Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983
Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992, both also published by Duke University Press.
Straighten It Out with Larry Levan
Officers clamped down on after-hours venues in early 1983, using Arthur Weinstein as an informant. Dave Peaslee argued in Dance Music Report that choreographed closure of the city’s after-hours spots was motivated by a desire to move unwelcome populations out of gentrifying locations, with the official target of criminal activity a chimera. The analysis resonated as the local neighborhood association applied pressure on Michael Brody to close the Paradise Garage. Aware that the heating up of the real estate market made his eviction inevitable, David Mancuso began his own search for a new location in a less moneyed part of town. Both the Garage and the Loft continued to pack their dance floors. Behind the scenes, however, Levan began to test Brody’s patience to the breaking point as his unbounded lifestyle and additional undertakings threatened to compromise his basic DJ-ing responsibilities, prompting Brody to hire Brooklyn DJ David Morales to replace Levan for one weekend.