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WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY BOOTS & SADDLE 2013-2014

Photographs by Sandy Kaufman | Introduction by William V. Madison

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In Praise of Boots & Saddle by William V. Madison

T

he venerable Greenwich Village bar Boots and Saddle is, like the performers captured here by Sandy Kaufman’s camera, much more than it appears on the

surface. In its initial location on Christopher Street, Boots has been a pocket-sized dive that never quite grasped that it was no longer a cowboy bar. Nowadays Boots is less like the O.K. Corral and more like Neverland, populated by fairies and pirates, mermaids and Lost Boys and even a few crocodiles at play. But we’re still O.K. Above all, Boots is a community, stronger and more diverse than any other I’ve found. Locals and tourists, staff and artists alike, we are every age, every ethnicity, every class, and every sexuality. And once we’re at Boots, we’re not alone. From the stage, Victoria Chase announces, “Welcome home,” and she means it. These are a few of our most glamorous faces. They entertain and uplift us—with music and mockery, with dance and song. They lead us—sometimes in a toast, sometimes in a charitable event or a protest march. And they challenge us—to defy expectations, to look beyond the obvious, to take part in the community around us. Each one of these performers is, as Frostie Flakes says, “full of light, love, and color.” In their embrace, we have united. And in their portraits, we can see glimpses of ourselves. When we came to Boots, we were together and alive. We could not be overlooked, and we could not be shoved aside or shouted down. We were the stars of our own movies, the angels of our own fancy. We were ourselves, and we were here.


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To Ron and Jerri Silver for your compassion to the LGBT community and for making Boots & Saddle a family for over 42 years. To Robert Ziegler for your hard work, dedication, and respect for the tradition that Boots represents as a beacon for friendship, charity, and opportunity. To Wiliam V. Madison for writing the eloquent introduction that enlightens this amazing time in the Village. To all the performers who made their entertainment so unique and joyful. It is a place for smiles, hugs for sadness, and encouragement for those with doubt. To all the patrons of Boots for being a part of the Boots family. Y’all come back, now. Boots & Saddle 100A Seventh Avenue South New York, NY 10014


Boots and Saddle has been many things for me. In my teenage years, Christopher Street was a sanctuary and a place where I could meet others like myself. One cannot be gay and stay alone. Julius was my first entry point, until I discovered Boots, where intimacy was eye-contact, hook-ups, and speaking personally with others. Boots, along with Julius and Stonewall, was one of those sanctuary places. Of course, I danced at Peter Rabbit, ate burgers at Two Potato, and experienced the comraderie that sometimes no longer exists with the new social worlds of cellphones. And we cared for each other through the storm. After forty years at 76 Christopher Street, Boots in 2013 faced what so many small mom-and-pop businesses frequently experience today: the rent was raised sky-high and Boots had to search for a new home while remaining in Greenwich Village. At the rent approval meeting of the local community board I heard block associations demeaning Boots as a source of noise, crime, immorality, and unwanted drag in the Village. Why were they living in the Village? It had always been an artistic and political base to be proud of. This was nonsense. And I felt the need to document the wonderful talent and the fabulousness of being a part of this unique family. My camera is my passion and it is also the means to “grab� the love. Thank you, Boots, for being a place to be. Sandy 236

Welcome to Our Family  

Print edition. Boots and Saddle. Photographs by Sandy Kaufman. Introduction by William V. Madison. Drag, Karaoke, Lust!!

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