Michael Alig

Letters from a club kid killer

First published in DNA Magazine and on Raydar.com.au, below are

excerpts from a series of letters that I exchanged with Michael Alig

from 2001 to 2003 while he was in jail for the murder of ‘Angel’

Melendez.

…ON HIS INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS

“I was inspired by the Old Guard of NYC nightlife at the time: Andy

Warhol, Michael Musto, Rudolf, Diane Brill, Sister Dimension, John Sex.

These people seemed magical 2 me. Like some sort of crazy character

actors, always in character, living life the way I’d always wanted 2, like it

was some kind of game. Early on I met Keith Haring because my best

friend from school, a porn star named Ludovic, was dating him. Of

course, Haring wasn’t really all that famous at the time. But he was

locally famous, which, 4 me, was just as good. I was introduced 2

clubland thru that scene.

Warhol was a huge influence. But he was almost 2 famous. I never in a

million years thought I’d ever get 2 meet him. I set my sights way, way

lower. I didn’t think what I was starting would ever become a scene in

itself. I was just hoping to be accepted by the existing scene. The

thought of replacing that scene never even crossed my mind… at first. It

was just too fantastic a notion. I would’ve been plenty happy 2 have just

not been spat upon whenever I entered a club! [Michael draws a smiley

face]

Probably my top priority was to try and convince the Old Guard that the

Club Kids were the Next Big Thing. It was my mission. My driving force. I

don’t think I ever fully achieved it. There are plenty of Old Guarders who

still think of us as the young whippersnappers. But eventually most of

them disappeared and we did come of age. To me, tho, the Old Guard

continues to seem kind of mythical and magical simply because I was

never a part of it. I’m sure younger kids who are coming on the scene

now might see us as the Old Guard, which really seems outrageous to

me. But it makes sense, I guess. That’s the way it goes…

I think I was a positive role model in some ways. Not all ways, of course.

But I get so many letters from kids, young people who feel differently,

like outcasts, in a way, in their small towns or wherever, and who tell me

I’ve shown them “another way”, that it isn’t bad or wrong to be

different, rather it can be better. And that makes me feel good. That was

my message all along.

Warhol did inspire me, of course, but I think I was more inspired by Leigh

Bowery, actually. No one has ever inspired me more than Leigh. In fact,

it was Leigh who first inspired me to go to NYC to look at schools. I’d

seen a fashion spread of him in i-D in like 1982 and I couldn’t believe my

eyes. He didn’t even seem human! Of the Warhol scene, though, I was

more inspired by Edie Sedgewick. I was drawn to the dichotomy, of

tragedy and beauty that surrounded her. I wanted to be her.”

… ON BECOMING A CLUB PROMOTER

“Ironically, it was James who helped me get started, however

unknowingly. I used him 2 meet his friends – people like Musto and Sally

Randall, the reigning “It Girl” of the time, and Anita, a deejay and MC at

Danceteria, and Andy Anderson, one of the top promoters at Danceteria.

Andy was the one who gave me tips on how to become a promoter, how

to go about putting a party together, etc. I know the Pop Tarts say it was

them. And they did help, too. But originally, it was Andy.

The first party I threw was meant to be a place for others like me 2 get

together – the freaks of society, people who didn’t fit in anywhere..

there’s safety in numbers, you know… This is why I get so upset when

people accuse me or the club kids of being snobby or elitist – I mean, of

course we were, to a point. That’s what clubland is about. It wouldn’t be

possible to have fabulosity without a certain level of elitism. But – our

kind of elitism was about giving power and privilege to a group of people

who were/are generally without power and privilege in society – the

freaks and the outcasts. I take great offence when people accuse us of

being snobs. We were anti-snobs. A lot of people didn’t understand or

“get” the fact that, at least originally, the whole “celebrity”, famous-for-

being-famous thing was a joke. A satire. A lot of people took it as face

value.”

… ON SUCCESS, DARLING

“I think I’d pin my success down to tenacity. I just refused to give up!

That actually is the key, I think. When something doesn’t work, you have

2 do something else, then something else. Eventually, through sheer

persistence and enthusiasm, you’ll succeed by virtue or outlasting

everyone else!”

…ON THE CLUB KID MOVEMENT

“I did think it might go on forever and constantly evolve into something

new. That’s what we’d been doing for years – from acid house to techno

to drag to rave to whatever. We just kept changing, embodying

whatever was coming out of clubland at the time. We were a kind of

“trend conduit”, I suppose, introducing new ideas 2 the mainstream thru

our personalities. Lots of people write me telling me how the Club Kids

have given them inspiration or made them feel like it was OK to be

themselves – if there was ever a statement I was trying to convey and if

anything we did ever made a difference in anyone’s life, I think that’s

what it was. Giving people the opportunity to become even more of

what they already are.”

… ON MADONNA AND HIS FAMOUS PATRONS

“I met Madonna a few times but was never really impressed or inspired

by her. I guess by then she was too big a star and no longer doing

anything really original. Madonna was always taking other people’s ideas

and repackaging them as her own – I was more interested in the people

who had the original ideas. For example, the voguers of Harlem

interested me more than Madonna, who made a hit of their dance with

Vogue.

Diane Brill… She was and is a goddess, if you ask me. The epitome of the

all-American beauty queen, all boobs and personality. Also she was a big

fag hag in clubland, always surrounded by the queens, which made her,

in my eyes, even more cool. She “legitimised” us, in a way. She was the

woman all the men wanted, and yet she wanted to be with us and not

them. It was.. empowering, in a way.

Kier (Miss Kier from Deee-Lite)… I don’t think Kier really cared much for

me and my crew. I don’t know why, exactly… we hired her as a go-go

dancer all the time, always hired Dmitry to DJ. We were always getting

into … um… having difficulty, I’d guess you’d say.. with them because

their guests wouldn’t get into the club all the time and they’d call us

racists – and they had a point. The owners of the clubs weren’t always so

excited to let in homeboys and thuggish types, and a lot of their crowd

was like that. I, of course, LOVED the homeboys, etc, but the owners

never did, and so there’d be… “difficulties” as I said. I was always

lumped in with the “greedy and racist club owners” because I worked for

them. Like I said, I do see their point. But I don’t agree that it was as bad

as they say it was.”

…ON BEHAVING BADLY

“No, No, No. NO! I did not take pleasure in humiliating those that came 2

the club. Not at all! Where did this idea come from? The Club Kids

weren’t about that, Danny. (I asked him about the incident where he

urinated over a balcony onto a bartender, pee-ing into people’s

Gatorades, etc.)

We were all-inclusive. As long as you had an open mind, you could be a

part of what we were doing. True, sometimes, maybe lots of times,

people were refused or rejected at the door. And if they were assholes

or homophobes or whatever, then yes, maybe we’d take pleasure in

humiliating them. Otherwise, no way.

The peeing-in- a-drink thing is so overrated. If I did it 3 x in 10 years, I’d

be shocked. Yes, I was always peeing in my own cups, or on the floor,

but VERY RARELY did I ever pee in a cup and allow someone to try and

drink it. I can only think of two occasions, actually. And both times I was

drunk, out-of- my-mind- sloshed. And they were both dares, really. Group

efforts. A bunch of us would be drunk, someone would dare me to do it,

and that would be that. Once something like that’s been set in motion,

it’s difficult to stop it. I suppose ultimately I would’ve liked it if someone

else would’ve stopped me before they drank it – that way everyone

would say, “I know Michael, and he really would’ve done it, but

someone stopped him”. It was a kid of performance, I suppose. I was

drunk with all the attention and that, at the time, was what mattered. I

have to say, though, I never, ever did it on my own or out-of- the-blue.

There were always at least 10 or 15 others who were egging me on and

going along with it – accomplices, I guess you’d call them. Ultimately,

though, it was my doing. And for that, I am ashamed. I can’t even

imagine doing something like that while sober. Demon Rum! It’s your

worst enemy! [inserts a smiley face here]”

…ON HIS FAVOURITE (AND NOT SO FAVOURITE) PARTIES

“Favourite party – I guess it’d have to be one of the Outlaw parties.

Those were always the most “real” parties because we didn’t have to

worry about drawing a crowd or making a club happy. We played our

own music and we did it on our own terms. For us, Outlaw parties were

a way to thumb our nose at the more established clubs and say “we

don’t need you.” One of my favourite Outlaws was held once a month in

an abandoned boathouse on the Hudson River where you had to crawl

thru a hole in the wall to get to. We’d set up a bar, a thousand candles in

glasses, music… everyone dressed elegantly and crawling into an

abandoned building. I loved that. The dichotomy: crumbling buildings /

elegance.

Most stressful would definitely be the 10-year- club party I organised in

’95. It was meant to be a “homage” to all the old guards, the ones who

survived clubland for 10 years or more. And it was a recipe for disaster

from the get-go. A party for all the people who’d ever hated me and my

scene! I didn’t know what I could’ve been thinking, actually. Well, yes, I

do. I wanted to show them. I wanted them to see how successful I’d

become in spite of them naysaying. It really was awful, though. Everyone

knew how important it was for me to have them there and for them it

was just an opportunity to exact a long-awaited retribution – charging us

two, three or four hundred dollars apiece just to show up, then bitching

all night, “Where’s my money?!” Complaining about the dinner, etc.

Then there were fights all night between the Club Kids (who hadn’t been

invited to the dinner and were, understandably, put off at having these

old nobodies infiltrate their territory) and the old nobodies who looked

down their noses at the Club Kids. By the end of the “party”, nobody was

speaking to me. It had ended up costing something like $30,000 and

caused nothing but ill-will. For everyone.”

…ON MACAULAY CULKIN

“It’s funny you mentioned Macaulay cuz he was just here a few days ago

2 discuss the movie, his/my character. I hope he knows what he’s doing.

He seemed like he did, like he “gets it”. His mannerisms and hand

gestures are very much like mine. Unless he was just mocking me!

Mac has a twisted sense of humour, which is necessary 2 play this part, I

think. I just hope they don’t exaggerate too much – I mean, the film is

going 2 be a dark comedy. That means they’ll have all sorts of leeway to

parodies things, you know what I mean? Mac swears he isn’t going to

camp it up that much, that there will be some sad and real scenes.”

…ON THE REST OF THE CAST

“I don’t know who Seth Green is.. But Mac says he’s good. I’m not

surprised at the casting. They’ve been working with Mac for like 3 years

now, waiting for him to grow into the part, basically. So I was expecting

it. Marilyn Manson as Christina is genius. But not as genius as Chloe

Sevigny as Gitsy. That’s perfect!!”

…ON PARTY MONSTER

“I was surprised when he told me the whole saga of my first

boyfriend/love in high school is in the film. It’s a tragic/pathetic story

where he leaves me and I try 2 kill myself. Then, later on, like 13 years

later, I’m all high on Rohypnol and I decided 2 call him out of the blue

and see if I can’t “patch things up” (Don’t laugh – you know how

Rohypnol is!). Anyway, it’s this big dramatic scene and I was shocked 2

hear it’s in the film.

I haven’t seen the script.. yet. They say it’s “in the mail”. So I should see

it in a day or so. I’ll feel much better after I read it. At least I think I will! I

hope I will! I may feel even worse. Who knows. It all depends upon how

realistic it is. James says it’s a “work of fiction”, that I won’t even

recognise my own character. But he always exaggerates.

As for the movie, no, I’ve had very little input. World of Wonder hasn’t

really come to me for anything and neither has James. They’ve made the

movie the way they wanted to, and everytime I tried to say “It didn’t

happen that way,” or “This is wrong” they ignore me! “It’s better for the

movie this way,” they’ll say. “It’ll make more sense this way.” Some

characters have been eliminated altogether, or “combined” to make one

character. Like my boss, Rudolf, was combined into Pete’s character

because “it was better for the movie”. I guess they know what they’re

doing.”

…ON BEING A JAIL BIRD

“Reality has sunken in since I’ve been here. Boy, has it ever! I still laugh

and joke about it, though. That’s always been the way I deal with things

that upset or scare me. I laugh at them or make them into a joke. I’ve

always been like that. It’s the only way I can get through the bad/rough

times… without losing my mind completely. Sometimes – many times,

actually – I just lie here in bed and cry. Or worry about the future. How

things will be. If I’ll ever get over this awful hurdle. If my life will ever be

livable again. Ever since that day I’ve had this horrible lump in my

stomach that hasn’t gone away. Whatever I’m doing – reading,

exercising, listening to the radio, whatever – it’s there as a constant

reminder. I wonder if it’ll be there always.

Otherwise, I’m surviving alright. I get a lot of mail so at least I’m not

without something new to read every day. I love getting / answering

mail.

Whenever I think I’m slipping too far away or feeling sorry for myself, I

think of Angel and his family. And then I don’t feel quite as bad. I feel

rather lucky, actually, to be alive.

What I miss most: Human contact. Intelligent conversations (Jailhouse

conversations seem to all center around guns, “bitches”, and rap

music!). Hugs from friends. FOOD! Touching other people without fear

of being misunderstood (ie brushing up against a friend and them not

thinking you’re trying to pick their pocket or grab their dick). Romance

(that does happen in here, tho not quite often enough 4 me!). And of

course, I miss making an entrance! [inserts a smiley face]

I get regular visitors. Old friends. Keoki. Jennytalia. Karliin. Sylvie. Larry.

Sometimes people who don’t know me will visit. That’s fun, too. It’s a

nice bit of “out there” brought “in here”. I like that.

I have a lot of contact w/ my mom. We write like 3 times a week. James

writes me looooong letters, less often. Keoki is sporadic, as usual, in his

writing. He’ll write me 3 times one week, then I won’t hear from him for

6 months. Right now he’s in a relationship – he’s married, actually – with

a boy named Alfio. So I haven’t heard from him in a bit. Randy and

Fenton (the directors of Party Monster) had dinner w/ Keoki last month

and he said he wanted 2 come see me. So we’ll see. Keoki has always

been big on plans, small on action. It does hurt when he does that. But I

know he doesn’t mean it in a bad way. He’s just being Keoki.

Well, I’m eligible for parole in 2006. But everyone says no one ever

makes their first parole board. So, maybe 2007? 2008? I don’t think it’ll

be much later than that. I’m trying 2 be good in here. So we’ll just have 2

wait and see!”

…ON FEELING SICK WITH GUILT

“How am I feeling at the time? Well, as always, I’m feeling a little

nervous and queasy. My stomach is always in knots – no matter what I

do – if I’m listening 2 the radio or reading a book or writing a letter, it’s

always the same. Part of it is guilt, of course. I’ve had this feeling in my

gut ever since I became sober enough to really reflect over my past. It’s

painful, really. pretty sad.

Physically, there’s been something wrong w/ me – seriously wrong – for

almost 2 years. I have a growing area of numbness in my groin area that

keeps getting worse and worse – and the doctor here is terribly

homophobic. He refuses to examine me or allow me 2 see an outside

specialist. I’m very worried about that. I have a lawyer working on the

case right now but it’s a legal aid lawyer because I’ve no money. So that

just adds to my anxiety. I’m afraid whatever is wrong with me may be

permanent or serious.”

A few months later…

“How am I feeling now, you ask? Well, I’m still a bit down about my

medical condition. Still no one has seen me and I’ve got blood in my

urine… the nurse gave me antibiotics today, says it must be an infection.

But they still aren’t letting me see a doctor. So I’m pretty put off by that.

Otherwise, I got a time out for good behaviour last week, which means

I’ll be transferred to a nicer, more lenient facility where, hopefully, I’ll be

able to see a doctor. I don’t know if it’s a result of the infection or what,

but lately I’ve just been so depressed and unmotivated. Haven’t written

much, etc.”

And later still…

“Now that the holidays are over I’m doing better, I guess. For a while I

was pretty down. New Year’s especially, hit me hard, as it usually does,

what with everyone kissing their love interests and being close to

someone special at midnight. It was pretty sad for me. I guess that’s the

whole point of being where I am, tho. It isn’t supposed to be comforting.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to meet with the person who’s going to make

the appointment with a doctor – finally, after over 2 years! That’s

probably a big part of my depression, the fact that I’m afraid what’s

wrong with me may be serious or permanent. It’s all I think about, really,

night and day.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining… I’m alive. That’s the way I try and

look at it.”

…ON SEX, LOVE &;HAVING FRIENDS BEHIND BARS

“Have I met any real friends in here? Well, not “real” in the sense that…

um… actually, yes, I have. I’ll admit, it’s difficult in here to meet “real”

friends, as everyone seems to be out for himself. But every once in a

while you’ll come across a real person. I’ve met a couple of real people.

Unfortunately, none of them are at the facility I’m at now! When I was

at another facility I met a boy named Mike who I feel deeply in love with.

I’d watch him in the mess hall and think 2 myself, “If only I could meet

someone like that, then I’d be happy. I wouldn’t even mind being in jail!”

And a few days later he was transferred to my company, where my cell

was located. And we became friends. I was so nervous – he was

beautiful. A real boy-boy, if you know what I mean. From the

Appalachian Mountains. Father was a sheriff! He was in jail for

smuggling guns into Canada… Anyway, after about a month I told him I

was gay. He just sort of rolled his eyes, saying “duh”. But later on we

were in the mess hall and he was at another table and I saw him mouth

the words “I love you” to me! I thought he must be kidding, of course. So

I didn’t do anything about it. But the next day he said to me “Well? Do

you?” I was kind of scared, thought maybe he was homophobic and

trying 2 set me up. These things happen in jail. So I said I didn’t know

what he was talking about. He said “Well, I’m not going 2 say it again

until you do.” We went for a week back and forth like that. Until one day

he sent me a note saying, “You know what the fuck I’m trying to say.

Why are you making it so tough on me?” Just tell me you feel the same

way and I’ll be happy.”

Well, of course I did tell him. And we had a beautiful affair! He’d never

been with a boy before. Told me he’d never even known he was gay

until he met me, that I made him feel comfortable enough to be himself

and he’d never experienced that before. (Lots of straight boys tell me

that, BTW). He’s a real piece of work. We’ve been in contact through my

mother ever since. He’s in another facility now, but he gets out around

the same time I do. And he still says he wants to live with me and be my

boyfriend when he gets out. This is 5 ½ years later so I think that’s one

real relationship.

Freez (my codefendant) would have to be my “best friend” or

“confidant” in here. Even tho he’s in another facility as well. I’m hoping

we’ll be together again as I’m supposed 2 be transferred from the facility

I’m in now. I might go back where Freez is. That would really help. I don’t

really connect with many people in here, as you can imagine. It’s nice 2

have someone else like me nearby.

It’s weird. Usually when someone in here gives you support emotionally,

it’s because he wants something! $, drugs, sex. So you have to be

careful. And you have to be careful who you’re friendly with, too. The

guys in here are very protective/possessive of gay men. If you are too

friendly with the wrong inmate, another inmate will be upset, maybe

even start a fight over you. They all want the attention of gay men. They

actually fight over it!”

…ON GETTING OUT, EVENTUALLY

“The first thing I’ll do when I go home? Eat real food. Then have sex.

With anybody. Everybody! After all, I’ll have 10 years to make up for!

Well, that’s what I think I’ll do, anyway. What I fantasise about. Reality

never lives up to fantasies, though. That’s why I’m a big advocate of

never living out your fantasies. Sometimes the most exciting things in life

are the things you never get to do.”

…ON HIS BOOK

“I guess my book will be out after the film. That way, if the film is way off

track I'll be able 2 address that in my book. I hope it’s as true-to- life as

possible, tho. (Except, of course, when it comes to my wardrobe! I can’t

believe some of the things I wore in public!!)

Right now, I spend most – if not all – of my days writing my book Aligula,

reading and answering mail. Which is okay, I guess. I love hearing from

people. It makes me feel less alone. The food here is pretty bad. I’ve lost

almost 40 pounds! I look kind of like a Holocaust survivor, I think.

Sometimes I get pretty depressed. Lonely. Desperate for human

affection. I cry a lot. That helps. But mostly I think I’m handling it all

right.

My book… I don’t think it’ll “shock” anyone. I mean, really, how could it

after all that’s happened? We’re talking about people who watch other

people drink their own pee for entertainment.. So, no, I don’t think it’ll

be so “shocking”, but more of a “soulful bare-all”. It’s pretty painful to

write, actually. I cry a lot when I’m writing it, just remembering it all, my

mind looming with all the “what ifs” and “could’ve beens”. I’m afraid it

may actually bore people, in fact, especially if those people are looking

for new “shocks”. This is more a book of memories and ruminations. Not

shocks. At least not that I see as shocking.”

…ON SEXUALITY

“How do I feel about being gay? Oh, just fine. How’s that? Full on

enough?

Sorry. That was supposed to be a joke but it didn’t come across very well

on paper.

You know, as a child I was always pretty miserable with the fact that I

was gay. Not because I felt like there was anything wrong with being gay

– on the contrary. Being gay forced me to see the world and how I fit

into it in a whole other way. Made me more “aware”. Does that make

any sense? What I mean is, because I was gay I felt “different” some how

from the other kids. And feeling different forced me to try and figure out

why and how I was different. This caused me to become more aware of

the world around me and how I fit into it. That gave me, I believe, a

distinct edge over other kids my age.

That came out rather confusing, I think. What I’m trying to say is that I

never saw being gay as a hindrance. Rather, I saw it as having a leg-up, in

a way. I still do. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with straight

people. And it would probably be easier to be not gay. But I’ve never

been the type of person 2 go 4 the easiest way. Easiest isn’t necessarily

always best. In fact, the hard way is most often the most rewarding in

the end!

In high school I almost had sex with a girl named Amy. But not because I

wanted to. She suspected I was gay and had been put up to “seducing”

me by a group of snooty cheerleaders. She was supposed to see how I’d

react, then go back and report her findings. I failed the test miserably!

The thing is, she was dating a very good friend of mine at the time and

so I told her I couldn’t sleep with her because I didn’t want to hurt him.

Ha!

I just want to make it clear that I didn’t think it was “wrong” to be gay.

The reason I didn’t tell her is because I lived in a very small town and

went to a school that would not have taken kindly to the fact that I was

gay. I was just scared of getting the shit kicked out of me, I guess!

I’ve been in love with a girl, too. I was – and still am, in a way – in love

with my friend Jennytalia, in 1992-3, Jenny was and still is my female

“soul mate”, I suppose. A female version of me. Yes, I admit it! I’m a

narcissist! [another smiley face]

I suspect most gay boys fall in love with a girl at least once in their lives.

Do I ever wish I weren’t into men, like being into women would be

easier?

Well, sometimes, when I’m hurt by someone I’m in love with. When I

find myself hopelessly in love with a straight boy. But I always get over it.

I like being gay!

I do feel like being gay adds a creative dynamic to my life and career. I’ve

always said my creative drive comes from my inability to fit into the

world, it comes from not feeling comfortable with myself, with society.

Great art comes from struggling!”

…ON IDEAL MEN, STRAIGHT BOYS AND HUSTLERS

“I realise that loving straight boys is cliché, but I can’t help it! Clichés are

clichés for a reason, you know. I guess I love the challenge. The chase.

Also, there’s something about the kid of bond created by a “straight” or

closeted boy who’s dating a gay boy. Often the gay boy is the only

person the straight boy can be himself in front of. I mean really be

himself. Some of the strongest bonds I’ve ever experienced are bonds

with straight boys. I’ve been told by so many – well, not so many, maybe

5 or 6, that I make them feel comfortable enough to be themselves,

comfortable enough to with another boy and not feel wrong or bad. And

I suppose it’s true. Nothing makes me happier that giving someone the

opportunity to be themselves with no regrets or guilt. I’m addicted to

that. A lot of people say that by loving straight boys I’m being self-

loathing. And I suppose that is one way to look at it. But to me, it just

makes sense. After all, I’m gay. I’m attracted to masculinity, to butchess.

And gay boys don’t give that off. This is why I’m often attracted to

hustlers. Because when you pay a boy to have sex with you, he isn’t

satisfied. He has an “excuse” to have sex with another boy. Money. How

many times have I fallen “in love” with hustlers!! I really do! And always I

feel like it’s the first time, the only time. Like I’ve found “the one”. It’s

heartbreaking, often. (Well it is for me, anyway!). Then again, often the

best romances are my fantasy romances with straight boys. They’re the

only kind of romance that’ll truly last forever, because I’ll never get to

have them.”

…ON GETTING MEN IN THE SACK

“Problems getting guys? Well, I used to think I did. Looking back, I can

see now that I got quite a few jewels! Seriously. Of course, being “King

of the Club Kids” didn’t hurt. Lots of boys would sleep with me in order

to have “juice” at the clubs. Then again, sometimes my role as Club Kid

King hurt me more than helped. Ironically, some of the sexiest,

straightest, most boyfriend-worthy boys were intimidated or just plain

scared of me. Never thought seriously about dating me because I was

“Michael Alig” King of the Club Kids! To them, I must’ve had a zillion

boyfriends, or else a zillion tricks up my sleeve in order to get one.

Promoters generally are a sleazy bunch, you know. They don’t have the

best reputations! It’s a double-edged sword, I guess. The very power

that helped me get boys sometimes hurt my chances on other occasions.

Now, in prison, being openly gay definitely is a plus in the “getting boys

dept.” It’s strange. You’d think that in a place like this, full of macho,

trouble-making street thugs, homosexuality would be frowned upon – at

the very least! But that’s not the case at all. As unbelievable as this may

sound, being openly gay in prison can actually be a positive thing –

there’s no stigma attached to being gay whatsoever. In fact, openly gay

men are a commodity in here. The straightest, most macho types all

want to “befriend” the openly gay inmates – of which there are very few

– in order to reaffirm their own masculinity. In other words, the butch

types all want an openly gay type as a sex partner. It seems they (the

butch types) don’t want to meet another one of their own. They don’t

crave company with other macho men. They crave the company of

feminine, sensitive types. It’s almost.. no, it actually is.. romantic. The

butch types actually court the girly boys. They buy them food and candy

at the commissary, carry their packages for them, hold places in line for

them at the mess hall. There are actually fights over the girly boys. You’ll

have these big, burly muscle men pulling knives or razor blades over the

girly boys. And this isn’t an isolated incident kind of thing, either. It’s

quite common. So in jail I wouldn’t have trouble meeting or getting guys.

Though, in jail I’ve only had sex twice in 6 years. Even in such a sex-

friendly environment. A lot of my friends can’t believe it. They’re all like,

“Oh my god, Michael! You’re crazy! I’d be fucking everyone in sight!”

Honestly, though, I just don’t feel that way. Partly out of fear of AIDS, I

guess. But also out of fear of drama. These guys aren’t your typical boy-

next-door types. I wouldn’t want to get one of them mad at me. Or be

the object of any jealous feud. About 4 and a half years ago, the last

time I’ve had sex (god, I can hardly believe it’s been so long!), I was in

just such a position. Two men – a beautiful Puerto Rican papi named

Louie, and a sexy black body builder named Raekwon – were fighting

over me – Like, I mean a real fight, using razor blades and everything.

The whole ordeal scared me so much I haven’t put myself in such a

position again. And I don’t see myself doing so anytime soon, either. This

doesn’t mean I haven’t kissed anyone or fondled anyone in here,

because I have. Everyone does that. It’s very loose in here in that regard.

But the facility I’m in now is not loose this way. I’m in solitary

confinement here. These stories are all taken from the previous facilities

I’ve been in..

Most everyone “fools around” in that way.

I hope I’m not giving the impression that I’m a slut – because I’m not. I’m

just being honest about my feelings as a gay man locked up with

thousands of other horny, under-sexed, mostly-straight men. A LOT of

(probably the greater majority of) openly gay men in prison are total

sluts, getting fucked by just about anyone and everyone. I’m much more

relationship-minded. And that precludes just about everyone in jail.

Except for Mike, the boy I told you about, there aren’t many prospects

for real relationships in here!

One thing, though. I do think most of my ability to meet boys in the

street had to do with my position in clubland and less to do with my

actual physical attributes. Clubland persona notwithstanding, I’m a very

shy, insecure type who finds it difficult – if not impossible – to meet boys

unless I am high or drunk or unless the other boy initiates the meeting.

I’ll NEVER EVER EVER initiate a meeting or make a first move. EVER! I just

can’t. Never could.”

…ON LOSING HIS VIRGINITY

“The first time I gave a blow job I was 14 and I was in a shopping mall in

Chicago. I was actually cruising for an older man, looking to be picked

up. I’d go to the mall sometimes with my mother and notice older men

looking at me in a funny way – and I knew instinctively they were gay,

trying to pick me up. This frightened me and excited me all at once. I

mean, if they were looking at me like that, I must’ve been giving off

some kind of “gay” signal. Did other people see it? Did my mother?

Anyway, so one day I went to Chicago – about 2 hours away from home

– in order to see if an older man would pick me up if I was alone. And

one did! He was a lawyer named Rick, and he tool me to his car and I

gave him my first blow job – I remember in the middle of sucking his dick

he asked me “How old are you?” and I said “14”. I’ll never forget the

look on his face when I said that. It was a combination of shock and oh-

my-god- I-can't- wait-to- tell-my- friends! He came in my mouth – I didn’t

like it at all. It made me nauseous to think about it for weeks – actually,

afterwards I honestly thought I was “in love” with the guy. He gave me

his number and I lost it on my way home! I was so upset! My only

connection to the gay world! I was so upset and so “in love” with the guy

that I looked in the phone book and copied down every lawyer I could

find with the first name of Rick or first initial “R”, but I couldn’t find him.

I was pretty crushed. That was my first “sex”.

The first time I got fucked I was 18 and living in NYC. I didn’t know how

to go about meeting boys, so I enlisted the help of two friendly lesbians

at college. We made a pact: Wherever I’d see a boy I liked, they’d

approach him for me. And whenever they saw a girl, I’d approach her for

them. Well, we’d literally stand on a street corner or in the subways

picking out potential partners – One day I saw this beautiful Puerto Rican

who’d just jumped the turnstile in the subway and was being chased

through the station by the transit police. We followed him into a subway

train and my friends approached him and asked him if he wanted to

meet me! I’m pretty sure that was the last thing he was expecting to

hear these girls say – but he did come home with me! He was a beautiful

homeboy with a sheepskin coat and one of those cute hats with muffles

that come down over the ears. I took him home – his name was Julio –

and he fucked me and came inside of me. His eyeballs rolled into the

back of his head when he came! It was in 1984. And of course, I fell “in

love” with him, he never called me again, and I was crushed, felt hurt

and used.”

…ON HIS SEXUAL FANTASIES

“I’ve not lived out all my sexual fantasies. I’m not a big fan of living out

your sexual fantasies. Not all of them, anyway. If you do that, what will

you have left to fantasise about? Besides, it’s tough for a fantasy to live

up to the hype. Often the fantasy of what it’ll be like is better than the

reality of what it really is. And really, what could be more of a let

down?”

…ON BEING IN LOVE

“Truly in love? Three times. I don’t want to name them by name, just out

of respect. I mean, I’ve been almost in love with many, many boys. Or

else I’ve been “in love” with boys for a week or a month. But I don’t

think that’s what you meant. I’m taking your question to mean real,

true, lasting love. And that’d be four times. I don’t feel comfortable

saying the names of the boys, though. But you can probably figure one

or two of them out!

Ideally I’d prefer a monogamous relationship. I’m a hopeless romantic! I

really am! I’m always searching, hoping to meet the final Mr Right who’ll

take me into his arms and love me unconditionally for the rest of my life.

I want to meet someone who is so madly in love with me that he wants

to drop everything, give up his life just to be with me. I know that sounds

selfish. And it probably is. I just feel entitled, like it’s every person’s God

given right just to be loved by somebody. Really though, the older I get

the more I realise that just isn’t true [inserts sad face] !

I think about sex quite a bit. But thinking and doing are two different

things. Before I was arrested I had a problem with sex and intimacy – I

equated sex with love, I’d “fall in love” with anyone I’d have sex with.

But I’ve stopped having sex like that. I just can’t do it anymore, can’t

handle the pain, the rejection. I’d meet someone, have sex, think we’d

be relationship material, then never hear from them again. After each

time I’d beat myself up wondering, “What did I do this time? Why did

they leave me?” Then I’d feel hurt and abandoned. I hated it.

I think I finally grew up – emotionally – when I came to prison. Till then I

had a decidedly 8 th Grade approach to love and dating. God, it’s

embarrassing, really, how naïve I was. Now my big fear is I’ll be too old

to meet anyone when I go home, that I’ve missed my last few good

dating years.”

…ON LOVING AND HATING JAMES ST. JAMES

“James….. It’s strange with him, this love/hate thing. I suppose on some

level I knew when I first met him that we should or would become

friends. There aren’t a lot of people like he and I. When we find others

like us we just naturally gravitate towards each other. Part of the hatred

– on both sides – was jealousy. I was jealous of James’ status in clubland,

where he was jealous of my youthful good looks and sexy boyfriends!

It’s true! James was a dog. Still is. Just a dog. I love him 2 death. Think

the world of him. But he’s a dog, the poor thing.

James’ book Disco Bloodbath… James exaggerates quite a bit when he

writes. I’m not calling him a liar.. exactly. But he does like to stretch the

truth a bit! It’s true, James was an early influence on the Club Kids. After

all, he was one of the first club celebs I met in New York and I did gleam

a bit from him. I think he’s brilliant and funny and everything. But yes, I

do feel betrayed by him. He knows that. I think he tried 2 hard 2 be

funny in his book and not hard enough 2 be honest and truthful and

serious. The whole thing is like a joke to him, I think. Like I said, I love

him 2 death. Haven’t got an unkind word 2 say about him. But he hasn’t

seen the last of Michael Alig!! Wait until I’m home and have the chance

2 be fabulous again.. He’ll rue the day he ever badmouthed me in print!

[inserts smiley face]”

…ON THE BOYFRIEND: SUPERSTAR DJ KEOKI

“Keoki and I, our relationship, was messed up. We were both selfish,

stubborn, self-centred. And young. Neither of us knew how to love

anyone in a healthy, non co-dependant way. It was pretty sad and

pathetic, actually. I mean, we both loved each other deeply and

passionately. But we were each so wrapped up in what we wanted, like

a couple of spoiled 5 year olds. It was never, “what do you want”. It was

always, “me! me! me! Drop everything you’re doing, stop all that has to

do with you, and pay attention to me!” I know that sounds ugly and

pathetic. But we did love each other, in our own immature, greedy, self-

centred way. I still love and care for Keoki. I always will. I hope he is

happy, that he finds contentment in his life. We’ve both grown and

matured over the years. He’s no longer the way he was when we were

together. Well, he’s not quite as bad! [smiley face] He’ll always be Keoki

– a self centred ego-maniac. But a cuddly one! One that is capable of

loving and caring about others. Seriously. I kid around about his

egomania – and I can do that precisely because he’s gotten better about

it. Besides, Keoki may have been an egomaniac but it was for all the

“right” reasons. Not because he truly felt he was better than other

people. Quite the contrary! Keoki acted the way he did because of his

own reservations. Deep down, Keoki was and still is very self-conscious

because he has a very low self-esteem. His egomania is a kind of defence

mechanism in order to protect his true feelings. That’s why it’s possible

to put up with or understand him. Does this make any sense?

Today, Keoki has a boyfriend and is living with him in the Bronx. We

were writing and very close up until about a year and a half ago – then

suddenly he stopped. Suddenly, I’m reading in magazine interviews with

Keoki where he seems to be trying to distance himself from me publicly,

which I suppose I can understand, though it hurts tremendously. I read

in Urb Magazine where Keoki said he hadn’t really been in love with me,

that he “hardly knew me” even. That hurt! The following week I got a

message from a mutual friend, from Keoki, telling me “not to believe

anything I read in Urb Magazine.” So.. at least Keoki wants me to believe

that he didn’t mean what he said.. That’s good, right? To tell you the

truth, I don’t know what to believe. I do know that he couldn’t have

possibly meant what he said. Maybe his record label is on his back,

trying to have Keoki distance himself from me.

We were both so young when we met. Only 19. And Keoki was so

innocent and wide-eyed.. just a baggage claim boy working for TWA. It

was the first time I had ever had a real and open relationship with

anyone. We were, I suppose, the proverbial DJ/promoter duo.. of

course, he wasn’t a very good DJ at first. Couldn’t mix. Had no records.

But he was cute and had a “name” and personality, which, at the time,

few other DJs had. Plus, naturally, he spun at all my parties, where the

booze was free and the celebrities hung out. That helped, I’m sure, to

make him a “Superstar DJ”. But it wasn’t easy for us. As I said, we were

both so young. Selfish. Not used to or prepared for what was happening

in our lives… It’s sad, really, the way things turned out.”

…ON THE ALIGS

“She is/was upset by what she saw as trouble for me growing up in

Indiana – being beaten up by kids in school, that kind of thing. But in fact

it was my mother who taught me that it’s better to be different, to go

against the grain. My mother came to the US from Germany. She has a

completely different viewpoint on what it means to be free, to live your

life the way you want to, than typical Americans. When I was a kid, mom

dated a black man in South Bend, Indiana, a town – or at least a

neighbourhood – with very few black people. I was only 8 or 9, and we

(our family) caught a lot of flack because of him. People called us “nigger

lovers!” Can you believe it? It’s like a Jerry Springer episode! But their

ignorance taught me something. And so did my mother: Even if

everyone else tells you you’re wrong, if you know in your heart that

you’re right, then fuck everyone else and go for it. My mother never

once felt disappointed or hurt or anything because I was gay. She loved

me even more, I think, because I was different. That’s what she’s always

told me, anyway. Her only misgivings or concerns were how it might be

for me having to grow up gay in a town like South Bend.

My brother David is in the Navy in San Diego. He’s really nothing like me

– he’s quiet, married, has a daughter. We were always close, but since

the arrest I do believe we’ve become even more close. As a child we

were so very “typical Indiana”. We’d build forts in the cornfields

surrounding our house, or in the trees in the woods behind the

cornfields. David was a kind of sports legend in school, he won lots of

trophies and medals and awards. Set records in track and field. He tried

to take me under his wing, help me “fit in” by teaching me sports, etc.

But it just didn’t sink in with me. In 7 th grade I did try out for track –

David had tried so hard to teach me how to run and jump and do other

“track” things. He’d had his heart set on having a “protégé”. And I did do

well – I came in 6 th place in the 200 yard dash State Finals! I still can’t

believe that. And I didn’t even try! But it just wasn’t me. I didn’t go out

for track – or any other sport – ever again. David is very supportive,

though. A very good, caring brother. I love him a lot.”

…ON DRUG-OVERDOSING CLUB KIDS

“Almost every month I hear word of another friend whose died of an

overdose. Last month it was my friend Page Reynolds. It’s pretty sad.

More than sad, really. It’s a tragedy. I’m up all night thinking about it,

rehashing in my mind over and over the things I should’ve done

differently or not at all. It’s torture!”

…ON DRUGS AND THINGS THAT GO ‘BUMP’ IN THE NIGHT

“What would I never do again? Probably heroin. It was my – and lots of

my friends’ – downfall, ultimately. It’s destroyed so many of my friend’s

lives. In fact, it’s what started the whole decline of the Club Kids.

This is also the thing I’m most ashamed of. I feel like I’ve lead people

down the wrong path. I mean, I realise that people have their own wills

and everything, but the Club Kids really were role models in a way. And

we didn’t always set the best example! In fact, I feel bad even about the

way the Satori website (www.michael aligclubkids.com) seems 2 be

glorifying drugs with the design of the site. I’ve written to them and

asked them to change it but they haven’t responded. I asked them 2

remove the drug references and images. I just think it's all so ‘90s and

it’s just not the image I want to portray. Unfortunately it isn’t my site, so

I can’t do much about it but complain. In fact, I never even wrote the

stuff they’re attributing to me on the site, like the “Hello, this is Michael

Alig” stuff. I didn’t say/write it! I feel kind of used, actually, It looks like

I’m endorsing the site. And their CD. I think I’ll write to David L (the one

who runs the site) again.

I’m ashamed that I turned out to be such a rotten role-model. Much,

much more ashamed about that than using heroin, although the two are

related, at least partially, to what happened with Angel.

I wouldn’t say Rohypnol, coke and ecstasy are harmless, but I don’t think

they’re any more harmful than alcohol. There is an absolute distinction

between these drugs and heroin, because heroin is physically addictive.

You not only want it, you need it, literally, to function. Those other drugs

– well, I know I’ve no right telling anyone else what to do, especially

after the mess I’ve made of my own life and the trouble and pain and

suffering I’ve brought to other’s lives – but I do think everyone needs to

decide for themselves and if people are educated properly they can

decide. Obviously some people can use drugs and not become addicted.

Millions of people do drugs and experience nothing worse than a

hangover. While others, obviously, can’t use drugs. My problem with

drugs came about because of my excessive neediness, my insatiable

appetite for more and more stimulation and excitement. It was also, for

me anyway, an escape thing. To me, the definition of “depression” is

being too aware, seeing the world too clearly. Drugs, of course, allow

you to protect yourself, see the world through rose-coloured lenses. I

know that’s a pathetic way to view things, but it’s true, at least for me.

Ignorance, as they say, truly is bliss.

I don’t know if I’ve told you or not but I was diagnosed with bi-polar

disorder when I was 15 or 16, and so for me drugs were a way of

“evening” myself out, balancing myself. Of course, I enjoyed the “manic”

side. I didn’t want to lose that. It was the down, the “depressive” side I

was always running away from, trying to cover or “fix”. Does that make

sense to you?

Maybe “fix” is a bad word. Because I didn’t want to be “fixed”. My

creative drive came partially from not fitting in, not feeling comfortable

with myself or society, and I didn’t want to lose that. Not entirely.

I do think the club kid scene would’ve been able to thrive without drugs!

We did thrive for 5 years without using drugs heavily. Remember, I was

drug free for, like, the first 4 or 5 years. I didn’t begin using drugs really

until like 92 or 93. Before that I was almost anti-drug. And those non-

drug-using years were when I was accomplishing the most, setting the

stage for my later successes. Drugs were our downfall, not something

that helped us!

The thing I like most about getting high – well, aside from the whole

“escapist” thing, I’d have to say it’s the way drugs allow you to open up,

share yourself, bond with friends. When a group of people get high

together there’s a commonality. It’s like the feeling a group of people

get when they get stoned on pot together. It’s a bonding, group thing.

Intimate and uninhibited. A secure, comfortable-in- your-own- skin kind

of feeling that, unfortunately for me, only really comes from being on

drugs.”

…ON MUSIC

“Heart of Glass was one of my favourites because I was so attracted to

Deborah Harry. She was one of my first fag hags, I guess, even if I didn’t

know her at the time. Seeing her on TV in ’82 while I was in Indiana, she

was so fabulous, and not in that sickeningly-feminine way I find so

smothering in a lot of other women. Plus I loved the idea of mixing punk

and disco, which is what Heart of Glass did.

I get to listen to some music where I am, only radio music, nothing cool

or meaningful. We get one local radio station that plays lots of Eminem

and oh, I don’t know, Missy Elliot, I guess. I never really listen to it.

Music became really important to the Club Kids when acid house first hit

NYC in ’88. When I first heard it I knew it would be “ours”. I wanted to

adopt acid house and make it the Club Kid music of choice. At the time,

the old guard was all into house and disco and I felt this was the next

thing, the thing that’d differentiate us, make us stand out. Then, of

course, Keoki started playing acid house at all my parties and at the time

he was the only DJ in NYC to do this. It cleared the dancefloor… at first.

Keoki wanted to stop playing it, but I wouldn’t let him. I knew it would

catch on eventually, we just had to let it build, let it develop. We did all

the talk shows, etc. We were the ones who brought acid house – and,

unfortunately and regrettably, the whole ecstasy thing – to the media.

But I thought it was important to let the public see the connection: Club

Kids = Acid House. I think it’s imperative that a new scene has its own

definitive music. Like punk had, new romantics, etc. Although the Club

Kids were different, in a way, because the whole CK thing was meant to

be more fluid and not be tied down to any one thing. We were supposed

to be the conduits of what was hot and coming out of clubland at any

given moment. And, for a while, that was acid house.”

…ON KILLING ANGEL

“I’m not blaming drugs, of course, but let’s face it, if the 4 of us hadn’t

been so high the whole fight wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

We were arguing about an outfit! I mean, come on! This is not

something 4 sober adults would’ve allowed to escalate into what it did.

None of this means I’m not sorry 4 what happened, though. I think

unless you were there, though, at the time, and could’ve seen and

understood the way it all came about, it’s wrong for people to make

judgements and say, “Well, I think they should’ve done it this way or

that way.” When you’re high and something like that just happens

suddenly and you’re not expecting it, you don’t know how to react, what

to do. A lot of people mistakenly think it was me who hit Angel in the

head, you know, and it wasn’t. By the time I got involved on that level it

had already escalated to the point of madness. I’m not saying that Freez

meant to kill Angel when he hit him, because I don’t believe he did. He

didn’t hit him very hard – didn’t even break the skin – and didn’t even

use the iron part of the hammer. He hit him with the handle, you know.

So it wasn’t this manic, wilding bloodfest people think it was. It wasn’t

anything like the way it was depicted in the dramatisation in Party

Monster. It just wasn’t like that at all.

The point I’m trying to make is that to me “ashamed” describes the way

I’d feel after doing something consciously that I knew I wasn’t supposed

to do. The thing with Angel was just so spontaneous, more like a reflex-

action, really, and without any pre-emptive thought whatsoever. So

“ashamed” isn’t the word I’d use to describe the way I feel about it.

“Regret” would be a better word, even “sorrow”. I know there’s a lot of

talk about how we didn’t like Angel, and some of that did come from us

ourselves, but it wasn’t serious, really. If we didn’t really like him, or,

rather, if we really disliked him we wouldn’t have said so. That may

sound backwards initially but really it’s in keeping with the way we

acted, the way we did things, our sense of humour. We had a very

twisted, dark sense of what was “funny”, but that isn’t to say we didn’t

have true feelings or were superficial, because we all “got” the joke,

including Angel. What I mean by “the joke” is the whole notion of

fabulosity, of one person being “better” or “more deserving” than

another.”

…ON HITTING ‘ROCK’ BOTTOM (PUN INTENDED)

“When I reached my nadir, when I realised I’d hit rock bottom, I was

living in a friend’s living room, jobless, homeless, a junkie. And it

depressed me so much… that I felt I had to continue getting high in

order to escape from that realisation. It was as though I’d fell so hard, or

was falling so quickly that I just decided the easiest thing to do would be

to just let myself fall. By then I just couldn’t see getting myself out of the

hole I was in. I did think I’d die.

I didn’t feel “normal” for months after being sober. Maybe even years.

And it was a gradual thing, not a sudden jolt. I began to notice small

things, emotions, physical feeling, smell, that kind of thing, returning to

me over time. But it took almost two years, I’d say.”

…ON A CHANGED WORLD

“I worry ALL THE TIME about the world “changing” while I’m in here. I

obsess over it on a daily basis. It consumes me. I lie in bed at night and

think about it and I get these anxiety attacks, I cry a lot, which helps.

Change has always frightened me, though. I’m the kind of person who

wants everything to stay the same way forever. I don’t want the forests

in back of my house in Indiana to be cut down. I don’t want the old

theatres in my hometown to close. Ever. I never want to age or grow up.

I’ve always been that way. I know it doesn’t go very well with my whole

Club Kid concept, which is all about change, but that’s the whole

purpose of what I was doing – to confront my fear of change by devising

a lifestyle that demanded change constantly in order to thrive. In a way,

it makes sense.”

…ON THROWING AN END OF THE WORLD PARTY

“I guess I’m just not in a very “party” frame of mind. The whole world

has changed, it seems, in the past few years, and suddenly going out and

dressing up seems a little.. well, dated, I guess. I mean, how can you go

out or even think of going out when Manhattan could be nuked at any

minute? It scares me! What really scares me, though, is I don’t see an

end to it. I hope something will change that. A miracle of some kind. But

I don’t see it happening. Maybe that’s the party I’d throw: An end-of-

the-world party. I guess that’d have to be the biggest one yet, right?”

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