The definitive documentary of one of our favorite singer-songwriters is streaming until March 1st. Don’t miss! It’s hard to pin down where to start with an artist that […]
Watch the revelatory 2004 documentary ‘Maestro: Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage’
- Dance /
- Disco /
- DJ /
Want to get inspired about dance music? About the exuberant, profound joy of dancing itself? About the importance of physical spaces for stretching out and-or letting loose? And the ways in which excellent sound systems not only activate the brains but propel the bodies? About community building?
Released in 2004, the unsung feature-length documentary Maestro: Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage is the closest thing you can get to time-traveling to this crucial, formative era in dance culture.
Though focused on DJ Larry Levan and the Garage, the film, which was produced and directed by Josell Ramos, also heads to David Mancuso’s influential private dance party at the Loft and travels back in time to an even earlier New York event that occurred before Levan, Mancuso and DJ Nicky Siano united to form a kind of holy trinity of downtown New York dance music.
“It was crazy. It was beautiful to watch,” says one regular during the film, a perfect synopsis of the movement’s resonance –– and of the footage that Ramos and his team uncovered of dancers at both the Garage and the Loft.
Crucially, the film does a great job characterizing Levan, an innovator who was transforming beat-based club music in Manhattan at the same time that DJ Kool Herc was concocting the blueprint for hip hop a few subway rides uptown in the Bronx.
Recalls one contemporary in the film of Levan’s presence, “If he was walking down the street with two or three other people, you noticed Larry. He just held his head up higher. He walked with a presence. And he dressed really incredibly.”
It also captures the essence of the spaces that Levan helped build. Of the King St. Garage where he held his Under Construction parties from 1986-1989, one regular described “going up a ramp and all of the sudden [being] in this blue-purple room. It was just transformed. It was my first experience with something that was atmosphere without detail.”
Watch the documentary below.
Watch Peter Greenaway’s ‘Four American Composers’ featuring John Cage, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Robert Ashley. Few people could discuss listening like John Cage. One of the great […]
By the year 2000, various forms of electronic dance music had begun consuming global music culture, part of an evolution that began with the rise of home computers, […]
An Afrofuturist film featuring George Clinton, Juan Atkins, Goldie, DJ Spooky, and A Guy Called Gerald. Directed by British artist, writer, theorist John Akomfrah, The Last Angel of History is […]
Music by Kevin “Mr. Groove” McCord “for all who like M-M-M (Mellow Mood Music).” Heralded by Dâm-Funk as one of his favorite producers, Kevin “Mr. Groove” McCord might […]
A primer on the birth and evolution of recorded sound and the rise of high-fidelity stereo systems… Cheesy 1990s graphics? Check. Dated approach to documentary TV? Obviously. Woefully […]