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The WORD: Pieces of Eight by Joshua Blair Delaney

October 26, 2011 7:02 pm0 comments

altexcerpted from “Pieces of Eight” by Joshua Blair Delaney

June 1715
There were times when the sea looked much like a plow field to Samuel Bellamy. In the ridges of waves, he could see lines of furrowed ground, such that is fit for planting. The sight of it made him wish he were on a patch of dry land, holding yoke reins, instead of on a ship, hauling the mainsheet and cutting through an immeasurable expanse of water. Sometimes he could not believe that only two months ago he had been standing with soil under foot and chin resting on the nub of his spade, looking out over the hills of Devon at the Atlantic and dreaming to be where he was now.
Farming had become an unbearable toil to him. In the passage of black dirt to crop to harvest and back to seed, he had found nothing but a cycle of monotony that seemed to have no end and no lasting growth either. It was a repetitive rhythm that beat into him until he was sure that he would be in its motion to the day he died. He had thought that nothing in life could produce the same kind of drone until he had been staring at the gray, unmoving line of the horizon for weeks on end.
It had taken Bellamy a fortnight to get used to the pitch and sway of ship life, and it was only then that he could keep the entire day’s worth of meals down.
Now that most of the ocean was behind them, Bellamy could almost keep his pace in the smooth, collective effort the crew employed to keep the ship, Josephine, moving. It would have appeared an elegant dance but for the flying fists and cudgels of the mates, which kept the men from even thinking of letting the pace waver. There was often an extra blow for Bellamy, the kind that most first time sailors got when they were ten or fifteen years younger, just for being new to the trade. The mates did not often see a thirty-year-old out on his maiden voyage, and they assumed that his late start was due to an easy life that they meant to work out of him. This was his first trip across the wide sea, and Bellamy felt his age coming down on him like the hammer of rain that was starting. He already wondered if it would be his last voyage.
“Ship Ahoy!” came a cry from a man high on the mainsail yard.
Captain Pound stood at the back rail of the ship, leaning out over the water and aiming a spy glass outward. He was a solid-built, grizzled looking man with hair the color of a fading sunset. He grumbled under his breath as he swept the glass to and fro.
Bellamy grabbed hold of the mainsheet, stepping next to a man who could have been Bellamy’s brother, with his similar black hair and beard.
“What’s he see out there? If it is another ship, they’re a bit late. I could have used a gam when we were out in the middle of the ocean, traded some mail and tidings. We’ll be ashore soon enough now,” Francis Harlow said.
Bellamy looked out to sea and saw nothing but continuous waves and a sheet of black clouds rising out of the east, like a giant, gloomy sail being hauled up the face of the sky.

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Little Town of Terror: Provincetown in Horror Movies

6:54 pm0 comments

altAs the nights grow longer and Halloween approaches, there is perhaps no better way to get in the mood than to light the candle in the jack o’lantern, invite some friends over, and watch a scary movie.  If it’s something wicked with a local tie that you are looking for then you’re in luck, as Provincetown has featured prominently in several classic horror films. While a horror movie has yet to be filmed or set in Provincetown, these frightening films will add chills and thrills with a little local color to any fright night

The Flesh Eaters

This low-budget 1964 film directed by Jack Curtis is often considered one of the first gore movies ever made. A wealthy, washed up, alcoholic actress named Laura Winters (Rita Morely) has a last chance at reviving her ailing career by taking a summer theater gig in Provincetown. Her perky and dutiful assistant Jan Letterman (Barbara Wilkins) tries to get a very inebriated Ms. Winters to P’town pronto by hiring gruff pilot Grant Murdoch (Byron Sanders) to fly his seaplane from the Hudson River in New York City to Provincetown. The only problem is there is a severe tropical storm that forces them to make an emergency landing near a small, uncharted island (you’ll have to suspend your disbelief that in the 1960’s there could be an unknown island between New York and Cape Cod). The trouble really begins when Professor Peter Bartell (Martin Kosleck), an escaped Nazi, appears. He’s been experimenting with a microbe that devours human flesh. Just how ravenous these tiny creatures are is apparent when they eat a hole through a hippie named Omar (Ray Tudor) whose raft washes him and his bongo drums onto the island. While the movie provides more laughs than screams, horror movie historians note its creativity and artistry considering the small budget, and credit it with influencing the genre, as certain scenes seem strikingly like snippets of future films like Jaws, Silence of the Lambs, and Aliens. But perhaps the most memorable moment of the film comes shortly after the plane splashes down and the doomed castaways come ashore. The drunken actress hiccups and looks around at the deserted island and exclaims, “This isn’t Provincetown!”

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Trick and Treat with Dandy Darkly

6:49 pm0 comments

altIt was a dark and stormy night…..in Greenwich Village. An evil force lurked in the bathroom stalls of gay bars and the Satanic influences of Hell’s Kitchen were seeping in, certain to ruin tomorrow morning’s brunch. But fear not. Dandy Darkly, of 13 Gay Street, is the bitchiest and most fabulous gay exorcist since Linda Blair puked pea soup and put the crucifix you know where.  Night after night he does battle with the demons of New York, bitch-slapping them back to the netherworld from which they came. And now Provincetown needs his help!
Dandy Darkly is fearlessly taking his fierce phantom fighting powers to perhaps the most haunted and storied dark region of Provincetown – the Dick Dock – where he will regale the crowd with his slightly sleazy ghost stories, told with the traditional flashlight to the chin on Friday, October 28 at 8 p.m. 
“This is going to be a fabulous trick and treat session with some Halloween prizes,” says Darkly with a sinister laugh of his old-school Halloween party ghost stories meets the spirit of Charles Nelson Reilly.
Dandy Darkly is actually the invention of actor and writer Neil Arthur James who created the fey folk hero in 2008 with his Web-based stories modeled after the British Victorian “penny dreadfuls,” and influenced by the occult obsession of the era, as well as South American folk stories, American pop culture, and gay camp.  Born and raised in Cedartown, Georgia, James is also heavily influenced by Southern gothic folk tales, especially campfire ghost stories his grandfather told him when he was a young boy.

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Q & A with Holly Near

October 11, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altHolly Near is a multifaceted icon of music, feminism, and activism. Independent and guided by unwavering integrity, Near has forged a unique career mixing her passion for music and human dignity. Near’s portrait hangs at The Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with those of other social change artists, including Paul Robeson, Marion Anderson, Pete Seeger, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, and Woody Guthrie. As an activist, she traveled to Juarez, Mexico, joining Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Christine Lahti to protest the uninvestigated killing of hundreds of young women. Near has received numerous awards, including honors from the A.C.L.U., the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, Ms. Magazine (Woman of the Year), the Legends of Women’s Music Award, and the Impact Fund. Originally from Potter Valley, California, Near was an actress in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, appearing in episodes of All in the Family and The Partridge Family, the films Slaughterhouse-Five and Minnie and Moskowitz, and on Broadway in the counter-cultural musical Hair. But she made a choice to pursue music, releasing 26 albums so far. She also wrote the iconic song “We Are A Gentle Angry People,” a response to the assassination of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978. Near took some time prior to traveling to Provincetown to talk about her storied career, her Women’s Week show, and the future of activism in America.

Provincetown Magazine:
Early in your career you were on Broadway in Hair. That must have been quite an experience. What was it like being part of such a monumental and historic piece of musical theater?
Holly Near: I didn’t know it was monumental and historic at the time. I did know it was contemporary and outspoken and a success. There were occasional bomb scares where the theater had to be cleared. Sometimes someone would storm out during the nude scene or when the flag touched the ground. Hard to imagine how the world will see us decades later.
PM: What made you choose singing over acting?
HN: I was a better singer!

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What’s Her Story?

October 4, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altNearly ten years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing the late abstract expressionist painter Lillian Orlowsky. In that conversation, I brought up the issue of women artists in a male dominated art world. Orlowsky, who was 88 at the time, stopped me almost before I could get the words out – she would have none of that kind of talk. To her, a serious painter was a serious painter and whether male or female, the work was all that mattered. She had no patience for feminism (even though in many respects, she was a feminist herself, but on her own terms), and she saw no need for women-only exhibitions and the like.
    Looking at the art scene in Provincetown, Orlowsky’s way of looking at things really fits with what we see here. Male and female artists show together, buyers are male and female, and perhaps due to the activism of feminists (e.g. The Guerilla Girls), gender is not an obstacle. But it’s Women’s Week and galleries often program accordingly. The question is, if gender is not an obstacle, why have a show featuring all female artists, such as the Kobalt Gallery’s upcoming Her Story exhibition?
    “I think it is a [good thing] and something we will always do,” says Conny Hatch, one of the eight artists participating in this exhibition. “I don’t think it hurts. It just gives that whole perspective of females. It’s not about separating, it’s about having that energy show.”
    The wide range of materials, themes, and approaches included in the Her Story exhibition demonstrates that female energy comes in many forms. Each of the women included has a unique take on things, and the way curator Francine D’Olimpio generally hangs her shows (and hopefully this one is no exception), invites a multi-voice dialogue because paintings and assemblages and collages, and all of it intermingle. For the gallery visitor, it is an invitation to look at art as you might look at it in your own home – not isolated for individual worship, but collected with other elements of your life.

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Q & A with Whit Smith of Hot Club of Cowtown

5:00 am0 comments

By Steve Desroches It’s not often that the music of Austin, Texas, makes its way up to our region, but Payomet Performing Arts Center is capping off its season of incredible, eclectic music programming with the western swing/jazz/indie band Hot Club of Cowtown. As it turns out, this Texas trio [...]

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REVIEW: Kate Clinton’s Lady HAHA CD

5:00 am0 comments

altKate Clinton had a nightmare, a terrifying nightmare.
“I had a nightmare where Ann Coulter was going down on me,” says Clinton on her Lady HAHA CD, eliciting loud groans and shrieks from the audience. “I know! I thought ‘Anything to shut her up!’”
Recorded live at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia, on the last stop of her 2010 Lady HAHA tour, Clinton’s latest CD is a pitch perfect response to the absurdities spewed forth by the Republican Party, the Vatican, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party. Buy a copy for yourself to stay sane in this insane
   political climate and buy a copy for your conservative relatives for the holidays just to piss them off.
For almost 30 years Clinton has been a comedic liberal voice of sanity, intelligence, and thoughtfulness in a frenzied world of sound bytes and Rupert Murdoch orchestrated infotainment, a world where talentless celebrities like Kim Kardashian and the anything-but-real housewives of bland wealthy suburbs get more media attention than genocide in Darfur and global warming. It’s enough to make you cry if Clinton didn’t first make you laugh.

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Team Provincetown, Team P’Town

September 29, 2011 3:08 pm0 comments

Identity in Provincetown has become such a monumental force that it is worthy of an anthropological study of tribalism. Or it would be a great subject for ridicule. It all depends on what team you’re on. Artist Brian Einersen’s new book P-town Humor features cartoon drawings with a sly sense of humor about some of the more absurd aspects of life in Provincetown, particularly the strong opinions that can plant people firmly in opposing camps.
With a deep interest in pop culture, Einersen tapped into a faux rivalry created by the media as inspiration for the book, which features t-shirts declaring dueling devotions to Provincetown institutions, characters, and locales.
“Back when Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie someone created t-shirts saying ‘Team Aniston’ and ‘Team Jolie’,” says Einersen. “The media pits those two against each other. In town there are not so much rivalries, but so many categories, like Team Sunburn and Team Sun Tan. There always seems to be two of everything in Provincetown.”

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The Claws Are Out!

September 21, 2011 6:49 pm0 comments

Now in its sixth year, the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival continues to surprise, delight, and at times shock audiences with presentations of the master American playwright’s work, both the celebrated and the obscure.  Continuing the tradition of exploring all the corners of Williams’ work, this year’s festival presents Now the Cat with Jewelled Claws.
Written in 1969, Williams’ biographer described the play as “gruesome…a tale of madness, depravity, and death.”  The New York Times called the play, “ a loopy and rather vicious send up of New York society, written in a gleefully absurdist mode….”  In that case, the two stars of this production, Mink Stole and Everett Quinton, are both superbly cast. Both come from rich backgrounds of groundbreaking underground work, in film and theater respectively, with a deep commitment to the absurd, countercultural, and impish behavior befitting a jester with something important to say. 
In the play, two wealthy women, Madge and Bea, are having lunch, served by a flamboyantly gay waiter, when two leathermen walk into the restaurant followed by a violent accident and a song and dance routine.  In this celebration of Williams’ experimental work, the casting of Stole and Quinton, two actors who were part of creative movements that shook the artistic world into a new direction, brings a vibrant energy to an almost forgotten work. After its Provincetown run, the production moves to La MaMa in New York from October 27 to November 13.

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Simply Barbra!

September 14, 2011 7:40 pm0 comments

If you are a fan of Barbra Streisand then you will find Steven Brinberg’s Simply Barbra!, “soft as an easy chair.” You will not be crying “enough is enough,” but rather, “Hello gorgeous!”
For almost 20 years, Steven Brinberg has been the premiere Barbra Streisand impersonator, an impressive accomplishment in a crowded field.  Simply Barbra! is a sophisticated evening of equal parts homage and parody with live vocals that are as entertaining as they are humorous. Brinberg hits all the iconic elements of Streisand’s voice. The presentation is flawless, or perhaps more appropriately “like butter,” with each tick and idiosyncratic movement of the legendary performer portrayed with a tender, yet sly manner. But his real talent is in how Brinberg makes both the show, as well as his performance as Streisand, his own, working in different impersonations and songs by other artists without venturing too far from the safe harbor of Streisand.

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