The Legendary Gino’s Nightclub
Three years ago, I was told a story about a legendary night club called Gino’s located on Santa Monica Boulevard and Vine. At the time, the story seemed fictitious, but over the span of three years I was able to see the story unravel. This legendary night club, Gino’s, held the history and secrets of a dance that I love and cherish so deeply, waack/punk (waackin’ was the first evolution from punkin/punkin’ was the original name of the dance in the underground scene). This story was populated with wonderfully eccentric characters made supremely of flesh and bone, but the character that I was most drawn to was the legendary DJ and originator of punkin’ Michael Angelo, an icon in the underground gay/straight dance and music movement. For a long time, my imagination would run wild on who this Michael Angelo gentleman was. Was he tall or just a little bit tall? Was he handsome or was he just a little bit handsome? Was he flamboyant or just a little bit flamboyant? But the thing that I wondered most was what kind of music would he play to be regarded as a legendary DJ and grandmaster of waack/punk? It was just as much fun not knowing anything about him because it gave me freedom to imagine whatever I wanted, but it brought me great sadness always wondering and never knowing, until slowly, the history of Gino’s began to resurface.
On August 27, 2011, I was invited by my teacher, Angel, to the Gino’s II reunion at La Cita Bar in Los Angeles, and I felt like I won the golden ticket, except I wouldn’t be going to a chocolate factory. Upon entering the club, I felt a golden twinkle in my eye the moment I heard sounds, sounds that I have never really heard before, powerful sounds. In those few seconds, everything clicked. The secrets and power of waack/punk was derived from those very sounds. I came to realize that those sounds are whatcatalyze a fortuitous impulse of power within the torso, the upper joints, the shoulders, the elbows and wrists, all of which are necessary to demonstrate the true power of waack/punk. And that made me appreciate and realize how important the music is to this dance. This dance would have never existed if it weren’t for that type of music. What I saw on the dance floor that night was an overflow of emotion in a moment of complete tranquility, and there was not anything more beautiful in this world than that unrehearsed moment because in that moment the spirit of waack/punk swept me away, kissed me on the cheek and gave me a face.
This Saturday, August 31st Ginos III will be the home of the LA Waack/Punk Festival. If you would like to uncover the mysteries and secrets of waack/punk, I urge you to find it at the legendary nightclub, Gino’s III.
The LA Dance Studio
342 ½ N. Ford Blvd,
Los Angeles CA 90022
Doors open at 8:00pm
Cover charge $5.00 before 9:00pm then $10.00 afterward