NYC pop-up ‘Bowie 75’ honors David Bowie’s vibrant legacy

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“New York’s à gogo and everything tastes nice,” sang David Bowie in his early ’70s hit, “The Jean Genie.” 

This month, New York is indeed à gogo with vibrant Bowie flavor as “Bowie 75,” a year-long celebration of the iconoclast’s 75th birthday, launches with two exclusive experiential retail pop-ups: one on Soho’s Wooster Street, and one on Heddon Street in the musician’s native London. 

Both open Oct. 25 — 75 days before Bowie would have turned 75 on Jan. 8, and six years after his passing on Jan. 10, 2016. They will run until the end of next January.

While London’s pop-up marks the site of the “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” album cover photo shoot, the Wooster Street location is a five-minute walk from Bowie’s final home on Lafayette Street.

“These locations were chosen specifically,” Bowie 75 producer Lawrence Peryer, 50, told The Post. Peryer grew up in Hamden, Connecticut, before moving to New York City to work in the music business in the 1990s, including on Bowie’s pioneering late ’90s artist-to-fan subscription website, BowieNet. 

The Bowie 75 pop-up in SoHo is just minutes from the late rock star's home.
The Bowie 75 pop-up in SoHo opens October 25.
DAVID BOWIE ESTATE

“It’s really about the authenticity,” he added, speaking from his home in the Pacific Northwest. “London was so important to Bowie as an artist, and his fan base there is phenomenally passionate. New York is where he lived and made his late career music. He played the concert here after 9/11; he has so many ties. I read a beautiful quote from SOMA magazine where Bowie said, ‘I’m a New Yorker now.’ “

David Bowie, seen here in 2015, was a longtime New Yorker.
David Bowie, seen here in New York in 2015, said “I’m a New Yorker, now” after 9/11.
The David Bowie Archive

These sound and vision museum-stores have fine art photography exhibits, video and a new immersive “David Bowie in Sony’s 360 Reality Audio” booth, overseen by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti.

“This will be a rediscovery of his music,” Peryer said. “It’s this incredible new spatial audio technology. This is like listening in a sphere with music emanating from all around.”

Various interactive displays will allow fans new ways to connect with the rock icon.
Various interactive displays will allow fans new ways to connect with the rock icon.
Jimmy King

Interactive installations include “Ground Control,” where fans can leave messages for Bowie. “Then everyone can read them on the exhibit’s website,” said Peryer. “This will be very emotional for fans and a beautiful way they can express themselves.”

Fans can also write songs on “The Cut Up Magnet Wall,” where magnets printed with different Bowie lyrics can be jumbled up and rearranged into new sentences with new meanings — Bowie himself used the “cut-up” technique, borrowed from influential Beat author William Burroughs.  

“This is evocative of one of the ways David created songs,” said Peryer. “It’s low tech, but high impact.”

David Bowie's "DJ" was reissued to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The pop-up shop will feature a recreation of the BBC radio booth that was the site of Bowie’s famous DJ set in 1979.

Selfie ops include “Be a Bowie,” a series of mirrors where people can step into Bowie costumes and personas; “I Am a DJ,” which recreates the BBC radio booth for Bowie’s 1979 DJ set; and a custom-built, working, red K2 phone box, à la the “Ziggy Stardust” album cover. On Halloween, fans are invited to drop by dressed in Bowie regalia. 

Ziggy Stardust Era David Bowie In LA
Fan are invited to come in Bowie costume for Halloween. Ziggy Stardust is always a good option.
Michael Ochs Archives

Fans can buy merchandise, singles and albums, including the forthcoming ‘90s reissue boxed set, “David Bowie 5: Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001),” out Nov. 26; and “Toy (Toy:Box),” a previously unreleased reprisal of several early period Bowie songs recorded in 2000, out Jan. 7.

Special guests popping into the pop-ups include “Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016” author Chris O’Leary doing a Bowie song breakdown, Dec. 4; and Bowie collaborator, musician and producer Mark Plati, who will head the Wooster Street “Toy” album release party, Jan. 7, on the eve of Bowie’s 75th birthday.

“We want to give people really good reasons to keep coming back to the store,” said Peryer. “You can shop for memorabilia and music, but it’s a shop for experiences, too. These are definitely retail locations, but if that’s all they are, then we haven’t done our job.”

“Bowie 75,” 150 Wooster St., at W. Houston Street; Bowie75.com

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