The most compelling part of this chronicle concerns the rise and fall of Steve Rubell, the boy from Queens, and the club he created that drew the rich and famous from all over the globe. Rubell and his partner, Ian Schrager, were eventually sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion. Haden-Guest, who's prone to exaggeration, calls their trial the media culture's version of 'Moscow's Show Trials of the Stalin era.' Some readers will find the gossip, name-dropping and dirt-dishing delicious; others will wonder what all the fuss is about.
Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Nightby Anthony Haden-Guest
Going beyond the endless partying with Liza, Bianca, Halston, Andy, and Mick, Haden-Guest
Studio 54 was the epicenter of disco culture and pre-AIDS debauchery. Now, journalist and nightworld denizen Anthony Haden-Guest takes us behind the velvet rope that separated the celebrities from the wanna-bes, into an all-night world of revelry, sensation, and decadence.
Going beyond the endless partying with Liza, Bianca, Halston, Andy, and Mick, Haden-Guest probes the seamy underside of Studio 54: the drugs, the deaths, and the corruption that eventually shuttered the club. It is the story of Studio 54's flamboyant owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, who achieved early success beyond their wildest imaginings, came within a hair's breadth of great power, and then crashed and burned.
What happened on West 54th Street was a magical confluence of time, place, and the public's readiness to party. With its cavernous interior refurbished as the most adult of playgrounds, complete with a neon man in the moon who periodically took a huge sniff from a gigantic coke spoon, Studio 54 was a place where everyman could live out his private fantasies.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt
Maurice Brahms got involved with Manhattan's Nightworld entirely on account of John Addison, who arrived from South Africa in the early seventies. "He was a second cousin of mine. He stayed with me in Brooklyn," Maurice Brahms says. The cousins were unalike. Brahms was of middling height, garrulous, straight, and dressed like a businessman, whereas Addison was tall, gay, secretive, and elegant. Brahms had a front-stage demeanor, like an actor doing monologue. Addison liked to lurk in the wings. But the cousins got on fine. Both were ambitious, tough, and sharp, and both could grip a dollar hard enough to make it squeal with pain.
Maurice Brahms had been in the restaurant business since he was seventeen. "My father bought a restaurant for my uncle, but he died after a couple of years. I took it over," Brahms says. The place was the Colonel at 101 Park Avenue. John Addison had an uncle who owned a parakeet business in Ventura County in Southern California, and he himself had studied horticulture in South Africa, but horticulture not being huge in Manhattan, he signed up with Ford as a model. "He did well from day one" says Jerry Ford. He worked with Francesco Scavullo and became a long-term lover of the photographer. Addison also took a backup job as a waiter in Yellowfingers, a restaurant in midtown on Third Avenue. Unlike most MAWs (Model Actor Waiters) Addison quickly decided he liked the restaurant business. Preferred it, in fact, to the glam drudgery of modeling.
Excerpted from The Last Party.
Meet the Author
Anthony Haden-Guest's journalism has appeared in New York, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker.
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