Fellini vs. Bob Guccione and The Caligula Party

18 Aug

caligula - Google Search - Google Chrome 8182013 94405 AM

In my last post I expressed my respect for Fellini and his deep understanding of the Italian psyche. I praised his work in Satyricon,for its artistic depiction of ancient Rome in the 60’s ‘I have thought about ancient Rome for days and I was reminded of the other depiction of Rome,the film Caligula by Bob Guccione. Mr Guccione, commands the Penthouse empire [note the use of the word Empire] In 1980 10 years later Fellini had become quaint, he released his epic Caligula,an extremely graphic and not so artistic view of ancient Roman life.

FileMalcolmMcDowell Caligula.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Google Chrome 8182013 93419 AM

Caligula was historically a sadistic tyrant gone mad with his absolute power,he knew no bounds,which in three years led to the bloody assassination of him and his family. The early 80’s was the ideal period to re introduce his legend of sexually charged power mad excess. Wall street was flush with cash. The 30 something boomers were in their prime. Everyone was driving BMW’s, big shoulders and big hair were in and Dynasty was THE show to watch. We were all confident that the future was secure. The “Empire” was thriving so “Let the good times roll”

I was working as the host of the Black Banana a somewhat notorious restaurant and night club in Philadelphia. I recall clearly the managements excitement with the film. The perfect opportunity to introduce new debauchery to the already loose clientele. The “Caligula party” has become legend among the now 60 somethings who attended. Pull out your toga and laurel wreath! we are going to recreate Rome. I was charged with the responsibility of turning the third floor into the Emperors living quarters. I divided the large space into multiple spaces with the aid of yards and yards cheese cloth that only slightly provided privacy for the guests who in groups settled in upon pillows and carpets lit by Sterno cans. The entrance contained a large damaged bronze of a naked Mercury. The opening party itself was entertaining but could not hold a Sterno can to the resulting demand afterward. The Caligula Room was on the mind of all those who did not attend the party. The nightly attending Plebeians all wanted to experience our Guccione version of the eternal city. I hosted, of course [in my toga] and chose those who would follow me upstairs to our private first century playroom [profiling was not a problem in a private club] if you were a wanna-be Patrician,cute and had money you were allowed entrance. I was also the waiter and hefty tips were mandatory. I loved the 80’s.

Needless to say I was witness to quite a few memorable tableau by those libertine time travelers visiting Rome. The news of the goings on traveled fast and unfortunately spelled the fall of Rome, the Liquor Control Board  were the barbarians at the gate.

Is it history or porn….No it was the 80’s…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj0BnsF1FXs    have a look at the trailer [incidentally I still have my toga]

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