Drugs, drinks, and disco -- Studio 54 had it all. Regardless of the fact that Jagger just took the horse for a spin whether it was just once around the Studio or all the way down the block, it's telling that there was a horse in the club. Left: A man dressed in nothing but a clear plastic sheet dances with a topless woman at a Studio 54 Halloween party in 1978. You might not think of famous authors as the rowdiest group of people, but Truman Capote didnt fit into any stereotypes. A look back at the epicenter of NYC nightlife, presented by Getty Images. A guaranteed internet breaker, if it had been invented. In an oversized down coat, obviously. Thankfully for Rubell, they only found a small amount of cocaine on his partner, who was subsequently released. Cher wasnt the wildest partier on the scene, but she was known for being an independent and forward-thinking individual who didnt shy away from a good time. They served copious amounts of alcohol, played the loudest music and sometimes had mini food fights on the dancefloor. As you can see, this was long before his dramatic transformation and eventual controversies in the public eye. At Studio 54, anyone with a good attitude (and good style) was welcome. Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso. While these two women may not have been the craziest partiers, they certainly appreciated a good night out. But, thanks to photographers who were in the right place at the right time, we can get glimpses of what a crazy night out at Studio 54 was truly like. After the tragedy of the Vietnam War and the distrust of the Nixon administration people just wanted to go out and forget about their troubles. Studio 54s peak was intense but short-lived. Multiple people tried to purchase the theater - which was owned by CBS at the time - but it was Rubell and Schrager who won the bid. Doorman Marc Benecke told the BBC: According to people who were there, one of the biggest misnomers about the scene inside Studio 54 is that everyone was on drugs all the time. This exclusive event would have been the talk of the season. According to one of the doormen in a documentary about the club, they made sure that the club at least have 20% gay men, 10% lesbians and trans people, and the rest of the crowd could be whoever. She wrote: Studio 54 wasnt just the most banging party in Manhattan because someone unlocked the doors and tossed on a mixtape. These two people, covered in silver, dance for onlookers inside Studio 54. Mattresses in the basement were frequently the site of trysts, while the infamous balcony was designed complete with easy-to-clean surfaces as a place for couples to get it on. According to Dustin Pittman, a photographer who was there, the sickening smell of the flowers couldnt cover the scent of all the nefarious activity that happened there throughout the years: With Studio 54 being the hottest ticket in town for 33 months there was an overwhelming amount of people who wanted to get in. Ian Schrager, one of the co-owners and founders of Studio 54 explained his idea behind the design: Explosive mayhem is the perfect way to describe this scintillating night club. My house now is filled with his art, and I hope others will appreciate it too.. There was no written rule about the dress code, it was left up to his subjective taste. While he was working in the late Seventies, I had gotten married, moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and wasnt a part of Genes day-to-day life, Lowen tells Rolling Stone. He told NY Mag: New Years Eve in New York City is a sacred night of partying that can take dancers on a journey, and one New Years Eve party at Studio 54 was the ultimate way to begin a new year. It was hard for some people to get into the club wearing normal club clothes - polyester shirts, gold chains, and the like - but at least one celebrity was able to forgo the normal dress code whenever he wanted, author and playwright Truman Capote. September 25, 2020 07:00 AM. The thing he appreciated was someone being different. It was a place of great exclusivity, but also a place where one went to be photographed. Simply by virtue of being outside the club someone like Streisand could paint themselves as a cool celebrity rather than a stodgy A-lister who sat in their penthouse reading Russian literature all not. Not that theres anything wrong with that. When a nightclub is as hot as Studio 54 the place is going to be crawling with celebrities. Tabs, Fri., Sept. 25, 2020. Myra Scheer, an employee and frequent visitor to the club explained: One of the regulars at the club was Liz Taylor, the star of films like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and when she decided that she wanted to have her birthday party at Studio 54 she had one very specific request - she wanted the whole place filled with flowers. For that reason, his photos are not only fine art, they are history. Even when Claudia Cohen, a reporter from the New York Post, stopped by to check in on their progress she was shocked at how broken down everything was. It was, after all, her fun yet insightful personality that won over the hearts of her many fans. Regularly attended by celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson . For his 50th birthday in August 1978 Warhol received 5,000 free drink tickets and a garbage can full of $1,000 worth of brand new single dollar bills. Co-owner Ian Schrager explained: While the club had been a major success after its first night, it still wasnt the wild success that the owners wanted it to be. It wasnt until a few years later that Rubell would get busted for tax evasion and end up in jail. Suddenly the IRS were interested in going clubbing. Then Covid Trapped Them There. The streets were so packed with people that wanted to get into the Studio that attendees were literally being thrown inside. 29. Well the co-owners of Studio 54 didnt really get around to getting a liquor license for close to a year, instead they put together a plan that allowed them to legally sell drinks even if it was a little iffy. A pair of topless women parade across the dance floor during Folies Bergre night, circa 1977. In case you dont recognize her, thats Dolly Parton at an afterparty in Studio 54. Studio 54 wasand, arguably, remainsthe world's most renowned and legendary disco. Aids later hit, of course. America in 1977 was ripe for something fun, glamorous and a bit risque. Harry was at 54, she was the Mudd Club, and she was at CBGBs. Celebrities like Mick Jagger were routinely in the building and cutting a rug on the dance floor, so if you wanted to dance with a Rolling Stone you could dance with a Rolling Stone. A club-goer exposes a bare chest, garters (with keys attached to them), and a mask as a woman pops her gum and a man seduces the camera in his costume. In 2018s Studio 54: The Documentary one doorman explains that the crowd was so intense that the people in the coat check couldnt handle the demand of the people. Despite only being open for 33 months, the nightclub . Williams appears to be accepting a drink from the jolly character. The last thing she wanted was for her secret life to become known to the world. Rolling Stone is a part of Penske Media Corporation. One close friend of Rubell's notes that the co-owner thought that he would never be caught. Other photographers didnt capture that. Studio 54 furthers the nostalgia that people still have about '70s New York, as pointed out by Goldberger, a period of time that has been revisited recently, from Patti Smith's book Just Kids to . By 11 pm there were thousands of people outside the club with no hope of getting in, so many of the revelers ended up having a sex-fueled party in the street. This article originally appeared on Vogue US. Unfortunately, the bartender was so out of his gourd on goofballs that he forgot to unlock the cuffs when the two were finished and left her in the basement before going back to work. Unlike Ron Galellas work which has been exhibited and is collected as fine art after Spatz died in 2003 the archive of images was inherited by his younger sister, Amy Lowen, and packed away in filing cabinets in her Kentucky home. One night when the club didnt have anything specific planned they used some free pieces of clothing that they were given from one of the local brands. Debbie Harry, dressed in a black turtleneck and black glasses, sticking her tongue out for a photo; a tuxedo-clad Sterling Saint Jacques swinging around Shirley Bassey. A fabulous night to revel in being alive with ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev (far left). Co-owner Ian Schrager said: When working at a place thats known for excess, its not out of the ordinary for the low people on the totem pole to end up in the same situations as the A-listers who theyre serving. 22 photos that show the grit and the glamour of Studio 54, New York City's most infamous club. According to the guy who took over Studio 54 after the original co-owners went to prison, James nearly killed himself while at the club. As a mood-boosting tonic, and at a time when our festive calendars have been curtailed by social-distancing measures, Vogue delves into Studio 54s world of excess and extravagance. She is seen here in colorful 70s makeup, big hair and a risque lace top. Important for the co-owners to make the evening special. McCarthy, who happened to frequent Studio 54 on occasion, was amazed by his access to the notables in attendance. Studio 54 photographer Hasse Persson said of this photo: "This may sound unusual today, but if you wanted to make love with somebody, people were making love on the balconies, and they were making love in the bathrooms. Park Avenue hostess Nan Kempner said that Capote punched her in the face one night, nearly starting a brawl. In this picture, Robin Williams is with his then-wife Valerie Velardi and Studio 54s own Santa Claus. First, you had to have the kind of bod that looked good in a pair of gym shorts and not much else, and second you had to have a willingness to show it off and a desire to be at the club every night. At the Purple magazine party, a naked couple in a clear bathtub perform for an audience in 1977. The nightclub threw an annual Halloween party and expected guests to wear the most shocking, over-the-top costumes that you could think of. One drag queen in the doc explains: For the most part there was a strict dress code applied to the revelers at the club. Come anytime you like, and youll get in. After the invitation she became an institution and showed up whenever she was free. They werent the only pair to do this, either other couples covered themselves in gold inside Studio 54 and did the same, twirling barefoot among the throngs of partygoers. Photographer Gene Spatz captured celebrities including John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger at the iconic New York City 1970s nightclub. On April 26, 1977, Studio 54 opened its doors and introduced the world to a new era of nightlife. Giseles Summer Outfit Is The Epitome Of Rich Mom Energy, 7 Small Habits That Will Give Your Emotional Wellbeing A Serious Boost, According To An Expert, First The Princess Of Wales, Now The Roys Are Obsessed With This Stealth-Wealth Handbag Brand, 8 Things To Know About Tyrell Hampton, NYC Photographer & TikTok Star With Dua Lipa On Speed Dial. Once the show came to an end the cast had to have somewhere to go - and they went to the Studio. When youre a wealthy celebrity, youre going to want to have the best of the best. Supposedly while there were drugs floating around, people were mostly just getting amped on dancing and less so on piles of uppers. Having been used as a radio and television studio for CBS, the building was still full of TV sets and lighting equipment when Steve Rubell transformed it into a place for drinks, music and dancing. The two went into the basement where she had the bartender handcuff her to a pipe for some extra naughty fun. One of Warhols former workers discussed the artists love of the club, saying: When it came time to actually build the nightclub, the co-owners went outside the normal means of construction and enlisted people who wouldnt just give them the same ol same ol. According to bartender Scott Taylor, there were only a few bartenders doing the work of an army. Tabs gifs by your friend Martini Ambassador. In 1977, at the height of the disco craze, a club opened at 254 West 54th Street in New York City. A man dangles a cigarette inside Studio 54, 1977. Here he is enjoying an anniversary party for Andy Warhols magazine, Interview. When Studio 54 closed two years later, on Feb. 4, 1980, Diana Ross was there to serenade owners Rubell and Schrager with one final song. The manufacturers seemed to think their choice of venue was appropriate enough since all the sounds and colorful lights reminded them of disco. It wasnt just a place to get your rocks off and dance, it was free publicity. The people who crowded around the club every night came from all walks of life - from bankers to drag queens, but for the few hours that the sun was down they all just wanted to have a good time. What was interesting is that women felt secure enough to dance nude in the place. Its disco days, though, were short lived and the club closed its doors in 1980these archival photos are a snapshot that only a lucky few had the pleasure of experiencing. A pair of clubgoers dressed in . Studio 54 was a safe space for groups who would have been marginalised in the late 70s. Under the helm of owners Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, Studio 54 became globally renowned as a cultural institution for its lavish, over-the-top spectacles and sartorial displays. Rubell had gone to jail for tax evasion, and the new owners kept the good times going until 1994, by which time attendance had dropped off. At the age of 7 she regularly partied at Studio 54, opening her up to the debauchery and drugs that were available to every other guest. For major actresses like these, visiting Studio 54 was a must while in New York City. 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Desktop_Feed_Center1_728x90_Top, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Mobile_Feed_Center2_300x250, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Mobile_Feed_Center3_300x250, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Desktop_Feed_Center2_728x90, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Desktop_Feed_Center3_728x90, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Desktop_Feed_Center4_728x90, 322166814/iacpl-test.www.ask.com/Ask_Desktop_Feed_Center5_728x90, The Top Reasons to Get an Amazon Prime Video Subscription, Longtime Lovebirds: 14 Inspiring Hollywood Relationships. It was relatively common for famous figures to throw their birthday parties inside Studio 54. Cohen told Vanity Fair: Truman Capote, the author behind In Cold Blood, was certainly irascible, but he wasnt a tough guy by any means. Lowen recognized some of the celebrities in the photos, but she wasnt sure what exactly her brothers archives contained or its value to the world. The two are engaged in intimate conversation and posed in a relaxed manner, with Furstenbergs stiletto-clad foot thrust over the edge of the seat. Even so, he was among the most famous singers in the country. This photograph comes just before the release of Off the Wall, when he was still remembered most for his youthful vocals in The Jackson 5. It touched all your senses and left you wanting more. Rebecca Schoenkopf. Disco was all the rage back in the 1970s and Studio 54 was the place to be if you were in New York. Here we see one of those notable moments where an elderly woman is dancing with a young man. From the looks of it, he seemed to enjoy his time there, too! In the clubs first year open, Cher showed up to the scene at Studio 54. The two are almost unrecognizable, however, thanks to the cream thats been smeared all over their faces and clothes. A nearly naked couple dances together on top of a speaker at the club's first Halloween party in 1977. By 1977, Stallone had an Oscar on his mantle, but did that make him an NFU? Actor and author Chris Lawford shares a dance with Mick Jagger's wife, Bianca. A woman holds a makeshift pipe for a man as he attempts to smoke an unidentified substance in 1981. Noted wild child Drew Barrymore has lived more lifetimes than anyone should, and pretty much all of them are cool. He captured that era in my lifetime, and I hope someone is having that type of fun again. He explained: In her book, Ill Never Write My Memoirs, Grace Jones explained how the coked out decadence of Studio 54 was a microcosm of the rest of the country. Grace Jones. Gene captured that part of history and the exuberance in a unique way. The move this woman pulls off seems to defy her age in every way shes flexible enough to wrap her legs around him and strong enough to hold herself up by his arms. If you thought youd seen it all when it came to crazy Studio 54 performances, youd be mistaken. More like this An Ultimate Guide To The Music Of . This foyer amped up the anticipation, and according to Myra Scheer, Ian and Steves assistant who went onto work in a perch in the lobby said it was a special part of the night: Even though it sounds like a line, once you were in Studio 54 it was a sign that you had a special energy that appreciated by the club owners. Not only was this accepted, but one of the biggest suppliers was the co-owner Steve Rubell. All one had to do to make sure they wound up in the gossip pages or the New York Post was to simply show up and bypass the line. Even if you werent having sex with someone every night, you felt like you could, says former editor of Interview, Bob Colacello. To this day the nightclub remains a thing of legend, even if it has been transformed into a theater. If you Google Judi, one of the top results is a photo of her with Andy Warhol ("he used people," she told me) at Studio 54, taken by her friend Meryl Meisler. Even though these two co-owners couldnt be any more different - Schrager was a straight lawyer and Rubell was an out gay restaurant owner - they were the perfect pair to run Studio 54. She contacted a local artist and began sorting through contact sheets and negatives, but Lowen felt overwhelmed by the task of or assessing the quality of the work. And on its last night under initial management, Diana Ross serenaded Rubell and Schrader -- of course surrounded by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Farrah Fawcett, and Sylvester Stallone, among others. Needless to say, he made enough of a name for himself and enough connections to land a spot on the list at Studio 54 often. Relive some of Studio 54's most classic nights in the gallery above. Footage shows co-founder Steve Rubell cherrypicking on the door, reprimanding one hopeful with the immortal line: Dont ever come here with a hat. Doorman Mark Benecke was charged with deciding on the chosen ones. Four women in shimmery dresses sit in the club's lounge area. Bianca Jagger on a white horse for her birthday at Studio 54. We think of him as a gentleman of the paparazzi [of that era], she says. Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell stands in his office, which he claimed was ransacked by federal agents looking for drugs, in 1978. Despite spending only $400,000 on preparations for the nightclub, owner Rubell indicated Studio 54 made over $7 million in profits in the first year. In 1978, Rubell told New York magazine that only the mafia does better than us. Thats why Sylvester Stallone decided he needed to pay a visit to the most famous disco in the United States. However, the notorious New York City nightclub encountered a fair share of obstacles while party-goers ravaged the dance floor . He may have been America's sweetheart, but at Studio 54 he could do whatever he wanted. Regardless of how hot and sweaty it got in the club he wore the coat around in case he needed to hand out a party favor.. A glitter-covered go-go dancer sways in a G-string. Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler at a Beatlemania party. Even when the clubs co-owners were under a federal investigation they didnt let anything get in the way of the clubs success. The nightclub was typically packed full of people. A photograph of Yoko Ono and John Lennon by Gene Spatz (year unknown). This photo shows a man dressed in drag with fake (and appropriately sequined) breasts on his chest. What Gene has is a very different sensitivity, McCarthy says. Not only were people consistently agitated with Rubell telling them that they couldnt come in because of the way they were dressed or looked, but there were so many people that it increasingly became hard to keep the unruly crowds in line. The son rose and set inside the club, literally. She avoided the task of assessing what she had in her possession for nearly a decade until she began to unearth her brothers forgotten treasures. There was an anything goes attitude to sex at Studio 54. One agent told CBS that the book had a skim column so that you had a daily record of everything that they took in and what they took out as skim and didn't report. Co-owner Schrager explained his dalliance as a part of the ridiculous intoxication, I suppose, we were suffering from, like, what were we thinking?". Instead, they used architects who designed popular restaurants, lighting people who worked on Broadway shows, and for sound they used people who were used to more underground clubs. Capote is the author of books like Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffanys and In Cold Blood. In the aftermath of the Vietnam war, Rubell said people were tired of being serious everyone went out and went wild. A playful, intimate moment between a pair of partygoers, circa 1978. She said that she spent a large part of her day arguing over the cost of certain A-listers. Actress and model Margaux Hemingway celebrates her 24th birthday in style. She is even said to have enjoyed a night or two out with Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones. At the time Jerry Hall was just getting used to being a celebrity and she had stars in her eyes. Enjoy these Studio 54 photos? We want to hear it. Left: A clubgoer dressed as Jesus carries a large cross onto the dance floor in 1977. Studio 54's golden age came to an end when the federal government came after Schrager and Rubell for tax evasion. What made Studio 54 different, however, was that drugs were practically encouraged inside. Cher dancing at Studio 54. Even if Bowie was in the normal person phase of his career, he was always looking for new sounds. Mick Jagger and his then significant other Jerry Hall entering the club. The pop artist, model, Blondie lead singer, writer, and fashion designer all bonding at Studio 54. This is after the feminist movement of the 70s: if a woman wanted to be nude that was her privilege, no one would ever touch her or say anything. Elizabeth Taylor shimmering in a glamorous iridescent bodysuit while chatting to legendary fashion designer Halston. For 33 short months the club was the height of cool in Manhattan, with club goers who managed to get past the velvet rope falling into a deluge of drugs and debauchery.Even after the original owners went to prison for skimming millions of dollars, the club . He captured it fantastically the fun and wackiness, the sweetness. breonna taylor protests black lives matter trump peaceful transfer of power. He began incorporating dance music and disco into his sound, and to find inspiration he went to the club and paid close attention. The two had funneled nearly $3 million in less than two years. Studio 54 was the place to be in its heyday. Picture this: Elton John partying the night away with drag queen Divine on the instantly recognisable parquet dance floor. Here, a woman twirls her hat and two men chat over drinks. She made appearances at the nightclub more than once throughout the years and was there on its last day of operation under Steve Rubell in 1980. People would be upset about the cleanliness of the animal and whether or not something was wrong with the horse. Another thing it often had, as a result, was strange performances. Right: A costumed partygoer hits the dance floor in 1981. At the time, childish fun in a club like this couldnt be found in most other venues. A costumed party-goer at a Halloween event sporting a platinum blonde wig, 18th-century-inspired face paint, lace bustier, and white bow tie. In front is famous artist Andy Warhol. But wait, is that a horse shes trying to pet? Bokfrlaget Max Strm/Hasse Persson Studio 54. On finding Studio 54s books, it was discovered that a skim was in operation on up to 80% of the profits. Rogers says this was a reaction to people seeing images of the glamour of places like Studio 54 while their real lives reflected the worst financial recession since the Great Depression. According to a 2018 documentary about Studio 54 Rubell and Scrager skipped out on getting their liquor license by applying for multiple one day licenses that were used by catering companies. The late 70s also saw the rise of celebrity culture, and Studio 54 provided that too, with Liza, Michael, Andy, Bianca and Diana regulars. 29 Wild Photos From The Drug-Fueled Heyday Of Studio 54. If there was one person who loved going out to Studio 54, it was Bianca Jagger. Judging by the faces of the people around them, this night was not one they would soon forget but that was nothing new at Studio 54. In this picture, women pose on top of giant reflective pillows in the middle of the crowd. A photograph of Yoko Ono and John Lennon by Gene Spatz (year unknown). Disco influenced house music, techno and hip-hop and the performances of stars such as Madonna and Lady Gaga. There were no thoughts outside of "I want it, let's make it happen.". Ultimately, as the judge said, theirs was a crime of hubris. No other nightclub has been able to rival it in reputation and A-list guests since. Author and party attendee Anthony Haden-Guest told Rolling Stone that there were only about 150 people at the party initially, but it grew into a wild event. A pile of people forms on the dance floor of the 1978 "Purple Party.". 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