They were still adjusting the lights and fixing the music, says Haskell. . Dolly came and was completely freaked out at the number of people there. The IRS was not fooled. I said, Cmon! PHOTOS: Newly Released Studio 54 Collection Offers Rare Glimpse Into A Party Legend. You were also welcomed with open arms if you were a drag queen. Nonetheless, Trump became something of a regular at the venue. A kind of unofficial VIP area in an already VIP club, it was where big celebrities went for their private trysts. We felt horrible., The men sulked back to Rodgers apartment just a few blocks away. Theres this new club opening tonight. It was completely normal to see people walking around naked. They were trying to get into the courtyard. To this day the nightclub remains a thing of legend, even if it has been transformed into a theater. 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. While some front-door rejects got vengeful, truly tenacious clubgoers tried to find alternate access points to crash the party. It wasn't subtle: Hung from the roof of Studio 54, dangling over the dance floor, was a giant crescent moon with a face, a cocaine spoon moving to and from its nose. We use ads to keep our content free for you. Benecke says he "sometimes" took them up on it. New York Post columnist Jack Martin found Rubell in the early morning hours. She had not had a Studio 54 experience. Oddly, one of the first people ever in the club was Donald Trump. Messed Up Things That Happened At Studio 54. We were like the first. Performers drop down from the ceiling, held by nothing but a cord connected to their legs. ', Editors picks And I kind of let that slide because he didnt shoot. Another morning, someone did pull the trigger. Not only did she love a good time, but she also knew how to master the dance floor. It was a sad going-away party but we were laughing and trying to have fun. Fans would say she had eyes the color of lavender, and her performances in films like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will forever go down in cinema history. See Rare Photos Inside Studio 54 Nightclub, RS Recommends: Rad Powers E-Bike Offers a New (and Better) Way to Commute, How Vaccines and Masks Are Making Broadway Safe Again, See Nanci Griffith Cover the Rolling Stones No Expectations, Brian Walshe to Be Charged with Murder of His Missing Wife, Ron Jeremy Found Not Competent to Stand Trial in Serial Rape Case, The Genetic Mutation That Makes Kraken Covid So Contagious, The Boy Just Aint Smart': How Stephen A. Smith Overcame a Learning Disability to Become the Most Passionate Voice in Sports, Andrew Callaghan Apologizes: I've Always Taken No for an Answer as Far as Consent, Leslie Jones Asks White People in New York How They're Celebrating MLK Jr. Day, Pro-Trump Former Lawmaker Ordered to Pay $45,000 for Blocking Man on Facebook, Meryl Streep Checks Into Only Murders in the Building on Hulu, Matt Schlapp Sued for $9.4 Million After Allegedly Groping Man's Crotch. Inside studio 54 the wild nights of 1970 s celebrities disco and debauchery club owner mark fleischman i m ending my life by dancing with stars swimming in story behind legendary nightclub high humans broadway beloved basement feinstein below turns 10 new york times page 4 herald weekly ian schrager on doentary this film takes  Fellini gave us costumes from his film The Clowns. 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. For many guests (celebrity or not), Studio 54 was a place to dance, discover, and dip into the unknown. Amazingly, this worked, until it didn't. Imagine walking into a nightclub and seeing this group of people having drinks you might not believe what youre seeing! At the time, childish fun in a club like this couldnt be found in most other venues. Even when they were under investigation for tax evasion and obstruction of justice, the owners renovated the club. For more New York drama, be sure to check out what the city looked like in the 1970s. So I found this little auto museum down somewhere in New Jersey. Model Bianca Jagger holds doves at a party thrown by fashion designer Halston in 1977. This couple wears scant Halloween costumes resembling a mermaid and some kind of sea creature, and their choice of style was not out of the ordinary at Studio 54. 29 Pictures That Show Just How Insane Studio 54 Really Was The Holiday Party At Studio 54 Got A Little Out Of Hand Inside The Real Studio 54 Balconies Liza Minnelli No Hats S Guardian Messed Up Things That Happened At Studio 54 Behind The Scenes At Studio 54 Cnn Style The Holiday Party At Studio 54 Got A Little Out Of Hand Franco Rossellini and Steve Rubell (producer and owner, respectively) are pictured here in front of what appears to be a giant birthday cake. Here, see a selection of exclusive images of Spatzs work for the first time. One bartender co-wrote a novel in 1980 about a Studio 54-like club that was so close to reality, Andy Warhol wondered how he didn't get sued. Each morning, massive portions of the previous nights take would be stuffed in garbage bags and hidden above ceiling panels, or smuggled home to Rubells apartment and concealed in a hidden compartment. The next couple of nights werent as busy. In this picture, Robin Williams is with his then-wife Valerie Velardi and Studio 54s own Santa Claus. A woman dances near the Studio 54 light towers in 1977. 10 Crazy Things That Happened At Studio 54 Mental Floss. At this time, Fawcett had recently hit it big with her role in Charlies Angels, while MacLaine had just starred in The Turning Point. [Halston] only had about 150 people. The sex, drugs and disco on offer at Studio 54 served as the perfect release for a generation raised under the pressures of Watergate and the Vietnam War. Without a great costume, you werent getting in. To achieve the perfect blend of guests for his nightly party, he often stood on a stepstool outside, selecting members of the crowd for admittance with a subjectivity that bordered on heartless. The gift caused some tension a year later, after the IRS raided Rubells office and seized his financial records, including a catalogue of gifts dolled out to celebrity friends and clients. It seemed as though thrill-seekers young and old wanted nothing more than to get a taste of Studio 54s soaring reputation. And then you went into the main part of the club and he had all these old convertible cars of the Fifties.. Studio 54: 10 Wild Stories From Clubs Debauched Heyday, How True Is Respect? The man who made it famous, Steve Rubell, was only in charge from 1977 to 1980. The Birth of Studio 54. Unlike most businesses who are fiddling the books, Studio 54 kept detailed records of their illegality. For that reason, his photos are not only fine art, they are history. In fact, some women were often topless at Studio 54 parties, in nothing more than tiny thong bottoms and boots. 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. Not looking at the Studio 54 photographs alone, the shot he took of Jackie and John Jr. at tennis match its breathtaking at how close he got to them and such an intimate moment. According to the Guardian, the owners helpfully supplied mattresses and everything. Creative Breakfast Recipes from Andrew Zimmern, Alton Brown and Sunny Anderson, 14 Destination Races Perfect for Extending into a Vacation, Wild Office Pranks That Evil Coworkers Have Pulled on Each Other, 6 Sites to Design Custom Photo Mugs for Gifts or Keepsakes, Seasonal Sips: Totally Teetotal Winter Mocktails for Dry January. One of the most memorable soirees was held in honor of Dolly Parton. Steve was coked out of his mind, remembered one in attendance, Bianca was hugging him, and he was saying, I love you people! Asshole! I looked and there was a rifle pointed at me. The couple had been enjoying dinner a short time earlier with socialite Nikki Haskell and her date at the iconic Upper East Side eatery Elaines. Valentino was the ringmaster, and Marina Schiano came as a palm reader with a parrot on her shoulder.. A pile of people forms on the dance floor of the 1978 "Purple Party.". The women were not. They had haystacks and horses and donkeys and mules running through the club. Renny Reynolds procured most of the animals from a farm he was renting in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This photograph was taken at the first Halloween party and shows two men dressed in taboo fetish gear, one man miming cutting the other. As an environmentalist and an animal rights defender I find the insinuation that I would ride a horse into a nightclub offensive., The key of the success of Studio 54 is that its a dictatorship at the door and a democracy on the dance floor, club regular Andy Warhol once observed, and Steve Rubell ruled the velvet ropes with an iron fist. Again, this is in a huge crowd of people on a street in Manhattan. This was taken in the ladies room. Costing tens of thousands of dollars, these one-night-only productions put the neighboring Broadway shows to shame, only to vanish by the time the club opened the next day. One of Studio 54s main attractions was its complex lighting. A cheetah might be sitting at the bar. Rolling Stone reportedthat when Dolly Parton came to town for a concert, the owners decided the best way to make a country singer feel comfortable was to turn the club into a farm. What Gene has is a very different sensitivity, McCarthy says. The doormen regularly had to be escorted home at the end of the night for their safety. At the Purple magazine party, a naked couple in a clear bathtub perform for an audience in 1977. He was not there for the drug-fueled disco deliria. 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. Known for its raucous parties and A-list guests, the first three years of Studio 54's existence were the most exclusive and enticing and that was by design. He said, Hey Nile, what youre playing sounds really good.'. A photograph of Yoko Ono and John Lennon by Gene Spatz (year unknown). America in 1977 was ripe for something fun, glamorous and a bit risque. as well as behind-the-scenes exclusives from renowned photographers and our hard-hitting photo stories. Originally opened as an opera house in 1927, Studio 54 became a popular nightclub in 1977. In this picture, you can see doorman Mark Benecke sweeping the expectant crowd for the best individuals to allow past the front doors. One of the men on the scene was Gene Spatz, a pioneering paparazzo and street photographer who most people have never heard about. The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Both Rubell and Schrager were arrested and accused of skimming $2.5 million in club earnings. The stunt was well-planned and executed by experienced acrobats, so thankfully no one was hurt. Id go there a lot with dates and with friends, and with lots of people, he told The Washington Post in 2016. My favorite shots though, are post-party. 1 120 VOTES Bianca Jagger's Birthday Party - Bianca Celebrating With Liza Minelli (May 2, 1978) Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images 101 19 2 146 VOTES They were out of their minds on drugs and indulging in their dirtiest fantasies. While the club wanted to attract as many celebrities as possible, just being famous didn't necessarily guarantee you entrance. Ultimately, as the judge said, theirs was a crime of hubris. Capote is the author of books like Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffanys and In Cold Blood. For Andy Warhols 50th birthday in August 1978, Rubell gave the artist a fresh roll of 5,000 free drink tickets and a silver garbage can filled with $1,000 worth of crisp new dollar bills. Right: People wait in line outside of Studio 54 in 1978. The stunt was one of the most effective in the history of publicity, as photos of Jagger on horseback instantly appeared in papers across the globe. One of the bartenders donned a diaper and popped out of a cake, but the highlight of the evening occurred around midnight, when a white steed was led out from behind a stage curtain by a nude couple slathered in shimmering paint and sparkles. But if you were really famous, there was the basement. "I don't have only good memories. If you came on a white horse, with almost no clothes on, you were guaranteed to get in. Once, a regular customer had too many people, or some problem. We were really totally dejected. According to him he actually took the trash out and swept up while his co-workers partied. Throughout its three-year lifespan under Rubell and Schrager, Studio 54 served as a lab to experiment with everything from illicit drugs to gender. If he liked you enough, he'd give you a little something. He was supplied with drugs and given a regular paycheck. Behind The Velvet Rope Line Of Studio 54 S Short Sordid Life. Sylvester Stallone and Sheryl Slocum, 1977. It wasnt until a few years later that Rubell would get busted for tax evasion and end up in jail. Rubell liked to tell a story about a countess who took a fancy to one unnamed bartender and had him handcuff her to a pipe in the basement before having sex with her. People openly took poppers on the dance floor, and less openly shot up heroin in dark corners. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for who gained entrance and who didn't. New York Magazine interviewed former employees, including bartender Scott Taylor. Nearby trash cans always had to be emptied of bottles and other things that could become dangerous projectiles. Rubells connections meant celebrities were some of the first people to set foot inside, and its reputation as an exclusive hub for the rich and famous was sparked. Within half an hour they composed a song called Fuck Off. After some lyrical tweaking they arrived at a slightly more Top 40friendly title. He infamously walked around wearing a padded coat that hid his stash of cocaine, Quaaludes, and poppers. He was sort of spaced-out, he told Haden-Guest. Shes just finished with a 1978 concert, following up a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance. Not something you see every day, but you could see it at Studio 54. So we got to Studio 54 and there was nobody there. 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. At times it got really hairy outside, he told Haden-Guest. What was interesting is that women felt secure enough to dance nude in the place. We had a circus ring with sand, and mermaids on trapezes, he told Vanity Fair. Club founders Ian Schrager and Rubell were sent to jail in 1980. Other photographers didnt capture that. A pair of topless women parade across the dance floor during Folies Bergre night, circa 1977. They bought a building at 254 W. 54th St. in New York and spent $400,000 on turning it into a nightclub that included a huge man-in-the-moon hanging over the dance floor. A look back at the epicenter of NYC nightlife, presented by Getty Images. 23,434 Studio 54 Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images CREATIVE EDITORIAL VIDEO All Sports Entertainment News Archival Browse 23,434 studio 54 stock photos and images available, or search for studio 54 moon or studio 54 1970s to find more great stock photos and pictures. Contact Gabriel H. Sanchez at email@example.com. The nightclub was typically packed full of people. 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. Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell stands in his office, which he claimed was ransacked by federal agents looking for drugs, in 1978. We dived onto the ground. A playful, intimate moment between a pair of partygoers, circa 1978. You could see him, trying to scope out the inside of the club. 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. Studio 54 started as it meant to go on. The door code played upon the fundamental human quirk of desperately wanting what one cant have. Less exclusive was the balcony area, upholstered in rubber because it was deemed easy to clean. He used to joke, If I wasnt the owner, I wouldnt be allowed in. Workers had been laying down black flooring less than an hour before, and when the bulbs behind the bar suddenly stopped working, gofers were frantically dispatched to the nearest bodega to purchase armloads of votive candles. Left: A performer on stilts manages to bust a move in 1981. I walked him back to his limo. I remember where this guy had really screwed himself up and they got a stretcher. Although he had broken his neck and left wrist, he took pleasure in the fact that he had actually made it inside. With someone like Diana Ross at your venue, you wont be hurting for attendees. The black-and-white photographs included scenes from iconic clubs like Studio 54 and Xenon; shots of Carrie Fisher, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Redford; as well quirky New York City street life tableaus in the 1970s and Eighties. The two are almost unrecognizable, however, thanks to the cream thats been smeared all over their faces and clothes. The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time Hindsight is 20/20, but people who were there swear they knew they were part of something historic. Thats why Sylvester Stallone decided he needed to pay a visit to the most famous disco in the United States. I personally tried to get very friendly with the underside of a car., Although their songs were must-plays on the dance floor, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic found themselves unable to clear Beneckes ultra-strict door policy on New Years Eve 1977. They didnt even know we were waiting out there., The atmosphere was hardly better inside, as the couples wandered through the empty disco. Right: During a Purple magazine party in 1978, a topless woman rides onto the dance floor on a white horse. Desperately!. The most tragically desperate individual was found in an air vent in black tie attire, dead. (The pair later married but not until 2001). All very un-PC. Each vehicle had to be taken onto the street, where its tank was emptied, and then pushed back inside by hand. The employee, stoned out of his mind, forgot to unlock her and went back to work. 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. In the 1970s, Studio 54 was a palace of excess and hedonism and on Halloween, this infamous nightclub opened its doors to the costumed ghouls of New York City. In the four decades since Studio 54 first opened its doors, tales of what went on behind the velvet rope have become modern myths. Then, all of a sudden it just hit me. The club was a tabloid fixture. It wasnt until he was gone, and I had brought everything home and put it in storage, that I began to open up these envelopes and discover his work.. A couple relaxes next to a comatose man, 1978. It first opened its doors in 1927 as the Gallo Opera House. The clubs explosive success had attracted attention from authorities, and they thought Studio 54 might be connected to organized crime. 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. In a jovial moment, revelers tipped the bucket over his head, showering him with money. Writer and socialite Anthony Haden-Guest describes the scenes as like the damned looking into paradise. Steve had certain criteria, an insider later told Vanity Fair. 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