The Offbeat Vision of Stoopher & Boots

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By Laura Shanahan "It's a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise I'd be a drag queen." Where do you think I'm reading from? A tattoo? A tweet? A T-shirt? Good guesses all, but-bzzzzz!-none of the above is correct. The statement is typewritten on a slim scrap of paper that is part of a wonderful multimedia mélange that makes up the Holly Suzanne framed artwork at Stoopher & Boots (385 Amsterdam Ave., 'twixt West 78th and West 79th). "That's a quote from Dolly Parton," Stephanie Goldstein, Stoopher's owner-and one of the local artisans represented in this charming one-of-a-kind shop-offered up. (Would you have guessed Parton was the author of said quote? I was going to multiple-choice you, but my typing fingers got ahead of my brain.) Well, no matter; onward now to describing the rest of Holly Suzanne's enchantingly offbeat vision. Measuring approximately 13 by 9 inches, her artwork features a vintage rendering of a rapturous ballerina. The dancer and her dusky background are accented with a generous pour of pink, green and silver glitter so fine that only the detail-oriented will appreciate that some of it is actually star-shaped. What does the thoroughly modern Parton quote have to do with a vintage, glitter-spangled ballerina? Perhaps nothing on the face of it-to the literalist-but together they create a thrillingly edgy juxtaposition, which is the whole (forgive me) "pointe." Sealing in all the components is a clear coating of resin. A black-painted wooden frame-which is actually a tray-allows the piece to either be displayed standing up or hung via the large openings on two opposing ends of the tray; $148 for this singular sensation. By the way, if you prefer the Mae West quote "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted," Holly Suzanne uses that in another glittery rendition of an old-timey ballerina, this one standing en pointe, with a dreamy expression; also $148. I actually had not intended to wind up at Stoopher today, but I wanted to peek into the just-opened Sugar and Plumm on the same block; in fact, S&P takes up about half the entire block, filling the space of five previous establishments. (So, uh, yeah; it's huge. Lotsa kids running around in a sugar wonderland-I noted half-pound bags of chocolate bark for $16-but there's also sit-down dining.) Figured I'd poke my head into Stoopher to visit Scout, Stephanie's resident-and neighborhood-beloved-King Charles spaniel, when I saw all the new stock beckoning. While the Holly Suzanne pieces are spectacular, there are loads of tiny-priced treasures, for adults and kids (many of whom pop in to visit and play with Scout). Standouts include Auntie Di's soy-blend jelly jar candles in such compelling scents as "clean cotton," $18; and the Red Leaf soap & shave cubes, in such evocative fragrances as English coast, fresh clover and beach, $6. For kids and pen enthusiasts of all ages, there are skinny ballpoints topped with what looks exactly like (but isn't) a swirled-color lollipop, authentic down to its cellophane wrapping, gold twist-tie and satin-ribbon bow; $3. Spiffy tot-size T-shirts designed by Stephanie, sparkly bangles, washable tats in the form of bracelets and rings, and so much more are draws at this friendly neighborhood gathering place. So sashay on in-and ask Steph if you can give Scout a "skritch" behind the ears for me.

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