Michael Dorf, founder of the Knitting Factory, was the Chairman and CEO from 1987-2002.
He no longer has any operational or ownership ties to the organization.
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When I started the Knitting Factory in 1987 with Louis Spitzer, we had no
idea what we were doing or where we were going. We had found an old, dilapidated Avon Products office on Houston Street between the Bowery and Broadway. The rent was $1,800
per month for 2,000 square feet on one floor in a four-story walkup. The place was really a mess: yellow painted plaster chipping off the walls, a rotted wood toilet, and piles of Avon products scattered all over the floor. When we were trying to come up with a name, our friends suggested calling it the Dump. The initial idea was to have an art gallery/performance space that sold coffee, teas, and a small assortment of foods. As Louis and I said in our first press release (all my misspellings included), “The Knitting Factory is primaraly a showcase. Our aim is to weave strands of art mediums into a congruent whole, from the Wednesday night poetry series to the works on the walls. The Knitting Factory is also a cafe. It serves interesting forms of food like a fondue with fresh fruit. The Knitting Factory considers many things art and is open to suggestions. Hope to see you soon.” But my real motivation at the time was to earn enough money to live and to cover the rent for Flaming Pie Records.