Steve Adelman's captivating memoir about his years as the director and owner of some of the most legendary nightclubs and dance clubs in the world lives up to its deliriously wicked play-on-words title: Nocturnal Admissions. By the time he was 30, Adelman was the director of five of New York City's largest and most successful nightclubs. This, the 1990s and 2000s, was considered the "golden era" of nightclubs.
After explaining how daytime jobs are governed by basic sets of principles, Adelman invites readers into the nocturnal world of working nightclubs. "If your day begins at 9 p.m., and you throw alcohol, drugs, second jobs, and half-naked people into the mix, those principles go to hell pretty quickly," he writes. The attendees at opening night for his Los Angeles nightclub Avalon included Prince, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake and Hugh Hefner. But Adelman also details working with promoters to bring in celebrities. While VIPs drink for free, the club recoups its costs by alerting the paparazzi and milking the tabloid publicity.
In an attempt to keep the 20-year-old club Limelight fresh to blasé New York club-goers, club owners created Wednesday "Disco 2000" parties that became legendary for their kitschy outrageousness. Among the highlights: a kissing booth featuring Gilligan's Island's Tina Louise, and a Beverly Hillbillies hoedown hosted by Donna Douglas, as well as spiked Ecstasy Punch. Adelman sprinkles pithy business advice in the form of what he calls "learned axioms" (or "laxioms") throughout the book, including "hire slow, fire quick" and "Prepare for the most discerning, and others will follow." Nocturnal Admissions is an eye-opening look at the art of running a successful nightclub. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant