Short Story of the “Party Monster”, Trend Setter, Murderer and His Death

The life of Michael Alig was a portrait in many films, books, music including the most famous movie inspired by his terrible life „Party Monster“ starring Macaulay Culkin as Alig. Alig died on Christmas Day 2020 by an overdose at the age of 54, after spending 17 years in prison for murder. He was one of the ringleaders of the Club Kids, a group of young New York City clubgoers who became a cultural phenomenon in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is the short story of a character that can not be defined.

The “party monster” and murderer was the subject of the memoir by James St. James, originally titled Disco Bloodbath, which inspired a documentary by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, “Party Monster”.  Another documentary, “Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig”, is now streaming as well. Although the movie “Party Monster” with Macaulay Culkin deserve to be seen.

While working at Danceteria, Alig studied the nightclub business and soon became a party promoter. His ability to stage memorable parties helped him rise in New York’s party scene. During this time, Alig and other regular clubgoers began creating flamboyant personas with costumes as a part drag queen, part clown, part infantilism, and later became known as “Club Kids”.

Michael Alig in 1988 | New York Daily News

In 1988, Alig was hired by the owner of The Limelight, Peter Gatien. Alig’s parties at The Limelight were such a hit that he began organizing parties for Gatien’s other clubs: Club USA, the Palladium, and Tunnel. Alig’s notorious “Outlaw Parties”, which were thrown in various unconventional places including a Burger King, a Dunkin’ Donuts, abandoned houses, and a subway, helped to revitalize the downtown New York City club scene which Village Voice columnist Michael Musto declared had atrophied after artist Andy Warhol died in 1987.

Alig’s Club Kids included (among others): “Ernie Glam”, “Gitsie”, “Jennytalia”, “Superstar DJ Keoki”, Amanda Lepore, Charlie “Dash” Prestano, Joshua Davis, “Richie Rich”, Robert “Freeze” Riggs, RuPaul, and “Walt Paper“. The group was also recognized as an artistic and fashion-conscious youth culture. They were a definitive force in New York City’s underground club culture at the time. Several Club Kids have made long-lasting contributions to mainstream art and fashion. According to former Club Kid Wallpaper, “The nightclub for me was like a laboratory, a place where you were encouraged and rewarded for experimentation.” However, Alig was plagued by heavy drug use. He began adding drug dealers to the Club Kids roster and Peter Gatien’s payroll, and increasing numbers of Club Kids became addicted to drugs.

As Alig’s popularity in the club scene grew, so did his drug use. He was arrested several times for drug offences and entered rehab but continued to use drugs. In 1995, his boss, Gatien, sent Alig to rehab once again.[14] Alig later claimed that after he completed his stint and was released, Gatien fired him.
Some of Alig’s behaviour could be explained by a personality disorder. He reported being diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder, which is characterized by high levels of attention-seeking behaviour
On the night of March 17, 1996, Alig and his roommate, Robert D. “Freeze” Riggs, killed Melendez after an argument in Alig’s apartment over many things, including a long-standing drug debt.

Andre “Angel” Melendez was a regular on the New York City club scene. After he was fired for selling drugs on premises he moved into Alig’s Riverbank West apartment. On the night of March 17, 1996, Alig and his roommate, Robert D. “Freeze” Riggs, killed Melendez after an argument in Alig’s apartment over many things, including a long-standing drug debt. The dispute turned violent, leading to a grisly affair: Robert “Freeze” Riggs bashed Melendez with a hammer to the head, then Alig suffocated him with a sweatshirt until he died.
After Melendez’s death, Alig and Riggs did not know what to do with the body. They initially left it in the bathtub, which they filled with ice. After a few days, the body began to decompose and became malodorous. After discussing what to do with Melendez’s body and who should do it, Riggs went to Macy’s to buy knives and a box. In exchange for 10 bags of heroin, Alig agreed to dismember Melendez’s body. He cut his legs off and put them each in a separate garbage bag, then into separate duffel bags and threw them into the Hudson River. The rest of the body was put into a large box Riggs found in the basement of their apartment. Afterwards, he and Riggs threw the box into the Hudson River.

Michael Alig interview in 1990 | Rolling Stone magazine

Michael Alig with friends 1990 | Rolling Stone magazine

Michael Alig with friends 1990 |

In 1996, Alig pleaded guilty to collaborating in the murder of Andre “Angel” Melendez and served 17 years in prison.

Alig was paroled on May 5, 2014.[2] Per the conditions of his parole, Alig returned to New York City. On October 15, 2014, Alig released the pop song, “What’s In (Featuring DJ Keoki)”, written and produced by Greg Tanoose, through Austound Music, an Austin, Texas, based record label.[40] An EP, also entitled What’s In, was released.[9] In May 2015, a selection of Alig’s paintings went on display at the SELECT Fair in New York.[41]

On February 2, 2017, Alig was arrested for trespassing and smoking crystal meth in Joyce Kilmer Park in Concourse, outside the Bronx Supreme Court.

On December 25, 2020, Alig was found unconscious by his ex-boyfriend at their Washington Heights, Manhattan home. He was using heroin before he fell ill and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 54 years old.

This article is compiled from multiple sources.

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