RIVER NORTH — Frankie Knuckles died one year ago Tuesday, but the legendary DJ will live on in a film planned by club owner Billy Dec.
Dec, founder of Chicago-based Rockit Ranch Productions, is hosting a launch party for The Warehouse movie project at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Underground, 56 W. Illinois St.
The event will be held exactly one year after the untimely death of Knuckles, a Grammy Award winner who is known as "The Godfather of House Music" for popularizing the genre out of Chicago during the '70s and '80s. The Warehouse, Dec's first film project, takes its name from the West Loop nightclub where Knuckles played his marathon sets.
The movie is still in its infancy with no script written or director chosen, Dec said. But the project does have a production team including industry veterans Bob Teitel (Men of Honor, Barbershop), Randy Crumpton, and fellow Chicago club owner Joe Shanahan, who owns local haunts including Metro and Smart Bar.
"It's about passion, not money," said Dec, whose company runs Rockit, Underground, and Sunda, among other venues. "The only people that are spending time on it are us for now."
Dec said the film will explore Knuckles' social, as well as musical, contributions to the city. The Warehouse, owned by Robert Williams, was a private club that primarily catered to gay black men before Knuckles' music started to draw larger, more diverse crowds.
"If you can imagine a black, gay underground club in the political climate of the '70s, there's a lot of really interesting stories wrapped up in that to unfold," Dec said.
Tickets to the party cost $20, including cocktails and hors d'oeuvre. VIP passes are also available. All proceeds will benefit the Frankie Knuckles Foundation. Visit the Underground's website for more information.
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