Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Love

The recent death of Donna Summer has elicited memories in many folks of places where they remember having danced to her music in the Seventies and Eighties For me and my former boyfriend, Will, that place was most often The Love; usually called simply, "Love"; sometimes referred to as "Disco Luv." The disco itself had no sign outside, so both names were used interchangeably by its clientele, who found the place through the grapevine. It was located on the west side of Guy, in the west end of downtown Montreal, between St. Catherine and boulevard de Maisonneuve (Burnside before the Quiet Revolution), in a three story, typically Montreal, Nineteenth Century grey stone. The building survived until very recently, when it was torn down to make way for the John Molson School of Commerce at Concordia University. Architecturally and geographically, it seems likely that the grey stone which housed The Love had always had the vocation of a drinking and entertainment establishment.

The building originally stood directly across Guy from His Majesty's Theatre; one of Canada's largest and most popular theaters during the first two-thirds of the Twentieth Century.His Majesty's Theater served as a major venue for several ballet, theatre and opera companies and in its mid-life, was known for its productions of Broadway shows. Marlene Dietrich gave a reportedly memorable performance at His Majesty's in the early Sixties, shortly before its demolition; a performance, reportedly, drawing forth a multitude of cross-dressing Dietrich admirers. Those who frequented the grey stone across the street before and after performances at His Majesty's must have been largely of an artistic or theatrical persuasion; a gay crowd in what was known as a gay city; both in the original connotation of the term, as naughty, immoral, and in the later sense, as queer. It's amusing to imagine that Love incarnated within its walls the vibes of nearly a century of perversity.