From Ultrasuede to Limelight:
James J. O'Meara
Aryan Entrepreneurs in the Dark Age, Part 2: Peter Gatien
Part 2 of 2
Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (2010) Director: Whitney Sudler-Smith
Limelight (2011) Director: Billy Corben
Party Monster (2003) Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Peter Gatien: Twilight of the God of Nightlife
“The scandal involved Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema in Sicily where he reportedly held Satanic type rituals of quite depraved character, and where shortly one of his acolytes died apparently from bad water.”—Kerry Bolton
While Ultrasuede presented us with the White Entrepreneur undone by the forces of Judaic Big Business, Limelight presents the parallel spectacle of the White Entrepreneur up against the forces of Judaic Big Law.
Limelight, despite its name, is an altogether darker film. Halston’s bright, sunny ’70s are a thing of the past.
Peter Gatien, though born and raised in semi-rural Canada, presents an image of the Ultimate ’80s New Yorker—black clothes, black (at least back then) hair, and a unique touch, black eye-patch, the significance of which we’ll soon see. If we did not already know from the newspapers, we can sense Gatien is doomed, though unlike Halston, even now he lives—although, like the punishment Athens offered Socrates, it is a living exile.
His world is not the bright world of Halston’s window-walled skyscrapers and runway shows. Gatien’s clubs are dark, literally tunnels and abandoned churches. Here though there is a kind of link, for while Halston at his peak looked down from Olympic Towers on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, here Gatien makes his greatest splash by taking over an abandoned Episcopal church, creating the legendary Limelight. While Halston set up an alternative home of the gods, from which he could look down on the Christian peasants, Gatien moved right in, reversing the historic trend of Christians taking over pagan temples and holy places (a favor returned by Islam). This would prove to be his greatest crime: defiling churches to provide spaces for kids to re-enact ancient Mystery rites of drugs, sex, music, and dance.
Being set almost a generation later also means that unlike Smith and his TV-derived image of Halston and “decadence,” I actually had some experience of my own to judge the portrayal of New York City club life in Limelight. Of course, my club life was very much among the anti- or rather simply non-Gatien circles, such as Jackie 60 and the other events held at the alternative club Mother, inspired more by Warhol’s Factory than Halston, and at a time when Gatien’s clubs were, as documented here, already invested with the “bridge and tunnel” crowd that The Tunnel, despite its name, was never supposed to cater to.
On the other hand, Giuliani’s attack on Gatien was known to be only the symbol of a widespread attack on nightlife in general, so when Jackie 60 took Gatien’s trial as one of its weekly themes I found myself there, attired in ironically worn “New York City Black” and with black eye-patch; that I was actually mistaken by more than a few people for Gatien himself that night was due more to bad lights and too many drugs, especially since I did not alter what was then a full head of blond hair.
Of Gatien’s own clubs—there were eventually four, including of course Limelight—I remember only attending Limelight once, and then only when a friend was DJ-ing some Gothic night off in one of the many little ex-chapel spaces. For some reason, although the idea of setting it in a church seemed genius, it never really appealed to me in actuality; considering what happened to Michael Alig, and the people around him—the subject of Party Monster as well as some parts of Limelight—that’s probably all for the best.
We shift, then, from Halston among the California redwoods to another Aryan region, the Great White North of Canada. Little Peter is playing the implicitly—or not so implicitly—White game of hockey, when a puck or a stick cost him an eye. The settlement money—it’s not clear who or what was the party at fault, but one suspects a school system or public arena—provides Gatien with the stake he needs to start his first club.
Is it too much to find here the archetypal Aryan legend, Wotan trading his eye to the Well of All Knowing for its wisdom? We will see.
Speaking of Wisdom, his first club, still in Canada, opened with an early incarnation of Rush, the Über-White rock band. Rush, of course, is an extremely, though implicitly, White band, and while its relatively literate lyrics are more associated with Neil Peart’s Objectivist interests, they actually operate on a deeper level as explorations of the drug-induced Mystery experience that Gatien’s clubs would latter provide on a more massive scale.
Like many Canadians, after making a little money, Gatien traded symbolic but hostile polar regions for the more effectively sunny realms, opening the first Limelight club in Florida, then another in Atlanta, which quickly became known as “the hottest club in the South.”
But Gatien knew that you’re never on top of an industry until you succeed in New York. Here we see the most important of Gatien’s Aryan characteristics, his desire to excel in his chosen field, and the willingness to do whatever hard work it took to get there.
“I figured I had paid enough dues to compete with Studio 54.”—Gatien
“You need to be the best, you need to be innovative, you need to be the best in your industry.”—Gatien
“I want to be the best at what I do.”—Gatien
“The only way to run not just one but 4 of the best clubs is to work 16 hour days, 6 day weeks.”—Gatien
To compete with the post-Halston Studio 54, Gatien needed to be different. First, he’d play rock not disco. And he decided that “chrome and neon” had gone as far as it could be taken, so he made an archeofuturist move—“art and architecture” were the way to go—“If you could find me a church, he told his agents, that would be perfect.”
Thus Gatien acquired the obsolete Church of the Holy Communion, a fitting setting for a club scene that would not only evoke the pre-modern pinnacle of White civilization, the era of the great cathedrals—yes, I know, it’s an Episcopal church from 1846, but good enough for an allusion, especially if you’re high already—but also, going even further, the drug-infused Mystery cults of the West and Tantric rites of the East.
AIDS, of course, put a damper on things for a few years, but by the ’90s nightlife, and Gatien, were on the rebound.
But at this point, Nemesis appeared, in the form of two shady characters who approached Gatien with cunning plans for taking his clubs to the next level. I suggest we continue the mythological approach and designate them as Loki and Fafner.
Loki was Michael Alig, who arrived in New York with the idea of “being the next Andy Warhol”—although, as pointed out to him at the time, Warhol was still alive. Despite having bankrupted every club he’s been associated with, Gatien decides to give him a dead, unfashionable night. Inexplicably, his “Disco 2000” party becomes a hit.
Fafner is one “Lord Michael,” described as a “wannabe gangsta” and, several times, a “Staten Island scumbag.” He epitomizes the shaved-headed Negro-worshiping “White” Youth of Today. Lord Michael’s night, “Future Shock”—anti-archeofuturism defined—introduced a new drug—Ecstasy—and a new crowd—unfashionable “bridge and tunnel” types from the “outer boroughs”—think, Saturday Night Fever—a mixture of “soccer rioters and ravers.” Everyone, someone notes with pleasure, “on the same level.”
Typically, this moment of Nemesis appears to be that of apotheosis; Wotan’s entry into Valhalla triggers what will eventually become Götterdämmerung. If I still seem to be hitting the Wotan theme too hard, consider how Gatien was portrayed at the time, from news reports—“A single cool, watchful eye looks over all. The eye of Peter Gatien, the Lord of Nightlife”—to rap songs: “Running New York’s night scene/with one eye closed like Peter Gatien.”
And of course, it was the manic Alig who put him forward as the Face of Nightlife, insisting that he shouldn’t be “just this shadowy figure who would occasionally show up” but rather drag him out “to be seen to have fun!”
Instead, Gatien ran smack dab into Rudolph Giuliani and his Neocon inspired program to “clean up” New York by focusing not on “real” crimes but on “quality of life” violations.
Here another mythological figure steps in: Alberich, in the person of one Sean Markham. Thrown out of Limelight for selling drugs, Markham will take his revenge by becoming a DEA informant, to prove Gatien . . . was selling drugs.
The idea was to use New York’s “nuisance abatement” law; all Markham had to do was make a call, arrange a drug buy, and after two or more re-iterations, another Gatien club would be shut down as a public nuisance.
Various people, including even King Koch of the NeoCons, are quoted expressing puzzlement over the “Get Gatien at all costs” and “scorched Earth” tactics of the city, state, and ultimately Federal governments. This was “an irrational hatred” that went beyond Giuliani’s moral crusade. But the answer would require Koch to exert too much self-awareness of what drives the Neocon mentality.
I suggest that Gatien was simply too White to be tolerated. His successful businesses, fueled by his perfectionism and hard work, his promotion, however unknowingly, of outlets for atavistic pagan rituals, and topping it all off, his mythological appearance, made him a target so tempting the Judaics lost all control in their lust to tear him down. To quote Michael Alig: “When you have an eye-patch [as well as] a face it makes an even more attractive person to target . . . an evil, sinister, eye-patched figurehead.”
In August 1995, they got just what they needed: some kid, whose family knows the Governor of New Jersey, winds up dead after visiting a club. Somewhat lost in the excitement was the actual death certificate: suicide. And the method? Hanging, of course. What other method would be associated with an attempt to take down Wotan?
And who do the Feds get to conduct the prosecution? From the people who brought you, not so much the Marx Brothers as the Three Stooges: Michele Adelman, Lisa Fleishman, and Eric Friedberg.
For those inclined to buy into the NeoCon’s “anti-crime” notions, assuming “there must be something to it,” consider the absurdity of the case: that Peter Gatien had personal control over everything happening at every moment in four separate nightclubs; or that anything happening in them was any different from what went on all over the New York streets.
In fact, of the hundreds of people Gatien employed over the years, not one, despite the considerable amount of force the Feds could apply, could be found as a witness.
Instead, the Feds mounted a “rogues gallery of Staten Island scumbags” (there’s that slander, I’m sure, against Staten Island).
There was Alig, in jail for murdering his dealer—Feds would take him out occasionally for “questioning” so he could buy drugs. There was Lord Michael, who, when questioned about the “suicide” of his “houseboy” broke down in tears and begged the jury to believe “I’m not a murderer!” And there was Markham, who was now also claiming to have been hired as an escort—by the male prosecutor.
The case against Gatien seems to have been yet another example of the classic Judaic technique of Projection: the unbelievably corrupt Feds fielded an array of drug dealers, perjurers, and murderers to convince a jury that Gatien was . . . a drug-dealing scumbag. They refused to go along and delivered eleven not-guilty verdicts.
In the end, Gatien was saved by his Aryan rectitude. As Alig says, Gatien was making money hand over fist, why would he risk it all for a few thousand more? “Peter was a businessman but he wasn’t extraordinarily greedy”—i.e., not a Judaic New York businessman, “counting his shekels.”
Indeed, asked by his lawyer what he would do now, Gatien replied: “I’m going to church.” Meaning, of course, reopening his clubs and earning an honest living.
But the government was not done with him yet. The Empire struck back, in the form of a State prosecution for sales tax fraud, pursued this time by another tribesman, one Morgenthau. Yet another Judaic inversion, this time of the Fed’s famous attempt to get Capone for Federal tax fraud.
“I thought they got their pound of flesh.”—Gatien
Gatien paid a fine for some technical violations and went about his business. But the government Shylocks had one more trick up their sleeves. Despite having given Gatien a “Certificate of Relief” after the failure to convict, two years later they decided to use their unsuccessful prosecution as itself evidence of fraudulent activity, and thereby deport the Canadian citizen as an undesirable alien.
Gatien notes with some well-earned irony that he left the USA with less money than he entered with 30 years before. But he actually took more back with him than that. The club scene has been dead since he left, and, as several voices in the film emphasize, nightlife is the matrix from which art and culture arise. Not unlike Gatien’s Toronto when it was known, mockingly, as “Toronto the Good,” New York is now just a tourist trap and an international joke, presided over by its Judaic Mayor for Life, who has extended Giuliani’s no-nightlife crusade into every taxable and regulatable area of business and even personal life.
Judging from viewer reactions on, for example, Amazon or the Internet Movie Data Base, the makers of Limelight have, unlike Sudley-Smith, managed to craft a film that gets their message across to, and accepted by, its audience. Gatien and even New York in the ’90s come over as stylish and sympathetic, while Halston and the ’70s seem to remain just a vaguely creepy childhood obsession of Smith’s.
Even so, while the film, being an accurate record, necessarily contains the Aryan themes we’ve been highlighting, it seems unaware of them. Halston clearly still needs a film documentary, while it would be fascinating to see what someone like Ken Russell, or one of the great Germans, like Lang or Harlan, could have done with Gatien. (Or Harlan on Halston?)
In fact, what the whole film industry, as well as our culture in general, needs is a wholesale return to White standards. Only then could justice be done to the lives of Halston and Gatien.
1. Bolton, “Political Aspects of Crowley’s Thelema,” p. 237.
2. “Everything was just sunny and perfect then”—MST3k on the opening scenes of The Starfighters, an early ’60s Air Force epic starring future Congressman Bob Dornan.
3. See Michael Hoffman’s “Loftiness of Rock: The Authentic Popular Mystery-Religion of the Late 20th Century” at his site, egodeath.com. The former “Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion” was indeed an appropriate site.
4. See my “Fashion Tips for the Far-from-Fabulous Right” in The Homo and the Negro.
5. Kris Kershaw, The One-eyed God: Odin and the (Indo-)Germanic Männerbünde (Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man, 2000). If configuring Gatien as Wotan due to his eye patch seems a stretch, several people in the documentary explicitly point out how the eye patch functioned to make him the perfect tabloid victim.
6. See Hoffman again, “Rush Lyrics Alluding to Mystic Dissociative Phenomena,” here.
7. The Aryan code, right from the beginning: “Homer does not conceptualize, as philosophers later did. He makes visible; he shows living examples, teaching the qualities that make a man a ‘kalos k’agathos,’ noble and accomplished. ‘Always be the best,’ Peleus told his son Achilles, ‘better than the rest’ (Iliad, VI, 208).” See Dominique Venner, “Homer: The European Bible,” trans. Greg Johnson, here and reprinted in North American New Right, vol. 1, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2012).
8. “It was pagan Rome with acid.” Although at this time the drug of choice was the white powder known as cocaine—Gatien’s security director points out that in New York, until then, “we were traditionalists—just heroin and cocaine”—eventually, “ecstasy punch” would be “handed out from the DJ booth like communion wine,” an allusion to the “mixed wine” used not only in Greek mystery cults and Christian “love feasts” but even socially, as in Plato’s Symposium. See Hoffman’s “Wine and Sacred Meals.” Nightlife at that time, the mid-’80s, “had no rules”—unlike today, of course, when everything from smoking to “sugary drinks” is banned—and was essentially “a secret society.”
9. James St. James, who I like to think of as my Doppelgänger in Gatien’s world, sneers in Party Monster that “Somehow, his dopey language [dividing the world into Skrinks and Scrots, a crude and arbitrary attempt to emulate a true hierarchy] caught on, like his stupid parties. . . . Suddenly, the hateful little twerp was the king of the club kids.” Alig is the Anti-Gatien; while Gatien is praised for the essential ability to “know what makes a party good or bad,” the credits to Party Monster as set to what might well be Alig’s credo: “Everything bad is good.”
10. The “democracy” of the mystery cults is often misunderstood, perhaps deliberately. While theoretically open to all, regardless of social station or caste, initiation itself had its own qualifications. While Gatien originally envisioned Limelight as having “10% of everybody” in the crowd, this is altogether different from the almost “open door” policy of raves and other examples of a more Christian, slave-morality inspired “promiscuity” as Evola calls it in discussing the decline of Rome. In a more specifically initiatory context, he discusses the famous “paradox” than an initiated murderer would gain immortality, while an ordinary good citizen would wind up in Hades or worse; see Julius Evola and the Ur Group, Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus, trans. Guido Stucco, ed. Michael Moynihan (Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2001), pp. 182–83, where he notes that in the unqualified subject, “the power of initiation would either fail to take hold or could act in a negative, distorted or even destructive manner on the subject.” This is essentially what happened in Gatien’s clubs with the introduction of “E.” As one of the interview subjects says, this is always what happens—Woodstock becomes Altamont.
11. Gatien notes that, ironically, he had contributed to Giuliani’s re-election campaign. While the Left generally understands that “quality of life” issues are “implicitly White,” Gatien didn’t realize that only certain Whites have immunity—namely, ones like Mike Bloomberg and his rich pals. Contrary to the Left’s fantasies of “white skin privilege,” the NeoCon plan is to create multi-culti hellholes of violence, which Judaics will “need” to be called in to run, less due to their high IQs than to their reputation as the classic social “middlemen” (White but not rednecks). People like Gatien will be targeted as a “problem” to be “solved”; later, we’ll see how the champions of “open borders” moved Heaven and Earth to deport . . . Peter Gatien.
12. The FBI uses a similar technique to manufacture “terrorists”; interestingly, Bradley would later be accused of trying to sell information to the London police on the 7/7 bombing. At his most disgusting, he invokes “the Nuremberg defense”: he was just doing his job. As if his sleazy little action had anything to do with the greatness of the European Revolution of 1933!
13. Gatien’s attorney notes that one day he saw a big picture of Gatien in the office of one of the prosecutors—a woman—and told her “This is not healthy. Get a life.”
14. So much for “people want to see you having fun.” Thanks, Mike.
15. “I was beginning to wonder if there was an Anglo-Saxon name left in the Department . . .” (William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch [London: Flamingo, 1993], p. 171]).
16. Gatien notes wryly that although prisoners are “strip searched nine times a day,” he saw more drug sales in his overnight stay in jail then in his entire nightlife career.
17. One example from many: DEA agents would take Alig out of jail, ostensibly for “questioning,” so he could buy drugs, which he would take in the back seat of their car.
18. As if he was holed up in his office “counting his shekels” as Alig puts it. As the Polish proverb says, “The Jew cries when he hits you.”
19. See my study of reversals and other Shamanic tropes in de Palma’s The Untouchables here, reprinted in The Homo and the Negro.
20. At least, did prosecutor Lisa Fleishman (i.e., “butcher”)?
21. This from a government that still welcomes Mexican scumbags, drug dealers, and killers, with open arms, and even provides them with free weapons (“Operation Fast and Furious”). Speaking of disgusting hypocrisy, Gatien’s most recent, yet again denied, petition for a pardon was denied by New York’s Gov. David Paterson, an adulterous, drug-using Negro, who is also, interestingly enough, legally blind in both eyes. Now there’s an upright citizen!
22. The Classical World was awash in hallucinogenic drugs and other, more authentic kinds of “ecstasy”; see Hoffman, as well as D. C. A. Hillman’s The Chemical Muse (New York: St. Martins, 1988).
23. For example, “Here was a man who fulfilled the American dream. Peter Gatien was an immigrant from Canada who came here, worked 16 hour days, and duly became rich and famous. . . . He’s back in Canada now, and I can’t blame him if he never sets foot in the US again. The government hated this fellow and would not accept anything less than his destruction. The film—and what I’ve read about him in the days since I saw it—leaves me convinced of his innocence. . . . The last thing we need is a huge state apparatus that can be used against us based on the personal likes and dislikes of a few functionaries. If this doesn’t sell you on libertarianism, nothing will.”
24. For example, “It is patently clear that Mr. Gatien was served up as a sacrificial lamb to those in state and federal politics at the time. . . . Whatta disgrace. . . . I’m disgusted.”
25. In the film’s new interviews, Gatien has abandoned the cursed eye-patch for dark glasses; in looks and sound, he now seems to be channeling Anthony Bourdain, ex-junkie, “celebrity” chef and reputed scumbag, apparently a more sympathetic look for New Yorkers today. Although Dylan McDermott does a fine job portraying him in Party Monster, it’s a shame James Woods wasn’t cast; he’s a dead ringer, and his work in Videodrome would give an interesting edge to the Canadian dealing with altered states theme.
26. The book industry hasn’t done much better; Halston is the subject of a couple of coffee-table photo books—one an oddly small size—and a tabloidesque biography.
27. See Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2012), and especially Kevin MacDonald’s “Foreword,” for an idea of what’s needed.