Pioneer. Activist. Survivor. The Godfather of Disco is a documentary based on Mel Cheren's autobiography, My Life and the Paradise Garage: Keep on Dancin'. Through a series of interviews ...
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Pioneer. Activist. Survivor. The Godfather of Disco is a documentary based on Mel Cheren's autobiography, My Life and the Paradise Garage: Keep on Dancin'. Through a series of interviews with a whos who of the dance music community, Mel's extraordinary story is recounted. From his beginnings in Boston to his first job at a record label in New York City. From the origins of Disco to its peak in the late 70s to its inevitable crash and the onslaught of HIV/AIDS, Mel was there. He turned his pain into power by using the music he loved most as a weapon in the fight against AIDS. Today, Mel continues to fight AIDS, intolerance, and homophobia through the power of music. Mel has seen it all, done it all, lived to tell the tale and continues to do it all. Mel Cheren is The Godfather of Disco.
This is a well edited, well researched and finally, proper made documentary about the underground disco scene in New York City. If you have seen Maestro from 2003, this takes a more insight look in West End Records that Paradise Garage was closely associated to. The focus is on the label and Mel Cheren who ran it (and funded the Paradise Garage project)
The big difference between this documentary and Maestro is that Maestro focuses too much of the myth around the Garage, while this focuses more about the music, which the Garage was all about.
So West End is a natural choice to start with. And a better standpoint to start with. Thus you can draw strings to everything that was connected with the label.
While Maestro's biggest selling point was the live footage from the Garage, you will see even more footage and photos from inside and outside the dance floor. You will be told about what happened on the social area around the club & the tragic HIV epidemic that struck the scene with a horrible outcome.
Music that is featured here are mostly West End material, but with so many classics that they put out it is still a great selection. And Mel Cheren who died the same year this was made, gives a heartbreaking yet thrilling story about what he saw around the time. (though a more deeper insight is told in his auto-biography which this documentary is based on)
So my verdict of this is: superb. Well done. Gene Graham has done a well job on a hard task of the REAL disco scene of New York.
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