Rita Ora at Paper Magazine’s Beautiful People Party
It was weird not attending the Paper Magazine + DKNY 17th Annual Beautiful People Party this past Friday at Up & Down. Alas I had to get up early, 5am, to visit another beautiful person, Michael Alig. It was my last visit before he is released next Monday, May 5. He has been down, err, incarcerated for about 17 years. I would have gone to visit my old friend on Sunday, but alas, a terminally ill and truly beautiful little girl wanted that Sunday to visit Michael. It was, I understand, one of those last wish things. Michael’s return to the beautiful people is in full force. I and a handful of others will meet him and settle him in as a media frenzy itches for any news.
If I had gone to the Paper party I would have chatted up Perez Hilton, as I was told he was there. I would have told him things I probably shouldn’t have, as the media is being carefully controlled. Paper’s Mickey Boardman would have plied more info out of me with his beautiful smile and quick wit all dressed up in DKNY. Papers main man David Hershkovitz and I had already chatted for an hour earlier in the day about how dynamic Michael Alig was before the drugs and the scene he helped create crashed and burned. His murder of Angel Melendez, of course, the flash point.
One of the things David and I discussed was the way we remember the times. MIchael did Limelight’s Wednesday night Disco 2000 weekly shebang, which was club kid heaven until it became hellish. He drew a couple hundred or maybe 400 people to sister clubs Tunnel, USA and Palladium on other nights. Those clubs invariably had 3,000 to 5,000 people in and out. To blame Michael as some do on the demise of nightlife seems a bit much. He and his crew were in many cases glorified go-go dancers, or as someone once said, the honey used to lure in the thousands that filled the mega-clubs of yore. Of course there were so many sub-scenes attending the clubs. Beautiful people including actors, models, fashionistas, artists, poets, dancers and the music heads—the whole New York scene of bold and beautiful creatures of the night were there to party. Most saw Michael’s beautiful candle pass surrounded by the fluttering of his moths and just smiled and went on chatting or dancing without a second thought.
For 17 years, Paper has found “beautiful people” to celebrate as life and nightlife did go on without Michael. Of course the same cannot be said for Angel Melendez, who is always painted as the “victim,” which on many levels is true because he came out on the dead end of a fight he started those 17 years ago. Angel was a drug dealer trying to recover drugs a couple of addicts Robert “Freeze” Riggs and Michael stole from him. He attacked Michael while he was sleeping and Freeze hit Angel in the head with a hammer. The two idiots addicted to heroin and unable to conceive of a day without smack didn’t call the cops and plead self-defense, but instead finished off the dying drug dealer with a pillow. They dismembered him and went on to tell people about it. Not very nice, not very brilliant, not unpredictable.
Angel and other drug dealers often go out like this. They get robbed, beaten up and get arrested for long periods of time. Angel, if he survived could have done similar time as Michael if the hammer of the law had gotten him. Angel sold drugs to young people. I don’t know the fate of any of them. Did they get off the drugs? OD? Live miserable underachieving lives? I don’t know the results of Angel’s career choice. Drug dealers are despicable. Angel was no angel. He didn’t deserve to die, but never the less his demise, if it were not for the Alig involvement, would have been a line on page 17 of the newspapers. A drug dealer getting killed is not big news.
The prison visiting room was filled with rapists and drug dealers, murderers and thieves, armed robbers and child molesters. Society will give them another chance after 17 years or more or less. It’s the way things work. We won’t notice their re-entry into our world. We won’t get angry or protest their resurrection. Most will wish them well and hope for the best. Same is true with Michael Alig. Most are hopeful and most will wish him the best. To those who cannot find forgiveness, I understand but feel sorry for them. Forgiveness is a big step in resurrections. I used to hate Angel, and Alig as well for many years. Alig’s cooperation with the Federal Government impacted me and many others greatly. Yes, I long ago forgave him for being a lying rat. He was just lost in it all. I have always maintained that I was not guilty of the crimes I was accused and convicted of, but I have never expressed innocence.
So many of us were not guilty, but few were innocent. Many pundits much smarter than I have put in their two cents while standing on much higher ground than I in my ripe old age can possibly climb about the destruction and the release. I remember them all being there as the scene turned from gold to black. So many of the talking heads took money and drink tickets from Michael. They saw the scene collapsing into heroin and death and didn’t say or write a word back then, as they sipped the free swill and basked in the flames of Michael’s glory. That’s 17 years ago.
I remember it through the haze of a world that has since given me cell phones and computers and reality TV and so many beautiful things denied the “party monster.” Rightfully so. He has paid a steep price losing so many valuable years jailed in horrible places surrounded by the not so beautiful. We should never forget, but I and so many others can’t wait to see what happens next. It will be amazing. I’m telling you that. R.I.P. Angel Melendez, I wonder where you would be if Michael and Freeze didn’t kill your dreams. You sold drugs so that the beautiful people of 17 years ago would accept you and you were done wrong. 17 years has me only remembering the good in you.
PAPER + DKNY 17th Annual Beautiful People Party