Robert Mapplethorpe image for The Saint’s “Black Party” 1981 via OrangeMercury.
Thanks to Tony Dunne for the sterling work on this - stitching together various tapes to create a four-and-a-half-hour continuous mix of the DJ Warren Gluck from the closing night of the legendary New York nightclub The Saint in 1988. Tony says:
“There may be slight differences from the originals because of the tape endings. Sound quality could of course be better but the recording was taken from cassette tapes.”
The Saint was a members-only gay club opened in 1980 by New York club owner Bruce Mailman (St Mark’s Baths), and the architect Charles Terrell. It gained legendary status almost immediately, due in no small part to the huge planetarium-style dome over the dancefloor (which hosted massive light shows and also served to hide and amplify the club’s sound system) as well as the notoriously permissive attitude to sex in the club, in the upstairs areas and at special events like “The Black Party”. Unsurprisingly the AIDS epidemic decimated the club’s clientele, leading to its closure in May 1988 (a year after both Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage). The Saint never received the acclaim for its music in the same way the Garage did, despite mixes like this proving it was just as excellent (the music may have been different but gays were raving long before acid house). University of East London lecturer, disco historian and author Tim Lawrence sums it up in his thesis “The Forging of a White Gay Aesthetic at the Saint, 1980-84” (a must read for fans of disco, gay history and New York nightlife):
...whereas historians of dance culture have hailed the Garage’s Larry Levan to be the most influential DJ in the city during the 1980s, the shifting roster of selectors who worked at the Saint have merited barely a single mention—an unlikely scenario given that privileged white groups often receive more attention than disadvantaged subaltern groups. Based on numerous interviews with key protagonists, documentary material held in the Saint’s archive and recordings of DJ sets from the Saint, this article redresses the imbalance by outlining the contributions of Jim Burgess, Alan Dodd and Roy Thode, the Saint’s principal DJs during the opening 1980–81 season, as well as Shaun Buchanan, George Cadenas, Michael Fierman, Michael Jorba, Robbie Leslie, Howard Merritt, Chuck Parsons, Terry Sherman and Sharon White… their collective impact was considerable, even if their very collectivity also meant that each was ultimately disposable.
For more information on the history of The Saint, and the ongoing “Saint At Large” reunion parties, visit Saint At Large.com. But for now lose yourself in Warren Gluck’s awesome final dj set at the club: