In a relatively small space were some of the most beautiful and richest people who ever lived. Being a spouse to legendary partier Jagger, its no wonder she enjoyed a good get-together herself. Once they did, a "mad sexual orgy" started. 9 Monumental Books About Martin Luther King Jr. 9 Films That Provide Insight Into Martin Luther King Jr.s Life and Legacy. Copyright 2023 Penske Business Media, LLC. With nowhere else to go, the party spilled onto the street. The crowds only grew as the clubs popularity did. Not having alcohol wasn't a problem, of course, because this was the 1970s. Right: A pair of women get funky on the dance floor during November 1977. The late 70s also saw the rise of celebrity culture, and Studio 54 provided that too, with Liza, Michael, Andy, Bianca and Diana regulars. Getting high low-down, Grace Jones wrote in her 2016 memoir. Those lucky enough to be in attendance are spotted in the background, watching with drinks in hand. A playful, intimate moment between a pair of partygoers, circa 1978. Crowded scenes of fabulous party animals have the most obvious appealthe fashion and the dancing just drip with the pursuit of pleasure and sensual self-indulgence. But wait, is that a horse shes trying to pet? She is seen here in colorful 70s makeup, big hair and a risque lace top. We dived onto the ground. Capote is the author of books like Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffanys and In Cold Blood. Studio 54, New York. At a wild place like Studio 54, there werent lots of rules about what to wear or who to be. Studio 54 was a safe space for groups who would have been marginalised in the late 70s. Theres this new club opening tonight. Less exclusive was the balcony area, upholstered in rubber because it was deemed easy to clean. The owners were skimming millions, up to 80 percent of their profits. Without a great costume, you werent getting in. 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. Not that they actually waited to get inside for the fun to start. This wasnt a show for just any night at the club, however. Many of the staff of Studio 54 including Rubell died as a result of it. Left: A dancer is swept into a spectrum of lights during 1978. And finally it hit Bernard. You walked in and the hallway was nothing but lockers, high school lockers on both sides, marveled the films producer, Allan Carr, in 1998. Robin Williams dancing with his then-wife Valerie in 1979. This kind of tolerance in the 1970s and 1980s was not seen in the mainstream media, but it was alive and well in nightclubs like Studio 54. And McCarthy was able to recognize the special collection Lowen had inherited and make sure his creative legacy remained alive. Enjoy these Studio 54 photos? The criteria for entry werent clear-cut you simply had to have the look and style they wanted to see inside the establishment. 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. Owner Steve Rubell is standing in his office in this photograph after, he claimed, federal police raided the area in search of drugs. The owners knew they needed celebrities to keep coming, and they knew celebrities liked free drugs. His latest book, Studio 54, is a record of hedonism that includes actual swinging from the rafters and a literal procession of men in Dionysian drag. He and his wife Sasha Stallone are pictured here in Studio 54 in 1978. Posted on April 12, 2017, 9:16 pm. Studio 54 produced many star-studded photo opportunities. After they were found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years each, they threw one last huge party the night before they went to prison. What Gene has is a very different sensitivity, McCarthy says. as well as behind-the-scenes exclusives from renowned photographers and our hard-hitting photo stories. 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. The employee, stoned out of his mind, forgot to unlock her and went back to work. Gene captured that part of history and the exuberance in a unique way. While the nightclubs lifespan may have been cut short, the memories made within its walls live on in countless celebrities and lucky visitors. They were still adjusting the lights and fixing the music, says Haskell. The animal-loving activist tried to correct the misconception in a 2015 letter to the Financial Times. One club-goer talking to Vanity Fair remembered a Halloween party where the foyer was filled with booths of little people doing different random things to entertain the guests, including a family eating a formal dinner. Under Rubells ownership, however, the strange, the weird and the scary were given a place to flourish beneath the lights of the nightclub. Then she discovered an organization that seemed to offer a way forward and talked with Regan McCarthy at POBA, an online hub and resource thats dedicated to recognizing creative talents who were under-recognized during their life. He was not there for the drug-fueled disco deliria. by Gabriel H. Sanchez. If youd gone to Studio 54 in the 1970s, however, this is exactly the type of scene you couldve enjoyed. Judge Richard Owen shocked the court by imposing the maximum penalty: three-and-a-half years in prison and $20,000 fines. In front is famous artist Andy Warhol. It was completely normal to see people walking around naked. Clubgoers dance amid light towers on the dance floor at Studio 54 on May 15, 1978. Neither the way he captured it nor the period is replaceable., Lowen says she hopes to exhibit the work at some point, to share it with a wider audience and expose his legacy. We felt horrible., The men sulked back to Rodgers apartment just a few blocks away. In 1978, Studio 54 was lucky enough to host her 46th birthday party. When the builders were asked if they were making a "sex pit," the answer was simply, yes. We had the kid who worked at McDonalds next to some movie star or some superstar model, he said in the E! 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. New York Post columnist Jack Martin found Rubell in the early morning hours. For that reason, his photos are not only fine art, they are history. Other photographers didnt capture that. This photo shows a man dressed in drag with fake (and appropriately sequined) breasts on his chest. Suddenly the IRS were interested in going clubbing. 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. Then . There is a famous picture of former first lady Betty Ford (who had quit drinking and prescription drugs just a year before) hanging out with the stars while her Secret Service detail stands behind her. It wasnt just the celebrities known to enjoy partying who indulged in a night out at Studio 54. So we got to Studio 54 and there was nobody there. 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. But soon the crowd started to build to ridiculous proportions. You were also welcomed with open arms if you were a drag queen. Dolly came and was completely freaked out at the number of people there. The two are almost unrecognizable, however, thanks to the cream thats been smeared all over their faces and clothes. I called various places and it was impossible, he told Haden-Guest. The Studio 54 Glory Years When CBS sold the theater, various parties from the worlds of fashion and art began to express interest in seeing it transformed into a nightclub. She was an actress and human rights activist who was married to Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger at the time. We had chickens in a pen, he says in The Last Party. 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. According to the Guardian, the owners helpfully supplied mattresses and everything. Unlike most businesses who are fiddling the books, Studio 54 kept detailed records of their illegality. We walked out through the entrance where the garbage goes out. They were known to turn away some seriously well-known people. Halston.It was 10:30 in the morning and the phone rang, club associate Renny Reynolds told Haden-Guest. Ultimately, as the judge said, theirs was a crime of hubris. ', Editors picks Club founders Ian Schrager and Rubell were sent to jail in 1980. Not only was this accepted, but one of the biggest suppliers was the co-owner Steve Rubell. Part of the lure of a nightclub like Studio 54 is that you went home with plenty of stories to tell about the wacky things you saw go down inside. 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. The 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time Right: People wait in line outside of Studio 54 in 1978. Once, a regular customer had too many people, or some problem. Nobody wanted to rent a car to Studio 54. Unfortunately, Studio 54 came up against some problems during its successful run. The party went off without a hitch, save for a minor incident. Studio 54s peak was intense but short-lived. According to the Independent, in 1978 co-owner Steve Rubell bragged openly in an interview about how well things were going, saying "only the Mafia made more money" the year before. One man was less lucky. Hindsight is 20/20, but people who were there swear they knew they were part of something historic. A man dressed up in leather and an NYU tank chats with his friend, decked out in pearls and garters as two other club-goers look on. While it lasted, many photographers flocked to the bacchanal to capture the celebrities and other lucky denizens as they danced and snorted and frolicked under that iconic Man in the Moon with the coke spoon sculpture. The picture that forms is that you had to see it to believe it. Oddly, one of the first people ever in the club was Donald Trump. He was never on the dance floor, Studio 54 busboy Richie Notar recalled in a 2017 BBC radio documentary. The packed dance floor was the place to see and be seen, but not everything people got up to at Studio 54 was necessarily intended for an audience. Studio 54's golden age came to an end when the federal government came after Schrager and Rubell for tax evasion. Trans women were welcomed, while eccentrics such as Rollerina, a Wall Street banker by day who. Oh, I knew I should have counted it, wrote Warhols colleague Bob Colacello in his memoir. Ian Schrager may be writing the last word on Studio 54 with his coffee table tome for Rizzoli. Debbie Harry of Blondie arrives with her friends to the nightclub in 1981. Studio 54 has gone down in history as the ultimate nightclub, a place where everyone who was anyone went to get down, boogie, and be seen. Among the first to appear outside the doors of Studio 54 on opening night was Donald Trump, accompanied by his new wife, Ivana. When youre a wealthy celebrity, youre going to want to have the best of the best. If you found yourself fortunate enough to make it inside Studio 54 in 1978, you mightve come upon a scene like this one. In 1977 the club made millions yet reportedly paid just a paltry $8,000 in taxes. The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Skimming was standard practice in the cash-flush world of restaurants and nightclubs, but this was an order of magnitude greater than most offenders. For the younger generations who might not know, Elizabeth Taylor was a star like no other during her time. A glitter-covered go-go dancer sways in a G-string. The high ceiling of the building allowed for such displays, though they must have been quite careful not to step on anyones toes. It peaked just about a decade after the Summer of Love - how far the Baby Boomers had come since their anti-materialist, hippie days! Mick Jagger and his then significant other Jerry Hall entering the club. The man who made it famous, Steve Rubell, was only in charge from 1977 to 1980. 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For those of us who prefer photojournalism to actual opulent dance clubs, the morning-after exhaustion on patrons faces may be the most relatable theme of the series. 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. This would not be the only time the nightclub had a horse on its premises, nor would it be the only animal ever invited inside. Many of the celebs who were there are still alive, so other than vague rumors, we don't know the worst of what went down. A party was staged the night before their sentences began. Its immersive atmosphere and coveted location on West 54th street in Manhattan made the spot an instant hit. We were like the first. A look back at the epicenter of NYC nightlife, presented by Getty Images. All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out stories that illuminate the past, present, and future. The owners were always trying to top themselves, and it led to some ridiculous events. It just snowballed from there, doorman Marc Benecke recalled in a 1998 E! At that time, our music was fairly popular Dance, Dance, Dance was a big hit but Grace Jones didnt leave our name at the door and the doorman wouldnt let us in. They waited around until the early morning hours. A woman in a bustier and garters finds her partner the "punk" behind her, at Studio 54's 1977 Halloween party. Studio 54 Photos And The Debauchery That Ensued 54 Decadent Photos Of Studio A Story Debauchery And Dancing Groovy History E And Disco A Brief History Of Studio 54 Flashbak Studio 54 Dj Reveals The Stars Nights Of S And Boogie At Legendary Club Mirror Studio 54 15 Things We Learned About The Hedonists Mecca From New Doentary Independent According to the Daily Beast, he and his friends had no problem getting in because they showed up unfashionably early and were basically first in line. If a regular night at Studio 54 was crazy, it was the special parties that were totally unacceptable. Frank Sinatra was stranded in his limousine, unable to get near. Not even those who got inside the club could all make it into the basement. Operated by the Roundabout Theatre Company, Studio 54 has 1,006 seats on two levels. Benecke often needed an escort back to his apartment. We still don't know even half of what went on behind those hallowed walls, but some people have been willing to spill a few details in interviews or memoirs. MSN called the drug-taking "endemic." These two people, covered in silver, dance for onlookers inside Studio 54. A pair of topless women parade across the dance floor during Folies Bergre night, circa 1977. He told Rubell outright that his uniform was ridiculous for working, and instead he was going to hang out and entertain the celebrities. 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. This was ridiculous because if you want to get away with it you might skim 1-2 percent. The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time We were with him literally until he took a car to go home and meet the authorities. The party was over. The secluded corners furnished with mattresses quickly became a popular feature. Getting into Studio 54 could be impossible. The club was a tabloid fixture. Franco Rossellini and Steve Rubell (producer and owner, respectively) are pictured here in front of what appears to be a giant birthday cake. There were "horses and donkeys and mules running through the club," as well as chickens in a pen. What made Studio 54 different, however, was that drugs were practically encouraged inside. On finding Studio 54s books, it was discovered that a skim was in operation on up to 80% of the profits. When she wasnt whipping her legs through the air to the music, she was brushing shoulders with the countrys most famous celebrities. 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. It seemed as though thrill-seekers young and old wanted nothing more than to get a taste of Studio 54s soaring reputation. The spectacle is complete with their revealing outfits, but by Studio 54 standards, their dress is modest. Throughout its three-year lifespan under Rubell and Schrager, Studio 54 served as a lab to experiment with everything from illicit drugs to gender. Unfortunately, the guest of honor was less than amused. On May 2nd, Jagger celebrated in grand style. 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. The newly anointed nightclub king got cocky, joking to a radio host that what the IRS doesnt know wont hurt them, and bragging to New York magazine, Only the Mafia makes more money.. The most tragically desperate individual was found in an air vent in black tie attire, dead. He handed them out to a few dozen people around him and they waited the 15-20 minutes for them to kick in. The theater was designed by Eugene De Rosa for producer Fortune Gallo and opened in 1927 as the Gallo Opera House. The people in this photograph have costumes and makeup on, complete with pairs of tall stilts that helped them tower over the crowd. All Rights reserved. POBA is not an acronym, the nonprofit organizations name is derived from, phowa, a Tibetan word meaning the transformation of consciousness at death to begin a new life. It was relatively common for famous figures to throw their birthday parties inside Studio 54. We had big wine barrels we filled with corn. One of the most famous pictures ever taken at the club was of Mick Jagger's then-wife Bianca (pictured above at a different event with John Travolta) atop a white horse being led around the dance floor by a naked man covered in glitter (and sporting a fabulous '70s mustache). Studio 54 is the one nightclub from the '70s everyone remembers. By midnight, the huge group in the street had become "Sodom and Gomorrah." Some tried to grease palms with thousands of dollars. All the men had their dicks out the women were showing their tits everybody was feeling everybody else the crowd was moving in waves all of a sudden you would find yourself next to someone you didnt know., Meanwhile, the future president was up to less scandalous shenanigans inside. We had a circus ring with sand, and mermaids on trapezes, he told Vanity Fair. We had a blast. After all, it seemed like everyone was doing it! Exactly what needed to be cleaned is best left to the imagination. Here he is enjoying an anniversary party for Andy Warhols magazine, Interview. Bodily fluids and coke dust can be hard to remove under normal circumstances. A cheetah might be sitting at the bar. The next couple of nights werent as busy. In this picture, well-known English actor Michael Caine is laughing and dancing with his wife Shakira, while partygoers frolic on behind them. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. It was all down to a misunderstanding; they'd been invited personally to a New Year's Eve party there by Grace Jones, but the guest list hadn't been updated. Williams appears to be accepting a drink from the jolly character. One of the many famous faces to grace the dance floor of Studio 54 was that of legendary singer Diana Ross. Left: Outside Studio 54, someone arrives to the club on a horse for the third annual Halloween party in 1978. The following February, just before they were due to serve their time, Rubell and Schrager threw one last bash, billed as The End of Modern-Day Gomorrah. This final blowout was intimate compared to most nights, with just 2,000 of Studio 54s most faithful, including Richard Gere, Halston, Reggie Jackson, Andy Warhol, Lorna Luft and Sylvester Stallone. A 77-year-old widow who became known as "Disco Sally" was a regular and was always allowed in when she showed up. They were hired for the New Years Eve party of 1977. He was supplied with drugs and given a regular paycheck. (Quaaludes, a prescription sedative with hypnotic effects, were huge in the '70s and classily known as "panty droppers.") It wasnt until a few years later that Rubell would get busted for tax evasion and end up in jail. 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 owner, Steve Rubell, saw it as "casting a play," and getting the perfect mix of people was key. His latest book, Studio 54, is a record of hedonism that includes actual swinging from the rafters and a literal procession of men in Dionysian drag. For many guests (celebrity or not), Studio 54 was a place to dance, discover, and dip into the unknown. The women were not. 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The setting is quite a departure from his most famous work, but Papageorges keen eye for detail and fascination with his subjects is consistently engaginghe just makes everyone look gorgeous. Nearby trash cans always had to be emptied of bottles and other things that could become dangerous projectiles. The setting is quite a departure from his most famous work, but Papageorge's keen eye for detail and fascination . It was the end of an era. Even if you werent having sex with someone every night, you felt like you could, says former editor of Interview, Bob Colacello. No other nightclub has been able to rival it in reputation and A-list guests since. Behind The Velvet Rope Line Of Studio 54 S Short Sordid Life. Four women in shimmery dresses sit in the club's lounge area. It would be decades before New York City's smoking ban forbade smoking in indoor spaces. Studio 54 is immensely interesting just in terms of a sociological perspective. For major actresses like these, visiting Studio 54 was a must while in New York City. Within half an hour they composed a song called Fuck Off. After some lyrical tweaking they arrived at a slightly more Top 40friendly title. At this time, Fawcett had recently hit it big with her role in Charlies Angels, while MacLaine had just starred in The Turning Point. As you can see, this was long before his dramatic transformation and eventual controversies in the public eye. The birthday girl took the place of honor astride the horse, which trotted across the dance floor while cameras greedily snapped. There is a famous picture of former first lady Betty Ford (who had quit drinking and prescription drugs just a year before) hanging out with the stars while her Secret Service detail stands behind her. He used to joke, If I wasnt the owner, I wouldnt be allowed in. Behind The Scenes At Studio 54 Cnn Style. A throwback to the heyday of authentic New York nightlife, the room also boasts wonderful lighting by Tony winner Ken Billington and the best sound in town . The 100 Best Albums of 2022. 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. People were waiting in lines with the most fantastic costumes on, each one trying to outdo the other one so that they could be pointed to and get in. One Halloween, two women, perhaps recalling the famous Bianca Jagger photos, took out a $500 loan to rent a horse, which they rode nude to the velvet ropes as twin Lady Godivas. In 1977, at the height of the disco craze, the Studio 54 nightclub opened . To this day the nightclub remains a thing of legend, even if it has been transformed into a theater. In this picture, you can see doorman Mark Benecke sweeping the expectant crowd for the best individuals to allow past the front doors. He understood it was an opportunity to be grabbed. Co-owner Steve Rubell was gay, which could explain why instead of the busty women you might expect, the bartenders at the club were all hunky guys. In 1977, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell began work converting the theater into the Studio 54 nightclub. Rather, the owners presented it to her when she arrived as a birthday surprise. 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. A photograph of Yoko Ono and John Lennon by Gene Spatz (year unknown). Finally it became CBS's Studio 52 from 1942 to 1976. It was just as much a part of the Studio 54 experience as the dancing. ' Released as Le Freak that September, the song would become Chics first Number One and biggest hit. Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell stands in his office, which he claimed was ransacked by federal agents looking for drugs, in 1978. At the time, she would have been in the midst of releasing her 1977 album, Cherished. One night a rejected hopeful came back and brandished a gun. If you wanted a place to let loose and perhaps engage in some public nudity, then Studio 54 was the club for you. Right: Clubgoers inhale nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) on the dance floor during the 1977 Halloween party. Showing Editorial results for studio 54. Celebrities headed for the basement. I said, Cmon! The hottest celebrities and wildest outfits could be seen on the dance floor, and illicit substances flowed freely among partiers. But we can still try to piece together some of the most messed up stuff that ever happened at Studio 54. Fact-Checking the Aretha Franklin Biopic, Jeff Buckleys Grace: 10 Things You Didnt Know, Flashback: Back to the Future Has Everyone Wanting to Play Johnny B Goode Like Michael J. She called getting on it and riding around a "foolish decision.". There is mixed reporting on whether notorious lady-killer Warren Beatty was told to leave or if he gave up on his own. After Lowen uploaded digital versions of the photographs to a secure vault, POBA staff helped crop and curate the material, highlighting the value of his artistic eye. Steve was coked out of his mind, remembered one in attendance, Bianca was hugging him, and he was saying, I love you people! ' Even so, would-be patrons often took rejection badly. and Company, but the party was initially dead. One of the men on the scene was Gene Spatz, a pioneering paparazzo and street photographer who most people have never heard about. About 30 people standing around us took them, and then everybody started having this mad sexual orgy. Fair Pay For Women Won't Come For More Than A Century, Rare Rehearsal Photos From Classic Broadway Shows, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. Somebody yelled out, Hey! It was Halston. He infamously walked around wearing a padded coat that hid his stash of cocaine, Quaaludes, and poppers. Diana Ross and Liza Minelli performed for Rubell, and in this photo, Stevie Wonder took to the piano at his secretarys birthday party. Model Bianca Jagger holds doves at a party thrown by fashion designer Halston in 1977.