A New Doc Takes You Through The History Of The Pines Invasion

In "The Panzi Invasion" Bianca Del Rio, Hedda Lettuce, Lynn Hutton and others share their personal stories from Fire Island.

For many Americans the Fourth of July means BBQs, fireworks and celebrating their home country, but for others Fourth of July means it’s time for the annual Invasion of the Pines.

Now a new documentary is available for the children to learn about the genesis of the celebrated annual event.

Using current and archival footage, The Panzi Invasion, goes through the history of the event that has been happening every year on the island since 1976.

The documentary, directed by Parker Sargent, features interviews with legendary Fire Island residents like Thom “Panzi” Hansen, Lynn Hutton and Bob “Rose” Levine who started the Invasion. Along with famous drag queens like Bianca Del Rio and Hedda Lettuce (whose male alter ego Steven Polito narrates) who tell their personal stories participating in the event and their years in Cherry Grove and the Pines.

Parker Sargent

There have been special screenings of The Panzi Invasion over the course of the past year since its release, and now in honor of this year’s Invasion next week, the film is available to watch online for free for a limited time.

The Invasion of the Pines is one of the most anticipated events of the summer on Fire Island and has grown in popularity every year. Click here to watch the full documentary and see how a peaceful protest more than forty years ago turned into the celebration of drag and queer life that it is today.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."