Down town art scene - New York
Zu Manifestival
Hip Hop Origins

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Jean-Michel Basquiat (left) aka "Samo" with "Wordman" aka Michael Holman (right) working in The Guy's "Canal Zone" 29th April 1979.

Jack Klein, infamous Soho landlord, was interested in attracting investment in his building. The Guy's reputation of having created the original look for Fiorucci, helping Maurice Beidermann to set up YSL ready-to-wear in the US, Trax, Clarets and Unique Clothing Warehouse prompted Klein to propose that The Guy expand the Canal Zone to the lower floors of his Canal Street building.

The Guy attracted people like Keith McNally (who later opened Odeon, Nell's and other clubs), Rudolph (who opened Dancteria) and many more.

The Canal Zone fueled peoples imagination along with the Mudd Club. The avantgarde setting of the Canal Zone and its encouragement of local talent attracted The Tubes (a media parody art-school band), Debbie Harry (Blondie) and the B52's. Even Andy Warhol's jaded entourage, in need of replenishment, could be found at the Canal Zone collecting inspiration for Warhol's scene. Glen O'Brien and Tony Shafrazi were amongst these.

The Guy provided facilities in the Canal Zone for Lee, Slave and Fab Five Freddy to produce a series of murals which had been promised exclusive coverage by the New York Times. Months of planning with Ron Alexander (the Style Editor of the New York Times) arranging the photo-shoot came to nothing when the New York Times decided not to publish the article and pictures as the subject (graffiti) was considered too controversial.

In an attempt to alleviate Lee's disappointment and that of his friends and to encourage other aspiring graffiti artists, The Guy organised a work-themed media event with which the Canal Zone was opened on 29 April 1979.

All those mentioned above attended the opening party - it was on this occasion that Jean-Michel Basquiat first identified himself, publicly, as SAMO. The Canal Zone both inspired and gave the lead to the Eighties.

First Graffiti tableau in Canal Street Loft, New York. "Subway Madness", a 2,000 sq. ft. installation was used to attract magazine interest as an editorial incorporating street style

Created sets for Zu Manifestival. Zu was an underground music venue set up and run by George gomelski who has been involved with the music scene since the 1960s. He owned both the Crawdaddy in Richmond and the Speakeasy in London and managed the Yardbirds. Zue became a club show casing rap and Hip Hop bands between 1979 - 1981.

Graffitti Art by Lee Quinnones