Exclusive: The First 10 Minutes of ‘Finding Fire Island’ Episode One

Images via @ihatejoelkim, @margaret_cho

Finding Fire Island, a docu-podcast series that brings to life how a sleepy, 19th century beach town became a modern day queer mecca for artists and the New York City theater community, will debut tomorrow, July 6, via Broadway Podcast Network. 

Queer history has often been told through the lens of loss and disappearance, but Fire Island has transcended that to survive as a stunning fantasy world and cultural touchstone. Finding Fire Island takes listeners behind the curtain of the mystique, legends, and lore of the LGBTQ communities (Cherry Grove and The Pines) from folks who experienced their evolution from the 1950s to today.


Created and executive produced by writer, producer, and New Yorker Jess Rothschild, she says, “As a native New Yorker, Fire Island was intrinsically formative to my identity as a gay person. As my obsession with the history and culture of Cherry Grove and The Pines intensified over the years, I began collecting interviews with notable Fire Island figures, past and present. While working on this project, I realized that this is one of the rare pieces of media about Fire Island from the perspective of a woman.”

Since 2019, Rothschild has published and hosted the podcast Hot Takes & Deep Dives, which centers on queer pop iconography and New York City Culture. She has received acclaim from The Huffington Post and The New York Times for her interviews with iconic celebrities including Rosie O’Donnell, Sandra Bernhard, Isaac Mizrahi, and Melissa Etheridge, and she was a founding writer for Autostraddle, the largest independent LGBTQ website still in existence. 

Image via Jess Rothschild

Finding Fire Island features interviews with a wide variety of talent including Joel Kim Booster, Margaret Cho, Matt Rogers, DJ Lina Bradford, screenwriter Paul Rudnick, former editor-in-chief of The Advocate Zach Stafford, Cherry Grove legend Bob “Rose” Levine, and many more. 


“The thing about Fire Island is, it itself is such a story, but when you go, it becomes part of your story,” Rogers says.

“It’s important to create art about Fire Island which really memorializes the history and the important figures,” Cho adds. “There are so many stories to tell from the island as this legendary queer mecca.” 

Finding Fire Island will be available on all podcast streaming platforms, and for a sneak peak of episode one, click the video below.



Episode 1: “Gay Summer Camp” – featuring Joel Kim Booster, Margaret Cho, Matt Rogers, Ben Rimalower, Brian Moylan, Zach Stafford. We are introduced to the two oldest LGBTQ communities in the U.S. – Cherry Grove and The Fire Island Pines. Our cast of characters describe their Fire Island origin stories and we quickly see how what plays out here is like “gay adult sleep-away camp.” We also observe how racial and socio-economic pressures are felt on the island.

Watch the Finding Fire Island trailer: 

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