from the parties of Studio 54 to assisted suicide in Switzerland-

from Matteo Persivale

New York night king who died at 82: his mythical parties with the stars, the final trip from Los Angeles to Zurich: I’m sick, this non-life: I choose a gentle way out

There won’t be a farewell party, he said before boarding the Los Angeles-Zurich flight, assisted suicide last stop. There gentle way outso he called it, which ended years of suffering from a never accurately diagnosed neurological disease that had robbed him of his ability to walk and express himself in the past six years. Mark Fleischman died at 82, the famous curls of the past torn from age and disease, but in the eyes still some flashes of light as always and the same caustic New York humor: My wife forced to help me go to bed, I can’t get dressed or put on my shoes, my ability to talk now fucked up.

A special place

Fleischman was one of the nightlife giants of the 1980s: he bought it at the very beginning of the decade, in the 1980s Study 54 by the founders then ended up in prison (tax receipts were not in fashion in trendiest nightclub of all: in the year of the inauguration they declared, in two, incomes of seven thousand dollars) and reopened it in September 1981 trying to keep the torch of that special place alive.
On the evening of the reopening, there were ten thousand people in line in front of the entrance, 254 West 54th street, the police had to put the barriers and close the street to traffic, the Oscar winner Mary Tyler Moore along with many other celebrities he stayed out and John Belushi and Jack Nicholson only got inside because someone he took them from the back, through the maze used by the champagne vendors and who knows what else.

From Warhol to Madonna

Fleischman continued to organize memorable parties, and in the room there were always Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Halston, Liza Minelli, Cher, Grace Jones, Elio Fiorucci who had opened Studio 54 in 1977, many Hollywood starsartists and models, the young Madonna, children of life, champagne and cocaine and colored pills. The recipe for a life lived in full volume, a ten-year long bacchanal.
Under the neon moon statue snorting cocaine – the mythological Man in the Moon now finished entertaining Las Vegas tourists, no longer with a spoon for the bamboo – everything happened, to Fleischman’s delight. when it came to psychotropic substances, he feared no competitorsas he recalled years later in his autobiography.

Endless nights

Studio 54, he wrote, it almost destroyed me too. I could have come home at four or five in the morning, when we closed the doors of the club, but I never did. Night after night, I jumped in my limo and I used to go to after-hours clubsor I stayed at Studio 54 to fuck around with the crowd of VIP regulars, actors, and the inevitable gallops to be sent in search of cocaine. The liters of drink offered by the house flowed torrentiallyand always kept a assortment of drugs to please my guests. And then we would sit in my office and chat about our lives. And then, about at nine o’clock, rubbing our eyes, we left the dark space of the disco to enter the dazzling light of the morning. And while ordinary people ran up and down Broadway to work, I was finally going home.

Return to the theater

But the unrepeatable atmosphere of the record was destined to die of natural causes: it happened in 1986, the end of the era of absolute freedom founded in 1977. Today Studio 54 has returned to being what it was at its birth in the 1920s: a theater, then an opera house, today a prose theater. Of that magic remain extraordinary photos, the memories of those who were therethe inevitable envy of those who were not there and would have liked to be there, at least for one night.

July 14, 2022 (change July 14, 2022 | 21:58)

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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