Maestro | Chicago Reader

Maestro

This 2003 video documentary may focus on Larry Levan, the influential New York dance-club DJ, but its greatest merit is shedding light on the hedonistic gay black and Latino underground dance community of the 70s, where the seeds of the international dance-music scene were sown. Pioneering DJs like Francis Grasso, David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, and Frankie Knuckles recall the heyday of clubs like the Loft, the Studio, and Paradise Garage--where Levan became a star--and explain the evolution of the form and its particulars (massive sound systems, 12-inch singles, remixing). The structure is disjointed and the camerawork often amateurish, and director Josell Ramos too often uses grainy, slow-motion images to convey a sense of introspection, but the various talking heads keep this crucial slice of cultural history compelling. 92 min.

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