Visiting Michael Alig In Prison: His Past, Present, & Soon-To-Be Future

I visited Michael Alig at the place of his incarceration: Elmira, N.Y. It’s about a four-hour drive unless you stop at Friendly’s or Dobb’s Country Kitchen to commiserate with locals. On the way, I stop a lot. I get gas. I buy cigarettes. I buy Redbulls, coffee, water… mixed nuts too. I pause to watch the rapid waters of the Susquehanna roll by. If I had seen roses on the way…I’d have stopped to smell them too. 

Part of me hesitates heading up to a joint. Elmira Correctional Facility is nice compared to other such places. Even the concertina wire and steel gates seem less foreboding than at Coxsackie or Rikers or the other places where Michael has been rehabilitating over the last 16 years. It’s been 16 years. 

Jeter was Rookie of the Year when this started. The Taliban had just taken Kabul. Tupac had just died. The O.J. trial had begun. Braveheart was best picture. Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was caught. The Summer Olympics was in Atlanta, and Yassar Arafat and the Israelis dropped the removal of each other as a plan. Peace seemed at hand. Clinton was president and some people were talking Whitewater. A cloned sheep named Dolly was the buzz, and Motorola introduced it’s easy-to-handle StarTAC cellphone. The world was changing fast as Michael was forced to slow down.

Michael went in an asshole, a murderer, an out-of-control drug maniac. I had long stopped being a friend. He needed to be locked up. His world of wonder, glamour, glitz, destruction, and self destruction ended the hard way. Michael rarely chose the easy way. His moment in the sun has been filmed and written about and discussed in magazines and on the world wide web, which he has yet to experience firsthand. 

People tweet for him, spewing out his snarky, daring, and eyebrow-raising takes on everything. He is very prolific. He has a lot of time on his hands. He paints a lot. He sent me home with a bunch of good ones. He has become an artist while inside. The guard at the desk on the way out told me "we have a lot of artists in here." There’s some sort of scandal going on with some of his paintings. I’ll get to it soon, but want the opportunity to talk to "Mary" who allegedly sold some of Michael’s work, claiming they belonged to her. Life has taught me that there are at least two sides to every story. 

Michael looks better than ever. I met him back in ’83 when he was a busboy at Danceteria. He threw some small parties and rose quickly. Me and mine picnicked in Central Park with him and his. We took day trips to farm country, saw concerts at night. Drugs and the scandals that rocked our worlds would come later. We were very naive.

He is healthier now. Muscular and trim from working out in his spare time. Everything except working on his book, painting, and flirting is spare time in the joint. I am amazed at how focused and coherent he is. His incarceration seems to have rehabilitated him mentally as well. He laughs and tells tales of days of yore – the good days, not the chaos – and hate at the end. Everyone who meets with him or corresponds with him looks for remorse as a measure of the man who may soon join the living.

Around me, he is wholeheartedly remorseful. I believe in him fully, knowing that he knows remorse is the price of admission for a continued friendship with me. I wasn’t born yesterday and will judge Michael on his actions till our end. 

He is finishing a drug program aimed at preparing him for life in the real world. The real world is scary. He is worried how he will be viewed. When told "so and so" won’t want to see him again, he is visibly upset. The desire to have everyone love him which drove him to massive success and a massive crash and burn still runs deep. He needs to be loved and hates being hated almost as much as not being noticed. Although supremely informed about tech stuff, cell phones, social media, reality TV, and the internet – he has never experienced these things directly. 

We who love him for the most part understand him and fear the bombardment of food, sex, and media that awaits. I have a feeling on a possible release date, but will just cross my fingers and say a silent prayer. i don’t want to jinx it. Release is inevitable. There are those that will never accept his return to society. They have a right to their stance. They have lived for 16 years without Michael, but without Angel Melendez as well. 

A new life is Michael’s fate, while no such fate belongs to Angel.There will be books and films and TV shows. There will be interviews and public appearances. Someone is even trying to bring a musical about it all to Broadway. Those who haven’t been blessed with Michael and his charms will be made aware of them. 

Old friends and companions hopefully have outgrown the "old" Michael. The fans, zealots, and losers who worship at the old alter must not have a say. Michael will be lifted in a sea of attention. 

Will all this attention unleash the long-buried, controlled-by-incarceration Party Monster, or will the Michael I hung out with on visiting day with Victor Corona and Amanda Noa emerge? We’ll see.

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5 Things Lil Wayne Will Do During His First Week Home

There are approximately 48 hours left until officials at Rikers Island finally Free Weezy. The rapper eater has been locked away since March, and his November 4 release date – some prefer to call it Independence Day – is almost upon us. While there are definitely a few perks to being Weezy, even behind bars – like having Kanye West stop by to personally deliver verses from his new album, or being the first artist in 15 years (since Tupac) to release a number one album from the pen – his impatient public awaits. The original plans for Weezy’s homecoming celebration included a blow out concert at MSG with his Young Money crew, but that’s been scrapped in favor of a direct route home to spend time with the “family.” The most recent post-clink teaser came from Drake, who hinted that Wayne might appear at one of his final tour stops in Las Vegas on November 6, but that’s all speculation – and we have a few speculations of our own.

5 Things Lil Wayne Will Do During His First Week Home:

Smoke Record Amounts of Weed. Pittsburg rapper Wiz Khalifa recently admitted to smoking $10,000 worth of green on a monthly basis, but that’s just a small flame compared to the fire Weezy will start burning come November 4. A glimpse of the amount of weed Wayne smoked during his freestyle sessions in the Nino Brown DVD series is enough to be certain that his rumored “professional blunt rollers” will have to bring their A-game this celebratory month.

Record At Least 10 Mixtapes Worth of Material. The mad rapper hasn’t penned a single verse since his legendary “10,000 bars” freestyle (prior to 2004’s Tha Carter album), when he realized he was better off spitting his rhymes directly into the mic. And after being forced to scribble notes like a common rapper for 8 months, Wayne is itching to get back to letting go live. The Cash Money team is already working on plans to set up a studio in Wayne’s jet so that he can record verses on the way home from Rikers. Give this man seven days and he’ll have enough material to drop a new song mixtape every week until Christmas.

Launch an Official Sports Blog. Prior to his jail stint, the self-acclaimed sports fanatic had already blogged a few entries for ESPN. But during his confinement, Wayne expanded his expert sports analysis to include his personal blog and a new entry for Sports Illustrated, where he gave his predictions for the 2010 U.S. Open (“Nadal wins it all“). Wayne will be freed from jail just in time to catch his favorite QB Brett Favre battle his medical problems/media scandal, and catch LeBron and Wade jump-start the NBA season as a resident of Miami. An official Weezy Sports Blog would just be the next logical step.

Top Jay-Z and Eminem’s ‘Home and Home’ Concert Series. These sold-out New York and Detroit shows have been billed as one of the most historic concert series in hip-hop history, but Weezy might be the only man capable of topping that. In addition to having the Young Money army – namely, Drake and Nicki Minaj — at his disposal, and building the biggest homecoming anticipation of the year, everybody else wants a piece of Wayne. We heard Eminem shouting “Free Weezy” on stage at Yankee Stadium and Comerica Park, before performing their duet “No Love,” and you better believe that if Eminem shows up, everyone else will. Plus, if you’ve ever watched Jay-Z run through his extensive catalog of songs, live, only to declare “I’ve got a million of these!” who better to compete than the man who can’t stop making hits?

Not Go Back to Jail Again. There’s a small chance that Wayne could pull a T.I.– get freed, talk redemption, get locked up again – but just the thought of having to scribble another rhyme could be reason enough to limit his public drug use and dissuade him from “attempting to possess firearms.” To be safe, though, hold on to your ‘Free Weezy’ shirts just in case.