Let's see . . . isn't that . . . what's his name . . . yup, Tiny Tim, tip-toeing through the throngs lined up outside Studio 54 for its second anniversay party Thursday night.
"Can't be just two years," a guy in a white suit says inside. "Seems like we've been coming here five years."
Tiny Tim is ensconced on a quasi divan nearby, raving about how wonderful Studio 54 is, how wonderful owner Steve Rubell is, and how young the place makes him feel.
"It's all so exciting," says Tiny Tim.
Maybe exciting is all you can say about a place that attracts drag queens frocked as pink elephants, men who dance with boa constrictors, men who dance with men who dress like women, women who dance with women, people of indeterminate sex who dance on roller skates, Elvis Costello look-alikes with orange hair and orange T-shirts, agency models paid to jiggle in front of TV cameras, men in white Levis and studded dog collars who climb ropes above the dance floor, more Lucchese cowboy boots than a rodeo, the tightest pants in town and enough spike heels to destroy an entire baseball field of Astroturf.
"Tiny Tim," says a guy popping a Quaalude into his mouth. "Isn't he somebody from the '60s?"
The thought, of course, that the '60s has invaded Studio 54 - on its anniversary no less - is somehow anathema. Oh, those touchie-feelie old times: blub blub, fizz fizz to the toot toot, snort snort of the '70s.
"I mean," he says, "how would you have felt if Buster Crabbe had walked out of the mother ship in 'Close Encounters.'"
Indeed, we're talking culture clash. Forget about Woodstock even if we'll all have to suffer the remake this summer.
"The '60s had no class," Mr. Quaalude says.
"Exactly," says a fellow in a tux. "No style. Now this is style," he says, waving his arm across a thousand bodies undulating on the dance floor and dreaming out loud. "I'm gonna produce a movie here, starring Bruce Jenner and the Village People. Disco is what's happening. Do you know that the shah's 19-year-old son stays in his room in the Bahamas all day and plays Rod Stewart's 'Do You Think I'm Sexy' over and over? Disco is universal."
"Studio 54 is the national anthem of disco," says record mogul Clive Davis, walking in the door.
Photographer Francesco Scavullo follows, saying nothing.
And then owner Steve Rubell shows up, with his mother and father. They all walk past the cashier's cage, where the minions are forking over $30 a head to get in to this private party, and dad says, "The money is very unimportant."
"He's a happy boy and he loves people," says mom.
"Stevie, Stevie, don't forget us," kids scream from in front of the old theater. "We come all the time. You can't just leave us out here in the rain."
Rubell, who is about as tall as Napoleon, is like a kid in a candy store - all wide-eyed, hugging people, asking if they're having a good time. "Wasn't Donna great he asks in about disco queen Donna Summer's very brief performance in which she sang along to her own pre-recorded tracks on stage. Then the king of Disco himself climbs on stage to address his people, referring to his scuffles with the law: "We get in trouble sometimes," Rubell says, "but we hope you have a good time." Now he's pacing up and down the lobby, his patent leather pumps churning up some of the hundreds of pounds of feathers and confetti that have been scattered on the floor.
Up the hall, one young guest is popping balloons with a lighted joint, and finally Rubell runs after him.
"Stop it, "he's yells. "Don't break my balloons." He's all dressed up in his tux, and this is his big party and the kids are pulling down his decorations.
"I really can't stand senseless destruction," he says.
Rubell doesn't think Studio 54 is going the way of all flash, even though two new Manhattan discos - Xenon and Electric Circus - are threatening to cut into his multi-million-dollar-a-year profits. And he's not afraid that the beautiful people are going to abandon him, not concerned that Grace Jones and Gilda Radner and Paul Simon and Liza Minnelli haven't shown up.
"There are lots of great people here tonight," he says. "Halston's here. Andy's here. Marion Javits. Margaret (Trudeau) is here. And somebody told me Mick is here."
Rubell takes off for the bowels of the building, where the best of the guests tend to congregate in a cold, concrete dungeon gussied up for this occasion with a bit of mauve paint and some sequined pillow. This is the real double whammy of Studio 54: outside you have to beg to get in to be with the stars, only they're downstairs for the most part, avoiding the crowd. Inside you feel important; downstairs, you feel . . . divine.
Or at least less crowded and more comfortable, which is exactly how Mick Jagger looks during his brief visit. He chats for a moment with Rubell, but is much more interested in talking with a 19-year-old model who's stuffed into a T-shirt from an old Rolling Stones tour.
"1975," Jagger says. "And you're 19. Good Lord, it's almost the 80s. I never know how old we're all getting until I read T-shirts other people are wearing." CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, Margaret Trudeau, left, and man wrapped in a python at Studio 54; by Felice Quinto.