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Queer Nightlife & Music Pioneer David Mancuso Dies at 72


The DJ and founder of LGBT-inclusive space the Loft was a pioneer in creating safe queer nightlife venues during the 1970s.

David Mancuso, DJ and founder of groundbreaking LGBT club The Loft, died at 72 due to unknown causes on Monday. His death was announced via Facebook post by Kid Recordings owner Craig Shifty.

"My heart is broken," Shifty wrote. "He will be greatly missed but, thankfully, he left the world a lasting vibrant legacy that continues to inspire and influence countless generations of music lovers and clubbers...and what a gift that is!"

According to Rolling Stone, the first Loft party was hosted by Mancuso in 1970, who wanted it to be a safe space for LGBT individuals.

The club did not serve food or drinks, exempting the establishment from police interference and NYC cabaret laws. When the City tried to sue the establishment for not holding the necessary licenses, he won the long administrative suit--paving the way for similar "private party" establishments that did not serve food or drink like Paradise Garage, the Gallery, and the Saint.

"If disco - and the music which came after - has an angel, it is the raggedy figure of David Mancuso," Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton wrote in their dance music history book Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. "If it has a birthplace, it is his club, the Loft."

Earlier this year, Mancuso gave a rare interview with Red Bull, saying this about the Loft:

People just want to have a good time. They want to feel safe and have a good time. That's always rule number one for a place, to be safe...Don't forget, you had the civil rights movement going on, you had gay liberation going on. You had all these movements going on. All this music that was coming from all different directions, it was all over the place. As long as you had a neutral place where people could come and just enjoy themselves, there was such incredibly good music.

Even after the Loft stopped throwing regular events, Mancuso continued to host several parties a year in both New York City and around the world. In 1999 and 2000, he released anthology collections of his work entitled David Mancuso presents The Loft.

New York dance music group Hercules and Love Affair put what the loss means to the electronic music and LGBT communities this way: "David Mancuso gave the Loft to the world as a celebration of music with a spirit of inclusivity and was all about the best version of humanity."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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