PAPER was founded in 1984 to represent and report on the burgeoning art, fashion, and nightlife scenes in the East Village and parts of downtown that founding editors Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovits felt were being ignored by the wider world of the city. As has always been the case, gay culture and downtown culture were essentially one and the same, making it and--and, as a result, the nascent AIDS crisis--a constant presence in our pages. PAPER lost countless friends, staffers, and subjects to the epidemic over the years. It was a hugely important and personal part of the magazine then, and as such, our earliest issues serve as time capsules of gay life in the city in the '80s and early '90s. Here, we've plumbed the archives and scanned in some of our early covers featuring gay celebrities and icons from RuPaul to Boy George to Liza Minnelli herself. We've also included several articles chronicling the rise of AIDS, and the concurrent homophobia and bigotry that gripped the country in this era. But it wasn't all doom and gloom--it was also a golden age for the expressive catharsis of voguing, for gay nightlife, and the intersection of fashion with queer party culture. We've highlighted all of this in a few select photos and pieces from 1986 to 1993.

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