By Robert Levine
Old Queens: Rita, China, and Rose.
First I would like to publicly thank everyone who has stopped me in the Grove and the Pines to congratulate me on my most recent show “The Best of Times is Now,” which was performed in July at the Community House. It is nice to feel loved.
The Invasion was another festive triumph on July Fourth. The big ferry left the Grove with some 400 invaders dragging themselves to the Pines. Our Homecoming Queen, Ginger Snap, and her entourage led the parade off the ferry with a Studio 54 theme. Congratulations to Matt Baney, who proposed to Christopher Caswell at the Pines Harbor when they disembarked from the Ferry. The answer was yes of
course. Jay Lordon and John Lawson from Boston, who were staying at the Belvedere won “The Lost Couple” category with the theme of their costumes being “Lost in Time.”. Panzi, Lynn Hutton and I are the only survivors out of the original 15 who were in that first Invasion back in 1976. Let’s not forget the late Terri Warren who was denied entry to the Botel. That is the reason why the Invasion began.
Belvedere has just celebrated its 60th anniversary. CGCAI held a fundraiser party there with a fun 50’s theme. Please see my complete and separate coverage of this event on Page 30 of this issue
of Fire Island News.
Another very exciting event happened at the Community House on July 8. Mike Fisher produced a fantastic documentary called “Cherry Grove Stories.” In addition to the wealth of Cherry Grove residents interviewed for this film, Fischer was able to obtain old film clips, photographs, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia that is just priceless. The editing and the continuity of this piece with background music is as good as it gets. An original score was written by Barb Morrison. The audience included many of us
who were in the film, and everyone was excited to see something of quality. Due to an overwhelming response a second show was added at the last minute. Congratulations Mike on your first major film. You should continue with all of your other great ideas. I know your partner Gary Sachs is very important to all of your projects as my partner Michael Fitzgerald is to my projects. The Arts Project has scheduled another showing of this movie on Sept. 3, at 7:30 and 8:45 pm. at the Community House.
“Lavender Hill” Cherry Grove resident Shane Hoffman, who recently returned from Indonesia, along with his partner, Broadway super-agent Michael Goddard (a.k.a. Lady Long Legs) have had many Broadway performers as their guests this summer: Dennis Stowe from “Aladdin,” Keven Quillon and Max Clazton from “Bandstand,” and Stephen Carrasco from “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” among others.
Grammy award winner for “I Hear Laughter in The Rain,” and many more songs, Neil Sedaka returned to the Grove to visit his gal pal Jackie Presti. They lunched, shopped and walked around Cherry Grove with another friend, Vince Mariah. Recording artist Ari Gold stopped by “Roseland” for a visit with his Fire Island travel-mate model/designer Delicia. Pines Realtor Vinnie Petrarca, with his partner John Krawchuk, also visited “Roseland.” We had another visitor from the Pines, Christian Freedom. He bought a painting from Michael and then walked back to the Pines. Another recent visitor to “Roseland” – a box turtle! I guess JFK is not the only runway they have decided to cross.
Gay Nathan and Julie Paradise had a cocktail party to introduce their houseguests from Santa Fe, Linda Harradine and Sharon O’Shea, to all their Cherry Grove friends. In addition to the regular Cherry Grove royalty, their other guests, from Water Island, included Kyle Merker and George Graham. Kyle worked at the Monster in the 70s, which came up in my column not too long ago.
Anita and Russ Martin invited 20 people for drinks to celebrate Anita’s birthday. While there, I spoke to Jeanine Barotta Finan, who I haven’t seen for many years. She grew up here in Cherry Grove with her parents AnnMarie and Vinni Braotta, who are living in Islip.
Dan Clancy and Charlie Isola, who were homeowners in the Pines and the Grove for many years are now living in New York City and Ft. Lauderdale these days. They recently rented a house in the Grove. Charlie is a former president of the CG Property Owners Association, and Dan is a talented playwright who has a few Off Broadway and regional hits to his credit.
Daniel Nardicio presented Lady Bunny at the Ice Palace last Friday evening. She knows how to work that audience making her a great performer. She is definitely X-rated. Certainly no one between the ages of 18 and 81 should be permitted without parental consent. My mother gave me a pass and they accepted us.
Congratulations to Joan Van Ness and Lorraine Michels on their 24th anniversary.
• On July 22, at 8 p.m., at the Community House: “An Evening with Michelle Balan.” She has performed in the Grove many times before, and is very funny.
• On July 29, from 8 p.m.-1 a.m., The Arts Project will host its annual Casino night. This year “Hollywood in Heaven” is the theme, don’t miss it.
• August 12 is the Annual Cherry Grove Honors Dinner held at The Community House. The Honorees include George McGarvey, Roland Michely, Susan Panzer and Walter Kowalski.