Two artists from Brooklyn bring their “drag magazine” project to Kickstarter.
What exactly is drag? What is its history…what is its future? What makes good drag, and why should we care? VYM Magazine explores these questions and more with comics, essays, interviews, and photography from today’s most interesting independent creators (both inside and outside of the drag world). This unique and beautiful magazine is the creation of a couple living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn: Sasha Steinberg (an art editor and drag queen) and John Jacob Lee (a dancer and coordinator).
“Drag is exciting…it’s easy to fall in love with,” says editorial director Lee. “But it’s harder to find ways to talk about it…why it matters and what it means. It’s always deeply personal…but it can be more. People need to see the depth behind drag that you can’t necessarily talk about in a club or on TV.” Lee, a life-long magazine-lover, was the first to come up with the idea of a “Drag Magazine.” Steinberg, who works as the head of the art department for TOON Books, (under the direction of The New Yorker and RAW Magazine’s Françoise Mouly), came up with the magazine’s unique look. “Drag can be glamorously superficial and profoundly world-changing all at the same time,” Steinberg says. We wanted to reflect that. A magazine is a perfect way to do that because it’s a mixture of design and writing; it’s easy to read and rich in ideas. VYM magazine is our love-letter to the kind of drag that inspires us and also the kind of publications that have changed our lives.”
The magazine is designed for readers of all backgrounds—from fans of drag to professional performers; from university professors to curious grandparents. “We wanted to create something that is mobile but also can be cherished. You should be able to read this on the train or in the bath, and then archive it with your favorite books or lend it to your friends,” Lee explains. “It was important for us to get it beautifully-printed, which is why we began looking into offset printing, woodfree paper, and library-quality binding,” Steinberg says. The two have turned to Kickstarter to raise $6,000 in 30 days. These funds will support the printing and distribution of the first issue.
Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-or-nothing” funding model so if the magazine doesn’t reach its goal at the end of 30 days then it won’t proceed to print. To follow this project, be sure to find the magazine on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr and spread the word to your social media networks. Consider donating any amount to help the project come to life. Rewards include digital copies, printed copies of the first two issues, art prints, and even personalized drag portraits or videos from VYM artists.
The first issue of VYM Magazine features art from a diverse group of artists and performers including: Eric Kostiuk Williams (Toronto), Jennifer Camper (Brooklyn), Jon Chad (Northampton, MA), Francesca (NYC), Veronica Bleaus (Champaign-Urbana, IL) Kitten n’ Lou (Seattle), and Fausto Fernos (Chicago).