Studio 54, New York 1978

US NY '78 Studio 54

Excerpt from ‘Nabelichting’, Chapter 14, Trick or Treat 

The room was packed. You could hardly move. The music was earth shatteringly loud, wildly moving lights kept flashing. Many were dressed up. An unusual mix of resurrected Marilyn Monroes, Spider-Men, Pharaohs, Frankensteins, devils and nuns. Costumes with feathers and tails, satin hats with sequins and fur, chains. Apart from their masks, some were naked.
Zombielike partygoers, zonked out on Quaaludes, staggered around while others, with pursed lips and eyes wide open, high on cocaine, were wildly gesturing, talking loudly in their effort to overwhelm the music.

The unmistakable, synthetic scent of amyl nitrite was floating across the room.

The way people looked in combination with their state of mind, the train of thought that ostensibly leapt through their eyes – only to back down and disappear in a drug induced state of catatonic bliss – made me feel like I had ended up in a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. No one objected when I made pictures; some even struck poses.

There was no space left on the dance floor, in the small adjacent rooms people were pressed against each other. My friends had disappeared and the pale girl with the green eyes seemed to have gone up in smoke as well. Upstairs, in the semi-dark of the mezzanine, a few heavily mustached ballerinas with hairy backs looked down on the dancing crowd.


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