Studio 54: Docu about the Famous-Notorious Disco and Unique Cultural Phenom

At its height, Studio 54 was much more than just a disco or night club–it was an institution and a socio-cultural phenom.

As is well known, the disco did not last long–Within three years, its founders, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, were sent to prison on a multi-million tax scam.

Director Matt Tyrnauer brings viewers back to that bygone time in his poignant documentary, Studio 54, which premieres at the 2018 Sundance Film Fest.

There have been books and magazine and a mediocre, derivative movie, 54, starring Mike  Myers movie, which Miramax released two decades ago.

I am looking forward to see the a film about a place that I frequented about a dozen times while an undergraduate student at Columbia University.
Tyrnauer spoke with Variety about the making of the film and the club’s cultural impact.

Studio 54 Significance

Matt Tyrnauer: Studio 54 was not really a night club. It was more of a social experiment. It had as much to do with living theater as disco. What Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell created was a unique sensory experience that captured its moment perfectly. It was as if they were tailor made for the society of the time.

Capturing the zeitgeist?

MT: New York was a rough place to live in the 1970s. It had become a city of crime and sleaze and peep shows and physical decay, but at the same time in this dystopia, there was a really vibrant society that was evolving and a new creative class being formed. Studio was their clubhouse.

Heyday before the AIDS epidemic

MT: There’s this time in the 1970s when it’s pre-HIV/AIDS crisis and there’s this particular kind of freedom that was obliterated by the emergence of AIDS. It’s ironic and tragic that the 33 months of Studio align almost perfectly with this last gasp of a freer, more permissive society. The club opens in April of 1977 and its owners go to prison in early 1980. The end of that time span coincides with a tremendous political and societal shift that was personified by the election of Ronald Reagan and the first cases of HIV/AIDS.

Read the rest of this interesting interview:

Sundance: ‘Studio 54’ Director Matt Tyrnauer on the Cultural Power of the Infamous Club