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Studio 54


STUDIO 54 is an interesting new documentary about New York City's hottest dance club in the 70's and the rise and fall (and rise) of the two men behind the club.

Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager become friends in college, both coming from working class families in the Bronx with dreams of something bigger.

Where Rubell is loud, brash and lives for publicity, Schrager is quiet and stays in the shadows.

After they find some success together, they decide to create THE dance club in NYC at the height of the disco era.

The documentary offers tremendous amounts of interviews and pictures of the club from its conception, through its amazing opening night and run as the place to be seen.

People and stars from around the world flock to the club, where hundreds mob outside each night to be hand selected to come inside if they fit the "it" qualifications of Rubell and the doormen.

It's gold plated, in-your-face hedonism and SRO decadence, seven nights a week.

As the money rolls in, then POURS in, the two men and their senior team get careless, blatantly ignoring liquor license laws and income reporting.

Filmmaker Matt Tyrauer offers a great balance of news footage, historical footage and home movies of Michael Jackson, Liza Minelli, Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, Andy Warhol and throngs of 70's stars at the club.

He also offers up the facts of the collapse of the club and Rubell & Schrager's battle to survive.

Schrager has gone on to create some of the greatest boutique hotels in the world. We've stayed at The Royalton in NYC and The Mondrian in LA and they are amazing properties. It's interesting to see how his design philosophy as a young man grew into the massive hotel operation he's built worldwide.

Rubell and Schrager are true opposites. Rubell is brash, gay, hilarious and a braggart. Schrager is an introvert, straight, soft spoken and reserved.

Their partnership through all of the success and misadventures is a pretty amazing bond that was tested far beyond anything I thought I knew about Studio 54.

It's also interesting to see the New York City of the seventies. What a transformation it's made since the archival footage you see here.

STUDIO 54 is part corporate theft story, part entrepreneur tale, part redemption tale with a big dash of TMZ celebrity watching dropped all over it.

54 gets a B.

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