FABULOUSITY: A Night You’ll Never Forget… Or Remember!
By Alexis Dibiasio and Ernie Glam
Published by WildLife Press
A marvellous catalogue to celebrate a brilliant set of visual creativity and images from New York’s early underground club scene. Showcasing the previously unseen photographs by Alexis Dibiasio taken during the reign of the infamous New York Club Kids featuring among others Michael Alig, Ernie Glam & James St James.
Our dear friend Steve responsible for this publish, is a guru of good print and good culture.
This brilliant catalogue also features the flyers, posters and ephemera distributed during that era advertising some of New Yorks most happening nightclubs such as The World, Red Zone, Limelight, Tunnel & Save the Robots.
Who are the infamous New York Club Kids?
The club kids were initially a New York phenomenon – an extension of the cities previous nightlife celebrity hangouts including Warhols Factory and Studio 54. At the centre of it all was Michael Alig who Ernie described as ‘the master of wacky thrills and obnoxious pranks’! Alongside Michael were James St James, Ernie Glam, Larry Tee, Kenny Kenny, Richie Rich, Lahoma Van Zandt, DJ Keoki, Desi monster, Shuck E, Julie Jewels and Amanda Lapore to name just a few!
Where did the inspiration for the exhibition & catalogue come from and how did the title Fabulousity come about?
The inspiration came from my love of nightclubs, music and collecting ephemera – I had started to build a substantial collection of Club Kids related invites, zines and posters and wanted to expand this into a show featuring photographs and imagery from the time.
The title came from Ernie Glam who I worked with on the content - he came up with it almost immediately saying that he and Michael Alig always thought it would be a great name for a club night: Fabulousity A night you’ll never forget…or remember!
Tell us about Alexis Dibiasio, who shot all the images in the book. As publisher, how did your relationship begin?
My relationship with Alexis was entirely through Ernie. They were good friends from many years back when Alexis would walk around the nightclubs and parties taking photos. I had a particular style of photography in mind when I first started asking Ernie about possible people to work with and found exactly what I was looking for with Alexis work. He really captured the what I had imagined which was not just the obvious and well known, but the essence of that scene and he come’s across as someone who was part of it and not just a voyeur. Alexis recently passed away which was devastating for everyone that loved him dearly and knew him well. It is such a shame that he will not be here to see his work shared more publicly – the show and catalogue are dedicated to his memory and we are supporting Miami Gay Pride on his behalf.
What years has Alexis captured in these images?
Its mainly late ’80′s to around mid 90′s – the height of the club kid scene was around 1990-1995 when Michael Alig had his Disco 2000 night at the Limelight.
The images featured are from some of most happening nightclubs of the time such as The World, Red Zone, Limelight and the Tunnel. These make us want to go back in time! Where in the world is a scene like this still happening?
I am not so sure there is anything quite like that in the world nowadays! New York still has a club kid scene – I have been to Susanne Bartsch parties there in recent years and they are good fun! I think that as ever the nightclub world evolves and moves on – there are still debouched, predominantly gay scenes in cities like Berlin or parts of East London, just maybe not as dressed up or media frenzied. There was a mini resurgence here in London around 7/8 years ago with clubs like Boombox & Kaspoint where people were really pulling off looks and the vibe was fun, but this was more fashion related and has since moved on as many of the main characters ramped up their careers in design, music etc.
You’re first photo-book from Wild Life Press was Katsu Naito’s West Side Rendezvous - which documented the transvestite and transsexual streetwalkers of New York’s Meatpacking district in the 90′s. How do you find the subjects for each book, or do they find you?
Good question! I found Katsu’s work on display in New York at Nepenthes as he was good friends with Daiku Suzuki. The photos are just amazing and I immediately started to imagine them in a book – Angelo at Nepenthes introduced me to Katsu and everything happened organically from there. I guess with Fabulousity it was different as I was thinking about doing something on the club kids and cultivated a relationship with Ernie which ended up with us working together on the project. The next book is also on a topic that I wanted to publish and again I happened to meet my partner on it though being in and around that scene. I think that I will always be publishing books that reflect my interests so there will be a natural link in there somewhere for me.
West Side Rendezvous is nearly all sold out. How do you see the current state of publishing? Are people investing in books?
It has now totally sold out – I have held a few back in case institutions or important collectors come to me in the future. I think the current state of publishing is really healthy – its so good to see so many independents out there. As with many other scenes like fashion, music or coffee shops there is a real resurgence in people going it alone and bucking the corporates. The Internet is a massive lever here as blogs and social networks allow for direct communication with customers disrupting traditional distribution channels. As for books as an investment – it is true that certain books have gained cult status and go for top money. Books also feel like a really accessible way to get into collecting art if that sounds right. I think a lot of the hike in prices is fuelled by the limited small runs of some of these publications – the same is happening in the vinyl record market.
With Fabulousity launching in Milan and New York (amongst other major cities worldwide) what else can we expect from Wild Life Press in the coming months?