Writing open letters offering advice to recently released convicted murderer Michael Alig is apparently the thing to do now that he’s back on New York City’s streets. Not to be outdone by Alig’s former club kid pal James St. James, gossip columnist Michael Musto joins the party this week with an open letter of his own.
Musto’s incessant reporting of Alig’s activities back in 1996 contributed a great deal to the investigation that eventually found Alig guilty of murdering his drug dealer Angel Melendez, an offense that got him locked up for the last 17 years. His tendency to cover the seedier, more unforgiving aspects of gay nightlife in the late ’80s and early ’90s also fueled Giuliani’s crackdown on gay dance clubs.
But the death of New York City’s nightlife is Michael Alig’s fault, according to Musto, who also uses the letter to claim he has a lawyer (LOL!):
You not only killed Angel, you basically murdered nightlife because, as Mayor Giuliani kept looking for ways to crack down on clubs so they became safe for tourists and community boards, you gave him every reason to put further restraints and make going out an exercise in constantly looking back to see who’s watching your every move. In fact, you made it very uncool to go out at all, especially dressed with any flamboyance, because the association was with a hateful, grisly act of violence that was substance-fueled and totally demented. It was years until people were able to dress up and laugh again, and if you find the nightlife still a little too restrained when you reenter it, you mainly have yourself to blame!
Before he signs off, Musto gives Alig some advice on what he should do with his spare time. You know, since he won’t be partying:
And now, I hear, you’ll be living in NYC with a friend and will apparently be finishing your memoirs and working on art, among other things. That’s fine. I want to hear what you have to say and have been waiting for the Aligula book since you first announced it ages ago. Just don’t martyr yourself in it and don’t fake compunction either—I need you to really feel it, O.K.? And while you’re at it, don’t get too attracted to the glitz of whatever publicity you get (from people like me, for example). This time around, the ink is not for your legend after midnight, but for your heinous criminal acts, and that’s nothing to gloat about, dear Michael.
Charity work—any charity work—would be a good way to take you out of yourself and to give back to the world in a way that might bring some gratification. Starring in reality shows or throwing parties (if anyone would let you) might sound appealing, but going down those hollow paths won’t lead to anything substantive. Those kinds of résumé entries were for the old Michael Alig. The new one needs to catch up with technology, adapt to our city’s more privileged populace and come up with something digital that will be creative, constructive and conciliatory. Use your imagination while quelling your baser instincts.
All aboard the bandwagon! Can’t wait to see what Sinead O’Connor will say in her open letter.