posts and images
Did you visit Studio 54 during its heyday in the late 70s/early 80s? What was the experience like for you?.. . Viewers have asked me to describe my visits to that legendary disco palace. So, here goes, though my experience there was tame compared to some accounts I’ve read.. . . Studio 54 opened on April 26, 1977. Housed in a former CBS broadcast studio and purchased by Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager, 54 was converted into a nightclub and immediately transformed the club & disco scene globally: it became famous for its celebrity guest lists, restrictive and subjective entry policies based on one’s appearance & style (employing a “velvet rope”, separating “wannabes” from those allowed in), and open drug use (and sometimes sexual activity).. . 54 burned brightly for 33 months, until its owners were sentenced to prison for tax evasion, then it closed . They were released 14 months later and sold the club, which reopened under different ownership, with them as consultants. According to a friend who worked there as a bartender in 1981-82 while earning his MBA from Columbia University, “Rubell was forbidden by his sentence to work in the club, but did anyway, including doing all the hiring. Schrager showed up occasionally, socially.”.. . I visited 54 several times, usually with 2 friends, a Russian-American woman and a black guy, both colleagues in my bank credit training program. We were fairly non-descript preppy types, but our diversity may have appealed to the doorman. FYI: I wasn’t “out” with him, though she knew I was gay. We were there on Halloween eve in 1977, high on mescaline. It was a wild night with elaborate costumes and a raucous stage show. And celebrities were everywhere.. . My other memorable visit was with my visiting aunt from Hollywood, her gay film producer friend (Gene Taft, who died from AIDS in 1985), and Desi Arnaz, Jr., Lucille Ball’s son. When we arrived by taxi, the doorman saw us, and the velvet rope was immediately lifted, allowing us a direct path through the crowd hoping to gain entrance.. . No cameras were allowed inside Studio 54, unless press was invited. So, today’s pics are from Google, plus one of me around that time.. . #35mm
if you haven’t seen “studio 54: the documentary”, you’re a total prude and we can’t be friends.