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Coronavirus Victims: Drag Queen Nashom Wooden

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We're going to spend the next few minutes remembering Nashom Wooden. Wooden was a force of New York City nightlife. His drag persona, Mona Foot, was a muscular superhero in the vein of Wonder Woman but with a lot more glitter and wearing a deadly pair of high heels. He lived through the worst days of the AIDS crisis in the '80s and '90s and died last month from a suspected case of COVID-19. He was 50 years old. His life was full of performance. He acted in movies and wrote a hit song as part of the group, The Ones.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLAWLESS")

THE ONES: (Singing) Like no other, flawless, absolutely flawless. Just like perfection.

KELLY: We reached out to some of Wooden's close friends and collaborators to recall some of their favorite moments with him.

PAUL ALEXANDER: Hello. I'm Paul Alexander, one of The Ones. And I'd like to just talk about Nashom. He had a sharp tongue. But once you got to know him, he was really sweet, a real straight shooter, and I always counted on that. Love you, Nashom.

FRANKIE SHARP: My name is Frankie Sharp. I'm a New Yorker, DJ, event producer and nightlife director. Nashom was one of the first people I met in New York, actually. He plucked me up from some weird dive bar after seeing me deejay and said, honey, let's get you out of this dump. Come with me. Nashom had me deejay and produce a weekly party at a different dump - the world-famous Cock, which at the time he was running. It was filthy, seedy and, at times, even downright disgusting. It was my favorite place on the planet.

SHERRY VINE: It's Sherry Vine, international drag darling (laughter). And I met Nashom when I first moved to New York City in 1992. Every time I'd see him at The Cock or walk in to a party and he was there, the first thing - he would be like, Sherry Vine, you're a man. And I would just fall on the floor laughing. Like, it never got unfunny.

DANIEL NARDICIO: This is Daniel Nardicio from New York City. I think my fondest memory of Nashom was stopping by his work one night and telling him about the mural at Club Cumming, featuring me and Nashom as his alter ego Mona Foot. He remarked that the mural made him feel like he'd made it. Well, you did, Nashom and Mona. I'll miss you both.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLAWLESS")

THE ONES: (Singing) Everyone wants to know you name, just like perfection needs no correction like no other. Absolutely. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.