By Bob Levine
On Saturday, June 20, Cherry Grove celebrated Gay Pride Day with a big parade in town. All of the commercial establishments from Cherry Grove were represented: The Ice Palace, Island Breeze, Top of the Bay, Cherry’s, The Grove Market, Dune Point, and our EMS Department among others. The Cherry Grove Garden Club was passing out begonia plants to all, and was led by Beach DeBree, Joan Van Ness and Uneeda Dunes, who were clever in their approach. Our new fire truck was also part of the grand procession. Mr. Leather Fire Island walked with his group of boys; the ladies this year were Dykes on Bikes riding on motor-scooters. Crowned Homecoming Queen Demi Tasse was on her own cart looking exceptionally regal indeed. Porche opened the parade by singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” As luck would have it, the parade went through town before Mother Nature could rain on our parade and the fireworks were spectacular going off on the bay. Let’s not forget to thank Warren MacDowell who first helped startup this fireworks tradition in Cherry Grove many years ago. Stonewall Bar has been designated a New York City Landmark and the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Obergefell v. Hodges. It’s been a good few weeks for the gay community.
A celebration of the life of Lois McIntosh was held at Cherry’s. She died suddenly last September. Lois and her partner, Meryl Facterman were the founders of Cherry’s and they were a major part of this community for many years. Charity introduced Meryl, who said a few lovely words, and then the show began. Charity, Bella, Donna Perhana and Jonny Pool all spoke and sang many of Lois’ favorite songs. Jackie and Donna were the gracious hosts, serving plenty of food and champagne for more than 200 guests who attended to remember Lois. At the close of the party everyone was given a rose, which was thrown into the bay in honor our friend.
Congratulations to The Arts Project who once again sponsored a very successful Over the Rainbow Casino. Wheels, 21 and Roulette tables were throughout the Community House. Thanks to Panzi, Matt Baney, Sue Panza, Troy (Beach DeBree) Files, Brian (Uneeda Dunes) Clark, Lee Sharmut, Joan, Lorraine, Kathy, Sharon, Anita, Francine (The Pit Boss) and all the others who worked on the project. Everyone had a great time.
Lisa and Daniel Samson arrived from Cherry Hill, NJ, as day-guests of Joan Van Ness and Lorraine Michels. They just happen to own the printing company that the Arts Project uses for all their posters and programs. Lorraine has been using them as well to print her books: “The Community House” and her new book “The Invasion of The Pines: 40 Years of Fun Frolic & Fantasy,” which will be available at Fire Island Goods (FIG) as of Aug. 8, when they will host a book signing.
John Riddle, a leading cast member of “The Visit,” which recently closed on Broadway, was the guest of Richie and Wes who live on Gerard Walk. They were at the parade with Michael Goddard and Shane Hoffman.
Kelly Gunn had two lovely ladies as her guests from Los Angeles, Natalie Garcia and Maria O’Driscoll. They brought along two rescue dogs, Rita and Brenda that they will leave with Kelly and hopefully someone will adopt them. They were having a good time with Kelly’s dogs, Thomas and Tallulah.
Mike McGovern and Jimmy (Taffeta Darling) Cierbo, old-time residents, have returned to the Grove and are now guesting with friends Lyn and Carl Eisenberg. They spent their winter months in Pattaya, Thailand.
Congratulations to Alex Ruano and George Stainback who were married on June 13. They spend quite a few weeks in the Grove each season. They joined Michael and me for the fireworks on the Roseland deck.
Tereze Gluck, a new homeowner in the Grove, had a housewarming party for many of her friends from the mainland and from Cherry Grove. Her daughter, Abigail Savage, who is one of the stars on “Orange is the New Black,” was present. She has been spending a lot of time in the Grove enjoying her off time on Fire Island.
Jamie Brickhouse, resident of Cherry Grove for many years with his partner, Michael Hayes, recently completed his book “Dangerous When Wet.” Like Truman Capote who wrote “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” in the Pines, Jamie wrote much of his book right here in the Grove. His book is published by St. Martin’s Press, and I understand will be reviewed in Fire Island News next issue. Jamie’s good friends and neighbors in the Grove, Jamie Malcolm and Alfred Ambattle, hosted a fantastic book signing party at which at least 125 people attended. Freddy Marcado was the caterer, and served a beautiful barbecue buffet with lots of salads and all the trimmings.
The clever and very funny Hedda Lettuce hosted a spontaneous welcome to the crowd. She interviewed Jamie who was just as witty and clever. Jamie then read three different passages from his book, all of which were funny, touching and serious at the same time. Many friends from the Grove and the Pines came to enjoy this wonderful event. Tommy Tusch, Ken Woodhouse, Joshua David, Stephen Hirsh, David Cobb Craig, Anthony Hadaway and his housemates Fernando Englesus Garcia, David Daniels and John Wahl were just a few that I spoke with. Others were Joyce Rodgers, James Belzer, Jerry Jackson, Jay (Cup Cake) Bennett, George Lighter, Travis Behnke and George O’Donnell. Lynn from FIG was there as well, where the book will be sold in the Grove and with a pubic book signing at a future date. Another author, Jeff Sharloch, and his partner, Kai, were present, as was Jonathan Arnold, Stephen Soba, Peter Barros and Bill Kapfer from the Pines. Jamie had many houseguests for the weekend. His parents, Jane and Bob Malcolm from Charleston, SC; his sister, Anne Parnel, with her husband, Whit, and their two children, Little Whit and Cole; as well as his brother, William, and his wife Nicole; and his Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed Diamond, both from New York City. It was a great party.
Alexander Gertzman had a wonderful cocktail party that we attended on the deck of his beautiful bay front home. About 15 people attended, including Valerie Perez, Evelyn Danko, Mel Rock, Don Robb, Al Wolf, Robert Avalon and Lyn and Carl Eisenberg.
Also my fellow columnist, Cathy Shisler, from Davis Park, spent the day in Cherry Grove with her friends, Lauren Boyd, Jill Judge, Darlene Dempsey, and Melinda DeFranco. They visited Roseland before checking out the town.
Brian Clark and Troy Files have a new Chihuahua named Jewel; she joins their family with brother Chihuahua, Colby.
• The Opera Discussion Group hosted by Jim Crapottas will return this season at the Community House every Wednesday, from 11 a.m.-noon, July 8 through Aug. 26.
• North Shore LIJ Southside Hospital, which maintains a branch in Cherry Grove, will offer FREE skin cancer screenings, on July 24, from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Advance signup is required by emailing Lfinnegan1@NSHS.
• Cherry Grove Garden Club will have their annual Garden Tour, on July 5. Sign up begins at 9:30 a.m., at Coastal Roots. From noon to 2 p.m., tour of houses on the west side; from 2-4 p.m., tour houses on the east side. A wine and cheese reception will follow, all for $20.
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