"The Secret Disco Revolution": Doing the Hustle for a Better World

The Secret Disco Revolution Sometimes a social revolution only becomes obvious in hindsight, regardless of whether or not the revolutionaries ever acknowledge it themselves. That's the hook behind Jamie Kastner's terrific and very funny documentary The Secret Disco Revolution, which posits that the true agenda of the disco era was the freedom of gays, blacks, and women from the tyranny of straight/white/male-dominated rock music. The agenda's "Masterminds" are personified by a trio decked out in archetypal disco finery, their machinations described in stentorian tones by a hilariously unreliable narrator. Indeed, the conspiracy goes so deep that when interviewees such as the Gang's Kool or the Sunshine Band's KC deny there was anything political in the booty-shaking music or culture, the narrator explains that they're still deep undercover. It's presented tongue-in-cheek, but in addition to being fun and packed with great tunes, the movie does makes a strong case for the connection of disco music to the liberation of underrepresented peoples, and French producer Henri Belolo's comparison of the mass-record-destruction at Comiskey Park's '79 "Disco Demolition Night" (attended by 50,000 angry white men chanting "Disco sucks!") to Nazi book-burnings doesn't feel hyperbolic. The war may have been lost, but the revolution lives on.

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