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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
After Dark: Birth of the Disco Dance Party by Noel Hankin talks about a significant yet rarely discussed or even written about part of American history: The origins of the disco dance party scene and its contribution to society in many aspects. What makes this piece of work even more relevant is that author Noel Hankin is a living witness in its evolution and has even played a major part in it. It goes back to the beginning of the seventies when a group of friends that included Hankin formed a social club called The Best of Friends (TBOF) and built a network of discotheques, beginning with a dance club called Ginza. Hankin traces back the struggles and triumphs of doing what they love and, with passionate recall, shares stories of the high energy generated by the business that they were not expecting would redefine a nation’s dance scene culture.
As the disco era became part of a culture that defined the seventies, its passion and intensity provided an escape from the dreariness of mundane or monotonous existence. As Hankin attests, many of their guests had good-paying jobs and career possibilities, and TBOF’s ventures had given them a new venue for socializing. Whether you are old enough to have witnessed the seventies or not, its pertinence lies in the meaning of living people’s emotional and social expressions against the established rules of routine. This is relevant when considering that the '70s was a time of idealism and confusion, and when people turned to creative and artistic expressions to counter the prevailing system of the time. With that in mind, you cannot help but give credit to the passion and efforts of TBOF, particularly not just in providing an after-work social venue, but by taking steps to ensure that midtown was safe after dark for anyone who wished to paint the town red. A great reference to a relevant part of American history, After Dark: Birth of the Disco Dance Party will make you look back and perhaps want to experience the feeling of a real disco party.