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BOOGIE NIGHTS

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Remember the 1970s, when women were women and men wore heels? Remember doing "The Hustle" and "shakin’ your groove thang?"

If you answered "yes," then somewhere in your closet is a wide-lapel, polyester getup that you did "The Bump" in.

Remove it immediately!

On Saturday night, curl the front and sides of your hair into Farrah Fawcett-like wings (Men, go for as much height as possible); spritz Charlie or Aramis over neck and chest; don polyester ensemble followed by gold chains; and head for Willie Bruno’s Rhythm Supper Club on 86th Street in Bensonhurst, where every Saturday night disco is "Stayin’ Alive."

The first of the club’s disco evenings, "The Wright Saturday Night Stayin’ Alive Disco ’70s" took place on Feb. 1. The theme was "A Salute to Bensonhurst."

According to Bruno, his club "offers something for the over-30 community who want to have a great time dancing to disco music."

The decor at Bruno’s club is aimed to please a sophisticated crowd.

"I built the bar, did the tile work, the painting. I built the arch in the entranceway and laid the floor’s wooden edging piece by piece," Bruno told GO Brooklyn. His attention to detail paid off. The huge room has an upscale feel with his 30-foot long, wooden bar curving along one wall; wooden tables and chairs; cozy, tapestry-covered sofas in front of a fireplace; and ample room to "get down" on the dance floor.

In early March, the club’s kitchen will open with a menu of Italian and Puerto Rican dishes inspired by Bruno’s touring days.

Bruno was the singer for the Latin jazz band Monguito Santamaria, son of Mongo Santamaria, from the 1960s through the 1980s.

"When I was on tour with my band," said Bruno, "we traveled to Puerto Rico. The cooking there is spicy with plenty of fish, sweet potatoes and yucca. That is the kind of dishes we will serve at the club."

The 25th anniversary of "Saturday Night Fever," released in 1977, and filmed on the streets of Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, was celebrated with a viewing at the opening event. The movie brought Bensonhurst national attention and propelled John Travolta from sitcom celebrity (remember "Welcome Back, Kotter"?) to movie stardom. At the time, men sporting three-piece suits and women dressed in sequined sweaters and wearing Rococo-style, over-sized glasses watched the film with rapt attention. A young and beautiful Travolta, playing Tony Manero, brought sighs from the women in the audience the moment he strutted onto the screen with that cock-of-the-walk swagger; and, of course, who can forget that iconic white polyester suit?

"After ’Saturday Night Fever’ everyone wanted to be Travolta and dress like Tony Manero," said Bruno. "Three-piece polyester suits with the shirt collar worn outside the jacket and platform shoes were the look."

Following the film, amateur "bumpers," and disco mavens with synchronized steps hustled on the dance floor to "Brick House" and "Kung Fu Fighting."

Later in the evening a Tony Manero look-alike contest was interrupted by Brian Bergdoll, an entertainer who specializes in impersonating Tony Manero. He crashed past crowded tables and jumped in front of the five Manero finalists. The crowd went wild. Bergdoll’s two-minute dance routine brought Manero to life. For his effort, Bergdoll was awarded $100.

Each weekend the club hosts "Salsa Select Fridays" featuring Latin bands. On Feb. 28, they’ll spin a mix of "hot Latin grooves by top Latin DJs."

According to Tiffany Wright, CEO of TWW Organizational Consulting Inc., who produces "The Wright Saturday Night Stayin’ Alive Disco ’70s" evenings with Yojayhudson.com, "There’s no end in sight to our disco Saturday nights. They’ve been such a hit."

"There’s a diverse mix to this neighborhood," Bruno said of Bensonhurst. "To please everyone we plan on producing doo-wop evenings, and we’re looking forward to offering karaoke nights to our Asian clientele."

If you remember "getting down" until 2 am under the shimmering lights of a disco ball; if the aromas of Aqua Net and Kools make you feel young; if there was a time when "the city" seemed like an oasis of sophistication and, just for a moment, the Bee Gees were your heroes; then "The Wright Saturday Night" is right for you.

Rhythm Supper Club (2402 86th St. at 24th Avenue in Bensonhurst) accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The club is open on Saturday and Sunday from 7 pm to 4 am. Admission: $10. There is no drink minimum. Proper attire is required; anyone in jeans and sneakers will be turned away. For information, call (718) 372-1880 or (347) 742-2704.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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