Various Artists

Edited by Robert T. Ford, Trent Adkins, Lawrence Warren

Started in 1989 by designer and writer Robert Ford, THING magazine was the voice of the queer Black music and art scene in the early 1990s. Ford and his editors were part of the burgeoning House music scene, which originated in Chicago’s queer underground, and some of the top DJs and musicians from that time were featured in the magazine, including Frankie Knuckles, Gemini, Larry Fingers, Rupaul, and Deee-Lite. THING published ten issues from 1989-1993, before it was cut short by the death of Ford from HIV/AIDS related causes. All ten issues of THING are collected and published here for the first time.

As House music thrived, THING captured the multidisciplinary nature of the scene, opening its pages to a wide range of subjects: poetry and gossip, fiction and art, interviews and polemics. The AIDS crisis loomed large in its contents, particularly in the personal reflections and vital HIV/AIDS treatment resources that it published. An essay by poet Essex Hemphill was published alongside the gossip columnist Michael Musto and Rupaul dished wisdom alongside a diary from the AIDS March on Washington. Joan Jett Blakk’s revolutionary presidential campaign is contained in these pages, as are some of the most underground, influential literary voices of the time, such as Dennis Cooper, Vaginal Davis, Gary Indiana, Marlon Riggs, David Wojnarowicz, and even David Sedaris.

THING was very much in dialogue with the Club Kids in New York and other Queer publishing ventures, but in many ways, it fostered an entirely unique perspective—one with more serious ambitions. In a moment when the gay community was besieged by the AIDS crisis and a wantonly cruel government, the influence and significance of this cheaply-produced newsprint magazine vastly exceeded its humble means, presenting a beautiful portrait of the ball and club culture that existed in Chicago with deep intellectual reflections. THING was a publication by and for its community and understood the fleetingness of its moment. To reencounter this work today, is to reinstate the Black voices who were so central to the history of AIDS activism and queer and club culture, but which were often sidelined by white queer discourse. In many ways, THING offered a blueprint for the fundamental role a magazine plays in bringing together a community, its tagline summing up the bold stakes of this important venture: “She Knows Who She Is.”

The magazine included contributions from Trent D. Adkins, Joey Arias, Aaron Avant Garde, Ed Bailey, Freddie Bain, Basscut, Belasco, Joan Jett Blakk, Simone Bouyer, Lady Bunny, Bunny & Pussy, Derrick Carter, Fire Chick, Chicklet, Stephanie Coleman, Bill Coleman, Lee Collins, Gregory Conerly, Mark Contratto, Dennis Cooper, Dorian Corey, Ed Crosby, The Darva, Vaginal Davis, Deee-Lite, Tor Dettwiler, Riley Evans, Evil, The Fabulous Pop Tarts, Mark Farina, Larry Flick, Robert Ford, Scott Free, David Gandy, Gemini, Gabriel Gomez, Roy Gonsalves, Chuck Gonzales, Tony Greene, André Halmon, Lyle Ashton Harris, Larry Heard, Essex Hemphill, Kathryn Hixson, Sterling Houston, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Gary Indiana, Candy J, Jamoo, Jazzmun, Gant Johnson, Owen Keehnen, Lady Miss Kier, Spencer Kincy, Iris Kit, Erin Krystle, Steve LaFreniere, Larvetta Larvon, Marc Loveless, Lypsinka, Malone, Marjorie Marginal, Terry A. Martin, Rodney McCoy Jr., Alan Miller, Bobby Miller, Michael Musto, Ultra Naté, Willi Ninja, Scott “Spunk” O’Hara, DeAundra Peek, Earl Pleasure, Marlon Riggs, Robert Rodi, Todd Roulette, RuPaul, Chantay Savage, David Sedaris, Rosser Shymanski, Larry Tee, Voice Farm, Lawrence D. Warren, Martha Wash, LeRoy Whitfield, Stephen Winter, David Wojnarowicz, and Hector Xtravaganza.

460 pages
8 x 10  inches
ISBN: 9798988573647

Managing Editor: Sam Korman
Designer: Rick Myers
Copy Editor: Allison Dubinsky