Satin Frocks and Housing Law – By Jennifer Bleyer

Dario Modon is a burly 64-year-old who stands 6 feet 2 and has painted-on, arched eyebrows and a coy, puckered smile. He marches around the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn, where he lives, with a long More Red cigarette between his fingers. Before retiring, he spent decades working in the fashion industry, designing lingerie and evening wear and helping produce the brief paper dress trend of the late ?60s.

During his off-hours, Mr. Modon performed as a drag queen around town. Although not in drag that night, he was at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village during the infamous 1969 raid that sparked the gay rights movement, whose 38th anniversary is on Thursday.

Mr. Modon lived in Brooklyn Heights for 25 years until a landlord dispute a decade ago forced him out of his building and into a one-bedroom apartment in the Red Hook Houses. There, he has come to assume a unique role in the life of the projects. As a self-taught student of civil law, he regularly advises his neighbors on their legal disputes and travels to court to represent them.