27 years after the closure of the legendary club Paradise Garage in New York, the legend continues to inflame passions. Jonathan Ullman, the director of 2011’s Trouble in the Heights, is looking for raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of a new scripted feature film celebrating Paradise Garage’s DJ Larry Levan and owner Michael Brody, who brought legions of clubgoers together from around the world in the name of music, dance, and diversity.
Between 1978 and 1987, Larry Levan, one of the first modern DJs, inventor of a musical style which will bear the name of its establishment: the Garage, was able to mobilize an entire generation of dancers who will remain scarred by that time. More than a simple movement, the Garage is described as a true lifestyle by his followers: many speak of this period with great nostalgia swing. Among those that Larry Levan (who passed away in 1992.) influence enormously, a certain Frankie Knuckles who will later develop the Chicago house scene, and other icons such as Todd Terry, MAW or other highly fuel the NYC garage scene in the 90s.
” The Paradise Garage was more than a nightclub, for 10 years it helped shape the musical landscape, providing the soundtrack to an era. It’s a musical legacy that must be preserved for future generations to discover and cherish. ” – Jonathan Ullman
Two of Levan’s former assistant DJs, David DePino and Joey Llanos, are supporting the film and appear in a video encouraging fans to contribute to the project’s Kickstarter. Both play an annual Garage reunion, and last summer, they spun classic records at a block party outside the building’s old address.
” I think the movie is important because there’s a whole new generation interested in Larry and the Paradise Garage. Last year’s block party drew over 22,000 people, and a good half of them were too young to have ever experienced the Garage. They didn’t get to live it, but through this movie we can entertain and educate this new generation of fans about what the Garage really was and its impact on music, its history and how DJs today from all over the world are standing on the shoulders of Larry Levan. ” – David DePino
” The club Levan and owner Michael Brody created has become more than a just a former physical space; it has passed into legend. It is a great honor and responsibility to tell this story that chronicles the rise and fall of the Garage, from its early struggles to its tragic demise, Larry’s rise to prominence and the music he popularized, and the makeshift family that kept it all together. ” – Jonathan Ullman
Ullman and producer Jay Antonio Malla Maldonado are looking for $175,000 to fund the film, with the Kickstarter closing on June 3rd. Rewards include props, T-shirts and invitations to throwback dance parties. The money will go to legal work, music clearances, scheduling, budgeting, operational expenses and other pre-production costs, and most importantly to begin the casting process. You can watch the video & donate on the Kickstarter page of the project.