Local Filmmakers Launch Kickstarter Campaign for Documentary About Swingos Celebrity Inn

Located in downtown Cleveland from 1967 to 1984, Swingos Celebrity Inn had a reputation as the place where rock bands went to party. In saying that the place should receive the award for “the Hotel that Had Been Privy to the Most Debauchery,” The Guardian has this to say about the hotel: “Swingos' notorious reputation began in earnest when Elvis sashayed into the unprepossessing hotel having booked more than 100 rooms over three floors. By the time the King checked out, with a $20,000 bill, the hotel's fate had been decided. With bated breath, the hotel later welcomed the Who's Keith Moon, who checked in dressed as a cop before handcuffing two strangers together. Of its reputation, Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter said: ‘Swingos was a place you remember checking in and out of, but you can't remember anything in between.’


Now, Cleveland-based River Valley Films is raising money to make a documentary about the joint. The filmmakers have already snagged interviews with former owners Jim and Matt Swingos as well with celebs such as Southside Johnny and Michael Stanley. A Kickstarter campaign is up and running and the “gifts” appropriately include a “Swingos Have You Slept There Lately?” vintage tee at the $50 level and dinner with the filmmakers and Jim Swingos himself at the $1,000 level.

Most recently, River Valley Films produced Foi et Joie, a documentary about the earthquake in Haiti that won best Ohio documentary at Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in 2012. “We’re a Cleveland company, and we’re excited to tell stories that are meaningful to Cleveland’s history and the present day,” says filmmaker Andrew Marquard in a press release. “We believe that the Swingos Celebrity Inn helped make Cleveland a Rock and Roll City in the 70s and 80s. This Rock and Roll identity is a heritage we celebrate today with the Rock Hall and the current music scene, so it’s great to pay tribute to such an influential part of that history.” The film should be out in late 2015. 

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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