LLNYC recently sat down for a glass of sangria and danced the night away at Michael Alig’s Outrage party on the Lower East Side. Here is what we learned about the controversial style and nightlife icon.
1. He says he’s blessed.
“When you think about some of the things I have done in the past and the one big thing, the elephant in the room, it’s weird that I am sitting here at all. I think I have been very fortunate,” Alig says. “When you take into consideration the reality of the situation, I think I have been pretty fortunate, I think I have been treated pretty fairly, maybe more so. I can’t really complain.”
2. Alig is back in the club.
His weekly Outrage parties mock the internet and social media outrages du jour (a framed picture depicting Bernie Sanders shaking his fist with the caption “That’s an outrage” leans outside the club). And the Lower East Side venue attracts a truly bizarre and eclectic crowd of nouveau Club Kids, middle-aged men in khaki slacks, bikers, drag queens, Goths and crust punks.
3. But he is thinking about his legacy.
“You have to remember that New York in the mid-’80s was ground zero for the AIDS epidemic. Fear and hysteria were what drove us,” St. James said in a 2014 interview. “There was a prevailing sense that you and your friends might not be around this time next week — so enjoy the now! Don’t think about tomorrow. So we partied too hard, drank too much, laughed too loud. We danced on the lip of the volcano, so to speak.”
4. He’s still adjusting to life outside of prison.
“Can you throw a party in an abandoned subway station today, or is that terrorism?”
5. And prison life wasn’t easy.
He says he scored so highly on an IQ test when he was first admitted that he was labeled an escape risk and moved constantly between prisons. “The worst part is that it was so boring,” he says.
6. He has A-list fans.
“I got a call one day last year saying Marilyn Manson wanted me to come to Terminal 5 for a performance, which I thought was a little bit weird,” Alig tells LLNYC at another Lower East Side bar. In the middle of the show, Manson stopped performing and said “he wanted to dedicate the rest of the show to somebody who allowed him to become ‘Marilyn Manson.’ And he said my name. I really thought it was some kind of practical joke. He said that he never knew how to wear his makeup and that his clothes were all wrong, but that I always made him feel like a celebrity.”
7. He’s uncomfortable with his big screen portrayals.
“I always wonder how Angel’s family feels when they see it,” Alig says. “Because it is so not about him. I know how my mom would feel if that was me, and she would never get over it.”
8. He’s “gentrifying” Paterson.
He currently resides in Paterson, N.J., where he says a young real estate heir who owns “half of Paterson” put him up in a new, four-bedroom loft. Apparently, his benefactor’s favorite movie is “Party Monster,” and he hopes Alig and his friends will create a “new East Village” in Paterson and improve real estate values.
9. Sure NYC has changed in the last two decades since Alig went to prison, but he doesn’t really mind; he still loves it here.
“The trend is to say New York isn’t what it was. But nothing is what it was 20 years later,” he says. “That is the whole point. They say it’s over, but for young kids coming out now, New York is still the exciting place to go.”
10. He is writing and painting, but he says nightlife will always be his first love. He’s mentoring a new generation of club kids and creating a “family.”
“I want[my Outrage parties] to be a place where artists come to meet other artists and make a family. I used to have a family,” Alig says.