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Before it was Paradise Garage...
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Author:  MikeB [ Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  Before it was Paradise Garage...

...it was a short lived club called Chameleon.
I was part of the crew that helped change 84 King Street from a dis-used garage into a dance club.
I only helped a little during the construction phase, but I designed the Chameleon logo that hung on the triangular sign over the entrance at the bottom of the ramp, and I drew the figures on the restrooms. From opening night in December 1975 until, oh, about March of '76, I worked behind the juice bar. (We had no liquor license.)
My friend Danny Scorca designed the Pyramid-shaped DJ booth that had to be aligned true to North in order to garnish the most benefit from the then current fad of "pyramid power".
On our opening night, we had Natalie Cole, who was enjoying a success with "This Will Be." She was hired to do an hour show and performed for a less-than-hoped-for crowd for exactly 59 minutes!
The membership roll never developed into the great success that had been hoped for and the turn out was less and less every weekend. Danny and his friend Bob, who both loved 12 West and were hoping to duplicate its allure were, I suppose, just not business savvy enough to know how to manage things.
In any case, the enterprise petered out in just a couple of months' time.
None of us ever expected the place to turn into the great success it became as Paradise Garage, but I remember the high hopes in evidence when those guys were washing the ceiling with hoses and water was cascading all over the place, and later putting up the cinderblock wall that closed off the ramp area. And I remember one of the first songs our DJ played in that mirrored pyramid was "Lady Bump" by Penny McLean of Silver Convention.
Much later when the Garage pumping arm went up, I wondered where my too inconspicuous chameleon had gone. I still have a sketch I made of the front of 84 King Street while it was closed one Sunday morning (after it had been rented and plans were in motion, but before the construction work had begun.)
What dreamers those guys were. That was the problem, I guess, they were dreamers while others were doers.

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