Larry Levan was a groundbreaking DJ and remixer, worshipped for his marathon sets at The Paradise Garage in ‘80s New York—yet he died in poverty in 1992, addicted to heroin and without a home, or even his record collection. In the shoestring documentary Larry's Garage, director Corrado Rizza pieces together the sad story of a still influential figure.
The doc hinges around a single, previously unreleased interview, filmed in a club in 1989. In it Levan is serious, smart and considered—a striking presence, and rather the opposite of the fun-times raconteur remembered by his friends. The rest plays out via talking heads (David Morales, Nicky Siano, Patricia Field, many more) who don’t always have much to offer beyond their admiration.
Levan was clearly much-loved, and his geniality was repaid in kind; when he'd somehow lost all of his records in the meagre years after The Garage, for instance, Danny Krivit went round the local record stores and bought them back for him. But with little in the way of period music or archival footage (only a few photos of The Garage have surfaced), the doc struggles to convey the magic of the era and the power of Levan's influence. That said, serious heads and house historians will certainly get something out of it.