Part of the reason for that is that Ian Schrager never talked and Steve Rubell died. Did he not want to revisit those times because it was a painful memory for him? You began to see the Studio 54 aesthetic infused throughout the culture starting with the fashion world. Its presence is still felt but the exact form that Studio 54 took will never come back. Studio 54 is such a recognisable name, what new light did you hope to shed on its history? 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. Burning Man is maybe a near equivalent, it shares the same expression of joy, of individuality, of unbounded good times, something very over the top that people go all in for. After the city had been brought to its knees by the financial crisis it operated with rules of its own.
And they paid a price. It takes on new forms — warehouse parties in Brooklyn or Berlin. We became less conducive to outlandish public expressions of sex, sexuality and mixed racial environments. Or because he hoped to preserve the image of Studio 54 as a glorious thing? I got to talking with Ian about the idea of finally saying what he had to say — he was reluctant. How did you convince Ian to speak to you? 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. He and I have known each other for a while. Studio is part of a number of LGBT moments that were happening throughout the 70s. Is there one theme or idea you want people to take away from the film? I think the lost world of gay life is really haunting and good for people to see. We eventually got to a place where he was comfortable. All of those elements had to come together to make it. Then they lost it all very quickly. In the 90s Gucci , led by Tom Ford , was the clearest and strongest expression of a late 70s revival. After the city had been brought to its knees by the financial crisis it operated with rules of its own. As disco became more popular, and the media exploited it, and the fashion industry exploited it, it culminated in this cultural shift. You could compare it to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe — live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. I think it was a really tough thing to look back on. Studio 54 is in cinemas nationwide from June All these things conspired to bring that wild and wooly New York to an end and I think Studio was one of the first victims of that dawning new era. It became a culture war. 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. He was extraordinarily open and absolutely winning when admitting to his mistakes. 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? 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. You began to see the Studio 54 aesthetic infused throughout the culture starting with the fashion world.
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