What an embarrassment for the federal government, the State of New York, and the City of New York. Complete and total sham of a case and an injustice.
While I personally believe Peter Gatien was more interested in money, pop, high fashion, and catering to VIPs rather than really interested in the music itself (let alone electronic music) or the common club goer, to go after the owner of venues for illicit activity that usually quietly occurs on the premises and usually doesn't harm anyone, and further has no direct connection to that owner... well, it's immoral of the authorities.
In nearly every concert venue, lounge, and club I've been to, I've either seen drugs being done, asked if I had drugs, or asked if I wanted them. I have never indulged and never assumed the venue owners automatically had any connection to those activities. For what it's worth, I've also been asked or outright accused of being an undercover cop, which I was not, either.
What's oddly not fully explored in this documentary is the connection of certain lounges and club owners to Rudolf Giuliani who conveniently went unnoticed by narcotics investigations and who were never bothered with the enforcement of the historic anti-race-mixing No Dancing cabaret laws. I would have liked to have seen that hypocrisy explored. There was definite cronyism at work. I realize it's slightly apart from the laser-like narcotics enforcement Gatien experienced, but a relevant tangent, in my opinion.
The documentary might be a little slow-moving for some viewers not familiar with the subject matter. It's not the most stylish or extraordinary editing and 'reveals'. Don't expect The Thin Blue Line quality of workmanship. The music is also not particularly inspired in the cues used and there's a bit too much use of 'warehouse' re-recording reverb for my taste. But for what it is, Corben and co did a decent job on it. You are getting a very big picture here, yet with a lot of nuance. And I liked the earth turning into the crystal ball at the end. Classy.
This might seem contradictory, but I tend to think, while what happened was an injustice, it may have possibly done the scene some good, incidentally, to remove someone from the New York scene who had less interest in the music. Let's ignore for a moment the wisdom of associating with drug dealers or masses of hopped-up trannies. This possibly helped pave the way for those who weren't simply following the money as much regardless of the upsurge in muggings. This even more European-style event run by people who intimately care about the art itself (and I'm not talking about their interest in fashion designers or art gallery VIPs), has led to EDM getting back to its roots and then exploding as it has. This doesn't just go for free parties, but for-profit ones, too. This is not to say that money is not a component or there aren't some base profiteers at work, but the vibe has improved.
While Gatien got a bad rap (no pun intended, but probably an appropriate play on words), I think he lacked quite the 'purity' that he and the scene needed to be running raves... let alone raves in a church. The story of the money changers and another one about a rich man come to mind.