Smithsonian Should Acquire CBGB Awning At Sotheby's Auction & Loan To Grammy Museum's Ramones "Birth of Punk" Exhibit

Posted by Billyjam, December 2, 2016 02:31am | Post a Comment

The awning from bygone punk mecca CBGB's, to be auctioned off next week by Sotheby's, deserves to remain in the public domain. Rather than go to some private collection, it would be wonderful if the historic  315 Bowery club awning were  acquired by the Smithsonian Institution. In turn it could then be loaned out to exhibits such as the ongoing Ramones exhibit "Hey, Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk" at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles through March 2017. More than any other act closely associated with CBGB's in its 70's heyday (Television, Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, Blondie, Dead Boys etc.), The Ramones most epitomized the legendary punk/new wave club whose initials stood for stood for Country, Bluegrass and Blues. The late great quartet of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone were like the house band in the beginning.

From mid August 1974, when they first played CBGB's and their second gig ever / two years before their landmark debut, the Ramones played a total of 25 shows at CBGB in just three months of 1974. That's phenomenal! Check out amazing video of Ramones show #11 at CBGB's from September 15th, 1974. It is the band's 13th show ever and their 11th at the club. It is unadulterated punk beauty that captures the raw energy and vibe of these punk pioneers on stage in the club located at the once desolate Bowery area of New York City. The must see clip below has them belting out the future classics "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement" and "Judy is A Punk." The fact it's real raw and low-fi makes it more authentic. In fact when it's just the instruments (without the over-modulated vocals) it's almost too clean sounding.

Anyway the CBGB awning would be the perfect addition to the ongoing Ramones exhibit that opened seven months ago at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, Corona: just a few miles from the Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills where The Ramones started out their influential career before heading into Manhattan to become a fixture at CBGB's. The Sotheby's sale takes place on Saturday December 10th at the prestigious auction house. It is one 130 music related items that will be on the block at the music themed “Chart-Topping Highlights from A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury” that also includes John Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper’s era piano, Jim Morrison’s of the Doors' Paris notebook, and the Sex Pistols' Golden Jubilee Boat Banner from 1977.

The CBGB/OMFUG item is billed in part as the “original awning for punk mecca CBGB” and is expected to fetch between $25,000 and $35,000. As already pointed out by several punk historians, the awning on auction is not actually the original version of iconic club sign that was hand-painted by owner Hilly Kristal. That original 70's awning would be stolen a decade later, one night in the 1980s right after JFA (Jody Foster's Army) had played a gig. It would never be found - yet.  Meanwhile the Sotheby's auction for the CBGB/OMFUG awning takes place at the New York City Sotheby's at 11am on December 10th, 2016. More Sotheby's Chart-Topping Highlights from A Rock & Roll Anthology: From Folk to Fury auction item info here. And for more on the ongoing thru March 2017 Ramones Los Angeles area exhibit Hey, Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk, visit the Grammy Museum.

The Ramones @ CBGB, NYC (September 15th, 1974) performing "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,"
"I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement" and "Judy is A Punk.

Relevant Tags

Sotheby's Chart-topping Highlights From A Rock & Roll Anthology: (1), Cbgb Awning For Auction (1), Patti Smith Group (1), Television (50), Talking Heads (16), Blondie (8), Dead Boys (2), Sex Pistols (14), The Ramones (8), Hey (2), Ho! Let's Go: Ramones And The Birth Of Punk (2)