A '70s Glam Club Lives On As A Replica In A West Hollywood Art Gallery
If you missed out on the glam days of Sunset Strip's English Disco, you can relive the magic via an art installation in West Hollywood that recreates the club's DJ booth and VIP area. Back in the '70s, music publicist, KROQ DJ and unofficial 'Mayor of the Sunset Strip' Rodney Bingenheimer opened a glitter rock club called English Disco located at 7561 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
Bingenheimer told L.A. Magazine that he got the idea for the club from David Bowie when he was working for Mercury Records. Bowie was recording "Hunky Dory" in England, and Bingenheimer would hang out at discotheques after their sessions, listening to the likes of T. Rex, Suzi Quatro, Queen and Roxy Music. Bowie told Bingenheimer he should bring glam to L.A., so he did.
Bingenheimer had opened a different club, the E Club, in October of 1972 where Bar Marmont is now before moving down the street and taking on the new name. The English Disco officially opened on Bingenheimer's birthday that year, December 15, and played host to several famous guests, including Elton John, Joan Jett, Keith Moon, Iggy Pop and members of T-Rex. Writings from the club's heyday revealed a wild and drug-addled scene of very young clubbers covered in glitter and not much else. Newsweek called the dance floor a "dizzy kaleidoscope of lamé hot pants, sequined halters, rhinestone-studded cheeks, thrift-store any things and see-through every things."
Joan Jett reportedly once saw someone who had overdosed out front, according to writer Lisa Fancher, and noted that no one paid the body any mind.
The wild times didn't last for very long, as Los Angeles' glitter rock scene faded within only a few years. By 1975, the club had shuttered.
Now, art gallery ltd los angeles is in its place. Andrew Emard, associate director of ltd los angeles, told LAist that the space was a number of things in between, from vacant to possibly a karate studio, before ltd los angeles took it over 5 years ago. To do a recreation of a piece of the club was something that artist Dennis Hoekstra and gallery director Shirley Morales had discussed for several years, and it's finally come to fruition.
Hoekstra's replica, put together using photos from the '70s, is located in the back of the gallery, which isn't the same place that the actual DJ Booth and VIP lounge were when the club was open. The mirrored DJ booth is packed with vinyl records from Bowie, Herman's Hermits and the Stones. Next to the DJ booth is the VIP area, the window lined with tinsel and a glittery 'Rodney Bingenheimer's' at the top. There's a Quicksilver poster on the wall, a can of Tab and those red, glass candles you see in every dive bar. Emard said that the ephemera in the space is a combination of authentic memorabilia and replicas when they the real deals weren't available.
When the red lights in the booth are on, you might be able to imagine yourself as a '70s teen, swaying to "20th Century Boy."
ltd presents… Dennis Hoekstra's Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco is on display at ltd los angeles until July 2016. ltd los angeles is located at 7561 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. Gallery hours are Tues. through Sat., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.