The Secret Disco Revolution

The Secret Disco Revolution (2012/2013)

Opened: 06/28/2013 Limited

NoHo 706/28/2013 - 07/04/20137 days
Quad Cinema/NYC06/28/2013 - 07/04/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Documentary/Comedy

Rated: Unrated

The party that changed the world.


The disco era, long dismissed as a time of hedonistic excess, has been gravely misunderstood. Revisionist historians now argue the era was in fact an important time of protest: liberating gays, blacks and women.

The Secret Disco Revolution juxtaposes disco revisionists against revealing new interviews with the era's biggest stars: The Village People, Gloria Gaynor, Kool and the Gang... A goldmine of rarely seen stock footage, and enough disco hits to shake your booty straight back to 1978.

This quietly hilarious doc-satire also features an unreliable Nabokovian narrator; "reenactments" that are speculative to the point of complete fantasy; and a unique tone of sustained irony that both presents a fresh look at a well-known era, and compels audiences to question it, without ever allowing them off the dancefloor.

Interview Subjects

Gloria Gaynor - (I Will Survive)

Village People (YMCA, In The Navy)

Robert "Kool" Bell -- Kool and the Gang

Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey -- KC and the Sunshine Band

Michael Musto -- Columnist, Village Voice

Thelma Houston -- (Don't Leave Me This Way)

Martha Wash -- (Two Tons of Fun, It's Raining Men)

Henri Belolo -- Producer/Lyricist, Village People

Tom Moulton -- Inventor: Disco Remix, 12" Single

Vince Aletti -- Journalist, Rolling Stone, Record World

Alice Echols -- Author "Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture"

Peter Shapiro -- Author "Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco"

Nicky Siano -- DJ, The Gallery, Studio 54

Anita Pointer -- Pointer Sisters

Larry Harris -- VP, Casablanca Records, Author "And Party Everyday"

Maxine Nightingale -- (Right Back Where We Started From)

Evelyn "Champagne" King -- (Shame, Love Come Down)

The Trammps -- (Disco Inferno)

Marc Benecke -- Doorman, Studio 54

Carmen D'Alessio -- Publicist, Studio 54

Joanne Horowitz -- Publicist, Studio 54

About the Cast

Alice Echols

Alice Echols, author of Hot Stuff: Disco And The Re-making of American Culture, is associate professor of English, Gender Studies and History at the University of Southern California. A former disco deejay, she is also author of the acclaimed biography of Janis Joplin, Scars of Sweet Paradise.

Henri Belolo

(Born November 1936 in Casablanca) is a French music producer and lyricist, active during the disco era. Together with his friend, composer Jacques Morali (1947-1991) he created a number of disco acts including The Ritchie Family, Dennis Parker, Patrick Juvet and most successfully, The Village People, for whom he co-wrote and co-produced such hits as "Macho Man", "In the Navy" and "Y.M.C.A".

Although unlike his late business partner Morali, Belolo is not gay, he too saw Village People as a way of advancing a "gay-positive" message. He continues to work in France as a music producer.

Larry Harris

In 1973 Larry Harris joined his cousin Neil Bogart in founding Casablanca Records, where he became executive Vice President and managing director. Initially striking gold with the rock act KISS, the label soon became known as the preeminent disco label with acts such as Village People, and Donna Summer. The label was emblematic of a wild, druggy time in the American music industry.

Michael Musto

Michael Musto is a celebrity columnist and a New York institution. Writer of La Dolce Musto, a celebrity and gossip column in the Village Voice, he is a frequent television commentator on celebrity culture, for such outlets as E! and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Openly gay, he is published regularly in Out Magazine and Show People. He spent the early days of his career as a regular at Studio 54, where an early favorable article on co-owner Steve Rubell earned him access to the notoriously restrictive nightclub.

Harry Wayne 'KC' Casey

KC & The Sunshine Band first danced into the music scene over 35 years ago. Miami based Harry Wayne Casey -- KC for short -- developed a unique fusion of R&B and funk, with a hint of a Latin percussion groove, which generated an impressive string of hits like GET DOWN TONIGHT, THAT'S THE WAY (I LIKE IT) and SHAKE YOUR BOOTY. With sales of over 100 million records, nine Grammy nominations, three Grammy Awards and an American Music Award, KC and The Sunshine Band was one of the most progressive bands of the 70's and is credited with changing the sound of modern pop music!

Gloria Gaynor

"I Will Survive" was recorded in 1978, as Gloria Gaynor's tale of personal strength and was soon to become the greatest disco anthem of all time. (Gloria was in a back brace when this song was recorded!) In 1979, "I Will Survive" climbed to the top of Billboard's Pop Charts and claimed the #1 position on two different occasions. She was only 19 when she signed her first record contract with Columbia Records, and in 1975, Gloria made history when Billboard gave birth to the 'Disco Action Charts.' Gaynor's version of "Never Can Say Good-Bye" became the first Dance Song to reach #1 status in dance music, in 1980, "I Will Survive" won the Grammy for Best Disco Song and, in 1984, Gloria recorded "I Am What I Am," which reached the Top 10 on Billboard's Dance Disco Hits. Gaynor was also the first artist to record an album especially for clubs, and the first to do a mega-extended dance medley party mix, releasing 12" dance singles that are now high-end collector's items.

Thelma Houston

After 43 years of performing, Thelma Houston continues to celebrate her long and outstanding career and shows no signs of slowing down!! With Motown Records, Thelma claimed the top of the Pop, R&B and Dance charts with her high-powered rendition of "Don't Leave Me This Way". That Gold Record classic gave Thelma the distinction of being the first solo female artist at Motown to win the Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance".

In January 2009, Thelma was then asked to "Headline" the official inauguration dinner for President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel along with her friends Cyndi Lauper and Melissa Etheridge. And in April 2009 Thelma was honored to perform on the #1 rated television show in the America, "American Idol" where she "tore it up" for an estimated audience of over 25 million people. And shortly after, Thelma was called upon to open up the "finale," of the HUGE summer show called "America's Got Talent" for an estimated TV audience of over 18 million people. In 2012 Thelma starred in Bette Midler's huge hit show "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" on Broadway at the Palace Theater.

Village People

Celebrating 35 years as the world's disco icons, Village People in just the last few years alone performed a full schedule of fairs, festivals, universities and casinos throughout the United States as well as Canada, Brazil, France, South Africa, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, England, Romania, Australia, Japan and Poland. The group just finished a successful two-week run at the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas.

Biggest Hit Records: "YMCA," "Macho Man," "In The Navy," "Can't Stop the Music," "Go West," "San Francisco/Hollywood." "YMCA" is to date their best selling single, amassing sales of over 15 million units worldwide (4 million in the US). Their catalog of combined LP's and singles has topped 100 million in worldwide sales. Their hits have been heard on dozens of major motion pictures including "Up Periscope," "Wayne's World II," "Addams Family Values" and "In and Out." Their own film "Can't Stop the Music" just celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011 as a worldwide cult favorite. They have performed in recent years on the Jay Leno Show, Wendy Williams Show, the Rosie O'Donnell Show, Oprah, Dick Clark's New Years Eve celebration and Married with Children.

The current lineup of the Village People are comprised of three original members, Alexander Briley (G.I./Military), Felipe Rose (Native American Indian), David Hodo (Construction Worker), and three longtime members: Ray Simpson (Cop & lead singer), Jeff Olson (Cowboy) and Eric Anzalone (Biker).

Nick Siano | DJ - Studio 54, The Gallery

Nicky Siano is a TRUE pioneer of the dance music scene, his first job playing records at New York's famed THE ROUND TABLE, was in 1972. In 1973, at the age of 17, he opened/designed and was the DJ THE GALLERY, called THE FIRST DISCO in books i.e. Love Saves the Day and Love Goes to Buildings on Fire. Both books and documentaries such as MAESTRO chronicle how Nicky started many DJ staples such as BEAT MATCHING RECORDS, designing the first CROSSOVER and the first club BASS HORNS. He inspired owners to build such clubs as the Paradise Garage and Studio 54. He launched the careers of Grace Jones, D.C. La Rue, Loleatta Holloway, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles to name a few. His party at 12 WEST, 1999-2002, was heralded by New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Time Out, Hx, Next, Flyer, DJ Times and Paper Magazine as "the party of the year." Currently, Nicky hosts a weekly radio show on the STUDIO 54 channel of Sirius/XM satellite radio with over 22 million listeners in North America.

Nicky has mixed and recorded over 30 dance classics. In 1977 he became the first DJ to produce a record--the underground classic "Kiss Me Again" on Sire Records, selling more than 300,000 copies, for which he was partnered with famed musician Arthur Russell. It was no coincidence that when Steve Rubell opened Studio 54 he chose Nicky as one of the two original DJ's, he is the last surviving ORIGINAL DJ from the legendary club. In October 2011, Sirius/XM re-opened the original STUDIO 54, with all the original people, FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY, with Nicky at the decks. He continues to tour the world, and is one of a handful of DJ's who started the dance music scene in New York, and he's one of the few that are left standing. Nicky Siano truly deserves to be called a legend.

The Trammps

The Trammps began in Philadelphia in 1972 featuring vocalist, Jimmy Ellis, Harold Doc Wade, Stanley Wade and Earl Young and traveled with as many as 11 members, culled from the ranks of the busiest and best musicians, many of whom also played for Gamble and Huff's Philly International and later for Vince Montana's Salsoul Orchestra.

In mid-1975, the Trammps became one of Atlantic Records hottest Disco recording acts. Their first album with Atlantic yielded tracts Hooked for Life and Where the Happy People Go which became their biggest pop hit to date reaching #27 and continues to rank as one of the most recognizable songs of its era. Other Trammps hits on Atlantic included, Disco Party, Body Contact, I Fell Like I've Been Livin' (On The Dark Side Of The Moon), The Night The Lights Went Out, and Soul Bones, which features a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder.

The pinnacle of the Trammps career was their hit song "Disco Inferno." In 1977, "Disco Inferno" was the hottest song on the International Disco scene and the group was recognized as the best performing group by one of New York's most popular clubs, 2001 Space Odyssey, the location for the motion picture, Saturday Night Fever. The soundtrack for the movie, which included Disco Inferno, was the industry's biggest selling album to date and won the Trammps a Grammy Award in 1979.

Throughout the years, the Trammps have made many tours throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America. Currently the Trammps, original members consist of Robert Upchurch, Harold Doc Wade, Stanley Wade and Dave Dixon.

Martha Wash

Martha Wash is a music legend, spanning genres from pop to dance to R&B, and is responsible for some of the most celebrated music to ever hit the airwaves. With a career spanning more than 3 decades, Martha Wash (aka "The Voice") is back and more fabulous then ever with her new knockout single, "I've Got You." With two Grammy nominations under her belt, Martha is no stranger to number #1 hits like "It's Raining Men," "Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," and "Carry On." She began her career as half of the duo Two Tons of Fun, who were backing singers for the legendary disco innovator Sylvester (You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real.

About the Crew

Jamie Kastner (Director, Writer, Producer)

Jamie Kastner is a Toronto-based filmmaker and writer whose work has received international acclaim.

Kike Like Me, (BBC Storyville, Sundance Channel) Kastner's first feature-length documentary premiered as a Special Presentation at Hot Docs where it became the top-selling and most talked-about film of the festival, went on to win awards at other top festivals, and provoke TV audiences around the world. Recessionize! For Fun And Profit! a sell out hit at Hot Docs 2011 was made for TVO and has sold internationally to several countries including Holland, Belgium and Israel.

Kastner's first documentary Free Trade is Killing My Mother, was soon followed by the international hit Djangomania! (BBC, Sundance Channel). In addition to work through his company Cave 7 Productions, for Discovery, Kastner wrote and directed Strange Tales of the Flesh for which he also composed and performed satirical songs. He directed on the top-rated History TV/Global series Ancestors in the Attic (Primitive Entertainment), and co-wrote Comedy Gold (Insight Productions) a three-hour doc on the history of comedy for CBC. He is currently developing a feature documentary on Jewish humor called Inside Joke, and completing and a satirical fiction narrative, Shame and Scandal.

Diana Warme (Line Producer)

Starting at Cave 7 Productions in 2003, Secret Disco Revolution marks Diana Warme's fifth film with Jamie Kastner. Diana has also worked on a range of other projects for other acclaimed filmmakers, including Echoes (Montreal World Film Festival 2012), Actuality: The Art and Life of Allan King (Hot Docs 2005), Inside the Hermit Kingdom, In the Name of the Family, Generation of Hate, Talk Mogadishu, and more.

Greg West (Editor)

Greg West is a Gemini award winning documentary and television series editor. Recent editing credits include "Life With Murder" which won an Emmy for best international documentary. Other awards include a Gemini for "The Genius of Lenny Breau" and best feature at Hot Docs for "Rage Against the Darkness". He has edited over a hundred Canadian and international productions for CBC, CTV, Global, Channel 4, BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, and many others.

Derek Rogers (Director of Photography)

Derek Rogers has shot 20+ features, TV movies, TV series and pilots, including the Canadian classics New Waterford Girl and Cube. Credits include: Nero Wolf Mysteries, Cypher, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Foolproof. Rogers has amassed over 400 TV commercials for companies such as Toyota, Nissan, Microsoft, Adidas, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft, Colgate and Pepsi. His documentary credits include the award-winning feature Shipbreakers, and the series 72 Hours and Diamond Road.

His recent documentary credits include: Jamie Kastner's Recessionize: For Fun & Profit and The Secret Disco Revolution, as well as Wickedest City and 1812: Explosion for Yap Productions. The feature doc The World Before Her, shot for Storyline Entertainment and director Nisha Pahuja, has recently won best Doc Awards at Hot Docs, Tribeca and the Traverse City Film Festival.