol Superstars Eric Emerson and Nico

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