ONE NIGHT ONLY AT THE LIMELIGHT.
I worked the door the The Limelight.
Okay not really. But kinda enough in a way that totally made one of my little gay dreams come true.
As I have mentioned and you may have noticed, I’m a bit studied in NYC nightlife lore, with continuing education everyday. And no history lesson in such a subject would be complete without a chapter on “Party Monster.” Maybe you’ve heard of it.
The film was a cornerstone of my formative queer years, including the 1998 Shockumentary by the same name. But more over, I’m well versed in the original memoir penned by James St. James, Disco Bloodbath, A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland. I have kept a copy by my bedside since college in the event I should need to reference one its brilliant lines in the middle of the night, such as the sublime gem:
“If letters had eyebrows, these would be arched.”
― James St. James
The story ends in a gruesome murder, which decidedly marked the end of another era in NYC nightlife being led by former mayor Rudy Giuliani. Read more by Michael Musto. To be clear, I do not glorify the actions of Alig and his accomplices. But clubkid culture absolutely had a starring role in the vision of my future, and I’ve got the lunchbox to boot.
At the center of the maelstrom of mayhem was a quaint little house of worship built in 1852, The Church of the Holy Communion; though you now know it as the former Limelight. This was Peter Gaiten’s club from 1983 to 2007 (though it faced several closures and rebrandings along the way until its end.) This little corner at 6th Ave. and 20th St. defined a moment of nightlife that continues to inspire heathens and artfags across the world today, including yours truly.
And on Saturday night, 4/6, I got to work the door at this legendary locale - a position rarely held since its closing as a club space in 2007. There have been grand opening parties and such on occasion, but far and few between. So when Michael Macneal asked me to work the door for his WOLFpup party at MNSTR Cycle: Limelight, I peed just a little. A lot. Okay, I pissed my pants, your pants, and had leftover for a drug screen afterward. Because I saw what this opportunity was - One Night Only at THE Limelight!
For a brief, shining moment, I would stand in the land of my forebears, collecting cash from wayward strangers in exchange for admittance to the freak show within - featuring shows by Bubbles D’Boob and Sherry Pie nonetheless. Celebrating the birthdays of the WOLFpups Michael Macneal and Jasper Colorado, this McD’s themed night was giving Outlaw Party feels (another noted reference of clubkid culture,) complete with a massive delivery of McNuggets, hamburgers, fries, pies, and Happy Meal prizes. To say the least, yes, I was gagged.
You know, the person at the door really sees it all. Once you’re inside the party, it’s all just people-soup. You may never know that your worst acquaintance was there until you see a photo of them giving you a contemptuous look from afar weeks later, or vice versa. But the door queen sees everyone that comes in, everyone that comes out, and those that somehow get lost in between - I’m looking at you, Becky, lost in the bushes. It’s part “Welcome! We’re so happy you’re here!” and part “Give me your money or get the hell out!”
You see someone walk in the door in casual attire, and exit with nothing but a plush animal proudly strapped to their groin. You spy a fella down the block anxiously eyeing the venue, nervous to approach until his friend waves him in to safety, and you remember you’ve been there before. I had more than a few people see the hubbub and stay a while to share their stories of this sacred space, reminiscing on their former lives. The highlight was the excitement in faces passing by when they exclaimed, “Is The Limelight club reopened?!”
To which Bubbles, Sherry, and I would smile and say, “One night only, honey.”
All this mere hours before The Black Party. Why I even had to combine my Black Party arrival lewk with some Mc’Ds fry cook accoutrements for the gig just to stay on track for a proper 3am arrival in the Bronx. I knew we were right on time to be fashionably late when we stepped in the door the same time as Iman, Jean-Manuel, and Sam Enriquez. See more about my night at The Black Party here.
It was one of those classic New York moments that make life in this unforgiving city worth it - right up there with Amanda Lepore’s book release after party at Boom Boom Room in 2017. Because that’s why we’re here isn’t it? Not for the hum drum everyday, but for those incredible experiences you can’t get anywhere else - only in New York City.
David X Daisy
P.S. - You can catch us giving showz at WOLFpup this Thursday night, 4/18, at 3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn, a venue which I’m starting to consider what could be considered the Limelight of the new era.