Boogie wonderland

Disco flavors at the Dayton Art Institute

By Deon Jefferson

Photo: DAI Executive Director Michael Roediger will be strutting his stuff at the Prime Time Party Rental Series Studio 54 party on July 19

“Do a little dance/make a little love/Get down tonight!” These are the only rules that will apply on July 19 from 7-11 p.m. at the Dayton Art Institute. For one groovy night only, the Shaw Gothic Cloister will get a major facelift when it is transformed into the most popular nightclub in the world – Studio 54.

This marks the third installment for the Prime Time Rental Series Parties. The Studio 54 party will be used in conjunction with the Andy Warhol: Athletes and The Art of Sport exhibit that made its colorful debut June 22 and runs until Sept. 1. The exhibit includes Andy Warhol’s unique screen paintings of some of the most influential sports figures of the 1970’s, including OJ. Simpson and Dorothy Hamill.

DAI Special Events Coordinator Julie Cannon explained, “These works were commissioned during the height of the disco era in the late 1970’s, and Andy Warhol was also a regular at Studio 54. It was his favorite party spot, so we thought it made perfect sense to recreate it here.”

How can you celebrate the swinging disco era without mentioning fashion? Good question. Partygoers will have the chance to show off their hippest disco threads. “Our guests really get into the spirit of the Prime Time Parties,” explained Cannon. “I expect bell bottoms, white suits, sequins to the max, ‘Farrah hair’ … the whole bit! Costumes are always encouraged at the Prime Time Parties, but not required.”

This party will give any Studio 54 fan a chance to dust of those old platform shoes, pull out your flashiest pair of sunglasses and finally use your funky Afro wig.

Studio 54 was a dance club, so it’s only natural that the party be led by boogie-centric music. “You are going to hear some of your classic disco standards from the ‘70s and early ‘80s like Donna Summer and The Bee Gees. My goal is to have everybody on the dance floor,” explained DJ Danny of Black Box. Along with providing the DJ, Black Box will also be providing a photo booth that allows attendees the chance to take a picture and keep it as a keepsake.

“Andy Warhol’s self-portraits all have a bit of a photo booth feel, so we thought that would be a great tie-in,” said Cannon.

The Studio 54 party has the potential to be one of this year’s most talked about events in the Dayton area, especially when attendees see how Prime Time Party Rental turns the Shaw Gothic Cloister into a nostalgic discotheque. Prime Time Party will be blending all things retro in with anything that has an edgy club feel to it.

“This party will have a fun, hip, vintage feel,” explained Cannon. “You can expect disco balls, lights, feel-good disco music, delicious food and great drinks.”

The Prime Time Party Series has a reputation for delivering parties that have enjoyable themes, fascinating décor, exquisite food and hundreds of energetic party people. In the past, DAI has had a Super Hero Ball, James Bond Ball and the most recent was the Wizard of Oz Party.

“The Prime Time Parties are all based on pop culture, and Andy Warhol, in many ways, is the father of the concept of pop culture with his Pop Art silkscreen paintings,” said Cannon. “In his work, he often transformed something common (think Campbell’s Soup can) into something glamorous.”

Disco music was a beneficial ingredient to the soundtrack of the Studio 54 era. If you had the pleasure of being born in this era, you miss it. Unfortunately, if you were born after this groundbreaking era, you envied it. Will you be on the best-dressed list or will you be considered a “jive turkey”? Are you anxious to come dressed in a all white three-piece suit, like John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever?” Or, will you come in a psychedelic jumpsuit like disco diva Diana Ross? Perhaps you are dying to show up as the flamboyant “Rocket Man” himself, Sir Elton John. The ideas for outfits are endless. One thing is for sure: you will need some serious dancing shoes.

Disco trailblazer Barry White once said, “Disco deserved a better name, a beautiful name because it was a beautiful art form. It made the consumer beautiful. The consumer was the star.” Do you want to be a star? Come out and witness a chance to watch all the Studio 54 stars align and become beautiful. Say goodbye to stressful 2013, and say hello to the highly contagious “boogie fever” from the 1970’s.


Prime Time Party Rental Series presents the Studio 54 Party on Friday, July 19 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North. The party celebrates the debut of the Andy Warhol: Athletes and the Art of Sport exhibit, which will also be open for attendees during the party. For ticket contact 937.223.4ART or visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Deon Jefferson at

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