This will be a six-part series detailing the most fabulous bashes I’ve ever attended, and also the most rotten.
Believe me, I remember every free canape, cheap scent, and guilty grope.
*New Year’s Eve at Studio 54
On December 31, 1978, there was only one reasonable place to be–Studio 54, the world’s most dazzling disco, where the beautiful and the aspiring converged to celebrate the stroke of midnight as glittery confetti shot into their eyes but didn’t deter them from continuing to dance till they plotzed.
New York was in a slump–“Fun City” had become ironic–but 54 had emerged like Brigadoon to bring together glamorous, glittery people (along with everyday Joes who happened to look good or know someone) for a piquant mix of frolicsome fabbies who checked their minds with their coats and enjoyed the city’s most coveted scene of ritualized escape.
This was a more “innocent” time–innocent meaning that everyone with discretionary income to burn chose to ignore the fact that unbridled sex, boozing, drugging, and partying might have consequences.
With the city in disarray and the country in a state of political shock in the wake of Watergate and Viet Nam, it seemed as if 54 was the most reasonable place to toast, twirl, forget, and grab at some happiness.
And New Year’s Eve at 54 was like any other night there, only way more so.
After hours spent under the thumping glitterdome, we were treated to Jamaican-born disco singer Grace Jones in a skimpy outfit composed of shiny fabric alternating with sheer material that made her breasts as visible as her penciled eyebrows.
A surreal vision and a captivating presence with an edge of danger, she glamorously throated out a couple of her hits, backed by half-clad dancing boys, proving to be the perfectly glitzy poster girl for this decadent night of sheer, unrepentant bliss.
At around 2 A.M., a couple of burners were wheeled out to make crepes for the ravenous throng, which prompted a mass convergence unseen since the French Revolution.
It was a scary stampede and I felt for sure I might die from either the assault or the hunger, but I honestly didn’t care at all, thumping in place to the beat while patiently waiting my turn.
I never got a bite, but still would rather have been at Studio 54 than somewhere practical.
And as the DJ wrapped things up with “The Last Dance,” I realized the whole night had been highly illogical and too incredibly fabulous to bear.
In fact, 1979 could never live up to all that expectation.