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By Robert Levine
What an exciting weekend, I performed in “The Best of Times is Now” at the Community House in Cherry Grove. As Irving Berlin wrote, “The audience that lifts you when you’re down.” I certainly wasn’t down but those words are very true. Many people attended from the Grove and the Pines hence giving us a sold out house. I would like to thank Jason Wetzel, the musical director, and George McGarvey, who transformed the theatre into a Parisian nightclub.
I would like to thank the Arts Project board members and Panzi for inviting me to perform. A very special thanks to Anita Auricchio, who has taken a personal interest as liaison to work on all the details required for such a show. She, along with her partner, Sharon Weinberg, never stop working.
Another special thanks to JoAnn Orfanos, who sells those tickets and organized the seating. Additional thanks to Matt Baney our technical advisor, Alison Brackman on sound and lights, Michael Romanelli on the spotlight, and Arthur Cohen our stage manager. Honorable mention also goes to Jay Robinson, who worked with George making the theatre look beautiful, as well as Richard Cooley (Urban Sprawl), who did the Rose Levine make-up. The new sound system was installed and it worked very well at my show. Donations are greatly needed to finance this project. Thanks to all of those who have given so generously already.
We in Cherry Grove celebrated Gay Pride on two weekends. We had our Annual Gay Pride Parade, mentioned June 17 in my prior column. Due to inclement weather that night, the fireworks were postponed to the following week. It was a beautiful display of colors flashing over the bay, entertaining the guests at many bay front homes. Gay Pride was celebrated in major cities across the globe including New York, San Francisco, Paris and others. It began in 1969, at Stonewall in New York City. China, an icon in the gay world, has the distinction of being at Stonewall that very night with her late friend, Ivan. China has been part of the Grove scene for many years. She and I were “living room” housemates in 1955, when we were both invited to the same house the first weekend we arrived in the Grove. We then rented other rooms together later that season. Like me, she has been here forever. She has won many pageant titles including Ms. Cherry Grove, Miss Fire Island and Homecoming Queen, among countless others. She even appeared in the TV show “Sex In The City.” She has ridden on more gay pride parade floats than anyone I know. Recently, China was honored by TD Bank in New York, an honor well earned indeed!
The Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo came to Cherry Grove on Wednesday, June 28, to perform at the CG Community House. She is very entertaining and very quick on the delivery, with wit and charm. The theatre was filled to capacity. A film crew was with her, taping and preparing a special on TLC to be shown in a few months. Ariel Sinclair introduced her. They looked like sisters although Theresa had the bigger hairdo. She reached many people in the audience and it was something different for us.
2007 Homecoming Queen Lola Galore and her friends held a fantastic drag sale. All proceeds were donated to the Cherry Grove Archives. Old friends of mine from Boston, Jay Lordon and John Lawson, spent the Fourth of July Weekend at Belvedere. They attended The Rose Levine show and The Invasion. We had dinner with them at Sand Castle on my night off. Thank you James, our server that evening.
The Annual House Blessing, organized by Valerie Perez, took place on Sunday, July 2, with an overwhelming response. Fundraising from this beloved event was distributed among many important Grove organizations including the Arts Project, CCGAI, Property Owners Association, the Garden Club, Cherry Grove Fire Department, the Memorial Fund, the Dune Fund, and of course PAWS.
• Opera Discussion Group hosted by Jim Crapotta will once again return to the Community House every Wednesday through the end of August, from 11 a.m. to noon. Free of charge.
• Join the Bingo players at the Community House every Sunday evening also through late August.
• Don’t miss “Cherry Grove Stories” a new documentary by Mike Fisher. It will be shown at the
Community House on Saturday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. Open seating.
• Also on July 8, a benefit for SOCH/CGCAI will be held, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Belvedere Hotel. Hosted by the Belvedere from 4-7 p.m., with a “50’s Retro Party” costume theme, open bar, food and entertainment. Tickets are $125, available at door.
• The CG Archives will hold its annual show on the weekend of July 15 and 16, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Community House.
• Jean-Pierre Lemarie will be featured in “A Journey Through Time” at the Community House on July 15.
• “An Evening with Michele Balan,” featuring Shirley Ritenour, is at the Community House on July 22.
The House Blessing with Ginger Snap