HBO debuted their latest television film this past Sunday, an adaptation of the 1985 off-Broadway play The Normal Heart. Directed by American Horror Story and Glee show-runner Ryan Murphy, the play is based on Gay activist Larry Kramer’s experience’s during the early years of the AIDS crisis, along with his creation of and expulsion from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
The film, as well as the play, is direct, emotional and confrontational. More so than entertainment, both are a call to arms to help and support those affected by the AIDS virus while damning the ignorance of those in office who did little or nothing to help with the disease when it simply known as “the Gay disease.” Moved by the story, we listed a few locations used in the film, which gives us a glimpse into Gay culture during the early 1980’s.
1. Fire Island Pines
In the Summer of 1981, Mark Ruffalo’s character Ned Weeks (based on Larry Kramer) heads to Fire Island Pines in Long Island for the birthday of one his friends. When he arrives, we are introduced to a community of young and older men, of different ethnicity and backgrounds. Known as “The Pines,” it features the most expensive real estate on Fire Island and along with its neighbor Cherry Grove, make up the gay community on the southern coast of Long Island. Known as “Chelsea with Sand,” it first became a gay hot-spot in the 1960s due to former model John B. Whyte, who owned 80 percent of the Pines properties until 2000.
Fire Island remains a major gay destination today, hosting events throughout the year. Major ones include the Fire Island Dance Festival and The Invasion of The Pines, a celebration of drag queen culture.