HX was a weekly gay entertainment guide for New York that began publishing in 1991. It was briefly called Homo Xtra, and its slogan was: "The totally biased, politically incorrect party paper". (I still have an HX t-shirt with this tagline on the back.) It continued publishing until the issue dated July 10, 2009, when it was purchased by the company that published rival Next Magazine (which would stop publishing in the summer of 2016).
Next began publishing a few years after HX, and both co-existed for many years despite having similar content. (Because of their similarities I sometimes had a hard time distinguishing between the two.) Both were freebies distributed mostly in the West Village and Chelsea, and in the Pines and Cherry Grove during the summer. Like so much content on the internet, both publications were able to be distributed free because of advertising support from clubs/bars, restaurants, escorts and masseurs/body workers. When it first began publishing, HX had an unwieldy fold-out format, similar to a map. The covers during the first few years were sexy shots of bare chested guys. These early covers were quite striking because they were B/W on sturdy newsprint, calling to mind the works of Robert Mapplethorpe. Once the magazine became a 4-color glossy, the covers became a mix of pretty boys, studs, drag queens and celebrities.
Here's a sample of some striking covers from the early, "black & white" years:
And here are some standout covers from the glossy, "living color" era, with themes such as Sex; the Black Party; Swimwear/Summer; the White Party in South Beach; and Christmas time:
And, now, some favorite ads: 1) The model in the Thanksgiving ad also did a nude cover for the May 2002 issue of GQ. (For a brief time we worked together at ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding, where he was an assistant account executive.) 2) Ads for the annual "Black Party" are always outrageous, but the one shown was even more so because of the inclusion of a cherubic little boy. 3) Splash Bar could always be counted on for hot ads. It opened at about the same time as HX - and outlived it by four years (closing in August 2013).