By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
A movie about club-kid leader turned killer Michael Alig is starting to roll, but you know how movies about beautiful minds can be. So, as the only observer not on drugs at the time, let me uncork my own reminiscences of Alig in hopes of getting everyone out of a proverbial K-hole.
In his party daysthe mid '80s to mid '90sAlig was a charismatic presence with a naughty streak that made him simultaneously compelling and unnerving. He was a genius and the devil, and in '88, I wrote about his and the club kids' "Cult of crazy fashion and petulance. They . . . are terminally superficial, have dubious aesthetic values, and are master manipulators, exploiters, and, thank God, partiers." I even compared Alig and company to the Manson family!
Alig and his then boyfriend, Keoki, were nuisances, but colorful ones, and suddenly, at Tunnel in '87, whenever I heard "Michael! Michael!" it was himeveryone was calling for. A whole legion of fractured fairy-tale characters was begging for his attention, and if the new-style Mother Goose approved, he assigned them new names and personas, and granted them a place in the commercial circus of clubland.
Aware of his rising stature, Alig threw a "Changing of the Guard" party at Red Zone, marking the transition from old school to nouvelle. But he knew how to cater to the dinosaurs too, giving us titles at his King and Queen of New York pageants and trophies at the Glammies (his ragtag clubbie-awards ceremony). He also had me judge annual Filthy Mouth contests, at which people screamed obscenities for cash prizes, and I gladly contributed to the revelry, enjoying the nyah-nyah goofiness of it all. I even posed semi-nude for an Alig invite that had giantwell, medium-sizedcardboard lips covering my privates, next to the caption "The lips on my cock could be yours if you come to Michael's party!"
And his not-for-prime-time ideas kept cominglike an all-clubbie "Vogue" video he submitted to MTV and an airtight "disco truck" packed with club kids who ended up, breathless, at one of his party sites. Zaniest of all were the outlaw bashesillegal descents into subway stations and a McDonald's, which were left buried in sequins and drug dust. After one such blur, Alig ran from the police in a comical escape right out of the Keystone Cops. But he was more like Willy Wonka, giving the kids a factory of rambunctious thrills to play in, if only on his terms.
Disco 2000his initially pre-Giuliani Wednesday night Limelight eventwas a rude debauch with all sexualities blending under the great god Ecstasy. AIDS was other people's problem. Everything was other people's problem. Eventually, the weekly soiree became host to an Unnatural Actsrevue, wherein an amputee danced until his wooden leg fell off, at which point a wasted girl from the audience humped both the stump and the prosthesis. Another enterprising young lady once took the stage to insert soda bottles into her various orificesbut she paled next to the guy who drank his own piss, ages before Urinetown made wee-wee theater legit.
Drunk with power, Alig promoted Julie Jewels, a wan teen with a fake Russian accent, and against all odds he got her to be "it girl" for a few minutes. Mostly, Alig pushed himself and even agreed to get a "downtown makedown" in the Voice in '91, letting us make him over into a conservative door-to-door salesman. "The bad seed in cha-cha heels," I wrote, "Alig will do anything to get a response, even if that response is the deafening sound that accompanies projectile vomiting. He's an arrested child who should be arrested . . . a cute little dolly that ends up biting your head off." But obviously, I was still attracted to his moxie and his frenzied, correctness-hating attempts to kill boredom and stir up some fun.
And oh, the memories. Once, Aligwearing a ski maskkept trying to unzip my pants and go down on me in a limo. I knew he wasn't turned onit was just one more Unnatural Acts routine, another lips-on-my-cock shtickand I pushed him away in bemused horror. Hardly anybody else put boundaries on him, though he was definitely screaming out for some. He'd probably ignore them anyway; I once saw him try to push pills into an unamused friend's mouthand if that failed, honey, he'd just spike the punch bowl.
As the years passed, he wore ass-exposing rag-doll/clown outfits, also revealing more menace behind the glee. One night, when I caught him mocking me to a friend, he grinned and said, "How do you know we're making fun of you?" Another time, he called me to gloat that shock rocker GG Allin had OD'd and died. (Alig claimed he'd just taped a talk show with Allin, on which the performer had vowed to commit suicide. Now Alig was sure the show would get lots of publicity!) By the time Alig sold a German kid as an indentured sex slave to another promoter, his marketing concepts had become beyond twisted (and I hear it wasn't just onekid he pimped).