In many ways the life and death of Dean Johnson told the story of New York nightlife: Periods of debauchery followed by the troughs of consequences and the catharsis of reinvention. Wake and repeat. Or don't. In the most reportey piece ever to run in the Times Style section, Cara Buckley makes the connections between the death of performer and prostie Dean Johnson and old New York.

Johnson apparently died of an overdose caused by a sleeping pill, a sleeping pill. Uh, weird? "In order for Dean Johnson to overdose," said his close friend, Dale Corvino, "you would need a truckload of drugs." [According to police reports, however, no truckloads of drugs were reported missing in the days before Johnson's death.]

The apartment Mr. Johnson died in was at the end of a nondescript hallway on the second floor of a stately building — a distant cry from the East Village nightclubs where he and the naked go-go boys under his command once reigned.

But perhaps the most revealing and sad part of the whole sordid affair of Dean Johnson (and one that speaks metonymically to the rigor mortis of the city's nightlife) is that Johnson died in Washington, D.C. and his body sat in the city morgue for a week unclaimed. And.

"He was part of the club scene, and the club scene is, to a large degree lost, killed by bottle service," said Lady Bunny, the drag queen. "New York is not a place for a funky, baroque bohemian to flourish in anymore."

Disquieting Death Stills the Nightlife [NYT]