Nightlife » Parties

Ascension 2012: Let’s Have a Kiki

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Wednesday Aug 22, 2012

When the news went out this past November that Fire Island's Pavilion was burning to the ground, the summer of 2012 began to look a little dubious.

Never fear, not on Fire Island, where even hurricanes can't keep a good party down - and certainly not the "Biggest Party of the Summer."

The seventh incarnation of the Fund in the Sun Foundation's Ascension Beach Party made it abundantly clear that when Fire Island Pines wants to party, they have a full-on kiki on the beach.

The Scissor Sisters infectious song of the summer "Let's Have a Kiki" perfectly embodied the can-do, gung-ho spirit of Fire Island Pines. When the club burns to the ground, it's time to "serve and work and turn" and "let's have a kiki" on the beach.

Established in 2006 as an afternoon fundraiser, Ascension Weekend has become the definitive circuit weekend of Fire Island, with four huge parties, including a launch party, a pool party, a tea dance, and the main event on the beach.

All afternoon long, boys from around the world flocked to Fire Island Pines Beach, that fabled gay beach with its own chapter in LGBT History 101, where sun-bleached white cabanas and cerulean blue banners, along with a freshly-sodded green lawn, created an oasis in the sand as the ocean’s waves crashed along the shore. Definition of idyll - look no further.

After their triumphant set at Pier Dance for New York Pride earlier this summer, The Perry Twins returned to the East Coast from their native Los Angeles and sent out an ebullient summer beach party vibe that included homages to Whitney and a slew of summer classics.

Previous Ascension entertainers have included Kelly Rowland and Dragonette, as well as Erika Jayne, Kristine W. and Crystal Waters.

This year’s Beach Party brought Neon Hitch to sing her massive hit "Love You Betta," which also goes by the title "F*ck You Betta" - and which the jubilant crowd proceeded to sing along with Ms. Hitch.

Helmed by founders Hal Rubenstein, David Nickle, Eric von Kuersteiner, Anthony Roncalli, and producer Sean Patrick Ryan, as well as the ebullient Alegria mascot Adam Weaver, the Beach Party was packed with a surfeit of male pulchritude on the purpose-built dance floor that blanketed the sand, serving as a reminder, yet again, of the immutable bond between beauty, money, and sex - and particularly when set amidst the paradisiacal splendor of the Pines.

Throughout its seven-year history, the Fund in the Sun Foundation has raised more than $250,000 for the protection of the environment and infrastructure of Fire Island Pines, while also donating grants to worthy LGBT charitable organizations.

This year’s beneficiaries included the Hetrick-Martin Institute and the Harvey Milk High School; Live Out Loud; Friends In Deed, which provides support services for those with HIV/AIDS; One Heartland, which affords summer camping programs for GLBTQA kids; and Standing Tall, which helps wheelchair-bound kids.

Late in the afternoon, Joe Gauthreaux took control of the booth and sent out a deeply propulsive set that had Guy Smith and Erin Stacy V. having a kiki up in the booth, while the crowd on the floor sent their arms soaring in the air.

"Get Ready to Rise" was this year’s Ascension tagline and Joe G. took the admonition to heart and turned that party inside out. He sent the energy heavenward, befitting the numerous angelic winged hats and metallic winged sneakers that dotted the crowd.

As one giddy boy pronounced, "This is gay heaven," which means that heaven is a kiki on the beach. Elysium never looked better.



Fund in the Sun Foundation


A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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