On Friday at around 4pm I was at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. There was, as some people may call it, a protest rally by some black owned construction companies. They were demanding that more construction work be opened for black people in the city. They said that the President’s House that George Washington lived in before the White House was built and which John Adams moved into, should be reconstructed on the mall with black labor at the exclusion of others since the first house would have been originally built with slave labor. All very interesting I thought, but not quite the spirit of “Brotherly Love” the city is supposed to have especially when we were supposed to be celebrating the birth of the nation in the city that it all began. I decided to go my gym and come back later for the concert that was being held on the mall with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.
I did go back and since I had my video camera I shot a few scenes of the Pop’s version of the theme from ET and something from Benny Goodman. Then when they started playing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” it was time for me to go home before the South started to rise again. Plus I knew that I would have to get up early to celebrate July 4th, the next day, not by coming back to the mall to listen to speeches or thinking of the Founding Fathers or heading to someone’s horrible barbeque, but to where I seem to go every year now, Fire Island.
The story is that back in 1976 a few drag queens were refused service from a bar in the Pines on Fire Island. The men went back to Cherry Grove on another part of the island and with their friends on the day the country was celebrating the bi-centennial anniversary for independence, they boarded a boat and invaded the Pines in full drag regalia. They and others have been doing that every year since then and organized by Panzi in the yellow. It has become known as the Fire Island Invasion of the Pines.
I have been going for the last 5 or 6 years and I wish I could say that I have been in costume, but I haven’t worn mother’s wig and pearls since I was about 8 and never in public. Usually I just head to the beach, strip down and relax. This time however because of the mass of people this year they ran out of room on the ferry that I usually take so I arrived at Cherry Grove at around 1pm just as the revelers were about to leave the Grove for the Pines. I decided to shoot this video with too much wind noise going on and to steal some pictures from flickr.com and some of the music from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
I hope you enjoy it just as much as hope you enjoyed your weekend as I did mine.