There's no point in telling the Spank boys -- self-described "art fags" DJ Sean B, DJ Will Automagic and Jason R -- that either print or the New York nightlife is dead, because they don't buy into the hype. In late 2007 they started Spank, a monthly-ish underground gay "art party," and filled it with creative types, while also fantasizing about a zine to document it. "There were so many visual artists at the first party, it was heavily documented already -- we said, 'Fuck it, let's do it ourselves!" says Sean, a freelance art director, designer and frontman of disco house band Best Mate. Soon the parties had a companion magazine filled with subversive art and dirty stories.
The first Spank bashes were "just ten people and DJ Honey Dijon spinning disco until three a.m.," says Will, an exuberant and bearded 36-year-old who also spins at Greenhouse's Vandam party. Now Spank draws hundreds, from hipster queers and genderfuck performance queens to a guy known only as Naked Tony. They've jumped all over, from the (sadly defunct) Hose in the East Village to snug lofts in SoHo and sprawling ones in Williamsburg. "We never took on a permanent space," said Jason, a magazine production freelancer and the quietest of the bunch. "We don't like all of the rules that come along with a club, or charging $12 for a drink."
While the parties have proven to be big successes on their
own, the Spank boys are just as grateful that they've found a platform
to document the "unofficial movement," as Sean puts it, of
the art-fag scene: in ages past, gay art was "just watered down
pornography," but he sees the new generation creating an "arts
scene that clearly identifies as gay, but with quality fine art." Some
of the best work in the mag, Will explains, "is super, super gay but
doesn't have anything to do with sex at all -- and that's amazing."
(L-R Sean B., Will Automagic) Sean wears a shirt by Dior Homme and jeans by Uniqlo. Will wears a sweater and pants by Shipley & Halmos and t-shirt by Louis Vuitton