By Bob Levine
Hello, Cherry Grove. We had a very exciting Memorial Weekend. Our 40th annual Homecoming Queen was selected. There were only four contestants: Mother-Anita Morehead, Jo Jo Gerard, Gusty Winds and Demi Tasse. The winner was Demi. At 7l, she is glamorous, talented, striking and very Barbra Streisand. Bella and Panzi hosted the event at the Community House. Whore D’Oeuvre did her final walk and turned the crown over to Demi. Former homecoming Queen Ivanna Cocktail did her 10th year walk with a song. Many old queens were in the audience including: Cobra, Coco, Margo, Lola Galore, Urban Sprawl, Donna Perhana, Louisa Verde, Joan Van Ness (Scarlet Oh) Beach Debris, Uneeda Dunes, and of course our first homecoming queen, Panzi. Many raffle prizes were donated by all the Cherry Grove business and it was very exciting.
Richie Vais and his partner, Matt Roberts, are back in the Grove for 15 years now.
Year round Cherry Grove resident and artist, Warren Boyd Wexler, had his photography exhibited at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, in New York City.
Many of our resident stars of the stage that were under contract to the Arts Project for many years have retired or left the Grove. The Shapiro Sisters sold their house, Charity is now living in Ft. Lauderdale, and Denise moved to Orlando. With the cancellation of the Doctors Fund Show, many of our regular members, Urban Sprawl, Coco, Margo, Donna, Lola, Kenny, Roger, Jack, Bobbie, Doreen, Joanne, Cobra, Tony Bondi, Louisa Verde and Ann Phetamine, are down a performance. Now with the cancellation of Ocean Aires, another group is out of work – like Philomena, Shirley, Gene Rohrer, and Isaac Steven Vaughn. Maybe we should have an unemployment office in Cherry Grove for our out of work actors. Some of them might be working in others shows, such as “Legends” on Labor Day Weekend, or the EMS Benefit on July 18. Panzi, Bella, Demi Tasse and Rose Levine are still working full-time. We have another group of entertainers who work at the Ice Palace: Porche, Ariel Sinclair, Logan Hardcore, Lavina Draper, Brandon Cutrell, Saquita. Others at Cherry’s are Ginger Snapp, Tina Burner, Busted, Hedda Lettuce, and Gusty Winds. Well that’s showbiz folks.
Pines boys Dan Lavender, Parker Edmonds and Kevin Magos enjoyed their dinner at Top of the Bay, sitting at the next table to Michael Fitzgerald and me. At the bar were Paul Jablonski, Linwood, Curtis and Jack, among others.
The 15th Annual Mr. Leather contest had a Hard Core opening at the Island Breeze. In the past, it’s been held at the Ice Palace. Due to the fire it was uncertain if the Ice Palace would even open this season, but it has. Porche hosted the show. Bruce Michael Gelbert, Mr. Leather 2001 sang “I’m Still Here.” He was also a judge along with Jeff Goodman, 2001; Diego Fargos, 2007; Danny Logan, 2011; Mark Naglen, 2012; Condito Soares, 2013; and Victor Skolnik, 2014. Another judge was David Samuel Menkis from the Pines, a clothing designer and sash maker for the winners. Four contestants included Edd from New York, Jonathon from Long Beach, Jonathon from Boston, and Michael from Long Island. Congratulations to Edd, Mr. Leather 2015, and Mr. Meat Rack himself, Jonathon from Boston.
Spotted in Cherry Grove: Two-time Tony Award-winner Cherry Jones, who was seen enjoying the weekend in the Grove with her longtime life partner.
The Cherry Grove Garden Club had its first meeting for this season at Pea Pod, hosted by its President Peter Chace. They had a great turn out: Paul Jablonski, Don Hestor, Brian Clark, Troy Files, Michael Peskoff, Irma Ruiz, Richard Reilly, Lyn Eisenberg, David Vallee, Mel Rock, Don Robb and yours truly were all present. Dates were made to work and beautify the Community House and the new EMS house. The annual garden tour has been scheduled for July 5, from noon-2 p.m. West Side, and 2-4 p.m. East Side; wine and cheese will follow. Keep your eyes out for the flyers very soon. The next meeting is scheduled for June 6, at 11 a.m., and again will be held at Pea Pod.
Cherry Grove resident George Lyter, has filmed, edited and produced a documentary about the 175th Anniversary of the Broadway United Church of Christ, entitled “Church Without Walls.” George attended a gala dinner at the New York Historical Society in Manhattan.
Long time Cherry Grove resident Jamie Brickhouse, who lives with his partner, Michael Hayes, has written a book, entitled “Dangerous When Wet,” published by St. Martin’s Press. It’s a memoir about growing up in Beaumont, Texas, with a mother who was part Auntie Mame and part Mama Rose. F.I.G. will sell his book exclusively in the near future and a book signing will be announced.
Roland Michely and Joe Anania had a busy weekend with family guests: Joe’s mother Melinda; and his nephew and wife Robert and Caroline Pantusa, along with their daughter Noelle.
Congratulations to Irma Ruiz, a new homeowner in the Grove.
- June 6 – The Arts Project and George McGarvey will present Sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway, who will perform the show “Sibling Revelry,” at the Community House, with musical director Alex Rybeck. There will be two showings, 8 and 10 p.m. There will be a VIP cocktail party from 5-7 p.m.
- June 7 – Women’s Pride in the Grove is hosting a benefit to raise money to purchase a new fire truck for Cherry Grove Fire Department and EMS. Meet actress Abigail Savage from TV’s “Orange is the New Black.”
- June 21 – The Annual Drag Tag Sale will be held at the Ice Palace. Shop for wigs, dresses, jewelry, furs and such. Get ready for the invasion!
- June 27: The Arts Project will present Rose Levine in “Old School Broadway,” a musical revue featuring Kenny Rahtz, at the Community House, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.artsprojectcherrygrove.org or at the Community House Box Office.
Roland Michely, President of the Community Association Diane Romano, and President of the Arts Project Thom Hansen, conducted a moving Memorial Day Service. All spoke eloquently. Finally Hank Armstrong, John Brannon Albright, Murray Kass, Florence Leighton, and Dick Newman were additional names of people that passed away during the past year but did not make it into my last column. They have not been forgotten.
EDITOR’S CORRECTION: Tim Webster lost his longtime husband, David Bullock. In the last column condolences were mistakenly given to Eric Coyne. We apologize for the error.
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