Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gay Pride: The Story in Magazine Covers

If you haven’t been following magazine-design guru, Bob Newman’s homage to the 40th anniversary of the gay pride march, you should go to Newmanology on Facebook, where he posts a magazine cover daily. This whole month of June, Team Newman--the series is co-produced by Linda Rubes and Dale Yarger--has been posting a cover each day relating to gay history, complete with well-researched captions and links. Go see them all, they as a visual history of the outing of gay culture in America. And I’m warning you now, that many of the links take you to other amazing visual archives.

A few from Newmanology to get you started …

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first gay pride march, held on June 28, 1970 in New York City. Originally called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, it was held on the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village: In honor of this anniversary, we're posting one cover a day featuring an artist, personality, historical event, or publication of significance in gay history.

GAY PRIDE COVER 1: Dik Fagazine, March 2, 2005. Published in Poland in Polish and English, Dik Fagazine is "the first and only artistic magazine from Central and Eastern Europe concentrated on homosexuality and masculinity." Art director Monika Zawakzka creates strong, provocative imagery and covers. For more info, visit their website:

See a gallery of Dik Fagazine covers on Facebook: And see more graphics from the magazine on their blog:

GAY PRIDE COVER 2: The Ladder, October 1957. The Ladder was the first nationally-distributed lesbian magazine in the US. It was published from 1956-1972 by the Daughters of Bilitis, which was the first American lesbian organization. Early issues of The Ladder featured illustrations on the cover, but starting in the mid-60s they featured photographs of real women. History of The Ladder, plus a video of founding editor Phyllis Lyon: There's also a good Wikipedia entry:

GAY PRIDE COVER 4: Evergreen, August 1970. Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg; photograph by Richard Avedon. Orlovsky and Ginsberg were life-long partners, in a relationship that lasted over 40 years. Orlovsky passed away May 30 at the age of 76 (Ginsberg died in 1997). Read the NYTimes obit for Orlovsky here: Their relationship was groundbreaking for its time. According to the Times, "Because of Ginsberg’s prominence, the two men were social pioneers, the first gay 'married' couple that many people had ever heard of." Ginsberg was a bold poet, political and sexual activist, and a passionate Buddhist. His career spanned the Beats and hippies, and his most famous poem, "Howl," was banned in 1956 for its frank discussion of both straight and gay sex. As Ginsberg's Wikipedia listing says, "He expressed [his] desire openly and graphically in his poetry." With his aggressive openness about his sexuality and his fearlessness in letting it become an integral part of his public persona, Ginsberg was a trailblazer and icon. More on Ginsberg:

GAY PRIDE COVER 9: The New Yorker, July 12, 1930. Cover illustration by Constantin Alajalov. Alajalov was a frequent New Yorker and Saturday Evening Post cover artist, who also contributed cartoons and was a noted book illustrator. An article in Life magazine, August 4, 1947, described how Alajalov and four of his male socialite friends shared "bachelor" quarters on an estate in Southampton. The estate's owner "turned over his old garage and cow barn to the group, who scrubbed, painted and partitioned them into gay apartments." (See the full story and photos here: Alajalov is described in his biographical information as a "lifelong bachelor." To see a full selection of gay-themed New Yorker covers and cartoons, visit the Cartoon Bank at, and type in "gay" in the search area.

GAY PRIDE COVER 15: Christopher Street, July 1977, First Anniversary Issue. Christopher Street was a monthly magazine published in New York City with a national audience. Owned and edited by Charles Ortleb, the magazine was founded in 1976 and ceased operations in 1995. Christopher Street was one the most important national gay publications in its early days, filled with discussions of issues of importance to the gay community, as well as fiction, essays, reviews, and art and photography. A generation of gay writers such as Edmund White and Randy Shilts were nurtured there. Christopher Street's cover design owed a lot to the template created by New York magazine, and it was the first gay publication with contemporary high-level graphics and design. Charles Ortleb also owned the New York Native, a biweekly newspaper that was the first prominent voice in AIDS coverage. In later years Ortleb devoted both publications increasingly to his advocacy of fringe conspiracy theories about the source of the AIDS virus (he thought it was related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and not HIV). Because of this, both publications became increasingly isolated from the gay community, in part because of an active boycott by Act-Up. For more issues:

GAY PRIDE COVER 26: G-Men, issue #1, 1994. Cover illustration by Gengoroh Tagame. G-Men is a Japanese gay men's magazine. Gay culture in Japan is segregated by type; G-Men caters to those who like gaten-kei, or macho blue-collar guys. In addition to photo spreads, they run a generous amount of fiction and manga comics, which are serialized from issue to issue. Illustrator Gengoroh Tagame has been important in defining the magazine's look. He illustrated the first 60 covers, as well as contributing manga to almost every issue. See an astonishing collection of the first 100 covers of G-Men here:

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