NPR

Everybody Dance Now! A Musical Celebration Of New York's Cabaret Law Repeal

A law prohibiting unlicensed dancing in New York City lived long past its original intent. DJ and producer Louie Vega celebrates its repeal with a 91-song playlist, one for each year of its lifetime.
Source: Courtesy of the artist

During one of my first visits to New York in the early '80s, I was invited to a "private party." I was told not tell anyone about it or even reveal where it would be. So — of course — I went, intrigued by the clandestine, members-only vibe.

It was held in a dinky basement somewhere on the Lower East Side, where some guy had set up his home stereo in a corner while drinks were sold in small plastic cups for five bucks (cash only). There was a killer mix of disco (the '80s, remember?) and tracks like Led Zepplin's "Kashmir."

Only many years later did I discover that these ad-hoc party spaces existed because it was against the law to let people dance in commercial establishments without a license, due to the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
In 'The Less People Know About Us' A Mysterious Identity Theft Hits Close To Home
Axton Betz-Hamilton was 12 when her family's mail began disappearing. Her memoir details what follows and, when she discovers the culprit, the painful process of collecting the pieces of her past.
NPR2 min read
'The Blob,' A Smart Yet Brainless Organism Fit For Sci-Fi, Gets Its Own Exhibit
Is it an animal? A type of fungi? No, it's "the blob." The amorphous "slime mold" may not have a nervous system, but it's the star of a new exhibit at the Paris zoo.
NPR4 min read
'Curious Toys' Gets Itself Into Unnecessary Trouble
Elizabeth Hand's new historical thriller has a compelling main character and vivid, carefully drawn settings — but its treatment of the story's murderous villain leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.