Good God, Macaulay, what are you wearing? Culkln, chlgny and friends camp it up in Party Monster
Clubbed to death
Michael Alig lost his New York Clubland crown when he murdered his drug dealer. PARTY MONSTER, the movie made by people who were there, tells his story. Wonls: Mark Robertson
kin—tight. striped l—sltll'l which just skims below the nipples. towering platl'orm heels. knee socks. lcderhosen and a lace l'ull ol’ pan stick are not exactly the linniliar’ garb tor a murderer. Michael Alig was. however. a tragically commonplace murderer. A psychosis induced by a branch ol‘ Boots-worth ol‘ pharniaceuticals led to him kill his drug dealer. Andre ‘.-\ngcl‘ Menendez. The events haye been recorded l'or posterity twice already: in the book Dist-o [Hum/bull) and a documentary entitled l’urry .lluns‘lt'r. Now the story reaches the cinemas as Party .llumlcr A the moy‘ic. Sat round a table with me in an lidinburgh hotel suite are three men who li\ed to tell this tale: Randy Barban and l‘t‘lllttll Bailey. I’urly .llnmrt'r's writers and directors. and James St James. on whose aforementioned book the ﬁlm was based. During our time together the trio exude Varying degrees ol' camp. wit. analytical logic and world-weariness. They trip oycr each othet”s words and linish off each other’s sentences. an oby iotis result of 20 years ol‘ friendship. l’urly .llonxn'r is more than just a project. though: it is their life. Bailey. Barban and St James were part of the club kids. a ludicrous. outlandish pocket ol’ America's great unloyed who conyerged on .\'ew York in the late 80s and created their own subculture. Bailey and Barbato were eyen in a band. appropriately called the Fabulous Pop Tarts. 'They were on the coy er ol‘ Melody Maker in 1984. you know. 'Fame. (ilamour. Money. Power” was their big hit.’ St James declares
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like a proud mother.
James St James. on the other hand. was more of what could be described as a professional exhibitionist. A lull-time partyer. his speciality was dressing tip. going out. getting high. turning heads. stopping tral‘lic. and generally just showing oil. In his own words: 'l was being fabulous!~
So the club kids haye now been committed to celluloid (well. l)\’. but let‘s not split hairs) by Bailey and Barban on a minuscule $2 million budget. with the script being adapted from St James' autobiographical noyel and the pair’s documentary from 1998. The question that remains is why‘.’
The entire premise behind the club kids was that they were absolute style over substance — all fur coat and certainly no knickers. But in reality. their phenomenon was as localised to New York as northern soul was to lingland‘s northeast and ['K garage to its southeast. (‘lub kids have been written into clubbing lore not for the parties they held or the music they produced but because of their talents for diligent sell-publicity. Handin there were three people there to retell these stories: Barbato. Bailey and St James.
Perhaps because of this. Party Monster appears pretty shallow on the surface. It is an undeniably bold. loud. brash piece of cinematic ﬂul'l' — the directors themselyes call it Rm'ky Hm'mr meets Trainspotting — but underneath it is as murky as .\'ew York's Hudson River.
Michael Alig is played by Macaulay (‘ulkin with an air of