For many revelers, every night was a fashion show at Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell’s Studio 54, and soon designers and other stylish club goers will dish about what actually went on there. Through “The Marc and Myra Show,” Marc Benecke, who manned the door, and Myra Scheer, Rubell’s former executive assistant, will talk about the famed nightclub with the likes of Carolina and Renaldo Herrera, Pat Cleveland, Stephen Burrows, Bob Colacello, Karin Bacon and Jackie Rogers on their weekly show, which makes its debut Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Studio 54 Radio on SiriusXM Channel 15.
Herrera’s designer career was just getting going, and Halston, a regular at the club, encouraged her. During a recent taping of the new radio show, Colacello recalled sitting in Studio 54’s basement with Halston when Yves Saint Laurent sauntered in with Marina Schiano. After Halston stood up and embraced Saint Laurent, another cellar dweller, Truman Capote, told Hugo Guinness, “You have just witnessed one of the great moments in the history of fashion. That is, if you care about the history of fashion,” Colacello told Scheer and Benecke.
This story first appeared in the August 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The event planner Bacon (whose brother is the actor Kevin) told the radio hosts about her four-day frenzy pulling together the party Halston threw for Martha Graham. Bacon tracked down a choir director who wrote a musical tribute to Graham in one weekend and rounded up a group of singers from his church to perform it. “It was spectacular when the black cut drop was lifted revealing the choir in white robes under black light singing the lovely piece of music written for the occasion,” Bacon told Scheer.
Numerous other long-forgotten memories have surfaced as the show has developed. Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” made its debut at the club when DJ Richie Kaczor took a chance by playing the a-capella-laced tune. Scheer said she found herself ringing up Andy Warhol during her first day on the job. He, like Halston and several others, was on Rubell’s master call list. One of the many little-known facts that surfaced during show tapings was that the fair-haired pop artist made a habit of clubbing only after Studio 54 opened, Scheer said. “Andy used to say that Studio 54 was a dictatorship at the door and a democracy inside — everyone was a star,” she said. “Everyone was there to have fun. This was before the red carpet. Everyone mixed and danced. No one asked for autographs.”
Studio 54 flourished at a time after the Pill’s introduction and before the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Scheer said, “Girls felt free to go topless. There were no photographers that we couldn’t control. If one did something that Steve didn’t like, he would banish them for a week. It was a civilized time then, much more so than it is now,” referring to the paparazzi’s all-bets-off approach to celebrities.
Future guests on “The Marc and Myra Show” will include Studio 54’s architect Scott Bromley and former-busboy-turned-Nobu-partner Richie Notar. The duo also has on deck for the first show Chuck Garelick, the former head of security, who will be chatting publicly for the first time. “We consider him to be the voice of reason. Some people will say that a few people died trying to get into Studio 54, but Bob will confirm that no one ever died trying to get in.” Scheer said. “But people were ‘dying’ to get in.”