I found American Swing 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.
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