Opening on October 5th at the IFC Center on 6th Avenue (at West 3rd Street) will be another hot documentary film directed by Matt Tyrnauer (I wrote about his documentary, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, on page 22 of this issue) on the legendary discotheque Studio 54 where sex, drugs, and Donna Summer disco music were the order of the day.
Flashing strobe lights and a deafening sound system helped create a crazy, smoky, dizzying atmosphere where there were no rules and all hell broke loose nightly. The iconic disco, built into what was once a historic theatre, also supplied mattresses in the basement and the balcony where the revelers could indulge in sex-galore. A giant quarter-moon face in profile hung above the dance floor, its nose attended by an electronic arm with a hand holding a spoon ostensibly filled with cocaine. This pleasure palace also had exclusive VIP rooms where Andy Warhol, his Factory superstar entourage, and a besotted and overweight Truman Capote held court to celebs like Mick Jagger, Liz Taylor, Calvin Klein, and dozens of handsome gay men, transgenders and costume queens like Rollerena and John Eric Broaddus, who showed up in their feathery, bejeweled glitter outfits.
The club’s autocratic owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager ruled over the place, deciding who could enter and who could not. Exclusive and decadent, it was the “in” place to go to from 1978 to 1980. It was the last gasp of the wild sexy seventies where disco joints everywhere supplied back rooms for sex. If Studio 54 closed early, customers could cab downtown to a notorious club on 14th Street called the Anvil, which opened its doors at 4 AM and continued into dawn’s early light and beyond. This is a doc not to be missed. Studio 54 is a real throwback to a time where crazy fun and sex were all.