Studio 54, the famous New York nightclub, was one of a kind. It was magical. It was spicy. The music was disco. And the scene was the “mother of all nightclubs.” It was a place where dreams came true and fantasies became reality-at least for those who got in.
Compared to the original, Mills’ rendition of the elite club was something of its own. The location was the Student Union, the music leaned more towards 80s pop than disco, and the “bouncers” stood alone at the door, inviting anyone who showed up. But despite the dance’s convoluted identity that barely resembled its elite namesake, the intention was the same. And it was accomplished. All 20 or so students who attended last Friday’s dance appeared to have the time of their lives.
The scene: “We were going for a black and silver theme, trying to make it like a disco club,” said freshwoman Daniel Grimm who helped decorate for the dance. So they covered everything up in black trash bags, sprinkled silver glitter on chairs and tablestops, and passed out plastic baggies of fake drugs (multi-colored jellybeans) to VIPs-all who came. Adding to the decor were tiny foil art sculptures which most people found unidentifiable and pretty bizarre. But it couldn’t quite capture the feel of the real Studio 54. There were no strobe lights, the roller girls were missing, and there wasn’t a disco ball in sight. And the only shirtless guy at the party spent most of the night dancing his little heart out and not behind the bar like the scantly clad sex objects that attracted so many to the original 54. But still the dance went on.
The music: Gomer Hendrix, an improv band known to perform at the annual Burning Man festival, pumped out more than an hour’s worth of 70s- style medleys ranging from KC and the Sunshine Band to ZZ Top. The band brought the two dozen attendees to their feet as they belted out a clever country rendition of Prince’s “Kiss,” a classic 80s anthem. Upon an audience request, they followed with an impressive version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” a song they’d never rehearsed.
Grimm, also the designated DJ for the night, effectively carried the band’s energy after they ended their set. The self-proclaimed “disco freak” did spin a few disco grooves but leaned more towards 80s pop. CDs replaced vinyl at this party.
Donna Summer’s “Feelin’ the Love” aroused the party’s sensuality bringing it to a level more risque than some could handle. Only special guests were allowed past the velvet rope (with no line) into the the VIP Lounge, the land oflap dances. At around 12:30 a.m. the sweaty crowd began to trickle out, leaving only a few queens to dance the last dance.
In the end it didn’t matter how non-70s the 70s dance was. Those who attended felt the dance was fabulous. The spirit of Studio 54 lives on .