The Michael Alig I Knew, ‘Club Kid’, Killer and Mystery

Michael Alig was more press savvy. Dying, at 54, of an apparent heroin overdose on Christmas Day (and in the midst of an attempted presidential coup) threatened to lose him in the news shuffle, and he certainly would have had to wait after the investiture.

This sort of gloomy thinking is hardly inappropriate for the club boss / killer, who has lived to stir up shit and grab attention in any way necessary. In 1996, as he became even more drugged and less supervised, he and his roommate Freeze (Robert Riggs) clashed with friend / drug dealer Angel Melendez, which resulted in Angel being horribly killed and the body dismembered. to throw it away. (Alig pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was released from prison in 2014.)

I had certainly seen glimmers of its dark side. In fact, in 1991 I wrote in the Voice of the village, “Bad seed in cha cha heels, Alig will do anything to get a response, even if that response is the deafening sound that accompanies the vomiting of the projectile.” He’s an arrested child who should be arrested… a cute little cart that ends up biting your head.

But the Indiana-born clubbie enjoyed battling boredom, complacency, and bourgeois values ​​and had organized engaging events over the years, such as a “Filthy Mouth” contest, where contestants spat out four-letter words for prizes. , and his “King and Queen of New York,” messy contests where his favorite clubs have been elevated to royalty. (His story was turned into a 2003 film starring Macaulay Culkin as Alig, Party monster, based on the book by James St. James, Disco bloodbath.)

We cheered him on as he ran away from the cops who destroyed one of his “outlaw parties” pesky events that were held in unsuspecting places where you were partying quickly because of necessity. , they didn’t last long. Some kids at the club also point out Alig’s kindness and the fact that they all fit into a family that hasn’t always been Manson-esque; it gave them a place in LGBTQ nightlife, away from the harsh and raw realities, for better or for worse.

With 12-inch heels and war paint, the kids at the club stepped in to fill a void. In 1987, Andy Warhol – the deity of all downtown dwellers – died, and I continued to proclaim “The Death of the City Center” in a Voice cover story, decrying the slowdown in creative clubbing, even though I was passionately open to some kind of new wave.

Again, I had to be a medium, because I ended the piece by writing, “The new downtown will have nothing to do with disco and everything to do with outrage and surprise. Maybe it’ll be an angry rebellion that pulls the stick out of everyone’s butt. Well, Alig and his gang of insane and scared marauders were the new wave, and I got paid to cover it, doing it in an immersive way since my column, “La Dolce Musto,” was a first person to let off steam. filtered.

Alig and I have become interactive. In a talent competition at the tiered club Danceteria, Alig offered me “Sex, drugs and rock and roll” if I voted for him, but I didn’t, discouraged by the bribe attempt. de-vin and also by the fact that, as a gogo dancer, he had no noticeable talent. His gift turned out to be for leading, promoting and annoying, as well as for pulling (he once loudly tried to pull me into a pool set up in a nightclub) and push (he blatantly pushed pills into the mouth of a club kid), get away with more and more demonic acts over time.

With Alig at the helm, the Outer Rules barely existed, as long as you were fabulous and willing to flaunt them every night.

A legion of children in outfits, wanting to be famous, followed their lead as they grew up at a time when you couldn’t or were not supposed to have sex. But with Alig at the helm, the outer rules barely existed, as long as you were fabulous and willing to flaunt them every night.

I remember he threw a gigantic hissing fit when he was asked to pay $ 5 for an AIDS benefit, although I shouldn’t have bristled when he threw a party advertised as “only for HIV negative people ”. Like Howard Stern, Alig used satire to pierce the political correctness of people like me, and I fell for it every time.

After all, I was there at his completely incorrect events, like Disco 2000 on Wednesdays at church turned drug rehab center turned Limelight dance club. The night hosted the Unnatural Acts Review, which featured a guy drinking his own urine and a girl mounting the prosthesis and stump of a dancing amputee. Part of me wanted to take a shower, while another part believed that Alig was celebrating anyone different or evil in a way anti-oppression promoters should be allowed to do.

On daytime talk shows like Geraldo Rivera’s, I was the expert, trying to strike a balance between poking fun at Alig’s deviousness while fending off the Puritan, homophobic wave that wanted to put a stake in his groin. . Years before putting his hand in his pants to adjust his mic, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani was on a ’90s crusade to quell nightlife and eliminate all demonic alcohol freaks, which seemed to make Alig even more determined to be a nocturnal bad boy.

And he spiraled, barely looking coherent when I went to his apartment at the end of 95 for a club-related reunion that never took place. In April 1996, I posted a mention of a missing club person in Alig’s sphere, and I followed that up with my blind object featuring the buzz about death by hammer and Drano, and the aftermath as well. macabre.

Page six picked up my items and a New York magazine article and made it their main article, “Mystery of the Missing Club Kid”. Later that year, the body resurfaced and Alig and Freeze were handcuffed, as the Lunchbox Squad mourned both Angel’s life and their own lifestyle.

In 1997, I interviewed Alig at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he was incarcerated at the time. “Heroin cures boredom,” he told me. “If I took heroin, I could stare at this chair for eight hours without needing any other stimuli. But I am adamant that once outside I will stay clean. But he did not do it. He didn’t even stay clean inside.

Once he was free, he continued to tweet me, saying he wanted to reunite, but I have to admit I blew him away. When I ran into him on a movie set, he looked the same as before – messy, restless and talking about his press. He even claimed that unlike my blind object, Drano was not used during the murder, but it was a good story, so he had always followed him. It would be like Alig, but I didn’t buy it because using Drano was like him too.

In 2016, I agreed to play a role in an independent film called Vamp Bikers Tres, in which Alig played a zombie called God and I was a Mad Doctor named Hedda Hopper. Our interaction instantly brought back our old joking rhythms (with an underlying awkwardness, naturally), and I only saw it explode once on set. The fact that he showed me a stack of DVDs related to the murder he had (like Murders in the Toolbox) was disgusting, but proved that he still had that puckish urge to irritate and horrify.

In 2016, Alig spoke to Anthony Haden-Guest in a Daily Beast interview about his release from prison. “I thought coming home would solve all my problems and I would be happy. But I came home and I wasn’t. I came home and realized that it doesn’t matter if I’m here or there. I’m just the same person!

Haden-Guest asked Alig if jail had changed him. “At the time, I was who I said I was. Now I know who I am.

Of course, I am sorry. But it seems trivial. No word can make a difference anymore. These are actions.

– Michael alig

“Of course, I’m sorry,” he said of his role in Melendez’s murder. “But that sounds trite. No word can make a difference anymore. These are actions. There is a charitable element in each of my projects. “

Journalist Ernie Garcia had been part of Alig’s circle, playing the role of Clara the Carefree Chicken at Disco 2000, when he was known as Ernie Glam.

Garcia told me, “I invited Michael to stay in my spare bedroom after he was released from prison in 2014, and he spent 16 months with me. I took him in mainly for free, to help him get back on his feet. Í considered Michael to be my soul brother. He was very generous to me and I loved his creativity and his perverted sense of humor. Sadly, he was a deeply flawed and unhappy man who carried many painful and self-destructive impulses.

“His demons had dragged him into drug addiction, which led him to commit a depraved crime against my friend Angel Melendez. I did my best to help him avoid his toxic past after his release, but the horror and guilt of his crime haunted him and he fell into abuse in 2016. In recent years, I avoided spending time with him because I was saddened by what I saw, even though we still exchanged texts and emails. I will miss him, but I am relieved that his anguish is over. I hope Michael’s death will help close the family and friends of Angel who are still in pain.

Alig has shown varying degrees of remorse over the years, telling me he had imaginary conversations with Melendez – some calming, some controversial – although Alig told another clubbie who visited him in prison: ” Oh, no one liked Angel. Alig’s amorality was challenged by stabbing pains of guilt, as well as his realization that he was never going to be fabulous again. The open bar was officially closed.

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