Michael Alig, the quintessential party boy who reigned supreme over New York City’s gay party scene throughout the early ’90s, is due to be released from jail on May 5, according to a personal friend reporting for BlackBook.
Alig is credited with fueling the early days of the “club kid” scene and throwing some of the greatest and most historical gay events in a pre-Giuliani New York City. His life and conviction inspired the Fenton Bailey-directed movie Party Monster, which detailed the events leading up to March 17, 1996 — the day Alig murdered and dismembered the body of his drug dealer Angel Melendez in the apartment they shared.
Alig’s arrest was largely credited to Michael Musto’s unrelenting reporting for the Village Voice at the time. The investigation also led to the arrest of Peter Gatien, a legendary New York club owner who is now banned from entering the United States.
Alig has been up for parole several times since 2006, but was allegedly denied after his parole officers obtained and watched a copy of Party Monster. (FYI, for those interested, a more informational documentary about Alig’s life was released in 1998, called Party Monster: The Shocukmentary. It’s available to stream on YouTube.)
According to BlackBook writer Steve Lewis, Alig has been recruited for creative jobs and will stay with a friend once released from prison. “There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life,” he says, “but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.” Alig has reportedly “never used a computer or cell phone, but has remained keenly aware of the world we live in.”
Furthermore, after several visits in the past few years, Lewis believes Alig has been rehabilitated:
I was for many years Michael’s friend. Like so many others, I left him behind when drugs and power created a “Party Monster.” We reconnected in recent years, and during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.
Below, watch a trailer for Party Monster, the 2003 film inspired by Michael Alig’s life.