Artistic provocateurs have a maddening habit of turning their lives into one big performance, which can make them hard to relate to personally. When he was alive, radical fashion designer Leigh Bowery liked to indulge in what he called "experimental behavior," which manifested as lies, pranks, and exhibitionism, to a degree that even his closest friends sometimes avoided him. Of course, his primary art form was plenty strange on its own: As it is, high fashion serves little practical purpose, since few wear the best designers' clothes. Bowery himself didn't even like common people to wear his designs. So he found other modes of expression, making costumes for Michael Clarke's avant-garde dance troupe, posing for painter Lucian Freud, opening a nightclub and dancing there every night in new clothes, and sitting behind glass as a living museum installation. After Bowery died of AIDS in 1994, several of his admirers mounted exhibits of his clothing and sketches, but they found that without the man himself animating the ideas, they didn't mean as much. That's one good reason for Charles Atlas' documentary The Legend Of Leigh Bowery, which provides both a video portfolio and a concise biography–possibly too concise. Atlas briefly covers Bowery's middle-class Australian upbringing and his move to London in the early '80s, at the dawn of the "new romantic" craze. And he covers Bowery's dabbling in various media, from flirting with pop-music stardom to marrying his assistant as a form of private performance art. Mostly, The Legend Of Leigh Bowery shows its subject flailing about in discos, as the unapproachable, unknowable life of the party. It's all fascinating, but neither Atlas nor anyone he interviews says much about what drove Bowery to shed his doughy bourgeois background to become a fabulous man-monster. Still, Bowery comes off as fundamentally admirable, more interested in honoring inspiration than making money. His designs were legitimately astonishing, starting with his cubist kabuki (body paint, off-center makeup, latex hair) and ending with the way he reshaped his body through piercing, stitching, and tape. He was obnoxious at times, but he was willing to push himself publicly and freely, with little regard for what physical or financial legacy he'd leave behind. In fact, the best an artist like Bowery can hope for is that he'll provide fodder for a documentary this solid.