If you’ve been to any club night in NYC there’s a good chance you’ve seen Dino Calvao dancing right up the front. He’s a regular fixture in the scene since 1976 and you can spot him at Good Room nearly every weekend. He’s been DJing since he was 18 and loves any kind of music that will make him dance.
It’s Dino’s birthday this Thursday so he’s jumping on the decks before Joakim and Paul Raffaele for a special birthday set (It’s a free party. You can RSVP here). We asked Dino to share some of his favorite NYC clubbing experiences after 40 years on the dancefloor. Needless to say, if you can name it, he was there.
First club experience
“My first time out was in 1976. The club was Infinity on Broadway and Bleeker. It was a block long and had a amazing sound system and was the first club to use neon. The owner was Maurice Brahms, who also owned other great clubs like The Underground and New York New York, Bonds, Heath, Le Jardin and a few others. He liked me a lot so I got to go too lots of parties for free and was always invited to their opening party. The best part of the club was the DJ, his name was Jim Burgess – you can Google him, he was amazing. He is the reason why I have such love for music. He was the opening DJ for many clubs in the day including the Funhouse, Saint, Underground and many others. He too was a good friend of mine miss him dearly. We had great music too, some they still play to this day. That’s where my love for music started. I have been to over a thousand parties since and it will never compare to what i experienced there. And yes, I went to Studio 54 and Xenons, Bonds, Limelight, Underground, FunHouse and every other club in NYC but Infinity was my home and I will never forget it.”
Dino with DJ Sprinkles at Good Room
Most Outrageous Clubbing experience
“Studio 54 was where most of the outrageous things happened. I was friends with Carmen, who did promotion for Infinity and she made Studio 54 famous. After one month of business they were going to shut down because back then no one went uptown to party. So Steve and Ian hired Carmen from Infinity and she threw a party at Studio which made it famous. That was the Bianca Jagger night, when she came in on a horse. I was there inside the club when that happened and the club was almost completely empty all night. They kept everyone outside trying to get in and had all the TV stations and newspapers carry the story. I used to go in on 53rd St, never on 54th so there was no lines or drama. Back then all the bouncers were hired from one company, mafia, and I knew all of them. I knew everyone from the busboys to the owners. I didn’t care who you were and even today I’m still like that.”
Dino with Tiago in the Bad Room
Behind the decks
“I got a turntable an mixer when I was 18 but the first time I played in a club was at the Cat Club on 13th St. That must’ve been in 1983, maybe ’84. The DJ was having sex with a dancer so he left me records to play while he was busy. He liked it so he did it all the time, leave me to do the lights and music. Don Hill was the Manager there. He went on to great things like the Don Hill club. He was mostly into rock though. Hearbreaks was another great club not many people know about. It was rockabilly type music but he crowds there were amazing. SOB’s is still in business because they used to send their excess people there and kept SOB alive for years.
Dino with Lloydski
Changing scenes, then versus now
“It’s different. I loved my scene because I was young, but if you talk to someone from the ’90s he’ll tell you his scene was better. But I really think we had some of the best music ever and the clubs were amazing with great sound and visuals. RLA did sound then and Design circuit did lighting. The two companies in the scene back then and I knew then both Richard Long and Frank Dinghes. We also had more and better after hours then.”
Dino with Paul Nickerson of Dope Jams and Slow to Speak
Favorite Club Today
“Good Room, silly! I love the wooden dancefloor and the music is usually very good. I have had a few surprise nights there. Someone said I needed to see Solar but I was bored. Then Antal came on and he blew me away. Tensnake is also a favorite of mine. Alex From Tokyo is also a favorite and Duane Harriot and Justin Strauss, of course. And let’s not forget the staff they have, not one negative person in there. They’re all great people.”
Dino with William Robbins, Jeffrey Robbins and Ray Mang in the Bad Room
Dino’s Ultimate Party
“For me it would have to be in 1978 at Infinity with Jim Burgess spinning all night, from 10pm to 7am. They were amazing times and will never be relived. There was a little perch on the right of the booth and I used to dance there all night because it would get really crowded. I was the only one allowed to dance there and I would be able to communicate with Jimmy from there and he would ask me if I liked a song or not. It was funny, I kinda controlled him a little like that. From that perch I was in front of a huge mirror and there was a huge mirror behind me. If you looked at the mirror it would bounce of and you would see into Infinity. That’s were the name of the club came from. The place was torched on Valentine’s Day, 1979. I was inside the club when it happened. We escaped the club through the back door. My coat burned down inside and the music was still playing while the club was engulfed with fire. Jimmy left ‘Disco Inferno’ playing.”
Catch Dino behind the decks on April 7 from 10pm with Joakim and Paul Raffaele. Entry is free with RSVP here.