Paying tribute to the electrifying queer scene that defined New York City during the iconic era of the nineties, journalist and Gay City News reporter David Kennerley is set to publish a book via Daken Press filled with interviews and flyers that give us a glimpse into the era.
‘Getting In’ is a coffee table-style book that features 230 flyers compiled by Kennerley who acquired them from promoters, now-closed gay shops and bars, and club mailing lists — all collected in the nineties, before the rise of social media.
Comprising visually arresting and culturally significant gems from David's extensive flyers collection, the book captures the essence of legendary NYC clubs such as the Roxy, Twilo, Tunnel and Copacabana, while also unveiling the vibrant energy of parties like Purgatory and Lick It!.
Speaking to Mixmag Asia, Kennerley mentions: "For me, these flyers from clubs like the Roxy, Palladium, Limelight, Splash, Pyramid, and many other nightspots represent a memento of a night well-lived. A snapshot of a magical realm that provided escape, love, and a sense of belonging. I had been reluctant to come out, but these clubs helped me not only accept my sexuality but celebrate it, joining a vibrant, defiant community."
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He goes on to add: "The flyers are not only visually impressive –– depicting flamboyant Club Kids, shirtless hunks, and sassy drag queens –– but tell a story of a unique moment in history when AIDS took the lives of tens of thousands of gay men in New York City alone. After the hardcore sex dens and bathhouses were shut down in the 1980s, many sought refuge in these dance clubs. Clubs offered a space for bringing the LGBTQ community together."
Kennerley continues and mentions how clubs really did bring meaning to the term "safe space" back then, holding benefits for activist groups, plus handing out free condoms and pamphlets about safe sex.
In the book, notable nightlife columnist Michael Musto contributes a foreword and additional commentary, mentioning how “We learned the power of graphic art from ACT UP and Queer Nation. They knew how to use slogans and imagery to get a point across.”
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Other cultural icons also share their insider stories and experiences from the epochal era, including drag artists Lady Bunny and Linda Simpson plus DJs Larry Tee, Max Rodriguez and Susan Morabito.
‘Getting in’ is ready for pre-order now, find out more about it here.
Adrianna Cheung is Mixmag Asia’s Culture Curator, follow her on Instagram.