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Warriors of the Discotheque2011

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  • 2.8
1984! The year of the famous Orwell novel, the year Apple introduced Mac computers via the famous Ridley Scott commercial and the year Ronald Reagan won in a Presidential landslide. In fact, the Republican National Convention was hosted in Dallas, Texas. Also, in Dallas, the seeds were sown for the beginning of the entire rave/ecstasy scene in a night club on the northwest edge of downtown. That place was the notorious Starck Club (so-called because it was the first major project designed by Philippe Starck; it put him on the map in the United States). The Starck Club opened in Dallas on May 12, 1984 and, not long after, hosted the GOP in the form of a "Starcktari" party complete with a baby elephant! Ironically, Philippe Starck is now a world renowned designer but until his foray in Dallas he was only an up-and-coming Parisian designer virtually unknown outside of France. After the club, he went on to design the Hotel Royalton in New York as well as the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills in which he currently has an exclusive ten year contract. In addition, the mid '80s brought about a new second British invasion and the birth of new wave music: Dead or Alive, Book of Love, Prince, Grace Jones, Karen Finley and a whole slew of new bands and artists performed there. Dallas in the 1980s was fast becoming a world-class city. WARRIORS OF THE DISCOTHEQUE explores the legacy and influence the club has had on everything from design, music and fashion. This exciting story unfolds by incorporating interviews with those that were there: former employees, managers, performers and key influential patrons. The film makes the case the Starck Club may have been the greatest night club ever!

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1 member likes this review

Reviewed by Monique Threatt, Indiana University, Herman B Wells Library, Bloomington, IN

Highly Recommended

Date Entered: 10/25/2012

“You could be who you wanted to be for that moment, that night, or the next eight years…”

-A Starck party-goer

Originally released as a documentary-short in 2009, this extended documentary-feature takes the viewer to Dallas, Texas, where in 1984 the Starck Club opens as the (unconfirmed) Southwest’s answer to New York’s Studio 54. Designed by successful Parisian Philippe Starck, the club is literally a stark contrast to popular images as seen in the television series Dallas. Nor does the club’s interior mimic the infamous nightclub Gilley’s as seen in the movie Urban Cowboy. You’ll find no hay, punching bags, or mechanical riding bulls in this discotheque. It is cavernous, chic, modern, mysterious, romantic, and sophisticated. It is a surreal work of art.

Starck is the hottest dance spot to see and to be seen. It caters to the rich and famous, artists, celebrities, royalty, big-name musicians, professional athletes, straight and gender-benders. The social, racial and economic lines are a blur as common folk and the elite rub elbows. The club becomes so popular that it has a cameo in the movie Robocop, and it becomes the first club to legally sell MDMA better known as the drug Ecstasy until the DEA intervenes and labels the drug illegal.

Bartenders, club-goers, doormen and managers recount their experiences from the heyday of the club until its demise in the late 1980s. Just like Studio 54, it is often the gay doorman and the “gay mafia” who not only dictate who will have exclusive access to the burgeoning inner sanctum, but also it is they who will set the standard for fashion, music, and decorum. The term sex, drugs and rock and roll aptly applies to the mystique of the Starck Club.

You cannot mention a discotheque without mentioning the contributions of its DJs. In addition to the numerous big name musicians who would frequent the club like Grace Jones, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and especially Stevie Nicks who is a club partner, interviewees praise the unique talents of DJs Krootchey, GoGo Mike, and Rick who individually would play tunes not heard of in any other club, nor on the radio. Some of the DJs are revolutionary to import music from Europe, and to introduce partiers to rave, electronic, and underground House music as heard in legendary clubs like The Paradise Garage in New York. The music is ahead of its time due in part to the diversity of the crowd. Certainly the music, coupled with the freely available drugs, play a large role in the success of the club.

Unfortunately, all good legacies soon come to an end. By the end of the 1980s, numerous factors lead to the decline and closing of the Starck Club. The budget begins to decline, DEA officials crack down on drug use, a shift in the music scene, and the nouveau riche are looking to invest and, some may say, unsuccessfully, imitate the next “Starck.” Still, a sense of nostalgia lives on for those fortunate enough to experience the original Starck culture.

Warriors of the Discotheque is a superb resource for use in gay and lesbian, and gender studies. The film provides an excellent overview of a generation that existed in the throes of Madonna-esque style and dress, disco and new wave music before the onslaught of grunge, hard rock, and rap. The narrative flows smoothly, the music enhances the story and the interviews are well done. I highly recommend this film for both public and academic libraries.

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filmmaker

Member Reviews (3)

98917.small
filmmaker

Reviewed by Monique Threatt, Indiana University, Herman B Wells Library, Bloomington, IN

Highly Recommended

Date Entered: 10/25/2012

“You could be who you wanted to be for that moment, that night, or the next eight years…”

-A Starck party-goer

Originally released as a documentary-short in 2009, this extended documentary-feature takes the viewer to Dallas, Texas, where in 1984 the Starck Club opens as the (unconfirmed) Southwest’s answer to New York’s Studio 54. Designed by successful Parisian Philippe Starck, the club is literally a stark contrast to popular images as seen in the television series Dallas. Nor does the club’s interior mimic the infamous nightclub Gilley’s as seen in the movie Urban Cowboy. You’ll find no hay, punching bags, or mechanical riding bulls in this discotheque. It is cavernous, chic, modern, mysterious, romantic, and sophisticated. It is a surreal work of art.

Starck is the hottest dance spot to see and to be seen. It caters to the rich and famous, artists, celebrities, royalty, big-name musicians, professional athletes, straight and gender-benders. The social, racial and economic lines are a blur as common folk and the elite rub elbows. The club becomes so popular that it has a cameo in the movie Robocop, and it becomes the first club to legally sell MDMA better known as the drug Ecstasy until the DEA intervenes and labels the drug illegal.

Bartenders, club-goers, doormen and managers recount their experiences from the heyday of the club until its demise in the late 1980s. Just like Studio 54, it is often the gay doorman and the “gay mafia” who not only dictate who will have exclusive access to the burgeoning inner sanctum, but also it is they who will set the standard for fashion, music, and decorum. The term sex, drugs and rock and roll aptly applies to the mystique of the Starck Club.

You cannot mention a discotheque without mentioning the contributions of its DJs. In addition to the numerous big name musicians who would frequent the club like Grace Jones, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and especially Stevie Nicks who is a club partner, interviewees praise the unique talents of DJs Krootchey, GoGo Mike, and Rick who individually would play tunes not heard of in any other club, nor on the radio. Some of the DJs are revolutionary to import music from Europe, and to introduce partiers to rave, electronic, and underground House music as heard in legendary clubs like The Paradise Garage in New York. The music is ahead of its time due in part to the diversity of the crowd. Certainly the music, coupled with the freely available drugs, play a large role in the success of the club.

Unfortunately, all good legacies soon come to an end. By the end of the 1980s, numerous factors lead to the decline and closing of the Starck Club. The budget begins to decline, DEA officials crack down on drug use, a shift in the music scene, and the nouveau riche are looking to invest and, some may say, unsuccessfully, imitate the next “Starck.” Still, a sense of nostalgia lives on for those fortunate enough to experience the original Starck culture.

Warriors of the Discotheque is a superb resource for use in gay and lesbian, and gender studies. The film provides an excellent overview of a generation that existed in the throes of Madonna-esque style and dress, disco and new wave music before the onslaught of grunge, hard rock, and rap. The narrative flows smoothly, the music enhances the story and the interviews are well done. I highly recommend this film for both public and academic libraries.

1 member likes this review

As a former Dallas resident, the show was a bit too much on the theme-repeatative side.

1 member likes this review

Always up for a doco on subcultures, in this case, clubbing culture, which I know very little about in the US. There are no WOW revelations here, but hearing those Texan drawls talking about drugs is pretty refreshing. For a doco with NO existing footage and very few photos, this doco makes the most of its talking heads. So, if you're interested in this subject matter and can take a doco with low production values, but not so bad they distract you in any way, have a watch.

1 member likes this review
98917.small
filmmaker

Well stated! There is a new director's cut w/ a treasure trove of stock footage including Philippe Starck himself and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's called Sex, Drugs, Design: WotD. The most interesting thing to me which the film implies, but doesn't totally drive home is the fact that Starck was instrumental in Ecstasy becoming illegal in the US.