A film by Billy Corben
The Rise and Fall of New York’s Greatest Nightclub Empire In exclusive Chicago Engagement at the Music Box Theatre: As the owner of legendary hotspots like Limelight, Tunnel, Palladium and Club USA, Peter Gatien was the king of the New York club scene until years of legal battles led to his eventual deportation to Canada. This exuberant documentary charts Gatien’s rise and fall against the transformation of New York City, offering a wild ride through a now-closed chapter in the history of NYC nightlife. From the director of “Cocaine Cowboys.”
For those of a certain generation, who can forget the legendary Limelight nightclub, situated in the “castle” at Dearborn and Ontario (what is now Excalibur).
The opening in August 1985 was an incredible success or a PR nightmare — depending on what side of the velvet rope you stood. Chicagoans had experienced nothing like it before: a doorman seemingly only granted entry to the “beautiful people” and the club charged a cover for entry — unheard of at that time for a Chicago venue. For only 3½ years, the club’s outrageous door policy, design and clientele made it the place to see and be seen, before closing its doors — and another chapter in Chicago’s nightlife history — on New Year’s Eve 1988.
As the owner of Limelight and other legendary hotspots such as Tunnel, Palladium, and Club USA, Peter Gatien was the undisputed king of the 1980s New York City club scene. The eye-patch-sporting Ontario native built and oversaw a Manhattan empire that counted tens of thousands of patrons per night in its peak years, acting as a conduit for a culture that, for many, defined the image of an era in New York. Then years of legal battles and police pressure spearheaded by Mayor Giuliani’s determined crackdown on nightlife in the mid-‘90s led to Gatien’s eventual deportation to Canada, and the shuttering of his glitzy kingdom.
Making its exclusive Chicago debut at the Music Box Theatre, Magnolia Pictures’ LIMELIGHT, The Rise and Fall of New York’s Greatest Nightclub Empire, features insider interviews with famous players in the club scene as well as key informants in Gatien’s high-profile trial. This exuberant documentary by director Billy Corben (COCAINE COWBOYS) aims to set the record straight about Gatien’s life as it charts his rise and fall against the transformation of New York, offering a wild ride through a now-closed chapter in the history of the city’s nightlife.
LIMELIGHT will screen at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue, Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm, and Thursday, October 20, at 5:10, 7:20 and 9:30pm. All tickets are priced at $9.25, and go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 28
- Production Year
- Running Time
- 104 mins