By Robert Levine
Memorial Day 2018 is now history. The Arts Project had its 43rd Annual Homecoming Election on Sunday, May 27, at the Community House. Keeping up with the tradition, Panzi and Bella were the MCs. Thanks to all the businesses in Cherry Grove for donating gifts to the more than 30 raffles, with a special thanks to Evelyn Danko and Valerie Perez for being so generous. Contestants who competed for the coveted crown included Mother, Victoria Falls and Rose Levine. I’m thrilled to become the 43rd Homecoming Queen for the 70th Anniversary of the Arts Project! I want the thank the community for their enthusiastic reception. Panzi declared this “The Year of the Rose.”
I remember the Memorial Day Weekend of 1956. I rented a sofa for $5 a night. My living room roommate at that time was China. I happened to tell three friends of mine that I was going to Cherry Grove for the weekend. They asked me to find a house for them for the weekend. A brand new house, Villa Vista, was just built by John Eberhard and Joe Furon. They built Belvedere and at least 20 other houses at that time. They charged $30 for the three nights. I called my friends from the phone booth in the center of town, and of course they were thrilled. My good friends Mike Merino and Glen Dooley are now the proud owners of this beautiful house. Things have certainly changed.
The Arts Project had its annual Flea Market on the weekend of May 19. They had more merchandise than Raymour & Flanigan. Sofas, chairs, tables, lamps, sheets, towels, dishes, and tchotchkes galore! Many thanks to Charlie, Troy, and Brian for their hard work organizing and for working this event, as well as the sales people and to Meryl Facterman, who was the cashier.
The Cherry Grove Community Association had a meet and great cocktail party on Saturday evening, at the Community House among all of the merchandise, which was moved to the sides. It was great fun, just like being in a warehouse. Believe it or not some were shopping while drinking and mingling.
Congratulations to Wes Pope, who just landed a job as a dresser with the “Anastasia” company on Broadway. We are happy to welcome John Woell and Fernando Iglesias. They moved into their new house, which has been under construction for more than a year. Peggy Samson and her husband Marty Beyman have returned to their oceanfront home from their London residence. Before arriving in the Grove, they spent time in Paris and New York City.
Happy Birthday to Anita Auricchio, who is a board member of the Arts Project. She never stops working. She and other board members were part of the welcoming committee that greeted new volunteers that signed up to work at many summer events on Volunteer Day.
The 42nd Annual PAWS Benefit was once again presented by Valerie Perez at the Community House, which featured Panzi, Bella, and Demi as MCs. Other performers included Donna Pirahna, Bruce-Michael Gelbert, Beach DeBree, and Rose Levine making her first presentation as Homecoming Queen singing “Tomorrow” as Annie, with Mr. Burberry. PAWS founder Lee Frey was in the audience; it was nice to see her again.
If you are in New York City, Fire Island Artist Warren Boyd Wexler will have his photography shown at the GNA show at Salmagundi Club at 5th Avenue and 12th Street, from June 18-22.
Roland Michely conducted a beautiful program for the annual Memorial Service, which was started more than 30 years ago. Community Association President Diane Romano, Arts Project President Thom Hanson and Richard Schack of the Memorial Fund spoke. Gene Rohrer was at the piano and played two pieces by Claude Debussy and Edvard Grieg.
We say final farewells to Ken Lunde, who lived in the Grove for many years. He was a wonderful Broadway pianist and accompanist who was affiliated with “Crazy For You” and other major Broadway shows. We remember him as the cocktail party pianist at the Community House when Christine Ebersole performed.
We also will miss Glen Coleman, who passed at the age of 52. Our condolences to Jack Quinn, who recently lost his mother Priscilla; she visited the Grove many times and was a great supporter of this community.
We also wish Arthur Cohen a speedy recovery.
June 8, 9, 10: The Artist Tour of Cherry Grove will hold its fifth annual event but this year they are partnering with the Dune Fund, with a silent auction on Friday, June 8, from 5-8 p.m., at the Community House. All participating artists are donating their work. Martinu Schneegass designed quality T-shirts and beach towels that will be available for sale. The weekend of visiting artists’ home studios then proceeds as usual with maps being distributed throughout downtown.
June 10: Get ready for the Invasion with the Annual Drag Sale.
June 16: Cherry Grove’s Annual Gay Pride Parade, with festivities starting at 2 p.m. Floats, food, fun, and fireworks! The pyrotechnics begin at 9:30 p.m., with the best view by the bay.