12 September 2003 | Rick NYC-2
The movie's lines are interesting and the film is never dull, but it doesn't have much verisimilitude; you don't know where or when anything is happening. There are no characters other than the club kids and [the Limelight boss] Gatien, except for an occasional bemused "drearie," and there is very little sense of the time and what else is going on in New York (AIDS, ACT UP, gay activism, erotic clubs, Ed Koch, OutWeek, Republicans in the White House, Musto at the Voice, coked-out Wall Streeters).
The real Alig has a very subtle, slightly sardonic, dry and understated personality, which is what makes his flights into fantasy and lunacy so interesting. I had a cable program ("The Closet Case Show") on Manhattan Public Access from '84 to '94, so I had occasion to tape a lot of Alig's activities, including parties at Tunnel and Limelight, and his infamous Burger King [Times Square] Outlaw Party (restaurant name changed in the movie). In 1989, after getting serious coverage in The New York Times, Michael and Keoki appeared for a half-hour interview on my show. I gave a tape of this show to Mac so that he could study the subtle ways in which Michael spoke and gestured. Apparently, Mac felt that Alig's dry wit was less interesting than a more theatrical flamboyant queeniness would be, so Mr. Culkin degrades the movie by making Alig an evil faggot, overplaying the character, I guess, so that everybody would be sure that the once-married Mac was only "acting" and by no means gay himself. [Mac, as Michael A. taught everyone, and as Michael J. no doubt taught you, there is no such thing as "gay" or "straight," only sexual, with the unfortunate majority being repressed away from normal bisexuality until temporarily liberated by mood drugs.]
A more secure Mac would have played a more real Michael, and that would have helped the film immeasurably. Alig, as I told Mssrs. Bailey and Barbato, is a true tragic hero. He contributed in a positive way to the Age of Aquarius, but he was brought down in the end by excessive pride and the faulty belief that he was, as a super celeb, invulnerable to the world's evils. Aeschylus could have written the screen play.
That said, the costumes will get an Oscar nod, and probably a win, which should be shared by all the kids who created and sported the originals.