Judy Russell - A Friend In Need

$7,383 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 139 people in 12 months
Judy Russell was born in NYC in 1956 and grew up in the Bronx. She was always into music and started sneaking into clubs at age fourteen. In 1980, she was invited to the Paradise Garage and her life was changed forever. She and her best friend Manny Lehman quickly became close with Larry Levan, and part of the inner circle and the volunteer staff. She and Manny also began working at Charlie Grappone’s legendary Vinylmania record shop from 1980-1987, where all the the Garage heads went to buy the records they heard Larry play. Judy and Manny were instrumental in steering Vinylmania, initially a rock record shop, in the direction of underground dance music that came to make it famous. 

After leaving Vinylmania in 1987 Judy worked for Abigail Adams at Movin’ Records for a year before joining co-owners Frank and Karen Mendez at the essential NYC house label Nu Groove Records (founded in 1988). There she co-ran the label with Frank and Karen, touring with artists overseas, and helping Kenny Dope and Bobby Konders launch successful sub-labels, DopeWax and Massive B, both their first label ventures. When Frank and Karen sold Nu Groove, Judy moved to Downtown161, running much of both the label and distribution sides of the business for owner Linda Perrone. 

In 2013, things took a turn for the worse for Judy. Downtown161 closed and Judy became very ill. She was in and out of the hospital, unable to work, and eventually lost her apartment. Her health finally stabilized, but having spent her savings on medical and basic expenses, she found herself without a job, and struggling to get by. Being a person who has always worked hard for everything she had, and taken care of herself from an early age, she was very hesitant to ask her friends for help. She didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. But sometimes we all need a helping hand.

That’s where I came into the picture. I met Judy, fatefully, in the summer of 2016 when I ran a pop-up record shop on 7th avenue and 16th street, around the corner from where Judy lived. We immediately connected over mutual musical friends, and a shared interest in the history of the underground dance scene in nyc, a history that I had only read about. She had lived it. I happened to be there in the right place at the right time to help her save her personal belongings, including an amazing collection of Paradise Garage and Vinylmania memorabilia (which was featured in Love Injection’s exhibition at White Columns Gallery in 2017) when she, sick and in the hospital, was cruelly and illegally evicted by her landlord. Then she got transferred and simultaneously lost her phone and all her contacts, her only way to reach me and her huge network of friends and former colleagues. Eventually, after a year or more, she finally tracked me down on facebook. She still doesn’t feel comfortable asking her friends for help, but the truth is that she needs our help to get back on her feet.

So, I approached Paul and Barbie at Love Injection about interviewing her for the zine, and also launching an online fundraising campaign and benefit party to raise money, and to raise awareness about her situation and they jumped at the opportunity to help. In an ideal world, we can provide seed money for her to get herself situated in a new apartment and find a new job. After all that she has given to us and to this culture, I felt like it was the least I could do. Your generous donations, words of encouragement, and apt an/or job tips are all appreciated. 

Please share this link across your social media or directly with anyone you know who knows Judy, loves this culture, or just might want to help. The more we share it, the more we can all multiply the impact we have and make it possible to reach our fundraising goal.

If you have any leads on an affordable room, apartment, or a job to offer, please mention that in your comment and we will contact you.

Thank you so much! And thank you for helping me to help a friend in need.

With love and gratitude,
Ben Goldfarb

P.S. For those of you in NYC, we are also going to have a benefit party at the Panther Room at Output on Thursday, April 12 from 6-10pm. Tony Humphries & DJ Spinna and more djs TBA!!! Save the date! Judy will be there! Please RSVP at  https://www.facebook.com/events/2037625846559688/ 

P.P.S. If you are not able to attend and would like to leave a short video message for Judy, you can do it very easily using this link  https://www.tribute.co/judyrussell/. The short videos will be compiled into a compilation and delivered to Judy.
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We're excited to see Judy and hope you can make it tonight. If you donated $20 or more, your name is on the list for the party. If you haven't donated yet but are planning on doing so, we encourage you to skip gofundme for tonight and just show up at the door :)

Party info:
Thursday April 12, 6-10PM
The Panther Room at Output
74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Barbie, Paul & Ben
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Danny Krivit added to the lineup for Thursday's benefit party!
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and two more important quick updates.

one, if you can only afford a few dollars, don't let that stop you. if everyone that visited this campaign gave just $3 ea we would have surpassed our goal already.

and two, what judy is going to need once she gets this money are someone willing to give her a chance with an apartment (or a room), and work. she is very much willing and able to work, so if you have anything for her, please put that in your comments and we'll get in touch. and apartment-wise, she will be able to pay a few months upfront in cash. but it's difficult to find apartments when you have been out of work for years and your credit reflects a period of financial struggle. so any help at all with this is deeply appreciated. thanks!
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gofundme has asked us to post an update to clarify the following:

How you are related to your beneficiary?
You are withdrawing the funds in your name.
How exactly you will be delivering the funds to your beneficiary or using the money on their behalf?

Ben is Judy's friend, and Paul and Barbie are Ben's friends. The complication is that gofundme needs a bank account to transfer to and judy doesn't have a bank account at the moment. so the plan is to have the money transferred to our bank account and then we will write a check to judy at the end of the campaign. she is fully aware of the campaign and has approved every step. we will also announce the amount raised at the party on thursday (4/12) combining the gofundme and whatever comes in at the door and post about it here and on social media. i am in constant contact with judy and see her once a week.

if you have any doubts about any of this you can feel free to ask us about it further, or contact judy directly on facebook.

this has not been an issue for anyone as far as we know. this is just something that gofundme asked in order to make sure the money goes to its intended recipient, which is a good thing, of course. thanks!
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$7,383 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 139 people in 12 months
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