Earlier this month, VYM launched its inaugural issue in New York City! On Thursday, June 11th, VYM hosted a drag show at Bizarre in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Many of the contributors to the first issue were there to perform and show support. Among the performers were K.James (featured in Masha Bogushevsky's Metamorph), Pearl Harbor (aka Wo Chan, Sonnets), Crimson Kitty (The First Drag), Didi Panache (featured in Jesus Ward and Ritsu Hirayama's Make-A-Face), and Editors Johnny and Sasha Velour. Members of the Brooklyn drag collective, Switch N Play, made a special appearance (Ri Zen, Oliver Fist, and Lee VaLone). Also, Laurel Lynn Leake, the artist behind many of the illustrations found in the issue, was on hand to lead a group reading of her VYMifesto, Defining Drag. DJ Andy Morris from Providence spun the after-party.
The following evening, VYM hosted a reading at Manhattan's only remaining queer bookstore, The Bureau of General Services - Queer Division, at the LGBT Center on W. 13th street. K.James and Didi Panache were back for more performances, and Wo Chan read their Sonnets with art projections by Sasha Velour. Donald C. Shorter Jr., author of Genderosity, read a portion of his essay about his one-person show of the same name. Laurel Lynn Leake read Kitten LaRue's essay from The FIrst Drag, and photographer Kinzie Ferguson read excerpts from Ben Bascom's interview of Veronica Bleaus (who she photographed for VYM), Anything Bleaus. Johnny and Sasha Velour both performed as well. Joe Jeffries of Drag Show Video Verite filmed portions of the evening and writers and photographers from NEXT Magazine were on hand to capture the launch as well.
VYM is not just an artful periodical, it is a place for community building. All three launch events (Champaign-Urbana, Brooklyn, and Manhattan) served different purposes that reflect the goals of the magazine. The events introduced drag to new audiences, featured talented drag artists creating breathtaking art within their performances, and created an environment for all kinds of artists to come together and speak about the meaning and philosophy of drag and queerness.
Johnny and Sasha would like to express their thanks to Bizarre, The Bureau of General Services - Queer Division, and all the artists whose work appears in VYM for their work in making these events a success.