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Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem - Independence Day On Fire Island

Stonewall National Museum & Archives is pleased to present the compelling photography exhibition, Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem - Independence Day On Fire Island, by photographer Susan Kravitz, opening Friday, January 12, 2018 from 6 pm - 8 pm at Stonewall National Museum - Wilton Manors Gallery, 2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors 33304. An exhibition talk with photographer Susan Kravitz will take place at 7 pm that evening. Free to attend. Suggested donation $5. The exhibit will be on display from January 12 through March 11, 2018. Press photos are available upon request.

Signed copies of the book Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island will be available for sale $75 hardcover and $34.95 softcover. Cash, check and major credit cards accepted. A percentage of proceeds benefits Stonewall National Museum & Archives. This exhibition is an exuberant photographic documentation by photographer Susan Kravitz that celebrates four decades of an event known as "The Invasion of the Pines" by members of the neighboring LGBTQ community of Cherry Grove. Initially planned to shock their staid neighbors and protest their snobbery, this queenly invasion on every July 4th is a moment on Fire Island equal to Stonewall in Greenwich Village. It has grown in size and extravagance each year to become a joyful revelry of creative cross-dressing and a true Independence Day party.

Over the past thirty years, Susan Kravitz has photographed the Invasion of the Pines, an annual event that occurs every July 4th and involves participants from the Fire Island communities of Cherry Grove and the Pines. The Invasion began in 1976, when a member of the Cherry Grove community had been refused service in a Pines restaurant because he had been dressed in drag. Weeks later, a small group from Cherry Grove decided to dress in drag, hire a water taxi, and “invade” the Pines, to protest this discrimination. Kravitz’s photographs capture the rebelliousness, the high camp, and the joy of the Invasion, now a day of great fun involving many hundreds of celebrants.

The images, often tinged with sexual innuendo, are provocative, introspective, sad and funny. They also reflect the journey of the LGBTQ movement, from the fearful, AIDS-ridden years of the 1980s and 1990s to the joyous years of this decade, when LGBTQ people are out and proud (and, if they choose, legally married). Kravitz’s Invasion photographs celebrate a day to be free, to be whoever you want to be, and to be gay. Above all else, they honor human rights and freedom of expression in the LGBTQ community.

About Photographer Susan Kravitz

Susan Kravitz has exhibited her photographs in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad, including China, South Korea, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and the Czech Republic. Her Cherry Grove photographs were featured on the New York Times Lens blog and in the International New York Times, Paris edition. In September 2016, forty of Kravitz’s Cherry Grove photographs were on exhibit in China at the Pingyao International Photography Festival. She is a founding member of fotofoto gallery in Huntington, NY. On July 4th, 2016, KMW studio publishers released her photography book, Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem: Independence Day on Fire Island. More information about Kravitz’s book can be found at and at

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