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.
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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.
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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!