A Disco For All Decades
“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.”
- Giorgio Moroder
Not having the means for capricious jet setting, I waited patiently for a viable reason to make a trip to LA. Finally, I was invited to participate in an event at MOCA Pacific Design Center. This was perfect because it was taking place in Hollywood on a Saturday night – not far from where I wished to end up that night. The high-frequency buzz had reached me in New York about Giorgio’s Discotheque, and that it was apparently the best club to land on the Sunset Strip since the Mocambo. If you’re thinking, “Why haven’t I heard of Giorgio’s?” it could be that you’re lacking the atavistic club gene, or simply that Giorgio’s is one of the most glamorously guarded club secrets on the planet.
Located in the Hollywood Standard Hotel, the secret path through the hotel kitchen to the club would require GPS, but for the gracious doorperson who guided us, making the oh-so-80s ritual of getting in itself a kind of funhouse excursion. From what I could observe, the door personnel are disarmingly nice to everyone. Perhaps it’s because the club only holds 125 people, so they can readily default to, “Sorry, we’re at capacity,” sparing a lot of you’re-not-on-the-list-type embarrassment.
Now, I cannot overstate what a jaded club-goer I am. Having survived a list of legendary dance clubs: Studio 54, Danceteria, The Palladium, Area - to name a few - must make me some kind of world heritage mummy. Still, from the moment I walked into Giorgio’s it was just one big, “Yes!” I felt I had traversed the past four decades and entered an enchanted disco hovering far above the restraints of time and place, the ideal club from which all others were derived. Archetypal and intimately scaled, this is a disco that you could just as easily come upon in London, Paris, or a long-ago New York. From the onset the music was perfection. No warming up was required, no having to down a couple of drinks or do a line to get comfortable. Immediately I was under Giorgio’s spell, a spell beautifully orchestrated by one of the club's two partners, DJ resident DJ Adam 12. Now despite rumors to the contrary, I really am not the world’s biggest disco bunny; I just love a good dance groove, period. I go to some well-known international dance parties, and sometimes wait hours before a song moves me to dance. Sometimes it never happens. Here I never stopped. Adam plays the kind of disco that used to propel the Soul Train dancers down along the show’s signature dance aisle. Apparently, DJ Adam is telepathically connected to Giorgio’s house muse, who just happens to be Jody Watley. Positioned near the DJ booth, the lovely Miss Watley presides as groove barometer. So long as she is beaming and swaying, Adam knows he’s on.
While I’m name-dropping, when was the last time you remember a club where absolutely anyone could and does drop by? Even “Mick.” It’s a perfectly balanced Noah’s Ark: chic European women of a certain age, gorgeous young Hollywood celebutantes, high-powered models of every gender, drop-dead stunning transvestites, impeccably attired African-American dandies, glamorous old-school Beverly Hills hairdressers, and of course all the famous actors, rappers and rock stars you’d expect to make cameos at a great Tinseltown party. And style! I didn’t know Hollywood could turn it out it quite like this. Everyone had their look, whatever it amounted to, so together. Thank the fashion gods I had on a Nick Graham jacket, shirt and tie, so that I felt at ease working the dancefloor with the best of them. I use the term “dancefloor” loosely because at Giorgio’s everyone is dancing everywhere all the time.
Giorgio’s is conceived, mixed, and deliciously hosted by co-partner Bryan Rabin, an inspired producer-promoter who has presided over some of the most outrageously fun parties under the fabled Hollywood sign for the last two decades. Looking like a 1920s silent-film heartthrob, he is unabashedly enamored of his new baby, which he says is “the nightclub I always dreamed about.” Bryan gracefully glides through the crowd, monitoring the party for smartphone abuse, celebrity attention disorders, and any bad vibes, making sure everyone is happy, happy, happy. One of the things he is proudest of is how you hardly see anyone looking at their phone. That in itself sets the club apart, and helps keep everyone present and engaged with the music, the crowd and spirit of celebration. Certainly my entourage and I never stopped dancing or grinning.
Bryan named the club for dance music uber-legend Giorgio Morodor, and like its namesake, the discotheque knows exactly what it takes to keep people dancing, entranced, and temporarily removed from the troubles of the world. Giorgio’s is precisely the kind of party event that first prompted jet-setting. I would recommend catching a Saturday afternoon flight. Just make sure that you’ve got some Nick Graham on when you walk into the Standard lobby. Even if the doorperson tells you the disco is at capacity, you’ll look fabulous when Mick saunters by.
Photos by Tyler Curtis