Perfect Ten

10 years of GO Magazine, from MySpace to marriage equality

2002

American SweetheartSimon Cowell’s withering insults and those hilarious auditions used to be priceless. Now, not so much-we’ve heard the same embarrassing tunes for a decade. How we long to relive the excitement we felt watching Kelly Clarkson win the first season of American Idol, when the cliches and cheesy tropes hadn’t yet jaded us. The sincere anticipation, the novel use of audience votes, and the genuine talent on AI’s first season changed television. (2002)
Axis of Evil”President George W. Bush named three rogue nations-Iran, North Korea and Iraq-as the infamous “axis of evil” in his State of the Union speech in January. Already at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan to avenge its role in the 9/11 attacks, the nomenclature seemed to foretell the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. In May, the State Department released a memo adding four additional rogue nations, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Cuba, to the original three. (2002)
Down the DrainOn the heels of 2001’s stunning revelations of corporate fraud at the defunct energy broker Enron, the telecommunications giant WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, in the largest filing in U.S. history to that point. Its claim of $107 billion in assets and $41 billion in debt was eventually dwarfed by a bankruptcy filing from Lehman Brothers in 2008, which claimed $600 billion in assets. WorldCom’s former CEO, Bernard Ebbers, was eventually convicted of fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to 25 years in prison. (2002)
Back on the MapMore than 150,000 people attended the first TriBeCa Film Festival, the brainchild of actor Robert DeNiro, film producer Jane Rosenthal and investor Craig Hatkoff to give lower Manhattan a cultural boost in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The April showcase included a wide range of films, from the premier of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones to Rodger Dodger, an indie comedy that won the Best Narrative Feature award. The TFF was an instant draw for Hollywood celebs and regular New Yorkers alike. (2002)
GO’s debut! In April, we launched GO NYC, as it was then called, with a premiere issue featuring real-life couple Kasia and Nicole on the cover. Despite having only three months to pull together advertisers, articles, listings and photos, we thought the final product was a success. (Ten years later, our cover girls are still together and are moms to two rambunctious kids!) (2002)
Revealed!As a community-based free magazine, we enlist your help in providing content you want to read. So to thank the amazing contributors to GO’s first few issues and to bring others into the fold, we threw a little party in October-Reveal Yourself at Spa. Several giant platters of hors d’oeuvres and a couple hundred cocktails later, the GO staff had met dozens of writers, photographers, marketing and sales gurus and intrepid gal Fridays. (2002)

2003

Space Cadets
Remember how difficult it was to choose your layout and Top 5 friends? The most visited social networking site in the world in the mid-aughts, Myspace.com, launched in August and gave us all a feel for profile customizing and building friendships-until it was purchased by News Corp. in 2005 for $580 million. That’s when the plucky social website rebranded itself as a network for bands and filmmakers, and watched as Facebook, initially aimed at college students, aggressively usurped Myspace’s market share among the general public. (2003)
Up in SmokeThe first major triumph of Mayor Bloomberg’s nanny state occurred in March, when the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 went into effect. The act prohibited cigarette smoking in bars, restaurants, workplaces and pretty much anywhere besides your own home. The law stirred up fear among owners of nightclubs and restaurants that business would decline, but city smokers eventually adjusted to the law. (2003)
Getting Carded The MTA did away with the old-fashioned subway tokens in May, replacing them with reusable plastic Metrocards. Though aesthetically inferior to the elegant brass-toned coin, Metrocards conveniently allowed per-ride discounts and unlimited-ride fares, and public transit ridership soared. Now, if the MTA could just do something about the weird guys who clips their nails on the trains, we’d be all set. (2003)
Back in BlackForty-five million people from the Northeastern part of the U.S. and 10 million from the Canadian province of Ontario were stuck in the largest blackout in North American history on August 14. In New York, ice cream trucks sold off their melting product at huge profits and spontaneous street parties kept the population occupied until the power trickled back on. Some communities waited one or two days without light or air-conditioning through the stifling summer heat. A cascading glitch originating at an Ohio power plant was deemed to be the cause of the outage. (2003)
Not So FastIn May, President George W. Bush made a dramatic entrance aboard a fighter jet, landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, to declare the major combat operations in the Iraq War over. Behind him, a gigantic banner shouted “mission accomplished”-a premature statement, considering the war didn’t end until after Bush’s successor took office. Not until December 2011 did the last military convoy withdraw from Iraq. (2003)
Underneath It AllWe celebrated our first anniversary by launching our line of GO-brand skivvies in April. The boi beaters and thongs proved popular beyond our wildest imagination (perhaps our model Kelly, GO’s distribution manager back then, swayed a few buyers). (2003)
Our First Pride Lifting a color scheme from the GO logo, we planned a hot concept for our first Pride float in June: a bright red fire engine surrounded on all sides by sexy GO girls in red fireman hats and signature boi beaters. What could go wrong? Staten Island traffic trapped our trusty truck, and as the Pride March began it looked like our convoy wouldn’t make it into first gear. At the last minute, Amy drove her red SUV into formation and we gallantly strutted down Fifth Avenue, pretending like nothing was amiss. (2003)
Ellen ReturnsWho would have thought that Ellen DeGeneres, the first sitcom star to come out of the closet on the air, would resurrect her career as an Emmy-winning talk show host? Before September 2003, when The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered, network executives wouldn’t take a chance on an openly lesbian TV actor/comedian, even one with a solid track record and charisma like Ellen. That changed when her show found its niche with a mainstream audience of young straight women, buoyed by Ellen’s witty personality and dance moves. (2003)

2004

Thank You for Being a FriendWe chose to suspend our sense of disbelief at the six characters’ improbably huge Village apartments and leisurely work schedules because Friends focused on both humorous and serious relationships without being raunchy or tacky. Fifty-two million fans tuned in to watch the series’ grand finale after 10 seasons on the air in May. People gathered at outdoor viewing parties and drive-ins to bid sayonara, some wiping tears. Also ending at about the same time: NBC’s Thursday-night sitcom dominance. (2004)
Better Wed Than MisledIn February, foxy San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed that he would rather lose his position than deny gay men and lesbians the right to marry. In 9 days, more than 3,000 same-sex couples received marriage licenses while lawyers argued about the legality of the marriages. The California Supreme Court put a stop to the weddings and spawned further lawsuits against the city. Sadly, same-sex marriage still isn’t legal in the state. (2004)
The Gay AmericanIn August, during a normally slow time for political news, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey had three shocking announcements. Amid rumblings of corruption in his administration, the youthful Democrat announced that he was resigning from office, that he had had an affair while married to his wife Dina, and that the affair was with a man on his staff. At a televised press conference with Dina quivering at his side, McGreevey announced that he was a “gay American”-the first sitting governor to come out of the closet. Since then McGreevey has studied to be an Episcopal priest and spoken out in favor of LGBT rights. (2004)
GOP in NYCNew York City was the stage for thousands of progressive protestors during the Republican National Convention in August. Many New Yorkers took the RNC celebration in the midst of Manhattan as a personal affront and reacted accordingly: with anti-Bush banners to marches to blockades. The first set of arrests outside of Madison Square Garden took place when a group of naked activists with “Stop AIDS” painted on their bodies blocked traffic. In total, more than a thousand people were taken into NYPD custody, and some were held beyond the 24-hour limit without charges. (2004)
Wave of DesolationThe devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed nearly 300,000 people in December, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. The undersea earthquake, with an epicenter near the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, had a magnitude of 9.3 and was so intense that aftershocks were felt days later. After the tragedy, affected countries launched education programs to teach citizens about tsunami preparation and evacuation. (2004)
Lesbian DramaWe were giddy with anticipation for the premiere of The L Word in December, when we chatted with the Showtime series’ executive producer/writer Ilene Chaiken. No one could predict if the series would be a runaway success or a flop, but as Chaiken said, “possibly, we’re poised on the brink of a moment when network TV might be prepared to have a drama about gay people.” Immediately the show became a lightning rod for criticism (not enough diversity in the cast, farfetched storylines, Jenny) and adulation (Shane!). (2004)
Naughty GrasWe kicked it up a notch for our second anniversary party at the sadly departed Roxy with Naughty Gras Masquerade Ball, a carnival-themed bash with entertainment and special guests galore. Women came in outrageous costumes to compete for $10,000 (!!!) in cash and prizes. Before the winner was revealed, the crowd got down and dirty with the all-female cover band Lez Zeppelin, DJs Mary Mac and Pride, and headline performer Lil Mo. At the peak of the evening, Lolla Rockn’Rolla won the unbelievable $5,000 grand prize for most original costume-a faithful life-size rendering of the Rabbit Habit vibrator. (2004)
Hot Ass When we think of traveling and vacation, our minds immediately veer toward bikinis. Hence the theme of our first annual travel issue in April, featuring a beautiful bum on the beach. It became the first of many travel issue covers in the same vein-and one that flew off the racks as soon as it came out. (2004)
Kitten InvasionIt’s no secret that Amy has a soft spot for furry balls of feline fluff. When she spotted two kids trying to give away three kittens on the Upper West Side in August, she couldn’t pass them up, even if some members of her staff (ahem) questioned the practicality of her largesse. Thus, Spike, Axl and Diva moved into the GO office, upsetting drinks, stepping on phone buttons and clearing entire desks in a single bound. (2004)
Fixin’ For NixonReally, Daily News? “Same Sex in the City?” That headline is apparently the best the tabloid’s editors could come up with when bisexual actress Cynthia Nixon, best known as Miranda on Sex and the City, was revealed to have a girlfriend in Brooklyn in September. After dating for eight years, Nixon and Christine Marinoni, an education advocate and former co-owner of The Rising cafe in Park Slope, married in 2012. (2004)

Click here to continue to 2005-2012