Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Disco bloodbath

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Filmmakers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey are as detached as their subject, New York club kid-turned-murderer Michael Alig, tracing Alig's very public rise and fall in the mid-'90s NY club scene, and giving Alig and his fellow drugged-out misfit scene-makers enough rope to hang him/themselves, which being the drama queens they are, they do: A stoned Alig even confesses to murdering his drug-dealing friend in a prearrest interview.

While adequate time is given to support characters — Alig's overly forgiving, equally starstruck mother ready to commit suicide with him; the murdered drug dealer's grieving brother; the campy commentator (author and Michigan native) James St. James — what emerges is a portrait of a wannabe celebrity whose need for attention made him a murderer and star, in that order.

It's Alig's eerie ambivalence that makes you wonder if he's still the monster minus the party. Speaking from prison, looking uncannily like a younger Brian Doyle Murray, Alig is cheerfully unrepentant, setting up guest lists back in New York, where the fading club kid culture has now moved from mega-clubs to restaurants (and, in his case, prison, where his 15 minutes may be up and he's not eligible for parole until 2006).

Hobey Echlin writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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