Is It all about me...? Life as I know it... (Life's journey is not about arriving at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather skidding in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy Shit! What A Ride!!!")... Billy Amato
On this site I plan on telling you a "little" about myself, very little.... I would need a few life-times to tell you everything and I am sure you have more things to do on the internet other than spending a few lifetimes reading about me and the kind of guy I am. So I will make it short, sweet and interesting enough to keep you here for just a few minutes.
You will be reading about my Professional Experience, Education, Interests, FaVoRiTe'S, Best Web Links, Music, The Rose Center For Earth and Space and My BeSt FrIeNd!..... and things i like to do. Now sit back and hopefully I will inspire you to start your own web page after all, there’s so much room out here in cyber space.
Born and raised in Pelham Manor, New York - a love child and hippie of the 60's and now a community leader here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and working along with the "West Side Community Board #7/Manhattan". I am Chair person of the West 80th Street Block Association and Co-Chair person of "The West 80th Street Tree Fund" - keeping your trees and plant beds looking the best for the Upper West Side community (since 1968) that we all love so much and where else? In the greatest and now the greenest city in the world! "I love New York", it's like a world of its own, "New York-New York" - If you make it here, you can make it anywhere...
Click The New York Times/Living In The West 80s - My Street West 80th Street
Here I am at the 2009 US Open
MY PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE.............
I am a CMP and the Sr. VP Global Business Development/Private Client Relations/Logistics Specialist and of a large highend luxury motoring service company right here in New York, called Bermuda Limousine International a privately owned company established in 1941 by the Verdi Family ( now, Peter Verdi), now celebrating 75 years! and Serving over 550 U.S. Cities and 60 destinations worldwide.
As the oldest ground transport companies in Manhattan and now the "Best Of The Best" in service by New York Magazine's annual..."Best Of New York Award".
(* "CMP" is a designation helps event planners distinguish their credentials and expertise in planning and executing professional events).
Our extensive clienteles:
Bermuda Limousine International has consistently proven itself to be dependable resource for the Fashion Industry and large corporations, as well as Financial Firms, Television Networks, Award Shows, Publishing Companies, Music Rock Stars and Celebrities also working at and with The White House. Our extensive clientele list includes corporate CEO's, "The White House" special events The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts special events.
Client discretion is something we take very seriously here at Bermuda Limousine International. I am now with the company 30 years.
My Professional experience thrills:
Working with and at The White House since 2009
..."I am very proud to be part of the professionalism Bermuda Limousine International offers. As part of my professional experience".
Meeting Professionals International:
I belong to an networking organization called "Meeting Professionals International" (MPI); it is a truly great organization that has over 25,000 Planners/Suppliers members-worldwide. In recognition of my leadership and contributions to "Meeting Professional International" and the meeting and conventions industry, I was awarded the most respected and highly honored award in the corporate world, the 1998 and 2003 "Supplier of the Year". This is the second time I have received this notable honor prize award.
I also served on the Board of Director for MPI-New York Chapter (2004-2006) and recived my CMP and The Committee of The Year (Golf) 2010 and have been on the Golf Committee since 1992- (on-going) also a number of other committees in the past.
Carole King and President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC.
A DAY IN A LIFE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET AT THE WHITE HOUSE:
Working at The White House was 'THE' (not one of) highlife of my business career.
I was asked to be the Logistics Coordinator Specialist for the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize White House Ceremony honoring Carole King when she was going to be presented the prize for Popular Song by the President (Carole King “Singer-songwriter” is first woman to receive the award) this past May 2013.
Carole opened the show in the East Room of the White House playing the piano before taking a seat next to the president and Vice President Joe Biden; she closed the ceremony as well with a duet of "You've Got a Friend" alongside James Taylor. Gloria Estefan, Trisha Yearwood and Emeli Sandé further honored King with a rendition of her "Will You Love Me Tomorrow."
Working with The White House staff and President Obama and his staff was a dream come true for me and I guess for any American! My thanks to the producers and talent producers of the show and WETA for a wonderful full week experience.
The evening at the White House tribute was a part of Presidents Obama's "In Performance at the White House" series, and the show aired worldwide on PBS.
MAY 21, 2013
THE CHINA ROOM
WHITE HOUSE LAY OUT
EAST ROOM - SHOW ROOM
Diplomatic Reception Room
THE MAP ROOM
MY EDUCATION.............. "Iona" grammar school in New Rochelle, NY than to "Pelham High School" in my home town in Westchester County about an hour north of Manhattan called Pelham Manor. New York City "NYU" and the "Herbert Berghof (HB) Studio" both in the West Village.
PAST OCCUPATION................ and now... 1963 (Summer) Oliver! Producer David Merrick at the Broadway Imperial Theatre Best friends - David Jones and Georgia Brown... 1963 - 1964 Otto Preminger - Career advice for undergraduate student internship -The Cardinal and In Harm's Way... 1964 - 1969 The Rascals a/k/a The Young Rascals (Group) 1967- 1968 Launch - The original Jeff Beck Group (w/Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Ansley Dunbar. 1969 - Woodstock - (Not really a occupation but a education) 1970 - 1971 Launch - the originalBlood Sweat & Tears w/Al Cooper, Steve Katz, Bobby Colomby, Jim Fielder, Fred Lipsius, Randy Brecker, Jerry Weiss, Dick Halligan, and Howard Levy- (Group) ... I worked vary hard on them when at the Cafe Au Go Go in the West Village with thanks to Steve and Al and Bobby. Got them on the Ed Sullivan Show and moved on - ... very difficult working with David Clayton-Thomas. 1970 - 1972 Warner Bros. Records (A&R - VP Promotions) Launch - many groups including ...Jethro Tull and Alice Copper. 1972 - 1973 Launch - Alice Cooper (Group) 1973 - 1974 Took a year off in Maui, HI 1974 - 1977 20th Century Fox Records (VP A&R - New York Promotions) Launch - Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra and many more... 1974 - 197720th Centrury-Fox Film Launch - Mel Brooks: "Young Frankenstein" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". 1977 - 1979 London Records (VP A&R - Promotions) 1979 - 1982 Salsoul/RCA Records (VP - Promotions) 1977 - 1979 (part time) 1980 - 1986 (full time) Studio 54 (director of special events/theme parties /Corporate Networking and In-House Show Producer) 1986 - (on-going) I am a *CMP and Sr. VP Business Development & Client Relations/Logistics (*An "CMP" is a designation helps event planners distinguish their credentials and expertise in planning and executing professional events).
RIP - Steve Paul/The Scene NYC (My Friend - forever)
The Summer of '79 - Judy Weinstein's FOR THE RECORD's 1 1/2 Year Anniversary Party at the PARADISE GARAGE in NYC on King Street (August 20, 1979) Judy Weinstein and VP, RCA/Salsoul's Billy Smith (Amato) totally enraptured.
I worked for a very dear friend and buddy, the late Steve Rubell (oh how I miss him...) and with, the now "Hip Hotelier 'The King' of Stylish Hospitality", Ian Schrager at the world famous "Studio 54" right here in Manhattan as the director of special event theme parties and In-House Show Producer from the opening of April 1977 with a year off in 1979/80 until it's closing in April of 1986, I would need two life times to tell you the real stories behind "Studio 54", un-like what you have read or scene on screen.
Steve Rubell well always be known as the owner of the world famous New York nightclub Studio 54. Born and raised and dide in New York, Steve Rubell and his business partner Ian Schrager operated a number of restaurants and offices before deciding to create the ultimate nightclub. Renting a vacant theater on west 54th Street in Manhattan along with Tim Savage and Jack Dushey. They operated the company as Broadway Catering Corp. Another partner, Richard DeCourcey, was present until September 1979 they opened Studio 54 in April 1977. Their goal was to have a club where anyone could get invited and anything would go within it. After a unpresented opening which it made $7 million within the first year, Studio 54 drew many people and celebrities to its unconventional parties and gatherings. Drugs, alcohol and sex of all kinds inhabited the place which made it all the more notorious and controversial.
By the end of 1979, the excess and business of Studio 54 caught up with Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager when they were arrested by the IRS for income tax evasion all based around a "New York Magazine" story -- "Only if the IRS really knew what we were really making" ... and were sentenced to three years in prison. They both were paroled after serving 13 months and tries operating Studio 54 but without success. Selling it, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager went into the hotel business where they bought out and operated a number of upscale hotels.
Steve Rubell, a closeted homosexual, was diagnosed HIV positive in 1985, but incredibly denied his condition and continued his excess lifestyle of drinking, drugs. Steve Rubell died July 25, 1989 in NYC by himself. Ian Schrager continues today running their hotels they both started.
This reminds me, before there was a Studio 54 there was...
A special "You Tube" tribute to STUDIO 54
<Click the You Tube logo below>
Click the You Tube logo to see the Tribute to STUDIO 54
Ian Schrager his way of life as it is today..... A one on one.....personal interview with Ian Schrager on You Tube.
<Click You Tube log below>
Ian Schrager his way of life as it is today.....
For The Record...
Billy Amato (Smith) - In House show producer at Studio 54
"John Addison owner of the disco "La Jardin" on West 43rd Street, New York City in 1974 introduced Steve Rubell to Billy Smith and then to Ian Schrager. Billy Smith later in 1975 was ask by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell to handle the promotions for their new disco club called the Enchanted Gardens a dinner/disco in Douglaston, Queens New York. While still in the music business, Billy Smith then joined Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager at Studio 54 in the spring of 1977 part time and full time in 1981 until the closing of Studio 54 in April 1986".
Z100 and WPLJ Saturday night party's at Studio 54 with Billy Amato (Smith)
When Studio 54 re-open in the fall (September) of 1981 to the closing (Spring) April, 1986 - Saturday nights were the hot disco nights at Studio 54 with Billy Smith's (Amato) "WPLJ" and "Z100" disco radio nights parties. Billy had been working with owner Steve Rubell from 1977 - 1980 as Special Events and In-House Show Producer. He was responsible for the launch of the "record" career of Madonna when on Saturday, June 4th in 1983. (See Madonna's invite below) Madonna had her first Studio 54 performance for her hit record "Holiday" - with the help of Johnny "Jellybean" Benitez DJ at the "Fun House" disco in the Chelsea area of Manhattan and at the time Madonna's boyfriend. Madonna record "Holiday" was added to the Z100 top play list on the following Monday morning after her performances at Studio 54. Madonna in return did two more performances later in that month in gratis, that was the deal..." Billy Smith (Billy Amato) said to 60 Minutes an CBS TV news show. Other Various Artists - legendary performers of Peter Allen Singer/Songwriter with Patti Labelle, Brooke Shields, Patti LuPone, Wham!, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Menudo, Run-DMC, Two Tons of Fun, Dolly Parton, The Village People, The Weather Girls, Selvester, Diana Ross, Robert Flack, Dolly Parton, Eartha Kitt, Lime, Some of the world's most famous performers also performed their new songs: Donna Summer, Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, Grace Jones, Gloria Gaynor, The Village People, Cheryl Lynn, Brooklyn Dreams, James Brown, Phyllis Hyman, Amii Stewart, Chic, The Ritchie Family, Rick James, Stephanie Mills, Roberta Kelly, Thelma Houston, Candi Staton, Loleatta Holloway, Odyssey, Linda Clifford, Ashford & Simpson, Lipps, Patrick Hernandez, First Choice, Sharon Redd, Vicki Sue Robinson, Paul Jabara, Viola Wills, Madleen Kane, KC and the Sunshine Band, Candi Staton, Jocelyn Brown, Melba Moore, Charo, Stephanie Mills, Carol Williams, Sharon Redd, The Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Pointer all sang their most famous songs during the Studio 54 era. There were many other artists that performed on the Studio 54 stage before becoming famous including many of the Broadway Show performers on behalf and help of the direction of Billy Amato (Smith).
"Madonna" Saturday evening June 4th in 1983 with thanks to Johnny "Jellybean" Benitez DJ from the Funhouse.
Studio 54 - on the radio
Studio 54 SiriusXm
I just did a 1.5hr interview on SiriusXm with Marc Benecke (The Studio 54 doorman) who is now the "On-Air Talent" at SiriusXM Radio-Studiuo 54 and Myra Scheer who is co-hosting with Marc on the NEW Studio 54 SiriusXM radio on channel 15. It did air a few times and lots of fun to do... "I told my Madonna story, they loved it all". Johnny "Jellybean" Benitez is the Excutive-producer for the SiriusXMRadio-Studiuo 54 channel. They already interviewed Carolina Herrera, Bob Colacello, Jackie Rogers, Richie Notar, Nicky Siano, Chuck and a number of others that worked there. They tape for about an hour and the musical interludes are thrown in. It's been great so far Marc said... "with everyone's personal stories, and people just talking about their influences from the period and what they are doing now. We only talk about the early period 1977 - 1979".
Photos below - I found in my archives of the days working with Steve Rubell at the Studio. I like to share them with you all... some are with the late Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett (RIP).
Plesae check back from time to time I will be adding more...
PHOTO NOTE: To view and see the text in the photos below please click onto the photo you like to enlarge.
To all my Friends& Colleagues-
Who I grew with here in Manhattan and in my small town of Pelham Manor, New York and the Music and Club world and in the Corporate world who I am working with today....... "May you all live to be 100, and me 100, but minus a day...so I will never know that such nice people like you have passed away." It's been fun - Billy Amato