By Robert Levine ~ Like the pages from a Lewis Carroll novel, Wonderland has returned to Fire Island. The restaurants and show venues are busy. Drag bingo is very popular. On Sunday evening Michael and I took a Fire Island water taxi to Ocean Beach to join the Cherry Grove drag queens that bring their show to The Island Mermaid. We enjoyed seeing Scott Hirsch, the fabulous dinner and the people watching in Ocean Beach as they got a taste of the Cherry Grove world.
On Saturday, July 17, koitz had his photography exhibition at the Community House and it was a major success. The following weekend, Lee Sharmut put together a historical exhibit for the Cherry Grove Archives Collection also at the Community House, also nicely done. Asa Somers, the Broadway actor staring in “Dear Evan Hanson,” is vacationing in the Grove right now, along with his wife, Ry.
Fire Island Pines Fire Department held a special election in which Gene Cook was elected to a five-year term as fire commissioner. He served as the Pines postmaster for the past two years and will continue in that role as he adds this new position to his busy schedule. Congratulations to Rich Barry who will retire from that the commissioner’s post.
The Pines Party’s Return to Wonderland exceeded expectations since it was a return to the Fire Island party days we love and missed. Produced by John Wood, with the help of many volunteers including Randy Wilson, they partied till dawn. As per the tradition, tents were installed on the beach funded by many sponsors, surrounding a main dance floor. Michael and I attended the pre-party on Friday night at Allan Baum and Frank Liberto’s home. Davida Jones made her entrance as the Queen of Hearts. Wonderland has truly returned to the Pines.
Saturday, July 31, will be a busy day in the Pines. The fire department resumes the annual cookout from noon to 2:30 p.m. There will be good food and raffle prizes. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will also return to the Pines to meet and greet her Fire Island friends beginning at 2 p.m. Movie Night at Whyte Hall features “Valley of the Dolls,” brought to you by FIPAP. Screening begins at 6 p.m.
Rainbow Connection, produced by Sheila Morgan, is a new venture for Cherry Grove. Selected performers from the community have created an ensemble group to celebrate the LGBTQ generational community. Adam Odsess-Rubin and Gavin Trinidad are the distinguished artist-instructors, brought aboard to coordinate this production, which is dedicated to the iconic Gilbert Baker.
Lambda Legal has been fundraising in the Pines since 1978 and will be back to do so again on Saturday, Aug. 14. Hosted by Todd Sears, Brian Gligor, David Aldea, and Paddy Pilkington with a brunch from 1-3 p.m., followed by a pool party from 3-5 p.m. Tickets start at $50 and up.
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