The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Donna Summer Photo Gallery

Gallery 10: EMPLive Disco Exhibit in NY

As many of you know, EMPLive put together a disco exhibit that was first displayed in Seattle, then moved to Detroit and now finally New York where I could see it for myself.  YAY!  They did a really nice job, and while there were a number of things of interest there, from costumes, to record jackets, to club memorabilia, to recorded interviews - this is a Donna Summer site, so I'm confining this page to Donna's part of the exhibit. 

I think the best way to do this is to just show you the pictures and explain as I go.  :-)  Click any of the images for a larger version.  

 

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Ok, this is Donna and Giorgio's display case. 

Most of the items you'll see in detail down below, but  I'll start off by telling you that the plaque describes the dress as a Jopkin dress from circa 1979. DON'T YELL AT ME!  ;-)  That's really what the plaque does say.  But I'm sure many of you recognize it as the dress Donna wore in her 1983 tour book.

A couple other items in there that I didn't (or couldn't) photograph for whatever reason are the 45 sleeve for Can't We Just Sit Down/I Feel Love, Giorgio Moroder's Nights In White Satin LP sleeve, and Giorgio's old keyboard.

This is a close-up of Donna's shoes. They are described as DiFabrizio sandals from circa 1979, but since they go with the dress... I'd say 1983 is closer.  LOL  Both the shoes and the dress were loaned to the exhibit by Donna.

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And this shot just shows you that over Donna's case was a huge blow-up of the Love To Love You album cover.  It doesn't really show well in the photo, but you could see where ring wear on the photo that must have been on the album cover they photographed.

 

Eurodisco

In 1975 Eurodisco exploded with Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer's multi-orgasmic 17-minute "Love To Love You Baby". The genre was a producer's medium, complete with concept albums, symphonic and synthetic instrumentation, theatrical conceits, confrontational LP sleeves, and other progressive-rock trappings tied to a steady, often speedy pulse.

The acts, including Silver Convention ("Fly, Robin, Fly") and the Ritchie Family, were studio creations that often changed members. Yet if producers like Cerrone and Alec Costandinos wowed the cognoscenti, Eurodisco achieved its greatest pop success when fronted by sexy Americans like Summer and Jacques Morali's Village People.

- from a plaque on the wall

 

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Ok, hopefully these are mostly readable in the larger versions. I tried!  

This is the track sheet for the MacArthur Park Suite recording session.

This was the toughest one to photograph because the reflections of the glass and plastic were not cooperating - so it's probably the hardest one for you to read.  It is the track sheet for the Dim All The Lights recording session.

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This is the master tape box for MacArthur Park.  Note that the producer is listed as "Generalissimo Moroder."
This is the Bad Girls master tape box - nothing new if you have Bad Girls Deluxe. (And if you don't - shame on you!   LOL)

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The Diva

It took a strong voice and a stronger personality to command attention in the communal physical abandon of the disco, and the diva was the woman for the job. Usually African American, the diva was not only an object of heterosexual male desire, but also the voice of newly-liberated women, gay men, and people of color. She may have been contracted by male songwriters, producers and musicians, but her boldness asserted emotional autonomy and her prominence in the mix gave her a shiny aural pedestal. Even when stricken by heartbreak, the diva famously survived.

- from a plaque on the wall

 

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There were several video screens that played clips of all different disco related things.  This particular screen showed clips of music videos by a number of different artists.
If you didn't recognize Donna's clip from the photo above, this one might tip you off.  It's an old European clip of Love To Love You that features some rather.... ummm... interesting backing dancers.  I think this clip was offered for download on one of the other fan sites once if I'm not mistaken.

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Disco Lives Large

At its peak, disco appeared to have no limits. Movies. A musical featuring Studio 54's doorman. A disco theme song for the state of New York. Adding to the giddiness was Salsoul Record's famous "Dance You Ass Off" t-shirt, promoted by model Ellen Michaels in a series of salacious ads and album covers.

Donna Summer and the Village People ranked with the top music stars of the day, but their innovative record label, Casablanca, spent so much on merchandising and promotion that the profits disappeared as quickly as the money poured in. When disco declined, Casablanca soon folded.

- from a plaque on the wall

 

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This was a case with some assorted things. I'm sure you recognize the diva on the magazine cover.  ;-)  And I have to say that the Casablanca jacket is probably the coolest thing I have seen in awhile.  It's probably just as well it was behind glass - I know a few people who would happily walk off with it!  LOL
Ok - the Casablanca patch on the back of the jacket was so cool that it deserved a close-up of its own.   There was also some sort of patch on the right hand sleeve of the jacket, but it was impossible to get a clear shot of it.

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