Don’t run screaming when you find out there are a ton of characters to keep straight in ZomBikers aka Vamp Bikers Tres– it’s true: witches, bikers, zombies, vampires, and club kids are all on the scene. “It’s like The Warriors,” explained Michael Alig, who’s starring as King of the Zombies, aka God, in the third and final installment of Brooklyn filmmaker Eric Rivas’ Vamp Bikers Trilogy.
A new exhibition at La MaMa brings together the various threads of New York City nightlife, art, and HIV/AIDS activism. The close ties were always there but curators, gallerists, and artists seem to be reassessing spaces that are thought to be reserved for escapism and debauchery. Osman Can Yerebakan and Emily Colucci (who has contributed to this blog in the past) are the curatorial team behind Party Out of Bounds: Nightlife as Activism Since 1980. The show has been in the works for two years, so Colucci and her curatorial partner have been able to compile an incredible array of archival materials, photographs, and work by artists who are long gone and contemporary artists and activists who are ensuring the party rages on.
Michael Alig’s Lower East Side art show has been replaced by a gelato pop-up, but rest assured the King of the Club Kids is still making the scene. He’s returning to nightlife (if a talk show can be considered nightlife) and moving his web series, “The Pee-ew,” to Lovegun, a gay bar in East Williamsburg. No, there won’t be any ecstasy punch going around, but, starting Aug. 22 and continuing weekly, there will be an open bar at 7:30 p.m., right before the 8 p.m. taping of five episodes of their show.
While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.