Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goodbye to Gilbert Stafford

Walking in I was greeted at the door by Steve Lewis from the Limelight, Serge Becker from Area and many things since then including La Esquina now, and Howard Schafer from many things including Bowery Bar in the day. Three legends of my younger nightclubbing years, I knew then that it was going to be a special evening. Right inside the entrance was a portrait of Gilbert with the red velvet rope in his hand. All that was missing was him saying, "How many in your party?" Two gentlemen played violin a bit off to the side in tail tuxedos. Once I made it down the stairs I saw Sally Randall Brunger and Phoebe Finch who were both darlings of the night, many nights ago. Sally was NYC's it girl in the late 80's. Its only an occasion like this one that would get them both out in a club like atmosphere at this point in their, I'm married now and I've moved on, lives. The mood was not grim or remorse but rather light considering the circumstance, and the friends gathering were all filing in and heading to the bar. Gilbert would have wanted everyone to have a drink in his honor. So Patrick Chaitoo and I did just that. I spilled the first sip out in his name and proceeded to see who else made it out.
Also there paying respect was Father Chris, he worked with Gilbert at Mr Fuji's when Chris did Cafe Con Leche. King B King, and blast from my past Sheba Laine, and Desmond Coddogen, they both worked at Area as part of the artistry there and Gilbert did the door. Nick Scottie, Christina Visca, Cynthia Powell who was Cynthia Social Lies back then. Gazelle Paulo who worked with Gilbert at the door at Crobar. Kevin Crawford, Brenton Brewster, Colin Westbrook, Tennessee, Richard Alverez, Rebecca Weinberg, Arhlene & Tina Paul, and Patrick McMulllan was there with camera. Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti who took me to Miami for a Jackie 60 party and when we went out one night on Washington Av to the hottest club on the strip, Gilbert was there at the ropes.
There were a few actors as Gilbert was an actor when he wasn't a doorman, including the child star that did the Underwood Devil Ham commercials in the 70's he was a huge sensation then. Lee Tergesen who is best know from Oz the series on HBO. Many others including his best friends and his family. All in all it was a special tribute to a special man. Gilbert was unlike anyone else I've met ever, truly unique. He was always great to me. Opening the ropes from the time I learned to walk up to them, and our conversations were always fun even when he had too much to drink. Hope he will be at the ropes in heaven or maybe just inside waiting at the bar with a cocktail. Rest in Peace Gilbert Stafford.

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