Say what you will about legendary Club Kid Michael Alig; he defined the scene in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s in a way that no one had before and in a way that no one has managed to top since his incarceration over the murder of fellow Club Kid Andre “Angel” Melendez.
Michael and Robert Riggs, aka Freeze, were charged for the murder, which was over a drug debt. Angel was killed from blunt-force trauma to the head by a hammer and for either being injected with Drano or being forced to swallow the toxic household cleaning product.
Angel was kept in a bathtub full of ice until he started to smell. Then Alig dismembered his body, put the pieces in a box, and dumped it in the Hudson River.
Then he started telling everyone about it.
"I know why I blabbed. I must have wanted to stop me,” he told The Village Voice’s Michael Musto, who was the first to report on Angel’s murder. “I was spinning out of control. It’s like the old saying: ‘What do you have to do to get attention around here – kill somebody?’"
One of the most shameful aspects of this crime was the negligence of the NYPD, who weren’t as interested in the murder of a gay Colombian drug dealer as they were in closing down club owner Peter Gatien because of the drugs, including Ecstasy, club-goers were accessing at his venues. It’s been suggested the police were more interested in having Alig testify against Gatien, his former boss, than as a murder suspect.
The callousness of the crime was amplified when Alig left New York for a road trip with friends after the murder. He planned on living in Denver but didn’t stay away for long. He soon returned to New York and attempted to revive his party career by throwing an event appropriately titled Honey Trap.
In 1997 Michael Alig and Robert Riggs were sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. Alig’s release date is Nov 30, 2016. He has been denied parole three times. Many suspect this is due to his damaging portrayal in Party Monster, the film version of James St James’s memoir Disco Bloodbath.
I can’t help but admire Michael Alig. Or at least his legacy. I asked myself what that said about me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that all it says is that I like a great story. Michael certainly has one. He was a boy who wanted to be famous and define a generation. He was a boy who got what he asked for and not only made sure everyone knew it . . . but that they’d never forget.