Last week New York City and it's gay community felt just a bit colder.....veteran New York drag queen Sweetie passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 51.
Born Daniel Booth, he was rising to NYC stardom in the early '90s from attending parties by Susanne Bartsch and Linda Simpson at nightlife staples like the Pyramid Club and Boy Bar, Sweetie was known for her lip-syncing abilities, crass humor and, most of all, her heart and rallying for gay causes. “I had always considered myself a serious actor in a lot of ways, and drag was kind of lowbrow to me,” Sweetie told OUT columnist Michael Musto last year in Paper. “I loved watching it, but never thought I’d do it seriously, until I found out they were making money doing it, you know what I mean?” And Sweetie always hung in there, even when the drag frenzy of the mid 90's had cooled and queens were finding it hard to have a platform. Sweetie's Cheez Whiz show provided just that. The Sunday night soiree at The Parkside Lounge was just what the community needed. I can remember seeing her show twice and enjoyed every minute. The long, successful run of Cheez Whiz once again landed Sweetie in the spotlight. Notorious for late night revelry by the performance royalty of New York, Cheez Whiz became THE spot to see and be seen. Drag Queens, nightlife legends and A list celebrities filed in to witness what Sweetie had up her sequined sleeve. Sweetie not only was known for her own impeccable performance, but now served as curator for performers that were both legendary and legends in the making. Sweetie upheld the torch for drag by illuminating the biggest stars, but also provided a stage for performers on their way up the ladder. Sweetie made the decision to let the party go before its star began to fade. A year after Cheez Whiz ended, Sweetie joined forces with star promoter Daniel Nardicio with High Life/ Low Life. A bigger budget, bigger venue and bigger audience awarded Sweetie and Nardicio numerous accolades and its prime Saturday night spot on the weekly calendar once again made a Sweetie event THE place to be. Two and half years later the party had played host to other New York greats I can remember like Lypsinka, Lady Bunny, Jimmy James, Mona Foote, The Scissor Sisters, Jayne County, Candis Cayne, Flotilla DeBarge, Sister Dimension, Tabboo, and countless other major stars. Another successful long running party only cemented Sweetie's place in New York City nightlife history. And she won't soon be forgotten.