STREETS: Looking for Amber

Troy Erik

I’m doing a story now about a young fellow, Nathan Vickers, who was a drag queen or a transgender woman, and was shot to death on  a street known as a prostitute hangout in Hollywood in November.

Part of the story is exactly who Nathan Vickers – or “Chase,” or “Cassidy,” or “Chastity” – was, or intended to be. He’d come from the Bay Area and seemed to seeking a transformation of one kind or another.

Helping me figure out Nathan’s world is Troy Erik, a former queen and current activist. A woman named Amber, he told me, knew Nathan well in the days leading up to his death. We went looking for her, as we’d heard she was just out of jail.

We looked at Donut Time (Santa Monica and Highland) and at the adult bookstore  (no name) behind it, and in front of the $1 Chinese Express, whose prices didn’t keep it from going out of business.

We never did find Amber. But Andre, a sociable street fellow, said he’d known Chase or Cassidy. “She always dressed as a woman when I knew her,” he said.

We also happened upon “Grace” – a queen who enjoyed enormous renown in the 1980s because she looked, in drag, exactly like pop diva Grace Jones, and is now homeless. That’s next post.

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