Peppermint Lounge

Infamous Manhattan discotheque the Peppermint Lounge was the geographic and spiritual epicenter to a beautifully bizarre, all American confluence of music, dance, crime, low life and high society, and the publication of Peppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the '60s. finally takes a long overdue and most welcome look at this joint. A gay go-go that came to encompass a stunningly broad swath of unlikely cultural elements, the Peppermint Lounge phenom both typified and galvanized early '60s big-beat culture and Gotham's descent into shabby, graffiti-covered street crime hell. It was a freak show, plain and simple – owned by Genovese Family Mafiosi Johnny Biello and Matthew "Matty The Horse" Ianniello, under the aegis of booker (and co-writer) Dick "Cami" Camillucci its house band was Joey Dee & the Starliters, whose post-Chubby Checker "Twist" hit record "Peppermint Twist (Part One)" exploited a dance craze that was rooted in an 1844 blackface minstrel number. Twist-mania pulled in members of NYC's vaunted old money 400 set and the maxi-celeb likes of Noel Coward, Greta Garbo and Dorothy Kilgallen, all of whom dropped by to very publicly swivel hip alongside the pot-smoking local queers and youths. As glorious and gaudy a morass of weird as ever occurred in the US of A, co-authors John Johnson and Camilluci have dispatched collaborator Joel Selvin to wrangle As for your Qs at what's sure to be a lively gab fest. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., Nov. 20, 7 p.m.; free, book is $25.99. (310) 659-3110;
Tue., Nov. 20, 7 p.m., 2012


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