If Jake Shears’ memoir Boys Keep Swinging was a love letter to the glory days of Manhattan night life at the turn of the century, New York: Club Kids by former club kid and artist Waltpaper — also known as Walter Cassidy — is an equally ardent homage to the earlier part of that heady decade.
What Is a Club Kid?
The term “club kid” arrived in the ‘80s, but the movement made a more lasting impression on the decade that followed. It consisted primarily of fashion-conscious youths who came to be known publicly through daytime talk shows, magazine editorials, fashion campaigns and music videos. Some credit them with planting the seeds for reality TV, self-branding, the rise of influencers and the gender revolution.
Costumed Movers and Shakers
New York: Club Kids’ chapters are largely organized by the clubs of the time (Limelight, Tunnel, Roxy, etc.). That was before they were padlocked out of existence by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani. Now, this photo book and memoir captures the heavily made-up and costumed movers and shakers of the era. Names like a newly celebrated RuPaul, eternal club kid Björk, and actor Chloe Sevigny decorate these pages vibrantly — even when the images are black and white.
Reclaiming the Moment
What motivated Waltpaper to commit his reverie to book form? He cites the quintessential club kid, Michael Alig of Party Monster fame. “After the years of media coverage of the Alig story,” Waltpaper realized,“this is not my story.” So he decided to reclaim that moment in time for all the kids who partied alongside him back then — monsters or otherwise.
New York: Club Kids
By Waltpaper; Damiani; $55
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Last modified: October 14, 2019