A movie is in the works about "My Father's Place," the Roslyn nightclub that brought Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, Bob Marley and other cutting-edge musical acts to suburban Long Island.
“Names are [expletive]," a documentary about Michael "Eppy" Epstein’s oddly-titled concert venue, is raising funds through Kickstarter to help complete production. The campaign had raised more than $26,000 as of Thursday afternoon and has until Saturday to reach its goal of $30,000.
“The club was such a community, it was so powerful in people’s experience of live music,” said the film’s director and co-producer, Meshakai Wolf. “Kickstarter made sense for a project like this.”
Wolf’s potential movie would mark the latest phase of a remarkable comeback for Epstein and the club he opened in 1971. Though far from the cultural capital of Manhattan, My Father’s Place became a bona fide hot spot, showcasing such future superstars as Blondie, U2 and The Police until closing down in 1987. In November 2010, My Father's Place became the first venue inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and the subject of a limited-edition book and CD titled “Fun & Dangerous: Untold Tales, Unseen Photos and Unearthed Music From My Father's Place 1975-1980.” Earlier this year, Epstein reopened My Father’s Place as an upmarket supper club in the Roslyn Hotel.
Wolf, 39, is too young to remember the original venue but said his father, who grew up in Old Westbury, has been friends with Epstein for years. It wasn’t until fairly recently, though, that the Brooklyn-based filmmaker met the Long Island club owner. Having spent some time running a record label in the Atlanta area after graduating from Emory University, Wolf was captivated by Epstein’s music industry war stories.
“I was like: Roslyn? Really? That’s where you did it?” Wolf said. “He wanted to create a scene where there wasn’t one.”
Wolf said he and his producing partners began filming in 2012, starting with a two-day, eight-hour interview of Epstein. The $30,000 from Kickstarter, Wolf said, would help with costs such as research, music licensing and film festival entry fees. (To entice donors, the filmmakers are offering My Father’s Place T-shirts, sweatshirts and tote bags with vintage logos.) Wolf said he hoped to complete production by next spring.
“The arc of the story is the arc of the underdog and the unlikely impresario,” Wolf said. “It probably shouldn’t have worked out. But it did.”