One need only read the comments on our post-prison interview with Michael Alig to know he has his haters, but the former King of the Club Kids believes one of them has gone too far. Upon hearing that Alig’s talk show would be taking up residency at Lovegun, an editor at Next magazine pulled his own party from the Williamsburg gay bar. Now Alig is accusing the editor of trying to sabotage his comeback.
After being shut up for 17 years, far away from mounds of ketamine and raucous parties at the Limelight, Alig has been putting his life back together. He has popped up in some downtown galleries, appeared in a new documentary, and is now back on the nightlife scene via The Pee-Ew, a daily internet talk show.
Alig admits the owners of Lovegun “were slightly reluctant” about hosting live tapings of his show, the first of which occurs tomorrow night. But other people involved with Lovegun were a little more than “reluctant.” Earlier this week, we received a curious email from Ernie Glam, Alig’s co-host on The Pee-ew, with the subject line: “Unethical conduct by Next Magazine’s nightlife editor in Williamsburg.”
Glam claimed that Mark Dommu “used his influence as an editor of New York City’s leading gay nightlife publication to provoke a cancellation of The Pee-ew’s residency.”
Alig gave us his version of events: “Last week Mark called Pez Epstein, the director of Lovegun. And, this is the quote I got from Pez.” He sent us a screenshot of a text message reading: “Just off the phone with that guy from NEXT. He has threatened to drag love gun thru the mud. Too funny!!!”
It’s clear the editors of Next aren’t fans of Alig. About a month after he was released from prison, they published “About Michael Alig,” an article subtitled “Why Next Magazine didn’t jump on the media bandwagon surrounding the club kid killer’s release.”
“Basically [Mark] wrote a very long piece about how he would never write any long pieces about me,” Alig laughed. Though Dommu may have participated in writing the piece (we can’t be sure because the byline is simply “The Editors”), it’s actually editor-in-chief John Russell who’s quoted extensively.
“I don’t want to celebrate a murderer,” he says, doubting that Alig is remorseful at all. According to Russell, Alig’s most serious offense is that he didn’t simply disappear after getting out of prison, and instead chose to engage in “celebrity culture” like a “washed-up diva attempting to make a post-rehab comeback.”
We asked Alig why he thinks Dommu might have it out for him. “Party Monster is kind of the vehicle that has perpetrated this myth,” he said. “Anybody who knows me, like really knows me, knows me from the past, has worked with me before, they know what kind of person I am and they don’t have a problem with me. It’s the people who have never met me— who know of the movie or have heard stories about me— those are the people who make a judgment call.”
Alig hinted that Dommu’s own monthly party at Lovegun, BOOP, might have something to do with the bad blood. We reached out to Next Magazine‘s editor-in-chief as well as Dommu, but received no reply.
Paul Leopold (who along with Dommu co-founded The Culture Whore, a Brooklyn-based “art collective” known for their killer parties) told Avant-Garde Montreal magazine that he and Dommu decided to cancel BOOP after hearing that “the infamous party monster” would be having a party of his own at the bar.
“When we learned about this we were really upset and we were like, we’re not gonna let that happen,” Leopold told the show’s host. He cited “philosophical” differences between himself and Alig: “We don’t believe that a place that we support should be supporting a murderer who seems not really to have changed much or to have much remorse for the situation that went down.”
Leopold also pointed to a divide between their respective scenes. “Our scene is very friendly and very inclusive and very welcoming and our impression of his scene is kind of dark and sort of nostalgic for a time that’s gone by.”
He described the crowd surrounding Michael Alig as “pariahs” and “people who are so desperate for fame they will hang out with a murderer to gain attention.” Though Leopold admitted The Culture Whore is “very much influenced by the club kid scene and Michael Alig himself and a lot of interviews he’s done and a lot of things he stood for at that time,” he said he disliked that “people would compare us to him: ‘You guys are the club kids of now.’”
According to Leopold’s account, he approached the owners of Lovegun– one of whom is Benjamin Maisani, co-owner of East Village gay bar Eastern Bloc– to find “not all the owners seemed to be aware of this.”
“They’re smart enough to realize they don’t want to be associated with that either,” Leopold said, implying that Lovegun’s owners were making moves to cancel The Pee-Ew. “It was just a manager who booked Michael Alig,” he says.
Dommu appears to have been largely silent on his private social media accounts (from what we can see, anyway) about his issue with Alig, save for a comment that has since been deleted from Facebook in which Dommu wrote, “It’s pretty amazing to me that you-know-who is still able to manipulate the media the way he did decades ago.” But Leopold posted about the “public feud” between Dommu and Alig, and summarized the most forgiving statements from his own interview with the Montreal mag:
I wish nothing but the best for Michael Alig. I don’t hate him at all. I want good things to happen in his life. I just don’t think he should be throwing parties. I don’t think he should be involved in the nightlife scene in New York City anymore. I think that if he’s on the road to some sort of rehabilitation, if he’s on the road to being a changed person, someone who deserves our forgiveness, then he should show us that by cultivating a different sort of energy in his life, not by trying to throw a party in some bar that seems like it’s just trying to capitalize on the fame that he garnered from murdering someone.
Alig says of projects like The Pee-ew, “I’m not returning to nightlife, I’m just trying to earn a living.” He also says he’s never happy to hear that someone doesn’t like him. “The reason that I decided to become a party promoter and the reason why a lot of people decide to become party promoters, even club kids, it’s because we are extremely needy individuals. We want and need people around us all the time, having fun and giving us reassurance and telling us that they love us, and vice versa.”