American Masters: Inventing David Geffen

Notoriously press and camera-shy, David Geffen reveals himself for the first time in this unflinching portrait of a complex and compelling man. His far-reaching influence — as agent and manager, record industry mogul, Hollywood and Broadway producer, and billionaire philanthropist — has helped shape American popular culture for the past four decades.

This is a great documentary exploring the birth of house music, through the 2nd Summer of Love and continuing to the doc’s production in 2001.

It’s hard to cover all of that ground in a couple hours, but it’s done well here.

And here’s a version you can take with you.


Dimitri From Paris, “My Tribute to Frankie Knuckles" mix (April 2, 2014) - Sunday Music! There was lots to say this week about Frankie Knuckles’ passing, and I was among the many hacks who was asked to put down some thoughts, so I did. One of the things I kept wanting to come back to was the spiritual nature of his endeavors and that he was comfortable framing them as such: not just his perennial use of the church as a metaphor to describe the energy of the Warehouse, but the deep serene soulfulness of the music and remixes he made upon his return to New York. Todd at RBMA wrote about how Chicago was the right place and time for Knuckles in terms of his ability to contribute to the flow of DJ/dance culture. I wonder if the city’s “Capital of the Heartland” nature didn’t also help shape the sentiments of his music, the aspects of hope and salvation and gospel that became its permanent fixture. (And, because it was being done by Frankie, in turn forever became part of house’s DNA.) When I was younger and heard Knuckles play, these were the qualities of his sets that I liked the least — gimme more drum-machine minimalism and more Jack, I thought, and in a club, I still generally feel this way. Yet the other, more functionally human side of house music, the one its revivalists constantly treat as a cliche (and thus, very rarely get as right as the crackling beat), is the one I increasingly listen for, searching what the music is grounded in. These are the sounds that make up most of Dimitri’s Frankie tribute mix, alongside the expected classics. It’s Sunday house music with a feeling perched somewhere between an infinite sadness and not-quite joy — saudade, the Brazilians call it — and it is a notion that every great dance-floor congregation possesses. 

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