Thursday, March 14, 2013

Party Girl (Daisy von Scherler Mayer, 1995)

It should go without saying, but Parker Posey can come over and reorganize my record collection any time she wants. You call two lousy milk crates a collection? Are you making fun of my records? Not really. I just don't think five Nitzer Ebb 12-inch singles and a handful of Skinny Puppy LPs hardly constitute a "record collection." C'mon, man. I've got more than that. Haven't you heard? I've got the Repo Man soundtrack on vinyl. So, don't be so quick to mock my record collection. What I think I was trying to say was, I don't think you really want Parker Posey to come over and reorganize your records. No, what I think is, you just want to watch Parker Posey crouch in striped pantyhose. You're crazy. Who would watch a movie just to see Parker Posey prance about in an urban setting wearing various types of unorthodox hosiery? Um, you would. Besides, I never said anything about a movie. In fact, I was merely referring to the hypothetical record reorganization scenario you were putting out there. Right. But now that you mention it, is that the real reason you finally decided to watch Party Girl, the film that mixes godmother-goddaughter relationships, hunky falafel stand vendors, house music, high fashion and the Dewey Decimal System? I'll say it again, you would have to be pretty demented to watch a movie for the off chance you might see Parker Posey's lanky, unpretentious legs encased in chromatic tights. You're joking, right? "Off chance"? You know Party Girl is listed as being one of the most nylon-friendly films ever made. Really? I did not know that. Get out of here. You knew. No, I swear. I like Parker Posey and I like house music. In other words, it made perfect sense for me to watch it.     
You ain't fooling anyone. So why don't you stop kidding yourself, and just admit the truth. I loved how the film, while boasting many terrific club scenes, contained a pro-literacy message. Quit stalling. Okay, fine. I watched Party Girl for the chromatic tights. There, are you happy? Yes. But the more important question is, are you happy? You know what? Ever since I admitted my real motivation for watching Party Girl, I feel as if a giant weight has been lifted off my creamy, and, for the first time since 1989, acne-free shoulders.
The question that is probably on everyone's mind is: Does Party Girl manage to live up the hosiery hype? You better believe it does. Get this, her legs are covered in nylons in almost every single scene. And this film, co-written and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer (now that's a fucking name), isn't one of them flicks that take place over the course of a single night, either. Uh-uh, Parker Posey's gams are sheathed in a seemingly never-ending concourse of chromatic tights.
Worn throughout a tumultuous year in the life of a fashion-obsessed club kid, one who becomes inexplicably enamoured with the New York Public Library, or, more specifically, the Dewey Decimal System (a.k.a. The Dewey Decimal Classification), and, not to mention, develops a bit of an addiction to falafels drenched in hot sauce, Mary (Parker Posey) wears her tights in a way that can best be described as: defiant femininity.
If she's not going to let the scourge that is grunge dampen her love of house music, she's certainly not going to let it define the manner in which she displays her legs to the public.
Yeah, you go, girl! Wear your one of kind Gaultier outfits with pride. And remember, just say no to flannel.
After being busted for operating an illegal social club (she threw a rave-style party in the stairwell of an apartment building), along with a number of other charges (pirated video cassettes of Paris is Burning and Who's That Girl were found in her possession - they didn't list the actual films that were on the bootlegs, but I bet those two titles were located somewhere in the pile), Mary places a call to her godmother, Judy Lindendorf (Sasha von Scherler), and just like that, she's back on the streets.  
She must have gone home to change, because she is looking fab-u-lous. Not that she didn't look fab-u-lous when she was arrested. I'm just saying, she's looking even more fab-u-lous, if that's humanly possible. What's this? I've just been instructed to stop using hyphens when writing the word "fabulous." Yikes. Tough crowd. Anyway, accompanied by jazzy horn music, Parker Posey saunters down the street (in case it isn't obvious, this film takes place in New York City) in a leopard-print coat, a red skirt, red lacy pantyhose, sunglasses, red gloves, and a pair of purple heels. Carrying a rainbow-coloured purse, Parker stops at a falafel stand and places her usual order: A falafel with hot sauce with a side order of baba ganoush and a seltzer.
When Mustafa (Omar Townsend), a guy who used to be a teacher in his native Lebanon, finally stops grousing over the fact that a rival falafel vendor is doing brisk business, he starts to flirt with Mary (her gives her some complimentary Turkish delight). And who wouldn't? Flirt, that is. She looks like Parker Posey. If that's not enough. She's wearing lacy red nylons and a leopard-print coat. What more do you want? Just so you know, one of my imaginary gay friends nearly had a heart attack when he first saw Parker strolling down the street in that outfit.
Somehow convincing her godmother to hire her as a clerk at the library she works, Mary is on the fast track to becoming a responsible adult. Nah, I'm just kidding. She's nowhere near becoming one of those things. I know what you're thinking, why doesn't Mary just get a job as a waitress? Well, for one thing, she's not a waitress ("I'm not a waitress!"). And secondly, no, that's basically it. She seems to take offense whenever the 'w'-word is mentioned, so, it's best not to bring it up again.
You know how I have imaginary gay friends? Well, like all single gals living in New York City, Mary has many real gay friends. Her main gay friend is Derrick (Anthony DeSando) and he always seems to be there when Mary is either trying on clothes or thinking about trying on clothes. Truth be told, his real purpose is to simply stand there, in a stereotypically gay sort of way, while Parker Posey whines and complains about her life while, of course, she tries on clothes (her wardrobe, by the way, is massive). 
On top of having a gay friend, Mary also has a non-gay friend named Leo. Played by the adorable Guillermo Diaz, Leo is determined to make it as a DJ, and has enlisted the help of Mary, who, in case I haven't mentioned it yet, has a lot of connections within the city's vibrant club scene. The one's she uses to help Leo are her ex-boyfriend, a bouncer/bartender named Nigel (Liev Schreiber), and Rene (Donna Mitchell), a surly club owner who seems to have a problem with any music that was produced by Teddy Rogers (if you want to spin at her club, you better not play his stuff - it's not really explained why she doesn't want his music played in her club, I'm guessing he done her wrong).
If you should happen to hear "Lick It (Mood II Swing 'No Afro Sheen' Vocal Mix)" by Karen Finley playing at your local nightclub, try to imagine Rene running towards the DJ booth wielding a broken bottle.
Using the Myth of Sisyphus as its basis ("it's a metaphor for's famous"), Party Girl is a surprisingly intelligent look at the directionless that afflicted a large number of twentysomethings during the mid-90s. Anchored by an endearingly campy performance by Parker Posey, the film (which could be called the Lady Miss Kier story - she worked as an art gallery receptionist at one point) wonderfully captures New York City during one of its many awkward transitional phases. You could call the film a precursor to the Sex and the City phenomenon that was still years away. But there's no way I'm doing that. The Lady Miss Kier comparison is not only more apt ("Music Selector Is the Soul Reflector" by Deee-Lite is featured on the soundtrack), it's way less lame.
The only film to have a  Dewey Decimal System montage and a falafel stand montage, Party Girl is the perfect film to watch with a group of your real and imaginary gay friends.
Oh, and just because I can tell that your dying to know. My favourite Parker Posey ensemble worn during the totally awesome falafel stand montage was outfit #3 (there were a total of five outfits). I thought the purple tights-leather shorts combination made Parker Posey's gams come alive.


  1. My librarian friends love this movie.

    Hey, Yums--lederhosen porn

    I expect you to seek some out and come back with your review. :D

  2. No wonder, it's basically librarian porn.

    Speaking of porn, lederhosen porn? I'll get right on it; "Laß jucken, Kumpel" and "From Lederhosen with Love" look like a real winners. ;)

  3. A sexy brunette in non-stop legging attack mode in a library. I think I'm going to die.

  4. It's a full-on brunette library leg assault.

  5. You know I spend my entire life buried in a pile of books listening to tragically loud music. I hung out in the Scandinavian and Japanese art and world literature sections of the local university's library for fun as a teen. The whole idea of this movie is giving me chills. Alternating hot and cold.

  6. If I had known Party Girl was going to have this kind of effect on you, I would have watched it sooner. :)

  7. Maybe I should watch this and "Eugénie de Sade" back to back next week once I finish grading student's exams and my own papers.

    I'll probably end up curled up in a little ball, sobbing uncontrollably, lusting for the void.