Scrub was my contribution to a downtown gay zine scene that I found seductive and sexy, but was also conflicted about. So much of it seemed self-promotional and insular. I wanted my version to tell the stories of an underrepresented New York, whose stories are just as fabulous if one takes the time to listen. Scrub ended up being a one-off response. There was only one issue printed, mostly because I didn’t have a business plan. Printing is costly but I wanted the satisfaction of having a tangible artifact. Now, seven years later, I’m happy The Conversant has resurrected these interviews in an online format. It’s interesting so see how they hold up in a new context.—Justin Yockel
Rubén Espinosa: In 1971 I was going to enter university to be an architect but then I decided to move to New York. Nobody could take it out of my mind. My family thought I was crazy because—
Justin Yockel: Everyone in Ecuador?
RE: —because they have money. They’re rich. So when you have a good economic position there, you have no absolutely interest in coming here, except for vacations. By the ’70s there was a lot of news, not only about the hippies, but also about the blacks. There was a lot of unrest going on in Harlem. I don’t remember very well, but I used to read a lot about that up there. So for me, I wanted to be in New York, no matter what. So they sent me here to go to New York University and when I came here I got caught up in the whole scene right away and they kept sending me money. They thought I was going to school but I didn’t.