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Inside the Anvil, they watched Felipe Rose, the skinny guy who’d lured them there, take his place behind the bar. The DJ was playing a mix of what sounded like Native American tribal music and the disco Morali and Belolo revered. Every so often, Rose jumped onto the bar to dance. Next to the French producers sat a guy with a thick mustache, wearing a Stetson and boots. He looked like the Marlboro Man. Another patron could have just come from a construction site, if his jeans and boots hadn’t been so clean and tight. My god, look at those characters, Belolo thought. It was as if every American male stereotype was there, welcoming them to the Village.

Looking around the room, the producers were thinking the same thing. Belolo grabbed a napkin and jotted down: “Indian, Construction Worker, Leatherman, Cowboy, Cop, Sailor.” Morali walked over to the Indian (Rose was, in fact, Lakota) who’d enticed them into the bar. He wasn’t shy. “Hey you, Indian—you want to be in a group?”

An excerpt from Nicole Pasulka’s essay on the Village People, Wanted: Macho Men with Mustachesfrom the current music issue