Don’t let the Conway banker blue button-down and burgundy tie fool you – this is Michael’s way of getting his subversive views across on television. He puts it best: “It’s better to be bland and generic and have your ideas do the performing for you.” Nevertheless, the veteran social columnist loves what he does so much that staying current, not trendy (there is a difference he says), is second nature. Not far beneath the surface is the flamboyant lead singer of a band during the ’80′s that headlined at the coolest of places including Danceteria and The Mudd and Pyramid clubs. Michael’s outfits were so striking at that time that he had his own entourage with camera following him around (he is hoping to revisit the look at some point on television). However, Michael is not one of those people who says things were better back then. On the contrary, he feels that bohemia was more exciting, but that now bohemia has been subsumed by the mainstream with drag queens having TV shows and “gay, gay, gay everywhere.” It’s a world that Michael feels he that has fought for for his entire career.
Today and since the “glory days,” Michael’s been writing for The Village Voice. With his naturally charming wit, he says that you have to really care like he does, not only about what you are commenting on, but about the “residual fame from being the fly on the wall, documenting and taking notes on celebrities and pop culture.” On his beloved bicycle, carrying a backpack filled with alternate outfits depending on the occasion, he covers all of the newest films, shows and any and every new avenue of entertainment. Like Clark Kent turning into Superman, out comes the Mona Lisa tie, shaggy Marc Jacobs vest, paisley blazer and anything that he might need for the huge variety of events he attends daily. Much of Michael’s wardrobe has remained in his closet, because he doesn’t like to throw anything – or anyone, as he refers to his garments – away.
Writing was a way out of his shyness as a kid. Michael found going to the movies, for the two hours that it took him out of his “really unhappy childhood,” a getaway. He began reviewing the films he saw on index cards and from then on, immediately knew how it felt to come from a sincere place when it came to his opinions. Clothes at that time were joyless because “his mother dressed him,” but the day he wore a Greek robe for a play, he suddenly felt what it was like to be “Elizabeth Taylor in Boom,” without the headdress. “Celebrities were up there, captivating me and having the nerve to wear outrageous things and say outrageous things… they were always a catharisis, they are always an escape… and what I write about is more interesting than anything I can make up.” Although it’s Michael’s unusually clever take that makes the celebs interesting to me and makes me laugh, he also knows when to sit back and let even the shallowest end of the culture pool have its fifteen minutes of fame, as Andy predicted it would. Michael recently decided to accept Charlie Sheen’s lack of sanity as a way to retain his own, given that Charlie isn’t going anywhere soon.