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.
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.
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Simon & Schuster
August 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Party Monster by James St. James
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 --
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 club I 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.
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.