Friend Implicates Unknown Saudi

Dean Johnson Murdered?

Yesterday we delivered the distressing news that New York downtown scenester Dean Johnson has died.

While we’ve got no fresh details on the Velvet Mafia front man’s DC death, there are a few rumors floating around, including talk of murder.

Lower East Side photographer John Penley told Page Six that e-mails from Johnson’s computer reveal he’d been going to D.C. regularly “to set up weird sex parties for a wealthy Saudi guy. Nobody knows his identity, but it’s all very suspicious.” Dean, who had a history of drug use, had no ID on him when his body was discovered, and stayed in the morgue for several days before he was identified. His death in under investigation. Johnson, 45, promoted the weekly “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fag Party” at the old CBGB. “There probably isn’t a single gay in the entire city who hasn’t been to one of Dean’s parties,” Penley said.

Did a wealthy Saudi sex fiend kill Johnson? Who knows, but it makes a great story.

Speaking of stories: swap your favorite Johnson memories at tomorrow’s Rapture Cafe hosted memorial: 8pm, 200 Avenue A.

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  • Qjersey

    and the parties involved Dean pimping out twinks.

    I thought Dean was a hoot and had some fun play with him once, but throwing a memorial to celebrate the life of a drug addict who got HIV and then got hooked on crystal and then was pimping out twinks (and himself)…yeah we sure do have some great idols in our community.

  • Mr Blifil

    What’s so bad about pimping out twinks. You can’t expect them to pimp themselves out can you?

    I knew Dean WAY back in the day (college), and he was a pretty brave kid back then. Though all of us knew that his appetite for late nights at the Ninth Circle would probably catch up with him eventually. I am literally shocked that it has ended the way it has. I figured once he made it into his mid-40s, he’s become the new Quentin Crisp.

    Anyway, he never asked to be anybody’s idol, in fact his persona was a thumb in the eye to the notion that merit and talent are necessary characteristics for attaining diva status. He had not much merit, and next to no talent, but he “worked it” as they say. It’s not like a funny looking, skinny 6 foot 6 kid had a lot of other options. You dance with the girl what brung you. I’ll miss him.

  • neza

    I live in the East Village in NYC and I have known of Dean for years. I once did his makeup for a local gay rag and I found him professional and very nice. I disagree with the comment above about his “lack of talent” – Dean had a talent for showmanship and self-promotion – much like Madonna. His performances with the Velvet Mafia were always entertaining. I knew of his tawdry escorting nightlife career, but hell, in NYC we all need to make a buck.

  • daniel11211

    not just a buck- NYC needed those “tawdry escorting nightlife career”
    Dean didnt just do it for money- he enjoyed it- hell, it beats a damn day job!

  • PC

    Having to put up with the puritanical, holier-than-straights ravings of bourgeoise homosexuals is one of the downsides of Gay Liberation.

    Dean was a stoned gas and his Velvet Mafia was one of the best rock’n’roll shows ever.

    He will be missed by everyone – with a sense of humour – who ever saw him perform.

  • Mr Blifil

    I only meant that he didn’t have particular talent as a singer, dancer, or songwriter. He came up through the ranks based on determination, not because he was a diamond in the rough, destined for greatness. I think he would have been the first to admit that he was anything but “a natural.” His entire franchise was based on the notion of “I’m gayer than gay,” beginning at a time where gay identity was not viewed as approvingly as it is now, even in NY. He weathered the storm, and came through a survivor. His “aura” and his sensibility is what sustained him as a person deserving of the spotlight, not his limited ability as a standard show biz performer.

  • dc10001

    1, 2 & 6 your posts are part of the gay-on-gay ignorance running rampant around this. Do you really believe a page six story? That quote from Penley about setting up ‘weird sex parties for a wealthy Saudi guy’ has NOTHING to do with why he was in DC when he died. Page Six just ran with it ‘cuz they always go for the lurid and tawdry. Read the whole piece- there is not a fact check in sight. BTW Dean loved Page Six coverage and is having a big laugh at that story!

    And where does this ‘pimping out twinks’ BS come from?

    Dean was NOT a Meth addict, gag. Meth is for the Nazi SS and for Chelsea queens. Dean was a heroin addict.

    Dean was fearless about our right to self-expression. He made music, had an underground hit with ‘Fuck You’, wrote lyrics and prose, took a political stand, did outrageous performances, supported gay artists of all stripes, threw legendary parties, dj’ed, and took drag to another level (glam punk)

    What are your accomplishments? Being catty on the occasion of the untimely death of one of your brothers?

    And all this judgement against gay sexuality. Has AIDS trauma robbed you of your ‘nads? Seek therapy, or hire a hooker.

  • exweenie

    iknew dean for years, and was a member of his band from its inception.

    this whole thing has left me speechless – on so many levels.

  • Butterfield8

    Dean was the first man to ever goose me…..and mean it. It happened at Weinstein Residence Hall at NYU in 1980 and effectively changed my life. He was always very kind, thoughtful, painfully honest and warm to my friends and myself, even though we were not as “cutting edge” as he and his cohorts, who were incidentally always very sweet to me as well. The last time I had contact with him was about three months ago and we reminisced on line about friends we held in common. It was like time had turned back nearly 30 years. He was a human being who made a difference in my life. Whenever I think of him, I’ll smile.

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