Turbans on the dance floor, a disco icon spinning Donna Summer on the turntables and a burlesque queen making a surprise appearance in a bathtub on stage ... talk about a case of Saturday night fever.
L.A. nightclub Giorgio's celebrated its second anniversary in high style on Saturday night at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. Club producer Bryan Rabin and Adam Bravin (a.k.a. DJ Adam 12) honored their creation, Giorgio's, A Modern Discotheque, named after famous dance music producer Giorgio Moroder, by enlisting the man himself to make a special appearance.
The 75-year-old Moroder, who has collaborated with stars such as David Bowie and Kylie Minogue over his 40-plus year career, produced huge hits for Donna Summer in the 1970s, including "Bad Girls" and "Last Dance," and scored numerous movie soundtracks, including "Flashdance." In 2014, he won his fourth Grammy for Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories."
On Saturday, Moroder played several of his greatest disco era hits, and introduced some songs from his forthcoming album, "Deja Vu."
"There is a club in Los Angeles called Giorgio's. It's owned by a friend of ours. It's the most 'in' place right now, and they only play disco. It's only Saturday. It's always full, almost impossible to get in. I think disco is not a dirty word anymore," Moroder said onstage at about 11:30 p.m., when his set began. He also added that he was honored to be on stage at such a great moment of equality, referring to the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. "The whole world is looking at America," he added, including his homeland of Italy.
As the moans and groans of Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" began to fade out, sexy surprise performer Dita Von Teese faded in, appearing on stage in a white porcelain bath tub and glittery pasties, playfully splashing the sweaty crowd. (It was the only time I've ever been envious of how little Von Teese was wearing.)
The evening brought out a who's who of fashion, music and entertainment, including actress Rose McGowan, performer RuPaul, Paper magazine Editor-in-Chief Kim Hastreiter, actor Jared Harris, A+R store owner Rose Apodaca and fashion designer Julia Clancey.
"For me, I was totally floored. Never in a million years did I think we'd still be happening two years down the road at such a great level," said Rabin, who has been an events producer in L.A. for more than 20 years.
"The fact that I got to DJ with Giorgio Moroder, who has been an inspiration of mine for my entire life ... it was a dream come true," said Bravin, who has DJ'd for President Obama, Madonna and Prince, among others.
"The club was named after Giorgio Moroder. I had produced his 70th surprise birthday party. He was in retirement, and when we opened, the Daft Punk record hadn't even hit yet. Giorgio was teary-eyed when he first came to the club about six weeks after we opened because people were dancing to his music again. ... He couldn't get over it," Rabin recalled. "It's like a sick fantasy that we have this club and, two years later, the timing works out that we get to do an album release for him -- and at such a moment of equality too," he added, referring to the Supreme Court decision. "He made the soundtrack that liberated women and gay people ... and we created a place anyone can go in L.A., black or white, gay or straight, young or old, uptown or downtown."
"Music brought Bryan and I together to create this thing and it brings people together in that room every week," said Bravin.
Andre Balazs, owner of the Standard Hotel, approached Rabin about opening the club in 2013. Rabin was able to bring Bravin on board to produce the music, when he agreed to name the club after Moroder.
With just a 100-person capacity, Giorgio's has become one of the most exclusive venues in the city, where on any given night you might see Mick Jagger, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Rufus Wainwright or designer Prabal Gurung, shoulder-to-shoulder on the dance floor.
Rabin and Bravin say that after two years, they feel more invigorated than ever to continue reinventing Giorgio's week after week. "Our job moving forward is to keep it unpredictable and fresh," Bravin said. "Moving into the third year, we will start introducing more surprise elements and live performances."
Said Rabin: "We have so much more to give."