The Swingers Board - The Swingers Board - The Original Swingers Lifestyle Community, advice and information
    • Review: American Swing (video)



      I found this on Netflix last night, so I decided to watch it. The documentary is the story of the rise and fall of Platos Retreat and Larry Levine. While it's interesting, it's not really that informative. I felt like they could have given a lot more info with a good narrator rather than just using interviews (both current with those still alive and older interviews and recordings of Larry Levine himself).

      I did find what info was provided to be interesting but I really wanted more. It made me want to dig deeper and try to find videos of the old Phil Donohue show that Levine participated in. I also wanted to know who the others were on that show with him. And, of course, the many newspaper articles of the day about the club.

      The documentary was even-handed, everyone they interviewed that had attended the show told their stories with a smile and didn't seem to regret a thing. At the same time the stories were told about how people picked up crabs at the club, how prostitutes were brought in during the later years, and, of course, the drug use. The documentary is worth a watch both to learn some of the pitfalls as well as just to see how the public club scene got started. It is currently available on both Netflix and Amazon streaming.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Review: American Swing (video) started by two4youinswva View original post
      Comments 18 Comments
      1. rpu3's Avatar
        rpu3 -
        Sounds interesting. Thanks for posting!
      1. two4youinswva's Avatar
        two4youinswva -
        Looks like this one has potential as a documentary.

        More reviews popped up today.

        Behind the scenes of that hetero-sex club! -Village Voice

        American Swing's Swinger -NY Press

        Not-So-Kosher Sex -The Jewish Week

        And finally, an interview with the makers of American Swing -comingsoon.net
      1. WesternSwing's Avatar
        WesternSwing -
        This was in my inbox this morning from my Alternet subscriptions

        "Screwing Their Brains Out": Plato's Retreat and the Rise of Swinging | Sex and Relationships | AlterNet
      1. two4youinswva's Avatar
        two4youinswva -
        I just finished watching this, and I agree with Julie's comments. It was interesting to see that 35 years ago many of the same "themes" we are familiar with were in use then. "No means no", "swinging won't fix a marriage", "women run the show", were heard throughout the film. Oh, and "there was a buffet, but it was awful".

        Contrasts I noticed: I had not thought about how "clean" of a society we have become in the last 30 years or so. I'm not just talking about the safe sex aspect, but there was a lot of activity that today many would be squeamish about due to the "ick factor". The pool and the hot tub activities came across as something that most people today would find a bit on the yucky side.

        It was fun watching the couple that "managed" the club reminisce about the good old days. They looked to be in their late 70's or early 80's, and sounded like any other retired couple telling a story from many years ago, correcting each other, finishing each others sentences, etc., except that they were talking about swinging.

        I think the club lived about as long as most nightclubs do, had its peak and then its inevitable decline, which was quickened by the heavy drug use, tax evasion, and narcissism.

        Overall, it was a good look back, neat in some ways, sad in others, and worth the watch.
      1. SW_PA_Couple's Avatar
        SW_PA_Couple -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post
        This documentary is available on Netflix now. I've watched part of it, and it's pretty interesting.
        Thanx for the tip. I just put it into instant queue.
      1. SW_PA_Couple's Avatar
        SW_PA_Couple -
        Watching it now as I type this. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Every swing club since seems to be modeled upon Plato's. I got a kick out of seeing Professor Irwin Corey.
      1. two4youinswva's Avatar
        two4youinswva -
        Another observation: Based on what was shown, I think they were a lot wilder, for lack of a better term, than many swingers are today. My perception was the couples didn't have a lot of rules between them. I doubt there was much "no kissing", "soft swap only", "we only play together" type of things going on. This isn't a judgement one way or another, just an observation.

        I think limits were respected, but there weren't too many limits to begin with.
      1. shrevecouple's Avatar
        shrevecouple -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post
        Another observation: Based on what was shown, I think they were a lot wilder, for lack of a better term, than many swingers are today. My perception was the couples didn't have a lot of rules between them. I doubt there was much "no kissing", "soft swap only", "we only play together" type of things going on. This isn't a judgement one way or another, just an observation.

        I think limits were respected, but there weren't too many limits to begin with.

        Been a couple years since I watched this but that's the sentiment I got especially when the guy starts talking about basically walking up and just sticking his dick in whatever pussy was sticking up and the girl not flinching or even looking to see who it was fucking her.
      1. slevin's Avatar
        slevin -
        Quote Originally Posted by shrevecouple View Post
        Been a couple years since I watched this but that's the sentiment I got especially when the guy starts talking about basically walking up and just sticking his dick in whatever pussy was sticking up and the girl not flinching or even looking to see who it was fucking her.
        I wonder if the differences in society were the big key to that. I don't know, but given the massive difference in feminism between then and now... Would be an interesting sociological study.
      1. two4youinswva's Avatar
        two4youinswva -
        Quote Originally Posted by slevin View Post
        I wonder if the differences in society were the big key to that. I don't know, but given the massive difference in feminism between then and now... Would be an interesting sociological study.
        I don't think so. 1977 was right in the middle of the feminist movement, and it was mentioned in the film that women were in charge. It just seemed to be more of an "anything goes" vibe in general. There were obviously different levels of comfort, since the one lady said "the mattress room scared me", but of those that played while there, it appeared to be a lot wilder than what you generally see today.

        One difference I can guaran-damn-tee: There was A LOT more pubic hair displayed back then.
      1. shrevecouple's Avatar
        shrevecouple -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post

        One difference I can guaran-damn-tee: There was A LOT more pubic hair displayed back then.
        I confess to giggling and pointing it out a few times. GUILTY
      1. mrnmrsdiscrete's Avatar
        mrnmrsdiscrete -
        Watched it. Liked it.
        Worst part about it was the title stayed in our Recently Watched category and we had some family over and we wanted to watch a movie. There it was in the list of movies my wife and I viewed recently. "Um... Interesting documentary, that one."
      1. SW_PA_Couple's Avatar
        SW_PA_Couple -
        Quote Originally Posted by mrnmrsdiscrete View Post
        Watched it. Liked it.
        Worst part about it was the title stayed in our Recently Watched category and we had some family over and we wanted to watch a movie. There it was in the list of movies my wife and I viewed recently. "Um... Interesting documentary, that one."
        A supreme irony for people having a scree name containing the word discrete
      1. SW_PA_Couple's Avatar
        SW_PA_Couple -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post
        One difference I can guaran-damn-tee: There was A LOT more pubic hair displayed back then.
        I wonder if the science that created seedless watermellons could go to work on mitochondrial DNA?
      1. VegasLee's Avatar
        VegasLee -
        Yes, back then it was more of an "Anything goes" type thing.

        Cannot remember anyone with a lot of rules or soft swap or having to only play together.

        Most showed up, played and went on their way. Might catch a name once in a while but not most of the time.

        Yes, the good ole days.

        Something to remember about that video, it was made for commercial purposes, to make money. It was not made to tell what things were really like. The "Old" footage was real but edited to show you what they wanted to show you.
      1. JustAskJulie's Avatar
        JustAskJulie -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post
        Another observation: Based on what was shown, I think they were a lot wilder, for lack of a better term, than many swingers are today. My perception was the couples didn't have a lot of rules between them. I doubt there was much "no kissing", "soft swap only", "we only play together" type of things going on. This isn't a judgement one way or another, just an observation.

        I think limits were respected, but there weren't too many limits to begin with.
        Quote Originally Posted by shrevecouple View Post
        Been a couple years since I watched this but that's the sentiment I got especially when the guy starts talking about basically walking up and just sticking his dick in whatever pussy was sticking up and the girl not flinching or even looking to see who it was fucking her.
        I can't help but think that a BIG part of what changed that was AIDS coming about and people just simply getting scared. I think that's a big part of why so many couples have more rules/limits/boundaries (whatever you want to call them) now than you may have seen back then.

        I think adding to that we now have the kids from that era who are now grown up. These are the kids who grew up being taught only to have sex with condoms or to not have sex at all. I can't help but think that's created a lot of the "soft swing only" attitude.
      1. two4youinswva's Avatar
        two4youinswva -
        Quote Originally Posted by JustAskJulie View Post
        I can't help but think that a BIG part of what changed that was AIDS coming about and people just simply getting scared.
        That is/was the 800 pound gorilla in the room, wasn't it?

        Looking back, and as it was mentioned in the film, AIDS scared the hell out of everyone, and rightfully so. No one knew even if it could be transmitted by kissing.
        -Anyone remember when AIDS was called GRID?
      1. slevin's Avatar
        slevin -
        Quote Originally Posted by two4youinswva View Post
        -Anyone remember when AIDS was called GRID?
        No, but I remember Dr Drew talking about that when discussing how he got started on his radio show. When he started he was treating people with GRID and said he was surprised at the lack of knowledge amongst people his age when it came to STDs. Was an interesting discussion and was the first time I'd heard of AIDS referred to as GRID.