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    A crowd at the club Paradise Garage. in Maestro
    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.


    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.

    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
    "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.)

    DJ Francois K. in Maestro  
    DJ Francois K.
    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.

    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

    Reader comments on Maestro:

  • One of a Kind   from Movie goer, Mar 18, 2004
  • No Good   from Nicole, Mar 22, 2004
  • Re: No Good   from Joao Morgado, Dec 7, 2005
  • Re: No Good   from No print, Sep 16, 2007
  • maestro   from filmmaker, Mar 24, 2004
  • Re: maestro   from Brian, Mar 26, 2004
  • Re: maestro   from ray, Apr 13, 2004
  • Maestro   from Spiro Condos, Apr 20, 2005
  • Re: Maestro   from Brenda, Feb 9, 2008
  • Maestro.....   from DJ Frankie Jr., Aug 23, 2005
  • paradise   from fabo miranda, Jan 1, 2006
  • maestro   from scotland, Jan 17, 2006
  • Re: maestro   from anna, Jun 12, 2007
  • paradise t shirt   from david, Jan 20, 2006
  • about maestro   from Croatia ''Mika'', Feb 7, 2006
  • Re: about maestro   from Dj John L, Aug 11, 2006
  • Maestro   from TScott, Feb 28, 2006
  • Re: Maestro   from Luis, Aug 23, 2006
  • MAESTRO   from Brenda, Feb 9, 2008
  • Larry Lavane   from Frank Coleman, Jan 29, 2011

  • Post a comment on "Maestro"