Announcements: The Lady of the Dunes

July 25, 2012 5:00 am0 comments

On July 26, 1974, the body of a woman who had been savagely murdered was found by a woman walking her dog in the dunes about a mile east of the Race Point ranger station. The victim’s hands were missing and her head nearly severed from her body. The left side of her skull had been crushed from a blow to the head that was determined to be the cause of death. Her body was lying on a beach towel with her head resting on a folded pair of jeans. There was no sign of a struggle and no weapon found at the scene. Estimates at the time say her body had been in the dunes anywhere from 10 days to three weeks before being discovered. Thirty-eight years later, the victim remains unidentified and the crime unsolved. Every single tip has been investigated. Every lead explored. Local, state, and federal, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have worked to solve this case to no conclusion.  The disturbing crime has been the subject of news reports and television specials worldwide. The mystery has become known as “The Lady of the Dunes.” 

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The Gift of Art

July 18, 2012 5:00 am0 comments

To be able to give to others is a great gift. Too often, the philanthropic impulse is squelched in those of us who are not millionaires, for fear that what little we can give won’t “make a difference.” But opportunities to give back do exist and they are open to the working people of our community. Case in point: a recent initiative spearheaded by writer Steve Desroches to acknowledge the special connection between Provincetown and the students from the American University in Bulgaria, who work in Provincetown every summer, by gifting a painting by a Provincetown artist to the school, where it will hang with a plaque saying, “From your friends in Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA.”

“I know we have lots of workers from other countries here, but it’s clear that the town and the school have a special bond,” explains Desroches.

While working on a story for this magazine, Desroches saw firsthand just how deep the connection runs. On a trip with his partner Peter Donnelly to Istanbul, Turkey, Desroches took an excursion to Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, to visit the university, which he had heard about from Bulgarian guest workers working all over Provincetown. The finished piece ran in the June 7, 2012 issue of Provincetown Magazine. (It can still be accessed on our Web site: provincetownmagazine.net.)

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Provincetown, Nudity, and You

July 11, 2012 5:00 am0 comments

There is something about Provincetown that makes people want to take their clothes off. Be it on the stage, in the studio, along the streets, or in the sand dunes of Provincetown, throughout history public nudity has arguably played a larger role in the cultural, and sometimes political, life here than in other communities. And the evidence is everywhere. A photo of a naked Tennessee Williams frolicking on the beach hangs in the Atlantic House. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s collection features nudes dating back to the early days of the art colony. Louise Bryant, feminist and lover to both John Reed and Eugene O’Neill, appeared nude in a 1916 production with the Provincetown Players. Newspaper reports from the 1880s state that elder Benjamin Lancey, the wealthy eccentric whose family built the mansion where Front Street restaurant is now, would walk to the harbor for his daily swim through crowded Commercial Street, completely naked.

Indeed, be it for high art, shock factor, comfort, or free expression, nudity has remained a very public component of life in Provincetown. Perhaps the longest standing traditional representation of nudity is life drawing classes offered by a variety of institutions as well as private instructors. The iconic image of a nude person standing in front of a room full of students sketching is as well known in popular culture as it is in fine art. The process of drawing the nude is of course not native to Provincetown, but for such a small community, indeed it seems that a large percentage of residents have posed nude for art’s sake, or to help supplement their income.

“Drawing the nude is important to learn how to draw line and form,” says artist Larry Collins, who has run several life drawing groups in Provincetown. 

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A Home Away From Home: The Bulgaria and Provincetown Connection

June 6, 2012 5:00 am0 comments

It all started at a rave in Germany.  

In 1999, four students from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) were at a techno party just prior to traveling to America for the very first time.  But they had no idea where to go. Their home country of Bulgaria is about the same size as the state of Virginia.  In comparison, America is huge. They needed a little guidance.  In a perfect example of the “Butterfly Effect,” where little things make a big difference, the DJ at the party gave some fateful advice. 

“Go to Provincetown.”

The story is of almost mythic proportions on the AUBG campus in the small city of Blagoevgrad in the southeastern corner of Bulgaria.  The DJ had recently played a gig at a circuit party in Provincetown over the Fourth of July. By the late 1990s, Cape Cod was certainly home to a large number of international workers helping to solve the chronic labor shortage each summer. But this was new for Bulgarians. Communism had collapsed earlier in the decade bringing new opportunities, one of which was the ability to travel to the United States to work on the J-1 visa, open to university students from around the world.  Formerly closed off from the rest of the world by the Iron Curtain, Eastern European students were now flurrying around the world looking for adventure, financial opportunities, and the kind of maturation that comes with traveling abroad.  Students from AUBG went far and wide around the globe, but one place captured the attention, and then the hearts, of the student body: Provincetown.

“We hear about Provincetown a lot. I hear it is really amazing,” says freshman Nelly Ovcharova, one of three student ambassadors chosen to give a tour of the campus when Provincetown Magazine visited last January.  “It is like a fairy tale they tell us.”

Walking through the hallway of the Panitza Library at AUBG, the largest English language library in Southeast Europe, student after student shares a story about Provincetown, or expresses a desire to work for a summer someday.  

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Now Showing In 3D

April 25, 2012 5:00 am0 comments

It’s hard not to notice the role movies play in everyday life. And even in the so-called Digital Age, where movies can be seen on iPhones, laptops, and portable media players, the act of physically going out to a movie continues to endure – so much so that communities are finding ways to bring movies to unconventional spaces, as well as committing to renewed support for those theaters that have existed in the past. 

Further up Cape in Chatham, the Chatham Orpheum Project raised over a million dollars in five months to bring back the town’s Main Street movie theater that had become a victim of the multiplexes back in the 1980s. Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater’s glamorous Julie Harris Stage reserves time for art house cinema in the off-season. And right here in town, the options for seeing a movie have never been more diverse – the silent cinema series at WOMR, free screenings of new DVD releases at the Provincetown Public Library on Wednesdays, and of course our annual cine-celebration, the Provincetown International Film Festival.

But nothing compares to having a dedicated, year-round movie theater where film is not a side venture, but the main attraction. After several months of renovations, the Whaler’s Wharf Cinema is set to re-open, better than ever, this weekend.

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Discover the NEW and IMPROVED Provincetown Public Library

April 12, 2012 4:13 pm0 comments

by Steve Desroches After completing an epic restoration project, a decade’s worth of fundraising, and dealing with a few unexpected setbacks, the Provincetown Public Library is about to embark on its first season without the distraction of being a construction site. And the staff is more than excited to focus [...]

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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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