Monday, August 25, 2008

What Community? #51: Paradise?

Bill sent along this link with this sentiment: "I want to change people's lives." It's a pretty awesome documentary about the roots of Larry Levan and Paradise Garage and the whole beginnings of dance culture. Yes, it began as a haven for (primarily black and Latino) gay dudes. But it was more about feeling free than anything. What's weird about the dance scene now, or at least the SF dance scene, is the emphasis away from that communal spirit towards supreme partying and fucking and money. Not that that didn't happen then. And maybe it's just a sign of the world's changes. But I get a way different vibe at joints like Blow Up or Lights Down Low. Everything's become packaged, a sign of cool, instead of just something cool. The cool kids are probably the biggest posers/actors, too. Bill and I were talking about that a bit, too, the other day: we don't dress hip, nor do we only dress like bums, nor do we take a simplicity stance towards hipness; we definitely exist in the middle ground, which works against you in a place like SF, and fits the East Bay a lot better. Something about a holdover punk ethos. And, you know, neither of us has a job. Although that will be changing quite significantly soon enough. Both of us need jobs now more than ever (in the past two years). The point of all this is that Larry Levan changed people. Dance music can change people. And with a little luck Bill and Carlton and Stevie Fresh will change the East Bay and its (mostly stupid) perception of dance music. Berkeley house parties were the first step. Look for the Husky Boys brand to expand to Oakland (and beyond, like Thailand) through the fall. We may not be able to start the next Garage but we can definitely start something. And we can always dance. I hope I can take some pictures. More later, soon. --RWK [To watch the full doc, just follow the links; I know you can do it.]

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