“Cherry Grove Stories” – documentary on this Fire Island hangout releases June 4th
Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the historically potent LGBTQ documentary CHERRY GROVE STORIES, which entertainingly recounts time in Cherry Grove including queer origins, Tennessee Williams visits, decadent parties, sexual liberation, HIV alienation and the continual swinging of indecent law enforcement…all told through first person accounts and a treasure trove of fabulous, unseen archival footage of the beloved haven. The film arrives on DVD & VOD on June 4 just in time for Pride Month.
CHERRY GROVE STORIES held its world premiere at BFI Flare, and went on to screen at a number of film festivals including the prestigious NewFest Film Festival where it was considered one of “11 films you absolute can’t miss” (NewNowNext), and the OUTshine Film Festival.
“Fisher’s love and respect for his subject shines thru in this heartfelt story of a small, but certainly legendary, section of Fire Island”, said Richard Ross, Co-President of Breaking Glass. “As with all fine Documentaries, the mystique and allure of the Island have been effectively captured in this engaging look at a defining moment in time that is gone forever.”
In an era when it was illegal for two men to hold hands in public, the pristine beachfront hamlet of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, N.Y., was a safe haven for gays who were often targeted for arrest and prosecution. Through interviews with residents and new and archival footage, Michael Fisher’s oral history of the enclave uncovers long-hidden secrets and exposes little-known stories that are more relevant than ever today.
Fisher, who has been going to Cherry Grove for 32 years, was inspired to make the film by long-time resident Michael Delisio. “Michael was one of the first men to go to Cherry Grove in the 1950s,” Fisher says. “He is a great storyteller, and his tales of the early days of Cherry Grove inspired me to capture the many anecdotes about the community before all the old timers are gone.”
In Cherry Grove Stories, residents recount the history of the hamlet, starting in the 1940s when gay men first began congregating in a place that offered a rare refuge from the pervasive homophobia of the time. They tell many funny, even outrageous tales: the first drag parties, when attendees had to hide their dresses and heels under the floorboards of their hosts’ house for fear of being arrested for wearing women’s clothes; escapades in the infamous Meat Rack, and how some escaped police raids by hiding in the bay; and the first drag flotilla on the Fourth of July in 1976, when drag queens “invaded” the nearby Pines.
Fisher believes the current anti-LGBT climate makes Cherry Grove Stories more important than ever. “Men were still being arrested in the Meat Rack in the 1970s, which is not that long ago, and there has been heightened harassment there today,” he points out.
CHERRY GROVE STORIES
Running Time: 72 min.
Directed by: Michael Fisher
Produced by: Gary Sacks
Executive Produced by: Michael Fisher
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.