Mark Hogancamp’s alcoholism was literally beaten out of him. Now his trauma and transformation are on the big screen in the new documentary, Marwencol
BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE — I started dancing, really dancing, at 38. Until then, that ultimate form of stepping-out-of-my-shell was too much like stepping out of Michelle. My turning point came four years ago at Halloween when I donned a mini-dress with a wild psychedelic print, a big blonde beehive wig and electric green gogo boots. As it turns out, the alter ego I created — “Gogo Batgirl” — can dance, and not in a lame, white-bread way. She has no fear, moves gracefully and is a lot more fun at parties than my official “me.”
As freeing as that costume was, I was okay with storing it in a box afterward and going back to my everyday self.
The line between self and alternative-self is not so clearly defined for Mark Hogancamp.
A part-time illustrator and full-time drunk living in Kingston, NY, he was severely beaten outside a bar in 2000. When he woke from a nine-day coma he remembered nothing of his former life — not even that he liked the taste of alcohol. Instant recovery from his addiction, however, was only small solace for the brain damage that cost him his memories and fine motor skills and forced him to relearn to eat, walk, read and write.