Coming Soon: Paradise Garage, The Movie

New York City’s legendary gay nightclub, the Paradise Garage, will be the focus of upcoming film. Electronic Beats reports:

Though it closed in 1987, New York’s Paradise Garage night club has left a lasting impression on dance music that can still be felt today. Along with the Warehouse in Chicago and Zanzibar in New Jersey, the Garage was a place where disco was refashioned into what would later become known as house. At the center of it all was DJ Larry Levan, a selector whose narrative style of DJing and attention to sonic detail has made him a mythologically fetishized figure long after his death. As old heads will tell you, the Garage was a special place that was everything a club should be: a space of difference, freedom and expression.

More from Fact Mag:

The film was written and directed by Jonathan Ullman whose previous work includes a mini-documentary about Paradise Garage’s iconic DJ Larry Levan and block party thrown in his memory, hosted by Red Bull Music Academy in 2014. The Last Panther actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has taken on the role of the legendary Levan, who passed away in 1992. Former club DJs and staffers have been consulted for the film, including David DePino, who is credited for the film’s story, and Joey Llanos. No word yet on who plays the club’s sole proprietor Michael Brody, but the website hints the film will also focus on him.

More from DJ Mag:

Speaking about the film to Resident Advisor, Ullman said, “The stories of The Garage speak volumes about the human spirit. How people were brought together by a love and passion, both on the dancefloor and in the DJ booth, all set against a backdrop of unity and diversity. This film is both a celebration and a dramatic tale, wrapped around a killer soundtrack that defined an era.” Paradise Garage was seminal in the formation of house music, and as well as being central to the story of Larry Levan, was also a regular place for Frankie Knuckles to play.

VIDEO: Here is Ullman’s short film about the 2014 street party held outside the downtown Manhattan building that once hosted the Paradise Garage. The event was staged, in part, in support of the campaign to name the street for Larry Levan. I was there that day!
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  • JoeMyGod
    • TuuxKabin

      Thank you Joe. Not only for this post, but all the archiving, narratives and historical facts you bring us. Vicariously yours, TuuX

      • sam

        I remember going to the opening standing in line in the freezing weather. “Why don’t we just go to 12 West” it should be practically empty tonite” but oh no said my friends. It’s initial opening was with some major controversy but thrilled it last for as long as it did

        • TuuxKabin

          Missed that period. I was here, but settled down during that time, still am, different husbian. I got most of my dancing fool days done in SF at the IBar on Haight, the Stud on Folsom and the Capri on Upper Grant. Dance and you shall be free.

        • CanuckDon

          I love hearing comments from those who were there and partying in the clubs of the ’70s. I was in my teens at the time with only my disco records and wild imagination giving me a clue of how things were.

          • rubellapox2

            It was a fierce time… It was rebellious, outrageous, and wonderful… So many great memories and crazy ones too lol….

  • JoeMyGod
  • JoeMyGod
    • TJay229

      Oh and this was the first “Movie” about The Garage and Larry Levan https://youtu.be/cWpAYtmsqqM this isn’t the whole thing but a clip.

      (of course I have seen the whole movie)

  • JoeMyGod
  • Michael Rush
    • TuuxKabin

      Happiest, best looking dude on the block!

  • DaddyRay

    I think I am getting a flashback high

  • Hip Byroads

    Makes me wonder if they have any actual footage from the Garage as there is in this documentary about The Gallery, where Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles worked, Nicky Siano’s club that preceded the Garage by 5 years: http://loveisthemessagemovie.com/

    Paradise Garage was a parking garage, and Michael Brody, the owner, was actually parking cars there during the day while the space was being converted into the club. Larry Levan DJ’d every Friday and Saturday night, from midnight until about noon, for 10 full years.

    • CanuckDon

      Having a permanent residence like that as a DJ almost seems alien these days doesn’t it! But that feeling of “home” in a familiar DJ booth week after week likely was the ultimate fulfillment to Levan. He was fortunate to have spent his short life there and very fortunate for the community to have that in their lives as well. The DJ always makes or breaks the place…a lesson that so many bar owners and managers could never get through their naive, thick skulls.

      • Hip Byroads

        Because bar owners and managers are about selling alcohol, and there was no alcohol at the Garage. It was a private club that was about the music, the party, the sound, dancing, at least for me.

  • TJay229

    Honey, All I can say is, If you missed it (The Garage)… To bad! It was OOOOOOOVAH!

  • bdsmjack

    As a teen in the Midwest, early eighties, I first heard about Paradise Garage from a music video of the same name by Tim Curry. They used to play it before The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I even bought the album!

    • JoeMyGod
      • bdsmjack

        Yay! Thanks, Joe!

      • medaka

        Whoah!

        • Mariarohara3

          <<hp. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ir86m:….,……

    • Kelly Lape

      That’s where I first saw the video also – Clinton Street Theater, midnight show – every Friday and Saturday Night – late 70’s till I went in the Navy in ’83.

  • greenmanTN

    I’ve never heard of Paradise Garage before, but I once went on a pilgrimage to NYC to CBGBs to say I was there once, so I get it. East TN hick at CBGB? I was shit-scared, both of not fitting in and of the people around me. But I was there! And I lived to tell the tale…

  • TJay229

    Ok, I just watched the clip…its taking me back so fast. I was there…living..!

    The line was so fucking long to get in that day.. But it was oh so worth it. I got to be in a lil clip, arms in the air, dancing.. LMBAO!

  • Rolf

    God I miss those days, dancing all night, losing myself in the music. Saying it was a religious experience sounds strange considering conventional religions, but the feelings of ecstasy, expanded consciousness, love for everyone and sheer joy were at times almost overwhelming. And that was without drugs….

  • Kelly Lape
  • Gregory Peterson

    ‘He was like the Messiah’: Larry Levan, the DJ who changed dance music forever

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/28/larry-levan-disco-dance-nicky-siano-dj-harvey

  • NIFP

    Were there any clubs that were known for playing New Wave/Synth music following the “death” of disco?

  • Derrick Johns

    These were all great comments. Thanks, y’all