CHERRY GROVE STORIES
BFI Flare 2018
NewFest, LGBT fests in Rochester, Long Island, Winston-Salem, Miami, Atlanta, Dublin, and Washington DC
On the Fire Island community that has long been a safe haven for LGBT people.
Located just off Long Island, New York’s Fire Island is a regular LGBT Summer destination, and has been for decades, as is quickly established in Michael Fisher’s modest oral history, with its parade of talking heads interviewees noting what year they first came to the island. Ranging from pre-Stonewall days to just a few years ago, this group reflects on all manner of topics related to Fire Island, and, in particular, the community of Cherry Grove, from the supposed origins of the island’s name and its development as a gay mecca to its impact for LGBT individual’s self-expression before Stonewall, as well as the devastation wrought by the AIDS epidemic. With such a wide-ranging mandate, the film is unavoidably choppy and prone to nostalgic anecdotal recollections, which are sometimes hit or miss and often marred by an overly busy and distracting score, but the personal approach to subcultural history, and the snippets of archival material used, are worthwhile.