The Drag Explosion – A Stroll Through New York City’s Drag Scene of the 1980s and ’90s
A glorious queendom rules once more in The Drag Explosion, an enlightening and educational photographic time capsule of NYC’s momentous drag scene from the late 1980s to the mid ‘90s. All photos were shot by longtime drag personality Linda Simpson, back when film ruled and it was the exception to hobnob
with a camera.
During this time of remarkable growth and surge in popularity for New York’s wiggy subculture, Linda took hundreds of just-for-fun snapshots—vivid and intimate portraits of the most colorful characters of their day as they joyfully pushed the boundaries of gender expression.
Viewers are transported back to the underground East Village (including the legendary Pyramid Club and the drag festival Wigstock), nightlife adventures galore (at Limelight, Palladium and other mega-clubs), and the Drag Explosion itself, circa 1992, when the mass media “discovered” drag, and Gotham’s queeny sorority emerged as pop-culture darlings. It was an era that changed the world of drag forever.
The Drag Explosion is a multi-media project, launched in July, 2013, with the earliest photos dating back to the gritty East Village where Linda joined a kooky and avant-garde underground scene that revolved around the Pyramid Club and the outdoor drag festival Wigstock. As drag’s popularity gained steam, drag queens galore and their club kid comrades went on to conquer NYC’s pulsating nightlife, including the Limelight, Palladium and other mega-clubs. By 1992, the mass media came calling. Gender-bending suddenly became the latest fad and Gotham’s drag sorority emerged as pop-culture darlings. Never before had drag culture reached such incredible heights. It was a Drag Explosion that still resonates today.
As a live presentation, The Drag Explosion is a series of short slideshows, each about five minutes long and each with its own theme. As Linda narrates, the slideshows create an overall story and history of a trailblazing subculture.
To get an idea of Linda’s live presentation listen to her narrate the photo album “Magical Queendom”. Themes include LGBT and Queer History; Performance Art; Gender Identity and Expression; Sexuality; AIDS and Queer Activism
Since the late 1980s, Linda has been one of NYC’s most multi-faceted drag queens. Her career includes
promoting and hosting nightlife events galore; publishing “the revolutionary gay magazine” My Comrade; hosting the groundbreaking cable TV show Party Talk; and writing, producing and starring in four plays (at P.S. 122, La MaMa and the Laurie Beechman). Over the past several years, her wildly popular Bingos have entertained throngs of players.
Known for her witty demeanor, fine-tuned camp sensibility and unique blend of sass and class, Linda embraces the role she was born to play—a reigning queen! Linda is proud to be a role model for modern youth and an
enthusiastic champion of the avant-garde.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.