The American Music Research Center and the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder are hosting a Disco Dance Party and conversation with DJ Luis Mario Orellana Rizzo at Club 156 (in The Connection in the UMC) on 22 April 2022.
For Dr. Kristie Soares, DJing is personal. Her father, DJ Ronnie Soares, was one of the first Latinx DJs to achieve widespread recognition and success in New York City in the 1970s. Most of the scholarship on DJing overlooks the contribution of Latinx artists. There has been precious little done to preserve the histories, contributions, and legacies of these important figures who shaped the art of spinning records in the decade before the emergence of hip-hop.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Soares decided to conduct oral history interviews with pioneering Latinx DJs, including Luis Mario Orellana Rizzo.
DJ Luis Mario witnessed the birth of disco in the late 1960s. After working a patchwork of DJing jobs and a period of careful observation of other DJs, he apprenticed with legendary DJ Francis Grasso, playing a mix of Rock-and-Roll, Motown, Gospel, and R&B. Eventually, he worked at clubs like The Loft, Abracadabra, Mr. Laffs, The Rainbow Room, Cork & Bottle, Studio 54, and The Copacabana. He was also the first DJ to tour across the country and around the world, helping to spread dance music and the art of DJing in the process. DJ Luis Mario continued to DJ throughout the 1980s and 1990s, opening clubs in New York and South Florida, and he is still active today.
Rizzo also founded Legends of Vinyl, an archival project that provides global leadership in education, recognition, and celebration of the art of DJing.
Dance music brings people together in an ecstatic, embodied celebration of community, forming what Soares described as "a truly intergenerational and mixed-race space where people can boogie!" This feeling of joy is central to Soares's work, and it will be on full display at this event, which combines a conversation between Rizzo and Soares with a dance party.
The event is free and open to the public.
Join us on 22 April 2022 at Club 156. At 5pm, there will be a conversation with DJ Rizzo and Dr. Soares followed by a dance party at 6pm.
Club 156 is located on CU-Boulder's Campus in the University Memorial Center (UMC). Downstairs, in the bowling alley, and to the right.