Infamous New York City club promoter and “party monster” Michael Alig is infamously out of prison this week, and we have the selfie, first free meal photo (a burrito), and letter of advice from James St. James to prove it. That letter we posted on Monday, originally published by World of Wonder — the media company St. James works for and the production crew behind the Party Monster film on which Alig’s life and murder of Angel Melendez was based — got a lot of attention. No doubt Michael Musto, the New York City columnist who chronicled Alig’s rise and fall in the ’90s, noticed it too.
So Musto has penned his own letter to Alig, both accusing him of destroying nightlife in New York City (probably correct) and offering his own advice, mainly pleading with the newly-freed man to make something of his life, and to do it while staying sober.
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!
And I still have fond memories of the fun, the frolics, the outrageousness and the kick in the pants you regularly gave to society’s complacence and bad taste. You didn’t get on the cover of New York magazine early on for nothing; you represented the new wave in nightlife and the dramatic possibilities that were bringing a jolt to the mwah-mwah world of polite clubbing. You shook all that up, but then you screwed it up by abusing your freedoms, forgetting your guidelines, and thinking you were above the law and beyond human decency.
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.