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Inside Studio 54

Inside Studio 54
Mark Fleischman ’61

In what Kirkus calls an “unfettered tell-all,” a former owner of Studio 54 gives readers a VIP pass into the famed Manhattan nightclub—offering celebrity-soaked tales of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll set against the backdrop of the post-Pill, pre-AIDs era. Fleischman, a restaurateur and hotelier, bought the club after its former owners went to jail for tax evasion. He reopened it in 1981—to a crowd of more than 10,000 eager to restart the party—and ran it for four years. As NPR put it in September, Inside Studio 54 “is true to its title, taking us past the velvet rope, into the heat and sweat and coke and poppers of the dance floor where hundreds of bodies ground against each other, and into the dark alcoves and out-of-the-way balconies, where a slightly smaller number of bodies ground against each other with greater assiduousness.”

In the memoir, Fleischman chronicles his journey to becoming the owner of the iconic nightspot—beginning with his childhood on Long Island, when he’d watch his parents leave to go dancing and dreamed of one day operating his own club. After purchasing Studio 54, Fleischman embraced the mantra “Disco is Dead” and switched over to R&B and pop-oriented dance music, with themed nights for groups like preppies, LGBT people, and fashion models. He recalls entertaining such bold-faced names as Barbra Streisand, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams, Prince, and Madonna; after taping “Saturday Night Live,” the cast would dodge fans at the front door by climbing the ladder to the fire escape. It was a scene that could even make Michael Jackson star-struck: Fleischman describes the King of Pop staring in awe when Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis showed up for a Broadway cast party.

But Fleischman is frank about the era’s darker temptations: he’d often greet VIP guests “with a gold straw or a crisp rolled-up one hundred dollar bill” and invite them to sample the lines of cocaine on his desk. And inevitably, hosting the never-ending party took its toll. By his third year as owner, Fleischman admits, he was snorting cocaine every afternoon and taking Valium to fall sleep. A few months after Studio 54 closed, Fleischman entered rehab. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he co-owns several Bar Method exercise studios. “I was thoroughly seduced by the idea of controlling the world’s most important nightclub,” Fleischman writes. “And I proceeded headlong and recklessly toward that end.”

Heat Advisory 

Heat Advisory
Alan Lockwood ’65, MD ’69

Much has been written about the environmental impact of climate change; here, a physician addresses its human consequences. Lockwood warns of a public health crisis due to increased risk of infectious disease, famine, violence, and other ills. “Just as conventional medicine struggles to deal with any severe medical problem,” Lockwood writes, “society needs as many strategies as possible to deal with climate change in order to minimize the health and environmental impacts that are so clearly on the horizon.”

An Oasis in Time 

An Oasis in Time
Marilyn Paul, MBA ’78

“Our passion for efficiency, effectiveness, and exertion has gone too far,” writes Paul, a consultant and life coach. “We live today in a unique era of possibility and productivity; we love getting things done, but we are burning ourselves out.” In a self-help guide, she argues in favor of slowing down, setting boundaries, and taking a weekly Sabbath—with or without any religious implications—that offers a break from work, social media, and other pressures. Paul, who holds a PhD in organizational behavior from Yale, is the author of It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized.

Marvelwood Magicians

The Marvelwood Magicians
Diane Zahler ’79

Kirkus praises Zahler’s book as a “hair raising, exhilarating, big-top mystery.” This novel for middle-grade readers follows eleven-year-old Mattie, a member of a family in which each person boasts a magical ability. But when they join Master Morogh’s Circus of Wonders, Mattie discovers that the ringmaster is steal­ing his performers’ talents, and she must make a difficult choice. Should she safeguard her skills as a mind-reader—even if it means losing her family?

Freedom of the Ignored

The Freedom of the Ignored
Bill O’Neill ’78

In his debut poetry collection, the New Mexico state senator ponders his personal relationship to politics. Informed by his two terms in office, the poems explore such topics as the diversity of personalities within the state capitol, the intensity of legislative sessions, and the challenges of governing in a time of intense political polarization. The Democrat describes debating a Republican colleague on a committee: We persevere, we plod along, enveloped / in our own rhetoric / This duality of sides, smiling as we destroy each other. The volume also includes O’Neill’s reflections on caring for his partner with multiple sclerosis and the time he revisited Ithaca in a dream.

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