What really went down on Christina’s infamous birthday party at Tunnel in Manhattan, 1987. There is video of the night but because of the background noise, music and voices it is difficult to hear what is being said. Did she really pull a knife out of her purse and start swinging it around at every one? I don’t know, but from studying the video footage of that night, here is what I’ve pieced together. (Some of the audio was very difficult to make out so it is not a complete record of everything said, but rather the relevant dialogue that I could make out from multiple viewings spaced out over several weeks.)
First, Christina had a specific performance planned for that night that she said “The entire city of west Manhattan has tried to prevent me from doing anything like what might happen at this show.” It appears that the staff of the Tunnel may have felt that way as well. When Nelson Sullivan arrives at Tunnel, He is greeted by Michael Alig, who off camera says “Christina is doing some kind of show, there is nothing going on down there. The dance is almost over..(inaudible). At the same time someone else can be heard off camera saying “It’s not funny, It’s not funny.”
Christina asks for her cassette tape to be played, One of the other performers approaches and tells Christina that Dj Keoki is going to play a song and she can “do something to it” Christina’s leans into her ear and asks for them to just “play the tape” and then Keoki “can do whatever he wants”. There is more stalling while the rest of the queens try to engage her in a Q&A. Christina is not playing along. “So you can actually continue with this all night, I don’t care. Or actually I can put my show on”
At this point a queen who’s name I do not know, takes the mike. She’s dressed like Madonna so I will refer to her as Madonnabe. Anyway, Madonnabe takes the mic and starts to ask Christina some slightly shady questions. Things become more tense when Christina responds “How much do you want to be the next Madonna? I mean sincerely, when you ask yourself in the total recesses of your mind, how much do you want to be the next Madonna?” Madonnabe responds “Girl, It’s not that I want to be the next Madonna, I simply am.” Mic drop.
Another queen approaches the mic and suggests that Christina should do an impromptu strip show, to which Chistina replies “We are supposed to do the Eidie part now” she goes on “What about the tape? I told them to do it.” Christina returns to her seat moments later one of the queens announces “Christina you forgot to bring the tape.” She goes on to tell the crowd that Christina instead would perform an a Capella number.
The crowd begins yelling out “jumping jack flash” Christina is not having it. When they hand her back the mic, she says “Again? There’s absolutely no way I’m going to remember the words, Michael. So take off.” She continues now, visibly annoyed “They think this is a show, somebody actually thinks this is a show!” She continues “Well I’m not going to”. She stands up and turns her back to the crowd.
This is about the point where they suggest cutting the cake and Christina says to the camera “Most painful thing I’ve watched in my life.” This this is when Christina gets her birthday cake in her face by Madonabe. people gasp, Hapi Phase retreats behind a potted plant and Madonnabe quickly backs away. Christina points her hammer at the crowd, says “come and get your cake”, then drops the hammer on top of the cake, which was face down on the floor.
After this Christina returns to her seat (still covered in cake) people approach pick up pieces of cake from the floor or from her hair. Hapi Phace leans in to Christina and says something and Christina responds “I don’t care. Do you actually think I care? (inaudible) .. It’s a joke”.
In conclusion I saw no knife, but the hammer was hers and she kept losing it or people kept taking it. Mabey her throwing the hammer on the cake somehow morphed into a story about her swinging a knife? I don’t know but I think it was Hapi Phace who nailed the REAL question of the evening when she looked into the camera after everything had gone down and asked “What happened the tape?”
Was she so out of it that she forgot to bring the tape? Or was the staff worried that whatever she was about to do would be a disaster? To me, it’s all comes down to that cassette.