Debbie Harry said as she took the stage at Club Cumming in NYC recently,
“I just hope that all of you that take antidepressants have taken them and those that don’t, have had a nice drink.”
I posted the news that Harry’s autobiography, Face It a– mix of personal essays, interviews, photos, and fan art— would be published this fall. A few dozen folks at Alan Cumming’s tiny East Village bar for the long-running Enclave reading series, her unannounced reading was a total surprise.
Harry had planned to read a more light-hearted passage from the memoir, but a friend and her manager had convinced her to instead read a section about her reaction to 9/11. The pages included a poem she had written in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, Rush of Souls.
Harry told the crowd that she was driving into the city Monday, Sept. 10 admiring the view of the Manhattan skyline, when
“it all of the sudden came to me that a few years ago I was driving this very same drive and came to the top of the hill and there it was: this panoramic view of this spectacularly wonderful, clear blue sky. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining and there were the buildings and I said, ‘Ooo, I should get a picture of that before it’s gone.’”
That night she attended Marc Jacobs’ Fashion Week party at Pier 54. The celebrity-studded blowout was
“like a happening, like an event— and I thought, ‘Wow this is really a New York party and we don’t have enough of them.’”
That feeling faded the next morning…
“I was watching them live and watching it on tv, and watching them both was so trippy, a surreal feeling of not knowing exactly what I was seeing. Was it filmed footage or live reporting or reality?”
Like many in the city, some of Harry’s friends,
“very afraid and wanted to leave New York right away.”
Her Blondie bandmate Chris Stein and his wife Barbara Sicuranza, who lived just a dozen blocks away from Ground Zero, ended up moving to Woodstock in upstate New York.
“It was understandable, but it did come as a shock to me that they were even contemplating the move.”
In the two weeks following the attack, Harry
“went through a whole series of emotions: shock, and then very sad, and then very angry, and then very nostalgic about the old days.
When I was going through that mourning period I said to myself, ‘Oh God, I wish it was the ’70s again.’ I kept on wishing myself back to those early days, eventually coming to the inevitable conclusion that things would never be the same again.”
Stein and Sicuranza’s leaving he city gave Harry
“a profound insight into something deeply rooted in me that I had never completely understood before. This time the sadness was infused with insight. I saw my sadness and it spoke to me. My heartbreak was the heartbreak of the abandoned child.”
You’ll have to wait to find out more when Face It comes out in October.
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I had the distinct pleasure of photographing the final event of the season for The @enclavianmatter Reading Series last night. As usual, it was at @clubcumming on the Lower East Side here in NYC, and the lineup was amazing. With readings from Laura Sims, Luc Sante and Kristen Alvanson, as well as a musical performance from D. Treut that I absolutely loved, it was a really great night. And as if that weren’t enough, the pièce de résistance of an already amazing season of great authors was a surprise reading from rock royalty, Debbie Harry. It was such a treat to get to photograph this group of amazing creators as they shared their work.
(Photo, Avalon; via Bedford and Bowery)