He was extraordinarily open and absolutely winning when admitting to his mistakes. The whole thing collapsed in the early 80s, that period came to a close, Reagan was elected as president and with him came a different attitude. I think Studio 54 and the kind of escapism it offered is always compelling. How did you convince Ian to speak to you? It was snuffed out in an untimely way and that makes it all the more alluring.
I think, in many ways, it was a really bad memory for Ian. Then they lost it all very quickly. Studio 54 had all these trappings, and attributes which were easy to vilify for people with less open minded and accepting agendas. Is there one theme or idea you want people to take away from the film? Studio 54 is in cinemas nationwide from June There was increasing awareness, increasing outspokenness, and increasing involvement in the political sphere from LGBTQ people at the time it was called Gay Liberation, which now sounds archaic. It became a culture war. GG's Barnum Room, Photography Bill Bernstein With its downfall, and the court cases, fines and jail time that resulted — do you think it was made an example of? You began to see the Studio 54 aesthetic infused throughout the culture starting with the fashion world. We became less conducive to outlandish public expressions of sex, sexuality and mixed racial environments. There was a kind of anarchy to it, there was no money to enforce things, all the codes from buildings to liquor licenses were handled in ways that were slightly shady. Part of the reason for that is that Ian Schrager never talked and Steve Rubell died. Or because he hoped to preserve the image of Studio 54 as a glorious thing? What prompted you to make this documentary? All of those elements had to come together to make it. He was extraordinarily open and absolutely winning when admitting to his mistakes. I think Studio 54 and the kind of escapism it offered is always compelling. I think the lost world of gay life is really haunting and good for people to see. It was snuffed out in an untimely way and that makes it all the more alluring. A den of excess that defined its own rules by welcoming the ostracised, the queer, and the fabulous, the nightclub enshrined itself as an enduring and contradictory symbol of openness and exclusivity. Their lawyer, Roy Cohn, was the mayor of that old New York, he was shepherding Ian and Steve through this process and made all the wrong manoeuvres because he was playing by an old rule book that ceased to exist. You could compare it to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe — live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. As the 70s came to a close the city became more prosperous and a new type of politician arose out of the corrections that happened in the post-Watergate world. Studio 54 is such a recognisable name, what new light did you hope to shed on its history? In the 90s Gucci , led by Tom Ford , was the clearest and strongest expression of a late 70s revival.
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