IDENTIFICATION AND BIO:
Composer, Songwriter, Pianist, Impresario
Graduated Columbia University (1967)
Created New York cabaret Reno Sweeney (1972-1977) and New York rock club s.n.a.f.u. (1980-1984)
An accomplished pianist and composer, Lewis Friedman also had a remarkable gift for recognizing and encouraging talented performers. He created the trend-setting New York cabaret Reno Sweeney, which he owned and operated from 1972 to 1977 with his friend and business partner, Eliot Hubbard.
Hubbard remembers that "Lew's first project as an owner and entrepreneur was a small burger-based
restaurant...in the West Village, called Bellybutton (I chose the name). The baked goods Lew sold there were so popular that he soon opened a small bakeshop next doorcalled Navel Reserve (named that too). The success of those two titular 'collaborations' ultimately led Lew to ask me to work with him when he decided to create a nightclub..."
As the late Vito Russo wrote, "Once upon a time, a club in Manhattan called Reno Sweeney was the center of the universe during the now-legendary cabaret revival of the early ‘70s. Everybody who was anybody either played its famous Paradise Room or sat in the audience to watch."
Russo was not exaggerating. In those five years Friedman presented a tremendous range of artists, many at the start of their careers:
Maxine Andrews (of the Andrews Sisters)
John C. Attle
Captain & Tennille
Rev. Al Carmines (of Judson Memorial Church)
Cathy Chamberlain's Rag 'N Roll Revue
Andre De Shields
Desmond Child & Rouge
Baby Jane Dexter
Lewis Friedman (Lou Tattoo)
Daphne Hellman & Hellman's Angels
Charles Ludlam & Black-Eyed Susan
John Phillips & Genevieve Waite
Martha Reeves (of Martha and the Vandellas)
Royal Canadian Fromage
Robert I. Rubinsky
The Manhattan Transfer
Don Paul Yowell
In 1980 Friedman opened the Manhattan rock club s.n.a.f.u., which he operated for four years.
In 1984 he moved to Sonoma County in California, where he owned and operated the Sweet Life Café, a popular coffee house and antique shop, in Santa Rosa.
Lewis Friedman died of AIDS in Cazadero, California at the age of 47 on January 3, 1992.
Add Up The Moments
After The Fall
Alone Without You
Baby Can We Get It Right
Can You Recall
Drunken Roads (lyrics by Stephan Burns)
Fool I Am (Lewis Friedman/Trey Christopher)
Good Soft Cry
The Greatest Show In Town
Here We Go Again
I Am The Guy
I Got Dreams Too
I Hear An Army
I Only Love You For Your Bod
It's Not You Girl
Love Brings You Pain (lyrics by Stephan Burns)
Love Conquers All
Out Of The Sighs (lyrics by Dylan Thomas)
The Promise Suite
Put The Love Back On Your Face
Radio To Video
Run With Me
Shadow Of A Man
Tender Are My Nights
Time After Time
Times Gone By
Trouble In Tahiti Tonight
What It Is You Do To Me
Who Needs You
Without A Song
No professionally released recordings
- Obituary, New York Times, January 8, 1992.
- Obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, January 9, 1992.
- "Relived Glory: Reno Sweeney's Legendary Alumni Stage Reunion for AIDS" by Vito Russo, The Advocate (date unknown).
- "Remembering Reno's: Paradise Lost on 13th Street" by Eliot Hubbard, The Village Voice, July 23-29, 1980.
- "New Supper Club in Greenwich Village Swims Against the Tide" by Tom Buckley (longarticle), New York Times, Friday, February 23, 1973.
- "Reno Sweeney," New Yorker, January 27, 1973.
- "Thinking of Lewis" by Greg Dawson, founder of The Ballroom (unpublished tribute to Lewis Friedman, 2003).
PERFORMING RIGHTS AFFILIATION:
Sarann Friedman Rice (sister)
3100 Haney Road
Dayton, OH 45405
(937) 275-3745 (home)
(937) 219-7923 (cell)
Eliot Selznick Hubbard (friend and business partner)
67 Greene Street #5
New York, NY 10012-4326
Bruce W. Aukerman (companion)
1000 Cazadero Highway
Cazadero, CA 95421
With Sarann Friedman Rice (see Musical Executor).
Bruce Aukerman has tapes and videos with songs by Friedman.
A portfolio of approximately 50 Reno Sweeney posters designed by Eliot Hubbard, Robert Richards and other artists is being donated by Hubbard to the Billy Rose Collections at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Hubbard also has some feature articles and other memorabilia. (A complete scrapbook of Reno Sweeney reviews and letters from artists was sold in 1978 to the new owner, now deceased; whereabouts of scrapbook are unknown.)
Estate Project Music Archive has copies of articles (see Bibliography).