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Party Monster

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by TheDirtBikeKid, Oct 22, 2003.

  1. JuNiOrR

    JuNiOrR TRIBE Member

    Robin summed it up!

    it was a good night though... thanx everyone for not making me feel all awkward and "tribe'd" out :)

  2. squirrely

    squirrely TRIBE Member

    i knew you'd be back for more....


    p.s. i feel sick now too. i think it must have been the movie. (or the copious amounts of alcohol consumed afterward.)
  3. mandapanda

    mandapanda TRIBE Member

    meh. i just saw it and didn't really like it. and macauley culkin - i was like "oh whatever, it won't bother me that he's in it", but in the end i found him soooooo annoying.
  4. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

  5. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    Alig is to be released from prison May 6th.
  6. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    They ruled New York City nightlife in the '80s and '90s with glitter, glamor and outrageous antics before a grisly murder spelled their downfall - so where are the Club Kids now?

    They were the stars of New York Citynightlife in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with their outrageous looks and antics, simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of parents across the country. The Club Kids – the original ‘influencers,’ really, before the advent of social media – not only graced the dance floors of legendary nightclubs and stared out from style and society pages; they also flaunted their drug use, gender fluidity and avant-garde lifestyle on talk shows and in interviews that made Middle America recoil.

    The Club Kids began with an original core of nightlife players such as Michael Alig and James St. James, young people - often relatively new to New York - keen to make their impact on the city and the club scene. They became paid promoters for various venues, drawing in customers eager to party with the fast-growing group of over-the-top club personalities. The Club Kids eventually would include several 'generations,' as 'king' of the Club Kids Michael Alig explains, as the circle widened - though many of the originals still have high standards about who actually deserved the moniker.

    Their heyday was abruptly cut short, however, when Alig, a native of Indiana, and his roommate Robert ‘Freeze’ Riggs pleaded guilty in 1997 in the killing and dismemberment of their fellow Club Kid Andre ‘Angel’ Melendez. He was murdered in the men’s Manhattan apartment and kept in the bathtub for nearly a week before Alig chopped up his body, stashed it in a suitcase and the pair threw the victim into the Hudson River.

    Riggs was paroled in 2010 and Alig was released from prison in 2014. While the former has led a quiet life, pursuing academia, Alig has returned to the New York club scene. Their former comrades have gone on to pursue a range of endeavors in various different fields.

    ‘We’re all future superstars - if not now,’ Club Kid Richie Rich said in one infamous interview on Phil Donahue’s television talk show in 1993.

    Now, 20 years after the sentencing of Alig and Riggs, DailyMail.com catches up with Club Kids to see just how prescient Richie Rich's bold proclamation was – or wasn’t.


    The Club Kids emerged in the late 1980s/early 1990s, decorating themselves with outrageous costumes and makeup as they took New York City nightlife by storm

    Club 'King' Michael Alig, right, and Jenny 'Jenny Talia' Dembrow were two of the most recognizable names among the Club Kids


    While Alig was in prison – spending time in solitary confinement for continued drug use before eventually getting clean – he was immortalized further in pop culture by the film Party Monster, in which he was played by actor Macauley Culkin. A documentary was made of the same name – Party Monster: The Shockumentary, which is currently filming a sequel, and another documentary about Alig’s life, Glory Daze, is streaming on Netflix.

    Now, after being released in 2014, 52-year-old Alig has stepped back into the New York City nightlife, hosting a weekly party called Outrage on the Lower East Side with fellow former Club Kid and DJ Keoki. He says he tries not to read negative reaction online about his re-emergence on the scene, and the weekly party actually turned out to be rather fortuitous – landing him a free four-bedroom loft in Paterson, New Jersey.

    ‘One night at Outrage, this man approaches me; it turns out that he’s a multi-billionaire,’ Alig tells DailyMail.com. ‘I don’t know how this happens in my life, but I’ve had a series of very rich, white, heterosexual men – kind of father figures – come in and just kind of take care of me, for some reason.

    ‘It must be something in my DNA, in my personality, that I’m seeking these people out, because I never really had a father … so that must be what it is, because it’s too much of a coincidence, because it’s like the fifth one in my life,’ he says. ‘But he came up to me, and Party Monster is his favorite movie, and his wife’s, too.’

    This businessman, Alig says, owns property in Paterson and is converting many warehouses into lofts.

    ‘He offered me a beautiful four-bedroom, 20-foot ceiling loft, which is where I’m living now for free, if I would move here and kind of promote the town as like an artist enclave and invite my artist friends to come here and maybe live here,’ Alig tells DailyMail.com. ‘And create like a community of creative people that will kind of … be a counter-effect to the ghetto-type of danger element to Paterson. So that’s kind of what I’m doing … kind of like a spokesperson for Paterson.’

    He is painting in the loft as he speaks, working on a picture of another former Club Kid, James St. James. Artwork is something he got into in prison, encouraged by Rob ‘Freeze’ Riggs; the two were initially placed in the same correctional facility. Art, he says, ‘saved my life.’

    ‘It gave me an outlet in prison, and it gave me a new form of a revenue source,’ says Alig, who sells the paintings via his website and has an upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles in October. He’s also written a book but says that interested publishers believe it should be split into two separate parts.

    ‘There’s my autobiography, which is called Aligula, and then there’s a book of the Club Kids as a subculture, putting the Club Kids as a subculture into context with other subcultures like … yuppies and disco and all these, kind of seeing where they came from – where the Club Kids came from, why they came to be, what they were about. It’s a more academic kind of book.

    'So those two books are what came out of my book, and I need to separate them, and it’s very difficult to separate them, because it’s kind of like separating Siamese twins. You have to be very careful,’ he tells DailyMail.com.

    He’s also working on a Club Kids ‘social register.’

    He explains: 'When you buy a Warhol print or painting, if the Warhol foundation hasn’t acknowledged that it’s an original Warhol, you’re out of luck. It’s not a Warhol … the Club Kids register is sort of like that. If you’re not in the Club Kids social register, you will not be considered a Club Kid. There has been a lot of b****ing and backstabbing about who’s gonna be in the register.’

    Although he sometimes confers with other former Kids, he says: ‘I’m the one who decides. I am the estate of Andy Warhol.’


    Michael Alig, pictured left at the Tunnel in 1994, went to prison three years later after pleading guilty to killing Andre 'Angel' Melendez

    Alig was released from prison in 2014 and now lives in New Jersey, where he focuses on painting and writing

    Alig, now 52, resides in Paterson, New Jersey and is working on books, paintings, a clothing line and a musical about his life

    Alig, right, at then-popular NYC nightclub The World in August 1988, with Keoki, a fellow Club Kid and DJ whose weekly party on the Lower East Side is currently hosted by Alig

    He says the Club Kids scene actually grew out of a reaction to the AIDS crisis, when people were scared, not going out to nightclubs and it ‘was apocalyptic, really.’

    ‘There’s nothing more depressing and spooky than seeing a giant mega club designed for so many people with just a handful of people in it,’ he says. ‘It looked like the end of the world, really.

    ‘People were very scared, but on the other hand, they were very much kind of nihilistic. They were like, “Well, if it’s all over, then we might as well party and do drugs and have fun.” So the Club Kids came out of that.’

    He adds: ‘It was more about the visual and just dressing in a weird way. We were also kind of a combination of two subcultures. We were a combination of yuppies and punks, because punks would dress up in these crazy outfits and then, when you’d look at them, they’d say, “Why are you looking at me?” The Club Kids would dress up and, when you looked at them, they’d say, “Now you can pay me $100.”

    ‘We had this money, kind of financial end part that was very yuppie, so it was a very ‘80s thing. The ‘80s were all about clubbing, so it makes sense. We were the new punks but with an eye towards making money.’

    He says: ‘We were social media before social media … we were like a physical human version of social media’ – creating parties and looks and ideas that would go viral, but through means such as word of mouth, without the internet.

    He says he still keeps in touch with most of the Club Kids.

    ‘It was, and has remained, like a family,’ he tells DailyMail.com ‘When family members get in trouble or do stupid things, you don’t disown them; you let them know how you feel about what they did and you can’t do that again … But then you welcome them back into the family, because that’s what a family does. So that’s what the Club Kids have done, almost to a one.

    ‘There are a couple – and when I say a couple, I mean literally two or three – who have not welcomed me back, but you know what? They don’t wish me ill, they just don’t want to be associated.

    ‘I understand that. I did a terrible thing,’ he says.

    He has not been in contact with Rob ‘Freeze’ Riggs, however, for more than a decade. Riggs was released in 2010.

    Weirdly enough, we haven’t talked, and I don’t know why that is,’ Alig tells DailyMail.com ‘I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, or he’s just done his own thing; so have I. I’m sure every once in a while, he must think, “Hmmm – I wonder what Michael’s doing,” because I do.

    ‘It’s like kind of, who’s going to make the first move? It will be one of us; we will do it eventually, because we both have nothing but love for each other,’ he says. ‘It’s not that we don’t want to talk to each other. After not connecting with someone for a long time, that first connection is a little uncomfortable, even if you like the person – especially if you like the person. You’re worried about what they’re going to think.

    ‘That’s the reason I haven’t done it – and also just because of all the things I’m working on. It’s like I never have a free second,’ he says.

    In addition to his book, party promoting and ‘painting like a madman,’ Alig says he’s collaborating on a musical about his life and working on a clothing line, Skroddleface, that will complement his art projects. Filming is also underway for the documentary Party Monster 2, which follows his life after prison.


    Riggs began pursuing a degree while in prison, becoming a research associate with the Bard Prison Initiative, a program offering college coursework to prisoners in five New York prisons. He transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York and, in January 2012, graduated Summa cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Urban Anthropology and Mass Incarceration. He received several fellowships, was on the Dean’s List and was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Sociology at NYU with a five-year Henry McCracken Fellowship.


    Robert 'Freeze' Riggs, center, was a roommate of Michael Alig and was also sentenced to prison following the grisly murder of Angel Melendez

    Melendez was killed in Alig and Riggs' apartment; they kept his body in a bathtub for days before Alig dismembered it, they stuffed the body in a suitcase and threw it in the Hudson

    graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received a fellowship to study for his Ph.D. in Sociology at New York University
    He said he was entering graduate school ‘with the goal of conducting an ethnography of a New York City neighborhood with a high rate of incarcerated residents.’

    During his time at NYU, he co-authored papers that include ‘Moving the Needle on Justice Reform: A Report on the American Justice Summit 2014,’ ‘The U.S. War on Drugs and Latina/o Communities’ and ‘Reflections on institutional boundary work and boundary crossing: Prison, free society, and prisoner reentry,’ and ‘Is Child to Adult as Victim is to Criminal? Social Policy and Street-based Sex Work in the USA.’

  7. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member


    The striking bombshell Amanda Lepore continues to suffuse New York and international nightlife with her own brand of plastic surgeried, heavily-sculpted character. Perhaps more than most of the Club Kids, she continued to follow the lifestyle in the club scene limelight.

    She tells DailyMail.com that being a Club Kid was ‘how I became famous and continue to do what I do today.’

    ‘I am continuously booked to appear and perform at clubs all over the world – as well as festivals, fashion shows, etc.’

    She’s currently at the Diana Festival in Oslo and, when she returns, will be in the Marco Marco show for Fashion Week in New York and will be appearing at DragCon.

    ‘I have also been in the studio for the past few months, and have been working on music that should be released within the next few months,’ she tells DailyMail.com. She has dabbled in music before, releasing a 2005 album and recording a 2007 club song with fellow former Club Kid Larry Tee called ‘My P***y (Is Famous).

    Lepore has also done campaigns for Mac Cosmetics and Armani Jeans, and nightlife columnist Michael Musto – who meticulously documented the Club Kids’ antics during their prime – has called her ‘the missing link between old New York and the current prominence of transgender divas.’

    Earlier this year she released her memoir, Doll Parts, created with her ghostwriter Thomas Flannery Jr and filled with many of her iconic photographs – taken by David LaChapelle and Marco Ovando, just to name a few. Her publisher, Judith Regan, told The New York Times: ‘I wanted it because of the plastic surgery. It’s extreme.

    ‘And then you sit down and talk to her and it’s a lifetime of drama.’


    Lepore, left, with actor Rip Taylor, center, and Alig, right, pictured in 1995 at New York club Limelight, which was housed in a former church

    Lepore, pictured in an undated photo, says that being a Club Kid was 'how I became famous and continue to do what I do today’

    Lepore, second from right, at The Dom Perignon Vintage Trinity Launch Party in New York City in June 2017; she has remained a stalwart on the nightlife scene since her Club Kids days

    Lepore, arriving for the Life Ball in Vienna, Austria, in June 2017, is incredibly open about her extensive plastic surgery and published a book this year titled Doll Parts
    Lepore, who lives at Hotel 17 in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, is famously open about her extensive plastic surgery; she’s even had her ribs broken to make her waist smaller.

    ‘A lot of people think that I’m addicted to plastic surgery,’ she says on her website. ‘But the truth is, if I’m addicted to anything, it’s beauty. If you happen to be young and transgender, then you’re used to people being hateful towards you when all you want to do is exist. Through all the insanity in my life, there was only one thing I could control: myself.

    ‘On the outside, obviously, but on the inside too. I focused on not letting other people’s opinions have any effect on me whatsoever, and that’s how I’ve lived my life ever since.’

    Still, however, her main stalwart is her presence on the nightlife circuit; she gets paid to appear at and host parties all over the world. She often appears at risqué and infamous New York club The Box, as well as the Museum of Sex – both of which are regular haunts of the ‘international blonde bombshell,’ as she calls herself on Twitter.

    She tells DailyMail.com: ‘A typical day includes preparing for upcoming appearances, performances, etc – working on my outfits and accessories (stoning them with Swarovski crystals)’ as well as ‘getting my hair and nails done and going to yoga. Taking care of my mind, body and soul.’

    Of her old gang of Club Kids, she says: ‘Everyone is doing their own thing, but it’s always so great when I run into the Club Kids that I originated with. I am grateful for those days.’


    Jenny – known as Jenny Talia – was one of the most recognizable faces of the Club Kid era, with her signature shaved head, studded cheeks and striking features. She arrived on the Phil Donahue set with a full-face leather mask, a wild black wig emerging from beneath it, and laughed when the host asked whether she was drug-free. She was also the youngest of the group, immersing herself in the NYC nightlife at just 15.

    Now she’s dedicated herself in a wholly different way to young people – inspiring them not with her outlandish behavior and fashion sense but with her commitment to community service.

    She is currently the associate executive director of The Lower Eastside Girls Club, which encourages young girls in the underprivileged neighborhood to reach their full potential, offering everything from fashion and music studios to a science lab and planetarium.

    ‘I went from one club to another,’ she told The Standard magazine earlier this summer.

    It was quite a switch from her nightclub days, but the former Club Queen said she knew it was time for her to get out of the scene when things began to unravel.

    ‘I went on a downward spiral, but something kind of kept me from completely going into the abyss,’ she said, citing her parents as that saving grace.

    ‘I did not want to devastate them, you don’t want to die, although it could have happened. I made a million mistakes.’

    She added: ‘I was very self-absorbed for so many years, and I just needed something else to focus on.’


    Jenny 'Jenny Talia' Dembrow - known for her studded cheeks - was one of the youngest of the Club Kids, joining the scene when she was just 15 years old
  8. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    Now a mother of two, the 41-year-old focuses much of her energy on the club, which has also provided Quinceanera and Sweet 16 celebrations – complete with free gowns – for girls who didn’t have the opportunity to throw their own parties.

    Jenny said many of the participants are wholly unaware of her former Club Kid incarnation.

    ‘They just think I’m the wacky lady of the Girls Club,’ she told The Standard. ‘Soon I’m going to have pearls in my cheek piercings like an old fancy lady.’

    Of her time at the center of the Club Kids world – some members of which she still counts among her friends - she said: ‘Now that I’m 41, I don’t think it was just youthful exuberance. I think … it was actually pretty spectacular.’

    She said: ‘I look at the people from that era, and there are the ones that didn’t make it or just made some really unfortunate decisions causing them to crash and burn, and then there were those that rose above it. Whatever didn’t kill them made them wiser and more driven and they are doing some really phenomenal things.’


    St. James published his first book, Disco Bloodbath, in 1999, which served as the inspiration for the film Party Monster, starring Macauley Culkin and Seth Green - who played St. James. His second book, Freak Show, was published in 2007 and chronicles the experience of a high school drag queen. That book, too, has been made into a movie directed by Trudie Styler and starring Alex Lawther, Bette Midler, Laverne Cox and Abigail Breslin. It made its festival debut earlier this year and has been picked up for distribution by IFC.

    St. James left New York for Los Angeles 20 years ago, and he has made appearances on America’s Next Top Model. He writes regularly for the WOW Report, the website for production company World of Wonder – posting just this week about celebrities Ed Skrein, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Caitlyn Jenner. He also has a webseries with the World of Wonder channel WOWPresents called Transformations: with James St. James.

    'I was getting older, I was working in an office, I wasn't going out, but I still wanted to connect with the kids,' St. James tells DailyMail.com. 'I still wanted to be part of it somehow - so it was a really great way to bring in drag queens, club kids and performers and makeup artists and the beauty movers and shakers and just sort of noodle around in their heads.

    'Transformations, for me, is my playtime - it's like I can get dolled up in club kid, wacky-doodle-do outfits, without having to actually go to the club. So to me, it's the best of both worlds.

    'If I go out, I don't know anyone - "Who's that old man? Why is he talking to me?"' laughs the 51-year-old. 'I feel very out of place.'

    His life is certainly different from the hedonistic Club Kids days, and he sees his future now not in New York but in California, where he has lived for the past two decades.


    St. James, left, with Riggs, center, pictured in 1995 at Tunnel; he has left his clubbing days behind but still gets to dress up for his webseries Transformations

    A Los Angeles resident for the past 20 years, St. James says he had to get out of New York and reinvent himself following the murder of Melendez

    St. James wrote a book about his Club Kids experience that was turned into a film called Party Monster starring Macauley Culkin, center, and Chloe Sevigny, left
    'I came out here because I had to, after the murder and all that happened,' he tells DailyMail.com. 'I just needed a break and I needed to reinvent myself - and I came out here and all of a sudden it just sort of became part of my life. It just became my life, and I didn't ever expect to be a Los Angeleno, a Hollywood person, but I guess I am - and it's 20 years now, and I love it.'

    He says he enjoys watching the modern incarnation of stylish young people dominating nightlife - even if it's from afar.

    'I feel like you don't have to go out,' he tells DailyMail.com. 'I sit at home on Saturday night and just watch what's happening in clubs around the world. But with the kids, it seems like this generation of club kids that are in New York right now - and I don't think they call themselves "club kids" - they're artists and drag queens and blah blah ... but those are club kids.'

    He adds: 'There's really a lot of really, really fabulous people doing really fabulous looks, and I think the thing is, when we started, we were just like kids playing in Halloween costumes. It was pretty rough. And it's liked the old iPod: every generation, it gets a little sleeker. It gets a little more refined, a little more polished, a little more glamorous. These kids today, having the YouTube makeup tutorials and RuPaul's Drag Race and everything, they are so glamorous and so polished and so outrageous ...I love them.

    'I'm always in awe of the things that I see, what's going on in New York right now, the kids and the makeup and the drag queens and the style. It's fabulous.'

    He says he feels that Freak Show, the film based on his book about a high school drag queen, is being released at a particularly pertinent time.

    'I wrote the book 10 years ago, but it feels more relevant now, because of all the LGBT anti-bullying things that are going on in society that weren't even discussed back in 2007,' he tells DailyMail.com.

    He’ll be appearing later this month at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC 2017, and will be seeing Alig while in town for more filming of Party Monster 2.


    The legendarily caustic and flamboyant doorman continued working in clubs until 2013 – but now says: ‘You couldn’t pay me to go to a nightclub.’

    Kenny, originally from a small town in Ireland and now in his 50s, tells DailyMail.com: ‘I had withdrawal at the start in that I thought that was my identity, and I had to break that – because it was actually a fake identity. I had valued myself in some way by being part of it and now I’ve sort of broken that down, and I’m doing what really should be coming out, which is my art.’

    His art involves creating elaborate sets, dressing himself accordingly and taking self-portraits which can be viewed on his website, kennykennyphotos.com.

    ‘It’s really important for me; I’m much older, I’m in my 50s, so if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,’ he says. ‘I think it’s valuable for me, and I think it’s saying something about people like me, about gender, about expressing yourself in a very pure way.’


    Kenny Kenny, from a small town in County Cavan, Ireland, was heavily involved in the London club scene before he came to New York City in the mid-1980s

    Kenny, pictured with Amanda Lepore, was known for dressing up and earned a reputation as a flamboyant but caustic nightclub doorman
  9. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    Kenny, pictured with Amanda Lepore, was known for dressing up and earned a reputation as a flamboyant but caustic nightclub doorman


    Kenny, pictured in a self-portrait, is currently pursuing his own art by creating elaborate sets in his West Village apartment and costuming himself accordingly


    Kenny says now 'you couldn't pay me to go to a nightclub' and, when he left the nightlife scene in 2013, he 'had withdrawal at the start in that I thought that was my identity'


    He says his art is 'saying something about people like me, about gender, about expressing yourself in a very pure way’


    Kenny and Amanda Lepore pose in Limelight in the 1990s; he says that, after the Melendez murder, it 'was a very dark time' and 'nobody wanted to know us'

    He burst onto the New York nightlife scene following a stint in London, which he says got too wild.

    'I came here and I really tried to be good for as long as I could; then I just realized I felt stable here,' he tells DailyMail.com. 'I got back into the club scene. I twas kind of an accident; I'm known for dressing up ... so people wanted me for doors. Then I became a promoter.'

    Of the Club Kids scene, he says: 'It started out as a very kind of positive, "let's-express-ourselves, we're a gang, we're all together, it's fun. It started out very slow; I was wondering whether it was going to last.'

    The influence of Michael Alig, says Kenny - who describes the ringleader as 'very driven, very charming, very likeable' - was what spurred on the Club Kids' fame and popularity.

    Reconciling that persona with the crime Alig committed, he says, is 'very hard to sort of get your head around.'

    He adds: 'The time after the murder, which was a very dark time, I didn't know what was going to happen ... Nobody wanted to know us. I didn't think I'd ever get a job again.'

    He did, however, get hired by Life nightclub, though he could see the scene was completely changing.

    'Models were now becoming the celebrities, and celebrities were celebrities' rather than flamboyant circuit characters,' he tells DailyMail.com. 'The whole trajectory of what was New York had changed. What Andy Warhol would've pointed at and said "It's fabulous" was no more ... the outcast bit had changed, and it was all about models and it was all about very much fashion.'

    Now, Kenny says, he spends most of his time working in his West Village apartment and describes himself as ‘very reclusive.’

    ‘I have close friends, like maybe three or four close friends and a small bigger circle that I go to dinner with sometimes – but I’m definitely not what people would think I am,’ he says. ‘People think I’m this social butterfly because I was in the clubs for so long, and I knew so many people, but I’m actually quite – I don’t know if it’s introverted more than I like to be alone to do my art and … introspection.’

    He’s still in touch with some of the Club Kids, citing his respect especially for Kabuki and Desi Santiago, but says: ‘I’m very grounded. I don’t like bullshit. I might be eccentric, but I only keep in touch with people that I think are real. If somebody’s up their own a**, I just can’t.’


    Ernie, now 55 and married, has been working as a suburban New York news reporter for the past 18 years and pursuing other projects – publishing a book last year, for example, with photos of all the parties he attended in 2016 titled ’69 Hangovers.’ He’s in regular contact with Alig, who initially lived with him after he got out of jail, and the two host a YouTube show called Pee-ew. Ernie says he suggested the idea because Alig was often displeased with how his ‘messages were being conveyed’ by news outlets following his well-publicized release.

    ‘I suggested to him, why don’t we just start vlogging and turn it into a show?’ Ernie tells DailyMail.com. ‘That was one reason. The other was when he was living with me after prison, we’d often just be sitting and having breakfast and telling each other stories and laughing to the point where tears were coming out of our eyes. We thought we should put these conversations on YouTube, because people would enjoy them and think they’re funny. It seems that people have been both amused and entertained. I wish we made money from it.

    ‘I can’t believe we’ve been doing this show for three years and we haven’t killed each other,’ he says, with no trace of irony.



    Ernie 'Glam' Garcia, pictured in 1991, has been working as a news reporter for the past 18 years and currently has a YouTube show with Michael Alig


    Ernie, pictured at the Standard Hotel in July 2017,
    Ernie is also working on another book, which he says he’ll begin pitching next week, featuring costumes, photographs and stories from the Club Kid scene – which, he says, was a carefully cultivated phenomenon.

    ‘I do remember having conversations with Michael Alig where we were talking about perpetrating media hoaxes on the public,’ he says. ‘One of the media hoaxes that he should we should perpetrate was this concept of Club Kids – that they’re always crazy, people who go out, decadent, they get paid to party, they don’t have day jobs … Some of it was myth; I almost always did have a day job, even though I went on TV and pretended I didn’t have a day job.

    ‘We didn’t necessarily think that it was going to be a huge thing, but we were very deliberate in creating messages that would inflame media at the time – and at the time, it just so happened to be the rise of all these daytime TV talk shows, where they were kind of engaged in this arms race of shock value, where each show wanted to do something a little more wild than the other show. And it opened the perfect door for the Club Kids to traipse through, be crazy, provoke all this audience disapproval and outrage. And we milked it.’


    Cassidy has become a successful and respected artist, with his first exhibition, The Believers, showing at MASS MOCA in 2007, and his first solo show in New York City, the Protective Motif, in 2010. Following his Club Kids years, he worked as an exhibition director at 303 Gallery in Chelsea, then moved to London, where he teamed up with his friend, actress Anita Pallenberg, to produce and curate an exhibition for another mutual friend, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, in 2004.

    Cassidy says the international gallery scene in the late 90s and early Noughties was ‘very exciting’and he travelled extensively.

    ‘I was essentially hiding out and recovering from the trauma of the Club Kids fallout, and trying to transition into adulthood,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘I had stopped making my own work, which had been central to my identity as a Club Kid.’

    He says his 2007 and 2010 exhibitions ‘represented a reclaiming of my identity as an artist, so were very special moments.’

    He says his work has definitely been influenced by his Club Kids days.

    ‘What I learned from being a Club Kid was this notion of “living inside of the work,”’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘In order for the work to be truly authentic, the artist has to make that commitment. Otherwise, they are just a technician.’



    Cassidy, pictured during his Club Kids days, says he had to 'recover from the trauma of the Club Kids fallout' and had to reclaim his identity as an artist


    Now based in Brooklyn, Cassidy has won acclaim for his jewelry, portraits and murals, and says he is a 'bit of a loner at heart'
    He has won acclaim for his jewelry, portraits and murals and is currently working on a series of painted murals for interiors. He just finished one for a loft in Norfolk, Virginia, and the next is scheduled for a home in Marfa, Texas.

    Cassidy still keeps in touch with the ‘core group’ of Club Kids ‘to varying degrees, mostly through social media. We have reunions every so often, like a dinner or something of that nature,’ he says, agreeing that he would consider them to be the ‘original influencers.’

    ‘This whole notion of “Lifestyle Identity as Brand” was fully articulated by the Club Kids,’ he says. ‘You could see this in our appearances on television shows, promotional tours, trading cards and magazine editorials. We, rather obnoxiously, promoted ourselves as products and were eventually featured in conjunction with larger brands.

    ‘Jenny Talia modeled in Calvin Klein and Jean Paul Gaultier advertisements, Kabuki was on the runway for Thierry Mugler and I was doing commercials for Cuervo Gold Tequila and making appearances in various music videos.

    ‘But it’s important to note that the archetype of “influencer” has been in existence throughout history,’ he says, citing examples such as Edie Sedgwick.

    And his lifestyle has completely changed since their pop culture peak, says Walt, who calls himself ‘a bit of a loner at heart’.

    ‘I rarely go out these days to nightclubs,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘I am more focused on events like design fairs, openings, gym life and parks and recreation.’

    Based in Central Brooklyn, he spends ‘a lot of time working alone and developing things in the studio.

    ‘Studio life can be quite solitary, but I counter that with a lot of time outdoors,’ he says. ‘I bike, skate, climb trees, play Frisbee and go to the beach frequently.’

    In a nod back to his Club Kids heyday, however, the Walt Cassidy Studio has just released a new t-shirt design for fall featuring a portrait of his Waltpaper incarnation in 1991 by photographer Michael Fazakerley.




    Richie Rich, pictured in an undated photo from the Club Kids' heyday, describes himself on Twitter as 'Celebrity fashion designer - television personality - actor - figure skater'


    Rich and partner Trevor Rains designed the now-defunct clothing line Heatherette; he made headlines in 2013 for skipping out on a $1,700 hotel bill in Times Square
    Despite his television prediction that he and his friends would become ‘superstars,’ Richie Rich has not exactly taken the world by storm since his Club Kid days of notoriety. He describes himself on Twitter as ‘Celebrity fashion designer – television personality – actor – figure skater.’

    He and partner Trevor Rains designed the former clothing line Heatherette from 1999 until 2008, dressing celebrities that included Paris Hilton and Gwen Stefani, before Richie Rich branched out on his own with Poplux. Earlier this year he reappeared on the fashion scene, showing Popoganda by Richie Rich at New York Fashion Week in February followed by Rich by Richie Rich at Los Angeles Fashion Week.

    In June, he put on a Summer Trend Fashion Show … at a Bloomingdales in San Francisco, a city where the California native seems to be spending a huge amount of time.

    He made headlines in 2013, when he was arrested after skipping out on a $1,700 bill after spending three nights at the Times Square Westin. The same year, he publicly denied rumors that he was homeless.


    Desi, who is still based in New York City but works internationally, has found success as a creative designer, visual artist, set designer and costume designer. He says that the Club Kid period ‘set the tone for the rest of my life.’

    ‘I was allowed to totally invent who I was and what I wanted to create,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘And since that point, I’ve been able to completely create my own path.’

    Among his accomplishments, he did The Black Lords during Art Basel Miami in 2012, transforming an entire hotel into a sculpture. He also loved doing the Cartier Precious Garage installation in Milan this year – calling it ‘a really great collaboration with a luxury brand that really respected my vision and was realized to the highest degree.’

    Like many of the other Club Kids, he says he still keeps up with a lot of the gang via social media.

    ‘We all keep in tune with what everyone else is doing,’ he says. ‘Really happy to see that they are all thriving in their respective endeavors.’

    He calls them ‘perhaps unwanted influencers’ in their day, noting: ‘Today, influencers are sought after – back then, we weren’t always welcome at other people’s events.’

    And the Club Kids phenomenon, he believes, ‘won’t ever happen again.’

    ‘Social media has really changed that landscape abut that doesn’t mean there aren’t good parties – New York always has great stuff happening,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘There is always another generation of people who are doing creative things and producing new stars. I like to remain aware of that.’



    Santiago, at 18 years old in 1991, says social media has changed the landscape and he believes a Club Kids phenomenon 'won't ever happen again'


    He has found success as a creative designer, visual artist, set designer and costume designer, claiming the Club Kid period ‘set the tone for the rest of my life’
    He’s still involved in the nightlife scene himself, occasionally hosting Battle Hymn – a weekly Chelsea late-night LGBTQ party celebrating the '80s and '90s – with performer and personality Ladyfag, ‘whom I credit for pulling me out of my nightlife reclusion,’ Desi says.

    ‘Battle Hymn, by the way, has really evoked the feeling of the old NY to me,’ he says. ‘It’s a really inclusive party with great music and no attitude.’

    Aside from that, Desi says he is collaborating with Spike Jonze on a set design for New York Fashion Week 2017 and would like to explore more work in film, perhaps even directing.


    Now married and splitting his time between New York City and upstate New York, Kabuki has gone on to become a celebrated, in-demand makeup artist. His projects have included a Picasso-inspired beauty shoot for Harper’s Bazaar US which was half makeup and half masks – ‘masks that I made to capture the look of cubism,’ he tells DailyMail.com.

    He’s done a cover shoot for W magazine with Rihanna with a ‘new take on tribal makeup,’ which he points out as one of his favorite projects to date.

    ‘My all-time favorite experience was working with Michael Jackson on Ebony and L’uomo Vogue shoots. He was lovely,’ Kabuki says.

    He attributes much of his success to his experience with the Club Kids.

    ‘As a Club Kid, I had to make something out of nothing and put together complete looks,’ he tells DailyMail.com. ‘Ever element (makeup, hair, costume) had to play off of one another – good training for the imagination when it comes to thinking on the spot for photoshoots and fashion shows.’

    Despite that, however, he says: ‘I don’t think that back then anyone was thinking about where it would get them professionally. It was fun going on the talk shows like Joan Rivers or Geraldo or seeing your photo in the newspaper. However, I went to clubs because it seemed like a waste of living in NYC if I didn’t experience the Fellini-esque night life.’

    He says he still keeps in touch with some of his contemporaries, such as Kenny Kenny, ‘whose sense of style I’ve always admired.

    ‘He’s never stopped being a living work of art,’ he tells DailyMail.com.

    Kabuki’s life now, he says, is ‘reasonably busy most of the time with traveling and prepping for photo or video shoots, right now in particular as Fashion Week looms on the horizon. In my down time I like to work on my paintings – I have a book available on Blurb.com – and restore my sense of calm.’



    Kabuki, pictured during his Club Kids days, says 'it seemed like a waste of living in NYC if I didn’t experience the Fellini-esque night life’


    He is now a world-renowned makeup artist who has worked with Rihanna and Michael Jackson and attributes much of his success to being a Club Kid, because he had to 'had to make something out of nothing and put together complete books
  10. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

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