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The details are very sketchy, but the pioneering Rock and Roll Fag Dean Johnson has died, cause to be determined by autopsy, in Washington DC.

We have absolutely no details yet as family members are en route to DC to identify his body.

As we try to comprehend this loss, we give thanks for such a singular being, born star, and great friend.

Mood: devastated
Music: Stevie Nicks
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Original Post
Dean Johnson passed away this week. Details surrounding Dean's
death, along with the death of another young man are still uncertain,
and an investigation is, as of this writing, still ongoing.

I have included details and links about Dean's life below.

Dean is survived by his father is Ellis Johnson and his sister is
Beth. For several years, Dean cared for and visited his mother
Linda, who succumbed to a battle with cancer in 2006. He was a
devoted son, brother and friend to scores of people who comprised of
Dean's chosen family.

Some sources:
History of Wigstock (update coming soon)
The crowd grows to a few thousand. John Sex works the guys (and girls)
a frenzy with his gyrating cover of "Secret Agent Man". 6'6" big, bad,
porn star Dean Johnson rocks the house with his original "Bourgeois
Underground band 3 Teens Kill 4, featuring artist David Wojnarowicz on
piano, hypnotises the masses with their trippy sound effects. John
Kelly as
Dagmar Onassis sings his version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" which
becomes the traditional Wigstock finale for years to come:

"By the time we got to Wigstock we were several thousand falls...
And I dreamed I saw the drag queens spraying hairspray in the sky and
made all the yuppies die"
The "Lady" Bunny is bewitching!

A-Listers in Mortar: The Velvet Mafia
Interview by Derek de Koff
When did you form The Weenies?
Back in '85. Dean And The Weenies. We were a club band. We used to play
And Roll Fag Bar and some of the other clubs. It became something of a
phenomenon. I did this song called "Fuck You" in the film Mondo New
From that I was able to get a recording contract with Island Records.
signed me based on my performance of "Fuck You" but when they realized
I was
a gay activist and a drag queen, they freaked out and found an excuse
dump me. They released my record in an unmarked brown paper wrapper and
said that they were dumping me because the album wouldn't sell.
They printed out thousands of CDs of "Fuck You" and then decided to get
of them. They dumped them into a dumpster behind the Island offices.
Homeless people pulled them out of the garbage and sold them for a
dollar on
St. Mark's and it became a huge phenomenon. That's how I really
myself as a performer back in '87.
by Walter Cessna

Dean Johnson has been so many things in his life, it's hard to keep
track of
them all. Besides fronting the band THE WEENIES, he was the first
doorman at
SAVE THE ROBOTS and also ran the legendary ROCK 'N' ROLL FAG BAR before
heroin addiction landed him in jail.

Staging a comeback, Dean started a new band called THE VELVET MAFIA.
looks at this band, as the first focused thing he's ever done. "I named
band after my idols Barry Diller and David Geffen because of how
they are. Like them, THE VELVET MAFIA is definitely a commercial
Geffen actually caught the band's gig at the nightclub JACKIE 60, but
didn't exactly rush backstage. "I heard he freaked when I sang a song
dedicated to him called 'Hello, Good-bye!'" As New York's reigning
6-inch bald drag queen (and that's without heels), Johnson gives the
sarcastically bittersweet songs an added punch.

Review/Film; Seeking the Outrageous In New York By WALTER GOODMAN

Trip Records Press Release 27 May 1998

NEW YORK -- With the founding of Rock & Roll Fag Bar over 10 years ago,
Johnson created a venue which quickly took hold and helped to define
growing East Village scene of the 80's. It's only fitting, then, that
Johnson leads his band The Vel vet Mafia onto the stage for the release
their debut album "We Know Where You Live" during the "Rock & Roll Fag
Reunion Party." A much-lauded event, the show will take place
Wednesday, May
27th at Lust for Life in New York City.

The Freak Shows of days gone by may never return as we knew them, but
Velvet Mafia weaves a circus side-show mystique, conjuring flashbacks
Siamese twins, Bearded ladies and unicorns that look mysteriously like

Refugee of the 80's Island Records act Dean and the Weenies, Dean
(New York's reigning six-foot-six-inch bald drag queen who also spewed
attention-grabbing tune "Fuck You" in the film Mondo New York) plays
ringmaster to his caustically catchy clan of degenerates and outcasts
in a
full frontal assault on 'normal' America. "We Know Where You Live"
stories of queer life in their own unique feisty and poignant
style - a Ritalin-free Dr. Seuss for adults.

As Head Mistress to his seven-member menagerie, Johnson is joined by
Mary Feaster (on permanent suspension from St. Ignatius School for
Girls) on
Bass and background vocals, guitarist in boy-drag the ever-evasive
Bettelheimer (aka Susanne Hassenstein), cellist from Hell Satan (aka
Spreitz), Holy Jazz-man and sexy-saxist Father Josh Atkins, nautical
percussionist and background vocalist Sailor McDrum (aka Tom McCrum),
the deceptively friendly and always firm-handed Nurse Wanda Hill (aka
Walsh). A true cacophony of irreverence which creates a recipe for a
in-your-face queerer-than-thou delivery that slams your brain and
leaves you
flying well above the carnival world below, all anchors of comfort
tossed aside.
Advocate, The, Dec 5, 2000 by Cathay Che
Queer club life is alive and well in New York City, thanks in part to
hard-rocking HomoCorps

Longtime New York club denizen and musician Dean Johnson is turning 40
year. Most infamous for New York City's popular late-'80s weekly party
& Roll Fag Bar, Johnson is now drug-free and in love, involved in the
healthy relationship of his life. He's also just started a new,
much-buzzed-about monthly showcase for queer musicians called HomoCorps
the legendary CBGB's. But don't suggest that this survivor, also
for his punk anthem "[Fuck You" (by Dean and the Weenies) and for his
current band, the Velvet Mafia, is now a gay role model.
"How dare you!" says Johnson, laughing. "I've never been accused of
before." As much as Johnson, who is bald and a striking 6 feet 7 inches
without heels, bristles at being anything but irreverent, he does talk
talk of a queer activist. "Well, I've always said that the recording
industry is like the Army: It's run by homosexuals and is completely
homopbobic," says Johnson dryly. "The fact that there are a lot of gay
people actually works against queer musicians because either they are
in the
closet and afraid of being outed or out of the closet and afraid of
accused of having an agenda."


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Poets and Priests of nothing... Legends

The lights went out for a few seconds and when they came back on Stevie now had on a white shawl.
The last song was "Has Anyone ever Written Anything For You" and it looked like she had tears in her eyes.
Maybe because this was the end of the show and she was sorry it was to end.
At the end of the song where she speaks, "And when they ask her about the men in her life she said,
"Well in answer to your question, they were poets, and they were priest of nothing, they were legends."
She follows that singing out in beautiful voice "legends"!!!
Stevie and the band walked up to the front of the stage and took a bow, then Stevie thanked everyone and ended the evening with,
"I miss you".


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Yes. This Wednesday was schedule to be the first installment of Dean's reading series, READING FOR FILTH, and take place each Wednesday in October. We will celebrate our friend, our dear family member's glorious life here at Rapture. Wherever Dean is concerned, the show always went on.

Miss Webb (our very own DJ Baby K) has begun an honoring wall around the stage, and asks folks to bring any music Velvet Mafia or Dean and The Weenies; photos; DVD footage; or any other Dean-related memorabilia to share.
Deans death has hit me very hard even though I haven't even seen him for years.

I used to know him enough to say "Hi Dean" and have a brief conversation with him.

I was a teenager when I met him, and all the regulars at The Pyramid.

These memories are so concrete that it is hard for me to picture anyone from that time period in any other context. I adored them all when I was kid. I worshipped them and I considered them my parents as ridiculous as it sounds. No one understands either unless they were there.

I can see Wendy Wild in the coat check booth telling me about a new brand of hair coloring and smiling. I can see John Sex on the stage singing about Woolworth's. I can remember talking to Ethyl Eichelberger about a million things in the dressing room and there are many others who have passed that I remember as well.

I went to a lot of Dean's club nights over the years but still cannot shake one memory of him in the Pyramid basement.

I just wanted to share this memory with you all because it is how I remember him whenever I think of him, no matter in what context.

Here it is:

Everyone is in The Pyramid basement dressing room.

Dean is in his black spandex dress and wearing those big glasses. He is surrounded by all the wonderful Pyramid drag queens. They are all getting made up to go dance on the bar and Dean is sitting nearby chatting with all of them.

He is gonna perform with Dean and The Weenies later on and everyone is just having a fucking good time.

Sun Pk (formerly Peter Kwaloff who used to do Clitoris Gash, LaToilette Jackson and many others at (on stage at Mud Club and Pyramid) is there and he says something to Dean that makes Dean absolutely howl with laughter.

That is my memory of him, he is laughing and having fun, and he never leaves that place in my mind.
I met Dean in 1984 at Robots and worked with and around him on and off throughout the years. Recently we got much closer through myspace and our mutual love of writing and we joked that it was funny how after all these years we had become closer than ever over the internet. We made plans to hang out a few weeks ago at a birthday party, but they fell through and we missed each other. I had no idea that was the last chance I'd get to see him. I still have an email sitting in my mailbox wanting to know when we could try it again. I thought I had plenty of time to answer!

Dean was one of the people that made the city feel like New York to me. Even though we weren't super close in an every day kind of way, I consider him a member of my extended family. And the tragedy is that on top of the personal loss, it's also a huge loss to the artistic community. I am truly sad, and I send out my condolences to everyone who is grieving.

We love you, Dean. Probably more than you knew!
This just out:

Daily Intelligencer
Edited by Jesse Oxfeld and Chris Rovzar with Michael Idov

5:00 PM
Promoter and Queer Icon Dean Johnson Dies

Photo: Patrick McMullan
Downtown icon and gay performing artist Dean Johnson died last week, friends just learned. The 6'6" promoter was found dead by authorities in Washington, DC, 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. "Bit 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


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by some magical synchronicity "live at red rocks" arrived from netflix yesterday. i put it on the queue because *musQrat hasn't seen it but also because i heard dean tell a story about watching it with clark (of the bankheads) and wanted to get back into it myself.
i'll be thinking of dean while i watch it today.
I thought some of you who knew Dean like I did might get a kick out of this. It was the last story I worked on with Dean while I was the Editor of Next Magazine. I'm going to miss him a lot, but I take some consolation knowing that now he's jamming out upstairs with Laura Branigan...and reading all the other angels for filth with Hilly Kristal between sets. Love ya, Dean...

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Thanks for posting that Gregory T.

I have a question that probably only Hattie Hathaway can answer.
As I remember it, Dean was the first one to put (the now ubiquitous) skinny East Village Rock & Roll boys in their underwear up on a bar.
I know it was first done at The Pyramid Club for sure but did Dean do it?



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Oh dear. Such sad news. Two of my old show-biz partners, Tabboo! and then Philly (notoriously famed for projectile vomiting in the Pyramid production of Attack of the Spider Crabs from Star Nebula), each called me yesterday to break the news about Dean. I'm so glad that someone here wrote about remembering his laughter in the Pyramid dressing room.

I remember that too, and his different laughs. He had a slow snickering laugh that could build into a bigger, volcanic eruption of laughter, sort of like laugh steam escaping from a place deep inside--where he did see the humor in just about everything.

I don't remember if he and I ever had a conversation about the topic or not, but it seems that we did share an understanding that nothing should be taken seriously for too long --- that everything was in life was easier to digest if we could find the funny side.

Dean always laughed at my jokes no matter how stale or how stolen they were. I always appreciated that about him, among many other things, his talents as a poet, a performer, a punk, a rocker, a fag, a porn star, a prostitute, an icon and a genuine and sincere person.

He and I were never close friends, but were both moths drawn to that flame that burned brightly for a magical period in NYC during the early 80s. (I think the flame still burns, though not so brightly, perhaps it's an ember just needing new fuel. One hopes . . .)

But, anyway From what I know about him, he seemed like many of us, some still here, others like Baby Gregor, Ethyl Eichelberger, Tanya Ransom, Larry Shox, Wendy Wild, John Sex, Craig Vandenberg, Ann Craig, David Crocker, Greer Lankton, et al, who are now gone; to have been raised with rules and regulations that did not suit the development of our inspirations and aspirations, and so one-by-one we shed those rules and regulations to create our own --or the bravest among us, to live without any whatsoever.

Amazingly this mass of people ho cherished their individuality and creativity migrated separately only to find each other and join forces, to experiment with our new rules or lack of rules . . . but to forge a society and, (dare I say it?) a movement.

I for one, was fueled by Dean's example to continue on with saying "fuck you" to conventions and rules of society and family that stifled my spirit and blinded my creative vision. Because many of us struggled with a dual citizenship of being partly the person we were born as and the person that we recreated for ourselves . . . we have lost one of our most glamorous generals in the battle for unique individuality. A loss that I deeply mourn.
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Yes daddy. He was the first to have boys in white jockey briefs - with tubesox and combat boots, if I remember correctly. It was also the uniform of the female members of Dean and the Weenies. But they wore bras. In fact, it might have been one of the female Weenies that came up with the look first, and Dean realized that it was the best look for his bar dancers.

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