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New York Doll

  • Film

Time Out says

GLAM SHOCK The music world was rocked by a Dolls reunion.

The late Arthur "Killer" Kane tasted the bitter and the sweet during his wildly uneven existence as a strapping girly man, suicidal life force and Mormon rock star. Kane actually got religion long after the dissolution of his glam band the New York Dolls, a seminal combo that never quite walked its high heels into rock & roll heaven. But it was his midlife conversion that gave the bassist the courage to take the stage once more.
When documentarian Greg Whitely began tailing Kane in 2004, the 55-year-old former skirt-wearing skirtchaser was living in a dingy Los Angeles apartment and taking the bus to his job doing menial work at a Mormon Family History Center. The musician found a measure of joy in his humble life but still longed for a reunion with his ex-bandmates. He received a last-minute pardon when Morrissey asked him to reconnect with the other surviving Dolls, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain, and play the 2004 Meltdown Festival in London.
The band itself had melted down 30 years earlier, thanks to drug overdoses and ego overloads, but it clicked before a rapturous audience. Many of Kane's friends in rock arenas and Mormon temples wondered the same thing: Would he be able to readjust to the simple life after feeling the adulation once more? Sadly, leukemia kept Kane from answering that question, though he would have no doubt appreciated Whitely's affectionate, winning portrait of his last months and final triumph.—Darren D'Addario

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