STUDIO ONE FOREVER
MARC SALTARELLI | USA | 2023 | 94 MIN | ENGLISH
From the lips of former bartenders and patrons, Wayland Flowers’ riotous Madame puppet, Motown legends, and Chita Rivera herself, we get the inside scoop on the sweaty sanctuary that was Studio One as the landmark building teeters on the precipice between preservation and demolition.
As one interviewee puts it, if Studio 54 was class conscious, Studio One was “Gay with a capital G.” One can practically still smell the poppers as we are whisked from Studio One’s 1929 origins as a camera manufacturer to its 1974 grand opening with “Disco King” Scott Forbes at its helm, and through its heyday as both a discotheque likened to “one giant human jacuzzi” of shirtless men and the celebrity-packed Backlot night club, whose “appreciative audiences” included the likes of Elton John, Bette Davis, and Diana Ross. We lean in to hear about the freedoms of empowerment in numbers, are shaken when the oppressed becomes the oppressor, and greatly moved as Gay Liberation transforms out of necessity into the AIDS movement. Whether you want whipped cream wrestling or trenchant social commentary, this intoxicating documentary is for you.
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