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Sunday, May 12th, 2024

FIRE ISLAND  a celebration of 1970s Gay Culture : an exhibit of the photography of Meryl Meisler

 

 

 

An exciting new exhibit that makes an important contribution to queer history is about to open in St Petersburg , Florida this week . In conjunction with Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society, photographer Meryl Meisler is presenting FIRE ISLAND  a celebration of 1970s Gay Culture on the gay mecca that is parallel to the South Shore of Long Island

Her camera  captured the sexy, free-spirited, post-Stonewall/pre-AIDS summers on Fire Island with her camera in the late 1970s. She had been Partying at Studio 54 in Manhattan, when she befriended a trans woman named Alexa, who introduced her to Barnett, a Manhattan beautician. Barnett was recovering from a breakup with his business and romantic partner. Enjoying Meryl’s company, he invited her for a weekend at his beach house, “SURVIVOR” in Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Meryl brought along her disco buddy JudiJupiter, and  fortunately, she also brought her camera.

 

 

The wild scene quickly awoke Meryl’s dormant childhood memory—this was THE Fire Island, the land of naked fairies. Barnett welcomed Meryl and JudiJupiter to come again anytime, and they did, many summer weekends until Barnett sold “SURVIVOR” in 1979. Fire Island was eye candy for a young lesbian photographer with a quirky eye. Back in her apartment darkroom, she developed the film, made just two prints, and tucked the work away until decades later. Many of the images in this show have never been previously exhibited.

Meryl’s black-and-white photographs capture the queer communities of Cherry Grove and The Pines at what many consider the golden era of unbridled sexual liberation. Friends, families, lovers, young people, elders, drag queens, fashionistas, butches, femmes, straight & sassy, bikinied, high-heeled and barefooted disco dancers, boaters, nude sun-bathers, fun-loving festive people of all diverse backgrounds, sexual and gender identities, ethnicities, races, colors and creeds rejoicing together on Fire Island.

 

 

FIRE ISLAND The Photography of Meryl Meisler
A Celebration of 1970s Gay Culture

THE WERK
2210 1st Avenue S., St. Petersburg, Florida 
May 17 – June 30, 2024
Opening Reception: Friday, May 17, 2024, 5 – 9pm

Cocktail St. Pete
2355 Central Avenue, Saint Petersburg, Florida
FIRE ISLAND CLASSIC TEA DANCES
Sat., May 18 & Sun., May 19 from 4pm – 10pm

For more information contact [email protected]

Posted by queerguru  at  12:01


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