The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night

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9780688141516: The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night

A window into the zeitgeist of the 70s- disco mania, sexual abandon, coke and 'ludes, glitter and glam-the era of the last good time 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.

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British socialite and writer Anthony Haden-Guest has been a champion party-goer for more than 30 years. There are few people more qualified to lead a reader, as he does in The Last Party, past the velvet ropes and doorman and into the tornado of 1970s disco, drug excess, and excessive sex that was Studio 54. Unlike some of his contemporaries whose memories are dulled by years of hard living, Haden-Guest seems to actually recall many of his experiences at Studio. His book is therefore part personal memoir, part reportage.

The cast of characters includes Andy, Liza, Halston, and Bianca--no last names needed--and other luminaries etched into Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager's exclusive guest list. The anecdotes include lurid details of the revelry and stories like the one about that Halloween when two Lady Godivas were kept outside but their horse was allowed in. Haden-Guest resists the obvious urge to dish too much about the stars and instead examines the club as a social phenomenon. In his book, the front door of Studio 54 swings open just long enough to let escape the shadow of a scene that's long since seen the light of day.

From the Publisher:

Studio 54 was the icon of excesses. It was the cradle of today's culture of celebrity, a place were Liza, Mick, and Andy lounged in the VIP section while revelers did drugs in the fabled unisex bathroom, and would-be revelers waited hour after hour on West Fifty-fourth Street, hoping to catch the eye of a nineteen-year-old-doorman who was, for a brief moment, the ultimate gatekeeper of cool.

The Last Party is the story not just of Studio 54 but of the whole Nightworld. Anthony Haden-Guest was on this scene at the opening night party and many nights thereafter. He knew all the key players and has interviewed everyone, from the stars and club kids who made the scene to the impresarios who created it to the cops who ultimately brought it down. He takes us past the velvet cord, down onto the pounding dance floor, up into the polymorphously perverse balcony, and on into Steve Rubell's office, where a few insiders stuffed cash into garbage bags as they skimmed millions from their golden goose. He shows us the after-hours clubs, the seamy underbelly of New York nightlife, and the ever-more-violent aftermath of the world that Studio 54 launched with such flash. Vivid, nonstop, and revealing, The Last Party is as packed with sparkle, scandal, and celebrity as Studio itself.

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