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By Robert Levine
Broadway Divas Faith Prince and Karen Mason were the premier entertainers who opened Cherry Grove’s theatrical season at the newly renovated and historic Community House Theatre. Their pianists were Joseph Thalken and Christopher Denny. George McGarvey and the Arts Project produced this great show with a fantastic and very enthusiastic audience. Thanks to Eddie Fraser and Thomas Anderson, who were so generous for their contribution and support. George designed a beautiful stage set.
Photographer Sue Kravitz had a lavish cocktail party to celebrate the launching of her cocktail table book “Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island.” The book is a collection of July 4 celebrants, featuring intriguing Fire Island personalities. At least 200 people attended the book signing and enjoyed the beautiful ocean view from her deck. The book can be purchased at F.I.G. in downtown Cherry Grove.
Mazel Tov to CeeJay Rosen and Peg Ryan who were married on July 18 by Cherry Grove’s own Joanne Tavis. I call her Reb Tavis. CeeJay and Peg have been together 28 years. Family members in attendance were Peg’s brother, John Ryan, and his husband, Wilmer Maldonado, from Miami, and her nephew, Mark Rosen, with his boyfriend, Will, from Manhattan. Michael and I were among the lady friends from the Grove including Jan and Edrie, Joyce Yaeger and Danielle, Patricia and Diane, Ricky and Ann, Toni and Jane, among others. It was a beautiful and touching ceremony. The party was grand.
Tim Tareco had a house full of guests visiting: Cliff Condon and Eve Tetzlaff and her husband, Brian Phillips. Bill and Michael Smith, who now live in The Pines, were back in town recently enjoying lunch with one of the Grove’s favorite personalities, Maria Elena Passaretti. John and Ellen Feldman Putnam walked from the Pines to enjoy breakfast in the Grove, and visited us at Roseland. Dan Evans and Jim Kelly Evans have returned from an exotic Polynesian trip to Tahiti. Alexandre Gertsman had a wonderful cocktail party on his bay front deck with some of his Cherry Grove neighbors and friends.
Cherry Grove’s own celebrity fashionista George Brescia was on the red carpet for New York 1 Channel’s “GQ View” for the Tony Awards. He appears regularly on morning TV shows including Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto with Fox 5, as well the “Today Show” with Hoda and Kathie Lee on NBC.
Cherry Grove once again came out in full force with decorated floats and many people dressed in colorful outfits to celebrate Gay Pride Day on Saturday, June 18. We in the Grove celebrate Gay Pride one week earlier than New York City. It was a full day of celebration both sad and gay.
John Burke, a.k.a. Sybil Bruncheon, appears at the Island Breeze every Friday at 5 p.m., calling Bingo with her smart, clever and funny banter and also giving good trivia. However on June 18, John hosted “The Walk of Fame – A Stroll Down Memory Lane” at the Community House. This talk featured Craig Eberhardt, Meryl Facterman, Lucille Flora, Joan Van Ness, Don Hester, Thom (Panzi) Hanson and myself. It was a delightful and interesting look back on the history of Cherry Grove and the early days of the gay movement. It brought us to the success we have become today. George McGarvey again set a beautiful stage for this event.
Immediately following, Cherry Grove had a candlelight vigil on the dock to show solidarity and remembrance of the Orlando attack. At least 500 people were in attendance. Following this sad but poignant happening, a fantastic display of fireworks shot up in the Great South Bay, sponsored by many of our Cherry Grove businesses and residents.
Johnny Poole as Cess Poole had his annual Drag Attack on June 14. MC’d by Donna Piranha, the contestants were Lona Warhead, Uma Assburns, Chas Titie Belt, and Home Manphradiey. Judges included Porsche, Richard Bell, China, Meryl Facterman, and Tisch. Dale as Chas won Miss Drag Attack and Jeffrey as Uma won Bottom of The Bay. As in the past it was a great fun day.
- Rose Levine, will perform for one show only at the Cherry Grove Community House, on July 2, at 8:30 p.m. Appearing with Rose will be Kenny Rahtz, Luis Villabon (both performer and choreographer), Adam Sarette, Justin Henry, and Fran Rheinhardt. The musical Director is John McMahan. Tickets are on sale at the theatre every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or at artsprojectcg.org.
- SOCH (Save our Community House) is having another fundraiser on July 9, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Its theme, Carnival Venice. Tickets are available at the Belvedere.
- The Arts Project of Cherry Grove and the Cherry Grove Archives Committee will sponsor the “Outtakes” Film Festival at the Community House, July 15-17. The schedule as follows:
- “Time Passes” and “I Always Say Yes” by Jim Tushinski, on Friday, July 15, at 9 p.m.
- “Love Cherry Grove Style,” on Saturday, July 16, from 4 -5:30 p.m.
- “Children of The Dune,” will also show on Saturday, July 16, at 8 p.m.
- “Camille,” a 1953 home camp production by the late Jerett Robert Austin, will have its world premier on Sunday, July 17, from 2-4 p.m.
Historic images from the past by historian, Carl Luss will also be on display, and so much more. Admission is on a contribution basis.
- Daniel Nardicio and Robin Murray will present “Swing At The Beach,” featuring music by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra, Tony Nominee Vivian Reed, and Jazz Violinist Aaron Weinstein, on July 30, at 7 and 11 p.m., at the Ice Palace. Tickets at www.dworld.us.
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