Jon Bush's documentary Club King is a fascinating look at the life of New York and L.A. club and party promoter Mario Diaz. There's no denying it's a wild and flamboyant ride through the underground gay nightclub scene of the '90s and '00s, but more often than not the film blinds with flash while failing to really show a depth or struggle. It's a party, sure, but whether the audience comes through having learned something is up for debate.
Diaz as a subject is immensely likeable. Here is a man who realized there was money to be made in gay events, and attacked that with an undeniable professionalism, gusto, and sincerity. Having spent more years than I care to admit to backstage at concerts, go-go dance nights, fashion shows, and other performances, it's invigorating to watch Diaz as he carefully crafts looks and styles for each and every portion of his night.
That he takes partying to such serious lengths, even when incorporating impossibly silly things like a Big Piss contest (Yes, you're imagining it correctly) is probably the most engaging aspect of the film. The peripheral is nicely filled out by the outrageous commentary of colleagues and contemporaries like Jackie Beat and Justin Bond ("Someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'I think that guy is dead,' and HE WAS!"). They make for the circus, after all, but Diaz is both ringmaster and quiet competent business man. The dichotomy against the glamor and the drag is gripping.More »