Friday, October 03, 2008

Obsessions. Michael Alig.

It takes a good deal to stimulate my interest [or at least to hold it for more than a moment if something shinier comes into view]. But when something grabs me--it fascinates me.

Michael Alig. Anyone who's seen Party Monster has a faint idea of the madness that overshadowed the New York club scene--long past Studio 54's heyday and well into the 90's when queens still reined king and freaks ruled the velvet ropes of NYC's hottest parties. But unless you lived through it [or at least passed by the parties, just beginning each night when the rest of New York was heading home to bed]--and I didn't--Clubland is mere fantasy, a period piece that happened just a decade ago, in full costume in the streets of Manhattan.

Michael Alig was a fixture in the chaos. A flamboyant, outrageous character who might have faded into obscurity--fighting and drugging his way through the downward spiral, mind you--had he not murdered his drug dealer, chopped him up, and later deposited the remains into the river.

Black Book's new columnist, Steve Lewis--another character from the club days--recently visited Michael to make amends and shared his visit's anecdotes.

I was engaged, but I realized the account to be lacking depth. I found New York Magazine's profile of Michael, also written after an encounter with the man in prison. It portrays a man, young and crazed and on top of the world--the character we judge but all wish to play--and his descent. It struck me. More, I think, because I wish he'd remained on top. He would've stayed such an idol for those of who desire to live our lives wrecklessly. But know better. And sometimes regret it.

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