By Robert Levine
I would like to thank all of you who attended “La Vie en Rose.” Thanks to George McGarvey, who designed a beautiful set, which I referred to as my salon on the Champs-Élysées; as well as a special thanks to Richard Cooley, who did my makeup. He has done more faces in Cherry Grove than Max Factor.
The Cherry Grove Film Festival was held at the Community House from July 20-22. It was three days of continuous cinema. They kicked off the festivities on Thursday evening with a grand VIP cocktail/buffet dinner party held at Peggy Samson’s new beach front house. The food was donated and catered by Hideki Takami, who prepared a delicious Japanese cuisine dinner. Many of the board members and some of the VIP guests were working the party taking shifts as bartenders, servers, and cleaning up. They all did an exceptional job putting this weekend together. Saturday night, Jacquie at Cherry’s hosted a late party on the upper deck at Cherry Lane for everyone connected to the festival.
The Arts Project had its first Summer Cabaret, featuring Christopher Caswell in “Step into the Sun.” His performance delighted the crowd for over an hour. Accompanied by James Follwell, his choice of songs included a vast variety by today’s best pop artists: Melissa Etheridge, Benj Pasek, Billy Joel, and others. Christopher is a sweet, gentle, genuine talent and his delivery and diction were perfect. The second cabaret evening will feature Shirley Ritenour on Aug. 23. Tickets are on sale now.
Speaking of Chris Caswell, he and his partner, Matt Baney, had Judith Hawking from Peekskill over as their houseguest. Mike Merino and Glen Dooley had Adam and Elizabeth Criscillo, along with Elizabeth Rhodes, as their guests from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Evelyn Danko and Valerie Perez had Guenther Murr as their guest for an entire month. They held a farewell dinner party in his honor. Guenther and I have been friends since l965. Diane Romano and Patricia Goff also entertained weekend guests, Patricia’s sister, Bobbie Jo, and her daughters, Jordon and Delaney, from Springfield, Massachusetts. Playwright Troy Britton Johnson, who appeared in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” was the guest of Michael Goddard and Shane Hoffman. Steve Malsky and Luis Cruiz had weekend houseguests including Luis’s brother, Manuel; his wife, Yesinia; his son, Gabriel; daughter, Adriana; and her boyfriend, Franklin. They all left Bayamón, Puerto Rico, after hurricane Maria. They are now living in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Seen in the Grove was Ted Allen of “Chopped.” Also seen was the incomparable Rollerina.
Dennis McConkey painted a mural, which has been installed on the outside deck of Grove Pizza.
Richie Vais and Matt Roberts are vacationing in Portland, Oregon, before attending Matt’s mother’s 80th birthday in Montreal. Clara Bogetti and Lee Sharmat recently returned from a 10-day vacation in Hawaii. Welcome Aileen Atkins and Avery Ryan who are now the new owners of an oceanfront home in the Grove. Our official Cherry Grove photographer, Ray Bagnuolo, is also the proud owner of a co-op in the Grove. Congratulations to Parker and Andy Sargent who bought a house on Surf Walk, and also to David Korman, another new homeowner.
“We Love The 70s Casino” at the Community House was quite a hit. As Homecoming Queen, Rose Levine cut the ribbon to begin the festivities. Wheels were spinning, the blackjack tables were full, and everyone was gay. Thanks to Panzi, Sue Panzer, Matt Baney, Fran Sardone and all the volunteers, it was another exciting night in the Grove.
Choreographer Chris Bell returned from the John Drew Theatre in East Hampton, where he performed with Bebe Neuwirth, Stefanie Pope and Chita Rivera in a benefit for Dancers For Good. He also has his own dance company, the Chris Bell Dancers. His company of five will rehearse a piece in Cherry Grove called “Youth and Death,” which will be performed at Dixon Place on Christie Street in New York City from Oct 25-27. Tickets are available at dixonplace.org if interested.
CGCAI is selling 50/50 raffle tickets, which will be drawn at the Membership Meeting on Sept. 9. You can purchase tickets at email@example.com or at the table set up in town on weekends.
Sorry, the Honors Dinner on Aug. 18 at the Community House has been sold out. This year’s honorees are Ruth and Susan Freedner, Anita Auricchio, Jack Dowling, Evelyn Danko, and Valerie Perez.
A memorial party for Juan Punchin was organized at “Les Boys.” Many friends spoke of his fine qualities and his good nature and his love for Cherry Grove. We also lost Bob Hensler, a friend of the Grove who lived at “Blueberry Hill” for many years before moving to Fort Lauderdale. Our best wishes to his partner, Dick Martell.
Aug. 4 and 5: The Arts Project will hold its 70th Annual Art Show at the Community House.
Aug. 11: “An Evening With Judy Gold,” the well known comedienne and actor, at the Community House, at 8:30 p.m.
Bingo every Sunday night, at 7 p.m.; and Opera Discussion, by Jim Crapotta, every Wednesday at 11 a.m., at the Community House.