You know you’ve made it when you can cruise through the West Village from atop a float adorned with a blow-up pool.
That’s what *Snapshot* co-founder Shana Fried calls an “out of body experience.” It also marks one of many milestones for the ground-breaking queer party that, after seven years, is calling it quits on March 1.
“*Snapshot* launched careers, created networking grounds, provided a steamy dance floor for sparks to fly, brought friends together from every borough, and always had your back when you needed to be around queers on any Tuesday night,” says Ellie Conant, the promoter who joined the *Snapshot* crew
The eclectic Tuesday-night mainstay began the previous year, when Fried, a New York transplant from the Bay Area, noticed that, “all the parties were very segregated. Lesbians and gays, girls from the Bronx, girls from Brooklyn, sporty-dyke clubs and Latin clubs; everyone went to their own club.” Fried wanted to carve out a space for the emerging queer -identified scene.
“I thought, ‘let’s take pictures so people can put them on a website,’” says Fried. “I didn’t know how that would look, but I knew it was needed—to capture what was going on and integrate music and film to show a melting pot of queer culture. We essentially wanted to take a snapshot of what was going on in the scene.”
With her event-planning background and experience as a DJ, Fried teamed up with Trish Noe and Andrea Berman. *Snapshot* premiered at the East Village’s Beauty Bar to a modest crowd. Soon after, the promoters were introduced to *Snapshot* staple Nicco Beretta (whom Fried describes as a “spokesperson” for the transgender community) and brought him on as a partner.
*Snapshot* eventually settled in at the now-closed East Village dive Boysroom. These are the days Fried refers to as the “ultimate *Snapshot*.”
“We featured queer artists, painters, sculptors; liquid latex parties that weren’t happening in New York in the queer community,” she says. “We had game show nights where we would dress up as Bob Barker. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing.”
In 2005, *Snapshot* held its Pride party at Bar 13. After they drew 800 proud queers through the doors, the venue approached Fried and offered to host her weekly parties.
The *Snapshot* crew loaded up the proverbial U-haul and said goodbye to Boysroom. Bar 13’s tri-level space and roomy dance floor regularly attracted 300 boys and girls on Tuesdays. Thanks to advertising, what had previously been a word-of-mouth affair went mainstream.
September 2006 was a milestone for *Snapshot*, which drew 600 people to its second fashion show, “Back to Schoolhouse Rock and Gear for Queers” at Bar 13. By this time, Fried and Beretta were the two sole partners; eventually, Beretta departed, leaving Fried in charge of the party and Conant as promoter.
With one finger firmly on the pulse of queer culture and art, *Snapshot*’s honchos stepped up their game to bring in the big names. The party hosted film premieres and hired cutting-edge DJs like Kim Ann Foxman. L Word cast members were just a few of the celebs who showed up at the weekday party—an unheard-of occurrence. Annie Sprinkle, Bitch, God-des and She, Judy Gold and Julie Goldman all graced the *Snapshot* stage.
“Sir” Sabrina Haley came on board as a photographer and closing manager in 2006. Fried was making her way through law school, and couldn’t stay out until 4 a.m. on her journey to become the DJ with the JD.
“I have so many incredible memories, and I’ve gained so much from my experience,” Haley says. Because of *Snapshot, “I became a full-time photographer and event planner.”
“We were the perfect trio,” says Fried of Conant and Haley. “We worked so well together.”
In seven years of outrageous parties, a few notable nights stand out. Conant describes her favorite *Snapshot* experience as the “Magic Eight Ball” event featuring Lesbians on Ecstasy on New Year’s Eve 2007/2008. The promoters scouted Brooklyn for a raw warehouse space and sold more than 500 tickets. It took two months to orchestrate the staff of 30 and construct a DJ booth, balloon-drop and VIP area.
“What transpired that night was jaw-dropping and quite possibly the wackiest party I’ve ever helped throw,” says Conant. “The party was completely on our terms. We stayed open until 8 a.m. and found three pairs of pants during clean-up the next day. What a beautiful disaster that party was!”
Haley recalls the “3-Ring Circus Anniversary” as one of her favorite events. “Some members of the Coney Island Freak Show actually lit our cake candles by blowing fire out of their mouths!” she says.
Over the past few years, Fried, Conant and Haley have watched the queer nightlife scene shift and expand. All felt it was time to move on to other projects.
“We set out to change the scenery in the community and create more diverse nightlife,” Fried says. “Now any night of the week you can go anywhere. That was our mission, and we have accomplished what we set out to do.”