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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.
Robyn Murray and Tommy "Tush" DiMastri are two of the twelve trashy characters that populate The Island Repertory Theatre Company's production of Del Shores hilarious comedy "Sordid Lives" that opens August 1 at The Tides Playhouse. (More info below.)
July 23, 2008 -- It's hot, and there have been days when I've gone down to get the mail and come right back home. I can just imagine what it's like in Manhattan.
(See our own little oceanfront production of "Gone With The Wind" above.)
Strong winds blowing off the ocean destroyed the second gazebo we'd put up in the last few years, and think that we'll not put up a third. I tend to take things like that in stride, but Big Nacho Man freaks out. It's not due to any radically different weather patterns, but something that can be expected to happen where we live. (See photos above.)
(Photo upper right: Ginny Fields and Richard LaFrance)
Top of the Bay Bistro has enclosed what used to be their open-air deck overlooking the bay. Now, it gives one the impression of dining on somebody's front porch. We like it.
(Photo upper left: Peter Downes (third from left) with friends.
On July 12, Top of the Bay Bistro hosted a "Jazz Brunch" fundraiser for The Island Repertory Theatre Company, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Chef Judy served an array of mouthwatering New Orleans dishes that included top-notch biscuits and gravy, sausages, grits, French toast, steak and other good things, which guests consumed to the beat of a live jazz duo.
Photo upper left: Steven Fales (center) with friends)
Guests of honor NY State Assemblywoman Ginny Fields and Steven Fales, star of "Confessions of a Mormon Boy," (playing at The Tides Playhouse at the time) added glamour to the event.
Assemblywoman Fields presented Island Repertory Theatre Company founding members Peter Downes and Richard LaFrance with Citations issued by New York State for their work in the Cherry Grove community.
Thanks to Ron King, Justin Jones, Chef Judy and everyone else who was responsible for making the fundraiser a success. The proceeds will help reduce Island Rep's 2008 production deficit. (By the way, Top of the Bay Bistro offers Jazz Brunch on weekends. I recommend it.)
I was sorry to hear that Chef Judy recently had to leave her post at Top of the Bay Bistro due to health reasons and wish her well. In her few years here, she raised the level of gastronomic excellence in Cherry Grove and want to thank her for her efforts.
The good news is that she has been replaced by Chef Ryan (photo left), whose experience includes cooking assignments in New Orleans and Atlanta. A recent visit to Top of the Bay Bistro got four stars from both Big Nacho Man and me for real N'awlins gumbo, and wonderful grilled scallops. Other dishes included bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, grilled ribeye, shrimp jambalaya, accompanied by yummies like grits and a wonderful corn maque choux. We can't wait to go back.
While we're on the subject of food, we want to recommend the new barbecue buffet at Island Breeze that is served on Sundays between 2pm and 6 pm. Line up at the buffet table and help yourself to wonderful homemade potato salad, baked beans, cornbread and watermelon. Then go out on the deck and fill your plate with grilled chicken, fantastic ribs, great hamburgers and corn on the cob. Price? An amazing $15.00. Even better: It's all you can eat. Yummy! Go before the crowds discover this Fire Island bargain!
We also can't get enough Fish 'n Chips and Greek Lamb Gyros at Cherry Lane Bistro, great summer food that's on nobody else's menu.
Watch for the opening of the ice cream parlor that Frank of Grove Pizza is erecting at the foot of the Ice Palace. (Photo right.) An incentive for all the Cherry Grove kids who need an incentive to behave or Mommies and Daddies won't buy them an ice cream cone . . .
The meatrack raids seem to have stopped as quickly and mysteriously as they began. No doubt, backroom meetings took place to remedy the situation, but what were they? To those who were involved in the negotiations: Why did the raids happen in the first place? What caused them to stop? Without those missing pieces, they could just as easily start again. We're not all children here. Stop treating us like we are. The old Cherry Grove motto "ignore the problem until it goes away" isn't good enough! That's what dysfunctional families do. Is that what you think we are?
Have you ever heard a satisfactory definition of the word "camp?" It's certainly one of the "gifts" that the gay culture has bestowed on the world. It's impossible to describe. You either get it or you don't.
I think you'll find a true example of "camp," at Walter & Carmen's House at the corner of Surf and Lewis. For years now, Walter Quetsch has erected "politically incorrect" exhibits on his property that commented on what he found funny (or not) in his world. His work has grown to camp art status in the last few years and the current exhibit co-constructed by Walter and Renee Ravid is brilliant. If you know anyone who is wishy-washy about his sexual preference, bring him by Walter's Outdoor Museum of Camp, then stop and pretend that you've gotten something in your eye. If the person laughs hysterically at what he sees, you'll know he's a Friend of Dorothy's. You have to put Walter's Outdoor Camp Museum on your list of things to do when you visit Cherry Grove! Support the arts in Cherry Grove!!!
Walter recently changed his name to "Condemned." The exhibit on upper right is titled "Miss Haversham's Attic." If you don't know who that is, you've already failed the gay test.
Photos above portray famous best selling books like "Potted Harry and the Chamber Potty," and other camp classics.
Walter's "The Alchemist" has a "Stagger-In Clinic" that is open only fifteen minutes per day and features something that looks suspiciously like a glory hole. Under the "Positions Wanted" column in the employment section of Uriah's Heap Newsletter is the word "Missionary."
I want to thank writer/performer Steven Fales (photo left) for bringing his one-show play "Confessions of a Mormon Boy" to Cherry Grove. When I saw the show in Fort Lauderdale this past winter, I thought it would be perfect for a Cherry Grove audience. When I approached Steven after the show, I felt foolish asking him if he would consider performing it in our intimate 40-seat Tides Playhouse. After all, Steven had a successful off-Broadway run, played Lincoln Center and has since performed the show over five hundred times in the U.S. and abroad. He told me that he had never been to Cherry Grove and agreed to the July dates.
He gave the same great performance every night . . . not once did he just "walk through" his role.
Steven also agreed to promote the show and the whole experience, for me, was a delight.
His amazing performance (brilliantly directed by Tony winner Jack Hofsiss) broke Island Rep box office records (eleven sold out performances.) To my knowledge, it was also the first play to give weekday performances in Cherry Grove.
Thank you, Steven, for bringing your incredible talent to our shores. Thank you Cherry Grove for making him feel so welcome!
Above left: Robyn Murray (Dr. Eve) and Tommy Tush (Brother Boy); Above right: Edrie Ferdun (Sissy) and Barbara Flood (Latrelle)
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a great one is probably worth publishing more than once. For example, take the one of Robyn Murray and Tommy Tush (upper left). They are are just two of the zany characters in The Island Repertory Theatre Company's production of "Sordid Lives" by Del Shores that bows into The Tides Playhouse on July 1 and play Fridays thru Sundays 'til August 17 .
This show is good and deserves a longer run. If you would like to facilitate in moving it to a new venue when it leaves The Tides Playhouse, please contact me.
Left to right: Seth Michael Donsky (Wardell); Vicki Solomon (Juanita)
The cast: Sally Ann Piacentino (Bitsy Mae); Edrie Ferdun (Sissy), Dell Harbin (Noleta); Michelle Coffaro (LaVonda); Cem Uyanik (Ty); John Philip (Odell); Dennis Callahan (G.W.); Seth Michael Donsky (Wardell); Vicki Solomon (Juanita); Robyn Murray (Doctor Eve) play some the most famous characters in gay theatre annals.
Left to right: John Philip (Odell); Dell Harbin (Noleta)
The fact that the prequel to the play premieres on the Logo cable channel on July 23 might have something to do with the rush to buy tickets that Island Rep has experienced since tickets went on sale a few weeks ago. As of this writing, two-thirds of "Sordid Lives" tickets have already been sold.
The Rep box office on the ground floor of the Top of the Bay Bistro building will be open July 26 & 27 between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and also on Fridays thru Sundays thru August 17.
You can also charge tickets to Master Charge and Visa at 631 597-9439 or online at www.Theatermania.com. Don't wait 'til the last minute to get your tickets. This is going to be one big blockbuster!
This year, Island Rep will offer two plays in its New Plays and Playwrights Series. On August 22-23, "The Rarest of Birds", a play by John C. Wood based on the life of actor Montgomery Clift (photo left), will play The Tides Playhouse. Fresh from a well-received off-Broadway engagement, the show stars professional actor Omar Prince (photo upper right) who received rave reviews for his outstanding performance.
On August 24, The Rep is considering a staged reading of a new play by Tony Finstrom entitled "Standing at the Gates of Janus". The play deals with the ruckus that Jane Fonda caused when she encouraged soldiers to desert their posts during the Vietnamese War. Another of Mr. Finstrom's plays under consideration is "Between The Covers" a new play with an All About Eve-ish plot. Although this is a free event for Rep 2008 subscribers, there are a limited number of non-subscriber tickets on sale for thirty dollars each at The Rep box office or at 631 597-9439.
Actors 20's thru 50's and an actresses in their 60's who are interested in being part of the readings should contact Island Rep at IslandRepCG@aol.com.
People, Places and Things: It was good to have singer extraordinaire Victoria Weston (looking great) back doing her thang at The Ice Palace on July 19. The "last of the great belters" has been living in Texas for the past seven years, and thought she'd come back to the Grove to let us know what we've been missing. Great singer! Great delivery! . . . Has anybody else heard the rumor that a Cherry Grove lodging establishment has been taken over by The Marriott Hotel chain? Big Nacho Man said that it's an absurd idea because the big M is owned by Mormons, who wouldn't be caught dead here. . . .
Sherwood was here on a visit and word is that he might be doing his thing at one of our watering holes in the near future.
If you'd like your event mentioned here on ATGT, just e-mail info to mailto:AsTheGroveTurnds@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: August 8, 2008. 'Til then, God bless.