The Birth of a Discotheque

Circus Disco alive and spinning in time for New Years Eve Show, 12.31.07

By George Flashback
Published on LatinoLA: December 20, 2007

The Birth of a Discotheque

In the early 70's a 19 year old from Rhode Island decided to live a dream. He, like many before him, moved to Hollywood with the hopes of making his dreams come true. After several odd jobs he tried his luck opening an adult book store and then a coffee shop, but this wasn't his dream.

One evening, along with his partner, and a Hispanic and black friend, they had a difficult time getting inside a near by club. He soon realized most of the local clubs were not gay, Hispanic or black friendly. This experience gave him an idea, an idea that would soon become a reality.

After several ups and downs, he and his partner scraped up all their spare cash, maxed out their credit cards and rented a large vacant warehouse where they could have parties where all would be welcome. There would be no discriminating there. The year was 1974, his name was Gene La Pietra. He along with his partner Ermilio "Ed" Lemos had made his dream come true. A disco was born, they called it "Circus Disco".

Circus was a haven for groups that were not welcomed at most other clubs of the time. At Circus it didn't matter if you were straight, gay, Hispanic or black. Everyone was welcome. The road to success for these two entrepreneurs was anything but smooth. There were many attempts to put them out of business. At one point their entire security staff was arrested in an attempt to discourage them. The local authorities found any excuse to discourage them. Once the owner of the property found out about the club, he too tried to close them down. Their efforts were unsuccessful.

Despite the many attempts to close it, Circus remained open.

At one point Circus was raided by the local police, whom physically harassed the patrons and staff. When in front of a judge, the authorities denied any wrong doings. Unfortunate for them, a group of attorneys was celebrating a birthday there and witnessed the harassment first hand and one of the D.J's happened to be recording and caught the entire incident on tape. There were never harassed again.

Circus soon became a mecca of the L.A disco scene attracting many Hollywood superstars, celebrities and legendary recording arts such as Sylvester, Divine, & Cher. You never knew who you would run into at Circus. Circus was the place to be! But Gene wanted everyone to feel welcome despite your income or popularity. He never lost sight of his dream.

Unlike Studio 54, he made sure everyone got in. There was no minimum drink requirements, no picking and choosing his guest, all were welcome.

Circus became so popular a two hour wait to get inside was not uncommon. Even then Gene was always found outside the club welcoming everyone as he does to this day. For years he was thought to be a doorman which was fine by him.

After witnessing first hand the success of Circus Disco, Gene was approached by a short gentleman who also had a dream. He proposed to Gene a partnership in an all new disco in Hollywood. After careful consideration, Gene & Eddie advised him he would have a difficult time opening a club in Hollywood and suggested he try Los Angeles. Gene & Eddie declined his offer. This same gentleman later took is idea to New York and opened his club there. His club had a short but legendary life. His name was Steve Rubbel, his club was Studio 54.

By the mid 80's most of the original Discotheques had closed their doors, but not Circus. Circus remained strong attracting 1000's of people every weekend. In 1990, Gene's life long partner Ermilio "Ed" Lemos passed away. Circus remained. In fact Gene now owned the entire property and expanded the club even more by purchasing the ice factory next door. The already huge club doubled in size.

Many promoters, patrons and friends alike advised Gene to get rid of the name "Circus Disco" and rename it Circus. They told him Disco was dead. He refused, simply saying disco is my roots, thats how it started and that's how it will end! Circus Disco remained.

Recently at Circus Disco, the disco was long gone, the lines were gone, the numbers dropped but Circus Disco remained. Then on Saturday, Nov 10th, 2007, Circus once again witnessed a night of disco unlike it has seen in the past 20 years. Disco had returned to place at all started, Circus Disco.

The place was packed, the energy level was at a peak. If you arrived at 9:00 pm when the doors open it took an hour to get inside. The walls were thumping to the sounds of the beautiful music that started it all...DISCO! The club had not seen that much disco energy in over 20 years. Anyone who was there will tell you it is the closest thing to time travel they had ever seen, Gene agreed. BackToDisco brought the Disco back to Circus. No longer was anyone ashamed of the word "Disco"!

If you were unfortunate enough to miss that historic event, don't worry were doing it again. On New Years Eve, BackToDisco.com will once again return to Circus. The walls of Circus will be thumping with the beautiful sounds of the music that started it all.........DISCO.

Tickets are now on sale. They are expected to sell out. You certainly don't want to miss the largest all disco New Years Eve party on the west coast.

If you haven't purchased your New Years tickets now is the time. Not only will the price increase they will probably sell out before the night of the event.

We accept paypal, you can also pick up at several locations. Don't be left out ... buy your tickets today! The current price is $50.00 per ticket and this includes dinner & breakfast.

It is very doubtful there will be any tickets at the door on the night of the event so don't wait till the last minute. Contact any of the following to purchase your today.

Whittier/Hacienda Heights - e-mail geoflashback@backtodisco.com
Montebello/ELA/Glendale - e-mail shezoray@backtodisco.com
The Valley - e-mail vinyllife@yahoo.com
La Puente/Baldwin Park - e-mail liquidsky@backtodisco.com
Glendora/Covina/Pasadena - e-mail info@backtodisco.com
Norwalk/Downey/Orange County - e-mail tommy@backtodisco.com
Downtown L.A - e-mail deanne@backtodisco.com
Orange County - e-mail geoflashback@backtodisco.com
Inland Empire discointheie@yahoo.com

or you can send via www.paypal.com to deanne@backtodisco.com add $1.50 s&h per ticket. Send via goods/other. You can also click on the following link for paypal purchase http://backtoginos.com/backtodisco.html
Visit www.backtodisco.com for more info

About George Flashback:
George "Flashback" Aguilar

DJ/Promoter for backtodisco.com

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