I had to walk through a food court to get to the screening. It was the premiere of Boob, a documentary about a glam punk band of the same name during the Club Kid-infested 1990s. Certainly, FoodParc didn’t seem too representative of the kind of glam touted by those monsters, but with the Limelight occupied by food carts and craft tables, it was apropos.
Cologne wafted through the outdoor area, where tables and chairs were set up around a rectangular reflecting pool and beer tents. Guests were handed little green radios with headphones to listen to the audio of the film, which was being shown on a large flat screen resting against the side of a neighboring high rise. The film began with a newscaster describing Boob as "diametrically opposed to the jeans and T-shirt approach to rock ‘n’ roll," and continued with spliced-up interview and performance footage. Throughout the movie, the band is seen slipping into elaborate makeup and costumes and philosophizing on the state of the New York City art scene.
Soon the outdoor area was filled with eccentrically dressed ex-members of the film’s scene, and I found myself wondering what it must be like for them to watch their youth projected on a wall.
I spotted a guy sporting a back tiara; it was noted fashion plate JoJo Americo.
"I think it’s great. It’s fun to see that people are putting effort into making things so that people can see what was going on here," he said. "From 1990 to 2000, it was kind of strange for music and art and stuff. Things got really expensive and you couldn’t just have a two-daya-week job to pay your rent, everything changed."
Across the pool I saw a big, muscular blond in a black wifebeater. It was Walt Cassidy, frontman for Boob and one of the few talking heads in the original Party Monster documentary who managed to hold on to his handsome mug through the’90s. I asked him about Boob’s punk rock approach to the club kid scene.
"You have to understand, all the club kids came out of the hardcore scene, at least our contingent. Me, Michael Alig, Desi Monster, we were listening to Minor Threat and DRI."
Cassidy, who’s now a visual artist, described to me the inception and ethos of Boob.
"Boob started when they were closing all the clubs, right when Giuliani came into office. We were trying to hold onto something that was disappearing right in front of our faces."
Is it as bad now as you thought it was going to be, I asked.
"I think it’s worse." Cassidy said. Near the beer tent, hairstylist Astro Earle was fraternizing with his apprentice Tony Caserta. Earle, rocking leopardspotted hair and three "Oi!" tattoos on his neck, explained to me how nightlife has changed.
"There’s a whole new slew of kids bringing a great new energy," he said.
"It’s kind of dark now, everyone wears all dark colors," added Caserta, sporting all black himself to offset his porcelain complexion.
I asked Earle whether Alig’s upcoming release from prison will make a difference in the nightlife.
"I don’t think he realizes what New York has become, we never had these sterile high-rises when he was around. Besides, I think he wants to go out to L.A. to torment James St. James."