Donald N. Embinder
1935 - 2017
The iconic Blueboy® magazine was founded in 1974 by Editor and Publisher
Donald N. Embinder.
Donald was born on July 8, 1935 to
Benjamin and Anne Embinder in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan. The family later moved to Midtown where Donald enjoyed spending Sunday mornings watching hockey games at Madison Square Garden. He attended Fieldston, a private prepatory school in Riverdale, and went on to attend the University of Rochester. He later received his M.B.A at The Wharton School of Business.
Embinder began his career as an advertising executive with Benton & Bowles. He created exciting campaigns for major product companies such as Proctor & Gamble. Thereafter, he left the agency and served as an executive with TV Guide.
Donald moved to Maryland and for eight years served as both vice president of Townsend State College and professor of Business Management.
He later teamed with investors and established the first gay disco in Washington, D.C.
Lost and Found encompassing 45,000 square feet and due to it's success, he opened another disco. This solo venture was to become Baltimore's legendary club known as The Hippopotamus. Nearly 5,000 patrons visited the bar on weekends. Donald divested himself of the club, however, The Hippo was a staple in Baltimore gay nightlife and remained in business for over four decades.
Looking for a change of scenery and a new adventure, Donald moved to Miami. With an interest in magazines, he entered into the publishing world as an advertising manager for After Dark; an arts magazine with a substantial gay readership.
After leaving the magazine, he decided to create a publication for gay men that would be sophisticated, inclusive, design savvy and meet the needs of the readers.
Mr. Embinder came across a small black and white journal called Blueboy. He purchased the journal and soon after reinvented it as a full color glossy magazine.
Blueboy® debuted in 1974 and touted itself as, "The National Magazine About Men," a tag line the publication maintained for decades. The inaugural cover was a playful parody of the Blueboy painting by 18th century master Thomas Gainsborough. By the fourth issue, Embinder was the first gay magazine to secure national distribution and the success of Blueboy® lead to a new visibility for Mr. Embinder.
Blueboy® quickly established itself into a lifestyle brand due to Embinder's experience with product advertising campaigns. Various extensions of the magazine included an array of personal accessories, clothing, beauty products and home furnishings. The magazine's outreach included branded ventures such as Blueboy Library, a collection of gay themed novels and
Blueboy Forum, the nation's first weekly, live, sponsored forum from a gay perspective. Blueboy Forum debuted on October 25, 1976 on WKID-TV in Hallandale Florida and also aired as a late-night Manhattan talk show on UHF Channel 68. Embinder published regional LGBTQ nightlife magazines titled Knight Life in both NYC and LosAngeles.
His collaborative ventures were just as rich and diverse as the pages of the magazine. Donald spent his free time at town meetings across the country in support of Gay Pride events and as a speaker on equal rights for the LGBTQ community. These included
Town Meeting I - held at Houston's Astroarena. It was the first organizational meeting to establish a national gay lobby. The Gay Rights National Lobby would later emerge as The HRC (Human Rights Campaign) His support of the community shined through in political endeavors such as this and more. He served as Executive Producer to several singles released by dance artist Steven Paul Perry and published The Daily Dope.
Other gay men's magazines soon followed. Embinder published the wildly successful titles Torso, Numbers, Jock and Stars. The gay market wasn't his only foray into magazines. He created For Women Only, geared to a straight female audience and marketed for its lifestyle columns and male pictorials.
Blueboy® was a pioneering national men's lifestyle magazine that went from being sold at adult bookstores and gay bars to being front and center at pharmacies and mainstream book & magazine shoppes across the country. Features included lifestyle columns, film and music reviews, excerpts from nonfiction authors, lush original illustrations, celebrity interviews, discourse on politics and gay rights, gay popular culture and of course ... handsome nude male models.
Noted contributors, artists and interviews included Andy Warhol, Truman Capote,
William S. Burroughs, Edmund White,
John Rechy, Patricia Nell Warren,
Christopher Isherwood, Randy Shilts,
Mel Odom, George Stavrinos,
Robert W. Richards and Emanuel Schongut. Blueboy® featured stories on Harvey Milk,
Ed Koch, Anita Bryant and the AIDS epidemic.
Blueboy® paved the way for gay monthly publications. Its focus was on an affluent, urban gay market that extended its presence in unexpected places. It was the first gay public corporation in the U.S. and traded on Wall Street. The magazine even found its way into the opening lyrics of Cyndi Lauper's hit song, She Bop! Blueboy's success made the magazine a template for which other gay magazines styled their content. During it's heyday it was one of the largest selling gay magazines in the marketplace.
Blueboy® ceased operations with its final issue in December 2007.
Drawing on the richness of over four decades, Blueboy® returns as an annual magazine in April 2021. As we begin our work at The Blueboy Archives & Cultural Arts Foundation, it is with deep gratitude that we thank Donald Embinder and Kenneth Gregory for their support.
A portion of sales from Blueboy® 2021 will be donated to BACAF for research and archiving of Blueboy and towards various outreach projects.