REVIEW: Glory Daze – The Life and Times of Michael Alig (2015)

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2015, Electric Theater Pictures

Director:
Ramon Fernandez
Producers:
Lisa Brubaker
Ramon Fernandez
Writer:
Ramon Fernandez
Cinematography:
Phelps Norman
Editing:
Ramon Fernandez

Cast:
Michael Alig (Himself)
Noel Ashman (Himself)
Fenton Bailey (Himself)
Victor Corona (Himself)
Andrew Barret Cox (Himself)
Jimmy Dava (Himself)
Astro Earl (Himself)
Patricia Field (Herself)
Ernie Glam (Himself)
R. Couri Hay (Himself)
James St. James (Himself)
Kenny Kenny (Himself)
DJ Keoki (Himself)
Amanda Lepore (Herself)
Walt Paper (Himself)

This documentary can be said to be a companion piece on the 1998 shockumentary Party Monster as we delve back into the history and what is in store for the original “Club Kid” Michael Alig as he returns to New York City after serving a seventeen-year prison sentence.

In the mid-1980’s, Michael Alig left the small town of South Bend, Indiana to the glitz and glamour of New York City. Consumed by its nightclub lifestyle, Alig only wanted one thing: to feel accepted. When the famous artist Andy Warhol, an icon of New York City’s art lifestyle and “cebutante” lifestyle, died, Alig was determined to prove that the nightlife can continue to strive. Joining forces with the charismatic James St. James, he formed a group that will be forever known as the “Club Kids”. It was all about being free to express yourself with no limitations.

Alig had worked mainly with Peter Gatien, owner of Limelight club, and soon found himself to be almost as noteworthy as Warhol for a new generation. However, in 1996, Alig and drug dealer Robert “Freez” Riggs were arrested and convicted for the death of Club Kid/drug dealer Angel Melendez. Pleading guilty, Alig would serve a ten to twenty year sentence, one that would prove to be nearly a complete meltdown. However, Alig soon learn that he would have to truly change his ways. Finally, on May 5, 2014, Michael Alig was released on parole. He has soon learned that everything around him has changed as had New York City. Will he be able to adapt to a new generation of New York City?

This is truly a riveting documentary that delves into the past, present, and impending future of the original “Club Kid”, Michael Alig. It is a rise and fall story of the young man from Indiana who just wanted to be accepted, got that acceptance, and let his ego get the best of him which culminated in the 1996 killing of Angel Melendez, which put Alig in prison for nearly two decades.

There are many interviews with people who knew Alig, from former Club Kids Ernie Glam, Walt Piper, and Michael T., to his defense attorney. There are those who root for Alig and there are those who felt betrayed and the haters still exist to this day. For most of the documentary, Alig does his interviews while still incarcerated yet they are filmed after he has learned he has finally been granted parole. One of the most outspoken people interviewed, who looks to have more of a neutral stance towards Alig is James St. James, whose memoir Disco Bloodbath would spawn the shockumentary Party Monster and the 2003 film adaptation of the same name, in which Macauley Culkin played Alig and Seth Green played St. James.

The third and final act seen is Alig’s release from prison and his feelings towards adaptation. He is now in a world where it is all about technology and the changing of the guard in terms of nightlife in New York City, which many of the people interviewed who have enjoyed the heyday of clubs like Studio 54, Limelight, The World, and Tunnel, finds the 21st-century nightlife boring. Alig gets emotional at times when it comes to remembering what had happened on the day, but his general outlook as to adaptation looks to be positive.

Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig is a great documentary that brings us an update on the original “Club Kid”, who is given a new lease of life and plans to go head on.

WFG RATING: A

DVD/STREAMING

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