Metro Weekly

New documentary “Where Love Lives” celebrates the importance of nightlife and club culture

Queer-friendly, globe-trotting party Glitterbox takes center stage, along with those who made it iconic

Where Love Lives
Where Love Lives

“I have a special affinity for the dance floor,” Billy Porter says in Where Love Lives, recounting his experience as a young, recently out gay man in New York during the AIDS pandemic. “We marched on streets, we fought for medication, we fought to live — and the dance floor was the place that we went, to be with each other, to heal, to recharge, to find a space where we could have the energy to go back out into the world and fight some more.”

Porter is one of nearly a dozen musical artists and performers profiled in this new documentary about the power of dance music and the dance floor released by the global nightlife production company Glitterbox.

The London-based company’s founder Simon Dunmore, a DJ/producer who also founded the venerated house music label Defected Records, was inspired to venture into filmmaking to share the largely untold story about the importance of nightlife and club culture. Filmed in London, New York, Ibiza, and Paris before the pandemic hit, Where Love Lives makes an even more poignant case after a year without any of the sort.

The focus is largely on those who have made Glitterbox such a popular, queer-friendly globe-trotting party, from its world-renowned DJs, including the seminal John “Jellybean” Benitez and pioneering trans icon Honey Dijon, to a core group of LGBTQ performance artists, including TeTe Bang, The Mx Fit, and Lucy Fizz, each of whom share how they found a sense of community on the dance floor. The 50-minute film also features Kathy Sledge and a live performance with her Sister Sledge siblings of the disco classic “We Are Family.”

Yet it’s “Finally Ready,” a song by the Shapeshifters featuring Billy Porter, that steals the show, once the star explains what inspired him to write the timeless disco/house anthem, in which he repeatedly belts out the titular refrain.

“As a gay man coming out in 1985 in the middle of a plague, love was not an option,” he says in the film. “Because if you allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to be in love, that person could be dead in a matter of weeks. So we cut ourselves off unconsciously. We blocked ourselves from that.” Blocked no more: The joyous song and this celebratory film are living proof.

Where Love Lives: A Story of Dancefloor Culture & Expression is available for streaming on YouTube. Visit www.wherelovelives.film.

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