|A crowd at the club Paradise Garage.|
Out for a spin
"Maestro" could have done more to document the New York club-music culture of the 1980s, but it still makes you pine for the era when a party and music scene was born.
By ROBIN EISGRAU
If you're a dance music enthusiast who has only heard nostalgic whispers about legendary New York clubs like the Paradise Garage and the Loft and the DJs who rocked those turntables and you want to get more of the full story, this documentary is required viewing.
"Maestro" shows us the roots of DJ culture, New York style, as interview subjects wax lyrical about t he DJ prowess of Larry Levan, the resident DJ at the Paradise Garage and how he played a major role in inventing house music. Early club DJs such as Francis Grasso, whom many consider to be the very first club DJ, and Nicky Siano, who DJ'd at underground club The Gallery and Studio 54, get talked about and talk about their experiences in the clubs. (One wants to see footage of Grasso behind the decks at either Trude Heller's or Le Jardin but there is none instead we see him nowadays, shortly before his passing.)
|Written and directed by: Josell Ramos.|
Featuring: Larry Levan, David Mancuso, Frankie Knuckles, Nicky Siano, Francis Grasso, FranŤois K., Louis Vega, Danny Tenaglia, Tony Humphries, Jellybean Ben’tez, Danny Krivit, Joaquin Joe Claussell, Richard Long, Alex Rosner, Keith Haring, Derrick May, Roberts Clivilles, JosŽ Padilla, Sven VŠth, Patricia Field.
Related links: Official site
There's footage of the dance floors at the Paradise Garage and the Loft (including some film of artist Keith Haring dancing at the Garage as his murals hang above) and interview subjects include dowtown fashion doyenne Patricia Field, erstwhile DJ Frankie Knuckles (who tells a very funny story about how Levan used to dress in high school), and there's footage of various contemporary DJs.
|DJ Francois K.|| |
Hearing so many people talk about how great these clubs were really makes you want to go to them or at least hear the mixes the DJs came up with. (Most of the music in the film was made specifically for the film and is not the classic dance tracks the DJs would have spun, which is a little dissapointing.) DJ Francois K is eloquent and moving in his diatribe on the toll AIDS took on the scene, and when the film talks about the death of Levan and the closing of the clubs, there's a palpable sense of loss that comes through.
A fond look back at the roots of much of today's DJ culture, "Maestro" is a passionate testament to a bygone era.
|MARCH 12, 2004|
OFFOFFOFF.COM THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK
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