The Godfather of Disco | Chicago Reader

The Godfather of Disco

82 minutes

Gene Graham's bittersweet documentary profiles 70s disco impresario Mel Cheren, who cofounded the pioneering New York label West End Records and helped bankroll the seminal Paradise Garage dance club. The film explores a fascinating subject: how the business acumen of gay white men—many of them Jewish—merged with the creativity of black street culture, personified by the brilliant DJ Larry Levan. Graham also notes how Cheren was personally affected by the devastation of AIDS, which spurred his transformation from music entrepreneur to gay activist.

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