THE LAST PARTY by Anthony Haden-Guest

THE LAST PARTY

Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Gossip-laced and rumor-spiked, an intelligently written history of 20-plus years of New York nightclubbing.

Haden-Guest, a veteran denizen of what he calls the "Nightworld,'' on which he has reported for New York magazine, the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, offers an anecdotal, thoroughly decadent chronicle of Clubland to complement his insider's catalog of the art market, True Colors (1996). Haden-Guest has not only firsthand experience of the exclusive Studio 54 and lesser clubs, but moreover ready access to a multitude of players (and has-beens), such as Studio 54 co-owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, ur-party-promoter Carmen D'Alessio, Club Kid (and murder suspect) Michael Alig, punk-pop singer Billy Idol, and innumerable others whose names he drops with Winchell-esque facility. Their reminiscences and rumor-mongering inject The Last Party with a nostalgic vividness and immediacy in lieu of any special insight into the confluence of celebrities, disco, and drugs at Studio 54. Haden-Guest does, however, cogently unravel the frenetically complicated network of disco-ing uptowners and punked-out downtowners, various social cliques that composed the Nightworld, repeatedly returning to the adventures of the odd couple of Rubell and Schrager. How the extroverted, gay Rubell and introverted, straight Schrager stole ideas, wrangled funds, tapped the zeitgeist, and made Studio 54 a phenomenon before running afoul of the feds and IRS makes for compulsive reading. Added to this are the equally compelling stories of the Studio's imitators (e.g., Xenon, with its Close Encounters disco ceiling), its post-Rubell owners and party hosts (notably Yippie-tuned-yuppie Jerry Rubin), and its more sordid successors, such as the feral Club Kids at Danceteria.

Walpurgis Nightlife from the Age of Coke and Quaaludes to the Era of Ecstasy.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-688-14151-X
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1997




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