The ‘Black Flash’…The Legend Lives On

October 26, 2011 6:45 pm0 comments

altIt started with the children. Coming home in tears and shaking, the children of Provincetown told of a monster that frightened them on the way home from school. Something big. Something that growled.  Something all in black. Something that appeared from nowhere and then took off in a flash.  Their parents smiled, gave them hugs and maybe a cookie to calm them down.  But it did little to appease the children’s fears of this ghoulish phantom they knew was lurking somewhere in Provincetown. No matter how hard they insisted that what they saw was not a figment of their imagination, the adults would not believe them. That is until Maria Costa was walking home by herself one night.  Then, some of the townspeople began to believe that maybe the devil had come to Provincetown.
By October in 1939 the summer crowds were long gone. The tourist season ended sharply on Labor Day in those days. By mid-October the town was pretty much only the 4,500 year-rounders and a few stragglers who had not yet returned home after a summer of painting or partying, or both. That’s why no one was around one October night as Miss Costa walked by Town Hall and from out of the bushes an inhumanly tall figure dressed all in black jumped out in front of her. He had glowing blues eyes, big silver ears, and the ability to jump like a gazelle. Costa ran into a coffee shop screaming and several men inside ran down Commercial Street looking for the apparition, but found nothing. The police apparently chuckled after taking a statement from the visibly shaken Costa.  But over the next week, several more residents reported being scared to death when this tall, beastly banshee appeared out of nowhere right in front of them as they walked through town. Some called it the Provincetown Phantom, others the Devil of the Dunes. But the name that stuck was the Black Flash, both because of his long, hooded black cape and his super human ability to run away before anyone could get a good look at the fiend.

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The Return of the Beaux Arts Ball

October 22, 2011 6:22 pm0 comments

altBy now, chances are you have seen the iconic archival masquerade ball image. Marc Jacobs has used it in his ad, the town has it on display in Town Hall, and now here it is again just in case you missed it. The image depicts a masquerade ball that took place in Provincetown Town Hall in 1916 – one of many, as the event was an annual one put on by the Beachcombers Club back in the day.
Flash forward to today: The Beaux Arts Ball is back, but this time it has been underwritten by Marc Jacobs International, features Blondie diva Debbie Harry, and has the town in a tizzy with excitement, frustration, and nostalgia all wrapped up in one package.
Town Manager Sharon Lynn says she got the idea to revive the ball after seeing that 1916 photograph during the process of renovating Town Hall. She says she was seven or eight months into the party planning process when Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs International and a local, seasonal resident came to see her about the renovations, which really impressed him.
“He hung out here [as a kid] and remembered what Town Hall used to look like and he was in awe,” Lynn says. “He was very interested in underwriting it… Once it became a focus of Marc Jacobs, they pretty much ran with it.”

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October 19, 2011 6:43 pm0 comments

Memorial Bench in Front of Town Hall Dedicated to Ellie On Sunday, October 23, the town dedicated a memorial bench with a plaque in front of Town Hall in memory of the beloved Provincetown street performer Ellie, who passed away in April. The ceremony included remarks by Town Manager Sharon [...]

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September 21, 2011 6:42 pm0 comments

PAAM Unveils New Program…
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) announces the launch of NEXUS Youth Arts, PAAM’s free education programs for children, teens, and young adults, to begin this month.
In 2008, PAAM embarked on a collaborative initiative with local schools to deepen connections with the young people of Outer Cape Cod and to provide engaging, accessible learning opportunities in the arts.  Two free programs were launched:  Art Reach, a multi disciplinary afternoon program for youth, 15 years and up; and the Art on the Edge Saturday program for 12-15-year-olds.  In 2010, the Reaching Forward Student Mentor Program was developed for 17-21-year-olds and serves as a bridge between Art on the Edge and Art Reach; student mentors receive professional development training, a stipend, and serve as mentors to Art on the Edge students.

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Celebrating the Spirit of Community

September 7, 2011 3:02 pm0 comments

by Steve Desroches The AIDS pandemic hit Provincetown hard. Come the early 1990’s when people would return each May for a summer in Provincetown news of who had passed away over the winter, either in town or elsewhere, would regularly be shared.  And just before Memorial Day Provincetown would mark [...]

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A Divine History. Provincetown Magazine Donates Archives to Library.

August 31, 2011 8:28 pm0 comments

The cover of the very first issue of Provincetown Magazine published in 1977 features an aerial shot of the town with the planet Earth in the sky. That seems fitting as many do consider Provincetown to be another planet. Ever since, Provincetown Magazine has done the most comprehensive coverage of arts, entertainment, and culture of any publication in Provincetown. Early interviews with John Waters, reviews of shows by Divine and Wayland Flowers and Madame, previews of concerts by Sylvester and Grace Jones. For 34 years, Provincetown Magazine has documented one of the most vibrant, interesting, and fabulous arts and entertainment scenes in the country, as well as writing about some of our more eccentric town characters and freaky news stories.
Recognizing the historical importance of the archive, publisher Rick Hines is donating a collection of back issues of the magazines to the Josephine Del Deo Heritage Collection and Archives at the Provincetown Library for preservation, and to aid in historical research for generations to come.
“Provincetown Magazine has played a vital role in reporting the arts and attractions in town for more than three decades,” says Hines. “I am thrilled to know they will be preserved and protected as a resource for the town into the future.”

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Provincetown Declared The “Gayest” Town in America

8:20 pm0 comments

The news might induce a smirk followed by a declarative “duh!,” but based on data released from the 2010 United States Census, Provincetown is the “gayest” place in America according to recent headlines in both the gay and mainstream presses. In other news, the Pope is Catholic and bears crap in the woods.
What seemed like a forgone conclusion never had any statistics or comparative demographics to prove that Provincetown has the highest per capita gay and lesbian population in the country until the 2010 census, which was the second time the federal government specifically tried to count same sex couples. And the Williams Institute, a think tank affiliated with the UCLA School of Law that is solely dedicated to the study of sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, has synthesized the data showing Provincetown overwhelmingly has the most same sex couples per capita of any municipality in America. So now we can declare that Provincetown is indeed the “gayest” place in America, right?

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Stories Set in Stone. Provincetown’s Cemeteries

8:16 pm0 comments

Provincetown has long been regarded as a historic town, be it the Pilgrims landing, the days of whaling, the foundation of the art colony, or as an epicenter of the gay rights movement. And throughout most of the historical periods since Provincetown became a town, some remnant remains: a historic [...]

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Chignons, Spray Tans and Sailing

August 10, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altThe World According to Robby LaRiviere.
The icy cool steel of Tabatha Coffey’s razor sharp eye and savage tongue has whipped the most dysfunctional salons and strident coiffeurs into shape. But the Australian star of Bravo’s Tabatha’s Salon Takeover almost met her match at the West End Salon, and not with Dougie Freeman, the longtime owner of the salon with eccentric sass, but with his young protégé, Robby LaRiviere.
“It was torture,” says LaRiviere of his experience filming the episode, which premiered in January 2011. “You felt like you were going to school and getting yelled at by the principal in front of the whole class. There was 80 hours of filming. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was such a great learning experience.”
All of those hours of taping were whittled down to about a 45-minute episode, in which LaRiviere was featured as the salon’s enfant terrible, particularly when Coffey taught LaRiviere a proper chignon, a specific-type of bun.  But it was the salon’s devil-may-care ways that also troubled Coffey, with their bubble machine, pole dancing, and “Better Than Sex” pedicures. It seems Coffey might understand how to run a salon, but she didn’t get Provincetown’s unconventional ways. And LaRiviere dug in to attempt to explain it to her.

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The Cape Cod National Seashore Turns 50

August 4, 2011 7:22 pm0 comments

Documentarian Ken Burns called the National Parks Service “America’s Best Idea.” And looking at areas up and down the Atlantic Coast overdeveloped with high-rise hotels and condominiums, and then comparing it to the sweeping beaches and sand dunes within the Cape Cod National Seashore, we couldn’t agree more.
This week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which protects 44,000 acres along 40 miles of coastline from Chatham up to Provincetown.  Sometimes erroneously referred to as a National Park, the term National Seashore is a different distinction under the Department of the Interior’s National Park System for coastal areas deemed significant for their natural beauty and recreational opportunities. It was on August 7, 1961 when President John F. Kennedy signed legislation establishing the Cape Cod National Seashore, creating one of the top ten most visited parks within the National Parks Service system, one that welcomes over four million visitors annually, as well as providing daily enjoyment for those lucky enough to live on the Outer Cape.
Though the idea of conservation caught on in the United States with the work done by President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist and writer John Muir (known as “The Father of National Parks”), it was President Woodrow Wilson who in 1916 signed the National Parks Service into law “to conserve scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for their enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

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