I was distraught to learn on Friday that iconic ’80s DJ Anita Sarko had killed herself. I didn’t know her personally, but she was a big part of the club scene that I read about avidly in Details magazine and Michael Musto’s Village Voice column. I was so fascinated by Anita that I have a vivid memory of shaking her hand at a Duran Duran concert at Madison Square Garden, while I have a comparatively faint recollection of being front and center at the tiny club gig Duran Duran played after the big show. By the way, I persuaded the music critic who took me to MSG that it was worth going to the after party, because if Anita was there, it was going to be great.
Another place that Anita could be found was spinning records for VIPs in the Michael Todd Room of the Palladium nightclub. I was so excited to get in there a few times that I saved my drink tickets as souvenirs rather than getting drinks with them.
It was Michael Musto who wrote about Anita’s death on Facebook. They stayed friends all these years.
He followed up with this beautiful piece for Paper Magazine.
As Musto writes, “The outpouring of love that exploded when I Facebooked about Anita Sarko’s suicide the other day was so astounding, I bet it would have saved her life if she’d been around to witness it.” Truly. RIP, Anita Sarko.
- The New York Times obituary.
- A 1987 New York Times profile called “The Queen of the Discotheque Deejays,” with a highlarious cameo by club kid James St. James.
- The Village Voice obituary.
- Anita and Danceteria.
- Anita named “the best” DJ by New York Magazine in 1985.
- Anita’s own telling of her peculiar cancer experience. She had severe gynecological symptoms for years but kept testing negative for cancer. Finally, after being diagnosed with anemia, Anita was told that she had uterine cancer. Then she was told she had ovarian cancer, which is even more deadly. She had a hysterectomy, only to be informed that her cancers had stayed at stage one and that she needed neither chemo nor radiation as a follow-up. Very unusual. A friend of mine who encountered Anita back in the day — and more recently had an unnecessary hysterectomy — says we shouldn’t underestimate the effect this traumatic operation can have on a woman’s mental health, even post-menopause.
- Two articles Anita wrote for Interview magazine.