Infamous 'Party Monster' Michael Alig Has Resurfaced After Nearly 20 Years — What's He Up To Today?

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Who Is Michael Alig? New Details On The Infamous Club Kid Killer Who's Resurfaced After 17 Year Prison Sentence

The 1990s in New York City were truly a different time. While the city was slowly, but surely, coming out of a dark time plagued by recession, grime, and crime, a new breed of nightlife celebrity — which would eventually be dubbed "The Club Kid" — was emerging from the underground. The unofficial leader — who would eventually be crowned the paragon of all Club Kids — was one particular person, who would eventually be the subject of a hit film, and would become famous (and infamous) for all the wrong reasons. So who is Michael Alig, and why has he re-emerged after nearly 20 years? 

Let's look at what we know about the so-called "Party Monster."

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1. He got his start as a busboy. 

According to New York Magazine, Michael Alig — a native of Indiana — came to New York on a scholarship to college. He was introduced to the New York City nightlife by a boyfriend of artist Keith Haring, and subsequently got a job at the Danceteria nightclub, working as a busboy. He eventually worked his way up to becoming a nightlife promoter. 

2. Michael Alig was the founder of the New York City "Club Kids." 

"After Andy Warhol’s death in 1987, when writer Michael Musto famously declared the “Death of Downtown” on the cover of the Village Voice, he took the reins, reorganized the hierarchy, and recalibrated the price of entry. By 1990 Alig had become the rambunctious, boyish, polka-dotted heir to Manhattan nightlife, a scene as wild as Warhol’s but one that replaced the Hollywood fame and aristocratic surnames with a more democratic belief in youthful freaks turning into glamorous personalities, based purely on how shocking and inventive they could be. The Club Kid aesthetic was very much Leigh Bowery meets the East Village Bowery, and Alig and his gang — which at various moments included such self-manufactured creations as James St. James, Jenny Talia, Amanda Lepore, Waltpaper, the It Twins, Richie Rich, Keoki, Sophia Lamar, RuPaul, Gitsie, and Mathu & Zaldy — became both local celebrities and national sensations," reported Interview Magazine, who did a profile on Alig at the time of his arrest.

3. He was convicted of murdering — and dismembering — a fellow "Club Kid." 

In court papers obtained by The Smoking Gun, Michael Alig and his roommate, Robert Riggs (known to the Club Kid circuit as "Freeze") got into an argument with Andre Melendez (known to the Club Kid circuit as "Angel") over, amongst other things, an outstanding drug debt. They killed him and subsequently dismembered his body. Alig ultimately accepted the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. 

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4. Michael Alig's life story was depicted in the film Party Monster

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Michael Alig's life story was depicted — in gruesome detail — in the film Party Monster. Macaulay Culkin starred as Alig in the film, making it his first starring role since 1994's Richie Rich. Based on the memoir of James St. James, Party Monster also starred Seth Green as James St. James, Marilyn Manson as Christina Superstar, Dylan McDermott as Peter Gatien, and Wilson Cruz as Angel Melendez. 

5. In recent times, there's been an effort to rewrite the New York City "Club Kids" narrative. 

"As well as rewriting the narrative, giving credit to these photographers was an important motivation for creating this book. Images of the Club Kids are regularly circulated on social media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr, but the photographers are frequently overlooked. Their work has been so widely pirated and passed around,” says Cassidy. “I wanted to create one spot where everything was accurately acknowledged and where the photographers were put forward as a force within this scene," says The British Journal of Photography.

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6. Michael Alig recently resurfaced in New Jersey. 

The New York Post reports that Michael Alig was recently spotted at the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, where he presented new Club Kid (and internet sensation) Desmond is Amazing with an award for his role in helping to combat bullying in schools. While Cindy Adams wasn't short on snark for Alig's re-emergence, it's also fair to say that every sinner has a future, and every saint has a past. And while, in no way, is this to suggest that what Michael Alig did was right, he served his time and should be given an opportunity to make things right. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.