Nightclub DJ and journalist Anita Sarko, 68, who made New York nightlife what it was in the late Seventies and Eighties, committed suicide on Oct. 18, according to her friend, Michael Musto.
Born in Detroit, Sarko first rose to prominence as a DJ at the Mudd Club and later Danceteria, Rock Lounge, Area and Palladium’s VIP Michael Todd Room.
Sarko also cohosted the No Entiendes cabaret at Danceteria, and, along with Haoui Montaug introduced karaoke to America via weekly club gigs where people got up and sang to instrumental tracks of pop hits. Sarko contributed to various magazines such as Egg, Paper, Interview and Playboy and supervised fashion shows and parties for designers worldwide, including Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, Thierry Mugler and Vivienne Westwood. More recently, she wrote for newyorksocialdiary.com.
“She was an iconic person on the scene,” said Musto. “She was very self-created. As a DJ she always played whatever floated her boat, and she didn’t subscribe to the top 40. She would play experimental music and break new records that tickled herself. She played arty rooms.”
Musto said he first became very friendly with Sarko when he was “covering nightlife” in the Eighties “and she was creating the nightlife.”
“On the surface she was very tough. She didn’t suffer fools, but deep down she was a softie. She was a person of textures,” added Musto.
A graduate of Michigan State University, Sarko attended law school for one year at the University of Miami and later studied for a BFA at the University of Miami, leaving one course short of getting her degree.
Musto said Sarko had survived ovarian and uterine cancers and was declared clear earlier this year. He posted on his Facebook page that more of an issue was that Sarko couldn’t find creatively satisfying work and felt that she’d reached a dead-end in her career. She felt that employers were looking for young people out of college and “not old timers with history and personality.” He said although Sarko was working and paying her bills, she felt discarded and unappreciated.
Sarko is survived by her husband, Erzen Krivca.
Musto said that Sarko was cremated and a memorial will be scheduled at a later date.