Vasulka Archive
Max's Kansas City by Steina
from Pre-Kitchen recollections

Mickey Ruskin's Max's Kansas City steak house was close to where we lived. It was run by Mickey Ruskin, who extended credits to his customers. This was before credit cards, and he sent us the bill once a month. We heard later that Andy Warhol had had to suspend the credit privileges when his entourage ran up a bill of ten thousand dollars. But we were on good terms with Mickey, and I asked him once if we could show in the upstairs room. We had bought some b/w Setchel Carlson monitors from him, and he had some more from a project of John Chamberlain that he had sponsored. The terms he suggested was 1/2 the gate if we charged, otherwise free. We had three nights of packed house. We charged, but when it came to paying, Mickey would not hear of it. A friend of ours, Andy Mannik, who had attended all three evenings, suggested we start our own theater. He showed us a great place in a dilapidated building on Mercer Street and we were sold. Problem was, everybody told us, this part of town was a wasteland, nobody would ever show up. Even the names NoHo/SoHo were unknown then. Woody named the place after its previous function, "The Kitchen." We had to clean out ancient wooden iceboxes and utensils from this former bar mitzvah-type reception place at the old Broadway Central Hotel.

June 2001