Party Monster - Michael Alig

Actually the film "The Night Porter" is just a zesty retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Just two star-crossed lovers held apart by the divisiveness' of others. The conflict could not be resolved in their relationship because as in Romeo and Juliet the social abyss was set too wide. Mind you their love was genuine and true, it just could not conquered their extreme circumstances. A very important film in my opinion because no one gets off easily. Just like life. The Night Porter was at the heights of power and depravity and then the depths of broken humiliation and was never himself in either. As with most people, they are not really whom they present themselves to be. Oh my, I think I need a drink after all this gestalt.

X
quite an eloquent review in a nutshell. I'm hoping you can use as much insight as an opportunity to bear a look at this effort of M.Wilkinson and Co. They appear to have a good track record. A nemesis can be a useful tool once the emotions are coraled and channeled. Your input and concern is appreciated by many. I'll buy the first round.

rb//nyc//bronx//bohemia
Interesting paradox, I do not agree with the commercialization of the subject and yet am an ardent supporter of free speech and considering the opinions of others. It's that I will be required to pay them to consider that opinion. I do not believe they are trying to send a message but rather make a fast buck off a sad and tragic situation. Sort of a wolf in sheep's clothing, and there in lies my objection. They will make the movie, People will pay or not to see the movie and I will invariably end up seeing it to consider their opinion how ever convoluted. I do not intend to reward what I perceive as parasitic opportunism with my $10 bucks. It will show up somewhere on tv and I will watch it.

X
at least i got to be Angel in a REAL production... the Jackie 60 version...

(Tina Paul documented the night, and a photo ended up in the "Last Days of Disco" book, ... but no one knows it's me!!! LOL)

(hmmm... maybe i should get a publicist now? LOL)
Bridgette, I can totally understand why you'd be interested in the 80's/90's NY club scene. There was a lot of excitement, color, and creativity. What I find unfortunate is how much credit for this is being given to Michael Alig.

The whole "Club Kid" thing was really an extension of what was first being done in small East Village Venues such as the Pyramid. Flloyd, Sister Dimension, Lahoma, Olympia, and many other freaks were doing their thing way before Disco 2000. When the small venues became successful there were quite a few promoters who got the idea to bring the freaks into large clubs as entertainment. There were zillions of these promoters, the most prominent being Michael Alig, Lee Chappel, Susanne Bartsch, and Larry Tee. There were lots of wild, crazy, demented parties that had nothing to do with Michael.

Michael was a smart promoter with some good ideas, but he didn't create the scene. It started before him and, had he never come to NY it would have all still happened in some form or another.

I'm sorry to be coming down on someone you look up to, but you see, Michael Alig chopped up a nice guy named Angel, filled him with Drano, and chucked him in the river. Throwing some cute parties hardly compensates for that. Making a cult hero out of a murderer is pretty awful.

I've been here since 1987. I saw it all. I never went to clubs for the drugs. I was turned on by the visuals. I live for elaborate freakishness. Michael's own looks were always an afterthought; a quick box over his mouth, a clown nose, etc. It was cute, it was clever, it was NOT genius. Genius was: Kabuki Starshine, Olympia, Keda, Sacred Boy, Sister Dimension, Leigh Bowery, Little Kenny, Walt Paper, Astro Earl, Richie Rich, Sophia Lamar, Amanda Lepore, and many others. Michael hired all of these people, he didn't create them.

Listen, I'm not on any Jerry Fallwell soap box about morality. I'm all for fun, sex, and freedom. But, I do believe in treating people respectfully. One night at Limelight, Michael peed in his drink, and, to amuse me I guess, walked around offering it to his unsuspecting "friends". This was after he'd recently come down with hepatitis, a disease that stay with you for a while and can still be spread. It was obvious right there that he was not a very nice person.

So maybe a few years in jail have humbled him. Maybe he truly is sorry. Fine, so he's sorry. I still don't think he deserves to be put up on any pedestals. Maybe you'd feel differently if he killed your friend.
When I was in 4th grade I used to draw swastikas on my books. I didn't really even know what they meant. It just felt "bad" and cool. I was so far removed from gas chambers and people suffering that it didn't really mean anything. (But it did get a reaction). It's like when people (like my wife) are obsessed with Jack The Ripper... I mean if you really knew Mary Kelly it would be different. (sorry Hattie, I know you knew her.)
I think this Alig thing is a bit like that.
I knew Angel. He was a friend. Michael murdered him. I can't see it the same way you do Brigitte. Sorry.
And as far as the "Cub Kid" scene...
Miss Understood is right 100%. Most of them were poor misguided immitations of what fiercely went before. Dressing up like a clown is not hard to do, really doing something is. A few of those kids have become butterflies (Walt Paper, Richie Rich, James St. James) but most stayed caterpillars. They just never really got it. When we started Jackie 60 we had a no club kid door policy. I remember talking to Michael Musto about it. He liked them, "At least they look interesting". To me there was no "there" there. I hated them. Anyway, we did a night called "Silence Of The Lunchpails: Have the It Twins stopped screaming yet?" It was a take off on "Silence of the Lambs" where a club kid is a mad serial killer. For the invitation I morphed Michael Alig's head onto the film's butterfly logo. The main character was called Gila (as in monster, as in Alig spelled backward) Michael Musto came up with it. We roped off the front door with yellow police murder scene tape and drew a chalk outline of a body holding a lunchpail on the sidewalk. You had to step over it to get in. It was sick. We had no idea that in a few years it would come to pass.
I understand the public's fascination with the story. It's just too close for me. I just can't see Michael or the Club Kids as genius.
Now that sounds like a movie girl!!!
Well, you are obviously on some sort of path. Good luck.
I mean it wasn't all bad. Most of those kids are now working on Wall Street (underneath the clownface make-up I always saw them as "future investment bankers of America). That experience was the closest thing to an edge they will ever have. That's good and I hope they will always take that with them.
(Those kids did have some amazing looks! I'll give them that.)
Hey Miss Bridgette Bad
You sound so interesting, after reading your last post I felt it was my obligation to inform you that there is actually a growing, eclectic group of new, colourful, nightclub personalities running around the clubs, it may be pretty different from the stars of the 80's/90's scene but don't despair,

we do exist


Wink

[This message was edited by Andro Genetic on 01-22-03 at 12:39 AM.]
Wow it's such a relief to know that Angel, the 3000 WTC victims, all the millions stricken with AIDS and starvation in Africa, all of the abused children of the world, and the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, all did something wrong in a past life to deserve their predestined fate. I used to feel bad about it. No sense in trying to change things.
I've never really understood how someone can watch "Party Monster" or have seen any of the other shows done about the murder and walk away thinking that Michael Alig is worthy of idolization or going to the extent of even almost worshiping him...

I mean at the end of the documentary, James St. James even says that he's awful and has always been awful.

Your dream sequences sound like how Nina Hagen speaks about her spirit inspiration Babaji. It kinda freaked me out when I read it.

I don't mean to sound rude, but both Johnny and Miss Understood both VERY diplomatically stated that you were a bit misguided and caught up in the flash of how that scene is now portrayed.

You, then instead of listening to people who were actually there, basically defended a killer by sighting karma. This is really only a good argument if you are a very good lawyer who happened to find out your entire jury are devout followers of Kali, and it was time for her to eat again.

The reason that you are being misunderstood is that you have not formed a clear and guided opinion based on facts. This is not a good idea in an online community where people actually knew the people that you've seen movies about, or written to a few times.

We weren't there,so we won't condemn or praise Michael Alig. We don't know him, and we don't know the whole story. So, anything we say is uninformed. We've found it's a very safe road to take, because no one is going to FORCE you to have an opinion about Alig. If, however you choose to defend him, people who knew him, and/or Angel are going to force you to back up your opinion.

There are some AMAZING club legends on these boards, and most of them haven't killed anyone.
(No,watching the occasional snuff film doesn't count.)

Watch, listen and learn from them. You won't believe how connected you will be in a very short time.

--Satori
Just caught up with the club creatures web site ... very cute... especially all the tales about making the Party Monster movie... cute... and nice to see you gave props to Daddy and the Empress! hey... what ever happened to this movie? seemed to premier at Sundance... then?
Recently I started reading a book called "Clubland: the Fabulous Rise & Murderous Fall of Club Culture" by Frank Owen, a freelance writer. The book goes into a lot about the Michael Alig/Angel murder case and the events leading up to it, but also gives extensive profiles of Peter Gatien himself as well as two other club impresarios, "Lord" Michael Caruso and South Beach club king Chris Paciello. Caruso and Paciello were both street thugs/gangsters who basically rose to the top as drug dealers. Very nasty people. Most of the stuff about Alig I already knew, but to the author's credit he goes into detail about the colorful scene at Disco 2000 (Kenny Kenny and Steve Lewis are both quoted extensively) in the years prior to the murder also. Most fascinating for me thus far is the portrait of Gatien.

It was annoying for me at first that so many other great things about NYC's club culture going on during that time are completely ignored/never mentioned (like the East Village pyramid scene that inspired the club kids), but as a writer I understand the need to focus your work and have a clear idea. Like Miss Understood I was a fan of the visuals and some of the music, not the whole drug thing. But the book might shed a lot of light for those who harbor any sort of romantic picture of Alig. Ick.
Folks, I moved these posts from "Poster" to here, the Party Monster Topic. Jonomar, you can always delete your post by clicking on the tiny icon on the right with the pencil. And be sure to click on the "post reply" button on the left, in order to reply, not the "new topic" button. Keep posting!

From jonomar:
I just saw the Party Monster movie poster on the net at www.thezreview.co.uk/posters/p/partymonster.htm

kinda interesting.

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[This message was edited by hatches on 07-25-03 at 02:53 PM.]
I think it is really horrible to exploit a real and very recent murder like that. How insulting to the deceased. Yes, of course I'm going to see the film... Kabuki did the makeup. I just think touting this as "Good evil fun!" is awful. How sad that this is how the club scene is to be remembered. Art doesn't sell, murder does.
Hideous. I guess on some level I can understand the fascination with Michael Alig's story, if for nothing else as a cautionary tale, but it's still sad that this is how the world will see the club scene of that glorious era. Alig was and is a really disgusting, horrible person.

Of course I'll still see the movie anyway.
When does this movie open in New York? Or is it already open?

My ex-boyfriend out on the West Coast sent me this review of Party Monster earlier tonight:

quote:
we saw "party monster", by bailey and barbato tonite.
it was great - very colorful, humorous, entertaining and the acting was
excellent.
macaulay culkin will blow you away.
he is charming and strange in the not-quite sympathetic role of manic
club-promoter/murderer michael alig.
seth green as alig-cohort james st. james is uncanny in his on-point
portrayal
of a mannered, disco-twisted, prancing yet thoughtful shape-shifting queen
with rubber nose, fright-wig and glamour-length toenails.
green is brilliant - the best thing in the film.
the costumes are accurate and gorgeous.
culkin - often semi-nude and caked with glitter - is disturbingly beautiful
and naively erotic in jockstraps, platforms, football armor and oversized
clown
lips.
both he and the tanned, understated chloe sevigny should emerge as major
youth
(sex) symbols if this film is a hit.
marilyn manson stops the show as the messy, toothless tranny "christina", who
attepts to drive a tractor-trailer on acid and in 6 inch strappy sandals.
natasha lyonne is a scream as "brooke", a hideous, pierced, texan club-kid
mixing "drug salad".
don't be turned off by the "exploitation" quality of this film.
it's basically a true story - a cautionary tale about excess.
alig is revealed as incredibly inventive and engaging, but also heartless,
corrupt, decadent and damned to hell.
his anarchic "fabulousness" is documented, but his murderousness is never
glamorized.
fashion for days, sick laughs and perverse, exciting visuals -
- this movie rocks, y'all.



Now I'm really curious.
Has anyone seen it yet? It's getting a really bad tomato meter reading of 36 (rottentomatoes.com), and I heard reports from Sundance that it was awful (and the release date was delayed for the re-edit to try and make it better). If it's bad like Showgirls (one of my favorite movies) I'll totally see it in the theater, but if it's bad like Glitter, I'll wait for the DVD. They re-released "Disco Bloodbath" and are now calling the book "Party Monster". On a sidenote, I recently heard the rumor that Alig might be getting out of the hole next year for good behavior, is this true????

You're too old, you're somebody's mom, that outfit you wearin' is not the bomb.
We saw it Friday. It wasn't good.

Seth Green and Manson are the best things in it, At least they make you laugh in several spots. Overall the documentary was MUCH better.

The whole movie was mostly bad dialogue and lots of closeups in small dirty rooms. The club scenes were choppy at best... It focused on the downward spiral, and didn't really capture ANY positive or creative aspects of the scene.

Wait for the DVD, that way you can pause it to see a few hand fulls of Motherlovers sprinkled here and there...

Satori
I saw it today. I don't know what to think. It definitely wasn't bad, but I can't say it was good either. I thought MacAuley Culkin was irritating, if it was just Seth Green it would've been a much better movie. For those who know the story (or lived it), the only reason to see the movie was for the recreations of the club scene "back in the day", but as Z&S pointed out above those scenes are pretty much quick camera pans across a dark room with an indistinguishable glimpse at a few faces. I know it's difficult to do full recreations on a limited budget, but instead of the chop shots they did for the parties, they should've just shown archival footage of the actual parties (which they did once in the movie for the subway invasion party). But if the movie is a string of archival footage, they should've just called it Party Monster - The Documentary. Oh, wait, they already did that five years ago....

My main "issues" with the movie are the same as with the HBO biopic of Gia. I really liked Gia before the Angelina Jolie movie was aired, and I had read "Thing Of Beauty" three times. The movie glossed over a lot of the backstory and omitted important details that would've taken a few minutes of screen time to explain, as well as combining several real people from her life into one person in the movie (two people were rolled into one "girlfriend" character in the movie, and her brother, a photographer key to her career and her high school boyfriend were combined into the "early boyfriend" character). The same thing inexplicably happens in the transition from "Disco Bloodbath" to the movie "Party Monster". While some elements in the movie correspond with James St. James' account of what happened, a lot of it didn't make any sense. They could've followed the book more closely in order to get a more accurate movie with probably the same budget and resources it took to just invent illogical scenes. The most obvious fudging in the movie was Chloe Sevigny's "Gitsy" character. I can't remember (the book is back in CA in storage), but according to the book I think Gitsy was a random club kid Alig hung out with, there was a drug dealer that came from the East Coast with Freeze (can't remember her name), and Jenny Taglia that Sevigny's character is based on. Mostly on Jenny Taglia (anyone know what happened to her???), so why not just have another person play Jenny in the movie? And Gitsy wasn't "discovered" in Dallas like the movie portrayed, although I think she was a friend of Brooke's (who is from Texas). The movie also gives a few minutes of screen time to Gatien's wife, who wasn't even mentioned in the book as far as I recall. While some scenes were true to the book --- looking for the non-existent rock of cocaine behind the radiator, the skrinkle language, the murder itself, etc., some things were a little ridiculous in the movie. Like the scene where a rat tells St. James how Angel was killed, when supposedly Alig told St. James while they were doing bumps in Alig's bed. What was that all about? And they didn't really explain why Alig was given a deal in order to get Gatien in the movie, which was kind of important to Alig's murder conviction in the first place. They could've done a much better, more cohesive movie. But then again, they could've done a much worse movie, too.....

Richie Rich is in two scenes (the fake Geraldo scene and the news report scene), as well as Amanda LePore and I think that was Nita next to Richie in the news report scene. The DVD of Party Monster - The Documentary is finally being released next month.

The movie did make me want to be more creative when I dress up to go out at least, so there's one good thing. I don't think I'll wear a pork chop, but I did have to remind myself how creative the club kids were back in the heyday, and it made me want to try and bring back a piece of the outrageousness into my look. I should've moved to NYC right after gradiating from high school, from what long-time residents tell me it was a great time for nightlife. I have heard some grumbling about what a terrible person Alig was, etc., but there were a lot of people who didn't live in NYC in bumblefuck places across the country who subscribed to Project X (including me) and were fascinated by the whole thing. People also grumble about how dead nightlife in NYC is right now. I think it's like the supermodel mania of the early '90s. It happened once with a small group of amazing models, and once they faded away it hasn't been recreated since. After Alig, the club kids faded away and haven't been recreated since. OK, am I rambling here? I'll stop now.

You're too old, you're somebody's mom, that outfit you wearin' is not the bomb.
I caught the movie and found it depressing.... in the sense that it was all too camp an panto when its really a dark sad tale.
Like most of Fenton and Randys stuff its on the edge of 'could be fab' but never quite makes it. They always pick the best topic but never quite fully pull it off.
I think they would have been much better at making a fab movie had they cast more unknowns in the main role (but then the majors would not have been as interested), as Seth Green and macauly are just too recognizable that you just know/think its all camp fiction and it wasn't it was real. (BTW I knew Alig and I had met Angel a few times) That whole time was a period of two extreems the wild creation of outlaw parties an absurd extreem costuming with the juxtaposition of the dark underbelly of Aligs twisted egomania, drugs, corruption and casualties... and the eventual murder and mutilation of Angel. It's a bleak tale but the movie tried to be more characature in its portrayal.... If you have ever seen the movie "Prick up your Ears" about Joe Ortons life/death ... that was fab true life of how funny camp et al his life was .. but successfully had that undercurrent/edge or it all falling appart and his eventual murder by his boyfriend.. pity that this movie didn't give you that feeling.
I would have shot and cast the whole thing different...
Think its really sad that there are folks in the movie theatre laughing at the camp panto when really its a sick dark twisted tale ... feel real sorry for Angels family...
I hope Michael never gets out....
Y-U-C-K. It was a curiosity, but how awful. Terrible script, WORSE acting. A total embarassment. What was up with Macauley's "gay accent"? And the rat sequence at the end?? I half-enjoyed the book. I went with no expectations, so at least this wasn't the let down that it could have been, but still...

And Christopher, I used to agree about Macauley...but now his lips have a more-odd puffiness to them that I just didn't find alluring.
I still haven't seen it yet, I've been so busy lately.

But Nowhereboy I can tell you as someone who DID live in NYC during the Alig years, there was soooooo much more going on around town that had nothing to do with the club kid movement whatsoever, and the general public will not be seeing that portrayed in Party Monster (and, on artistic grounds, I can certainly understand why the producers chose to focus on one specific scene).

Those other scenes however are what I tend to remember more. Like Boy Bar, Squeezebox, Jackie 60, Save the Robots, Love Machine, and Channel 69 and Blacklips at Pyramid. And those were just the parties. The clubs themselves had so much to offer like Traxx, Mars, Club USA (briefly), the old Sound Factory, the Mike Todd Room at the Palladium, and the little tiny clubs like the old Crobar on 10th Street that had the best music .... it was completely off the hook and the beauty of it all was the sheer number of choices at your disposal. And how well everything co-existed. Back then it seemed at times that there were not ENOUGH clubs to hold all the people going out. The Alig/club kid movement was an important part of all that, but certainly not the be all and end all. Well, I'll get off the podium now.
Don't stop now girl...Tell the truth and you have it down pat. That's the way I remember it and I'm old! Where did it all go wrong? Was it the drugs and shallow sex that was prevelent to the time that destroyed it all or a darker more sinister force called...REPUBLICAN GOVERMENT?

And we just stood by, helplessly and did nothing.
And now look what we got.
BAH!
I went to a lot or Alig's parties at the Tunnel. They were major, I really loved the invites in those days, boxes of candy, plastic tools, etc. I remember he put one of those huge inflatable carnival things that little kids would jump in on the subway tracks. I loved his outlaw parties even more, they were so anarchist in the best anti-social/social engineering kind of way. But I have to say that the Disco 2000/Limelight scene years after that was not as alluring to me. I could see the change in it. You could tell the focus was swinging more toward the drugs and less toward the art of it. I did go a few time and had fun but it wasn't the same for me. I'm sure the fact that I had discovered Jackie 60 had something to do with it too. Nothing compared in my mind. I haven't seen the movie yet , but I agree with Lex about what else was going on at that time. a lot more.
While I have to agree with the previous posts about the diversity and abundance of club life in the early 90's, I do believe the movie is only meant to portray a specific individual and a specific incident involving this person - Michael Alig. Much the same way a movie about Ted Bundy would feature co-ed college girls, the club kids were the environment of the movie. With that, I went into the movie expecting the worst and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There were some (dare I say it) moving moments and presented a very sad story. Unfortunately, the writing wasn't very good and took away from the potencey of the horrific events that happened and there was already so much bad blood (physically and metaphorically) surrounding the events that it was hard not to be biased. I did think Seth Green gave an amazing performance though. I'm just waiting for the glut of "Party Monster" merchandise to hit Ebay (the OOP edition of "Disco Bloodbath is already selling for $80 and up on Ebay!) Can a lunchbox be far behind?

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