Long Island Press

The Long Island Press

7 Questions With Creedence Clearwater Revisted Bassist Stu Cook

Stu Cook
Stu Cook, bassist for Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

By Michael Harris

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After their years of success in the 1960s and early ’70s with the legendary classic rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford regrouped as Creedence Clearwater Revisited 21 years ago. On June 26, their current world tour will take them to The Paramount theater in Huntington, where they’ll play original CCR hits such as “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” Ahead of the show, Cook sat down with the Press to talk about his inspiration and his favorite album.

Long Island Press: How did you get started in music?
Stu Cook: I come from a musical family. My dad was a horn player; my mom was a keyboard player. There were always people playing music and instruments in the house, so I kind of grew up with music.

LIP: What was your earliest musical moment?
SC: Probably the most important musical memory that I can remember is one year my folks got me and my brother tickets to see Ray Charles. We got them as a Christmas present, and I remember that as sort of a turning point. The songs on the record “What I Say” were one of the first things I learned to play on the piano.

LIP: Besides Ray Charles, is there any one group or person who inspired you guys?
SC: For me, that kind of gave me inspiration to be a musician. That just kind of clicked for me when I was like 12 or 13 when I had that experience. Later on, I would have to say one of the most influential bands for all of us in Creedence was Booker T and the MGs.

LIP: Is there any musician today you really admire?
SC: I think Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age are absolute monsters. Like Clockwork, the last album they put out a few years ago now—time does fly—that’s one of my most listened albums. I like the Foo Fighters; they’re about my two most enjoyable to listen to artists in the last 10 years.

LIP: What is your favorite musical venue?
SC: I like Mountain Winery in Saratoga (California); that’s a nice venue. We played last night at Motor City Casino in Detroit. It is a super room to play in. Great stage, whole room set up great for sounds and lights.

LIP: On June 26 you guys are going to be playing at the Paramount in Huntington…
SC: You know what, that is a great room, that building has some history. I remember playing there last year. It was a very enjoyable experience. Usually when we are in that part of the woods, we play in places like Westbury, but I liked playing the Paramount a lot more. I like those old theatre rooms.

LIP: Anything else you’d like to say to Long Island?
SC: We are really looking forward to coming back. We had a great time last year. This is going to be Cosmo’s first time. He was recovering from a surgical procedure last time when we played there last year. We had another drummer with us, but I know he is going love it there. We are going to have a great time. Everyone was surprised last year so this year won’t be as much of a surprise, but it will be a bit more like coming home.

Deer Rescued Swimming In Long Island Sound [Video]

Deer Rescue Long Island Sound
Rob Kurdy of Woodbury helped rescue a deer that was struggling to swim about six miles from shore in the Long Island Sound. (Rob Kurdy Facebook profile)

By Sylvia Durres

Rob Kurdy and his friends were sharkfishing in the Long Island Sound June 11 when they spotted something protruding from the water.

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As they steered their boat closer, it soon became apparent it wasn’t the fin of a Great White—or any edible sea creature, for that matter—but rather, the antlers of an exhausted deer.

“Here’s a freakin’ buck swimming out in Long Island Sound,” Kurdy said while approaching with his fellow shipmates.

“You could see it shivering,” he told WTNH News 8. “It was barely staying afloat, kind of just going [around] in circles.”

The Woodbury resident and his friends decided to gently lasso the water-logged mammal’s antlers with some rope and tow it to the shore of a Madison, Conn. beach, with Kurdy hopping into the water to help the hoofed critter ashore. After several hours nestled snugly beneath some blankets that local neighbors brought, the deer ultimately walked away a survivor.

Reflecting on the rescue to WTNH, Kurdy explained that making the hurried detour to assist the unlikely long-distance swimmer was the right thing to do.

“It’s a life,” he told the media outlet. “I’m not going to let him drown. He was out in the middle of nowhere, shivering and freezing, so we all said ‘We just can’t let it drown.’

“It was the right thing to do.”

Kurdy’s dramatic deer rescue was making the rounds across social media Friday, with visitors to Kurdy’s Facebook profile praising him as a hero.

Watch The Harrowing Long Island Sound Deer Rescue:

Photo: Rob Kurdy of Woodbury helped rescue a deer that was struggling to swim about six miles from shore in the Long Island Sound. (Rob Kurdy Facebook profile)

11 Long Island Food Festivals in 2016

food festivals on Long Island

By Luis Centeno

Between the East End farms, local fisheries and many creative cooks on Long Island, there are plenty more local food-filled fairs that guarantee upcoming weekends of fun, games and deliciousness.

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Some of the most popular local food fairs of the year haven’t been scheduled yet, including the Greenlawn Pickle Festival, several apple festivals and the annual pumpkin festival. The annual chowder contest at Oakdale’s The Snapper Inn returns in February.

Mark the calendar: here’s 11 classic LI food fests for each month through October.

Mattituck Lions Club’s 62nd Annual Strawberry Festival
On the menu for this year’s Mattituck Lions Club’s Strawberry Festival are heavenly strawberries dipped in chocolate, strawberry shortcakes and many other concoctions that involve the freshest strawberries on Long Island. This family event will include live music, fireworks and food from around the world. 1175 Route 48, Mattituck. mattituckstrawberryfestival.org $5, children under 5 free. 5-11 p.m. June 16 and 17. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. June 18, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 19.

Long Island Hot Dog Festival
Calling all weiner fans! Amateur cooks, professionals and those who simply love hot dogs will love this event, which includes a hot dog eating contest, best gourmet dog contest, worst and best tattoos, pin up contest and live music. Bring the family and come with an empty belly, because all those hot dogs aren’t going to eat themselves! Mike’s Bar and Grill, 742 Middle County Road, Selden. thelongislandhotdogfestival.com Admission is FREE. 12 p.m. July 9.


MORE: Outdoor movies are not a thing of the past. Here’s a complete list of movies you can enjoy outdoors


Sweet Corn Festival
Beside strawberries is there anything sweeter than Long Island corn? Celebrate this crop at Harbes Annual Sweet Corn Festival, where there will be a corn-eating contest, pig races, pony rides, relay races and all kinds of corn recipes along with country music all day long. This event will also be offering tastings of their award winning wines. Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck. harbesfamilyfarm.com July 23 and 24.

SUMAQ Peruvian Food Festival
Get ready to enjoy the best ceviche of your life, along with lomo saltado and aji de gallina. With Chef Ezequiel Valencia of Panca Restaurant in NYC leading the way, these plates are sure to bring the original spices and flavors straight from Peru. This chef worked for the Peruvian Embassy, where he cooked for Presidents and Ministers. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City. sumaqpff.com $15-$20 adults; $7-$10 kids from 2-12. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. August 13, 14.

Harbes Tomato Festival
You say tomato, I say tomato. Come celebrate the Annual Tomato Festival and try special samplings of the different recipes created over the years. Take part in potato sack races, tomato relay races, and tug of war contests. It’s a perfect day for the whole family, with lots of food and fun games to play. Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck. harbesfamilyfarm.com Free. August 13,14.

Great Food Truck Derby
Come hungry, because all kinds of food will be available at this event, from all ethnicities. Best part is, after paying the entrance, patrons get to try them all. Favorites like Eat Me, Drink Me, Kannoli Kings, Blondies Bakeshop and Whole Le Crepe are just some of the many options this event will offer. This event will also benefit the Hayground schoolyard projects in the region, including culinary arts training for kids. A family event with everyone’s favorite food trucks; count us in. 151 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton. edibleeastend.com $20-$100 4-7 p.m. August 19.


MORE: It’s farmers’ market season! Find out if there’s one near you



Tomatofest 2016
Tomatofest hits is back! With 20 types of tomatoes to choose from, tomato-lovers can expect to be tasting and eating all kinds of new dishes. And for those bringing kids, there will be plenty of games and bouncy houses. From tomato tasting, to games, live music, and even pony rides. This family event is all about eating and having fun at the same time. Garden of Eve, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead. gardenofevefarm.com $3 per person, kids under 6 free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. August 27, 28.

Watermelon Festival
Watermelon eating contest. Seed Spitting Contest. Watermelon rolling contest. These types of activities are what highlight this event. Fun family festivities. The Annual Watermelon Festival will be happening towards the end of this hot summer, so come cool off with a big slice of fresh watermelon. Harbes Family Farm, 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck. harbesfamilyfarm.com Free. August 27, 28.

25th Annual Seafood Festival
This family event is bound to make a splash with various activities other than just eating seafood. Kids are welcomed to participate in a pirate re-enactment show as well as a treasure hunt. Parents can also take part in the arts and crafts fair. There will also be live music from a variety of bands, such as Almost Queen and The Como Brothers Band. Long Island Maritime Museum, 88 West Ave., West Sayville. liseafoodfestival.org $10, kids under 12 free. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. August 27, 28.

Garlic Festival
Tasty. Healthy. Garlic. This event has a variety of activities: garlic eating contests, junior chefs creating an original sauce, learning new cooking techniques, live music and tours of the farm. Bring your kids, bring your parents and come enjoy this garlic-centered gathering. Garden of Eve, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead. gardenofevefarm.com $5 adults, kids under 6 free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. September 19 and 20.

33rd Annual Oyster Festival
There’s a reason this is one of the biggest annual events on LI. With dozens of volunteering chefs and culinary pros cooking side by side with unique seafood recipes involving oysters and clams, it’s guaranteed the food is going to be delicious. Profits from all food court sales, carnival rides and merchandise sales will proceed to local charities. So come enjoy the food, have a good time with the family and help support the community. 1 West End Ave., Oyster Bay. theoysterfestival.org Free. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. October 15, 16.

Amy Schumer & Vogue Editor Anna Wintour Switch Jobs [Video]

Amy Schumer Anna Wintour
Comedian Amy Schumer trades jobs and lives with Vogue editor Anna Wintour, with hilarious results.

By Sylvia Durres

Amy Schumer is a lot of things: comedian, movie star, second cousin to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. Now, thanks to her latest hilarious joke—a video short with Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine—she can add fashionista supreme to her resume, too.

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Let’s just say the clip, titled “So Easy! Amy & Anna Switch Jobs”—written by Schumer to accompany her July Vogue cover—proves why the 35-year-old Long Island native (Schumer used to live in Rockville Centre and attended South Side High School) should probably stick to standup, comedy specials and the silver screen.

Schumer begins her new role as fashion publishing maven by stumbling behind Wintour’s desk and dropping a pile of paperwork while the phone rings. Wearing Wintour’s signature bug-eyed oversized dark sunglasses, she tells the caller: “Hello? Yes, send them in!”

“Okay, I’d like to see that,” she tells two women standing alongside a full clothing rack, motioning at a particular outfit.

“Hmm,” she says, clutching what looks like a giant latte as one of the women hold up a white top and green skirt. “Is that a shirt?”

“Yes,” replies a woman holding up some clothing.

“And a skirt?”


“Got it,” says Schumer.

Hilarity ensues, as scenes switch back and forth between Wintour’s comedy routine at a dimly lit nightclub and Schumer’s chaotic attempts at identifying true fashion—and eating “lunch.”

“Hey, how do you want me to intro you?” the night’s emcee asks Wintour.

“I’m Anna Wintour, I’m editor of Vogue, and I do clubs and colleges,” she tells her.

Don’t want to spoil the video to much for you (you should really give it a watch)—but let’s just say that Wintour slays.

“Anyone here on a first date?” she asks, to scattered clapping.

“Last date?” she continues, to louder cheers and applause.

“Well, that’s my time,” she says eventually. “But remember: Wintour is coming.”

Mic drop.

For all things Amy Schumer, including her upcoming comedy tour dates, check out: amyschumer.com

Do This: Long Island Concerts & Events June 16–22

Dave Matthews
Dave Matthews Band is playing Nikon at Jones Beach Theater.

Bunny Hoest
Co-creator of “The Lockhorns” cartoon strip about Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn’s contentious relationship, Bunny Hoest will be speaking and signing copies of her new book, The Trouble With You Is That You Judge Food Too Much By Its Taste. She began the iconic couple’s comic bickering by collaborating with her own husband, Bill Hoest, in 1968. These days Bunny still writes the dialogue while John Reiner does the drawing. Known as the Cartoon Lady, she’s been making people laugh for years. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 7 p.m. June 16.

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Don Rickles & Regis Philbin
Don Rickles has lived an extraordinary life. After serving in the US Navy during World War II he negotiated the all-too common Hollywood pitfalls before embarking on a successful career in comedy, his bread and butter, as it turned out. Rickles’ 60-plus year career as the quintessential “angry” comedian and actor includes dozens of television shows, feature films, and comedic performances. He even had a memorable performance as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in Pixar’s venerable “Toy Story” films. Rickles has been known to hit audiences with verbal barbs from time-to-time. Stay on your toes, folks. What more do we need to say about Regis? You don’t even need to hear his last name to know who we mean. The man is a living legend. Our mornings have never been the same without him holding court on daytime TV. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $59.50-$74.50. 8 p.m. June 16.

Salsa and Latin jazz band Sabori was founded in 2012 and consists of native New Yorkers John Berdeguer, Henry Cabrera, Arturo Millan and Dan Luciano. The group uses percussion, various wind instruments, piano and guitar to invoke the rhythms and air of Latin and salsa music. Treme Blues and Jazz Club, 553 Main St., Islip. Tremeislip.com Free. 8 p.m. June 16.

Jason Aldean / Thomas Rhett / A Thousand Horses / We Were Here
This year’s ACM “Entertainer of the Year,” Jason Aldean, will serenade Jones Beach with songs off his newest album, Old Boots, New Dirt, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Country Albums Chart. Thomas Rhett, who has previously toured with Lady Antebellum and Florida Georgia Line (a band that will play later in the season at the theater), takes the stage with A Thousand Horses, the low-country, powerful rock band that originated in Nashville. Opening the show will be We Were Here. Nikon at Jones Beach, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh. jonesbeach.com $40.25-$65.50. 7:30 p.m. June 17.

Rockin’ Fights 24
Esteemed boxer Joe DeGuardia presents an exciting exhibition headlining Cletus “the Hebrew Hammer” Seldin, who is coming off two straight knockout bouts to battle Jesus Selig. This boxing exhibition with also feature local prospects like Danny Gonzalez (Woodhaven), Curtis Morton (Myrtle Beach), as well as multiple Elmont fighters going up against other undefeated New York boxers. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $50-$200. 7:30 p.m. June 17.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Long regarded as the Godfather of the Jersey Shore Sound, John Lyon, better known by his stage name Southside Johnny, is an American original. Growing up in Ocean Grove and graduating from Neptune High, he followed in Bruce Springsteen’s shoes running down the boardwalk, hitting the high notes and laying it low with that bluesy soulfulness that only he can croon. It helped that Steven Van Zandt, the Boss’s compadre, penned Southside Johnny’s signature song, “I Don’t Want to Go Home.” And yes, that’s Southside and the Jukes performing as a bar band at the frat party in that action-packed classic “Adventures in Babysitting.” The guy’s been doing it right and working his ass off for years, and we’re lucky to have him around keeping it real. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org $45-$65. 8 p.m. June 17.

Greg Greenway and Pat Wictor
This duo celebrates the amazing power of two-part male harmonies, singing contemporary folk with touches of gospel, blues, jazz and pop. Greenway is an internationally known artist who has been described as “one of the strongest and finest voices in folk music.” Wictor made his mark as a singer/songwriter, penning lean and poetic songs that incorporate—and subvert—rural blues and gospel traditions. Our Times Coffeehouse, 38 Old Country Rd., Garden City. ourtimescoffeehouse.org $20. 8 p.m. June 17.

peter max
Peter Max’s Ellis Island.

Peter Max Exhibit
You’ve all seen his colorful creations even if you didn’t know who did it. This popular pop artist, Peter Max, defined a generation’s hopes and dreams, doing album covers, posters and more, starting in the 1960s when he befriended the Beatles. He’s still prolific, drawing every day he can. The range of his work over the years will be featured in a retrospective exhibit. After the opening reception, the legendary artist is scheduled to appear twice at the gallery: 6-8 p.m. June 25, 2-4 p.m. June 26. RSVP via 631-754-8414 or james@lamantiagallery.com Lamantia Gallery, 127 Main St., Northport. lamantiagallery.com Free. June 17, 18.

This is All Now
Long Island natives This is All Now are a collaboration of longtime friends and previous bandmates. Their varied musical backgrounds allow the influence of different perspectives, which has resulted in mega-success. The pop/rock band has created a sound that stands out, providing energetic live performances and professionalism at the same time. With supporting acts Goodbye Friday, VISTA, The Running Lights, Jay Watts, Trick The Riddle, Cheap Shots and Oliver Then. Revolution Bar and Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com 2:30 p.m. June 18.

Long Island’s Largest Bingo Game
Attendees can play 10 games for a chance to win over $30,000 in prizes, including a two-year lease on a 2015 Honda CR-Z EX CVT, a $10,500 Deluxe Spa Package, a Stone Fire Pit, a photo Package, a Trip to Sandals, a Diamond Ring, carpeting/flooring, a Ping Pong Table, and a Golf Getaway in Killington, Vt. Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow. Free. BingoLI.com 4-7 p.m. June 18. 

Taste of Chaos
Kings of punk and emo, Dashboard Confessional and Long Island’s own Taking Back Sunday headline the “Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos” tour this summer. Dashboard Confessional’s lead singer, Chris Carrabba, is credited with writing “Vindicated,” “Hands Down,” and “Screaming Infidelities.” Taking Back Sunday, who released their most recent album in March of 2014, is regarded as the quintessential emo band from the US–and they started right in our backyard, or rather our basement. Pop-punk bands Saosin, The Early November, and Motion City Soundtrack also join in the fun. Nikon at Jones Beach, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh. jonesbeach.com $26-$75. 5:30 p.m. June 18.

Burt Young
The actor who played Uncle Paulie in the first five Rocky movies will hold a Q&A with fans during a screening of the original Sylvester Stallone fight film to mark the 40th anniversary of its release. YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main Street, Bay Shore. boultoncenter.org $30-$125. 7 p.m. June 18.

Sophie B. Hawkins
The legendary artist Sophie B. Hawkins returns to the East Coast to perform her new album, The Crossing. The New York City native has touched fans for decades with her stories of romance and heartbreak retold through her music. She is a modern day sultry siren with her raw emotional pop rock sound. In 1992, she debuted her album Tongues and Tails, which earned her a Grammy nomination the following year. Some of her hit singles throughout the years include “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” “As I Lay Me Down,” and “Right Beside You.” The critically acclaimed artist now shares her new soulful soundtrack, which will evoke emotion, but lead to empowerment, with songs like “I’m Better Off Without You” and “Consume Me In Your Fire.” The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansett. stephentalkhouse.com $25. 7 p.m. June 18.

The Scofflaws
Long Island natives, The Scofflaws, will be bringing something new to calypso and reggae, with their own can’t-stop-skankin’-it-just-feels-too-damn-good ska vibes. Their tunes just absolutely suck you in, and before you know it, it’s 2 a.m., you’re covered in sweat, and you’ve just been dancin’ and groovin’ alongside complete strangers for the past four hours. That’s because ska has traditional Jamaican roots mixed with American rhythm and blues. The Scofflaws are known for their irresistible songs “Nude Beach,” “Spider On My Bed” and “Backdoor Open,” among so many others.  with All New Episode, Melting Pots and Short Notice. Mr. Beery’s, 4019 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage. mrbeerys.com 7:30 p.m. June 18.

Appetite for Destruction
Appetite for Destruction, the only full-time Guns N’ Roses cover band whose name was inspired by Guns N’ Roses’ 1987 album of the same title –  is hard to differentiate from their idols. And why bother? Just appreciate their authenticity because Appetite is unlike any other tribute band in terms of their hard rock sound and their attire. They bear indescribable resemblance to Slash, Axl Rose and the original Guns guys. If you want all the pleasure and enthusiasm of a live version of “Welcome to the Jungle” without the expense and hassle of trying to see the real ’80s metal-heads, you found the right crew. Appetite for Destruction will leave even the staunchest GNR fan astonished at the quality of their music. Opening the show is Wildside. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $10-$35. 8 p.m. June 18

Happy Together Tour
Featuring a legendary lineup of iconic ’60s bands, the show’s headlining act will be Flo and Eddie of The Turtles, known for their smash hit, “Happy Together.”  The tour will also feature Chuck Negron, Mark Lindsay, Gary Puckett, The Cowsills and the Spencer Davis Group. At one time you couldn’t turn on your car radio without catching a top tune from one of these legendary groups. Thanks to this tour you don’t have to touch the dial to dig them all to your heart’s delight. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50-$84.50. 8 p.m. June 18.

Love Letters
A local performance of this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by playwright A.R. Gurney debuts this weekend for a special one-night-only show to raise funds for the Northport-East Northport Community Theater’s summer camp. The play, billed as an amusing, heartwarming and poignant two-person performance, stars local actors, Dr. Larry Palevsky of the Northport Wellness Center and Stephanie Sultana, as the star-crossed lovers. Proceeds from the performance will help pay for the theater’s camp in which local students in grades 2 to 12 produce and perform in their own musicals in July and August. This summer, they’ll put on Grease and The Lion King. After the event, there will be live music and a silent auction with prizes worth up to $300.. St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 270 Main St., Northport. $25. northportcommunitytheater.org 8 p.m. June 18.

Gary Gulman
Former tight-end for Boston College and finalist on “NBC’s Last Comic Standing,” Gary Gulman takes the stage. He has performed on shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan, and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. Gulman is known for his own brand of observational comedy. The comedian has had two comedy central specials and is now the host of NESN’s Comedy All-stars. The Brokerage Comedy Club, 2797 Merrick Rd., Bellmore. brokerage.govs.com $25. 7:30, 10 p.m. June 18.

Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men are, arguably, the greatest R&B group of all time. In addition to winning four Grammy awards, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman created one of the best-selling R&B albums of all time: Their album, II, sold over 60 million copies worldwide. Known for their intimate soul harmonies, you might remember their hits “I’ll Make Love To You,” and “One Sweet Day.” Billboard magazine named Boyz II Men the fourth most successful music group of the 1990s. The Boyz released their most recent album, Collide, in 2014. Boyz II Men redefined their genre. They definitely aren’t something to miss. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50 -$139.50. 8 p.m. June 19.

Carmine Appice
Drummer, songwriter and now author Carmine Appice will be speaking and signing copies of his new book, Stick it: My Life of Sex, Drums, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. And what a life it’s been since he first broke through our eardrums with that amazing psychedelic band Vanilla Fudge. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 7 p.m. June 20.

The Steel Trap
Stuck-in-a-rut bank manager Joseph Cotten gives in to his long-suppressed urges and returns home from work one Friday with $1 million in loot. But he can’t shake his sense of middle class propriety, which complicates his efforts to surprise his wife Teresa Wright with a trip to Brazil (and its conveniently flawed extradition treaty). He wants to keep his ill-gotten gains secret. And so they embark on an ill-fated transcontinental flight from justice.  Screening includes a reception and a book signing by Foster Hirsch, a professor at Brooklyn College, pioneer in the development of film studies and author of more than a score of books ranging from Woody Allen, the Actors Studio and American theater, to his magisterial biography, Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org $10 members, $15 public. 7:30 p.m. June 20.

Dave Matthews Band
In celebration of their 25th anniversary making great music together, the Dave Matthews Band returns to Long Island to perform for their legions of fans here. The acoustic rock superstars have sold over 30 million records and consistently tour around the world. They are known for featuring jazzy improvisational reworkings of their songs, so every show sounds unique. Nikon at Jones Beach, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh. jonesbeach.com $75-$85. 8 p.m. June 21.

-Compiled by Kate Nalepinski, Leo Capobianco, Ana Borruto, Ellie Schoeffel and Timothy Bolger

L.I. LGBT Community Mourns Orlando Shooting Victims

A rainbow flag, the gay pride symbol, flapping in the wind. (Photo by Ludovic Bertron)

By Rashed Mian, Ana Borruto and Leo Capobianco

From the steps of the Nassau County’s legislative building to a gay refuge in Bay Shore and an inconspicuous office space in Bellmore, hundreds of people from the LGBT community joined civic and religious leaders on Long Island Monday evening for vigils memorializing the dozens of lives lost in Orlando this weekend in yet another mass slaying on American soil.

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Some mourners were inconsolable—unwilling or physically unable to relinquish embraces from friends and strangers alike as they came to grips with an attack on a community that is so often the target of bigotry and historically condemned for living life as they see fit. Others silently locked hands and wiped away tears as the names of the 49 victims of Sunday’s Pulse nightclub shooting, many of them with ubiquitous Hispanic surnames, were read aloud. The local vigils represented just a handful of the dozens that took place around the world (photos below).

“Stanley Almodovar III…Amanda Alvear…Juan Chevez-Martinez…Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz.” The list seemingly went on forever.

The youngest victim, Akyra Monet Murray, was 18 years old.

There was a palpable feeling Monday that the massacre—the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and biggest terror attack since 9/11—was deeply personal, that any of those grieving could have very well been a victim of a madman’s apparent homophobic assault on a gay nightclub, one of the few public venues where the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community feel safe from persecution or physical attacks.

The day of mourning came as more details emerged about the killer, Omar Mateen, who briefly lived in Westbury before moving to Florida, according to reports. But the torrent of details brought more questions than answers.

What emerged was a complicated and incomplete portrait of a man who previously fell on the FBI’s radar but was never arrested and therefore able to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle just days before the massacre. Adding to the confusion, authorities revealed that Mateen contacted police amid the bloodbath to pledge allegiance to an Islamic State (ISIS) leader and expressed solidarity with a suicide bomber from Al-Nursa Front, a rival terror group, as well as the Boston Marathon bombers.

“Don’t pray for us, don’t cry for us, make change happen for us.”

Finally, and most bizarre, were reports that the FBI was investigating whether Mateen—who was ultimately killed by a SWAT team—was gay himself, a frequent visitor to the very nightclub he terrorized, and a gay dating app user.

And while authorities acknowledged that Mateen seemed to have been radicalized online, it was unclear whether he was motivated solely by extremist Islamic leanings, suffered from mental illness, or if a toxic combination of psychological issues and anti-American sentiment provoked such a virulent and unimaginable outburst.

During an unrelated news conference in Freeport Monday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said there was no evidence that Mateen coordinated with ISIS prior to carrying out the attack.

“He was the classic ‘lone wolf,’” Schumer told reporters.

To those gathering at vigils sprinkled across the Island Monday evening, the motivation for such a brutal and merciless assault was unequivocally homophobic. As it has so often in the past, hate once again turned its sights on the LGBT community.


About four hours before Mateen’s mass murder, about 200 people spent their Saturday night at Pride For Youth in Bellmore for the LGBT advocacy group’s “Pride After Dark” party.

The night was replete with dance and music, with entertainment provided by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jiggly Caliente Brooks. It was an opportunity for LGBT youth to celebrate being who they are. By all accounts it was a joyous occasion.

Staffers remained at work late into the evening to tidy up the spot—not an easy task considering the large number of young people letting loose. Little did they know that they’d spend the next day, a scheduled day off, planning a memorial service.

“We woke up on Sunday to this tragedy,” Pete Carney, director of Pride for Youth, told dozens of people gathered for a vigil at the organization’s homey Bellmore office.

Standing atop a stage, Carney told those in attendance that he spent most of Sunday stricken with grief and sadness.

“For too many LGBTQ individuals living here on Long Island and throughout our community and throughout the country, LGBTQ nightclubs, bars, community centers are oftentimes the only place where we know we can be safe, where we have that 100-percent guarantee,” said Carney, who, despite the intense wave of emotions, kept his composure.

It’s not easy for the LGBT community to find a safe place to congregate, to be themselves, to be gay or lesbian or transgender, he said.

“They came into our sanctuary and took something from us,” Carney told the audience. “They came through our walls and our safety and stole something.”

After a few speakers and an inspirational rendition of “Amazing Grace,” Carney opened the floor to anyone who felt compelled to speak out—and those who took up his offer said they wouldn’t let pervasive anti-gay rhetoric and the threat of violence keep them down.

Speaking to the enormous challenges the community has faced throughout the years—lack of acceptance, omnipresent hate crimes, the HIV/Aids epidemic, the fight for the right to marry, and so much more—one man crystallized the tenaciousness of the gay rights movement’s swelling ranks.

“If fear stopped us, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.

Less than 20 miles away in Bay Shore, a crowd of several hundred people stood under a gentle blue sky in the parking lot of the LGBT Network‘s community center for a candlelight vigil in solidarity with the victims of the Orlando massacre.

Mourners dressed in vibrant colors as they waved rainbow flags, and once the sun set, a thousand candles illuminated the night sky. LGBT residents of all ages offered each other shoulders to cry on. Parents came to support their gay and lesbian children—many of whom were not alive for mass attacks upon the gay community. Partners embraced while the mass joined together in song.

Rusty Rose teared up when she considered the early morning attack in Orlando.

“This was like killing my children,” she said.

As in Bellmore, mourners took turns expressing their sorrow.

“People are not born homophobic and hating us. People are raised that way.”

David Kilmnick, LGBT Network’s CEO, said the attack was nothing more than an act of hate against all LGBT people. It also serves as “wake up call” for the entire country, he said, listing the many ways hate has infiltrated communities.

“This should be a call to the entire country to join together, to fight hate and discrimination against all races, against all ethnicities, all religion, all sexual orientations and gender identities,” Kilmnick, a long time advocate, told the teary-eyed crowd.

Xander Simon, a 17-year-old LGBT youth leader, while addressing the crowd, recognized that some people may be overcome with feelings of hopelessness. But, Simon said, the best way to overcome the tragedy is by uniting as one.

“Though you may not have the power to donate, whether it be blood or money,” Simon continued, “you always have one thing: the power to love.”

Joanne Borden, a 91-year-old transgender woman and advocate, spoke of love and acceptance.

“People must be able to learn that we are just like everyone else,” Borden said. “God made us this way, so he must have intended for us to be this way.”

LGBT voices throughout the Island lamented the political squabbling the erupted after the shooting, but many felt compelled to stand up for Muslim Americans who have once again been demonized because of the assailant’s Muslim background.

At the Bay Shore vigil, Hafiz Ur Rehman, commissioner of Suffolk County’s Human Rights Commission, could barely speak he was so overcome with emotion. The shooter, he declared, does not represent the majority of Muslims who consider the ideology of groups like ISIS anathema to the religion.

“Omar Mateen is not a Muslim,” Rehman said. “Don’t paint all Muslims with the same brush.”

In Nassau, Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, could hardly contain her frustration.

“We take two steps forward—then ‘Boom,’” Chaudhry said when reached by phone.

The first female president of the ICLI, Chaudhry noted that the congregation said a prayer for all the victims during Sunday service, adding that the visiting Imam offered a passionate rebuke of bigotry and violence.

When asked about Mateen’s LI roots, Chaudhry said the mosque examined its records and found that the shooter’s father was never a member of the ICLI, nor was he actively involved in the community. There was no way to tell if he ever prayed at the mosque, however, Chaudhry admitted.

Also on Monday, Nassau County police said they increased patrols around houses of worship and LGBT centers in the wake of the attack. The department’s community affairs liaison also reached out to the ICLI, acting police commissioner Thomas Krumpter said.

Chaudhry said the ICLI requested an increased police presence following the attacks out of concern that vandals would once again target the mosque, as they did following the San Bernardino shooting in December.

“I’m going to make this very clear: Any kind of bias crime, any kind of hate crime regardless of the hate crime, whether it’s based on religion, based on your sexual preference, anything, will not be tolerated here in Nassau County,” Krumpter said at a press conference Monday highlighting the department’s preparation in the event a similar attack occurred in Nassau.

Suffolk County police said they had also bolstered patrols and added additional security measures at LGBT centers.

Authorities in both counties implored the public to reach out if see something suspicious, whether on social media or in public.

“If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t,” said Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano urged residents who come across curious posts on social media to take a screenshot and text the message to authorities via the Nassau Crime Stoppers mobile app.

Meanwhile, LGBT leaders on the Island used the occasion to condemn anti-gay rhetoric and discriminatory comments toward transgender people, which could foster hate.

At a separate vigil outside Nassau County’s Theodore Roosevelt Executive Building in Mineola, Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews of Glen Cove said anti-LGBT legislation could breed intolerance.

“I think it does empower people to do hateful acts,” said Stevenson-Matthews, who moments earlier presented a Pride flag that was subsequently flown over the building. “I would say ‘Yes,’ on some level it does make a difference when people feel emboldened by legislation that singles out one group of people.”

In Bellmore, Carney appeared to grow impatient with Nassau County’s refusal to include transgender people in an existing anti-discrimination law, adding that he woke up Monday “angry” with the political discourse.

“[I’m] angry that their politicians who want to use this to battle each other, angry that there are those in the broader community that want to focus on buzz worlds like ‘terrorism’ and ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and the usual language that we know, is put out there to divide us further,” he said. “Angry that people have used this as an excuse to tell us that we should fight for our arms and fight for the exact weapons that were used to take us down. Angry that there are those who want to erase us in this experience.

“The LGBT community has been attacked,” Carney continued. “This is a hate crime and that is what we do know. Hate crimes don’t just happen in our country. People are not born homophobic and hating us. People are raised that way…we need to start holding people accountable for their words. We need to no longer give a pass to those who claim culture, faith, whatever it may be, gives them a right to disparage us…because when we allow that to happen we create a world where people don’t value us, don’t value our bodies, don’t value our ability to live in this world. We need to in this community push back against homophobia.”

Speaking to the crowd at Pride For Youth, Carney encouraged the community to parlay their sadness into action by calling their respective county legislators and demanding change.

“Don’t pray for us, don’t cry for us, make change happen for us,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Kilmnick summed up the feelings of LGBT leaders who believe anti-discrimination laws for transgender people are long overdue.

“Enough is enough,” Kilmnick said.


Star Wars Character Impersonators a Hit at Long Island Comic Con

By Joseph Nuzzo

Eternal Con, Long Island’s annual comic book and sci-fi convention, returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City this weekend, but some used the fun and games to do good.

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Among the cosplay, sci-fi celebrity meet-and-greets and comics booths were members of the Rebel Legion, a group fans who bring Star Wars characters to life with highly detailed costumes and make appearances at children’s hospitals, walk-a-thons, libraries and charity events.

“When a child looks at you, and you know that the child believes you are this character, it takes my breath away, to have that moment of happiness with a child,” Rebel Legion member Christine Evans, who bears an uncanny resemblance to actress Carrie Fisher, said while in costume as Princess Leia. “That is the type of joy we need in the world.”

The all-volunteer group makes appearances upon request, free of charge. Their only request, in return, is a donation made in the name of the Rebel Legion to a charity the group supports. Among those causes are education and assisting museums in teaching children about the science in science fiction.

Joe Imholte, director of Special Exhibits at the Science Museum of Minnesota, attested to their authenticity.

Christine Evans, a member of The Rebel Legion, dressed as Princess Leia at Eternal Con in Garden City, N.Y. (Photo by Joe Nuzzo)
Christine Evans, a member of The Rebel Legion, dressed as Princess Leia at Eternal Con in Garden City, N.Y. (Photo by Joe Nuzzo)

“The Rebel Legion’s members added an incalculable value to The Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit,” Imholte said in a statement. “Their personal interactions with visitors to the museum were a huge overall plus to the visitor experience. The exhibit would not have been the success it was without their involvement.”

Characters such as Evans really get into the part, since they have deep personal connections to the roles they play.

“My strongest memory of my childhood is seeing Star Wars for the first time when I was 5 years old,” Evans told the Press. “I remember lying in the backseat of my parents Ford LTD on the way home, looking up at the stars, looking for the Millennium Falcon.”

She later pretended to be Princess Leia while playing in her backyard. So it was a natural fit when a friend who was moving out of town asked her to take over her role as Princess Leia in The Rebel Legion.

Throughout the day both children and adults lined up to take a quick photo with Evan’s Princess Leia. It was easy to spot the joy on children’s faces as they posed with this beloved Star Wars character. To the children, there could be no doubt she was the real deal.

To find out more about becoming involved in The Rebel Legion or to book them for a charity or educational event, visit them online at rebellegion.com

Eternal Con: The Long Island Comic Con returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum this weekend (photos by Joe Nuzzo)
Eternal Con: The Long Island Comic Con returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum this weekend (photos by Joe Nuzzo)

Calls for Ethics Reform Get Louder on Long Island

The New York State Capitol Builsing in Albany.

By Timothy Bolger and Michael Harris

Advocates and citizens frustrated with the avalanche of corruption scandals on Long Island and elsewhere in the state are rallying around the issue and organizing grassroots efforts aimed at pressuring lawmakers to be more ethical and transparent.

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Local good government groups picketed last week outside the Long Island office of New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown), urging him to allow passage of ethics reforms for Albany lawmakers before the legislative session ends Thursday, June 16. And a New York City-based nonprofit last week announced that it’s suing LI municipalities that fail to turn over financial documents in a statewide citizen-led transparency initiative recently started in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“In recent years we’ve watched as dozens of elected officials have been indicted, convicted or forced to leave under a cloud of suspicion,” Brandon Muir, executive director of Reclaim New York, told reporters last Tuesday during a news conference in Mineola. “Corruption does not discriminate. It impacts local government, state government, public authorities, school districts, Republicans as well as Democrats.”

Last year, the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity gave New York State a D- grade for transparency and accountability in its annual national State Integrity Investigation report card.

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Recent corruption scandals on LI include disgraced state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who’s appealing his December corruption conviction; ex-Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, who pleaded guilty in February to beating a suspect and covering it up; former Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Edward Walsh, who’s appealing his March conviction on charges of stealing from his job as a corrections lieutenant; plus an Town of Oyster Bay official who admitted to federal tax evasion in January and a restaurateur accused of bribing officials from the same town last year. In addition, Chief Deputy Nassau County Executive Rob Walker testified at Skelos’ trial that Walker is under federal investigation for awarding contracts to campaign donors and Burke’s case led federal authorities to reportedly investigate the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, sparking calls for Spota to resign.

To turn the tide, banner-waving activists with nonprofits Common Cause, Jobs with Justice, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, the Long Island Progressive Coalition and Move-On.org gathered outside Majority Leader Flanagan’s office on June 7 to urge him to pass campaign finance reform. Specifically, they back a perennially proposed state bill to close the so-called LLC Loophole that allows wealthy owners of Limited Liability Companies to skirt individual campaign donation limits.

State law prohibits most corporations from donating more than $5,000 to a political candidate or campaign, but individuals can donate as much as $60,800 to statewide candidates, $16,800 to state Senate hopefuls and $8,200 to those running for the state Assembly. But under current state law, LLCs are treated as individuals, not corporations. And it is not uncommon for a person or a company to control more than one LLC—enabling virtually limitless political giving.

“Long Island as a region has 22 percent of the political power in New York State,” said Victoria Daza, an organizer with Long Island Jobs with Justice. “It is of great concern to the growing but unrepresented working class communities of Long Island that many of our elected leaders are more concerned with appeasing their funders than representing their constituents.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who backs making LLCs subject to the same campaign limits as corporations, also wants the state Legislature to limit outside income for legislators, pension forfeiture for convicted officials, raising legislator’s compensation to full-time employment, and public financing of campaigns, among other proposals.

“The legislature has a choice: lead on reform or perpetuate the status quo,” Cuomo said last Wednesday during a speech at Fordham University Law School in Manhattan. “Before the Legislature departs next week, I urge them in the strongest possible terms to pass real ethics reform that sends a clear message: In New York democracy rules and, the voice of the people matters.”

Immediately afterward, Sen. Flanagan issued a statement supporting some of the ethics reform package, such as enacting a “strong pension forfeiture measure that penalizes public officials convicted of a felony in relation to their public duties,” but didn’t commit to closing the LLC Loophole or the other proposals.

The reason for the push-pull over the LLC Loophole, as Skelos’s attorney explained during his trial, is because it largely benefits business-friendly Republicans, who routinely make an alternative proposal, cracking down on the types of donors that give to Democrats, which results in a legislative stalemate on the issue.

In doing so, Flanagan urged passage of legislation to “move more aggressively against straw donors and stop non-profits who flout transparency and donate unlimited sums to directly support a politician’s agenda.”

The state Assembly, which has a large Democratic majority, has repeatedly passed LLC Loophole closure legislation, but it never gets called up for a vote in the historically GOP-led state Senate. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) has signaled that the bill will pass his chamber again. Activists were pressuring Flanagan to let it pass the Senate, too. But he’s reportedly called the loophole amendment a “red herring.”

“We are at a crucial moment in state politics,” said Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, outside Flanagan’s Smithtown office. “We have the opportunity to pass real reforms to take on the corruption that threatens our democracy. Instead of championing these reforms, Senator Flanagan’s actions are just another road-block to legislation that would restore faith in our election system. The LLC loophole is the first of many needed reforms that the Senate must act on.”

Citing a Sienna College poll released in May that found 97 percent of New Yorkers believe it is important for Cuomo and the state Legislature to pass laws addressing corruption before the session ends, Reclaim New York’s Muir said his group launched an initiative to build a database tracking taxpayer-funded expenditures by local municipalities.

“Many believe that another round of ethics legislation in Albany is the answer, but three such laws have been passed in just the last six years, to little effect,” Muir said. “What New York lacks is local, citizen-driven oversight.”

To that end, his group has organized citizens to file Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests seeking spending records from every county, town, village and school district statewide. On LI, the region they started with, most municipalities complied, but the group is suing three of about 50 government entities that refused to turn over records. They include the Town of Oyster Bay, the Manhasset School District and the Elmont School District.

Will the effort work? Will Albany pass ethics reform? And will lawmakers in New York State regain the trust of their constituents?

As Preet Bharara, the Manhattan federal prosecutor who oversaw Skelos’ conviction would say, “Stay tuned.”

—With additional reporting by Olivia Booth

‘Love Letters’ Raising Funds for Northport Theater Summer Camp

By Luis Centeno

Love Letters, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by playwright A.R. Gurney, will debut at the Northport-East Northport Community Theater this weekend for a special one-night-only show to raise funds for the theater’s summer camp.

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The play, billed as an amusing, heartwarming and poignant two-person performance, stars local actors, Dr. Larry Palevsky of the Northport Wellness Center and Stephanie Sultana, as the star-crossed lovers. Proceeds from the performance will help pay for the theater’s camp in which local students in grades 2 to 12 produce and perform in their own musicals in July and August. This summer, they’ll put on Grease and The Lion King.

“All of our fundraisers are for the betterment of the community,” said Bette Silver, founder of the camp and the theater. “We try to keep kids busy and off the streets.”

In addition to the camp, the nonprofit theater produces shows in spring and fall, such as recent productions of Mary Poppins, Les Misérables and Annie. Proceeds routinely go to charitable causes. This year, the camp includes a special after-school program for theater enthusiasts for high school and college students.

Unlike most theaters, this one focuses on bringing in local talent, including those with acting experience as well as those willing to learn more about show business by working on a stage crew, in costuming or lighting. The theater welcome adults and children of all ages, talent levels and abilities, including individuals with special needs, said Michelle Centamore, whose family is also involved in the theater.

Silver, who is also the director of the live orchestra, admits that though it is a tough task at times, but she takes pleasure in giving back to the community while simultaneously putting on a memorable show.

Love Letters premieres at 8 p.m. June 18 at the St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 270 Main St., Northport. Tickets are $25. After the event, there will be live music and a silent auction with prizes worth up to $300. For more information visit northportcommunitytheater.org

LI LGBT Community Defiant In Wake Of Orlando Terror Attack

A rainbow flag, the gay pride symbol, flapping in the wind. (Photo by Ludovic Bertron)

By Rashed Mian and Christopher Twarowski

With the nation reeling in the wake of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and biggest terror attack since 9/11, members of the Long Island LGBT community expressed sorrow, solidarity and defiance Sunday, resolving to honor those murdered by refusing to allow hatred to alter their way of life.

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At least 50 people were murdered early Sunday morning at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., known as a hotspot for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, when a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle. The attacker, Omar Mateen, 29, of Port Saint Lucie, allegedly declared allegiance to Islamist terror group ISIS during the assault, according to still-developing news reports.

In an address to the nation Sunday afternoon, President Barack Obama characterized the massacre as an attack against all Americans and the subject of an open investigation by federal law enforcement agencies.

“This was an act of terror, and an act of hate,” he said. “This could have been any one of our communities.”

The killings are a “reminder that attacks on any American…is an attack on all of us,” continued Obama, stating that no act “of hate or terror will ever change who we are.”

“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another,” he added. “We will stand together as Americans.”

More than 300 members and supporters of the local LGBT community showed unity with victims and their families, taking their defiance of fear and prejudice to the streets of Sayville in a “Visibility Walk” Sunday afternoon, carrying signs, pride flags and wearing rainbow-colored sashes.

Collectively, they vowed to stand united in the face of violence and bigotry.

Dean Carter, 23, a member of the LGBT group Pride For Youth, who moved from Orlando to Uniondale last year, told the Press that though he’d heard rumors of Orlando as being a potential terror target in the past, the news of the bloodbath at the gay club still hit him as a surprise.

“To me, it’s kind of shocking, because people always say, ‘Orlando is a target,’ but, Orlando has never actually been the target of a terror attack, and usually, it’s aimed at Disney [World],” he said in a parking lot across from the Visibility Walk’s starting point, the Sayville LIRR train station. “For it to be aimed at a gay club…is kind of shocking to me.”

Carter’s grandparents reside near Pulse nightclub, which he described as one of the most popular gay clubs in the city. Obama characterized the club as a “place of solidarity and empowerment” in his remarks, a sentiment echoed by others at the first-of-its-kind walk in Sayville Sunday.

“Many of the gathering spots for our community are rooted in nightclubs and bars,” explained Erin Furey, a founding member of LGBTQA+ Visibility Coalition, a local gay and transgender advocacy rights group, after the parade.

Furey lamented the lack of “safe places” for the LGBT community nationwide.

“We live in a world, a country, and on an island, where trying to find a safe place is of dire importance,” she said.

That void–and anti-gay rhetoric–breeds intolerance, she continued.

“It really circles back to what happened today, because when social institutions and laws and governments, and people with a lot of influence, send a larger message that LGBT people are not okay, it does allow people to justify horrific acts of violence,” added Furey.

David Kilmnick, CEO of LGBT Network, an LI-based gay rights group, stressed the need for tougher legislation protecting this community.

“The deplorable act of violence that targeted the LGBT community and stole 50 lives and left scores of others injured, is a painful reminder of the gate and bias that continues to plague our country,” he said in a statement following the attack. “Our hearts and minds are joined with all the family, friends, and loved ones who are mourning today.”

Joanna Morena, of Ronkonkoma, another co-founder of LGBTQA+ Visibility Coalition, told the Press she woke up to the horrific news of the massacre via social media, and immediately called her mother, who was in tears.

The full significance of Sunday’s “Visibility Walk” and the full weight of the attack hit Morena and her wife hard as she drove to Sayville to join the march.

“It just hit home how important walks like this are,” she explained. “To really be visible, be out, even informally, because, as far as far as we’ve come as a community, our transgender brothers and sisters are still without basic protections, and still, unfortunately, and apparently, still subject to attacks.”

“When a tragedy like this happens,” she added, “we need to be together.”