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Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage’s Legacy Honored in an Upcoming Film

British actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith stars as Levan.

Oliver Kinkel

Photo courtesy of film

A feature film about the Paradise Garage, the renowned New York nightclub that closed in 1987, and its exalted resident DJ Larry Levan, is in the works. Paradise Garage is directed by Jonathan Ullman, who also made a 2014 short documentary about a block party honoring Levan's legacy at the Garage's original location in Soho. The New York City-based director's most recent project was 2012's Trouble in the Heights, a harrowing tale of Manhattan crime starring Rayniel Rufino.

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, the British actor and audiobook narrator, will play Levan, and Rufino will play Joey Llanos, a former Garage staff member. Paradise Garage DJ David Depino is the film's associate producer.

Over the club's ten-year run, Levan and the Paradise Garage created the culture of tolerance and infectious sounds at the root of dance music. On the film's website, the director writes that "[Larry Levan's] contributions go far beyond just his song selection at the Paradise Garage...it was his fearlessness as a DJ and remixer that has endeared him to generations of fans around the world."

The film does not yet have a release date. Until it does, read a few first hand accounts of life at the Garage.