New Exhibit Celebrates “My Comrade,” a Zine That Transformed the New York Drag Scene

In time for Pride Month, there is a special exhibition at the Howl! Happening gallery on East 1st Street featuring drag artist Linda Simpson’s “My Comrade” Magazine. The show, “My Comrade magazine: Happy 35th Gay Anniversary,” features photos and black-and-white images from the pioneering zine’s articles, along with a brand-new issue, for the first time in 16 years. 

Included are never-before-seen images and artifacts documenting a revolutionary and seminal period in gay history.

The magazine was founded by Linda Simpson in 1987 during the AIDS crisis and, Howl! writes, “served as a symbol of hope and frivolity to the East Village gay scene and beyond. Armed with a tongue-in-cheek “revolutionary” agenda, the magazine glorified heroic drag queens and sexy guys in a cut-and-paste mishmash of articles and photo spreads. Lesbians got their due when the flip side became Sister! The sporadic publishing schedule produced a total of eleven issues until 1994. It was revived in 2004 for two more.”

Smithsonian Magazine sums it up in a great write up:

“…in the 1980s, drag was a largely underground movement—one controversial even within the gay community.

That started to change in the latter part of the decade, when legendary queens like RuPaulLady Bunny, and Tabboo! came to prominence at the Pyramid Club in New York’s Lower East Side. And Linda Simpson was there to document it all.”

Open Wed – Sun | 11AM – 6PM at Howl Happening (6 E. 1st St. )