Studio One Forever Documentary, directed by Marc Saltarelli, had it’s big premier on the big screen at the Outfest LA film festival this past Tuesday, July 18, 2023, at Harmony Gold theater. The story about the queer disco located in West Hollywood sold out within days of its ticket sales opening, and there was a long line of people hoping to land standby seating.
The red carpet attracted some recognizable names in the West Hollywood community who are featured in the film such as former West Hollywood Council Member and Mayor, John Duran, Michael Koth, Charlo Crossley, Roslyn Kind, Lance Bass and husband Michael Turchin, Susan Blakely, Bruce Vilanch, Clifford Bell, James “Gypsy” Haake, Pauley Perrette and so many more.
The documentary was named a festival pick of OUTFEST 2023, Edge Media, which sampled numerous features and docs and released a list 12 of the best the fest has to offer. According to Edge Media, Studio One Forever is in list of docs at this year’s fest that are off-the-charts engrossing and essential.
Queerty.com called it “a shimmering time capsule to this crucial piece of LGBTQ+ history” and named it one of the 10-must-see films at Outfest.
Studio One Forever received rave reviews at the screening. There was an after party at Rocco’s WeHo hosted by Lance Bass who partly owns the restaurant and bar. The theme was a 70s disco throughout the night and there was a Studio One Forever Cake provided by Cake and Art in West Hollywood.
Studio One was the center of queer nightlife in West Hollywood as well as the staging ground for the rise of the LGBTQ rights movement and fight against the AIDS crisis. The documentary features Liz Torres, Divine (archival), Geri Jewell, Bruce Vilanch, Leigh McCloskey, Chita Rivera, Lance Bass, Melissa Rivers, and so many more.
For a generation of gay men who came of age during the era of Scott Forbes’ Studio One, the significance of the club and the turbulence of the times hold a profound place in their hearts and minds. From 1974-1994, the club saw the rise of the gay rights movement, the rise and fall of disco and the darkest days of the AIDS crisis when the club became ground zero for AIDS activism. Climbing the staircase and entering the hallowed hall gave its young LGBTQ patrons a sense of freedom and acceptance during a time of rampant homophobia and police harassment. Young gay men would find a sense of community and safety here.
Connected to the dance club, The Backlot evolved into the hottest live music venue in town. On any given night, you could catch established stars like Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera or Eartha Kitt alongside up and comers like Roseanne Barr or Rosie O’Donnell on the verge of taking off.
With the historic preservation battle as a framework, the story of Scott Forbes’ Studio One and The Backlot will be told through first-hand accounts and anecdotes of the times. Famous and not famous voices will share personal recollections of the place and the times. Just as gay liberation was slowly progressing, it came up against the 80s and Reagan conservatism. A few years later, the AIDS crisis that started as a whisper, had grown into a living nightmare. Through the lens of this gathering place, stories of that time will be documented for generations to come.
Established in 1982, Outfest Los Angeles is celebrating 41 years of paying tribute to queer and trans artists and creators through its annual Festival, featuring the finest LGBTQ+ films. This year’s festival, presented by Warner Brothers Discovery and Genesis Motor America, ran from July 13 to July 23, at multiple venues across L.A.