Discoing back to the ’70s, Brooklynites were full of nostalgia for a night, as the famous 2001 Odyssey Disco Club featured in the classic film “Saturday Night Fever” was resurrected to mark the film’s 40th anniversary during a VIP reception.
The party, held on Wednesday, December 13 at 802 64th Street, now the Bamboo Garden, celebrated the film with live performances, and special guests including cast members from the film and other celebrities.
The dance floor was lit, and pizza from Lenny’s was served as well as sliders from White Castle to provide the full experience from the film.
Actors from the movie and regulars from the old club in attendance were thrilled to be a part of the celebration.
Lisa Peluso, who played the sister of John Travolta’s Tony Manero character, addressed the packed crowd.
“I was 12 years old when I was in the movie and I remember when I got a call to audition for the part,” she recalled. “I had a crush on John Travolta when he was on ‘Welcome Back Kotter.’ I was so happy when I got that role to play his sister in the movie. That was so much fun.”
Crowds chanted ‘we love you’ when lead Karen Lynn Gorney, who played Stephanie, briefly addressed the crowd.
“This is just like it was back in the day when I was a celebrity. Now I’m just a normal human being,” she humbly stated. “But I think my Leo moon is enjoying this. Thank you for all your love and attention.”
“For me, the memories are wild,” said DJ Monti Rock, “Disco were my records. I was shocked to be in this film and shocked that it made such an impact in my life. I can’t believe I’m back here at 79 years old and people like him [Gianluca Mech, the sponsor of the event] keep it alive.”
Italian television personality Gianluca Mech discussed the impact the film and music had on him. “For me, it’s a dream come true. When this film came out in Italy, I was only eight years old,” he said. “Since then, I’ve wanted to come here and dance with you. Everyone said I was crazy. But now I’m here with you.”
He also discussed the impact the character and the movie had.
“I love Tony Manero. He was not only played by John Travolta but he’s also me. I feel like him because I tried to fight to have my dreams come true. I’m sure we all feel like that. The music is the way to express ourselves and follow our dreams. This film talked about many problems like immigration and social differences that are real now. It’s great to know ourselves in a better way and understand people better.”
Musicians also discussed their fond memories.
“I haven’t been here since 1977,” said Carol Douglas. “My mom was alive then and she was so happy to see me in the movie. I performed with the great Trammps and I’m glad to see everyone here. It bring backs so many memories. I’m a Brooklyn girl and disco lives on.”
Randy Jones, a cowboy in the Village People, recalled the significance the venue had on the timeless band.
“Our first live performance was here [in 1977]. We had a song that had just hit the charts called ‘San Francisco Hollywood’ but what really helped us break in was ‘Macho Man.’ We stepped out onto the stage in torn jeans and ripped shirts,” he said. “Our entire audience looked like they stepped out of the cast of ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ It’s ironic we looked like we should’ve stepped on the stage at CBGB and yet here we were in the heart of disco territory. That’s where we began pop disco and we have been in the hearts of people who like to dance, have fun and have a good time. This was ground zero for that activity and movement.”
Attendees had a blast.
“I’ve been coming to 2001 Odyssey since I was nine years old,” said Brooklyn-based actor Michael Harkins. “To have it come back for this one beautiful night is magical. They did an amazing job, just seeing all the performers here, the deejays that used to come. If you were here when the old club was here, it’s equivalent, maybe a bit smaller.”
“This is like a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I wouldn’t miss it,” added Benny Colletti. “I was raised in Bensonhurst. Now I’m in Howard Beach. I came here just for this.”
Bob Ingrisano recalled attending the 25th anniversary celebration of the film. “I had to bring my wife,” he said. “She was a big disco fan and came here all the time back in the day. Seeing the Traamps is always a nostalgic feeling.”
“This is amazing and spectacular. We needed this in Brooklyn, ” said Maria “the Ice Cream Girl” Campanella. “This brings me back to those great times. We rarely get this opportunity.”
Elected officials also enjoyed the night.
“This brings me back to 1977 when I was a senior in high school and we watched as this movie was being filmed.It really brings me back to the days of being a teen in Bay Ridge,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “It really hits home. It was a simpler and kinder time we had back then. ”
“We can’t underestimate what the disco movement meant to so many people,” added Borough President Eric Adams. “They met their wives there and made friends for a lifetime, and it started here in Brooklyn.”