These are downsizing, belt-tightening times for much of the media industry. But somewhat incongruously, New York–based gay magazines are thriving. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says AA Bronson, director of Printed Matter and co-editor of Queer Zines, an encyclopedic history of the genre released this fall. “The seventies saw the first rise in ’zine culture, and then again in the mid-eighties, when the plain-paper copier made life easier. But the last few years have definitely been a new phenomenon.” Bronson credits Butt magazine, founded in Amsterdam and now edited in New York, with influencing a new generation of titles that are at once arty and dirty. “They hit on the right formula at the right moment, which was to deal with the gay world as if it were just part of the world at large, with its own heroes in every field—from porn stars to authors to artists.” And despite the economy, sales at Printed Matter are strong. “They’re something you don’t buy and read and throw away,” says Bronson. “You end up keeping them in plastic envelopes, even though they’re kind of cheap.” Above, a selection, most available at Printed Matter (195 Tenth Ave.).
1. Butt (founded in 2001)
Originated in Amsterdam and now edited by Michael Bullock, Felix Burrichter, and Adam Baran in New York, it intersperses smart interviews with smutty photography. The January 2009 issue, pictured above, features intern Juan Jose Quiceno on the cover.
2. K48 (1999)
Mostly visual work by gay artists, curated by Scott Hug. Issue 7 comes with a CD.
3. Shoot (2001)
A photocopied ’zine of portraiture, all photographed by editor Paul Mpagi Sepuya. Issue 5, above, features all self-portraits.
4. Artfancy (2007)
A collection of art and critical text, not overtly homoerotic, edited by Joshua Thorson.
5. Girls Like Us (2005)
An influential “lesbian quarterly” edited in Amsterdam and published in New York by Sophie Mörner.
6. FashionFashion (2003)
A “non-commercial fashion magazine” by artist K8 Hardy.
7. Pinups (2007)
Photo-portraits featuring friends of editor Christopher Schulz. Each issue unfolds into an oversize poster.
8. Pin-Up (2006)
An architecture magazine partial to nude photo shoots, edited by Felix Burrichter.
9. R.O.M.E. (unknown)
Edited by Vanity Fair columnist George Wayne, it is famously distributed only in-house at Condé Nast.
10. Straight to Hell (1971)
Currently in its third incarnation and now edited by Billy Miller, it has published 64 issues of iconic covers and dirty stories.
11. When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again (2007)
Also edited by Billy Miller, an art project featuring contributions from Bruce LaBruce, Brian Kenny, and Scott Treleaven.
12. They Shoot Homos Don’t They? (2005)
A glossy mix of art, photography, and interviews edited by Shannon Michael Cane, who recently moved from Australia to New York.
13. Ridykeulous (2006)
Edited by A. L. Steiner and Nicole Eisenman as part of a larger art project.
14. Spank (2007)
The magazine offshoot of the Spank Party, a roving loft party organized by Sean Bumgarner, Jason Roe, and William Lynn.
15. BTFA (2008)
An anonymously published new queer sex ’zine.