Well. My DEARS. How do you top THAT?
Vogue.com gives clubkid-turned-jeweler-turned-artist-turned-author Walt Cassidy AKA Walt Paper a big thumbs up, calling his upcoming book, New York: Club Kids “a brilliant I-was-there chronicle of the glorious, gaudy, and gorgeous creatures who stalked the New York nights of the ’90s, an oddly touching and affecting remembrance of both youthful knowingness and innocence.”
And here’s a quickie excerpt of their must-read interview:
What has been the most interesting and powerful revelation about revisiting that part of your life, for both the book and the OC collection?
When I arrived in New York City, I made a commitment to myself to live my life as if it was a great book or movie. I was well aware of the fact that there were profound risks involved with this decision. Underground culture throughout history has been notoriously littered with landmines. Upon finishing the book, I was incredibly fulfilled, knowing that I was successful in not just achieving my original mission of living an interesting life, but also in surviving the experience. I am grateful that I was able to participate in a time period that would yield so much inspiration and creativity. I was able to align with my spiritual family and find my own tribe after many years of walking through childhood feeling alone, bullied, and isolated. I am forever in debt to New York City for offering me such an inspiring backdrop in front of which I staged my life. I hope that the book is of service to my own generation as well as future generations that will inevitably find their way to our city, with their own unique dreams, in tow.
It seemed to me to be a time where so many of the things we’re in the midst of doing—challenging beauty norms and conventions, empowering the individual, rejecting gender norms—were all part of the Club Kid culture. Do you see parallels between then and now?
Absolutely. The seeds of today’s popular topics, like self and identity branding, influencing, the gender revolution, convention culture, and reality television were all germinated in the ’90s and amidst the Club Kid movement.
In New York: Club Kids, I unpack some of the relationships between things like Outlaw Parties and flash mobs, and the Club Kid Style Summits versus today’s convention culture. I draw connections between our frequent appearances on daytime talk shows and today’s popular social media outlets, like Instagram, as well as reality television. The concept of presenting our identities solely as brands that were primed and ready for the mainstream was a very new idea. Television audiences were baffled and charmed at the notion that we were thriving in life, just by dressing up, hanging out in nightclubs, and being ourselves. To us, being fabulous was a medium unto itself. While many of us harbored a wide range of creative talents and aspirations, our identities, as Club Kids, were usually put forward as the most important component of our existence.
Why do you think we still love the Club Kid era?
A unique combination of audacity and playfulness was integral to our experience in the ’90s and is key to the lasting appeal of the Club Kids. We led transgressive lifestyles, but always maintained our sense of humor. The Club Kids embraced blurry lines and fluidity in a way that was decades ahead of their time. We were committed to pursuing anything fun, authentic, and creative. It proved to be a charming and engaging formula.
Read the entire interview here.
And pre-order your copy of New York: Club Kids here.
(Cover photo, top: Michael Fazakerly)