This diary contains diverse views and opinions on what goes on in Cherry Grove, the nation and the world. Racism and bigotry have no place here. Please do not engage in personal attacks on other users. The cardinal rule here is to respect others. The opinions published here are those of individual writers and may or may not represent those of our publisher/editor or any other members of our volunteer staff.
To paraphrase a piece of writing that caught my eye on the Internet: "The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their opponents rather than simply seek to crush them." -- RLF
In Memorium -- "My primary purpose in writing these articles is to help provide gays with a sense of their history outside of Stonewall. I feel we have to grab it wherever we are living it and get it down for the generations that will follow in our footsteps."--Mary Kapsalis.
June 11, 2008 -- I have decided to eliminate "National and International News," "I'm Mad As Hell and I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore" and "Politically Incorrect" as of this edition. They have appeared in ATGT since 2000 and were among my favorite things to work on, but I don't know anyone who ever anything in them.
they have replaced by one written by Peter Ellison and another
with photos by Justine
La Hagela. Is
there anyone out there who would like to write a feature column
about local club life, the bars, cabaret, theatre and other entertainment venues?
Weather report: In the past two weeks, weather here has been cold, cool. warm, hot, humid, windy, rainy and perfect for the beach (sometimes all in one day.) It does reinforce the theory that there might be something terribly wrong with our eco-system. Then, again, May and June weather can be very unpredictable and what we're experiencing is simply "seasonal."
As I've mentioned in past editions, a younger generation of gays and lesbians seems be taking hold in Cherry Grove, and businesses are trying to figure out how to get their attention and compete for their business. (When I say younger, I mean men and women in their thirties and forties. Those in younger groups can't afford to come here on a regular basis, except as day trippers, tricks, houseguests and part time shares -- not frequent enough to get involved in form our community's future.) Our younger people seem more content with who they are and less in need of drawing attention to themselves than we were. As a result, there is a more relaxed, less frantic, air about our town that quite appeals. (Photo above right: Schmoozing in the upstairs bar at Tides.)
Less positive is their tendency toward quick fixes to problems anda lack of interest in community affairs, letting others make decisions that affect their lives. That lack of interest might cause them to someday wind up with the kind of community that they don't want when it's too late to do anything about it.
New owners of the Cherry Grove business community certainly have a lot of spark going for them these days. I recently attended a meeting of business owners at Jumping Jacks (photo left), where the topic was whether or not to have a fireworks display this year. (Yes, there will, but more about that later.) The point was that they got together to discuss something of mutual interest and got along famously. The old Cherry Grove Chamber of Commerce never had the knack and nothing got done. Maybe this time it'll work. There are larger issues that need their attention, and let's hope that they find their way to them.
The annual fireworks display that usually takes place in June has been delayed 'til August. Specifics will be published in our next edition.
The Grove is all a-tizzy over the following article that was recently published in the www.Observer.com. I'm not sure whether the piece was meant to be satire or ridicule.
THE HOLE THAT ATE FIRE ISLAND
There’s a hole at the center of Cherry Grove, into which all of the new gossip of the tiny village’s downtown is being poured
by CHOIRE SICHA, www.Observer.com
May 27, 2008 -- "The hole appeared maybe in March. It was the size of—and as oddly shaped a trapezium as—a bad West Village studio.
"The town’s dock becomes a short boardwalk that deposits arrivals deboarding the boat from the mainland at a cramped, poorly planned intersection; that is Cherry Grove, Fire Island’s entire tiny downtown.
"So arrivals find that to their right is a restaurant, and then behind that a bar. Ahead of them is the walkway to a bar; and behind that the pizza parlor; and, a bit up, a store; and, nearer, a Prudential Douglas Elliman office. To their left is a tiny post office, another real estate office and a bar. In the middle of all this, essentially, is the hole.
"As spring came, the hole became a bit of real estate in its own right. Rebar was posted. Eventually, a waist-high concrete wall was poured along its periphery. This work had been done, now and again, by different young men, white and Latino. Who employed them, and on whose behalf, was not clear. None seemed to be particularly skilled, but some of them were shirtless, and therefore were often photographed.
"One particularly thin yet muscular young man, referred to around town as 'the porn star,' disappeared from his work at the hole for a day or two.
"One of the joys of a small town, like this outpost on Fire Island with its entire physical presence described by just shy of 300 buildings, is that everyone knows absolutely everything, except the details of all those things, which are usually conveyed increasingly incorrectly as each person takes his turn with each story.
"For one thing, it was unclear whether this workman had ever performed in a pornographic film, or whether the nickname only asserted the analogy between such performers and this guy with the slightly shaggy, swaggery demeanor.
"The story was, according to people in town, that the porn star had brought his young daughter to town for a while. In her presence, his lover had made sexual comments to him.
"'I want to suck your dick' was cited as one of these comments; an unsurprising thing to say to a lover, but less plausible in front of his young daughter.
"Over this, or over something else, the young man had beaten his lover 'to a pulp,' according to two residents; had, they and others said, broken the other (older!) man’s jaw; and then been arrested and taken to the mainland for a day, or two, or more.
"In any event, he did eventually return. The porn star’s hands, when I saw them, were mangled, every knuckle bloody. They looked like a Bonobo’s feet.
"There was more. That had just been one of three altercations that day, according to a real estate agent downtown.
"So progress on the hole was slow. As May came on, renters arrived to join the owners. The small grocery store opened. The island’s population exploded. The trees came in. Frogs began their screaming in the evenings. The big hole gained a small hole inside itself; a cinder-block heart, surrounded by a sand field, nestled inside the concrete retaining wall.
"Memorial Day weekend, the real beginning of the season, came at last. According to what everyone said, it was a project of the pizza parlor.
"'It’s an interesting idea to put a septic tank in the town square,' said a landscape architect on Friday at noon. 'I don’t know what to say about it.'
He talked about it with an East Village landlord for a while.
"'They should get Claus Oldenburg to do a big soft sculpture of a turd over it,' said the architect.
"The restaurant directly opposite the septic tank, the Island Breeze—newly rebuilt, again; that location has a long history of suspicious off-season fires—was putting up American flag bunting. 'That’d make a cute little skirt,' said the architect.
"Everyone was here. At night every house was lit up. Residents of the town by then included an early retired Long Island Rail Road conductor; an esteemed conceptual-minimalist artist; a designer of slippers; some great number of lesbian cops; more than enough real estate agents; a classical music critic; an Apple executive; an IBM executive; the lawyer who took Mastercard public in 2006; a Jungian therapist.
"The weekend ground itself into a frenzy with day-trippers. On Sunday, in broiling late-afternoon sun, the septic tank was being used for al fresco dining of pizza with garlic knot crust. Kelly Rowland’s 'Work' played; 'And I Am Telling You' played for at least the second time in a few hours; then a disco remix of 'Tiny Dancer'; a house mix of Mariah Carey’s 'My All' followed by a spare version of Britney Spears’ 'Gimme More' and then Ms. Carey again, 'O.O.C.' No one was playing the new Madonna at all.
"A sunburned straight boy lay on his side on one of the downtown walks, clutching a pink plastic parrot.
"'Eh,' said the guy at the grocery store. 'Nickle and diming. Last couple of years, that’s been the trend. Nobody’s got it, nobody wants to spend it.'
"Late Sunday night, the four main audio systems downtown, each playing different music full blast, swirled into a cold torrent of noise. The moon came up late, the wind from New York City pulling all the sound further east in a tangle. A boy was weeping and shivering on the septic tank. No one was really talking, just shouting or squealing or ranting—and walking in circles, making for, as in Rope, long, uninterrupted sequences.
"'Guys, guys, guys, why aren’t we going to a bar? Why are we walking more into coldness?"' one man asked his friends.
"Another described a man he’d found attractive to his friends, who had not. 'Totally like dumb, like hot, like straight up from L.A.,' he said.
"The rectangular hole inside the queer square hole—the septic proper, delineated by the cinder blocks—had nearly a dozen slabs of concrete laid across its top, shortways. In the moonlight, the slabs were silver. Each section looked like a baby’s coffin.
"Memorial Day was quieter—mostly. 'Pizza, pizza, pizza!' screeched a boy, quoting Amy Sedaris from Strangers With Candy. So much pizza. His pack followed behind him, past the septic and up to lunch."
Editor: The photo that accompanies the article was taken two years ago and makes me wonder if the writer was actually ever here or was the story related to him second hand. The fight that involved a "porn star" was an unfortunate incident right out of a Tennessee Williams play, when a young drifter is taken advantage of and destroyed by a town. The young man seemed troubled and sad and who knows what his real story was. I mean, Cherry Grove is one of the few places where people would actually be impressed by someone who said they were a porn star. (At least on the surface.) I don't suppose anybody ever cared enough to ask the guy anything beyond "Can I suck your cock?" Tragic is what our sometimes dispassionate lifestyle can do to the young.
The hole (photo right) will eventually contain a cesspool that has to exist before an ice cream store can occupy the adjoining store. The hole is not as offensive as the debris from the Michael's fire was several years ago. It's also not the eyesore that the Top of the Bay was before its recent restoration. The project must conform to strict zoning laws that demand the cesspool be twice the size of the store. That's a lot of shit! (if you'll pardon the expression.) And how many times have you taken a dump at Dairy Queen?
Of course, some of the camp that was "Old Cherry Grove" does occasionally rear its head. Take for instance, the pirates I ran into on the boardwalk two weeks ago (photo above left.) As it turned out, they were from Ye Pyrate Brotherhood, a historical entertainment group for hire for any occasion. They hosted a Pirate Tea at Tides last weekend. You can contact them at (631) 334-2413. E-mail: email@example.com. Website: www.myspace.com/yepyratebrotherhood.
Last Saturday night, Rosie was walking the boards (photo above right) passing out samplings of her delicious desserts that she creates exclusively for Island Breeze. Her getup is for fun, her desserts are seriously delish.
One evening last week, I walked into Island Breeze and had a nice conversation with three women (two were from Oklahoma and one was from I forget) who were on vacation and staying in a mainland hotel. Their cab driver suggested coming over to Cherry Grove to enjoy the sites and they told me that they were having a great time. (Photo above left.) Josie (photo above right) is now working at Island Breeze.
Last weekend, it was warm enough to dine al fresco at Top of the Bay Bistro where lunch and dinner were being served inside and out on the deck overlooking the Great South Bay (photo left). Customers were ooohing and ahhhhing over Chef Judy's short ribs that were eighty-six by the time we got there. Damn!
On July 12, Top of the Bay Bistro will host a fundraiser for the benefit of The Island Repertory Theatre Company from 3 to 6 pm. A suggested contribution of fifty dollars will include wine, cheese, Chef Judy's hors d'oeuvres, live music and a chance to meet Steven Fales, star of Island Rep's blockbuster season opener "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" (Photo right). More benefit info will appear here in our next edition. You can also charge Top of the Bay Bistro benefit tickets and order reserved seating to "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" on Master Card or Visa at 631 597-9439.
(To ATGT readers and business owners: Here's you're chance to "give back" for all the free hours of information, entertainment and free publicity that you get here.) Besides, you'll love Steven Fales. He's a doll!)
Casting for Island Rep’s upcoming production of Sordid Lives has been completed and I’m ecstatic to have such talented people involved. Here's the lineup: Sally Ann Piacentino (Bitsy Mae Harling), Cem Uyanik (Ty Williamson), Edrie Ferdun (Sissy Hickey), Denise Harbin (Noleta Nethercott), Barbara Flood (Latrelle Williamson), Michelle Coffaro (La Vonda Dupree), Vicki Solomon (Juanita), Dennis Callahan (G.W. Nethercott), Seth Michael Donsky (Wardell “Bubba” Owens), John Philip (Odell Owens), Robyn Murray (Dr. Eve Bolinger) and Tommy “Tush” DiMastri (Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram). Even the rehearsals are hilarious.
Twenty-five percent of our season's tickets have already been sold and encourage you to buy yours early. Subscribe to the whole season and see three shows for only sixty dollars. As a perk, season subscribers will attend one of three staged readings of new plays absolutely free.
Island Rep box office, located on the ground floor of the Top of the Bay Bistro building on the dock, is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m-3 p.m. You can also charge your tickets on Master Card and Visa at 631 597-9439. People from outside our area can buy tickets at www.TheaterMania.com.
Two weeks ago Thursday, someone told me that friend Petra (photo above left) was guest bartender at Jumping Jacks and I thought that I would drop by and say hello. She introduced me to Jacks manager Niki (photo above right), who told me about the new items that have been added to their menu.
Ambi Mozzarella, Tuna Sashimi and Veggie Stack at Jumping Jacks
The following night,Big Nacho Man and I went to Jacks for dinner and sampled some of the new dishes that included the three delicious appetizers (pictured above.) Ambi Mozzarella (Pieces of Filet Minon, Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella, with Mesculin Greens, Red Onions and Roasted Peppers topped with Balsamic Reducdtion; Tuna Sashimi (`Sliced Black & Blue Tuna served with Seaweed Salad, Wonton Chips, Soy Sauce, Thai Chili Sauce, Wasabi and Pickled Ginger; ( Veggie Stack (Grilled Zucchini, Squash, Portobello Mushrooms, Eggplant, Tomato, Roasted Red Peppers, Stacked high and topped with Balsamic Reduction.
Other new menu items include Lobster Bisque, Seafood Paella and King Crab Pancetta Pasta. Yummy!
The Annual PAWS Benefit was held at The Ice Palace last Saturday night. Somebody was supposed to take photos for us, but (as of this writing) hasn't sent anything in. I took a few photos at the door (above) and have to say that if the people onstage were as glamorous as the people in the audience, it must have been one hell of a show.
People, Places and Things: According to a man with PC sitting on a bench in front of the Community House, it's the best spot to connect to Wireless Internet (Photo right). . . Cherry's & Ice Palace both host underwear optional parties this weekend. . . Craig & Julian at The Belvedere Guest House are telling people how happy they are with their new website... Entertainment Lineup at Tides: Saturday, June 15 -- Karoake 4-8, Victoria Chase 10:30; Tuesday, June 17 -- Cabaret Night 11 pm; Tuesday, June 20 -- Underwear Party; Saturday, June 21 -- Angelique Ali 11 pm; Wednesday, June 25 -- Trivia 5-9, Strippers 11 pm-3 am; Friday, June 27 -- Underwear Party 10:30 pm. Wednesday, July 2 -- Opening Night of Island Rep's Confessions of a Mormon Boy starring Steven Fales. . . . New Attractions at Island Breeze: Stud Wednesdays; Freeballin' Fridays (The Anti-Underwear Party); Pajama Party Saturdays (with Go-Go Boys); Fridays and Saturdays -- DJ Joe Mendez. . . .PAWS Pet Blessing at the Community House, June 22, 10 am. . . . Starting June 22, impressionist Jason Zambos will do his fabulous cabaret show at Cherry's on Sundays and Tuesday nights. Don't miss this!
If you'd like your event mentioned here on ATGT, just e-mail info to AsTheGroveTurns@aol.com and you'll no doubt see it in our next edition.
As The Grove Turns was founded on May 15, 2000. So far, we have received over a million visits to our site from over fifty countries. Next edition of As The Grove Turns: June 25, 2008. 'Til then, God bless.