MY LIFE IN THE PARADISE GARAGE-C

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Keep on Dancin' is the story of the rise and fall of the legendary Paradise Garage, the underground disco that was ruled by the greatest DJ of all time and rivaled only by Studio 54 in its soulful and decadent magnificence. Set against the passionate love affair of two men who would both eventually rate as two of New York City's greatest style and scene makers, the story traces the hypnotic birth of disco, the Garage inspired technical innovations that changed the music industry, the erotic life of gay New York and the devastating rise of AIDS. What started out as a whisper of an idea between lovers - Garage owner Michael Brody and financial backer Mel Cheren - eventually culminated into a dance palace that existed for more than a decade and is still spoken about with reverence. Keep on Dancin' gives hundreds of private recollections from the people who were there: Tom Moulton, Francois Kevorkian, Grace Jones, Thelma Houston, Frankie Knuckles, Junior Vasquez and others help recreate the moment when love was the message.

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From the Publisher:

Cheren, though respected for his record label, is loved by many for making possible one of the world's most revered nightclubs, The Paradise Garage. He was the financial backer for the club which was owned and operated by his former partner, Michael Brody. During the Garage years, Cheren's relationship with the club's influential DJ Larry Levan blossomed, resulting in some of the most memorable records to come out of the late Seventies and early Eighties. (A collection of these digitally remasterd singles is out now: Larry Levan's Classic West End Records Remixes [Made Famous at the Legendary Paradise Garage]. In addition to his role in music history (he was featured in the April, 1979 issue of Rolling Stone--"Disco's Top Thirty": "His small independent West End label makes some of disco's finest records such as last year's "Hot Shot by Karen Young), and being dubbed "The Godfather of Disco" by trade magazine Dance Music Report), Cheren is one of the most dedicated AIDS awareness activists on the planet. Often referring to himself as a "charity junkie," Mel was first recognized in 1982 when he became actively involved with the Gay Men's Health Crisis. During that year, he donated his building in Chelsea (now a bed & breakfast hotel-The Colonial House Inn-and his home) to GMHC for use as their headquarters. No rent was paid to Cheren for the first year, and GMHC paid only basic upkeep costs until they moved into larger quarters in 1984. Cheren's philanthropic efforts remained an integral part of his life and in 1987 he formed 24 Hours For Life, a not-for-profit organization of media and music professionals which produced fundraising events for AIDS relief and education. Gladys Knight was its chairperson and some of New York City's most prominent names sat on the founding board. 24 Hours For Life initially served as the fiscal sponsor of LIFEbeat, the music industry's AIDS awareness and resource organization, of which Cheren is an active member on the Board of Directors. "Personally, I have known over 500 people who have died of AIDS. I put together 24 Hours For Life so that they will not have died in vain," says Cheren. He feels that this is his "Payback" for surviving and remaining HIV negative. He notes one unexpected frustration that popped up in his charity efforts, "When you want do something without taking a profit for yourself, people are always suspicious of an ulterior motive. Frankly, if knowing 500 who have died of AIDS isn't a good enough reason, I don't know what is."

About the Author:

MEL CHEREN began his career in the music business in 1959 at ABC-Paramount Records As head of production for Scepter Records, Cheren forged new territory: He was instrumental not only in creating the first 12" single for DJs, in forming the first record pool (The New York Record Pool-later to become For The Record Record Pool) and the first to release an instrumental mix on a 12" B-side ("We're On The Right Track" by Ultra High Frequency). This innovation earned Cheren and Scepter a Billboard Trendsetter Award and soon set the standard for an industry-wide practice. In 1976, Mel co-founded West End Records and soon after signed Karen Young, whose single "Hot Shot" sold 800,000 copies making it one of the biggest selling 12" in history. Cheren, though respected for his record label, is loved by many for making possible one of the world's most revered nightclubs, The Paradise Garage. He was the financial backer for the club which was owned and operated by his former partner, Michael Brody. During the Garage years, Cheren's relationship with the club's influential DJ Larry Levan blossomed, resulting in some of the most memorable records to come out of the late Seventies and early Eighties. In addition to his role in music history and being dubbed "The Godfather of Disco" by trade magazine Dance Music Report, Cheren is a dedicated AIDS awareness activists. In 1982 he became actively involved with the Gay Men's Health Crisis. In 1987 he formed 24 Hours For Life, a not-for-profit organization of media and music professionals which produced fundraising events for AIDS relief and education. GABRIEL ROTELLO was the founding editor of Outweek Magazine and a columnist for New York Newsday. Winner of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defemation (GLAAD) Outstanding Journalist of the Year Award for 1995, Rotello has written for Out, The New York Times, The Nation, The Village Voice, and The Advocate. He is also the author of Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men.

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