Infamous New York underground promoter Dean Johnson was found dead last week in Washington DC, in circumstances which the Villlager newspaper said remain mysterious.
The six foot six self-confessed rock-and-roll fag, heroin addict and hardcore New York scenester launched some of Manhattans most infamous alternative queer parties including Rock N Roll Fag Bar and HomoCorps at CBGBs as well as playing in bands Dean and the Weenies, then the Velvet Mafia.
Dean was such a fabulous, friendly, original personality that makes New York so New York. I remember seeing a full-page picture of him in Interview (magazine) before I moved up from Georgia and thinking Wow, what a star, Skrufff contributor and fellow veteran New York promoter/ scenester Larry Tee recalled.
I started DJing for his Rock N Roll Fag Bar in 1999 for about a year and they were a debauched spectacle with 1,500 boys all sleazing around like Lou Reed in Rock N Roll Animal and often guests like David Bowie or members of Led Zeppelin would fall through. His FOXY party at the Cock launched that legendary franchise and I remember well, the 'talent' contest where one contestant put a corncob up his ass and coughed popcorn out of his mouth. AND his Homo-corps parties at CBGBs introduced a generation of gay boys to the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Hedwig of the Angry Inch via his bi-monthly showcase of 'gay' rock & roll talent, he continued.
Looking back, Dean had an enormous influence on the New York nightlife scene and always fought against the Giuliani's of the world that would be happy to pasteurize New Yorks rich underground scenes, he said.
D-List chief Daniel Nardicio also worked closely with Dean for a period, describing his as an outrageously talented person.
About a year after I started promoting, Dean and I joined forces and threw two years of New York Citys undoubtedly insanely dirtiest parties, Triple XXX and Magnum, said Daniel.
He was amazing- vibrant, unabashedly sexual, loud, obnoxious and he really had a certain joie de vivre that I loved. I asked myself the day he died: Why did he have to go? Why not a condo developer or khaki wearing investment banker?
Last Sunday I threw my annual Oktoberfist at the place here in New York City where they held Deans memorial service three days prior- they had neglected to take down all his photos off the wall and all the invites from all his parties were still up there, Daniel added.
By 2am, so many guys were packed in there and f**king around that all of Deans paraphernalia was torn down and stomped all over the floor. At 4am, me ,the owner of the bar and legendary DJ Johnny Dynell all looked over and noticed the mess that had been Deans memorial, but was torn down by guys having sex, and we all just said: "That's just the way Dean would have wanted to go, he said.
Dean Johnson was 45.
http://www.velvetmafiaband.com (Dean Johnsons (brilliant) back in the day New York diary: Keith Haring was having this big opening at Tony Shafrazi but it was so crowded and intimidating that I was afraid to go in so I sat on some stairs across the street and just watched. The guy sitting next to me asked me why I didn't go inside and I said it was because it was too fabulous and made me feel insecure. He said he wasn't inside for the same reason. Suddenly, I realized I was talking to Keith Haring . . .)
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)