It all started when the Alabama Sparkle said “Gurl you better be packing drag for Fire Island. Queens run the world up in here on July 4 , you & I are gettin fierce together”… Lady Toast was going international.. this will be interesting I thought.
The first question was how to squeeze a drag queen, albeit a dismantled one, into a holiday suitcase, … the hair alone took up the space reserved for my top 3 adidas hi-tops… (Funnily enough “Do I really need to schlep the Lady drag all the way to NewYork?” wasn’t even a question).
The second was less of a question and more of a twisted hope of being searched at customs. I was curious for the reaction to a suitcase carrying, among the usual pants, polos and toothpaste,
- The scattered sequin, nylon & heavily made up soul of a drag queen
- A leather harness and enough jockstraps to dress a small and dirty parade
- A questionable stash of fake tan ( I was being a tan mule for a friend who’d recently moved)
I imagine this is what it would look like if Liberace threw a leather party with Valentino. It also kind of resembled my usual wardrobe (minus the fake tan)… but try not to think too much about that and lets move on.
So Fire Island day arrived and ferries, trains and automobiles later we berthed in The Pines, one of the two gay villages on the island. In the early 50’s while the island was being established Peggy Fears, a Broadway showgirl & (rumoured to be) lady lover opened The Fire Island Pines Yacht Club so it’s fair to say that from it’s 50’s start, through the 70’s & 80’s gay culture and on to today, The Pines was basically built on foundations of lesbian DIY sweat, the glbti life, pride, glitter & blow (both types if you know what i mean ). (hint: remember this small fact for later)
Picture a summer beach party dribbling with hot gay meef in shorty shorts.
Imagine beach, bar, party, pool, perve or shag your toughest daily decision.
Now place everything you need within a handy little half hour beach or boardwalk shimmy…a meat rack, your daily cut of choice meef, your gurls and peeps, a pomegranate margarita, even the gym.
Some people say gays should all be sent to an island…. chill haters chill, we got this.
Full of fantastic seaside architecture you’d only find in the US & long beautiful beaches lapped by the Atlantic on one side, the Long Island Sound (the bay) on the other, and a green, lively below sea level sunken forrest (lively with nature.. dirty bastards) I thought Fire Island was the perfect summer wonderland.
Cut to July 4: American Independence Day and yes gurl, the Queens do rule the island.
In 1976 a restaurant in The Pines refused service to a visiting drag queen. (this is where you remember the glitter and blow foundations of The Pines) With a mighty “OH HELL NO” and a stomp of her pumps in disgust she flicked her weave, rustled up a few frocked up fellas from the next homovillage away from homo, Cherry Grove, and invaded the restaurant by water taxi.. to a surprisingly welcoming crowd.
This event began the July 4 tradition that is “The Invasion”…. A ferry load of drag queens now “invade” The Pines, try not to melt in the heat, drink for free at the Sip’n’Twirl and between the bars, the pool party, the beach and house parties everyone gets their happy on. Here’s a clip to give you a feel for The Invasion … As we bumbled back along the beach from the Sip’n’Twirl to the house, playing like kids with beach goers and in the water I had to wonder if there is anywhere else in the world that a drag queen could stumble home in this particular way. It’s a bloody, fabulous, hilarious way to celebrate July 4!
Nothing is without incident though…. On being asked where she got her blonde mountain of a weave the Lady Toast’s response was simple: “A dumpster, I thought it was a neglected poodle so you can imagine my delight when it was new hair”
Broken heels, a drunken and scarring tumble off a boardwalk into bamboo and a beachside show that ended in a sandy faceplant… You can take the Lady out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the Lady…
Fire Island, I think I’m crushing on you
Break out the Butter, I’ll be back real soon.
Todays toast is served with a golden glitter sparkle.
More Fire Island Fun