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Must Buy OTD: The Pansy Beat Book, Commemorating the Influential Downtown Art/Drag Magazine of the Late ’80s and Early ’90s

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Well, Pansy Beat! My GOODNESS! Do you REMEMBER? It was only THE go-to downtown drag ‘zine of its time (that time being the incredibly creative years of 1989 and 1990). Everybody who was anybody was featured in its pages. Smart, chic, and infinitely quotable, the memorable magazine certainly made its impact on the NYC club scene (and beyond!). I think I had every photo on my refrigerator or bulletin board at one time or another.

Now it’s back, in lovely book form.

Pansy Beat was a short-lived fanzine published by Michael Economy in New York from 1989–1990, totaling five quarterly issues. Each issue’s 50-some black-and-white pages documented the exuberant downtown gay and drag club scene of that era and included one free condom. The zine offered a glimpse into an exhilarating alternative universe during the darkest years of the AIDS crisis.

Interviews profiled downtown personalities on the verge of global stardom, many still working to this day. Artists such as Lady Bunny, Billy Erb, Connie Fleming, Kenny Kenny, Lady Miss Kier and Larry Tee first shared their memorable selves in print on the pages of Pansy Beat. The zine also featured interviews with Edwige Belmore, Leigh Bowery and Quentin Crisp.

This book celebrates Pansy Beat’s brief but influential life including a reprinting of all five issues in their original format, previously unseen photographs by staff photographer Michael Fazakerley, new full-color artwork by some of the original contributors, plus new essays and interviews. Design by Jan Wandrag.

Only $35 for an amazing piece of New York drag history! Get your copy here!

There’s also a fabulous companion river box set with posters and photos that you can read about here.


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