Susan Kravitz has been photographing Independence Day on Fire Island since the early 1980s' and she sat down with queerguru to talk about her stunning her book Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem - Photography by Susan Kravitz prior to a Book Signing and Exhibition at Stonewall National Museum - Wilton Manors Gallery
In 1976 a man was refused service at a restraurant in New York's Fire Island Pines because he was in drag. In protest, a group from nearby Cherry Grove dressed in drag and "invaded" the Pines on the Fourth of July. The Invasion of the Pines has now become an annual Independence Day event, with LGBT and straight folks alike celebrating freedom. Susan Kravitz has been photographing the invasion for 30 years, and she shares 88 images of the event in her book, Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem. They track the celebration from the height of the AIDS crisis to the days of marriage equality. "My photographs are as much about the times which they were taken as they are about the people who populate them," Kravitz says. "Ultimately, they are about human rights and freedom of expression seen through the lens of the Invasion."
New York (CNN) While your Fourth of July plans may include a hearty barbecue and some fireworks, something different and more fiercely spectacular has been going on in Fire Island, off the coast of Long Island, New York, for over 40 years. .
Begun in 1976 when a group of Cherry Grove residents marched over to the Pines in drag to protest after a queen was refused service, the event has grown into a joyful, effusive celebration of LGBTQ culture and community. For the past 30 years, photographer Susan Kravitz has been documenting the festivities, compiling them in her book Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island.
LJY: First of all, Susan, congratulations on the publication of Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island!
We love the book! A bit of history for our Aint–Bad readers: Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem is an homage to the Independence Day celebration (called The Invasion of the Pines) that has been happening on Fire Island, off the coast of Long Island, New York, since you began going there in 1981. It marks the date in 1976 when a drag queen named Teri Warren from nearby Cherry Grove was barred from entering a restaurant in the Pines. Stephen Mayes in your book’s introduction writes: But just as the police learned in June 1969, [Stonewall Riots in the West Village] or anyone who has dared heckle a drag prima donna, so the Pines had to learn all over again: try to put a drag queen down and see what you get: a boatload of trouble. Several boatloads of trouble. Actually, four decades that flooded through the Pines dock in a relentless tidal of joyful rage. What would you say you have learned most from your 35-year-long journey of documenting this event as a participatory photo-essay?
Susan Kravitz shares her exuberant photographic celebration of four decades of ‘The Invasion of the Pines’, a joyful revelry of creative cross-dressing amid a true Independence day Party.
Photographer Susan Kravitz ’65 captures gay liberation on Fire Island
Many have called it Fire Island’s Stonewall—after the 1969 protests in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that kicked off the gay rights movement.
Forty years ago, a restaurant in the Pines—a beach community on Fire Island, New York—refused to serve Teri Warren, who was dressed in drag. When Warren’s friends from the neighboring community of Cherry Grove, a longtime summer haven for artists and theatre people drawn by its openly gay atmosphere, heard what had happened, they were outraged. On July 4, 1976, they fought back by dressing in drag en masse and storming the Pines in revelry. The “Invasion of the Pines” turned into an annual celebration.
For those who have ever visited the gay mecca known as Fire Island Pines, it may come as a surprise to learn that even after the Stonewall Riots the community was fairly conservative. In 1976, Teri Warren was visiting from the more queer-friendly neighborhood of Cherry Grove and dressed fabulously in drag.
Susan Kravitz first played around with a camera when she was in her 20s. Self-taught, she has since exhibited her photographs in galleries, museums and universities across the globe, from China to the Czech Republic, and in 2003 she helped found the fotofoto gallery in Huntington, NY where many of the photos from her upcoming book Mascara, Mirth and Mayhem: Independence on Fire Island will be on display this summer.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Invasion of the Pines on Fire Island. The annual event showcases hundreds of drag queens as they depart on a ferry in Cherry Grove and descend onto the Pines for a jaw-dropping marathon of extravagant looks as they sashay down the runway.
Renowned fine arts photographer Susan Kravitz has published a coffee table book Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem that chronicles — and honors — the the famous protest and now annual Fire Island event known as the Invasion of the Pines.
The Wow report: Ever Wondered What Fourth of July Looks Like On Fire Island? New Photography Book Will Show You
Ever wondered what Fourth of July looks like on Fire Island? A new coffee table book with photography by Susan Kravitz and published by KMW Studio illustrates just that and then some.
BONNIE IN THE MORNING 88.3 WPPB Long Island's only NPR station
BWPPB's Bonnie In The Morning talks with photographer/author Susan Kravitz on the release of her new photography book, Mascara, Mirth and Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island
Fire Island Q News: Susan Kravitz Celebrates Publication of “Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem,” 30 Years of Photos of “Independence Day on Fire Island”
On June 18, LGBT Pride Day in Cherry Grove, photographer Susan Kravitz celebrated the publication of her new book, “Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island,” vividly chronicling 30 years of Fourth of July Grove Invasions of the Pines...
"I was overwhelmed by the news, it was horrific," Susan Kravitz said.
Susan Kravitz’s heart was broken after hearing about the massacre in Orlando.
“It was a terrible day for the gay community,” she said.
That same community will come together in two weeks to honor the victims and celebrate each other, at the annual ‘Invasion of the Pines’ on Fire Island.
With Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem, photographer Susan Kravitz tracks 30 years of the Fire Island Pines.
Photographer Susan Kravitz has captured one of Fire Island’s best-known annual events for posterity in a dazzling coffee table book.
Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem is billed as a “provocative, introspective, sad and funny” look at the Invasion of the Pines, a yearly tradition that brings a ferryboat of drag queens to New York’s premier gay beach resort for a raucous Fourth of July celebration. Kravitz’s book is a compilation of 30 years of photographs, from the 1980s until today. Fittingly, it will hit retailers July 4.
Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem
In 1976 a man was refused service at a restraurant in New York's Fire Island Pines because he was in drag. In protest, a group from nearby Cherry Grove dressed in drag and "invaded" the Pines on the Fourth of July. The Invasion of the Pines has now become an annual Independence Day event, with LGBT and straight folks alike celebrating freedom. Susan Kravitz has been photographing the invasion for 30 years, and she shares 88 images of the even in her new book, Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem. They track the celebration from the height of the AIDS crisis to the days of marriage equality.