Pointing its middle finger in the direction of Gotham Mayor Rudy Giuliani, John T. Ryan’s “Freaks, Glam Gods and Rockstars … The NYC Story” is a hodgepodge of characters from the city’s glam, rock-club and drag-queen subcultures, and a smattering of statistics and observations about the current cost of living in Manhattan. Informed with the same kind of Lower East Village rebellion that fed the Ramones and Blondie, docu’s constant prattle about Gotham as the greatest city on Earth sounds unconvincingly desperate. In fact, the excessive civic pride is a sure-fire way to ensure pic will receive little exposure away from its hometown.
Ryan interviews dozens of band performers and dragsters (with ultra-confident Kevin Aviance in lead position) about the lifestyles, music, attitudes and police crackdowns in Giuliani’s New York. For Aviance and others, there’s no place like New York; for the Village Voice’s Michael Musto, “it’s not that great anymore.” Under poses and glamming, there’s a useful survey here of recent groups, such as Boob!, Bellvue, Daddy and older groups like the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and Lunachicks. None seems ready to carry the Ramones’ mantle.