This past Sunday at XL nightclub was a celebratory memorial for Codie Leone, one of the shining stars of downtown NYC nightlife for the past 20 or so years.
The event was a marathon—performances, video screenings, a raffle, speakers ranging from Patricia Field to Codie’s manicurist, and a very vocal and participatory audience. It was very appropriate.
Looking around the room, I saw lots of people who pre-date even me on the nightlife scene! When I entered the drag fray in the late 1980s, Codie was already a starlet at the Boybar, the drag show palace that used to reign on St. Mark’s Place. Matthew Kasten, ringleader of the Boybar’s shows, flew in from L.A. to help emcee, and the Boybar Beauties who took part included Princess Diandra, hilariously reminiscing about days gone by, and Perfidia, reminding the crowd that she and Codie both had the same “mother”—trans beauty International Chrysis.
Of course, XL was charged with diva energy! Get a bunch of tipsy grand dames together and some old rivalries and twisted feelings are bound to bubble to the surface. But, ultimately, a true sense of togetherness prevailed as speaker after speaker recalled Codie as both a sister and a mother to so many people (including her three biological sons, who were all in attendance).
There were many wonderful moments, and the event’s showstopper was undoubtedly a performance by Connie Girl, another one of the Boybar beauties and one of Codie’s best friends. Honey, it was ovah, legendary, life-affirming, and a reminder that our generation is as vibrant as ever.
I was humbled and moved to be at such a momentous farewell. R.I.P. Codie, your energy infused the night.