By Anna Prudhomme
After more than a year of global pandemic, who doesn’t miss putting on a silky dress,
choosing their tiniest purse and go clubbing with their BFF. Well, I definitely do! Today,
the memories of those last nights out are pretty much all we are left with… but the light at
the end of the tunnel seems close. In tribute to all those clubs closed since the
beginning of the crisis, and to shiver your inner party animal, Garçon Paper listed for you
the most legendary of them all.
Photos by the author
1° Studio 54 – New York (USA)
Opened in 1977 in an ancient opera house, Studio 54 was the headquarters of Andy
Warhol, Diana Ross and Grace Jones, to name a few. Spending their nights partying in
excess, famous artists rubbed their shoulder with businessmen or politicians. The
celebrities were the best advertisement that the club could get and soon an enormous
queue stumbled every night at the entrance. For Bianca Jagger’s birthday, the founders
of the venue made her cross the club on her favourite animal, a white horse. And for
Warhol’s 50th, they filled a silver trash can with $1 bills and drink tickets.
2° The Brixton Academy (now the O2 Academy) – South London (UK)
In 1983 a young entrepreneur bought a derelict semi-domed cinema of the 20s for £1. With a great taste for music, he turned the location into an iconic venue called the Brixton which immediately became the place to be. The shows were energetic and could even involve bumper cars or motorbikes. It was also the place The Smiths made their last gig before breaking up. And in 1989 as raves had become a main police issue in London, the Brixton Academy got the first licence in the country, lengthening parties until dawn.
3° Bassiani – Tbilisi (Georgia)
In 2008, The Georgian mecca of electronic music the Bassiani became a symbol of freedom and progressivism after the police stormed the club in a violent raid. In response, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Georgian parliament, dancing to music as a critic of the excessive use of police force on club goers. This intimidation attempt of the capitals growing LGBTQ+ friendly club scene became an object of international support. The reconverted soccer stadium soon reopened, hosting
famous DJ and galvanise partiers from all around the globe.
Photos by the author
4° Le Palace – Paris (France)
Parisian nights opened in 1978 with a Grace Jones concert cover of “La vie en rose” of Edith Piaf. The waiters wore red and gold Mugler outfits while the bouncer, a transgender woman wearing extravagant pop art make-up ruled the entrance. All along the 80s, people from every horizon would rush to the Palace’s crazy dancefloor where the party would usually end up on the bar with the musicians.The king of Sweden was seen dancing with a French ballet dancer and fashion designers such as Kenzo, or Lagerfeld would come there find inspirations for their next collections. But all was not about fame, the American actor Michael Douglas got thrown out of the club by the extravagant bouncer because she hated his tennis shoes. She told him to come back with decent ones. And he did.
5° Tresor - Berlin (Germany)
Just after the Berlin Wall came down, two young men discovered a vault beneath an abandoned bombed out department store and decided to turn it into a dancing club. Inside the low- ceilinged basement, the addition of the opaque fog and the sweaty crowd made the place so hot that water would drip out of the walls. A disgusting yet iconic feeling, remembers the producer Chris Liebing, in the documentary SubBerlin.The D.J. Olivier Bondzio refused to play because he feared his record covers would get wet and soak. Todd Bodine even said that some DJ had to bring oxygen tanks in order to breathe properly and stand the two hours set.