- MemberJune 15, 2021 at 10:51 pm
I know I have mentioned the late 70’s timeline before – at least I have referenced it in my other group page, ‘Music Fiends’, due to the impact of disco on the music industry. Well it just so happens that I watched a really good documentary last night on the legendary hangout in New York, Studio 54. At the time the dance club opened in 1977, I was only 12 or so at the time, and this was the point when music was changing – disco was on the rise – and it seemed like before too long all you read about in the newspapers and entertainment magazines was this notorious, infamous, outrageous dance club called Studio 54, where only the hottest of celebrities were allowed to enter. I remember seeing an article showing co-owner Steve Rubell standing outside and he was THE deciding factor as to whether or not you got into the club or not.
What this documentary does a good job at is give you the exclusive inside look into how Rubell and his less visible partner, Ian Schrager, turned an old, run down building into, at the time, one of the most famous (and most difficult to get into) places in the world. The only problem is they did it too fast, took advantage of the gobs of money coming in (skimming money that they tried to hide from the government) and allowed drugs and other illegal activity to take place in the club. It was all bound to catch up with them and it did. As famous as Rubell was for being a ‘show horse’ and loving the publicity – such as the moment when a young Michael Jackson comes in while Rubell is being interviewed by Jane Pauley and he brings Michael into the interview – his partner Schrager shied away from the limelight and publicity. However, he was the brains behind the events and activities in the club such as live performances, snow falling on the crowd, live circus events, images on the wall and screens, including the infamous smiling half moon snorting cocaine out of a spoon (apparently coke was the primary drug and was quite prevelant there).
Rubell and Schrager would go on to be convicted for tax evasion and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Later on, before Rubell passed away from complications of AIDS, which he did not want made public but was confirmed by his brother, he and Schrager started to get into hotel industry, which is still going on today.
The facts in the documentary are interesting but let’s be real – the best part is watching to see which celebrities actually were considered popular enough to get in. The pictures and video are worth a look at this film alone. One point I think is pretty ironic is that Nile Rodgers is interviewed in this documentary and one of his most famous songs, ‘Le Freak’, has a repeated refrain, ‘Freak Out’, but it was originally written using an off-color word as that is what the doorman told him and bassist Bernard Edwards to do when they tried to get into the club. They had actually been guests of regular attendee Grace Jones but she forgot to put their name on the list. Who knew? But Rodgers gives credit to the discotheque as reviving New York and securing its place in its history.
- MemberJune 22, 2021 at 8:02 pm
My aunt used to go to Studio 54 as a young adult.
- MemberJune 22, 2021 at 10:43 pm
Whaaaaa??? No way! I am absolutely jealous! Geez the stories she probably has to tell!
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