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The Saint opened in the old premises of the Fillmore East, a former theater turned classic rock and roll venue of the late 1960s and early 1970s, on Second Avenue in New York City's East Village. The Saint was opened by Bruce Mailman on September 20th, 1980, with Alan Dodd as DJ. A 50,000 sq ft, three-story space, it opened initially as a private membership gay nightclub (returning the idea of a club to "club"), and set the standard for disco presentation, lighting, sound system, hydraulics and technical support, until it closed in 1988. The club re-opened briefly in the same location for a while, minus the planetarium dome and most of the more elaborate architectural touches, which had been dismantled after the "official" closing in 1988.
The Saturday night DJ at The Saint was at the top of their career: Jim Burgess, Roy Thode, Alan Dodd, Robbie Leslie, Mark Thomas, Terry Sherman, Shaun Buchanan, Michael Fierman, Warren Gluck, Wayne Scott, Chuck Parsons, Nao Nakamura and Sharon White all had their time in the booth. The lighting was operated by Richard Tucker, Mark Ackerman, Jorge Villardell, Richard Erskine, Tony Devisia and Richard Sabala.
The Saint was technically and creatively one of the best dance clubs of its era. The circular dancefloor was topped by a perforated seventy-six foot(planetarium]] dome. In addition to hiding the speakers, the dome served as a spectacular palette for the lighting effects, which included a Zeiss projector. A circular opening at the top of the dome could be automatically opened and closed to allow a large mirrored disco ball to be lowered into the room. The speaker cabinets were located and attached directly to the outer surface of the dome, creating a very euphonic "surround sound" effect. Directly underneath the dance floor level was a large lounge with several juice bars. Beer on tap was sometimes served for free to avoid the licensing oversight of the New York State Liquor Authority. Above and outside the dome, were balconies which overlooked the dancefloor through the scrim of the dome, and where men relaxed and indulged in the sexual mores of the time. Several times during the year themed parties such as the "Black Party" and the "White Party" attracted celebrities from around the world. The Saint is considered by most disco historians to be the precursor to the Circuit party.
The closing party for the "original" planetarium version of The Saint lasted three days from Friday night through Monday. There was a live performance every hour culminating in Marlena Shaw singing "Touch Me In The Morning".
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