The Ghosts of Fire Island
November 29, 2013 7:23 PM   Subscribe

The Ghosts of Fire Island
A radio documentary on the AIDS crisis and its impact on the “gay paradise” of Fire Island throughout the 1980s. The 25-minute piece airs this week on KCRW’s “UnFictional” program, in commemoration of World AIDS Day 2013. My Web site has a companion page introducing the guests and featuring additional content not heard in the broadcast version.

Throughout the 1980s, AIDS was the lynchpin through which America channeled its social, sexual, and moral anxieties. For many Americans, the story of AIDS in the early years began and ended with gay men. And because homosexuality was still met with hostility or silence in most parts of the country, AIDS was largely thought to be confined to the major gay urban enclaves.

For most of the 20th Century, Fire Island was the closest thing to Utopia for gay Americans and their friends. In this piece, the listener will hear the story of the halcyon and hedonistic days of Fire Island, and the creeping transition from denial to devastation as the disease came to this uniquely “protected” space for same-sex desire.

I interviewed nine people (eight men, one woman) who lived on Fire Island at different times from the 1950s to the present day. Each of them bore witness to the island in its glory days and lived through the dark and terrible birth of the AIDS epidemic. Together, they represent the stories and the spirit of Fire Island in the age of AIDS.
Role: producer
posted by mykescipark (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

This popped up in my iTunes yesterday but didn't realize it was yours. Kudos.
posted by dhammond at 1:14 PM on November 30, 2013

I was one of the few kids on FI and in the Pines in this era and I'm looking forward to this, thanks.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:57 PM on November 30, 2013

Took me most of the program to place it, but the Broken Social Scene backing track is a brilliant choice. Really enjoyed listening to this, Myke, thanks!
posted by carsonb at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2013

This was very interesting and well done. :)
posted by luckynerd at 10:58 AM on December 4, 2013

Late to this but fantastic story!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:35 AM on January 5, 2014

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