From the late 1980s to the mid ‘90s was a remarkable era for NYC’s drag-queen scene. Among the enthusiastic participants was gal-about-town Linda Simpson, who was one of the few people back then to hobnob with a camera.
Almost three decades later, Linda has organized her hundreds of vivid photos into The Drag Explosion. The collection documents the spectacular rise and eventual implosion of a fabulous queendom, when drag transformed from an underground art form into a pop-culture phenomenon. Scores of colorful characters are captured joyfully pushing the boundaries of gender expression, including RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Amanda Lepore, Lypsinka and John Cameron Mitchell.
As a narrated slideshow, The Drag Explosion has been presented by Linda at art spaces, theaters and colleges from coast-to-coast and abroad. Both entertaining and educational, it has received much media acclaim, including from The New York Times, The Huffington Post and New York Magazine.
The Drag Exposion’s earliest photos date back to the gritty East Village where Linda joined a kooky and avant-garde drag scene centered on 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.
During the years covered by The Drag Explosion, Linda shined bright as a nightlife star and media personality, including publishing the “gay revolutionary” magazine My Comrade and hosting the cable TV show Party Talk.
The Drag Explosion began in 2012. In 2013, Peradam Press released her debut photo book PAGES, an homage to her friend Page. Photos from the book were exhibited at ClampArt Gallery in NYC in 2014. Another book is in progress. Nowadays, Linda continues her varied career and shares her life at lindasimpson.org.
Linda is available for bookings and press information regarding The Drag Explosion by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The photos are alternately carefree and glamorous… A funny and informative slideshow.”—The New York Times
“In her gender-bending photographs, Simpson depicts a revolutionary generation that changed the world with every party.”—The Huffington Post
“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.”—DangerousMinds
“Not only a celebratory tour through a bygone era of drag led by Simpson’s witty commentary, Drag Explosion is undoubtedly an important archive of an undeniably influential period of drag, performance and queer culture.”—FilthyDreams