McDonald’s Lunch Stop (1989)

Nelson Sullivan Video Recorded Everything, Even A McDonald’s Lunch Stop

Chances are pretty damn good that you’ve never heard of Nelson Sulivan before. That’s OK, most people haven’t. Sullivan lived in New York City in the 1980s and was part of the thriving and crazy club scene. Maybe you’ve seen the movie Party Monster starring Macaulay Culkin. That should give you some reference to the world that he was immersed in.

In 1980, after moving to New York City from North Carolina, Sullivan opened a 24-hour salon. It quickly became a sort of hotel/flophouse for artists and performers that were new to the city and trying to carve out their path in life. During his time as a party person extraordinaire, Sullivan hung out with soon-to-be famous people such as Dee-Lite, RuPaul, and the talented writer, Michael Musto.

mcdonald's lunch nelson sullivan

Sullivan died of a heart attack on July 4, 1989, just a few days after retiring from his beauty salon. He had recorded nearly 2,000 hours of video footage and was preparing a television program showcasing his footage. The subjects of his videos included the wild NYC party scene, gay parades, entertainers, and whatever else he happened to be doing on any given day.

The description of this particular video from YouTube says: “Nelson Sullivan was on a road trip from Atlanta to his hometown of Kershaw, South Carolina, when he stopped at this McDonald’s in Washington, Georgia, for some lunch. The stop after that was to see his Aunt Nancy at the Presbyterian Home.”

Many of the comments on the video describe his work as being the original form of “vlogs.” Everybody feels a need to describe something in terms that are relative to modern times. It sort of cheapens everything when people do that. I guess many of the commenters may not remember (or weren’t born) when people shot home videos. His videos are a glimpse at a simpler (and in many ways, better) time; A time where it actually took some forethought and effort to record a video. These new-fangled phones make everything too easy. Kids these days. Sheesh.