John Boone was an old friend of mine from the days when I worked at A Different Light Bookstore in New York. He was an assistant manager at the time, and was the one who hired me. We became good friends there, and remained so after I left, and after the store closed down. He died June 23rd from AIDS related causes.
John worked for Different Light for many years. It was one of the first, and then one of the last, gay-lesbian bookstores in New York. It died a long slow painful death, and John was there for it all. I was there for part of it. When I started working at the store, it was still a kind of quasi-community center with a cafe, author nights, and bad movie nights. We had a lot of the best authors come through there from Edmund White to Brad Gooch to John Waters. The poet Manny Xavier made his start at that store. We sold everything from very high literature to very low trash and loved it all. I made a lot of good friends at Different Light, some of whom I still keep up with. John was one of them.
I saw him last when he visited me in New York almost 3 years ago. He lived in Miami Beach at the time. I'm not sure where he was when he died. He lived in Hawaii, San Francisco, and Florida in the years since he moved out of New York. He was originally from upstate New York and lived in California for a long time as well as New York City. He was a regular every year in pearls at Wigstock when that still was happening, and at St. Francis Xavier in Chelsea before the Archdiocese cracked down on everything gay as well as happy.
I painted 2 portraits of John Boone from life in 2002. He owned one of them and I own the other. Here is the one I own. I photographed it myself in my studio last weekend. It is the only picture of any kind that I have of him. There must be a lot of other paintings of him out there. He worked for awhile as an artist's model, as well as a dancer and professional figure skater (so he told me). By his account, he was a favorite model for a few artists, and worked for them for many years. John was an artist himself, though I didn't see much of his work. I should point out that his blond hair at that time was as much a work of art as the painting.
We shared a taste for silly old fashioned things, and here are a few I put together to mark his passing.
Saint Dusty Springfield and Saint Eartha Kitt pray for him. May he rest with them and with all the Saints in Light.
John is happily foxtrotting with his ma now, but I'll always miss him.
John's brother Martin Boon sent this photograph.