Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland


Murder Was Never So Much Fun!

When Disco Bloodbath was first published, it created a storm of controversy for its startlingly vivid, strikingly fresh, and outrageously funny depiction of the hedonistic world of the New York City club kids, for whom nothing was too outré -- including murder. Nominated for the Edgar Award for best true-crime book of the year, it also marked the debut of an audaciously talented writer, James St. James, who himself had been a club kid and close ...

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Murder Was Never So Much Fun!

When Disco Bloodbath was first published, it created a storm of controversy for its startlingly vivid, strikingly fresh, and outrageously funny depiction of the hedonistic world of the New York City club kids, for whom nothing was too outré -- including murder. Nominated for the Edgar Award for best true-crime book of the year, it also marked the debut of an audaciously talented writer, James St. James, who himself had been a club kid and close friend and confidant of Michael Alig, the young man convicted of killing the drug dealer known as Angel.

Now the book has been brought to the screen as Party Monster, with Macaulay Culkin playing killer Michael Alig and Seth Green as author/celebutante James St. James.

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Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
A vastly entertaining, scarily well-written, and horrifically funny book...even at its most gruesome.
New York Observer
It is the best book I have ever read....It's Our Lady of the Flowers with thigh-slapping humor. It's Liberace's Last Exit to Brooklyn...a lovely and horrible discourse on death.
—Simon Doonan
New York Post
A surprisingly funny and touching memoir.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When suspected drug dealer Angel Melendez disappeared in March 1996, the arrest of party promoter Michael Alig, impresario of the debaucherous "club-kid" scene of the early 1990s, sent shock waves through the New York City club scene. Alig and his roommate were later convicted of the grisly murder and dismemberment of Melendez. According to St. James, who describes himself as "a rather needy diva" and Alig's "best friend," the conviction was no surprise: days after the murder, Alig had confessed to him while they did drugs together in Alig's apartment. St. James's account of the rise and fall of Michael Alig is a most unconventional contribution to the body of true crime. Mixing dish on the outrageous exploits of club queens with "the running commentary of a babbling drug addict--me," St. James fuses the unrepentant humor and narcotic gusto of Hunter S. Thompson with pure camp--and the result is a flamboyant and engrossing first-person narrative. But while St. James's flashy approach is artful and engaging, it ultimately serves to solidify the tabloid nature of his tale. St. James has no sympathy for the victim of the crime. The closest thing to emotion on display is St. James's obsessive need to document the highs and lows of life with the maddening Alig and his own self-pity at the end of his carousing days with Alig. "How superficial to say that because of a murder, I didn't feel like dressing up anymore!" Yes, and how. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
St. James, a former New York club connoisseur who now resides in Los Angeles, depicts in lurid, and at times muddled or incomprehensible detail the events surrounding the murder of a drug- dealer by his friend and fellow club queen, Michael Alig. The book is a true story written in something like a stream of consciousness manner, highlighted by black humor and fascinating images from a world in which only a "fabulous" few have participated. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Michael Alig was a top promoter in the deviant, drug-soaked Manhattan club scene of the early 1990s. The party ended when he savagely murdered a drug dealer and deposited the dismembered corpse in the river. Three years later, scenester St. James tattles on his homicidal pal in an unformed, exploitative, and cobbled-together work. St.James betrays his friend Alig's confidence—not for personal gain, of course, but for soul-searching purposes: "I had to look at the monster in me that could love someone like this." Yet most of the book is devoted not to analysis of Alig's background and motivation, but to St. James's wearying recall of their heady years grappling for supremacy in the top echelons of club society. This hazily jaundiced narrative offers only unappealingly reductive portraits of club kids, gay nightlife, and druggies. St. James dishes endlessly on such topics as his ketamine addiction and his circle's catty social rituals, but his inability to convincingly contextualize his tale—to place the hedonistic club scene within a larger portrait of fin-de-siècle Manhattan, or to humanize Alig as something more than a cipher-turned-inept-killer—reduces his book to a mere check-list of seamy tropes. Disco Bloodbath is a dreary and minor retelling of a tale whose principals have long since been exhumed by the mainstream media.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684857640
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/1/1999
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

James St. James who was once dubbed a "celebutante" by Newsweek magazine, now leads a quiet, sedate existence in Los Angeles, far from the madness that he writes about. This is his first book.
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Read an Excerpt

March 31, 1996

There are times, when the drugs are flowing and the emotions are running high, the lights and music can make you dizzy -- and the world slips out of control.

It's like a car accident that happens too quickly...you can't stop it, you can't think about it, you just have to lean back, and watch as everything changes forever.

You've lost control, you say to yourself, as the wheel of the world slips from your hands -- "It's happening too fast" -- and all you can do is wait for the ride to end, the car to crash, the world to stop.

It's like chasing after time, chasing after the things that have already happened, because the drugs have made you too slow. You're thick and awkward, but if you can just catch up, then maybe you can grab it, maybe you can grab at time and stop it --

But no.

It's already happened.

You have no choice. Play it out.

That's how Michael described to me the moments leading up to the murder. That's the way he described killing Angel.

I didn't realize when I came over to his house to warm my feet that we would be having such a serious conversation. I must confess, I was rather unprepared for it.

You see, my night had started off very typically...


When I surfaced from my K-hole, I didn't know where I was, exactly, but that's not unusual. I didn't recognize anybody, either, but that, too, is not unusual. Often on Special K, everybody looks like Mrs. Butterworth -- all clear and brown and syrupy slow. It's usually quite comical to watch them pour over each other and on to each other, then ooze across a dance floor.

I panicked, though, this time, and bolted from whatever clubI was just in -- too quickly perhaps.

I was barefoot and without a coat. I was wearing...hmmm, what was I wearing? Goodness! I guess I was wearing a peignoir -- not at all suitable for a blizzard in Times Square.

But yes, by the looks of it, I was in Times Square, nearly naked, in half-drag, and those spots in my eyes were snowflakes.

I didn't have any money and, for the life of me, I couldn't remember where I lived. And the club I had just left? It had already disappeared.

A sticky situation.

I stumbled through the storm until I came across a police station.

The doors were locked, so I knocked, and when an officer opened the door, I boldly announced that I was turning myself in. "I would like to be taken into custody immediately, please. I'm very cold."

Strangely, they wouldn't let me in. "Please, sirs, I'm sure I've done all sorts of illegal things this evening. We can work out the charges later. Now about that one phone call..."

"There's a phone booth on the corner," the officer growled and locked the door on me again. "Go away, you."

I had to beg for change, and New Yorkers proved to be a callous lot. Maybe it was that my eyes were going, lizardlike, in two directions. Maybe it was my potbelly spilling out of the filmy little negligee that I was wearing. But nobody stopped to help, which was just as well: I didn't know my phone number, anyway.

I sat down in a puddle to cry.

Then I looked up and saw a beacon of hope. Miles away, but there. A point of reference -- Riverbank! My old home. My fortress of solitude. Michael's home now. I can go to Michael's! I can go home to Riverbank!

I hobbled through the snow, with a little string of snot swinging from my nose in the frigid night air. I had only a few rocks thrown at me on the way.

The doormen, God Bless Them, remembered me and let me go straight up. Michael's door was open, wide open, but nobody was home. I sat down and inspected my battered little body for frostbite and chilblains -- and I don't even know what chilblains are.

But I was safe.

Safe and sound on friendly ground.


I took a quick look around, and was surprised by what I found. Since when, I wondered, did Michael Alig ever show any interest in home decorating? When did he get taste? He'd always been alarmingly unoriginal, as far as I was concerned.

But this! It wasn't Brooke Astor's taste, to be sure, or even mine, but his apartment had undergone a rather radical transformation in the months since I'd last seen it. A decent Louis Quinze replica rested in the corner, a marble bust of some mad composer in the foyer, a red velvet sofa with golden claws and ram's head arms...Not bad. Little glass drug vials filled with colored liquids dangled prettily from a new chandelier and tinkled in the night air.

Very odd.

He clomped into the apartment and when he saw that I was there, threw his arms around me: "Skrinkle!" he cried.

"Oh! Hey, Skroddle..."

"Lover-la-da, I'm so glad you're here. We have so much to catch up on. Would you like some tea?" he asked. "Here, come get nice and comfy."

We went into the bedroom and climbed onto his big new bed. He put a Bergman film (Wild Strawberries? Michael was watching Wild Strawberries?) into the new VCR on top of his new television, that sat next to his brand-new computer. Something was very wrong here.

"Michael, you can't even read. What on earth do you need a computer for?"

"Oh...ah...it's a...gift for Freeze." He waved his hand dismissively. "Scone? They're from Balducci's..."

I shook my head no. Then he got out nine bags of heroin and lined them up on the tray next to the tea cozy.

I reached for a bag and he slapped me.

"After. I want you coherent for this. Now try the tarts."

We nibbled and sipped and giggled like geese.

Then twenty minutes later...

"James, we have to talk...Do you notice anything different? Anyone missing?"

"Missing? From this room? I don't get it."

"No, just missing in general. A drug dealer who hasn't been seen in a while?"


"No, no, no. Another drug dealer. Used to stay here..."

"Freeze stays here."

"The other drug dealer who stays with me. I hate it when you do Special K."

I shrugged thickly.

"Angel, James. Angel. Haven't you noticed Angel hasn't been around?"

Angel? Ech.

I mean, well, sure, I guess Angel was a drug dealer...oh, but he was the worst kind of drug dealer: the kind who actually wanted money for his drugs. How rude is THAT? So, I avoided him like the plague, of course, which wasn't easy. He strutted around the clubs like he was God's Own Cousin, sporting a ridiculous pair of wings, yes WINGS. Dingy old white wings, that were always knocking off my wig or spilling my drink. Oh, he was such a nightmare!

"No, Michael," I said, "I haven't seen Angel lately. I don't care enough for him to keep track of where he is. In fact, you really ought to get rid of him. He makes you look bad. He's so nasty. And those wings are so damn annoying..."

"Oh. Well, you'll be happy to hear that I did just that. I got rid of him, all right." He laughed in that staccato, half snort and gulp that is uniquely his. "Yep, I got rid of him, boy, once and for all. Skrink-la-da-doo! I killed him."

I didn't believe it at first. He was exaggerating, I thought. Something happened, of course, something always happens.

Oh, Angel probably was dead, all right. No big deal. Or maybe he was in the hospital. Who cared? They had probably been partying too hard and Angel overdosed. Happens all the time. People die around us all the time. Drop like flies. Overdose. AIDS. Sometimes they kill themselves. People come. They go. Dying is the same as rehab or moving back to Missouri. It just means I won't be seeing them again. New people were already in line to take their place.

Hey ho. I grabbed a bag of heroin.

"Please, James. This is serious."

I could tell that he really was upset.

So he told me the whole story, from beginning to end, how he and Freeze had murdered Angel during a fight, and how they dismembered the body and threw it into the Hudson River.


There is a fight, an argument. Each one contends, in turn, that he is owed money. Michael, of course, has been robbing Angel blind for months, stealing his drugs, dipping into his profit margin. Everybody knows it. Angel knows it, but because Michael is his idol, he has chosen not to say anything. Until now. Suddenly, he wants it back. He wants it all back. Michael is outraged. Angel owes him money, he says, Angel owes him rent.

Such a confrontation would have been inconceivable just a few short weeks ago. Angel wouldn't have dared.

But times have changed.

The fight escalates. They're both angry, out of control. Michael is like an ape-child who doesn't know his own strength, who frequently bites and draws blood, who doesn't notice -- doesn't care -- feels justified in fact, and is oblivious to the pain and discomfort of others. Michael, the ape-child, punches Angel, or kicks him; he's petulant, angry, not about the money, not about the argument, but about the shift in power. Angel is fighting back and that means Angel is lost to him forever.

Angel has been empowered, you see. There had been another fight, an earlier fight, two days before, in which Angel finally stood up to Michael. It was a first, and a precedent was set: he can fight back, so he does. He pushes Michael up against the wall.

Things are happening quickly now.

At this point Michael's roommate Freeze walks in. With Daniel. No, that's not right. Maybe Freeze walks in alone. Maybe Freeze wakes up when Daniel arrives, or maybe Daniel wakes up when Freeze walks in. Who can tell? Michael's story changes with each retelling. The official story, though, according to the newspapers, is that a boy named Daniel was asleep in the next room when Freeze entered the living room. So Daniel is asleep and therefore not a part of what happens next. Got that? Here we go.

Freeze then leaps into the fray, although this is unlike any side of Freeze that I've ever seen. Freeze, who is detached, emotionally unplugged and unavailable, who floats in and out of people's lives so carefully, quietly, always, so as not to disturb the balance of things, so that he may come back again and again and nobody will mind -- this very different Freeze leaps into the fray to help Michael. Apparently, just this once, he felt compelled to muster up some energy, bring himself to care. Maybe he thought of Michael as his last chance, the last person who could possibly help him, and he sought to protect him. Or maybe he had been freebasing again and that accounts for the energy and the anger it must have taken, because a freebasing Freeze is an evil mother-fucker.

At any rate, help arrives.

Like all faggots who fight, there is kicking and screaming and much Mary-ism involved. Nelly little girls grab the first thing they see and use it.

Michael needs help, fast, just grab something and use it, swing, connect, hurt, like anybody would.

Freeze took a hammer and hit three times, knocking Angel to the floor.

There are times when the world slips out of control. It's like an accident that is happening too quickly, and you can't stop it, you can't think about it, you have no choice but to lean back and watch as everything changes forever.

All you can do is wait for the ride to end, the car to crash, the world to stop.

You're chasing after time, chasing after the things that have already happened, because the drugs have made you too slow. You're thick and awkward, but if you can just catch up, you can grab it, you can stop it --

But no.

It's already happened.

You have no choice but to play it out.

And they see what's happened.

Roll the film.

There is blood everywhere and Angel is down. His head is open.

In one of Michael's versions of the story, Angel does not go quietly into the night. The dead man made a reluctant corpse. He seizes, he seizures, he tries to make it to the door. He looks to Michael for help -- He looks to Michael for help! -- even utters those words. He is confused, hurt...Does he know that it is about to end? Can he think clearly, can he comprehend the enormity of what is about to happen -- or has his mind short-circuited with the last blow?

(In a later version, he screams and they muffle those screams with a pillow. This may or may not have been true, although it is important to remember that he mentions doing this only later, and then just as an aside. Neither one of them knew that asphyxiation was the official cause of death. They learned that with the rest of the world after the body had been examined. Which means, they were operating under the assumption that he was still with us when they...when they...)

He's down. He's hurt. Not moving now. Call the police? Call an ambulance? Ah, but the need for self-preservation is stronger than you think. Angel is over. Angel is no more. If he lives he will most likely be brain-damaged or a vegetable. He may be paralyzed, comatose -- something is very wrong. Will somebody please pick the brains off the floor? Something awful, something irreparable has happened to him. If he were to live, if they were to call the police -- he may be in a coma for the rest of his life, for the rest of their lives. They would be responsible forever for what has happened.

It is far easier to rationalize, in that state of mind, that they are doing the humane thing. They are putting him out of his misery. He is in pain. Let's get it over with.

And it will save all of us, the rest of our lives, having to care for this vegetable, cripple, or whatever.

So how do we do it --

I'm not going to do it --

Well, I'm not going to do it --

You do it --

You're the one who hit him over the fucking head --

I was helping you, asshole -- Goddamn it, we are in this together --

This is what is happening now -- this is how it's playing out.

Not me, not you -- I'm not going to do it. We'll both do it --

Now this is how it's done, this is how it's done in the movies, on TV. Anyone who has ever grown up watching Columbo, Quincy, Cannon, Charlie's Angels -- this is what murderers do...

They make a pact. They will do it together. They are bound together forever.

How to do it? There's a needle:

"Maybe a heroin overdose?"

"Good God, man, how could you even suggest such a thing?! We're going to need that. In fact, let's all do a bit right now, just to think clearly."

They do, and a method crystallizes.

OK, now get the Drano.

From the kitchen.

Find a vein, and insert your needles. At the count of three, I want you to push into Angel's body the steaming, acidic mix of caustic lye and sodium silicates. Try not to look at his eyes, and notice not the tears that flow down his cheeks. Never mind the terror and the pain and the confusion he feels. Look away from the betrayal and the death. Never mind the future, never mind yourselves.




There is a final flash of pain; his body arches, leaps upward, eyes open, accusing.

And it's all over. For Angel it's all over forever. For Michael and Freeze -- only five minutes have passed but five minutes that changed who they were forever.

What next? How now?

Unfolding in front of us is a scene so chilling, so horrific, so utterly bizarre that if you look real close and real fast -- you can actually see Alfred Hitchcock in the background, cleaning the windows.

Look at this. Look at them: Two wild-eyed dope fiends huddled around ye olde corpus delecti, needles poised, Drano drained.

Blood is everywhere. Torrents of blood spilled into the hallway. A trail that starts in the living room pushes its way into the hall, past the kitchen. Almost to the door. He almost made it out the door, almost free, almost lived, but he was stopped, a third blow to the head, or a pillow to the face. Whatever.

Sticky red footprints in a grotesque dance pattern -- left foot, left foot, right, right, right...Handprints smeared on the wall...little blue clots of something like jelly, stuck in the floorboards...

As the horror dawns, as they realize what they've done, a vague unease settles upon them...far off...not yet formed...not yet understood, are the troubles they face...But for now, one thought, one voice:

"How easy it was."

How simple. Anybody could have done this. There is no mystery to death. No complicated pattern, nothing difficult. They are not special. It could happen again. Anytime. Anywhere. Of course. A slight miscalculation, a simple mistake -- it didn't take a special kind of person. Death was easy. A piece of pie. That is the true horror.

So now: action. A call to order. A caucus. Murderers unite.

The exact words, the exact blocking, is blurry. The minutes of that meeting are lost forever. I do know that Michael panicked and called Peter, his boss, for help -- Peter who has always helped, who was magic that way, and pulled strings that don't exist for the rest of us -- he called Peter but was denied access by Peter's girlfriend, Alexandra.

"Leave us alone," she said. "Click," she said.

Three times they called, and three times they were denied.

What to do? What to do?

I know Freeze became unhinged, going on a crack binge of superhuman proportions.

Watching at the window.


For the police. For Angel's ghost.

For a long time he was silent, watching the snow of that terrible winter sweep along the terrace.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You're fucking crazy."

This, whenever Michael tries to talk about what happened. Whenever Michael starts complaining about the smell, the body.

But horror fades whereas comedy endures.

Michael bounces back with breathtaking elasticity. Within hours, it is business as usual.

He stashes the body in the bathtub -- to let fluids drain. They go shopping. Invite friends over. Many friends. "Never mind the stench, pass me a straw."

Like a lousy, lopsided Lucy episode, a girl goes in the bathroom to pee, and a mottled arm tumbles out from behind the shower curtain -- "Oh, excuse me!" she says, "I didn't know there was anyone in here." And she quickly hurries back to the party.

Needless to say, that bathroom is blocked off -- a mattress is leaned against it -- and that smell? Plumbing problems...

Finally, how long has it been -- a week? almost two? -- and something must be done...That bloated, gaseous, purple corpse must go!

Freeze is no help: "This is your problem, Michael."

I suppose they argue, but finally it's up to Michael to chop off the legs. It's the only way he'll fit in the box.

A bargain was struck: Freeze would go to Macy's and buy the cutlery required to dispose of the remains. He would also provide Michael with enough heroin to do the job.

"Fuck you, Freeze," Michael said as he inhaled an unprecedented ten bags of heroin, "I hope I overdose and die and then you have two bodies on your hands. I hate you for making me do this."

But once the inevitable is accepted, this, too, is not so bad. Fortified by the warm blanket of dope, and swept up in a Technicolor B-movie fantasy, he takes to his task like Leatherface at Thanksgiving.

"Was it hard to do? Did you have to hack at it?" I asked.

"No, no, no. It was like cutting chicken. The meat just fell off. And the bones snapped really easy." Then he showed me the ordinary kitchen knife he used.

Who was this person in front of me, I wondered yet again, but I reminded myself that person is me. There but for the Grace of God...opposite ends of the same stick...and all that...

And that was the story as he told it to me that first night, except for a few loose ends.

Like instead of taking the almost always empty service elevator at Riverbank, they take the trunk down the main elevator, sharing it with an older gentleman who couldn't help but comment on the smell.

...past the security guards and doorman, bless 'em...

And then, via taxi, to the pier across the street from the Tunnel. After both bags of legs sank nicely to the bottom, they tossed in the box. But, of course -- oh those wacky club kids -- comedy ensues when they realize the trunk was lined with cork.

They couldn't do anything except watch as Angel floated off to his sweet reward.

Yes, kids, Angels float, and that was his ultimate revenge.


Of course, as he was weaving this tawdry little tale, my world was ending.

My head fell into one of those spinning cartoon vortexes...

The room was lurching and heaving about, the floor would drop, the ceiling cave in. Spikes popped out of the walls and the walls inched closer together...

I was frozen in an adorable Macaulay Culkinesque pose, with my mouth wide open, throughout.

No, I did not respond to all of this with my usual élan. Nothing could ever be the same. I was no longer the same naive waif blowing sideways through life. My wide-eyed innocence was gone, and within the space of that half hour, I was transmogrified into the bitter, broken hag you see before you.

Michael had finally gone too far. In one fell swoop -- no, make that three fell swoops -- he destroyed everything...everything he had worked so hard to create. And now: the party was over. The ride was through. It was the end of an era, MY era, and, damnit, that meant I was about to become "dated." Talk about adding insult to injury!!

"My goodness," I finally managed, as I collected the clumps of hair that had fallen from my head, "that's quite a story."

"Does this change your opinion of me? Do you love me less?"

(A difficult and, well, rather unexpected question, given the circumstance. Really best to sit down and think about it another day.)

"Of course I love you, darling," I replied automatically. Then: "It's just that, well, you're Michael Alig, I've always known you were capable of really big things...monumental...historical...things -- "

"Oh -- that is so sweet!" He air-hugged me, then added: "And you're James St. James, don't forget!"

"I know, dear..."

And we gave each other a quick social peck.

"My point was...I just...I mean, why waste your

big chance at immortality on Angel? He was so inconsequential. He wasn't worth it! You couldn't have taken out Bianca Jagger? Rubbed out Courtney Love? You realize that everything from now on is changed -- because of Angel? What a waste."

He looked almost humble for a moment.

"I need a bag rather desperately, Michael."

"Well, I'm glad you're finally addicted..."

"Oh, I'm not. Blech."

Heroin is such an ugly drug. Everytime I do it, every day of my life, I'm reminded just how unattractive it is, and how happy I am that I'm not addicted.

I sniffed one bag, just to get a grip on the situation. Disgusting stuff!

First of all, it tastes filthy. Like powdered pavement. Like your mother's disapproval. Then there's the gag and the drip, followed by...nothing. So of course I did more. This news was a lot to deal with.

And I just never learn when to stop.

My eyes won't stay open, but they won't stay closed, either. So it's a tic-toc thing, jerking, then slumping, heaving and sighing. Moaning and groaning.

No, no, no, I think. This is all wrong, I think.

None of this is right.

I'm nasty. Nauseous. Groggy. I can't pee. For the life of me. Pretty soon I'll be vomiting urine. Then I'll need the old do-it-yourself catheter kit.

Oh, I hate heroin.

Maybe this time it will be better.

Yea, maybe I've been doing it wrong all these times.

I began slowly putting the pieces together.

"So, all this new stuff...the furniture, the computer...Balducci's...the drugs..."

"Money from Angel's bag." Eight thousand, he said. Or thirteen. Or twenty. I can't rightly recall. The heroin was kicking in and for once I was swept away in a warm current of sanguine thoughts.

"Wait...wait a min...ute. You mean," -- it was registering -- "You went on a shopping spree afterward?...Gorgeous!"

Suddenly the whole situation seemed farcical. Slapstick. And we laughed until our sides hurt. We laughed until tears ran down our faces. "And those boots, Michael? They look awfully familiar..."


And we collapsed on the pillows in peals of girlish laughter.

"You're wearing Angel's boots?"

...more laughter...

"Aren't they nice?"

Then we stopped laughing as abruptly as we had begun. "Do you still love me? Really?" he asked.

Hanging in the airspace above my head was the monstrously vain implication that I even loved him in the first place. Endured him, yes. Admired him? Yes...but with clenched teeth. And I suppose I even got a vicarious kick from the improbable life he had always led. But it was a wistful kick, and it always made me sad, like I was in the backseat straining to see the fun that was going on ahead of me.

But if familiarity breeds contempt, it also fosters a bond -- and over the years he had become family. He has been at various times my best friend, my worst enemy, my rival, my partner, my neighbor, my boss, and my worst nightmare -- so buck him, fuck him, chomp at the bit to get away from him...he was still there. He was Michael. And no matter how you sliced it (whoops) -- yes, I loved Michael, still.

"Of course, I do darling." I sighed. "Do you have any K?"

But this didn't mean I could ever accept what happened. I needed to understand it, pull it apart. I needed to synthesize the previous monster, who was merely annoying, with this new one, who was actually homicidal...and, more importantly, I had to look at the monster in me that could understand and love someone like this.

To do that, I had to go back. Way back, to the very beginning. My head hurt, and the crest of dope was breaking. Where was that Special K?

He poured some out and I inhaled a hefty line.

I could hear the skrinkling of Michael's new computer as the K pushed me down and carried me away. My mind splintered into a thousand fragments, then regrouped and configured as it saw fit...

Copyright © 1999 by World of Wonder Productions, Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction

in whole or in part in any form.

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First Chapter

From: In the Beginning

In the beginning there was "skrinkle," and it was good. "Skrinkle" begat "skroddle" and that, too, was good...unless it was bad.

"Skrinkle," and its corollary "skroddle," were the building blocks of a strange little world Michael was building for himself. It was a language of his own, and it consisted of just those two words and the infinite variations, conjugations, and not-so-subtle shifts in their meanings.

Either word could, in fact, mean anything -- depending upon its context.

You were either a "skrink" or a "skrod."

I was a "skrink-la-da" if I was good. Or a stupid "scrod-lover" if I was bad.

Oh, but I'm sorry. Unless you, too, are doing Special K, then I'm going too fast, and none of this makes any sense. I guess I need to be a bit more linear. Let me start again...

Here's the deal:

I am responsible for everything that's happened -- everything! -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, maybe not so much the ugly. Michael does deserve some of the credit.

But it all begins and ends with me.

Me! Me! Me!

I spawned Michael Alig, and for that I will forever be damned.

This is how I remember it happening:

I blew into town in 1984, from some plains state, and got off the train, looking for all the world just like Shirley Jones in "Oklahoma!" I was a kicky, corn-fed lass, with a song in my heart and a rosy hue on my cheeks...

Plucky? You bet!

I had a satchel full of crazy dreams, and a down-home country manner that people naturally cottoned to.

Why Andy Warhol, himself, took one look at me and said: "You there! I want YOU to be my next superstar!"

What are you looking at? You think I'm making this up? It's true! Go ask him!

No, really.

Ask anybody. That's what happened. I came first. I was the original.

So, anyway.

I'm Shirley Jones, right? All sunshine and freckles.

And if I'm Shirley Jones, that would make Michael...well...that would make him Danny Bonaduce, wouldn't it? Little Danny Partridge, the slick-as-snot troublemaker who gets away with all the good lines.

Oh yes, I like that.

He, of course, has an entirely different view of things.

To hear Michael tell it, I am Mr. Magoo -- that crazy old codger, bumping into walls and talking to himself -- who buys drinks for the sexy little lamp in the corner and feeds the end table a dog biscuit.

He would then get to be Tennessee Tuxedo, the wise-cracking penguin, who is looped obsessively onto his VCR.

So I suppose somewhere in between our two delusions lies the truth:

I guess I am a myopic old man in Shirley Partridge drag. And he must be a red-headed penguin.

I hope that helps.

You see, I just love analogies. Give me a good old analogy any day. That's what I say.

I think it's infinitely more telling for me to say that, oh, if we were characters on The Simpsons, I would be Grampa Simpson and he would be Mr. Burns.

Or if we were slices of bread, then he's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, I'm Sourdough.

In chemical terms: he's a catalyst, I'm a noble gas.

How bloated we all are to think that our childhoods matter, that anybody really cares about our little lives. Nobody wants to read about your little rag doll or your first-grade teacher. I always notice a slight glazing of the eye whenever I trot out my old "pooping in the neighbor's lawn" story.

One time, while snooping through his things, I discovered Michael Alig's unpublished memoirs. In them, he goes on for an eternity about "digging a hole to hell" when he was a child, and listening to the furnace at night, thinking it was the voice of the devil. Sure it's a sweet bit of foreshadowing: we see his paranoia, his fascination with the dark side...

But really.

Wading waist-high in Michael's childhood memories is not my idea of fun.

So very quickly: his childhood.

I imagine it was full of, you know, pathos and pain. And there was a divorce, of course, and it was very hard on the kids...

He was poor. I like to think of him as a dirty street urchin, sucking on a stick. But somehow I bet he was the apple of everybody's eye -- Bonnie Prince Michael -- and what little the family had, went to him.

He talks endlessly about a certain "experimental school" he went to -- one of those terribly progressive early '70s things -- where you went to "blue rooms" and everybody applauded when you had a bowel movement. He credits this school for his free-thinking, rule-breaking ways.

Even so, I suspect he was a Ritalin child, impossible to pin down -- you know, asking "What does this button do?" after he's pushed it and the building next door has exploded and collapsed in a pile of dust. I would also imagine he seduced the neighborhood children during sleep-overs, and poked out the eyes of many a neighborhood dog.

His mother, Elka, was a blowzy Shelley-Winters-in-her-sexpot-days, and I'm being kind here. In that attempted autobiography, if you choose to believe it, there are all sorts of juicy tidbits about her, things you wouldn't believe. Of course, I'm too much of a lady to go into detail here. Suffice to say, Michael alleges that there were all sorts of comings and goings in the Alig household, a topsy-turvy little world.

The elderly couple next door, Clarabel and Earl, swooped in and took over the daily job of raising him. I'm sure he was their little gift from heaven, as they had nothing better to do, and it allowed Elka the freedom to pursue, well, "other things." Hmmm. I seem to recall there was a brief stint at catalogue modeling, ski wear and what-not, and oh! you should see the pictures!

So that's his childhood. There it is.

Yada, yada, yada.

We all have issues, we all had problems. I was no different, really. We were both boys, two boys, two Midwestern misfits. We had parallel running lives...

While I was getting boogers wiped in my hair during Biology, he was being spit on in Social Studies.

A common story.

But there was a day, a sunny day in May, I'm sure, when at exactly 2 p.m., we both looked out of the window of our different schools and...What?

We didn't wish -- wishes are wasted...

We didn't hope -- because our future was inevitable...

And we didn't pray -- we were on our own.

So we sent out energy bullets: "This is for New York."

"This is for when I get there."

Little pockets of energy, to be saved and accumulated and used upon arrival.

I can only project my longings and my needs onto him. I can only express my rapture in finding an Interview magazine, seeing a picture of Andy Warhol or Divine, and just aching.

I was so scared it was all going to be gone by the time I got there. Ninth grade, tenth grade -- can't this thing go any faster?

In the magazine, there were funny people with funny names like John Sex, who had wild white hair and a snake! -- and didn't that just open up a kaleidoscope of new possibilities?

And how long the years are -- endless! And the minutiae of your daily life! So tedious, when there are BIG THINGS happening a thousand miles away. And when you go to bed at night, it's hard to believe those people, those fabulous, daunting people, are out there right now!

So we wait, and we endure, and someday we will be there, and we will make it.

And, by golly, we did...

The club scene that I arrived onto in the mid-'80s was an impenetrable clique, with a complex hierarchy of "superstars." There were intricate rules of behavior, Byzantine rituals, and unspoken customs that were designed to exclude the unwanted, and massage the egos of the Chosen Few.

There was a certain type of person who was deemed "fabulous" -- but only if that person understood the system's infrastructure and played by its rules.

At the tippy-top of this system was the nightclub Area, the downtown society magazine Details, and the titular Queen of the Night, Dianne Brill. The goal, then, was to have your picture in Details, with Dianne, in the VIP Room of Area. If that happened, well, God himself would drop out of the heavens and give you a drink ticket.

It was a tough nut to crack, I'll tell you that much.

But for someone, like myself, who had all the time in the world, and a closet full of flowing lamé things, it seemed like a perfect way to while away the evenings.

I took to my task with the plucky determination of a Perfume Sprayer at Bloomingdale's. Nothing could stop me. I was like a rabid MCI operator -- oozing sincerity, feigning "spontaneous" conversations, and always, but always, just right there in your face.

Oh, I had moxie, all right. Like Pia Zadora on a sugar rush.

I enlisted the aid of a buxom young girl, to counteract my sometimes unnerving flamboyance. She was my sidekick. My partner in crime.

I schooled her in the Art of Schmoozing.

I even went so far as to make up flash cards to help her remember who stood where in the social scheme of things.

"Who's this?" I asked, as I held up a laminated card.

"Cornelia Guest!"

"Very good. Now what's her dog's name?"

"Mr. Whiskers."

And then, when we would actually SEE Cornelia out and about, well, we were her BEST FRIENDS! We would hug her and kiss her: "How is Mr. Whiskers?" and she played right along, too embarrassed to admit she didn't know us from a hole in the wall.

I learned very quickly, watching the master, Dianne Brill, at work. She was brilliant. And now I will pass her ancient secrets on to you. Here, for the first time, is the Art of Working a Room.

Now you, too, can conquer any scene in high style! Watch as uppity faggots fall into line! Semi-important people think that you're a Somebody! Has-beens cling to your coattails! It's easy! It's fun! It's the patented Brill-o-matic 1-2-3 to Social Acceptance!

First: Spend at least six hours getting ready. Study yourself in the mirror at home. Is your hairdo media-friendly? Will your outfit read in black and white? Does your "look" inspire at least two clever sound bites?

Remember, you must be eye-catching but simple. If you and your "look" can be reduced to a simple caricature and not lose any essential qualities, you've got yourself a hit. Think Carmen Miranda. Jessica Rabbit. The band members of Poison.

Be sure that your partner doesn't clash with your look. Plan ahead and execute together.

As you stand outside the entrance to the party, take your partner by the hand and shake it once for solidarity. Quickly, adjust your vibrations to the music. Throw your ears back, push your energy forward, turn on that smile and SWEEP into view.

Enter the room in a clatter of commotion.

Circle the room, once together, smiling and saying hello to EVERY PERSON in the room. Even if you don't know them. ESPECIALLY if you don't know them. Pretend that you do. You should make a snappy comment about something they're wearing: "My what a beautiful corsage!" (if it's a woman or a drag queen); or "Darling, look at those massive shoulders!" (if it's a man or a drag queen).

Smile and acknowledge EVERY PERSON in the room...in a clockwise rotation -- never stopping, never pausing -- always moving, always smiling...brilliant...animated...ON!

This takes twenty to twenty-five minutes.

Then: Separate!

Both of you circle, alone, in opposite directions. (You continue moving clockwise, your partner retraces your steps.) Pretend you are searching for each other -- that it's a matter of life and death -- and be sure to involve every person in the club in your desperate hunt.

(This should take no longer than twenty-five minutes.)

Finally, regroup and scream with transcendental bliss at the thrill of finding one and other again.

Now, lock arms and work the whole room again, telling all your newfound friends, "Not to worry, we've found each other at long last."

Then leave.

Never stay longer than an hour and a half. And that is on the very outside. I MEAN IT!

Always leave them wanting more.

Do this every night, for three months, at the hottest club in town, and I personally guarantee that for the rest of your life you will know everybody in every room of every party, everywhere.

That's what we did. We climbed our way into their charmed little circle. Me and my booby best friend were dubbed "celebutantes" by Newsweek magazine, and soon we were the toast of the town.

Now, if you're looking for some sort of lofty moral summation -- like: "Being Popular Isn't What's Important" -- well, you won't find it here. Because I had a wonderful time...

...met a lot of fascinating people...

...and saw sights that would make Caligula blush...

And I also learned some VERY IMPORTANT LIFE LESSONS.

For example:

  • If two or three people of equal social standing are posing for a photograph, you always want to stand ON THE RIGHT of everybody else. That way, in the picture, you will be first on the left, and the caption will read: "James St. James and Blah Blah Blah were seen at..." -- So psychologically, you get top billing.
  • Once something appears in print, it automatically becomes true. Ipso facto. If a columnist says that you are an ugly baboon with two noses and a spastic colon -- well then, prepare to live out the rest of your life that way. Nobody will ever believe otherwise.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad press. Just trust me on this one.
  • Which leads me to the most important rule of all: Never, ever dish anyone in print. No matter who they are. No matter how many looks they've stolen from you over the years. No matter how many times they've humiliated you at dinner parties, or peed on your pant leg. If somebody asks you for a quote about your mortal enemy, simply drip with sincerity as you gush: "I worship him." And leave it at that. IF YOU'RE CORNERED AND YOU HAVE TO TELL THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH IS, WELL, SLIGHTLY BITCHY, put a positive spin on it, then quickly follow it up by giving three reasons why you're even worse. FOR EXAMPLE: "Sure, Michael is a monster -- but look at that flawless eyeliner! How many monsters do you know that can wield liquid liner LIKE THAT? Besides, I have anal fissures. And I just love Captain Lou Albano. Oh, do I have bad breath? Here, smell..." Works like a charm.

That's what I learned when I was fabulous.

What does it all mean? Not much.

It qualifies me to be a hostess at Denny's.

But, remember -- at the time, I took it all rather seriously. I paid my dues. Played by the rules.

There I was, sitting pretty, perched in the upper branches of the nightclubbing hierarchy.

Suddenly, in whooshed Michael Alig -- just as brazen, just as devil-may-care, just as uncouth and unschooled....

A big old bowling ball searching for a gutter...

I remember I was at the bar at Area, coolly studying my reflection in a Doublemint gum wrapper that was lying there. More lip gloss, perhaps?

That's when he came skroddling up to the bar. I saw him and I thought, My Lord, that could very well be my uglier twin sister! He had the same pigtails, same lunchbox, same fashionable blue lips! It was unnerving!

"Hi. I'm Michael Alig. And you're James St. James!"

"Well. I'm glad we finally got that worked out."

"I saw you on Oprah and I have your picture from Interview magazine on my refrigerator."

"Of course you do, darling. Now, if you'll excuse me..."

"I'm going to be a party promoter."

"So is my Guatemalan housekeeper. But you hang in there, dear. Goodbye."

"What do you think of this idea: a masquerade party at the Kit Kat Club where everybody comes dressed as their favorite Saturday morning cartoon character, like Electra-Woman or Hong Kong Phooey?"

"I'd rather have rectal cancer, darling, but it was sweet of you to ask. Now, goodnight."

And I ran for the exit, hoping that was the end of it.

But there he was again, the next night -- draped across Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto! And the next night, and every night, every party, everywhere we went -- THERE HE WAS! Smiling and chatting up everybody in the room!

Well, everyone was just horrified!

Of course, I ignored him. Who wanted some loud, young upstart, just brazenly walking up to total strangers in a club, acting as if he knew them!

How crass! How contrived! Did he think we didn't see through his blatant social climbing?!

There are a million stories of how we all tortured him, ran from him, and tried desperately to thwart him. When he was a busboy at Area, I might throw drinks and ashtrays on the ground and scream "Busboy!" just to make him grovel. When he started throwing parties at Danceteria, we wouldn't be caught dead gracing them with our social presence. He wasn't written about in Details. He was simply not allowed in our clique.

There was only one reason I maybe tolerated a moment or two of his presence at all: I was madly in love with his boyfriend:

The future Superstar DJ, Keoki.

When they met, Keoki was still a baggage handler for TWA. He somehow got into Area one night and met Michael, who was still a busboy. They were both very different people then from who they are now. This was before the egos, the drugs, the successes, the failures, and the fans. But maybe they saw the future in one and another. Who knows? Who cares. Anyway, they left together and embarked on an eight-year, whirlwind, co-dependent, psychotic love affair.

Little Keoki was just adorable back then. Cute as a bug. I was immediately smitten. I remember we all were. The entire club stopped cold the first night Michael brought out his hot little Spanish boy-toy.

How could he get someone that cute?

But there he was, and there they were. Keoki was in his underwear on a mattress in the corner of the lounge at Area. I don't remember why. Perhaps Michael had gotten him a job as an Art Installation. Or maybe he just felt fabulous.

But here was this gorgeous, Dionysian, creature, a real Latin heartthrob, smothering MICHAEL ALIG in kisses.

We were flummoxed.

Absolutely flummoxed.

And so, I was in love.

Now maybe, if I look real deep into myself, I can admit that just maybe I have a few intimacy issues that need to be resolved. I mention this only because I dealt with my "crush" just like any ten-year-old would: I chased him around and tortured him mercilessly. If he had had pigtails, I'd have pulled them.

Michael launched an elaborate campaign to secure a job for Keoki at Area. Keoki decided he wanted to be a DJ -- despite the fact that he didn't know the first thing about it. Oh, he was just awful. His selections were a mishmash of the pretentious, the obvious, and just plain bad taste. Nobody could clear a room faster than Keoki.

Nevertheless, Michael began billing him as "The It Boy of the '80s" on every flier for every party.

"The It Boy of the '80s"?


How could I not make fun of that? Nobody even knew who he was!

But I did go on a bit. Anytime he walked into a room, I would scream, scream: "OH MY GOD! IT'S THE 'IT BOY'!"

I was braying like a herniated yak.

Every night -- "IT'S THE 'IT BOY'!"

Until one night, he was go-go dancing in his underwear, and Michael and I stood transfixed, unable to stop ourselves from gawking. Then, abruptly, I launched into my tirade.


But Keoki had had enough. He grabbed a drink from the bar and began pelting me with ice cubes. Cube after cube, CLUNK, on my head, CLUNK, down my shirt. Ice cubes were followed by lemon wedges, and before I knew it, I was being pummeled with cigarette butts and beer bottles, OH THE HUMANITY!

The other go-go boys joined in. Spurred on by Keoki's taunts and jeers, they poured drinks on me, seriously staining my pretty new tube skirt, I will never forget it.

I fell to the floor, racked with sobs. How could somebody so beautiful be such a monster?

Another time, Musto and I were posed in our corner of the Palladium bathroom with our force fields UP. We were saying deeply superficial things to each other, and looking very soigné doing so. Nobody would have dared to approach us. We were that good.

Nobody, except...

Leaping and bounding through the crowd -- arms flailing, invites spilling everywhere -- looking for all the world like Old Yeller in heat...


He dared enter our sacred personal space! He was out of breath, panting, and looking positively CANINE, in some weird furry sort of getup. He poked his face RIGHT INTO OURS, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, something he did every day.

"JAMES! MICHAEL! MICHAEL! JAMES! Oh My God! Hi! I AM SO GLAD I FOUND YOU! I'm throwing a party, you have to come! It's at Area and the theme of the party is BLUE. Doesn't that sound like fun? Can I put you down on the YES list, please?"

I'd rather suck a urinal cake.

"I'll be sure to red-letter it on my social calendar," Musto gushed in that ego-squashing way of his. "I was going to go to Bianca Jagger's birthday...but...hmm...Bianca or Blue? Blue or Bianca? Hey, it's Blue for me! I'll be there!"

"No, really, guys -- it's going to be fun. Open bar from ten till eleven! PLEASE? Please come..."

Hoping to sidestep a commitment, I quickly changed the subject.

"My, that's some jacket you have there." The jacket was awful. Goat fur. Or dead dog. And waist length! Simply GENIUS. So IN-YOUR-FACE. Hookers would use this jacket to blow their noses on. And it was a balmy 102 degrees in the ladies' room. Why hadn't he checked it with coat check? Or the ASPCA? "Yep, that's SOME look, there."

"You like it?" He petted the matted fur fondly, and then it dawned on me: poor dear -- he wasn't being camp! He must have thought he looked chic...or moneyed! He was parading around like a mangy little monkey because he was proud of this look. This was clearly a boy going nowhere -- fast.

"It was a Christmas present from Keoki. Try it on! Here! Go ahead! Really, it'll look great on you!"

Oh My God. Should I?

I could see Musto's attention span waning -- any minute he might bolt. Three minutes of his time, and an original epigram to take home, was all he gave to any one person. Anything more exhausted him. Michael Alig had already used up his allotted time.

BUT THAT COAT WAS SUCH A GIGGLE! Even he wanted to try it on.

I was wearing leopard spandex and six-inch spikes. It would match hysterically. I slipped it on.

"Heavy Metal Housewife from Yonkers!" Musto announced, and everybody clapped. I vamped a bit, and Michael was in heaven: HIS coat on MY back...with a Musto quote to boot!

Oh, it was such an ill coat!

I looked positively perverse -- just like Divine, only young and thin and with a pretty face.

I couldn't take it off. I struck a few more poses, until --

...out of the corner of my eye...

I saw an angry mass of manliness RUSH into the room and, -- before I knew it --

I was THROWN against the wall.

It was Keoki, red-faced and rabid.

"Take it off! Now! Take it off or I'll kick the crap out of you!"

Then he turned to Michael: "How dare you, Michael Alig -- let him wear your Christmas present? And James St. James, OF ALL PEOPLE! How could you? Is this how you treat my gift? You just ruined my present!"

It was a full-blown, "all eyes on me" temper tantrum.

Musto, whose Warholian fear of confrontation instantly propelled him halfway across the club, left me to deal with this cut-rate Ricky Ricardo.

"But. I. He -- " was all I could sputter.

Michael was absolutely mortified by this poorly timed and wildly distorted display of Latino bravado. Keoki had clearly ruined his moment -- a truly fabulous moment of real social bonding. He had probably been hoping against hope that it would end up in Musto's column. But that dream was dashed. Musto was gone, I was angry, and it was most likely neither of us would come to his Blue Party! What started off ten minutes ago as one cozy stepup, was now disastrously three steps down the still rigid social ladder.

I grabbed my lunchbox and tried to pull off a huffy exit: "I guess the It Boy must have been VERY CLOSE to that dog when it was still alive!"

Oh, that Keoki! Here I was doing Michael a favor by transforming his flea-bitten old rag into a postmodern coat of irony.

I was more determined than ever to keep my distance from those freaks. Disagreeable troublemakers, that's what they were. I predicted then that they'd both be gone and forgotten in six months' time. Those types never lasted.

Our little war escalated quickly until one night...

Ah yes. I remember it well...

The opening night of the Tunnel...and it was going to be FABULOUS! This might single-handedly bring back nightlife as we knew it!

I still had my old-lady bubble hairdo -- and my dear, I spent the entire day in the beauty salon: starting with a wash and mousse, setting it with rollers, under the drier, then back-comb, hairspray, tease, hairspray, curling iron, hairspray -- IT TOOK HOURS.

By the time I was through, it was enormous! Über bubble!

I was Super Society Woman!

And my dress!

It was Gaultier -- green and blue satin, with giant Russian lettering, in velvet, across the chest and arms.

Too chic!

Remember that season? Fall '86 I think, and all that Soviet madness? We wore Russian logos and listened to Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Oh, and we all quoted Karl Marx and went to those Yakov Smirnoff concerts (or was that just me?). Anyway, Communist chic was all the rage.

So, in a word, I was stunning.


It was a club opening! A special occasion! Put on your most festive party hat! You couldn't wait to see the same people you saw every night, IN A WHOLE NEW SETTING!

It was almost too much fun!!

But there was a glitch.

A fly in the ointment.

Musto and I had agreed to present a Nightlife Award at Area. Michael Alig was doing something called "The Glammies," in which he would recognize and honor those in the scene for their contributions (GIRL OF THE MOMENT! HOTTEST GO-GO BOY! BIGGEST SLUT!).

We never would have agreed to do this on tonight of all nights, but we had agreed long before we knew of the conflict. Who knew it would fall on the night of the BIGGEST PARTY OF THE YEAR?

And Dianne was coming with Raquel Welch -- they were friends now! -- That Dianne was such a meteor!

At least Michael was putting us on the budget and we were going to get fifty dollars apiece!

Fifty dollars just to show up at a nightclub!

What an innovation!

It worked, because there we were, at Area -- AREA! Of all places! Area was already over. Very "last month." You could smell the decay.

There I was, pretty as a picture. All gussied up -- new heels (patent leather, with little bows on the heel! FABULOUS! SQUEAL!).

The hairdo of life...

And the most fabulous dress I have ever owned!

Sitting with Michael Alig -- MICHAEL ALIG! -- at Area -- AREA! -- when the entire civilized world was across town. "If I miss Dianne and Rockie, I'll just die! Oh and Andy will be there! And Liza!"

Cut to this dreary wake.

Oh, it was too much! Fifty dollars or no fifty dollars, let's get this show on the road! Hup to it!

Well, Michael had to milk our presence for all it was worth and parade us around to the managers to show what a good crowd he pulled in.

GOOD CROWD? It was the four of us and a few crickets!

Finally the awards started -- I was wound up so tight -- I don't remember anything about it, except I was in an awful mood.

My turn. I got on stage. Someone handed me the category.

"Best DJ."

Oh dear.

"And the nominees are..." and I read a list of the crème de la crème -- the most fabulous DJs in the city (NONE OF WHOM WERE THERE) -- and Keoki (who WAS SEATED NEXT TO THE STAGE).

"And the winner is..."

No. Please. No. Even Michael would not stoop this low!

"OH MY GOD!" I shrieked, "IT'S THE 'IT BOY'!"

Keoki, who couldn't mix two songs to save his life; Keoki, who nobody knew, who was three months on the scene -- Keoki won against the tops, the most talented, the A-listers.

Wouldn't you know?

"Where's the It Boy? Somebody get the goddamn It Boy, so we can get our money and get the hell out of here and go to the Tunnel, PLEASE!"

And I began to stomp off stage.

Well, I went too far. From my grand old age now, and the wisdom I've accumulated, yes, even I concede -- I went too far.

I was rude and I ruined Michael's party and embarrassed him in front of the managers he was trying so hard to impress.

But don't cry for Michael and Keoki.

Listen to what happened next, and I think you'll agree that, well, I got my comeuppance (and then some!), and the punishment far exceeded the crime.

Keoki and two of his goons bum's-rushed the stage, picked me up, and threw me -- THREW ME! --

Like I was an old tissue!

Like I wasn't a delicate porcelain doll!

They threw me into the fountain.

And everybody laughed.

They laughed at me.


The celebutante!

And when I sputtered and crawled out of the water --

My four-hour hairdo was...was...a mop! A bunch of henna'ed noodles!

And my panty hose were bagging around my ankles!

And my pretty new dress was ruined.

I looked like...a soggy old sea hag!

It was the worst night of my life!

I'm getting all choked up again, just telling you about it.

I went to the opening of the Tunnel, anyway, and everybody was very sweet when I cornered them and vented and sobbed and generally called so much attention to myself that I was actually pretty fabulous.

But, oh!, that Keoki!

I was so mad at him!

I was so mad, I...broke down and got him a drink and we had a really long, complicated conversation about...my lip gloss.

And thus, in my darkest hour, out of cruelty came kindness. We bonded that night and became friends -- through thick and thin -- and that friendship has endured ten tumultuous years.

Sure, I was still in love with him, but now we were friends as well.

And it was because I spent so much time with Keoki that a thaw in my attitude toward Michael was inevitable.

But let's peel the onion here. Psychologically, I think I chose to fall in love with Keoki as an excuse. That way I could set up my friendship with Michael, and still think of him as an adversary.

I didn't have to admit to myself that I might really like him.

I was free to resent him.

So I floated into their lives and it felt right and comfortable.

The old crowd was appalled with me: "There goes Troll St. Troll! Looks like he found a new bandwagon to hop on to!" "Like a barnacle in heat, that one!"

After all the ranting and raving about my dislike for Michael -- and my contempt for his silly little parties -- I guess I did look hypocritical.

But there I was: in a little fake fur number, doing the ropes at the Tunnel basement. A "club kid," of all things!

That's all six months down the road, though.

In the meantime, Michael's star was on the rise. Warhol died and suddenly, "going Downtown" lost its cachet. The thrill-seekers moved on. Downtown turned into a frail and weak shadow of its former self. It maybe could have limped along bravely for another couple of years. Or maybe not. At any rate, that's when Musto, who was perhaps having yet another bad hair day and feeling peevish, effectively killed the scene with his February 1987 Village Voice cover story: "The Death of Downtown."

Instantly the fun was over.

My celebutante days were gone. Anybody connected with the old scene was considered outdated.

Enter, the club kids.

Now, damnit, let me say this about that: I do not want to chronicle the history of the club kid movement. I have neither the desire nor the wherewithal to accomplish that. I leave it to the professionals.

Rather, I want to paint you a watercolor of my relationship with Michael -- a sweeping impressionistic view of the dynamics of our relationship, and how a little thing like murder could forever alter the balance of power.

I really don't think people actually care about the nuts and bolts of nightclubbing politics, or the ever-changing cast of club kids.

Nobody really wants to hear the incredible true life stories of Jenny Go-Getter and Really Denise.

And I am NOT going to spend hours and pages describing in mind-numbing detail each wacky new look.

Suffice it to say: there was a group of people called the Club Kids that Michael created in his own image, and they all had funny names that he usually chose for them like -- oh -- "Oliver Twisted" and "Julius Teazer"...

And they -- you know -- oh, I don't know -- shoved strawberries up their nose and ran around swinging an alarm clock above their head -- and called it "a look."

Yes, the looks were pretty lame in the beginning -- just cheap homemade costumes. I used to feel like my mother on Halloween: "And what do we have here? A scary monster, a cowboy, and a pretty fairy princess! Here's a hit of ecstasy, run along now."

Their sense of style got better as the years went on, but you could always spot a club kid in the wild if there was something glued to his or her face: sequins? feathers? lug-nuts? a Virginia ham? Yup. That's a club kid.

I'm not kidding.

They usually had a shelf life of six months; then they'd move back to Iowa, and become Queen of their little scenes there and forever look back on those six months as "the craziest time of my life."

So there.

That's it. The History of the Club Kids.

Enough said.

Allow me to continue with Michael's surprising rise up the ranks.

Now we all know that nature abhors a vacuum, so when the clubs were empty, Michael rushed in to fill the void.

And his parties were...OK...actually fun. Even "Blue."

I was loathe to admit it, but he had a certain energy that was undeniable.

And when, after the opening night, the Tunnel failed to draw a crowd, its creative director, Rudolf, threw his hands in the air. He had tried his damnedest to book A-list parties (Mamie Van Doren! Cornelia Guest!), but nobody wanted to go to big flashy nightclubs anymore.

It was all about the intimate. The private. It was all about a club called Nell's, where you sat on an overstuffed sofa with a bottle of claret and discussed your prostate.

Michael had been pestering Rudolf forever to let him do something at the Tunnel, and it was sort of: "What the hell, let's give it a whirl."

They had nothing to lose.

"OK Michael, you can have the basement for your little friends, and you can have the run of it. It's all yours."

And Rudolf gave him a blank check. Free reign. Go crazy! Knock yourself out!

Rudolf had a typically Teutonic sense of humor. It was a nihilistic, neo-expressionist, German-type of thing. He saw humor in...you know, things like vivisection and gum disease. The sicker and sadder things got, the more inspired Rudolf became. He was perverse and decadent in a legendary sort of way. And he had a very laissez-faire attitude toward, oh, rules and morals and things. "If it feels good, do it."

Truly, Michael had found a mentor worthy of his mettle.

If Michael wanted a crazy old homeless man to do the door, Rudolf would smile and say he had his checkbook ready.

When Michael wanted to auction off, say, circus midgets or streetwalkers -- well, that sounded like fun to Rudolf!

"Let's serve cat food as hors d'ouevres."

"Have at it!"

Nothing was too shocking.

The Tunnel basement operated on the Chaos Theory. Insanity prevailed. There were peanut races, three-legged drag queen races, and many, many toasts made with the ever-present ecstasy punch. And the drug dealers who supplied the ecstasy were instantly acknowledged as "superstars," and became much coveted guests at all the best parties.

Michael hired all the local loons.

There was Ffloyd, the Human Money Tree: the music would suddenly stop and Ffloyd would run through the room, naked, with a hundred one-dollar bills taped to his body. He ran in one door and out the other. A free-for-all ensued and whatever you grabbed was yours to keep.

That idea proved so popular, it morphed into the $1,000 Drop. Michael would stand on a table and toss a thousand dollar bills to an often violent mob. Of course, he usually pocketed $990 and passed the remaining ten on to tip-challenged friends. But two hundred blue-faced freaks still screamed and cried and clawed and climbed to get to Michael; why, you would have thought the New Kids on the Block were masturbating on stage, the way everybody carried on.

And above it all, Michael stood and drank in the attention, smiling like the cat that ate the canary.

I remember once, Michael had a pool party and bought lots of little kiddie pools and filled them up with water, and after the ecstasy kicked in, everybody got naked.

And Michael -- buoyed by all the attention, and so carried away by his own spunk -- broke the main water pipes and flooded the basement until it really was like a pool: a giant, filthy, germ-ridden cesspool filled with hundreds of naked drug addicts.

Now if THAT isn't fun -- I don't know what is!

I think Michael was given a stern reprimand for that one. He promised never to do it again. He didn't have to, because next week Lady Hennessey Brown promised to set her pussy on fire and lactate on the audience.

There was always something bigger and better on the horizon.

There was the "Celebrity Club," a weekly event hosted by three newcomers that Michael had imported from Atlanta: Larry Tee, Lahoma, and a shy, retiring wallflower named RuPaul. They were trashy and flashy and dressed in the most amazing vintage '70s outfits -- when that was still a radical concept.

Each week a different "Nightclubbing Legend" (read: Old School) was named Celebrity of the Week.

It was Michael's way of getting the old guard to come to his parties, albeit one at a time.

By honoring someone like Michael Musto, he was showing the old guard who had previously snubbed him, how fabulous he was doing without them. I think he secretly hoped they would start crying and apologize and become club kid converts on the spot.

That never happened as far as I know.

Instead he usually ended up gushing over them for an hour or so, fawning over them to an impossible degree -- and then savagely humiliating them near the end of the night.

He might pull off your wig, or pinch you really hard -- leaving bloody welts -- or he might destroy your outfit, or pee on your leg, or get on the microphone and tell the crowd you had AIDS.

Needless to say, very few "celebrities" returned for an encore.

The summer of '87 galloped by, and I'll be damned if an authentic subculture hadn't taken root and blossomed in the Tunnel basement. That was when Michael's star really began to rise, and his creations, the club kids, took to the stage for their first appearance.

The club kids were much hated and feared in all corners of the city. You might laugh at them. You might turn up your nose at them. But after a New York magazine cover story with Michael smirking at you from a thousand newsstands, you talked about them incessantly. People who had never seen a club kid -- wouldn't even know one if it flew up their nose -- had an opinion on Michael's latest outrage or Nik Nasty's latest look.

The children had regained the night, and their enthusiasm, and the feeling that they were breaking all the rules and doing something REALLY NEW, kick-started New York nightlife.

Of course, kids dressing up and going to nightclubs is hardly groundbreaking. But to many people, it was a welcome respite from the ritual-obsessed, self-important scene that had preceded it.

I, myself, was torn. It's true that I loved the Old School (I'm just an uppity old queen at heart). I loved the old-time pomp and pageantry. The privilege and presumption. But, you know -- by this time, Old School was, like, so last season. Really just OVER. It was either adapt or die, and I am nothing if not resilient.

And the kids were fun. They had a delightful sort of je ne sais quoi. What they lacked in wit and intelligence, they made up for in chutzpah and exuberance. YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, some of them were a little too perky. Annoyingly so. Preternaturally so.

But if that's the worst you can say -- not a bad world to live in, huh?


It was all so sweet and innocent then. Your only goal was to look like a Muppet and collect as many drink tickets as possible. It was a relatively drug-free time: heroin was strictly for, oh, jazz musicians and slumming British aristocrats; ketamine was still just for cats; and nobody could even pronounce, much less score, this new thing: Rohypnol. The scene was still very oh-so-social. The worst drug calamity, the worst-case scenario, was that you accidentally took too much ecstasy and were actually nice to a Bridge-and-Tunnel person.


Michael was at a point in his nightclubbing career when he felt he needed to mold somebody into his special "superstar." If he was truly going to be the next Andy Warhol, he needed to find an Edie Sedgwick. He needed someone with glamour!...presence!...beauty!...to offset him at some of the tonier parties he was getting invited to.

So he chose a terrifying old drag queen named Christina.

Mind you, Michael didn't create Christina. Nobody created Christina. Nobody could ever dream up something like her. My theory is that someone on God's Assembly Line had done too much Special K. She was an abomination of nature, like those frogs born with eyes in their throats.

She was a real piece of work: a crazy old buzzard with a body like Pa Kettle and a face like a hatchet...a bad blond wig...and no lips to speak of, just a thin red line...testicles falling well below her hemline, knocking against her knees. And pointy, stretched-out boobies from past hormone dabbling.

Her story goes like this: she was born into a good family in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. She was a he, who was a former teacher. After some nasty allegations involving several students, the family bought him a Park Avenue loft in New York on the condition he never return to Pittsburgh and never saw them again.

That's the story, anyway. He became "Christina," a freaked-out dominatrix with dreams of Warholian glory.

She was a ticky-tacky, bottom-rung nightmare of the first degree. You'd rather swallow a bucket of snot than spend ten minutes with her.

Run, bolt, make a beeline to the door. Hide under the bar, fake a seizure, anything to get out of the room: "Oops! Anal Leakage! Gotta go!"

But she was Michael's first superstar, and for sheer shock value, she reigned supreme. She and Michael were the Wes Craven version of Edie and Andy.

She got attention, all right. In fact, she reinforced Michael's basic loathsomeness -- now we wanted to hide from both of them.

It put that extra zip in our heels.

But that was just the effect Michael loved.

Because she made no sense, and because she reveled in her supposed insanity, you never knew where you stood with her. You never knew when to take her seriously.

Her steady stream of nonsequiturs had a rehearsed feel -- but they were unnerving nonetheless.

One night she was carrying a doll, and saying over and over in her guttural faux-German accent: "I jus haad a baby and I'm awlready zick to dess off it!" Then she would throw the doll on the floor and step on its head.

Once, in a desperate plea for the attention of her idol, she snatched Andy Warhol's wig. It happened at a book signing at Rizzoli's, and he was so devastated, he wrote in his diaries, that forever after he could only refer to it as "the incident."

Another scarier, weirder, believe-it-or-not story:

"Sometimes I kidnap leettle children and SET THEM ON FIRE!"

Oh, that wacky drag queen -- what will she say next?

Until one night, I was at her house (I can't imagine what I was doing there) and BY GOD, IF THERE WEREN'T TWO LITTLE CHILDREN SLEEPING IN A LOCKED ROOM. Who were they? She wouldn't say. Why were they there?


As a babysitter, she lacked a certain warm, reassuring quality. I can't imagine many parents being comfortable leaving their babies in her charge.

Certainly this wasn't Auntie Christina reaffirming her familial ties.

So what could it be? Where did she pick up two eight-year-old children?

Somehow there are things I'd rather not know. Call me irresponsible, but I'm sure there was a PERFECTLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION. Maybe she was tutoring on the side, between dominatrix gigs. Maybe they were very tired Girl Scouts, napping between cookie sales. I scanned the papers for reports of burned babies but found nothing. Oh well.

Her inability to be controlled was out of step with Michael's later "superstars," who followed him blindly.

Slowly, Christina began to unravel.

Michael threw a birthday party for her at the Tunnel, and EVERYBODY WHO WAS ANYBODY came, just to be perverse.

Michael and his minions pushed the birthday cake into her face -- during the final chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" -- and


She snapped.

Think Carrie at the prom.

Nobody caught on fire, and we all lived, but just barely.

She snapped and grabbed a machete that she just happened to have in her handbag. Raving and swinging wildly, all covered in cake, she forced everyone in the club into a corner.

There was a standoff.

Should we laugh or should we scream? Hundreds of club kids trapped by a homicidal hag queen. Well, it sure made a nice story to tell in the locker room the next day.

It took three guards to wrestle her into submission.

This is the stuff of nightclubbing legend.

Near the end, Christina's behavior frightened off even Michael. She became increasingly violent.

The corker was a performance she gave at the Pyramid club, singing "My Funny Valentine" à la Nico.

The audience wasn't exactly bowled over by her charismatic stage presence and soaring vocals.

They booed her.

Wrong move.

She took the microphone and POKED OUT THE EYE OF AN AUDIENCE MEMBER.

Poked it out.


The police were after her for various and sundry other infractions as well, so she was forced to move from her Park Avenue apartment. She landed at the Chelsea Hotel and spent her last days pretending to be Edie Sedgwick or Nancy Spungen or somebody.

Her last phone call was to a videographer friend who regularly videoed parties on the club scene.

"Nelson, come film my suicide."

He declined, and ten days later the Chelsea tenants complained of a bad smell coming from her room.

Thus ended a tragicomic legend. Michael lost his first superstar, but by then he had already moved on -- to other superstars, yes, but also to another club, another party. A place called the Limelight offered him a job, and he accepted.

I don't think any of us could have foreseen what happened next.

Not even him.

Disco 2000


DISCO 2000!

Do you feel it? The page is ablaze, these words are on fire -- a whole new world is about to burst into existence!

The excitement is palpable. Are your fingers trembling in anticipation? IT'S HERE: each page richer, wilder, stranger than the last.

Michael finally had it all -- the money, the dream, the space -- and it was finally ready to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. And it was More! Michael! than even he could guess.

Disco 2000. The Autobahn of Nightclubs. No rules. No speed limits.

His place in the sun was finally secured, thanks to one Peter Gatien and his nightclub, the Limelight. This was the fruition of all Michael's years of work, and the knowledge and insight he had gained. That, and his uncanny intuition, and that razor-sharp third eye of his that could locate and extract the basest element in us all...and exploit it, ON STAGE, ALL FOR HIS DREAM.

Too much wasn't enough. Over the top wasn't even trying.

There was to be a weekly cast of characters. Club mascots, easily identifiable...

We rented animal outfits that we never intended to return -- a chicken, a dog, and a bear. Those, and the banana and Coke can outfits that I graciously donated from my own wardrobe, were to set the immediate tone of the club.

The chicken, christened CLARA, THE CAREFREE CHICKEN, was to become our biggest star -- the most beloved superstar of all time! She was tossy, saucy, and full of sass.

Clara was big and yellow, with a handsome red comb that could be construed as a mohawk if you so desired. She never said a word -- smoked a bit of crack now and again -- but never spoke a word. Her body language said it all: she danced the Funky Chicken as if to the manner born. She gave everyone a friendly peck hello. She fussed and clucked over the regulars...and when Keoki recorded an original song, called "Dizzy Chicken," Clara spread her wings and took to the stage.

What a chick! She was riveting! Her timing was impeccable.

"Oh, that Dizzy Chicken!" It was an instant club kid anthem.

Peter made two thousand pressings of the song and used them as invitations. I still have my copy, do you?

Clara's carefree image became part of the Disco logo.

Skroddle Loddle Doo!

Then there was Hans Ulrich, the Leather Dog, who appealed to a more "select" (some would say "subversive") group of people. He may have lacked Clara's free-wheeling joi de vivre, but he had his own loyal band of followers -- backroom boys with certain carnal kinks that he, alone, satisfied.

And I.C. the Bear -- a chilly Polar dude that never really caught on with the masses. He gave up club life after only a few months and was last seen floating on a glacier in the Baltic Sea, supporting his heroin habit with a complicated scheme involving pickled herring and large-breasted Eskimo women.

But they were all there opening night.


The colorful menagerie of big, furry, and fantastical creatures certainly gave the club a cartoonlike aura, but this was certainly no place for children. Or rather, it was the ideal place for children -- "Come one, come all! The Piper is calling for you!" -- just make sure Mom and Dad never find out.

This is your introduction to the future. You're in for a wild ride. Check your soul at the door.

Like Willy Wonka at his chocolate factory, Michael pushed and nudged and planted the seeds of change. Go ahead. Touch. Taste. Try it all, nothing is what it seems, but most likely it's what you've always secretly yearned for. Nobody will judge.

Go ahead.

Drop those inhibitions.

Drop that acid.

Drop your pants.

Drop a few names, darling.

And please, drop a few coins into Michael's coffer.

Oh LOOK! There's me!

I'm in a cage, on the wall.


My hair was matted, my clothes were dirty, and there were dark circles under my eyes. This wasn't a costume. But I couldn't have done better had I been working with a team of professionals.

I cried out, pitifully: "PLEASE! Just one bump! One little bump, I beg of you..." It was a spirited performance. I'm a stickler for Stanislavsky, you know...The crowd really felt my jones. I got many, many sympathy bumps, and soon enough I was so high, I broke free from my exhibit and joined the seething, liberated throng.

There were drag queens and drag kings and freaks of all kinds. Club kids in all their frippery, wearing tiaras and flower pots on their heads. Futuristic Geisha Gangsters stood next to a pair of beaded jellyfish, who were learning all about a new unisex masturbation machine made from six cow tongues attached to a rotating wheel.

Dan Dan, the Naked Man, wearing nothing but a chiffon veil, seemed to get along just fine without it. He watched as two debutantes rode Danny, the Wonder Pony around the dance floor, sidesaddle.

Woody, the Dancing Amputee was onstage, doing lascivious things with his stump, to great acclaim.

There were raver boys and pixie girls and the plucky Baroness Sherry von Koeber-Bernstein, who has been wearing a new and different plumed chapeau every night for thirty-seven years. She brought her fifteen-year-old niece, and they both politely declined the complimentary lines of cocaine but happily indulged in the buffet of Cheez Doodles and Ring-Dings that Lahoma thoughtfully provided.

Even Old School clubgoers faced up to their inborn fear of being seen entering the once terminally tacky Limelight. But, by gum, they filtered in and gawked and gaped with the rest of New York.

Michael had done it.

We still debate whether or not Dianne Brill bestowed her trend-confirming décolletage on opening night. Michael insists that yes, she was there, and she was simply bewitched by the ravishing muscle man in my banana suit.

I think it's more Dianne-esque for her not to gamble on what could turn out to be a colossal bomb. After all, the Limelight had never been hip, and Michael was still considered rather nouveau. No, she wouldn't chance it. She would man the switchboard the following day and study the reviews with a magnifying glass, before she plotted out the strategy for her multimedia covered entrance that would insure the club's position in the Pantheon of Painfully Hip.

I never saw her there that night, and I would know -- the metal plate in my head vibrates if she's anywhere in the immediate vicinity. Trust me, I would have hunted her down and drooled on her toenails. She wasn't there.

But Quentin Crisp was there, and he was shocked, I think, by the parade of streakers who wiggled and jiggled their way from bar to bar.

I think that when Michael is on his deathbed, and he looks back on his long and staggeringly varied life, this, all of this, will be the moment he holds dearest to his heart. The joy he felt on this, the opening night, will be his last living comfort.

And I believe I was just as happy for him and his success as he was.

Watching him, as he beamed and bantered and tossed about a never-ending supply of drink tickets, he never stopped moving and he greeted each and every person with a personalized bit of patter, whether he knew them or just pretended to. He circled each room twice and firmly stood to the right in every picture, thus assuring psychological top billing.

He was now at the tippy-top of an impenetrable clique, with a complex hierarchy of superstars. He understood the intricate rules of the system's infrastructure, and reveled in the game.

Michael Alig, bless his little black heart, was now the establishment.

Now, Michael will have you believe it was his party that single-handedly opened the mind of the world and ushered in the all-accepting '90s.

I don't know if I'd go THAT FAR.

He did give a few flashy drug dealers and a handful of bedraggled old drag queens their fifteen minutes of fame.

And Disco 2000 certainly let a whole generation of teenagers see homos and weirdos and sickos up close and personal, in all their majesty and splendor. And they learned that

often times the very same kids they pick on in high school are the ones holding the drink tickets, the drugs, and the guest list at the coolest club in New York City.

And maybe it caused them to rethink just who the "cool ones" really are.

And certainly many, many trends started with the club kids. Although, try as I might, the fake nose fad I pushed for several years, never caught on. And, thankfully, no one bought into Michael's "feathered genital" idea. And he eventually stopped painting those damn blue dots on his face! FOUR YEARS OF BLUE DOTS! And he is still convinced it might catch on any day now.

Certainly the outlandish looks we cooked up didn't fly in Peoria. But it was the gist that trickled down. Colored hair, platforms, "cyber punk," piercings...Think Dennis Rodman, and you'll realize "trickle down" isn't necessarily a good thing.

Copyright © 1999 by World of Wonder Productions, Inc.

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    I need to say this

    unfortunatly I just bought the book so this isn't really a review of the book persay more of the lifestyle Not every person that experiments gets That heavy into drugs Not every person uses party drugs as a gateway to stronger drugs don't let this book make you think everything in the club scene is all drugs and don't let this book make you think that every one who uses drugs abuses them this is just one story from one person not the outline for every club kid's life

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    best book ive ever read

    i read this book after watching party monster. it showed me how drugs make you addicted and turn you into a completely differenu person in a bad way. that movie and the support of my fiance helped me get off drugs for good! i highly recomend

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2005

    Griffin's Review

    This was an intense read that hooked me in the beggining and kept me interested throughout the book. It really painted a picture of what the new york club scene was like in the late 80's and early 90's. The main characters, James and Michael, we're described so well I felt like I knew them. James took Michael under his wing and really turned him into who he was at the end of his life. This could be thought of as a negative of positive thing because Michael was portrayed as a time bomb who was able to keep his composure and still have fun. I loved how everything Michael did had to be over the top. It was like every new thing that he tried or did was always one step closer to the edge. I enjoyed reading about the progression of the club scene, it was a living, breathing, thing and James St. James illustrated it and showed how it really came to be. This book showed that spotlight can really change a person, in this case for the worst. I would recommend this book if you want to read a gripping story about a lost boy who is hardened and turned into a superstar.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2005

    Oh My God

    This is the best book anyone coould ever read. You should tell everyone about this if they dont know about. The book is so much better then the movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    Very Skrinkle

    I have'nt read the book, but have seen the movie 'PaRtY MoNsTeR' and that has encoraged me to read the book soon!!! Please E-mail me ,James St James the original! You are an amazing person!!! (justinewilliam420@hotmail.com) I love You!!! Oh and does Seth Green Play a good James? Love Always Justine St Justine the original!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2004


    I thought this book was incredible. St. james has the ability to invite you to another world - His world. His style is extremely descriptive and colorful. I can understand why people may have a hard time reading this book. I think the only people who will truly understand and appreciate this novel are people who have experienced the club scene and the drugs that come with it. BRAVO!! ST.James Skrinkladoo!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2002

    Terrifying Yet Fabulous

    This book made me weep for how incredibly uninspired my generation is. Like James St. James and Michael Alig, I was a young gay man from the hinterlands who entered university in NYC with hopes to explore the uncharted worlds of the club culture. By the late-nineties though, the Club Kids' world was mostly gone with a herd of lookalike Muscle Marys from Chelsea in their place. One need only visit Patricia Field's and see the relative ennui on the faces of Amanda LaPore or Perfidia, relics of the Club Kid world, to understand that the Michale Alig world is gone and what's left of it up and moved to Brooklyn. This book makes me want to be in a simalarly fabulous movement, just one that is a little more healthy and positive than the Club Kids.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2000

    Articulate, Witty, Devastating, Frustrating and Provocative

    I NEVER thought that a book written by a Club Kid would drive me the pages of a dictionary for assitance. My wig is off to James for his command of the written word. With that credit given: At the time that I read the first online portions of this book, and decided that I just 'had to read it,' I was bound and determined to reinvent the club kid era. I was totally in awe of what I had percieved, or chosen to percieve, the club kids as being. My perception was appereantly askew. James St. James paints an altogether different tale of the way things were. I find myself thinking that I will never again touch a drug without fear of its' consequences. This is a feeling I don't enjoy harboring. I'm sure this is nothing compaired to what Angel and James are feeling, but I'd perfer to have my naivety handed back to me on a silver platter with a straw please, and thank you very much. James details what exactly qualified one to become a club kid, and it's painfully obvious that it was simply the drugs that drove the entire scene. Drugs were the popularity given to any person. Drugs were the reason that accessorising with actuall MEAT was a riotous laugh. Drugs were the way anyone could keep up. Then James details what drugs turned him and his like into. He explains that he doesn't feel the drugs made Michael alig murder, but rather that he would have probably snapped anyway, maybe even sooner. So, at the same time James causes the reader to loath both the people involved and the drugs they did, and unltimately WHO I AM RIGHT NOW that I want to become these people. Somehow, I feel dirty now that I've read the tale, yet gypped that I wasn't present and involved in the fiasco. Props for pointing out that the legal system was a bit OFF for its' apparent lack of concern for the murder, and yet zealous craze to shut down the club-scene. Irony, it seams, is a vital color to this artist. Do not get me wrong, James is a fabulous author. I read the entire hardback in one sitting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2000


    This is a must read for anyone who is into or was into the club scene at any time. I absolutely loved this book. I read it in a three hours. I was in NYC in 1993 and 1994 at Club USA and the Limelight and was totally fascinated with the Club Kids. Please write another book James St. James!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2000

    What a strong piece of reading!

    I have one word to say 'Damn' That is my word for this book. I simply could not put this book down. I have to admit that I found myself both laughing and gasping out loud on the subway. I just couldn't believe what was going on. I am sorry that someone really did die, but what captured me was the superb reality this book has. This book was amazingly written, James St. James deserves a pulizer prize for his ability to put the reader right in the middle of the situation...BRAVO ST JAMES!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    simply delicious

    Finally some insight into the workings, scandals, and low down dirt of the once impenetrable nyc club kid circle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2000

    A spoonful of sugar......

    The book is humorous in its chronicles of excessive drug use, but fails in its attempt to connect humor to the brutal and unwarranted murder of a young man. The book strikes one as both unique yet unfulfilling. I got the feeling the book was candy coated, lacking the very bit of insight that I was trying to find.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000


    As a young gay male who dabbled in the club scene I highly reccomend this book to anyone who has ever had questions, concerns, or thoughts of why we as gay men not only dress up to go out but, that too much drug use could destroy our community as a whole. One of the best written books I have ever read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999



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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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