Promoter and Queer Icon Dean Johnson Dies

Dean Johnson

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Downtown icon and gay performing artist Dean Johnson died last week, friends just learned. The six-foot-six promoter was found dead by authorities in Washington, D.C., but remained unidentified until this week. Police are still investigating the cause. Johnson, 45, founded the iconic weekly party Rock and Roll Fag Bar in the late eighties, and also started HomoCorps, a monthly gay music showcase at CBGB, before the punk club closed. At times a porn star and at other times a rock star (he fronted Dean and the Weenies and later the Velvet Mafia), he was always recognizable by his height (often augmented by heels) and brazen eyewear. Friends say he helped shape the growing East Village art and club kid scene in the late eighties, continuing through to today, with popular and notoriously raunchy parties he's hosted at dive venues like the Hole and the Cock. He had battled drugs "historically," said his longtime friend Joe Birdsong. "But in the past year he had cleaned that up." Friends will celebrate his life next week at Rapture Café and Books on Wednesday at 8 p.m

The Velvet Mafia [Official site]
Dean Johnson – Death of a Legend [Motherboards]
Related: Party Favorites [NYM]