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Prince Charming Returns to P’Town

July 16, 2011 7:02 pm0 comments

altTripoli is the bomb. Comedian Tony Tripoli that is, not Tripoli, Libya, which is being bombed. With the nightly news from around the world so serious and depressing, our culture has never needed comedians more. And Tripoli is a tastemaker both in terms of what is funny and what is to be made fun of as a top writer for Joan Rivers, who refers to him as “the second funniest woman in comedy.”  Tripoli made her, er, his Provincetown debut last summer and returns with a new show Tony Tripoli: Dirty, Sexy, Funny. Tripoli took a moment to talk to us (by e-mail) about his days as Prince Charming, his flirtations with Charlie Sheen, and the time he crapped his pants on stage in front of 900 people.
 
         
Provincetown Magazine: Right after graduating from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles you moved to Japan and took a gig at Tokyo Disneyland. What exactly did you do there?
Tony Tripoli: I was Prince Charming, furthering the rumors that Cinderella married a homo. But, c’mon, the signs were EVERYWHERE: He threw a HUGE dance party? Everyone was required to attend, like it or not? He spent the next day driving all over town to find a SHOE, because it was so FABULOUS??? Sorry, bitch, you got what you deserved.

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Creative Chaos

6:59 pm0 comments

altIt’s Monday night at the Crown and Anchor backstage at Showgirls and in the wings are a tall bearded drag queen in a huge orange turban, Academy-Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky, and a naked man in a leather harness.  The lights dim, the packed house is cheering, the curtain opens, and host Ryan Landry bounds onto the stage in a shredded, bloody negligee to kick off another night of what has become a Provincetown institution. 
France has the Académie Française to maintain its language, the National Parks Service protects America’s national monuments and unique environments, and Showgirls is the guardian of Provincetown’s bohemian culture.
When did Showgirls begin? No one is entirely sure. When did it get so popular that sold-out crowds wait in line for an hour to get a seat to wait another hour? Who knows?!  Best estimates put Showgirls at around 15 years old. At what point it struck a countercultural nerve is anyone’s guess, but it most definitely did. And while it may look like chaos on stage, an under the hood peek at backstage is an illuminating experience as to what keeps this weekly freak fest going.
Obviously no two nights at Showgirls are identical, with the ever-changing list of performers, the time of the season, the moods of both the audience and Landry himself.  On June 20th, the night begins quietly, despite the noise coming from the line that reaches from the door to Commercial Street outside just before 9 p.m.  In addition to the proper dressing room behind the Paramount stage, Showgirls spills into what is normally the cabaret, where a pile of chiffon, sequins, and satin resembles a drag queen leaf pile. Davion Edwards begins the transformation to Felicity Layne to plug Illusions, one of P’town’s longest running drag revues. Scott Martino arrives to begin the transformation from handsome man to pretty woman.  Landry finishes shaving, puts the can of Barbasol on the counter, and sits down as photographer and make-up artist Bobby Miller begins to apply foundation to Landry’s face. After all these years on stage hosting a show as unpredictable as Showgirls does Landry get nervous?
“Hungry,” says Landry. “I get hungry.”

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The Writer In Question… Mr. Charles Busch

6:55 pm0 comments

altGreenwich Village has a reputation for being a haven for poets and performers, artists and intellectuals, from The Beats to the punks. While nostalgic accounts portray it as a breeding ground for all sorts of artistic revolutionaries, there was also a decidedly unpleasant element. Particularly in the East Village, homelessness, high crime and drug rates, and the sheer filth of the area kept the rents low enough for artists to populate it.
And then there was Alphabet City, which even in the 1980s was beyond “edgy,” it was downright scary. And yet amid the filth and squalor, creativity bloomed in the works of playwright/drag performer Charles Busch.
“In a way, what was very exciting in that period was that because it was maybe the last place in Manhattan that there were cheap rents, there were very edgy dance clubs, and art galleries were opening up there, and that was just the milieu of where we did our plays,” he recalls.
One of those plays, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom launched Busch from obscurity at the Limbo Lounge on Avenue C to the famed Provincetown Playhouse in the heart of the Village, where it ran for five years and received a rave review in The New York Times.
“I really was in the right place at the right time. It just literally was that six-month period that suddenly there was a lot of media focus on the wild performance art scene in the East Village. We were doing plays with titles like Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium. So we were in every article. We had our picture in People magazine!”

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review of a behanding of spokane

July 15, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altWhat do you get when you cross a one-handed racist with a bickering interracial couple and a bellhop who fantasizes about rescuing prostitutes, lesbians, and monkeys? The answer is hard to describe, but you’ll find it in Martin McDonagh’s latest play, A Behanding in Spokane, currently on stage at WHAT’s Harbor Stage in Wellfleet through July 2nd.
The play (for which Christopher Walken won a Best Actor Tony last year) is absolutely hilarious, albeit with a very dark tone.
Carmichael (Gordon Joseph Weiss) is a man on a mission to find his long lost hand, which we learn was chopped off by some “hillbillies” decades earlier. This motivation to recover a part of himself he can no longer use, yet feels oddly compelled to retrieve, brings him into contact with a pair of bumbling fools taking their first stab at the black market body parts trade.

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Sarcasm, Snark and Jackie Hoffman

June 23, 2011 6:32 pm0 comments

altJackie Hoffman worked really hard to get to Broadway. Really hard.
Hoffman did all that an actresses is supposed to do to make it to Broadway; she took roles where she could get them, wrote her own shows to keep herself on the stage, and practiced, practiced, practiced. It didn’t get her to Carnegie Hall, but rather the operating room.
A cancer scare had her in the hospital for a hysterectomy just as she turned 50, interrupting her run in Regrets Only. As she lay in bed in a drug-induced fog her agent called saying that if she wanted the role of Grandma in The Addams Family she could not miss the read-through scheduled just a few days later. She checked out of the hospital, got the role, and continued performing in Regrets Only, with a cot backstage to rest in between scenes.
“Talk about being desperate to be on Broadway,” says Hoffman, just after a Wednesday matinee of The Addams Family.
One would think that after the surgery Hoffman forever performed without her uterus. Not true. Her womb appeared on stage in her downtown New York cabaret shows, at least in puppet form.

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The Strange Case of Nora Aunor

June 15, 2011 4:39 pm0 comments

Nora Aunor is a superstar. In her native country of the Philippines, she is regarded as the grand dame of screen, stage, and song. Star of over 170 films, a recording artist with 40 albums, and frequent tour dates all over the world, she has a long list of impressive accomplishments and awards. But she was also at the center of a bizarre controversy involving the Provincetown International Film Festival.
It all started back in 2005 when entertainment industry folks in the Philippines received this text message.
“We are here in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for the First 
Provincetown International Film Festival. We are happy to report that 
Ms. Nora Aunor won the Best Actress award for Naglalayag. She beat 
Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby hands down. Congratulations are in order. Please spread the wonderful news to everyone.”
Leonel Escota, the founder of ICON (International Circle of Online Noranians), a fan club established in 2000, sent the message. The Noranians, as fans of Aunor are called, are an intensely devoted community. Aunor is an especially popular gay icon in the Phillipines. News traveled fast, including reports on national news programs.
But it never happened.

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From Stage to Screen

4:34 pm0 comments

Provincetown stages are packed with talent of all varieties.  And now those stars of drag, fringe, and comedy are making their way to the silver screen at the 13th annual Provincetown International Film Festival. Several films feature P’town’s most beloved drag queens, riotous comedians, accomplished actors, and even filmmaker John Waters as none other than Jesus Christ. Check out these film festival selections featuring Provincetown’s own in starring roles.

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The Legend of Albert Maysles

4:14 pm0 comments

Ever since Thomas Edison started playing around with motion pictures in the 1880s and the Lumiére Brothers started producing filmed actualités in 1885, the ability of movies to both document reality and provide escape from reality has been a fascinating dilemma. It is a medium that can just as easily lie as it can reveal truth.
Beginning with the first feature length “documentary,” Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922), this duality has been at the heart of discussions around defining the term itself. Like the infamous question, “what is art?”, defining the documentary has also been an endless exercise, with notoriously subjective results. But for Albert Maysles, it is really quite simple.

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Living the Dream in “Snail Road”

June 3, 2011 3:14 pm0 comments

alt Reality and Provincetown are not two words that are often found in the same sentence. Reality is relative in Provincetown.
For many, the first glimpse of Provincetown is akin to Dorothy seeing the Emerald City. It’s a place that promises you can be who you want to be, and that your past, and indeed reality, is irrelevant. People all over the world click their heels and end up in Provincetown to fulfill their dreams, and along the way they meet fantastic creatures, mythical characters, and mysterious beasts.
“We make our own reality here,” says musician Zoe Lewis. “And it’s a marvelous thing.”
Snail Road, a new musical by Lewis premiering at the Art House, sets the alternate reality that is Provincetown to music. Gertrude Golightly, played by Lewis as sort of “the love child of Gertrude Stein and Holly Golightly,” is riding her bike down Commercial Street when she has an accident and bumps her head. Waking up, the first thing she sees is a giant Miss Richfield 1981. And so begins her fantastical journey through Provincetown to realize her dreams, which does not necessarily include going back to reality, but embracing the new life she has found.

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Natural Born Comic

3:08 pm0 comments

alt A Q & A with Nikkie Carr.

Nikki Carr is one funny lady. With a fourteen-year career under her belt and appearances on BET and Martin Lawrence 1st Amendment Stand Up, Carr makes her Provincetown debut this weekend with a special appearance for Women of Color Weekend. Carr took some time out of her schedule to talk about how she is a natural born comedian, being at sea with a boatload of lesbians, and what the “P” in “P’town” actually stands for.
Provincetown Magazine: Where do you get the most inspiration for your material?

Nikki Carr: You know, I really don’t know where some of the things I think of comes from. I’ve always had a knack for making people laugh and quick wit has been a gift since I was a kid. I would stop at nothing to get a big laugh from whomever my target or audience at the time. I’ve said it in interviews before and I’ll say it again because I feel it is very significant; my mother spent most of most days asking me the same question all the time, “Why are you so silly all the time?!?!”  So apparently I’ve always been quite nuts! I have to say though, in my Mom’s defense, she never once told me to stop acting silly. When I became a comedian, she was there and thus her life long question was answered at my very first show where I received a thunderous standing ovation. I was so silly because I was born a comedian! The decision to make my silliness a profession came from my Mother who would always say when I asked her to help me locate my father (jazz great Bruno Carr), “get famous and he’ll find you!” Well I took her advice but not to find my father. I knew that if I could get on TV, that perhaps my daughters who had been kidnapped by their dad and taken to Africa ( because he didn’t want his daughters to be raised by the lesbian who birthed them), would find me. To make a long story short,  that is exactly what happened. My daughters found me six months after I aired on BET’s Comic View!!! It had been 14 yeas since they’d been abducted.

PM: Wow! That’s an amazing story. Do your kids factor into your act?  Do they find you funny or are you a little more strict at home than on the stage?

 

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