One night last summer two gay party animals were drunk and bored in Manhattan. One of the world’s most exciting cities was at their feet, but the guys didn’t know what to do except the usual—wander to Chelsea and barhop.
“We were talking about how there wasn’t any publication that gave a concise opinion on things to do at night,” says 29-year-old writer Tom Jackson in a thick Australian accent. Jackson’s 27-year-old platonic partner in crime, magazine art director Abi Benitez, was on the same page. The guys soon launched Gayletter, a free weekly e-zine that lists five can’t-miss Gotham events. Before long, Gayletter, which is peppered with saucy language and personal accounts of drunken debauchery, had thousands of subscribers.
A recent edition included a “Trans-Voodoo extravaganza” starring Justin Bond, a cruisy night at the East Village’s Nowhere Bar called “He Is a Rebel,” and a launch party for Crush magazine’s French cinema issue.
“We highlight things that are different,” Jackson says. “We’re kind of inappropriate at times but try not to be bitchy.” Benitez: “I try to at times.”
The readership is predominantly gay and male, but women and straight men also subscribe. Advertising is trickling in, and the guys hope to soon launch a Los Angeles edition. For now they’re beefing up their website, Gayletter.com, which lists the week’s events a few days after subscribers receive them, and juggling an ever-increasing stack of press releases from New York’s pushy publicists and promoters.
“We’ve discovered from this thing that New York never gets boring,” Jackson says.