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Vice Blog


November 4, 2010, 11:20am

1990 doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but in terms of visual delectability, it's a lifetime away. For big hair and spandex lovers that's a goddamn shame. The Jersey Girls scene in

The Bad Lieutenant

is legendary. Often studied, it's one of the more uneasy scenes in a film that capitalizes on unease--the mounting tension, the incessant gum-chewing, the extreme creepiness, the slow-realization by the girls as to what's happening--it's one of the most memorable parts in the movie, just behind Harvey Keitel's nude, solo slow-dance and perhaps the ultra-foxy Zoe Lund's junkie vampire speech.

The first time I watched it I remember being distracted by one thing; the wardrobe. These two girls, listed as Jersey Girl (driver) and Jersey Girl (passenger), looked so fucking cool. On their way home from the Cat Club, they looked like they had just left a Sisters of Mercy concert: the cross ring, the pointed long black fingernails, the leather jackets, the hoops. The little sister perfectly outfitted in a crop top, mini skirt, bondage belt, and of course black hi-cut panties underneath, and I can't even begin with her hair. No wonder Harvey Keitel wants to jack off to these chicks while standing in the rain, they're hot shit. The Cat Club, where these two were apparently coming from, was the epicenter of the NYC glam metal scene in the late 80s up until it shut in 1990. The Wednesday night party was apparently something pretty major. It was on East 13th Street in a location that was later occupied by the illustrious party hellholes Spa and Plaid. Delving into the past of the Cat Club via the cable access show

The Underground Café

provides some pretty sweet insight into the scene these girls were supposed to be a part of. Apparently, everyone there looked pretty much like the Jersey Girls in the film, not surprising considering Abel Ferrara's film was nothing if not consistently accurate in its portrayal of New York's gnarlier bits. I mean, come on, look at this guy, his hair, the white leather, the mysterious flashlight holster, the fact that he sounds like he has a slight learning disability when he speaks? Tommy Gunz, mastermind of the glam metal night on Wednesdays at the Cat Club, we salute you. A little research tells us this dude had a long varied career ranging from working as a magician at Studio 54 (I know!), to hosting erotic cabarets at the Tunnel, to embarking on a career in 3D animation, to working as a captain on a fishing boat.

Stiletto Fetish

was a Canadian duo whose debut single was called "Broke on Coke." They also had a minor NYC club hit with their white girl rap styles on their riff-heavy version of "I Think I Love You." Slightly shocked this hasn't made a comeback. They were from Toronto, but appeared to be pretty heavy hangers-on to the Cat Club and the NYC scene at the time. Red latex and an Axl Rose stand-in, what's not to love? They are pretty much style dead-ringers for the Jersey Girls in Ferrara's film. I think I love them. Speaking of style icons, Sally Cato from Smashed Gladys may become one of mine. Black bustier with suspenders and baby blue glitter corset front-lace leggings--fuck yeah, look at that bitch! She is also randomly Canadian, but it isn't apparent by her thick, adopted New York accent. Fun fact; her bandmates were extras in the Aerosmith/Run DMC video for "Walk This Way." As an extra bonus, I leave you with some footage of Wiseblood performing onstage at the Cat Club in 1986. They played this show with Lydia Lunch who, as icons go, puts every aforementioned broad to shame. This show looks pretty devious. Makes me want to unpack my studded black leather and hop in a time machine. I'll make sure not to have any taillights out on my car. BEVERLY HAMES