By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In December '95, I agreed to go to Alig's apartment to plan some historical club society he'd cooked up. He was practically incoherent, talking even faster than usual and running into the bathroom with a stream of boys that kept arriving without introduction. In late March '96, he called me to plant the item that he'd been fired from the Limelight, but he gave trumped-up reasons, saying owner Peter Gatien's jealous girlfriend had the cops padlock his apartment and he was now homeless and suicidal. A source claimed Alig had busted out of an imposed rehab stint and was still drug ridden. And club kids were murmuring darker secretsthat Alig and roommate Freezehad supposedly killed drug dealer Angel Melendez in a money scufflebut they'd add, "You didn't hear it from me." He still held power over them, and though I railed against them for this unspeakable outrage, I forgot that he'd long had power over me, too.
By the time Alig sent out a party invite joking about the murder, a lot of people wanted to kill him (especially since a source was floating a more premeditated version of the killing). I kept trashing him in print, and one time Alig unconvincingly called to say, "I'm trying to figure out what thisitem means." Meanwhile, the cops were lying low since there wasn't a bodyand besides, if there was, it would be that of a gay Hispanic club-kid druggie. When they finally found their hacked-up evidence, Alig was on the guest list for lockup and didn't care for the non-VIP treatment (though in later setups, he boasted to friends about all the sex and other privileges). He wrote me a 10-page letter asking for a reference to help with his sentencing, but I was too busy on the phone with his mother, who cried about prison injustice, calling again the very next day to ask, "What have you done for Michael?"
In '98, Alig wrote a pal that he meditates in jail and "everyone thinks I worship the devil." But his religion was still marketing; from his cell, he asked me for photos for a memoir (then called Pleasure Junkie: The Last Straw) and casting advice for his movie. Even more hilariously, he said he wanted to direct! In retrospect, Alig felt he was a shy boy who overcompensateda lotand in '99, he more specifically blamed gayness for his ruin. He wrote in his hometown Indiana paper that the urban gay lifestyle is out of control and, self-destructively, "I dealt with that by medicating myself with drugs." Oh well, I still had my sweeter memories, like him trying to pull me into a pool at Tunnel or running a Project Xchart of all the clubbies he thought had gotten hepatitis from each other. Those were the daysno, really. Now Hollywood?
Oscar bonus: Here are some of the thoughts that hit me, in chronological order, while watching all four-plus hours of the Oscars: Tom Cruise suddenly has a beardno, not Penelope. . . . Why is he serving up so much windy rationale, explaining that the awards are more important than ever? We're watching, aren't we? . . . Jennifer Connelly should put down her written speech and give us some emotion, even if she has to fake it. We want a little hysteria, if you please. . . . There are so many gays up there, John Nash must be either gagging or getting turned on. . . . This Cirque du Soleil shit in the aisles would be ridiculous even if it did have something to do with the movies. . . . Jim Broadbent was indeed the best supporting actor this year, so I'm not gonna go the "They just didn't want to see Sir Ian kiss the boyfriend" route. I just hope the boyfriend doesn't end up with Broadbent now. . . . Every time Whoopi makes a black joke, they cut to Will and Jada's reaction. . . . Wait, Cirque du Soleil has taken over the main stage. Help!...The Sidney Poitier tribute is gorgeous, but they're leaving out the fact that he ultimately got tired of playing what amounted to a positive stereotypethe noble Negro who came to dinner and convinced the racists that blacks are OK. That's too complicated for Oscar. . . . Tonight is the first time anyone, including the people who wrote them, has heard any of these five songs from hell. . . . Barbra must have had the neck doneit's finally showing. . . . Halle's win is magnificent and historic, but she's losing control up there, going even beyond Sally Field in her newly validated delirium. There must be some middle ground between Jennifer Connelly and this. . . . Psycho Denzel beat schizo Russell and retard Sean. Yay! . . . Despite that, the Beautiful Mind backlash had no effect whatsoeverin fact, Hollywood clearly was glad the gay stuff was cut out. . . . All right, Halle, you're welcome!