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Stephen Kroninger
Rollerena "Queen of Studio 54"
posted:

 In honor of Gay Pride Week and my chance meeting with Rollerena in the Village a couple of weeks ago I'm reposting this private commission from a year or so ago.
 First, how the collage came about. I was asked to create a piece for someone's apartment. We talked a bit about what they were thinking of and eventually the topic turned to my early days in NYC beginning in May 1979. I lived in an SRO on tenth street and Hudson. One block over was Christopher Street which was an endless party in those days. The impromptu festivities ran roughly from seventh avenue down to the river. Beat boxes and roller skating were all the rage that first summer. The spontaneus Halloween parades that would march down Christopher after the main Village parade are the stuff of legend. You had to be there. You should have been there. Anyway, at some point it was agreed that I would select a favorite memory from that era for the piece. Rollerena came to mind immediately.
 Our daughters like to go on walks around the Village with the old man (me). A couple of Sundays ago we were headed to the garden at St. Luke's Church on Hudson Street. As we strolled down Christopher Street I saw Rollerena talking with two men. Having just had dinner with the man who commissioned the above piece two nights before I thought I'd go up and introduce myself. I began, "I make collages..." and she said, "you're Stephen." She took my hand, walked me across Hudson Street and told me how much she liked the collage. She'd seen it posted online. I introduced her to my daughters. We talked a bit more and exchanged e-mails. Here are some excerpts that go into her history. Rollerena is a Village treasure. Rollerena is a national treasure.
"Dear Stephen,
I dragged the wonderful Rollerena collage and put her in my i-Photo collection that I have set up.

I have donated my entire Rollerena Fairy Godmother Collection 69 file  to The National Archives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender  Center in Greenwich Village at The LGBT Center 1948 to 2004.  (To be updated.) 
I also gave them  the gown, original hat, wand, (circus baton), dingleberry ring, purse, skates and one pair of vintages 1950's glasses.
I'm a volunteer at Dance 208 and host the Studio 54 Dance, our fourth
this year, and all the proceeds go back to The Center.
You can google information on Rollerena...

You will also find mixed in with Rollerena, car dealerships and
Rollerena roller skating rinks, but they are not connected with my
character Rollerena.
Again, your collage of her is beautiful.

All the best,

Rollerena
"Queen of Studio 54"
 
"Stephen,

This is a p.s. to my last e-mail.

On May 12th, 1970,  it was  40 years ago last month, that  I decided  
to roller skate to my job in mid-town.  And now four decades later  
'she' is still out there as the 're-born' Rollerena.

I am going to march the entire route on Gay Pride which will be  
starting at 36th & Fifth Avenue, starting at noon.

Rollerena"
 I haven't forgotten. Rollerena is a national treasure.

 If you're in town, don't miss the parade this Sunday, June 27th.


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