It was truly a STRANGE PARTY, the first new DOWNTOWN COSTUME INSTITUTE exhibition since home venue MOTHER closed in June, 2000. Over five hundred attended the benefit exhibition and spectacle, despite the sweltering heat. The show, mounted at the venerable CBGB's GALLERY on Saturday, June 30, 2001, celebrated the creative explosion that was the East Village in the 1980's, and guests really dressed for it, wearing everything from vintage Sprouse to 2001 futurist creations made especially for the night. Every medium available was used to laud and remember the designers and performers that came out of clubs of the period, including Teutonic New Wave diva Klaus Nomi and his eighties offspring at Pyramid, Club 57, The World, and Boybar.

The mannequins displayed some rare pieces on loan for this show only, including THIERRY MUGLER's costumes for JOEY ARIAS and NOMI when they appeared with David Bowie on SNL for BOYS KEEP SWINGING, a hand-painted LARRY SHOX NYC skyline suit, jewelry designs by MARIPOL for MADONNA, BRIAN DAMAGE's designs for STRANGE PARTY's "Mermaids on Heroin" in 1981, a STEPHEN SPROUSE one-off for DEBORAH HARRY, the infamous Evita gown by MR. DAVID for MISS GLAMAMORE/ BOYBAR and RUBEN AND ISOBEL TOLDEDO'S "Devil in the Blue Dress", circa 1986.

One whole room was devoted to the costume exhibition, guest curated by the modernist icon JOEY ARIAS, who lent a half-dozen rare costumes for the show and gave his expertise on the period throughout the show's production. The two pieces that seemed to embody the DIY, "genius on a shoestring" aesthetic of the exhibit were the armor created entirely of scrap cardboard, white glue and spraypaint (above, left) by the late, great BRIAN DAMAGE in 1982 for Mermaids On Heroin and Nomi's own bubble-wrap shroud (seen behind Arias, above right.)

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The incredible mix of guests has not been equalled since the closing of MOTHER - they ranged from the infant son of Gothic Icon VOLTAIRE to BABA, the fabulously blue-bearded Siddha Yoga guru and AIDS activist (above left) who arrived with an entourage of 22. Friends unable to attend sent rare collectibles, costumes, and in the case of artist KENNY SCHARF (above, right), hours of fabulous CLUB 57 video footage, starring departed geniuses like JOHN SEX and WENDY WILD as well as the very alive ANN MAGNUSON and WENDY WILD.

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DCI co-founder and Pyramid/Danceteria/Boybar DJ JOHNNY DYNELL (above left) played nuggets from his astounding collection of vinyl from period with help from Club 57/Wigstock DJ DANY JOHNSON and Click + Drag's SAMMY JO. Even as the dancefloor and main room finally thinned out after 3 A.M., those who had worked in other clubs for the night came down to get a glimpse of the exhibits before they were packed away. (Above right - creations by STEPHEN SPROUSE for DEBBIE HARRY, circa 1983 and the Toldeo's "Devil in the Blue Dress", created for Arias in 1986.)