STUDIO 54 – RUDOLF PRESS


Studio 54,  1982

One hour before the re-opening .. the crowds gatherned outside had shut 54th st down from Broadway to 8th Ave.

By Jim Fouratt,   2008                                                                                                                     WEBSEARCH

Steve and Ian were in jail .. but had asked Rudolph and me to reopen Studio 54. While the world thought they had sold the place, they still held creative control and asked us to oversee the operation for the “new owner” and protect the branding value. In the background is Bruce Kirkland, an alternative music label honcho in the early 80’s, Among the act I presented live were Heaven 17, Nina Hagen/Malaria, Soca, Gang of Four, etc.. The one BIG change we added was to have female, as well as male bartenders .. (Steve asked from jail: ” Jim, will they be topless?” I answered ” no, Steve, only the male bartenders.” STUDIO for me was and remains, the actual best club environment ever. Perfect and it changed as the night went on and the crowd became larger .. once in, everyone was free to be who they thought they were …or, actually were. the visual artist Chuck Nanny and the writer Pat Wadley (female) were our door people who made sure the eclectic DANCETERIA mix was kept. FYI: outside there were thousands of clamoring people wanting in and the police had to close 54th street for three blocks.. WILD it was until the “new owner’s coke behavior made it a nightmare . We left to open the new PEPPERMINT LOUNGE on 52nd Street .. on the very location of the fabulous early ’60’s Peppermint Lounge, and took most of our people and employees with us, How it happened : Frank Roccio approached me asking me if would be interested in a space on ’46th street that his g/f uncle had (ahem!) I went and looked at it . At the time, it was a drag circus club called GG BARNUM’S . where just one too many crimes had been committed and was about to loose its license. I remember wandering around the huge basement and way off in a corner found the original PEP signage stored away. That did it for me .. added was the fact that it had been in the early 70’s the Times Square rock’n’roll  hustler dive where Genya Raven had been discovered. Pieper did not want to leave STUDIO 54 but one night when “the new owner” directed a coke rage at him, he agreed. Roccio did not originally want Pieper involved, but I did. Rudolph Pieper was so much better than me at dealing with the Italian “uncles? in the back room them I was. .. little did I understand then just how much they had in common . I just thought  it was the German/Italian connection at play,

Rudolf and Jim Fouratt at the backstage of Studio 54

Rudolf and Jim Fouratt at the backstage of Studio 54

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After Dark Magazine, NYC march 1981

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