Featuring a DJ set by Lady Bunny
Linda Simpson celebrates the second re-print of her book "The Drag Explosion" with performances by Julie J, Voxigma Lo, Paris Alexander and Linda Felcher
Linda Simpson is one of those New Yorkers who makes you remember why you love New York. The downtown drag queen has seen it all, and documented a good chunk of it with her camera. The list of people she’s photographed, and befriended, is long and illustrious. Having moved to the city back in the early ’80s from Minnesota to study at NYU, Linda quickly became a part of the downtown scene hosting parties and publishing a street zine called My Comrade. Linda was there when RuPaul, Lady Bunny, and Leigh Bowery were making names for themselves in local East Village bars like the Pyramid Club. She got to know Joey Arias, Tabboo!, and Justin Vivian Bond.
This year she released her coffee table book The Drag Explosion, which features candid photos of those I just mentioned, plus many others. The book is a love letter to her community and to New York. Early one April evening we sat down with Linda to discuss the book, her life and her first impressions of some of the people that make this city so special.
We love the book, it’s so fun to look through. So much queer New York history and so many interesting people. How did you end up in New York City? I grew up in Minnesota. I originally came to New York for school. I went to NYU for about a year and a half. I actually dropped out and then moved away for a while, but then I came back and went to FIT. …
The biggest drag festival celebrates their 10th anniversary
With The House of Tisci, Kandy Muse, Xunami Muse, Leyna Bloom, Bowen Yang, Aquaria, Symone, Parker Kit Hill, Papi Juice, Linux, Adam Eli, West Dakota, Tyler Ashley and many more. Guests celebrated Calvin's Pride initiatives at an after-party at The Flower Shop on the LES in New York City.
An all drag production created by Sasha Velour
Honey Dijon has been DJing since she was a kid at her parents’ house parties in Chicago. While she’s been a longtime mainstay of house music and queer party scenes since moving to New York in the 1990s, the last few years she’s really grown, doing everything from creating mixes for Kim Jones’s Louis Vuitton menswear shows to headlining dance festivals in Europe to launching her own clothing brand with Comme des Garçons, titled Honey Fucking Dijon (exactly!). Honey was refreshingly open and honest when we spoke, serving up plenty of pearls of wisdom — it was a pleasure to spend some time with her.
When you were a kid you used to DJ at your parent’s parties. I was curious if you remember which songs and artists you were playing? Like many African-American families, music was a huge part of our lives. My parents were middle-class/working-class, and every weekend they would have these massive parties. It was awesome because I would sit at the edge of the stairs and I would hear glasses clinking and people cursing each other out. I was just so attracted and drawn to that energy. I think the laughter and the joy was probably the thing that really attracted me because it just seemed like people were having such a good time. I grew up at a great time when there was a lot of conscious music — you know, music was one of the things that helped black people deal with oppression and racism and all of these things. …
With a screening of the premiere of Rupaul's Drag Race All Stars 6
With performances by Olivia Lux, Vena Cava, Shanita Bump and Boy Radio
We captured Susanne's looks during a 5 week period while she was hosting her 'On Top' party via Zoom...
There is only one Susanne Bartsch. The queen of New York nightlife has been throwing parties for decades and nothing can stop her, not the first plague to affect our community, during which she threw balls to raise money for those most impacted, and not this current pandemic. Susanne is continuing to bring together the best of nightlife, but now online. The digital events she’s been organizing are a joyful escape for those stuck at home, and a lifeline for many performers who have no other way to earn a living right now.
Do you want to start with history or do you want to start with now? Oh, you know the history.
Well tell me a little bit about how you came from Switzerland and how you first got into doing parties? I came to New York for a love affair. It was February 14, 1981 and I came for love but I fell in love with New York instead. I loved everything, the energy, and the possibilities.
At the beginning, I was in the fashion business. I had a store on West Thompson Street where I was importing young English designers like Body Map, Galliano, people who were still in college then, Stephen Jones, Leigh Bowery, Rachel Auburn, and to grow I decided to put on a show called “New London in New York.” I did that at the Roxy in May of 1983. There was a line around the Roxy of people waiting to get in. …