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James St James on Michael Alig, Macaulay Culkin, and whether he’s still a party monster

Raziel Reid with James St James outside The Rio Theatre. Photo by Ash McGregor.

James St James was in Vancouver for a special presentation of Party Monster at The Rio, and I got to talk backstage with the original club kid, who opened up about his writing, Michael Alig’s prison life, and Party Monster star Macaulay Culkin’s alleged drug use.

On growing up: Partying has changed for me. Totally. I will always be interested in who’s hot and who’s the new girl and the it boy and what everyone’s wearing and listening to, but I don’t feel a need to be in the thick of it and be the craziest one at the craziest party.

On writing: I’ve been working on a new manuscript, but I just don’t have the time! I need a couple months to dance around my apartment naked and talk to myself and really just go there. I blog all day long [for World of Wonder], and so the last thing I want to do when I get home is write. I have about a hundred pages that are solid. It’s a sort of gay noire; it’s set in this hustler club in LA that we used to go to which got closed down, and it’s sort of like a thinly veiled [story about] all our sexcapades with the hustlers.

On whether Michael has changed: I have a feeling that if Michael were going to learn anything from [his prison sentence] he would have learned it in the first couple of years. At this point, I don’t know if it’s doing any good to keep him in prison. I have a feeling that the real court of opinion is public opinion, and that’s where he’ll really feel it the most. And I think that keeping him in prison is keeping him from that ultimate [learning experience].

On Michael’s solitary confinement: He was in solitary for 18 months. He had dirty urine. I think he was set up. I believe he does drugs, I’m not defending him, but he had come to a new [prison], and there was a big line to get your own room, your own cell, because everyone has to bunk in this area, and he said, “I’m gay! I can’t be with everyone else,” so he got moved to the head of the line and got the cell, and the next day he tested for pot in his urine. He doesn’t smoke pot — I know Michael. It seems to me that somebody switched it or something because he made a lot of enemies right off the bat at the new place. So he was in solitary for 18 months. Can you imagine? Twenty-three hours a day, and then you’re allowed to take a shower and walk around the yard once. 

On Macaulay Culkin: Macaulay I haven’t talked to in about five years, I think. I was a little worried when [the photo of him looking emaciated] came out. I thought of reaching out to him, but I know that when I was in bad shape, if anyone had come up to me and said, “We’re worried!” I would’ve been like, “Fuck off, whatever, I’m fine, just leave me the fuck alone.” I did hear he was living with Pete Doherty in London, and that seems a little strange… I love him so much, he’s so wonderful, so I’m hoping for the best.

For more of my interview with James, check out Blitz & Shitz in the next issue of Xtra in stands July 31.