|The SVA's longtime Public Relationist -- a title as unique as him -- is David F. LaManna West better known as "Dave West". He was born in upstate New York in Syracuse on December 14, Nineteen Hundred and.... Fifty-two! Dave is one of the most well-known and memorable Stonewall veterans, chiefly through the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans Association ("S.V.A.") of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. Dave also has been a 'regular' in Greenwich Village since he was an enthusiastic, danceaholic Gay teen traveling down by train and/or bus from upstate patronizing The STONEWALL Club in 1969. One of his favorite sights on Christopher Street throughout the end of 1969, besides all of the boys, was the bold and beautiful, brand-new metallic blue 1969 convertible belonging to Willson Henderson, who he would come to become longtime friends. Ironically, many years later, Dave West is a recognizable figure leading the outstanding S.V.A. contingency with that very 1969 blue "Stonewall Car" convertible leading the annual New York City Gay Pride Parade. Dave always wears something outstandingly unique, regal and/or sexy -- whether he be an Indian chief, a Navy sailor, a Gay pirate, a NYC policeman or a Yankee baseball player -- all the while steadfastly holding the rainbow Gay flag high and proud! Dave West is also an innovative entertainer, skilled dancer and crooning singer. Entertainment-wise, "Hurricane" Dave is much-requested for his "singing telegram" theatrical routines -- especially for birthdays -- with a seemingly endless array of impressive, exciting and sometimes daring characters and costumes. "Hurricane" is a forever popular, lively, featured performer in the SVA's annual entertainment fund-raiser event "Stonewall Showtyme" at the historic Stonewall Club's second-floor cabaret room on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York.|
SVA's Dave West with N.Y.C.'s Michael R. Bloomberg
[Photography by the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York]
SVA's Dave West in the now famous photo
Background: 1969 "Stonewall Car"
Also shown: Bill Miranda Salzman
[Photography via New York Daily News;
the Daily News also published this photo]
Chief Hurricane Dave proudly leading the S.V.A. in
[Photography by Hal M. Weiner]
Dave West with Willson Henderson after the 2005 Gay
Parade at the Hudson Corner Restaurant Outdoor Cafe
[Photography by DigitalPhotoPro@AOL.com]
After the SVA's wonderful Public Relationist Dave West received an advance copy of this photo from Hal Weiner via Willson Henderson, always appreciative Dave (who was ill and under treatment at the time), sent Hal a personal note of thanks. Dave's thank you card read: "I love the STONEWALL Veterans' Association! I love Willson! I love the 1969 Stonewall convertible! I love the Gay Pride Parade! And I love, love, love this great close-up picture of Willson and me. Love, Dave P.S. I wasn't going to come as the Indian this rough year but Willson said that you must, you can do it, do it for Gay pride, do it for you; you look swell, you'll be glad you did. He was right! Thank you Hally for capturing all that!"
Dave West at his final movie: "Brokeback Mountain"
[Photo by Jenni Jan Egan]
A "From Stonewall to Brokeback" gathering was assembled by S.V.A. director Willson Lee Henderson ("WLH") for Friday the 13th of January 2006 at the Chelsea Cinemas Theatre. Comprising the S.V.A. group were Willson (host), Dave West (the motivation for the event), Bert Coffman, Storme DeLarverie, Jenni Egan, Michael Livote and Anton. Originally planning to attend, AnDre Christie (visiting his mother in the hospital) was in regular contact with Dave via cellphone. "Brokeback Mountain", released in New York City the month prior, is about two basically non-Gay cowboys who not-so-slowly fall deeply in love with each other and embark on a twenty-year relationship of ups and downs. "BBM" was the talk-of-the-country and far beyond. When WLH suggested this idea to Dave, he was instantly enthusiastic. Indeed, BBM lifted Dave's spirits and injected inspiration into his life. The movie dinner party started at the movie box office on West 23rd Street with Willson generaously purchasing everyone's movie tickets -- to ensure that tickets to the film wouldn't be sold out. Dinner and drinks were at the East of Eighth Restaurant on West 23rd Street in the heart of Chelsea in Manhattan. All had such fun with loads of laughs and all were treated by WLH. Everyone saw, enjoyed and were moved by the landmark and highly-acclaimed "Brokeback Mountain"! A specially meaningful and cost-free (including safe taxi home) evening with friends was had by everyone, particularly Dave, who, so sadly, died within three months.
Dave West was added to the "Gay Urban Cowboys" website in 2007!
STONEWALL Veterans' Association business card for Dave West
Dave West had a deadly battle with bladder cancer which, over time, unfortunately and ultimately spread from one vital body organ to another. He was re-hospitalized at Beth Israel Hospital on Thursday, March 30th. That was the same day that SVA-er Dave planned to join SVA-ers Willson Lee Henderson, Bert Coffman, Rose Giordano, Leigh McManus and Bill Salzman plus Friends-of-SVA Michael Livoti, Anton Hauser and AnDre Christie at an Andrew Cuomo public policy event at nearby (to Dave's home) Baruch College. Starting the following day, Friday, began what was an apparent vigil. Dave was visited daily by relatives, especially his outgoing and supportive mother Mitzi LaManna, his brother, sister and nephews, several invited S.V.A. members and many longtime friends. At least a half-dozen dozen unrelated Gay friends visited dying Dave daily. Dave's mother called Willson early on Friday morning, April 7th, at about 7 a.m., to sadly report: "Willson, I'm sorry to call you so early, dear. This is Dave's mother. I'm sorry to tell you that my son and your friend, Dave West, has died in his sleep".
Only four days after Dave's demise, there was an S.V.A. officials' meeting pre-scheduled with U.S. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney. This meeting included the induction of S.V.A. officers for the new year. Dave was a confirmed and enthusiastic planned attendee. He's been there before. The Congressmember also knows Dave from S.V.A. meetings and the Gay pride parades. Although the S.V.A. considered requesting a postponement, Willson, who arranged the meeting, pronounced "That is definitely not what Dave would have wanted". Instead, besides S.V.A. officers Williamson, Bert Coffman and Leigh McManus, they had Dave's mother Mitzi LaManna join them. Congressmember Carolyn and her staff, particularly Minna Elias and Juanita Reyes, were visibly impressed and touched by this surprise and lovely gesture.
In remembrance of Dave West from public officials who knew Dave through the STONEWALL Veterans' Association, the S.V.A. has received flowers from openly-Gay, former President Clinton Oval Office Advisor Sean Patrick Maloney and letters of condolence from former N.Y.C. Mayor Ed Koch, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, N.Y.S. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, U.S., Senator Hillary Clinton, N.Y.S. Assemblymember Jonathan Bing, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and NYS Attorney General candidate Andrew Cuomo as well as several N.Y.C. councilmembers such as Gale Brewer, Dan Garodnick, Melissa Viverito, Robert Jackson and Rosie Mendez.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's impressive letter was
sent in the S.V.A. invitation mailing
for Dave West's Memorial Service and distributed to every attendee at said tribute.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Willson Lee Henderson, Chairperson
Mrs. Mitzi LaManna, Honorary, Dave West's Mother
Peter Mommers, Dave's Confidante
Ramon Bellido, S.V.A. Board of Directors MemberJonathan Lane, Dave's Photographer
Personal Note: All of the above were also Dave West's personal friends!
Dave West Memorial ServiceSaturday, April 29th, 2006 @ 5 p.m.
Please R.S.V.P. to AnDre Christie at the S.V.A. at (212) 6-27-1969
Condolence letter to Dave's mother Mitzi LaManna West
will be placed here, despite the long delay
due to misplaced document.
After Dave West's SVA-sponsored Memorial Service
Among many others, you can also see Dave West at these S.V.A. weblinx:
Look at proud Dave West leading the SW-Vetz in the 1998 NYC Gay Pride Parade:
Dave leading the S.V.A. six-car flotilla in the
30th anniversary 1999 Gay Pride Parade:
Visit Dave in one of his favorite events,
"Stonewall Showtyme" at The Stonewall:
Dave parading with the S.V.A. in 2001 with WTC Twin Towers
looming in the distance:
See Indian Chief Dave West leading the S.V.A. in the 2004 Gay Pride Parade at:
*Remembrance of Dave F. LaManna West:
50th Anniversary of the Gay Stonewall Rebellion in NYC=====
[Friday night, June 27 ~through~ Thursday evening, July 3, 1969]