Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ol' Tyme Herstoryville

Ol' Tyme Herstoryville

Location: Shirley, New Jersey, USA

Opened: 2006

Closed: 2009

From Afterellen:

SHIRLEY, NJ — Due to declining attendance revenues and rising operating expenses, the country's only lesbian-themed reenactment village, Ol' Tyme Herstoryville, is shutting its doors after only three years in business.

According to director, curator and property owner, Josephine Kinney, ticket sales have been falling off for several years, ever since the advent of snowboarding, facebooking and video blogging.

"Young lesbians have a lot of recreational choices now," Kinney said recently, "We still get the older crowd, but they're, ya know, cheap."

With a mission to keep the days before lesbian chic, The L Word and Lindsay Lohan alive, Ol' Tyme Herstoryville, has been providing visitors with living "herstory" exhibits since 2006.

Visitors to the 40-acre park, located in bucolic South Jersey, can still enjoy costumed actors reenacting the lives of lesbians of yesteryear through the end of the month. Some of the exhibits that will be lost include the "Radical Feminist Pot Luck," a re-creation set in a 60s New York City apartment, and a reenactment of a "Womyn's Collective," circa 1972.

Visitors to the Womyn's Collective are encouraged to interact with the unshaven cast by participating in an Earth Mother ceremony, learning sandal-making, and enjoying samples dishes from the communal kitchen: Curry Legume Surprise, lentils served over more lentils and a signature dish of tempeh with tofu sauce called, "It's So Not Like Meat."

Down a side street at the edge of the village, in the basement of a non-descript building, is the entrance to the only reconstructed 50's women's bar in existence. Bulldaggers still dance to the strains of Connie Frances with their dates, who wear authentic poodle skirts or crinoline dresses. 

"Maps to this exhibit are going to be collectors' items and are still available at the main entrance," said Kinney, "And you're going to need one if you want to see this exhibit, since it's really, really hard to find."

Police raids are still being performed every hour, on the half hour.

A group from the Princeton Women and Gender Studies Program made its last field trip to the village as part of their supplemental course, "When Feminism Meets Commerce: Progress or Really Bad Idea?" Also a victim to changing times, the course will be folded into the Business School in the fall and renamed "Marketing."

Upon reading about the reenactment village's closing on the internet, a group of young lesbians from western Pennsylvania paid Herstoryville a visit on their way to Provincetown. 20-year-old Louise "Lou" Morse of Latrobe was not impressed by the authentic period dress at the "Lesbians of the Dustbowl" reenactment during her visit.

"Maybe I don't get what the big deal is," said Morse, pointing to an actor in overalls and a flannel shirt, "I wore that yesterday."

This is a Fake Gay News post — part of series of satirical blog posts about entertainment. That means it's (mostly) not true.

Photo: Actually from a Chicago theater production of "Wild Nights with Emily."

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