When disco was the epicenter of popular culture, Studio 54 was the epicenter of disco. Brooklyn-born college pals Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager took a former opera house and CBS studio (where What’s My Line? and Captain Kangaroo filmed), in what was at the time one of New York City’s sketchiest neighborhoods, and turned it into a dance palace known the world over. Extroverted gay Rubell and introverted straight Schrager (the latter giving his most extensive interview to date about Studio 54) were a powerful team — but the swirl of sex, drugs, celebrity, and tax evasion brought this phenomenon to an end, as did the advent of Ronald Reagan, the AIDS crisis, and the “Disco Sucks” backlash.
But oh, what heady times there were during Studio 54’s heyday, which this vibrant documentary captures, mixing vintage interviews (Michael Jackson!) with reminiscences from the doormen, bartenders, and paparazzi who experienced the thrills and the beats on the dance floor and in the infamous balcony. There may never again be such a stately pleasure dome as Studio 54, but director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood) observantly captures the hedonism and the hubris with the exacting eye that has made him one of this generation’s most fascinating documentarians.
THURS | July 12 | Orpheum | 8:00 PM
About The Opening Night Gala:
Join us for the legendary LGBTQ party of the summer! The VIP Pre-Party is the see-and-be-seen event of the season. Shannon Swindle, James Beard semifinalist Pastry Chef at Tom Collichio’s Craft, has asked some of his friends from the top restaurants in the city to join him to give you a taste of the best LA has to offer. Inside the theater it begins with the presentation of the Achievement Award followed by the Opening Night movie. Then come outside to Outfest’s reimagining of Studio 54. Grab a bite from one of the dozen restaurants and a glass of beer from Angel City Brewery, a glass from Barefoot wines or a Finlandia vodka cocktail. It’s all on us! And don’t worry, you will be able to dance the night away.
2018 Outfest Achievement Award Honoree: Angela Robinson
Who says queer cinema can’t be fun? Not Angela Robinson, whose storied career has encompassed teen spies, hot Cajun vampires, kinky comic-book creators, West Hollywood power lesbians and the world’s smartest VW bug, to name just a few. Since her breakthrough with the daffy, sexy secret-agent satire D.E.B.S. (first as a short, then a feature), Robinson has successfully jumped from small screen to large, from movies to comics and back again, always bringing a variety of characters, places and periods to exhilarating life. Whether it’s “True Blood” or “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The L Word” or Herbie: Fully Loaded, “Hung” or Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Robinson’s stories pop; she has the compassion and the narrative drive of a born storyteller, and her career will no doubt continue to delight and surprise audiences as she takes us places we’ve never been before.
Director: Matt Tyrnauer
USA | 98 minutes | 2018
6:30 PM | VIP Pre-party
8:00 PM | Award Presentation and Film
10:00 PM | Gala After-party