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Summary

In 1995, journalist Frank Owen began researching Special K, a new designer drug that fueled the club scene. He went to sample the drug at the internationally notorious Limelight, a decrepit church converted into a Manhattan disco, where pulse-pounding music, gender-bending dancers, and uninhibited sideshows attracted long lines of hopefuls. Clubland is Owen's six-year journey behind the velvet ropes into the clubs where any transformation was possible.

Four men divided the scene, outsiders who saw Clubland as the chance to escape their pasts and reinvent themselves. Peter Gatien rose from a Canadian milltown to become the most powerful club operator in America; Michael Alig, a gay misfit from the Midwest, won a legion of fashion-and-drug enamored followers; Lord Michael Caruso left the rave parties of England and returned as Clubland's leading drug dealer and techno music pioneer; and Chris Paciello, a brutal Bensonhurst gang member, recast himself as the prince of Miami Beach, partying with Madonna and Jennifer Lopez at his exclusive nightspots. Each had secrets that led him over the edge, and when Clubland fell, it left behind tragic human consequences. A tour de force of investigative journalism, Clubland offers a dramatic exposé of a world built on illusion.

©2003 Frank Owen (P)2003 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anastasia
  • 23-05-03

why focus on the shadow?

This is, no doubt, a very well composed journalistic work. And it is entertaining. But I hoped it would focus on the beauty of the Clubland's musical-at-heart phenomenon. Instead, focusing on the pyramid of drug control associated with the underworld, it felt like an accurate account of a Mafia-like family feud. I wished more words were given to the vast pool of clubbers who loved Limelight for its rare artistic vision, not drugs and scandals, which are just as equally part of the government's 'family' as the clubbers' by the way.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful