Several weeks ago, I posted a link to a set of 70s New York nightlife pix by Allan Tannenbaum. Not long thereafter, I fielded this comment:
There was a disco called Nite Moves at Playhouse Square that was the Studio 54 of Cleveland. My former wife and I would finish our work on a Saturday, change clothes, smoke a joint or few, then head down there to dance until breakfast.
Coke snowed from the private rooms. Sex on the couches in the back. Boys and girls, girls and girls, boys and boys. Anything, everything went ... A little slice of heaven in downtown Cleveland never to be recaptured again, I'm afraid.
When I started shaking the trees about the Nite Moves Disco, which was only open for about 20 months in the late 70s, I couldn't believe what fell out. I gathered it all up and wrote Goodbye Sister Disco for this week's Cleveland Free Times.
People, if you read it for no other reason, read it for the Gypsy story.
For a companion blog, here are some photos, all of which came from issues of Cleveland Disco News: The Nite Moves Membership Newsletter.
In the photo below, check out Nina Blackwood on the far left. She was crowned Queen of Nite Moves during the "La Nuit plus Fantastique" Mardi Gras party in 1979. Elsewhere in the publication, Blackwood is listed as a "local disco DJ and classical harpist." Who knew the Yellow Brick Road to MTV started with a glisando in Cleveland?
An excerpt from the club invitation to that party:
Our only dress code is fulfill thy fantasy—do what thou whilst! All nymphs, satyrs, mermaids, Norse deities, voodoo queens, harlequins, southern belles, shameless hussies, camp followers, French quarter bohemians, wild Indians, mystik knights of Comus, familiar spirits, farm animals, garden vegetables and creatures from the black lagoon will be afforded special treatment. Don’t hold back!
Now dig this ad from inside the newsletter. Got Pearle Vision, baby? Not in today's papers and magazines--more proof that the Internet didn't invent casual nudity.
Tons of celebs and local sporting heroes frequented Nite Moves. This photo features club owner Barry Weingart, left, football legend Jim Brown, center, and club owner Robert Hammer.
Grace Jones at Nite Moves in October 1978, proving that breast implants ain't all they're cracked up to be:
1620 Euclid Avenue is now a parking lot adjacent to a Christian Science Reading Room. They're going to have to do quite a bit of reading in order to blanch out all the beer from Alpine Village (Herman Pirchner, incidentally, turned 100 last year), all the champagne from Nite Moves, and all the sin from the nefarious after-hours parties.
I had a blast doing the Nite Moves story. I'm not the first writer to take on the notorious Disco, however. In its day, Nite Moves was often in the local media. Nite Moves founder Robert Hammer told Jane Scott, "'The Disco Craze is just beginning,'" in June 1978.
Maybe that was a bit optimistic, but it sure was fun while it lasted.
Send your comments or letters to the Free Times Editor Frank Lewis here.