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Anything Can Happen

August 16, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altShe’s coming to Provincetown as a special and unexpected treat: Ana Gasteyer was scheduled to appear at the Art House but had to cancel because of scheduling conflicts with a new sitcom, and Christine Ebersole graciously agreed to appear in Ana’s place in the Art House Broadway series this summer. And the Art House couldn’t be more pleased. 
    “I am over the moon that Christine Ebersole is coming to Provincetown to play the Art House,” says producing artistic director Mark Cortale. “This is a dream booking for our Broadway at the Art House series, and I am thrilled that this new series has attracted such major talent so quickly. Seth Rudetsky, who hosts the series, says that Christine will be singing incredible songs and that she’ll also have hilarious stories to share.”
The woman whose show the Los Angeles Times described as a “tour-de-force … one of the most vivid performances” is arriving in Provincetown for two shows, August 20 and 21, and the time to get tickets is now.
So what is her favorite among the pieces she’ll be performing? “I have no idea,” she laughs. “I don’t even know what we’ll be doing, yet!”
Christine Ebersole is taking it all in stride, the same way that she’s taken most of her career. It’s a spectacular one, covering Broadway, off-Broadway, movies, and television. She won her second Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, as well as virtually every Off-Broadway award, for her “dual role of a lifetime” as Edith Beale and Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. The critically acclaimed musical was nominated for a total of ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the CD recording of the show was nominated for a Grammy Award.  

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A McNight to Remember

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altSinger and comedian Sharon McNight is talking about being a night owl. “Once I get that second wind,” she says, “I can keep going until the cows come home!”
Not that she doesn’t like her sleep. “I just finished an intensive 10 days at Yale, I teach there in the summer at the Cabaret Conference,” she explains. “They were doing work next to our hotel—cell phones going at six in the morning, and jackhammers right after that. It made New York seem like a quiet town!”
She’s off and running at about a hundred miles a minute. I’ve called to interview her about her upcoming shows at the Vixen with Bruce Vilanch, and I haven’t asked a single question yet: she’s way ahead of me. “I know why they call it P’town,” she confides. “There’s no place to park and no place to pee!”
McNight first came to Provincetown in 1980. “Here’s what I like best about P’town,” she says, and I can picture her enumerating her list on her fingers as she speaks. “Soft-shell crab at Front Street. Cocktails at Jimmy’s Hideaway. Walking down Commercial Street looking at people. Oh, and lobster.” Immediately she remembers that she has a lobster story. “Franco, he used to be the chef at Pilgrim House, he taught me how to eat lobster. So one evening I was having dinner at the Lobster Pot and saw a woman at the next table struggling to eat hers. I decided to be a Good Samaritan, so I said to her, ‘I can help. Just put your fork in the tail and twist.’ She gave me a look with a lot of attitude, so I went back to my meal, and don’t you know that two minutes later that damned lobster tail shell comes flying right by my face!”
I think I’m in love with this woman.

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Glamour Puss

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altFrom the very beginning Space Pussy was a Provincetown phenomenon.  Founded in the early 1990’s, the band’s formation was an answer to the dearth of rock music in a town saturated with dance music and disco. Carrying on the glam rock tradition of David Bowie, the New York Dolls, and Lou Reed, Space Pussy struck a cultural nerve in Provincetown, bringing something new to town to fill a long-standing void.
“I think for a long time gays felt afraid of rock and roll,” says Ryan Landry, founder of the band. “When Space Pussy started, even though it’s not a gay band, it also was meant to show that rock and roll has always had a gay component.”
In the early part of that decade, Landry planted the seeds for the trio of creations for which he is now famous: Showgirls, his satirical plays, and Space Pussy. 
“He came into the store I worked at, at the time and said ‘Sue, do you want to be in a band called Space Pussy’,” says bassist Sue Goldberg. “I said, ‘Sure.’ He didn’t even know what instrument I played!”

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ICONS at Post Office Cabaret

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altThe smash drag revue hit of last summer is back packing the house again with their finger-on-the-pop-culture-pulse performance, high-energy staging, and let-the-good-times-roll spirit.  In a town bursting at the seams with drag performances, Icons distinguishes itself with impeccable and dynamic choreography and dancing. It also takes the concept of a drag revue and turns it into a really, really fun party where the energy between the performers and the audience continues to build at a frenetic pace full of hoots, hollers, and laughter. In short, Icons is a very good time.
While the spirit of the show is perfect for a celebration, be it a birthday, a bachelorette party, or a wedding, Icons is exactly the kind of show fans of pop divas will love. Cast members Destiny Devine (a.k.a. Dennis Williams) and Ricky Schroeder chew the set, adding a delightful touch of camp to a very slickly produced, yet personable show.  Schroeder’s fresh-faced enthusiasm shines through with performances as such pop divas as Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears. Destiny Devine returns this year with all the power and strength as a performer that made her the new star on the scene last summer, a testament to not only her stage presence, but her comedic abilities as well.  With dynamic appearances in the show as Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and a hilarious turn as Whitney Houston, Destiny Devine complements Schroeder’s playful aura with a definitive heft.  Individually, they command the stage, but as a duo they fill the room with vibrant dance moves and a joie d’vivre.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Charo!

August 14, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altHer full name is María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten. But you can call her Charo.
A global musical and comedy sensation, Charo is one of the most recognizable entertainers in show business: with her thick Spanish accent, her glittery outfits, her comedic timing, her buoyant sex appeal, as well as her mastery of flamenco guitar.
“I am so happy we are living in a musical time where people understand and appreciate Latin music and classical music,” says Charo.
Born and raised in Murcia, Spain, Charo, whose name is short for Rosario, studied flamenco and classical guitar with Spanish virtuoso Andrés Segovia. Her talent and passion for the guitar was apparent early in her life, but so too was her naturally funny ways.  So while it was her musical abilities that first got her noticed, it was her dynamic personality and fun-loving manner that propelled her into superstardom. Charo made her American television debut in the mid-1960s on The Today Show, followed by multiple appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.  Not only was a television star born, but so was Charo’s famous catch phrase “cuchi-cuchi.”
“I always love music, but cuchi-cuchi catch on,” says Charo in her famously thick Spanish accent. “So I say, ‘I going to get rich on ‘cuchi-cuchi.’ It survived. But I always say I want to play flamenco, but because of my accent people think I say ‘flamingo.’ But now my dreams come true.”

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REVIEW: The Book of Merman

August 10, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altDoor-to-door missionaries might leave you an unconvinced non-believer, but after a night at The Book of Merman, you’ll be a devoted follower of Varla Jean. 
In a hilarious nod to the Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, Merman returns to the Art House stage showing why she is the drag superstar she is, by grabbing the spotlight in a devilishly clever way. Funny, quick, and smart, The Book of Merman is a must see.
The show is classic Merman. Accompanied on the piano by Tom Judson, Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery Roberson) takes the audiences on a madcap journey through the twisted genius of Varla’s mind, bouncing from enemas to classical opera to the “gerbil” urban legend to bed bugs. Merman’s comedic writing and performance talents are amazingly presented through an incredible vocal range. Picture Brunhilde meets Ann-Margret meets Gracie Allen meets Divine. From operatic arias to an Oprah-style give-a-way you won’t soon forget,  to a finale featuring Varla’s own Mormomesque magical panties, The Book of Merman is a wild ride.

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Second To No One: Mimi Imfurst

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altMimi Imfurst and her pal Jesse Volt are sitting in Rock ‘N’ Joe coffee shop in Millburn, New Jersey, waiting to place their order, wearing sequined dresses, high-sculptured wigs, and the signature make-up of drag queens. That’s when the waiter approaches and says, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Does your father know you do this? You’re disgusting. It’s despicable what you do.”
Thankfully, the bigoted waiter is an actor and this is a produced scenario on the ABC television show What Would You Do?, which creates situations with injustices or illegal activity to see how everyday people unaware they are being filmed will react.  The majority of patrons during the experiment come to the drag queens’ defense. And when all is said and done, it’s not just a statement on attitudes of the general public towards drag queens, but also a testament to the varied career Mimi Imfurst has already had – and she hasn’t even turned 30 yet.  Her resume is about to lengthen again as she makes her Provincetown debut with Barely Living Legends at Vixen this Carnival Week.
“It’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time,” says Mimi of her upcoming Provincetown show.  “For drag queens that do more theatrical work, it’s something we all aspire to.”
Mimi’s Provincetown run is also the premier of Barely Living Legends, in which she takes on the tabloid culture of our country with impersonations of the sensationalized trials and tribulations of Casey Anthony, JonBenet Ramsey, Anna Nicole Smith, Teri Schiavo, and more.

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The Trials and Tribulations in the Sordid Life of a Southern Baptist Sissy

August 4, 2011 7:26 pm0 comments

How many times have you seen Sordid Lives?
Chances are if you loved it the first time you saw the cult classic “dark comedy about white trash,” you’ve seen it multiple times since. The film about a young gay man going home for his grandmother’s funeral in West Texas ran for 96 weeks in Palm Springs kicking off a Rocky Horror Picture Show-like phenomenon with audiences shouting lines and dressing like their favorite characters. Here in Provincetown the film opened early in June for a week’s run, but with several sold-out shows a night it screened all the way to Columbus Day Weekend. 
Written and directed by Del Shores, who the Los Angeles Times dubbed the “grand master of the Texas comedy,” Sordid Lives launched the award-winning playwright and filmmaker into the hearts and minds of fans nationwide.  And now he’s bringing his one-man show Del Shores: Sordid Confessions to Provincetown, where he tells it all: the good, the bad, and the raunchy as he kicks off his national tour.

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It’s Never Black and White

7:19 pm0 comments

“I’m from such a politically liberal family and I myself am so liberal that I know liberals and their foibles; I know them very well and the one thing I hate is ideological thinking on the right or the left. I think it’s so destructive,” says Sebastian Junger as he boards the Martha’s Vineyard ferry. We’re speaking by telephone about his upcoming appearance at the Wellfleet Public Library as part of Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill’s Tuesday Lecture Series. Junger plans to discuss his experiences in Afghanistan, his recent New York Times editorial, and the loss of his friend and colleague, Tim Hetherington, with whom he directed the Academy-Award-nominated documentary Restrepo.
Junger is known for what might be called a kind of “macho journalism,” in the sense that he has made a career covering dangerous situations at close range. His first book was The Perfect Storm, a New York Times bestseller about Gloucester fishermen who were lost at sea in a major storm in 1991. He followed it up with Fire, a collection of works Junger wrote about some of the most dangerous places in the world – Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, etc.  And then there was A Death in Belmont, which looked at the murder of Bessie Goldberg during the Boston Strangler years in his hometown of Belmont, Massachusetts. Most recently, he wrote the book War and co-directed Restrepo, both about the war in Afghanistan.

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From Beethoven to Brubeck

7:10 pm0 comments

The Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Returns To The Outer Cape.
“It’s amusing, really, when you think of it,” says Elaine Lipton, executive director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. “We have no building… but we have three pianos!”
That’s hardly surprising: from its inception 32 years ago to this summer’s festival, the organization has been about access, about opening up venues all over the Cape so as to offer the best in chamber music to the most people. Pianos are, indeed, more important than concert halls!
One of those pianos is a Steinway in the First Congregational Church in Wellfleet, where four of this year’s concerts will be held; another one is at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which will host one concert. And all of them sound well worth attending!
“I’m very excited about this year’s festival,” continues Lipton. “We have some extraordinary young performers bringing the absolute best in chamber music—the kind of music that you expect to hear in New York and Paris and Tokyo – right here to us on the Cape!”

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