Last week, four Memphis Flyer staffers flew to Tucson, Arizona, for the annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) convention — four days of workshops, lectures, and socializing with editors and staffers from alternative newsweeklies across the country. Different papers host the conference in their hometowns each year.
Thankfully, our folks made it home safely from Tucson. But that almost wasn't the case for Albuquerque Weekly Alibi senior editor Michael Henningsen in 1999, when the Flyer hosted the AAN conference in Memphis.
In the July 7, 1999, issue, former Flyer staffer Phil Campbell reported that a federal grand jury had just indicted two men — Alexius Montgomery and James Gilmore — for kidnapping Henningsen while he was in town for the June convention.
The Alibi editor had been in Memphis for two days when he was assaulted in the parking lot of Amnesia, a now-defunct gay club located where Senses is now. Henningsen was hit over the head with a gun and what he believes was a piece of asphalt. Then he was forced at gunpoint to withdraw money from an ATM, before being shoved into the trunk of his rental car.
He was hauled around in the trunk for four hours, some of which were spent in a high-speed chase with police. Eventually, Montgomery and Gilmore wrecked the car, and Henningsen was rescued with no injuries. The editor went home to Albuquerque but returned to Memphis a few weeks later to provide more information to federal prosecutors.