Slaves of New York

Slaves of New York Information

Slaves of New York is a 1989 comedy-drama Merchant Ivory Productions film. It was directed by James Ivory, produced by Ismail Merchant, and starred Bernadette Peters, Adam Coleman Howard, Chris Sarandon, Mary Beth Hurt, Mercedes Ruehl, Madeleine Potter, and Steve Buscemi.

Based on the stories Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz, the film follows the lives of struggling artists in New York City during the mid-1980s.


The story follows Eleanor, an aspiring hat designer, and a group of artists and models in the "downtown" New York City art world. Eleanor lives with her younger boyfriend Stash, an unknown artist, who is unfaithful and treats Eleanor with careless indifference. Eleanor expresses her feelings for Stash when she tells him that she was once attracted to him because he was dangerous. She stays with him despite the crumbling relationship because she has nowhere else to live"?she is, in effect, a "slave."

When a clothing designer, Wilfredo (Steve Buscemi), discovers her hat designs and offers to use them in a fashion show, Eleanor gains the self-respect"?and money"?to leave Stash. There is an elaborate fashion show sequence.

While buying food for a celebratory party, she meets Jan and invites him to the party. After the party, Eleanor and her new friend talk, and then ride off into the morning sunrise.


Tama Janowitz had written a script for Andy Warhol, based on the Eleanor and Stash stories in her 1986 collection of short stories, Slaves of New York. When Warhol died, Merchant-Ivory bought that script. The real graffiti artist from New York City named STASH, who is a friend of Janowitz, was the influence for the name of her lead character and can be seen as an extra in many of the party scenes.

The fashion show in the movie had costumes by designer Stephen Sprouse.

In discussing casting the role of Eleanor, James Ivory commented: "...but out of 100 girls, there was not a single one with Miss Peters's originality. We wanted someone unusual and different but also ingenuous and not too knowing."

Slaves of New York was shot on location in New York City, in the Lower East Side, a downtown gallery and a club. Shooting started on April 4, 1988, with a 10-week shooting schedule. There was a "modest" budget"?$5 million"?that meant there were no lengthy rehearsals. There was one read-through before shooting began.

There are several cameos in this film: for example, Producer Ismail Merchant, lyricist Betty Comden and Adam Green, son of her writing partner, Adolph Green, and Tony-Award winning actress Tammy Grimes appear in party scenes.


Slaves of New York received mostly unfavorable reviews at the time of its release. Janet Maslin wrote that the film "...simply drifts from situation to situation" and is "never terribly involving". Roger Ebert, who gave the movie a half-star rating, opened his review with the statement "I detest Slaves of New York so much that I distrust my own opinion."

Domestic gross was $463,972, according to boxofficemojo.

Slaves of New York became a cult classic amongst the gay communities in the United States. It is notorious for a scene that features a very convincing drag act performing "Love Is Like an Itching In My Heart" by The Supremes while making their way down a street in full evening gowns.




  • Michael Butler as Performance Artist
  • Johann Carlo as Performance Artist
  • Richy Canatta as Saxophonist
  • Betty Comden as Mrs. Wheeler
  • Anthony Crivello as Hairdresser
  • Christine Dunford as "B"
  • Adam Green (son of Adolph Green) as Max
  • Tammy Grimes as Georgette
  • John Harkins as Chuck Dade Dolger
  • George Harris as Super
  • Paul Jabara as Derelict
  • Sakina Jaffrey as Wilfredo's Receptionist
  • Tama Janowitz as Abby
  • Freddy Korner as Party Guest
  • Anthony La Paglia as Henry
  • Philip Lenkowsky as Fritz
  • Maura Moynihan as Mona
  • Richard Steinmetz as Party Guest
  • Stanley Tucci as Darryl
  • STASH ( graffiti artist ) as Party Guest

Music List

Performed on screen

  • Mother Dearest
    Written and performed on scrren by Joe Leeway
  • Say Hi to Your Guy
    Written and performed on scrren by Johann Carlo and Michael Butler

Soundtrack Album Selections

  • Some Guys Have All the Luck
    Written by Jeff Fortgang
    Produced by Willie Lindo, Sly Dumbar and Robbie Shakespeare
    Performed by Maxi Priest
    Courtesy of 10 Records, Ltd.
  • Tumblin' Down
    Written by Ziggy Marley and Tyrone Downie
    Produced by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth
    Performed by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers
    Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
  • Admit It
    Love Overlap
    Written by Arto Lindsay and Peter Scherer
    Produced by Peter Scherer
    Performed by Ambitious Lovers
    Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
  • Buffalo Stance
    Written by Neneh Cherry, Cameron McVey, Phillip Ramacon and Jamie Morgan
    Produced by Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders
    Performed by Neneh Cherry
    Courtesy of Circa Records, Ltd.
  • Girlfriend
    Written by George O'Dowd, Vlad Naslas
    Produced by Vlad Naslas
    Performed by Boy George
    Courtesy of Virgin Records, Ltd.
  • Change Your Mind
    Written by Camper Van Beethoven
    Produced by Dennis Herring
    Performed by Camper Van Beethoven
    Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
  • Good Life
    Written by Kevin Saunderson, Paris Grey and Ray Holman
    Produced by Kevin Saunderson
    Performed by Inner City
    Courtesy of 10 Records, Ltd.
  • Fall in Love with Me
    Written by Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Hunt B. Sales and Tony Sales
    Produced by Bewlay Bros.
    Performed by Iggy Pop
  • Tongue Dance
    Written by Catherine Ringer and Frederic Chichin
    Produced by Tony Visconti and Rita Les Mitsouko
    Performed by Rita Les Mitsouko
    Courtesy of Virgin France

Additional Music

  • Warrior
    Written by Allan Dias, Lu Edmonds, John Lydon, John McGeoch and Bruce Smith
    Produced by Steven Hague
    Performed by Public Image, Ltd.
    Courtesy of Virgin Recordsm Ltd.
  • Am I Blue?
    Written by Grant Clarke and Harry Akst
    Performed by Billie Holiday
    Courtesy of CBS Records
  • Dad, I'm In Jail
    Written by David Was and Don Was
    Performed by Was (Not Was)
    Courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
  • Grand Tour
    Written by Carmol Taylor, George Richey and Norris Wilson
    Performed by George Jones
    Courtesy of CBS Records
  • Glück, das mir Verblieb
    From Die tote Stadt by Erich Korngold
    Performed by Carol Neblett
    Courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal, A Division of BMG Classics
  • Love is Like an Itching in My Heart
    Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland
    Performed by Diana Ross and The Supremes
    Courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
  • I Need a Man
    Written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
    Performed by The Eurythmics
    Courtesy of RCA Records
  • O ruddier than the cherry
    From Acis and Galatea by G.F. Haendel
    Performed by John Ostendorf


  • Prélude from Carmen by Georges Bizet
  • Kuroda-bushi "?"??

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Slaves_of_New_York" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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