Michael Alig: Death Has Always Really Frightened Me

Artist and Party Promoter

Photo Credit: Shefik

Michael Alig is an artist and party promoter, who served almost 17 years in prison for manslaughter. He was a co-founder and ringleader of the Club Kids, a group of New York City clubgoers that became a cultural phenomenon during the 1980s and 1990s.

My name is Michael Alig, and I'm an artist and party promoter. And, you know, death has always really frightened me. Ever since I was a kid, we had a cherry-tree out in the front yard. And I remember one year, I think I was about three years old, there was a huge storm and it blew all the cherry blossoms off the tree. And I remember my grandmother telling me that there would be no cherries that season. And it frightened me, because I sort of considered cherries as kind of like the babies of the tree, and carrying on the lifeline, and so forth. And I was so afraid that there would be no babies, no cherries that year, that I went around town with a box and collected as many of the blossoms that I could. And I brought them back to the tree and tried to put them back on the tree. And that kind impermanence frightened me, because it reminded me of my own immortality. Ever since then, everything that was impermanent, like, temporary, like sandcastles, and fireworks, and flowers blooming, and things like that, have frightened me, because they can't last. Nothing you can do can make them last any longer. And then Kansas came out with that song, with their song Dust in the Wind. I think it was like 1973. And the line all the money in the world won't another minute buy, or something like that, just frightened the hell out of me, because I thought you know, if all the money in the world won't buy another minute, then what will buy another minute. And nothing will. And that was frightening me. Well, it frightens me. And that's what attracted me to Clubland later on, the temporary, the fleetingness of everything, especially a club like Area that had a different theme that changed every few weeks. If you weren't there, you couldn't explain it to anybody who wasn't there, and so that meant you had to be there and you had to experience that. You know, you had to experience life. And that was what attracted me to it.

Last Updated: September 10, 2021

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