The famous yellow brick road circled the Film Lounge dancefloor circa 2000 to 2010. It was as popular as the club itself. The décor was truly unique; the walls aligned with artwork paying homage to classic movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and music icons like Elvis Presley and Cyndi Lauper. The DJ booth walls were decorated with old school vinyl records; a form of sound which was slowly being phased out during this time.
Not many clubs last a decade now-a-days. Film, as it was commonly known, was a proper 21st century nightclub. It was the place to hit for Toronto’s most talented underground house DJs, hot people, and sexy vibes. It was intimately run and managed which may be why I feel it succeeded. It wasn’t a conglomerate, nor an “Entertainment District” venue. It stood on its own located near Dundas West and Beverly Street in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown.
Just like the old movies it was magical in that it offered a space where everyone became one. It showcased the best in local, national and international EDM talent, and due to its small size, it created an intimacy still yearned by today’s house and techno aficionados.
In 2004, I decided to have my birthday at Film. It was a time when I was new to Toronto’s EDMS, no one yet knew who I was, but I decided to make my birthday one hell of a party! It turned out to be Film’s third highest grossing event of that year!
I later celebrated two of my friend’s birthdays (Stan’s and Eireann’s) there. The promoters and I had set up chairs on the yellow brick road for them to sit in and I came out dressed in an elephant costume with a thong over top and performed a striptease for them, all while Deko-ze played the classic striptease song by David Rose entitled The Stripper. I tried as best I could to perform a sexy dance without being able to see very good through the elephant head, and trying to not hit anyone with my large feet and trunk. The crowd circled around, watched, laughed, hollered and happily applauded my exuberant dance.
What I feel made Film unique was that it only had a few promoters who were the face of the venue. This proved successful because it made it a distinctive Toronto nightclub brand, and created an underground family. Double J Entertainment was one of the key holders who included JJ (2000 – 2010), a man who felt Film’s success was partly because it was “a place where different people came together under one roof to dance. It was the place where some of the best house music was ever heard until the sunrise. I can say Film Lounge was the “Cheers” of the underground. The place you could come to be yourself, with others under one roof; the home of the beautiful people.”
Many headliners have graced the Film decks including Tiesto, D-Unity, Mauro Picotto, Deko-ze, Honey Dijon, Tricky Moreira, Matteo Dimarr and Sydney Blu to name a few. Some of our most well known Toronto artists got their start there, including Jay Force (2004 – 2009) who is now on several labels such as Tommy Boy, Blackhole, Area 94, Blu Music and DBR. Force says he is “blessed to have been a resident at Film for five years. Because of Film, I made friendships that have lasted ever since, and I know will last a lifetime. It put me on the map as a “name” in the Toronto club scene. I am lucky to still have a lot of the same followers from over 10 years ago.”
J-Prez who held a residency between 2000 and 2007 says Film differentiated itself from other nightclubs during its time because it “had its own defined persona, it knew its targeted audience and how to please them. Whether it was from their close knit family of employees who operated Film, or the always interactive DJs that never failed to please the dancefloor it was a place where one could go fearlessly solo and end up having the same amount of fun as a group would.”
Lyle Disco was a rotating DJ during Film’s last two years, 2009 to 2010. He recalls it as being a great place where he felt comfortable. “I was invited to DJ my birthday party in 2009, alongside Iron Mike and Downtown Diego. After my set, I was told by other DJs in attendance it was the best programming set I had done to date. I still feel the energy from that night! My great friend, Stephanie Glatt, made it even more special for me by baking cookies!”
Film had regular themed nights, “Sunrise Saturdays” and “Feature Fridays”. Stephanie Glatt was a promoter between 2008 and 2010. She feels Film set itself apart from other venues during it’s time because “Film was a place where you could come and dance to the early hours of the morning. There was also plenty of room to hang out with your friends before going home after a long night out. Feature Fridays were something very special. There were a lot of opportunities for up and coming DJs to play, and the vibes were just unreal. You can’t forget about the yellow brick road either! It was definitely a huge privilege to have worked there.”
Film Lounge was a place where true love was found. Magic does happen behind the wizard’s curtain, for it was here that Stephanie and long time resident DJ Iron Mike met, and fell in love on that yellow brick road.
Iron Mike was a resident DJ for Film between 2002 and 2010. He says his most unforgettable night “was when Italian DJ and producer, Mauro Picotto, came to the club and dropped a set! He loved the vibe so much he ended up playing until the very end of the night, truly one of very many special nights we had there.”
Every generation that engages in Toronto’s EDMS has a powerful journey. When that journey ends, with it comes the memories of all of their favourite venues, DJs, and tracks. It was during this time, circa 2000 – 2010, many of the tracks the DJs dropped were not easy to find, while others were simply because this was the time when lines started to blur between buying music and illegally downloading it. For me, there were many releases which moved me such as Tomcraft – Loneliness, Pure Orange – Feel Alive, Andrea Doria – Bucci Bag, and Gary Numan – Are “Friends” Electric? which wasn’t the original 1979 release, obviously, it was the secret copy that only Deko-ze had, and then there was also that Murk – Believe (Superchumbo mix).
Ahhh! The memories.
After time passes the party slows down, and all that’s left are the memories of great times that we once had. The second volume of the Film Lounge reunion will reunite all of these folks who once shared a dancefloor, once upon a time, down the yellow brick road.
This weekend, on Saturday, March 12, 2016, join us all for the official Film Reunion at Li’ly Lounge on College St. West. Doors will be open for 9PM starting with Lyle Disco on the upper floor and will go until at least 3:45AM in the basement.
DJ Set Times
Lyle Disco: 9PM – 11PM
J-Prez: 11PM – 1AM
Addy: 1AM – 2:45AM
Joey Seminara: 10PM – 11:30PM
Joee Cons: 11:30PM – 1AM
Manzone & Strong: 1AM – 2:30AM
Iron Mike: 2:30AM – 3:45AM
Jay Force: 3:45AM – 5AM
Raquel Richards – EDM TOR