Remembering The Early Days of The Michael Alig Crime Coverage

Categories: Nightlife

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I'm no Woodward or Bernstein, but I was at the forefront of getting out the buzz on the famed club kid slaying when word started percolating in 1996.

I had chronicled Michael Alig's rise and fall from day one. I was the first one to write about him and was involved in many of his events, celebrating what was exciting about the scene while also acting as an elder statesman and critic who chided him when he went too far, which was often.

And he had started to go so far over the top that I'd decided to stop writing about him. There was no fun around him anymore--just caked-on makeup, drugs, and desperation.

But suddenly he was newsworthy again.

The first week of April 1996, Alig called me to say he'd been fired by Peter Gatien, owner of Limelight, where Alig threw his outrageous and colorful club kid bashes for years.

Alig sounded jittery and messy--really on the edge--and was giving various suspect reasons for his firing.

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Gay Nightlife Wars Heat Up

Categories: Nightlife

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XL--the gay dance club that's attached to the Out NYC hotel--has gone through some changes this year, including the letting go of co-owners John Blair and Beto Sutter, who resurfaced with a hit party at Stage 48 on Saturdays, thereby giving them heavy competition.

The contest has gotten fierce, so XL keeps upping the ante and changing their slate,which is either wonderfully invigorating or terribly confusing, depending on your point of view. On certain nights they're just plain closed, but on others, they've got tons of s**t going on. On Sundays they've instituted a Strip 'N Grind party "featuring over 30 dancers, lap dancers, pole dancers, champagne rooms, live erotic acts and burlesque."

Thanks to the talent alone, the place will always look crowded

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Happy Anniversary, Susanne Bartsch

Categories: Nightlife

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Patrick McDonald, Bartsch with the puppies, Arias. Photo by Tina Paul.
At her weekly party with singer Joey Arias at the Soho Grand, promoter/hostess extraordinaire Susanne Bartsch elegantly announced, "Happy anniversary to me! It's the one-year anniversary of my tits."

Afterwards, I cornered her to specify just what she meant--I'm slow school--and the Swiss miss explained, "I had them lifted a year ago."

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Lucky Cheng's Slapped With Violations! Owner Responds

Categories: Nightlife

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It's just temporary, I'm sure, but the drag restaurant Lucky Cheng's--which moved to West 52nd Street last October--might have some more offensive things going on than potential bad lipsynchs.

I passed by the place the other night and saw a sign in the window saying the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had closed it, along with that dreaded "Grade Pending" sign.

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A Wonderful Celebration Of Nelson Sullivan Last Night

Categories: Nightlife

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Brian Belovitch, me, Debbe Cole, Lady Miss Kier. Photo: Jim Russell
NYU may be gobbling up the entire Village, but at least they're paying respect to a late video artist to make up for it.

Last night, I was a speaker at a Fales Library tribute to Nelson Sullivan, who documented '80s bohemia with his penetrating lens, captivated by anyone with a ratty wig and a dream.


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The Gong Show Is Coming Back

Categories: Nightlife

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And this time it's live and in your face!

At the Cutting Room, on the first Thursday of the month, starting May 2, The Gong Show will bring back astounding, amazing, stupefying talent that will dumbfound a panel of judges into either going for the gong or simply clubbing themselves over the head with it.

In the 1970s, The Gong Show was Chuck Barris's inspired descent into lunacy--a salty spoof of show biz aspirations that had ghastly singers, klutzy jugglers, and bagged comics vying for top--or rather-bottom--honors while the judges filleted their dreams of stardom with withering remarks and eyerolls.

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Fire Island Pavilion Is Rebuilt And Ready For Another Try! Here's The Dish

Categories: Nightlife

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Tony Fornabaio (right), with Brandon L. Voss and Roze Black
The Fire Island Pines' famed Pavilion club burned down in 2011, but after the input of a lot of effort and cash, it's up and dancing again.

Tony Fornabaio--the hot NYC gay party promoter who's managing the place--just told me how the Pavilion shall rise like a gay phoenix.


Hi, Tony. So the club is reopening on Memorial Day weekend?

Yes. The soft opening is on that Thursday. It'll be smallish, mainly for homeowners, investors, and people who've been involved in the Pavilion. It's early, from 8 to 12. Robbie Leslie will DJ. Friday is the grand opening, with DJs Phil B, Michael Fierman, and John Ceglia. And Saturday, Tony Moran and Eddie Elias will DJ. We're doing the opening weekend as a homage to the DJs that created the sound in Fire Island. And we're doing a circus theme.


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And The Queen Of NYC Nightlife Is...

Categories: Nightlife

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Photo by Mark Williams
Swiss miss Susanne Bartsch.

Still? Yes, after all these years, Ms. Bartsch still draws the fabbies and whooshes them into a creatively rich experience that propels them into the after-hours like space rockets with accessories. And with her own sylphlike body and ethereal outfits, she totally looks the part of the hostess from the lunar-coastess.

Picture this:

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Daniel Isengart's Book Launch Drew The Fabbies In Droves

Categories: Nightlife

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Isengart (left), Machine Gun Dazzle (right), nice people (center)
The reading/soiree for The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart--by the chichi singer--attracted the literati, as Daniel himself told me.

The bash--at the Bartsch/Arias Tuesday night at Soho Grand--packed the room with people of substance, not the usual half-baked poseurs who often go to such things.

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West Village Piano Bar Is Fun Again!

Categories: Nightlife

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Photo: Yelp
Not long ago, I told you how a trip to my beloved Marie's Crisis piano bar at 59-Grove Street turned into a nightmare when I faced a long line of bachelorettes and other unlikely types waiting to get in. What's more, when I finally made it inside, some new door person slash coat check guy told me to go back out, close the door in my face, and wait some more.

Unfortunately for him, I happened to be with an Observer reporter, who wrote a whole piece about the hellish encounter. Thankfully, it turns out that was just some quirky, off night and the curse has lifted! And he seems to be gone!

Last Friday, Marie's was its old raucous, festive, illogical, spontaneous, showtune-loving self, filled with a magical group that encompassed all shapes, sizes, and sexualities, the common bond being a pure love of musical theater.

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