Lady Bunny, Misstress Formika, Sweetie, Anna Conda and Tabboo! at the Pyramid Club. (August, 1992)
Drag queen Linda Simpson has been photographing the downtown New York drag scene since the early 1980s and has the portfolio to prove it. While Linda jokes that she “still hasn’t learned to sing or lipsynch,” her charisma and wit made her the perfect emcee for countless parties, clubs, and events.
In addition to her skills as an entertainer and hostess, Linda is an accomplished playwright, and she founded queer zine, My Comrade. The self-described “revolutionary gay magazine” was conceived as a whip-smart, irreverent piece of underground publishing, and, after a ten year lapse, was revamped in 2004.
As one of the early historians of the community, Simpson has recently begun hosting retrospectives of her photography as a narrated slide show (isn’t that intimate?), called The Drag Explosion. The pictures are incredibly engaging, and not for the reasons one might assume. Of course the ladies are gregarious and dressed to the nines—the idea of a photogenic drag performer isn’t really difficult to imagine.
What makes Simpson’s work so unexpected is that she catches her subjects at spontaneous poses, in impromptu snapshots, and covert candids. The project is so natural, it feels more like a family album than a historical record. You can check out more of Linda Simpson’s photography on her website.
Little Whitney and Juan. (Spring, 1989)
Donald and Liz in Pyramid Club dressing room. (April, 1991)
Billy Beyond at Wigstock. (September, 1994)
Lady Bunny at Wigstock. (September, 1988)
Ida Ho and friend at Wigstock. (September, 1994)
Ever the historian, Simpson even took a picture of RuPaul’s 1993 appearance on ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’
Via Paper Mag