LOVE IS THE MESSAGE: a night at the Gallery party 1977
FINALLY, the movie shot at THE GALLERY FORTY years ago is OUT ON DVD. In the early 70’s two clubs stood out as the most revered and groundbreaking, THE LOFT and THE GALLERY.
In 1977, 12 students from the world famous film school, Tisch University at NYU, were invited to a party, just a short walk from the university at Washington Square Park, to The Gallery on Mercer and Houston. The streets of Soho were empty during the early seventies, predominantly inhabited by manufacturers. New York City was just beginning to spread her wings as the world capital she has become.
The twelve arrived outside the Gallery just before midnight. They joined the line of guests which wrapped around the corner, most holding invitations tightly between their fingers. Transient young men and woman walked up and down the line, "can you bring me in as your guest" they begged of the invitation holders on line.
Gary Turzilli, my cousin, was at the door collecting money from entrants, one of his many duties as general manager. During the day, he was a student at the Tisch school, and he had invited his classmates to the party, where he believed, they would find an experience ripe to be documented on film... the birth of the seventies dance scene, the very beginnings of disco, where every dancer would scream so loud, the $30,000 sound system was often drowned out by the fanfare.
As they walked up to the first checkpoint, they were asked for their invitation.
"Sorry we don't have a card. We are guests of Gary Turzilli."
"NAMES," Joel the doorman blurted, picking up the pad where staff had scribbled their guest's names. Joel waved them in, and Gary greeted them warmly...as he greeted each and every entrant to the Gallery, because the Gallery was not a club, it was our HOME, and each friend who came to see us was a very special guest.
The 12 walked around the first barrier to see a full table of food and drink, laid out for all to enjoy, without paying. Two grabbed peaches as they walked further into the room. A wall stood before them, and beyond it, they could hear low jazz music playing. As they walked around the barrier, it took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the mellow lighting. They gravitated toward a HUGE mirrored ball hanging in the center of the room, with its spots gleaming on every wall. The ball was not turning, YET, but someone jumped up and pushed it slightly, and the spots swayed over the walls.
They looked up, and were astonished by the height of the ceiling, 30 feet at least, with balloons filing the space above them. A new song began, and the atmosphere immediately changed, a funky dance song began, and people were hollering, whistles blew, tambourines began to play, and as if out of thin air, people gathered on the empty dance floor, ready to begin their night.
I turned on the tweeters as the break down of the song unfolded and everyone screamed at once. It was in those few moments that the 12 knew they would spend the next 8 months filming this event...a 16mm film which cost over $150,000 to date, was filmed but never released. It sat in a garage, until NOW!
LOVE IS THE MESSAGE: a night at the Gallery party 1977 is just that. Not a long boring documentary about the early club scene, but an actual EXPERIENCE of the scene, first hand, with the greatest club scene’s of the 70’s in existence. You will BE AT THE GALLERY for two nights, and after watching this film you will never want to return home.
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