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THE MEWS RESTAURANT & CAFE

429 Commercial St. • 508.487.1500 • mewsptown.com

With two floors of unparalleled waterfront dining, the Mews is justly noted for its friendly service, exceptional presentation, and consistent rave reviews from Zagat, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Cape Cod Times, the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Life, Condé Nast Traveler, Elle, and the New York Times. The long list of celebrities who have visited includes Al Gore, Rachel Ray, Harvey Fierstein, members of Aerosmith, and more. The beach-level dining room serves a fine-dining menu in a light, airy atmosphere, while the upper-level café has a pub-like look and offers an additional bistro menu. The Mews’ famous bar boasts the largest selection of vodkas on the East Coast, with over 300 now in stock. Meanwhile, the restaurant’s sublime wine list includes 50 plus varieties, with many offered by the glass. Their seasonal Sunday brunch, featuring a bloody mary buffet, is one of the more popular in town. Open year-round, with weekly entertainment in the off-season.

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Street Scene: Quarantine

We are reviving a column long-time readers may remember called Street Scene, where we ask people around town a set of questions. In this revamped quarantine edition, we hope to share with you over the next few weeks a snapshot of how your fellow Outer Cape Codders are handling the COVID19 pandemic. Enjoy!

Today’s feature:

Spencer Keasey of Provincetown

Describe your typical day in quarantine

Day starts driving a friend to work, back home for an online meeting at 7 a.m., breakfast, then to the [Bakker] Gallery until noon when I come home for lunch. Back to the gallery until about 3.  Workout, feed 4 cats, dinner, shows, in bed reading by 7:30. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

What’s the most frustrating thing about this pandemic/quarantine?

Not being able to share in the physical warmth and proximity to my recovery fellowship.

What’s something unexpectedly positive to come out of this pandemic/quarantine for you?

Hours and hours to work on effective communication with my partner.  Ha!

What’s the best film or tv show you have watched during quarantine and why?

The World on Fire and the 8th and last season of Homeland.

What’s the best book you have read during quarantine and why?

After 30 years, a second reading of The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. I’ve been trying to think of the quarantine as a rehab for my life.  It’s affected and is affecting every ounce of my being.  Nothing speaks to me more than this book.  It’s my philosophy of life—and time I remember that. 

What’s the weirdest item you’ve had trouble finding at stores in this time?

Yeast

You’ll know everything is normal again in Provincetown when ______

Provincetown allows buskers to busk without masks.

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street scene

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Street Scene: Quarantine

We are reviving a column long-time readers may remember called Street Scene, where we ask people around town a set of questions. In this revamped quarantine edition, we hope to share with you over the next few weeks a snapshot of how your fellow Outer Cape Codders are handling the COVID19 pandemic. Enjoy!

Today’s feature:

Marian Peck of Provincetown

Describe your typical day in quarantine

Waking up with a to-do list, most of it from yesterday’s list or the day before. Then feeling great that I managed to at least check off one item on my list.

What’s something unexpectedly positive to come out of this pandemic/quarantine for you?

Feeling so fortunate to be living here in this beautiful seaside community, which, having lived here 20 years plus, I may have just taken for granted from time to time.

What’s the best film or tv show you have watched during quarantine and why?

The Tunnel – Prime Video. Because I’m a police procedural kinda woman! And parts of it allowed me to brush up on my French.

What’s the best book you have read during quarantine and why?

Can’t seem to get past 20 pages of anything.

What’s the weirdest item you’ve had trouble finding at stores in this time?

Powdered milk and nail polish remover.

What’s the first thing you plan to do when you come out of quarantine and it’s totally safe to go out into the world again?

Go to Fanizzi’s to sit in the dining room and look at the bay while having the best plate of nachos.

You’ll know everything is normal again in Provincetown when ______

When I no longer hear the word ‘unprecedented’ several times a day.

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Editorial

Me trying out pigtails, while my dog looks on with concern in the background.
photo: Rebecca M. Alvin. Me trying out pigtails, while my dog looks on with concern in the background.

If this were any other year, right now I’d be sitting at my desk in the editorial office on the corner of Center and Bradford streets writing about my expectations for the coming season. Today is the day our first issue—a sure sign of spring in Provincetown, as many a reader has told me—would have been delivered around town. It would have probably covered Earth Day, the annual Moby-Dick Marathon at the library, the work of a local artist, or a story about local history and legend to get us started off for the year.

But this is not any other year, and I don’t know what to expect for the coming season, except that Provincetown Magazine will be a part of that season, no matter what it looks like.

I, like all of you I’m sure, have had plans disrupted, friends sick with the COVID19 virus, panic attacks upon entering the supermarket, and days where I could not seem to get anything done, despite suddenly having more free time at home than I can ever remember having. But I have also seen new things. Mostly these are things that aren’t new themselves, but which I am seeing in a new way as we bide our time and get through this quarantine.

I’ve always been grateful to live on Cape Cod amongst great beauty and unique people, but I’m noticing now that I can’t have a good day if I don’t see or hear the ocean. I’m noticing the great community we have, whether it’s somebody anonymously donating $5,000 to pay for townie groceries at Stop N Shop or it’s the incredible responses that spontaneously populate Facebook posts when someone says they are down or in need or suffering in some way. Likewise, I’ve found myself talking, video-chatting, and texting with my network of amazing friends, family, and colleagues as we sort through our lives in the time of coronavirus.

I’m a single parent, so my children are home with me pretty much 24/7 now. It’s not always pretty, and I am concerned about the quality of their education in this compromised, remote learning situation no one had any time to prepare for. But, I’ve also spent so much more time talking with my 9-year-old son as we go on daily walks at the beach or in the woods, and I’ve seen my 16-year-old daughter develop her already formidable skills as an artist and a student and also find new ways of connecting with her peers—even sending letters to each other by “snail mail!”

I know I will be back at my desk in Provincetown, just as I know all of you will be back to doing the things you do. We are following closely Governor Baker’s guidance and watching the figures given by the public health authorities, and we will open as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. In the mean time, you can come to our website, where we will have limited new content to complement the archive of stories here you may want to revisit. You can also feel free to contact me with submissions, such as short stories, poetry, and photographs. Even though I’m not actually back at work, I will look for those submissions and pass them on to our webmaster to share with the community as much as possible.

This is the time in our lives where we are most likely to grapple with the uncertainty, instability, and groundlessness that actually always existed, but which we were able to cover with our belief that we could control everything. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful, but if we can use this experience to learn ways of managing uncertainty and instability, we will emerge stronger, more compassionate people, and that is indeed an opportunity.

We will not only survive this together as a community. We will thrive again as a community.

Enjoy! (as best you can)

-Rebecca, Editor.  [email protected]zine.com

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ANNOUNCEMENTS: November 14, 2019

Soup Kitchen’s “Sponsor A Lunch” Program Returns

The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) re-opened on November 4 and is once again offering individuals, businesses, and organizations the chance to underwrite a day’s meal while gaining a little community appreciation and a tax deduction.

Through its “Sponsor a Lunch” program, SKIP will announce and publicize contributors of $250 or more through its Facebook page and the Provincetown Community Facebook page. In addition, the donor’s generosity will be posted on a signboard in the dining room the day of their sponsored lunch. SKIP meals are served at the Provincetown United Methodist Church on Shank Painter Road.

SKIP spends an average of $250 per day on food to prepare more than 125 meals. That’s after food donations from the Greater Boston Food Bank, local restaurants, businesses, and individuals. The “Sponsor a Lunch” program enables individuals and businesses to donate the $250 that SKIP needs each day. Donations may be made by check to SKIP, P.O. Box 538, Provincetown, MA 02657, or online at skipfood.org. Donors must indicate how they would like their gifts listed.

“This program will bring SKIP much-needed funding for the hearty meals prepared daily by our many volunteers, who operate a remarkable community resource,” said Philip Franchini, chairperson of the SKIP board of directors.

With a donation of $250 or more, a person or group will be named SKIP’s Sponsor of the Day. Contributors will be assigned the next available day from a Monday through Friday lunch in the dining room or a Friday “to-go” meal for the weekend. They will also be sent a thank-you/receipt, and, because SKIP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all donations are tax-deductible.

Contributions may be made in honor of a person or a group. For example, one donor made his gift in the name of his newlywed friends. Other donors have given sponsorships as birthday gifts. Donations can also be made anonymously.

Open to all, the soup kitchen operates weekdays November through April, serving hot, nutritious meals. Guests begin gathering at noon for the 12:30 p.m. lunch, mingling with friends or browsing the adjoining thrift shop. “The daily lunch can fill the gap in a winter economy that stretches the budgets of many people whose incomes are seasonal,” said Franchini.

SKIP will serve an estimated 15,000 meals in its 2019-2020 season. “SKIP not only provides a delicious meal but also a sense of community during the winter months, when people can sometimes feel isolated,” said Franchini.

Sponsorship or other SKIP-related questions should be directed to [email protected], or by visiting skipfood.org.

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Dear Provincetown

Photo: Susan Stripling

Tony Award Winner Rachel Bay Jones Rings In The New Year

TOP IMAGE: Photo: Susan Stripling

Broadway actor Rachel Bay Jones received an invitation to participate in a table reading of a new work back in May of 2014. The catch was none of the assembled actors could read the script before hand or ask any questions. As they took their seats they weren’t even allowed to take a peek at the first page. All they knew was what was written on the script’s cover: “Untitled Musical By Steven Levenson, Music and Lyrics By Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, To Be Directed By Michael Grief.” As the reading progressed secrecy gave way to exhilaration. This was good. Really good. And the theatrical electricity produced in that room on that day gave Jones a hint that her life was about to change in a big, big way as she and her future co-star Ben Platt continued to read what would later be known as the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen.

“I just remember this bubbling excitement that began to take over the room,” says Jones. “It was very exciting. We were reading it for the very first time ever. It was such a special experience.”

In the arts it’s a rare and thrilling moment to capture lightning in a bottle. It’s another thing to ride that lighting bolt all the way to the Broadway stage and the Tony Awards, but that’s just what Jones did. From several reading to its premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. to Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theater and finally to the Music Box Theatre, breaking a box office record for the Broadway theater. Dear Evan Hansen would go on to win six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Platt and a Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Jones’ performance as Heidi Hansen.

Photo: Susan Stripling

Jones’ success with Dear Evan Hansen has brought her previously unrivaled opportunities since making her Broadway debut in Meet Me in St. Louis thirty years ago. Jones didn’t just nab a Tony Award on her first nomination of her career, but also a Grammy Award for her work on the cast recording and an Emmy Award for a performance with her co-stars on The Today Show, making her an Academy Award short of being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner getting the first three all in one year.

Now living in Los Angeles and working in television and film with appearances on Modern Family and in the upcoming movie Critical Thinking with John Leguizamo, Jones is making her Provincetown debut when she takes to the stage at the Art House with Seth Rudetsky for two shows on December 30 and New Year’s Eve. Jones has known Rudetsky for years and marvels at his mind, not only for his musical talents, but his deep knowledge of the history of Broadway. For years now in both New York City and Provincetown he’s hosted fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants interview shows where he on a whim throws a song at the best and the brightest of Broadway making for a fun and unpredictable night. No two are the same. And Jones has an extensive resume from which to pull having appeared on the Great White Way in celebrated revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, Hair, and Pippin among others. Having the chance to be the first actor to create a role in a hit like Dear Evan Hansen was an incredible opportunity, but so, too, is creating the role for yourself in a revival of a classic musical.

“You have to put whatever’s been done before aside,” says Jones. “No one wants to see an actor recreate what someone else did. They want to see what you bring to it. What are you going to do that’s new? Its part of why people love the theater. You look forward to seeing how an actor is going to make a role their own.”

Photo: Susan Stripling

Having left New York for the Southern California sunshine Jones is enjoying the adventure of working in Hollywood taking a break from performing in live stage musicals. She’s loving it, but thoughts of Broadway are never far from her mind. The daughter of Shakespearean actors, the stage is her first love and like Cat Stevens once sang, “the first cut is the deepest.”  She’ll be back someday. How could she not? Of all the work an actor can get the stage is the most thrilling, says Jones, and in particular Broadway really is as special collection of creative people who support and love each other, she says.

“It’s still a business,” says Jones. “Its still show business, but it really is a special community. It’s such a small community, really. It’s a small group of people that really love musical theater, so it feels like a tight night group of people. There was a moment backstage at the Tony’s, before the awards were given out when Stephanie Block and I were waiting to be seated during a commercial break. We didn’t say anything to each other. We just reached out and held hands. It was so emotional. We just took in the moment and were so grateful to be a part of Broadway.”

Rachel Bay Jones performs with Seth Rudetsky as host at the Art House, 214 Commercial St., on Monday, December 30 and Tuesday, December 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets ($50/$75/$100) are available at the box office and online at ptownarthouse.com. For more information call 508.487.9222.

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Q & A with Bryan Rafanelli

Photo: Joel Benjamin Photography

Event designer and party planner Bryan Rafanelli has had an amazing career putting together unique, high-profile experiences for everyone from the Obamas to the AIDS Action Committee (AAC). And of course, he was the official wedding planner for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. But he is also someone with a great love for Provincetown, something that began in childhood and extends to today. As many of us are planning parties of our own this holiday season, Rafanelli took a few moments to answer some questions about his career, working with large-scale events, and what makes the best parties.

Provincetown Magazine: How did you first become involved with the event planning business?

Bryan Rafanelli: Following the loss of a close friend to AIDS, I was motivated to volunteer with the AAC’s events committee. It was here that I discovered my knack for events and found my true calling. Serving as chair of the events committee, I learned about the world of fundraising and galas, orchestrating six or eight events a year. In 1993 I decided to start my own company – with the AIDS Action Committee as my first client. 

PM: Can you give an example of an event or party you were involved with where you made a big mistake that you learned from?

BR: I find one of the more daunting challenges in event planning is vague directions. However, I do my best to extensively prepare and avoid any major setbacks. I put this into practice with the first state dinner I designed with Mrs. Obama. The event was in honor of Hu Jintao, the president of China in 2011. As the planning began, I received a one-page briefing from the White House with a list of President Hu’s known likes and dislikes. I would get one of these before each state dinner, listing color preferences, food likes or dislikes, and preferred entertainers. But that was about it for direction. So I went out and found a book called Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, and that became my bible. I carried it with me to meetings. I presented fabric designs and color choices—and turned oranges into centerpieces because of what I learned from that book. The preliminary planning stages of planning are massively important. Familiarizing myself with a client’s cultural background certainly helps avert any potential blunders.

PM: What was it like working with Michelle Obama on events?

BR: Designing parties for the Obama White House was a very special opportunity. As with every client, we want each event to be unique, but we’re constantly reminded of where we are – a place of immense American tradition and history. I worked with Michelle Obama on seven state dinners and 15 other celebrations during President Obama’s administration. I learned quickly that the best way to present ideas to her was for me to be clear, concise, and as visual as possible. For each event we planned, we’d present at least three concepts, shown to the First Lady and her team in binders that included floor plans, design elements, sample photos, and fabric swatches. The more samples I could show Mrs. Obama, the better. She wanted to see what we were thinking and comprehend the story we wanted to tell on her behalf.

PM: Your new book, A Great Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration focuses on very high-profile events, but what are some takeaways for people planning smaller parties, like in their own homes?

BR: Perhaps my most helpful “Rafanelli Rule” for the average person to create a memorable celebration is “Something From Nothing.” Here, I highlight that building oversized, striking design elements that amaze your guests don’t always require the finest and most elegant materials. I put this into practice with my White House holiday décor. Inspiration struck on a visit to a corner drugstore, where I had the idea to create patterned pave pillars, all made from thousands of small gift ribbons. 

Another great, simple tip that anyone can implement is to change your guest’s perspective. For example, if every gala has guests entering the museum lobby up the grand staircase, we’ll try creating a path to an alternate entryway. A simple twist that upends the guests’ expectations is key to making an event unforgettable. 

Photo: Joel Benjamin Photography

PM: I know you have several tips or “Rafanelli’s Rules” in the book, but if you could pick one thing, what would you say is the most important thing to consider when planning a party?

BR: When it comes to crafting the perfect celebration, there is no secret formula to getting it right. I always stress the importance of incorporating my client’s personality into their events – making each one uniquely theirs and telling their story. For example, with weddings I begin by thinking about the story of the relationship, and how it can be told through the ceremony’s theme, décor, or food. We put this principle into practice with a destination wedding for a couple with roots in the Rocky Mountains. To reflect their love of Colorado’s natural beauty, the ceremony was held on a sprawling 48-acre ranch covered with field grasses, horse stables, and aspen trees. Dinner was accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, and tributes to each family’s heritage, Irish and Colombian, were woven throughout the reception. We took the couple’s story, and let the guests experience it through all their senses – with a venue and music perfectly suited to the night.

PM: Tell me about your relationship to Provincetown: when did you first come, what keeps you coming back?

BR: When I was 13 years old, my aunt and uncle brought my siblings and I to Provincetown to have our portraits taken. That is my first memory of being in Provincetown, and I so clearly remember the energy of the area. After college, I started renting a house there and now I own a firehouse on Commercial Street. I’ve been vacationing/living there for the better part of 30 years. For me, it’s a place where peace and tranquility meets madness and chaos, and I love it.

A Great Party: Designing the Perfect Celebration by Bryan Rafanelli (Rizzoli New York, 2019) is available in hardcover wherever books are sold. Support your local bookseller.

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All You Can Take With You Is That Which You’ve Given Away

by Steve Desroches

David Drake walks into the lobby of the Provincetown Theater smiling and ringing a bell. It cost only two dollars at a thrift store mid Cape, but it will do the trick just fine. Angels aren’t too picky about what kind of bell gives them their wings. He gives the bell another shake and its tinkling fills the air over the sound of a hammer pounding nails and the sticky sound of a roller painting the theater’s floor. It’s all coming together as the Theater prepares to host its holiday season offering It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, an old school presentation of the classic film with a new twist.

To borrow from the title of the show, it’s been a wonderful year for the Provincetown Theater. A brassy spring production of August: Osage County and a scintillating summer run of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street were both smash hits packing the Bradford Street theater. With the summer crush behind them and an autumn to prepare for the holiday season, it’s time for the theater to pull together the community it serves, says Drake. A town like Provincetown needs a successful and dynamic theater space, not because the arts make a stronger community, but to honor the rich theatrical legacy of the Cape tip. It’s why Drake chose this radio play adaptation of the 1946 film. It celebrates how one person makes a difference and how a community is stronger when the collective good takes precedence over the benefit of the few, something evident in Provincetown’s social history.

“It’s about gathering the community together in a hopeful way, a beautiful way,” says Drake. “It’s one way to look at it. It’s how I look at it.”

It’s A Wonderful Life is of course now a beloved Christmas classic and revered by film critics and historians as one of the greatest American films ever made. In 1990 the Library of Congress placed it on the National Film Registry for its cultural importance and the American Film Institute includes it in its list of the 100 greatest films of all time. But like lots of great works of art, upon its introduction to the American public it was quite a different story. Director Frank Capra was already a Hollywood legend and box office magician with hit films like It Happened One Night, You Can’t Take It With You, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. His eternal optimism and populist appeal garnered him some critics, much in the same vein as those of Norman Rockwell. But he was a bona fide cinematic magician by the time It’s A Wonderful Life hit theaters a few days before Christmas in 1946.

Laura Cappello as Mary Bailey

Despite his previous successes, It’s A Wonderful Life was a box office flop. The connection Capra repeatedly made with audiences with his feel-good Americana evaporated. Film reviews of the time ranged from tepid to dismissive to bad. Despite garnering five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, proving it had its early champions, It’s A Wonderful Life quickly became box-office roadkill, and in the holiday movie canon it was quickly eclipsed by Miracle on 34th Street, which came out six months later. Despite his legendary status Capra’s career never really recovered.

The film had something else working against it: conservatives and their anti-Communist witch hunts after World War II that spilled over to liberalism in general. Hollywood and the movie industry was a particular target of investigation for Communist activity. In May of 1947 the Federal Bureau of Investigation drafted an internal memorandum about suspected communist infiltration of the motion picture industry, specifically mentioning the now Christmas classic with its message of “all you can take with you is that which you’ve given away,” a line from the embroidery on the office wall of lead character George Bailey.

“With regard to the picture It’s a Wonderful Life, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture,” reads the FBI memo. “This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. [In] addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.”

Kenneth Lonergan as Clarence

It’s a bit ironic that the FBI was so concerned considering that for most of his life Capra was a registered Republican and a vocal critic of President Franklin Roosevelt and his progressive agenda. Nevertheless the government hand wringing was real and even resulted in the FBI taking a peek into the politics of the film’s stars, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The paranoia of the times is now laughable, that It’s A Wonderful Life was even on its radar and that what some viewed as Communist propaganda is now a ubiquitous element of the holidays season and for some a family viewing tradition each Christmas Eve.

It’s unwavering popularity in large part came when the film fell into the public domain due to a clerical error when its owners tried to renew the copyright in 1974 (it has since returned to protected copyright status). For almost 20 years the film showed on multiple networks, sometimes around the clock, introducing it to new generations of fans. That led to Joe Landry, a fan of the film from Connecticut, to adapt It’s A Wonderful Life for live performances, presenting it as a classic 1940s live radio broadcast, performed much the same way such shows would have been done, including a foley artist for sound effects, which is what audiences will see at this production at the Provincetown Theater. Beau Jackett and Laura Cappello will play George and Mary Bailey, respectively, and the role of Clarence, the angel trying to earn his wings, will be portrayed by the Town Crier Kenneth Lonergan, with Colin Delaney, Nicholas Dorr, Paul E. Halley, William Mullin, Racine Oxtoby, Julia Salinger, and Anne Stott rounding out this community-based cast.

“These are difficult times,” says Drake. “To celebrate community is what brings us together. It’s what gets you through hard times, friends and neighbors. Bedford Falls is very much like Provincetown; we’re both small towns with tight knit communities. It’s people that matter. Like Clarence says to George, ‘No man is a failure who has friends.’”

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St. Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., November 21 through December 8 (no show Thanksgiving Day). Tickets ($35) are available at the box office and online at provincetowntheater.org. For more information call 508.487.7487.

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All is Merry and Bright

Photo: Chuck Anzalone

There’s no feeling quite like coming home to Provincetown. Its magnetism begins at the bridges and the salt air enters your lungs as you go over the Cape Cod Canal. If all goes well, it’s a little over an hour to Provincetown. You pass your own personal landmarks to gauge how much longer.  The rest stop at Exit 6. The Orleans rotary. Wellfleet Cinemas. Almost there. And then driving over Pilgrim Heights approaching Beach Point in North Truro you see the skyline of Provincetown cradled in the sandy palm of the Outer Cape. Sigh. That sight is all the more special when the Pilgrim Monument is lit for the holiday season rising up into the inky black of a winter’s night over a cozy little town way out in the North Atlantic.

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. Photo: GretjenHelene.com

In the old days Provincetown was shuttered up tight not long after Labor Day. That has of course changed, as September and October are a golden time to visit and with a Halloween celebration eclipsed in New England only by that of Salem. And just as the jack o’lanterns begin to droop so begins the holidays in Provincetown, a time that has grown into a unique season as the town puts its own quirky stamp on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Newcomers are often surprised just how hopping Provincetown is during the holiday season. While crowds certainly don’t rival those of summertime, that’s the charm, as Provincetown takes on a more quaint, though no less fun, demeanor, as all of the town’s beloved elements are intertwined.  If you’re looking for an intimate dinner followed by a drink by the fire accompanied by live music, you’ll find it. If you want to take in a wild drag show and then dance the night away at a club, you can do that, too. Provincetown is a living Choose Your Own Adventure book. It’s all up to you.

Donnelly & Richardson

This issue marks the last Provincetown Magazine for 2019. Covering arts, culture, and entertainment on the Outer Cape is always thrilling, and this year in particular proved to be exceptionally so. From drag queens to artists to compelling theater and an aerialist circus, Provincetown quite literally took us all to new heights this year. We here at Provincetown Magazine look forward to seeing what 2020 brings to this wonderful little town. See you in April!  Until then Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year (and don’t forget to make sure you are registered to vote!) Here’s a rundown of all that awaits you this holiday season in Provincetown!

Thanksgiving comes late this year landing on the 28th, but the fun begins early here in Provincetown. Things get rough and tumble at the Crown and Anchor the weekend prior with the Mr. New England Leather contest as well as the continuing weekly RuPaul’s Drag Race UK viewing parties each Thursday.

Thirsty Burlington

The Provincetown Theater also gets an early start on the festivities with its presentation of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, a fun and creative stage retelling of the beloved Frank Capra film, opening November 21 and running through December 8.

Of course, the Pilgrim Monument signifies the beginning of the holiday season when they turn the lights on the night before Thanksgiving, and then things get more festive as the Lobster Pot tree begins to twinkle and shine in Lopes Square on Saturday night.

Once Macy’s has deflated the balloons after the parade and the fridge is full of leftovers, Provincetown is anything but sleepy the day after Thanksgiving. The Crown gets things rolling with the annual Day After Thanksgiving Drag Bingo hosted by the hilarious Tiki Bronstein. Piano man Jon Richardson takes to the piano at the Dive Bar all weekend as VJ Tom Yaz works his magic in the Wave Bar, and Lakia Mondale, Ania Bangkoks, and Roxy Pops keep it shaking with Thanksgiving Drag Leftovers.

Well-Strung

Down Commercial Street the Pilgrim House offer 24-carat comedy with Thank Yule For Being A Friend: A Golden Girls Musical Adventure featuring the Golden Gays of New York City for one night only that Friday.  In this drag stage show based on the hit sitcom, Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose are trapped in Miami for the holidays by a winter storm as they try to travel to see their families for Christmas. But in a Dickensian twist the girls must visit their Christmases of past, present, and future and find Sophia, who will be played by an audience member making a cameo as the smart aleck Sicilian. On Sunday night the folk duo Donnelly & Richardson, featuring Peter Donnelly and Jon Richardson, celebrate the release of their Christmas album by performing songs from the record at a holiday party. All are encouraged to wear ugly holiday sweaters. And Pilgrim House hosts its own RuPaul’s Drag Race UK viewing party each Thursday, as well.

You know the holidays have arrived in Provincetown when the guys from the Canteen open their Holiday Market and Winter Lodge. Now in its fifth year, it’s become an incredibly popular town tradition featuring local artisans, live performances, hearty food and beverages to fend of the winter chill, and loads of holiday cheer. The Holiday Market kicks off on Friday, November 29 and remains open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 29.

Lee Squared

The Provincetown Business Guild is well known not only as one of the first LGBT chambers of commerce in the United States, but also as the producers of Carnival and the big parade, which has become the town’s signature event. But the PBG also presents Holly Folly, an LGBT holiday festival, and First Light, the town’s New Years’ celebration. After years as a small blip on Provincetown’s calendar, Holly Folly has taken flight like Santa’s sleigh in recent years. The town is decked out in its holiday best, and all of the bars, clubs, and restaurants are ready for some naughty and nice revelry. The town is full of music—especially at the Crown, the Gifford House, and at Tin Pan Alley—to get you in a festive mood. And in keeping with the spirit of the holidays the Crown hosts the annual holiday revue Tis’ the Season! an evening of fun and performance hosted by Anita Cocktail and Barbie Cue on Friday night to raise money for the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.

The following night drag queen superstars BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon join forces as they present their holiday extravaganza All I Want For Christmas Is Attention for one night only as they tour the United Kingdom and the United States. After last year’s hit holiday show To Jesus, Thanks for Everything, Jinkx and DeLa, the drag duo join forces to show how DeLa, who is all sugar, and Jinkx, who’s all spice, deal with the stress of the season. With a little song, a lot of eggnog, and a theater full of people looking at them, they are getting exactly what they want for Christmas: lots of attention!

Marti Gould Cummings

After a smash hit summer season, Lee Squared returns to the Pilgrim House for a special Holly Folly engagement. This fabulous fictional pairing of Liberace and Peggy Lee, portrayed by David Maiocco and Chuck Sweeney, respectively, is rip-roaring funny and amazingly entertaining as this talented duo presents an evening like none other. Local favorite and rising star Mackenzie presents a holiday spectacular Underneath Her Tree: Mackenzie’s Misfit Toy Cabaret that’s sure to jingle your bells and she also hosts drag bingo on Sunday morning.

The thermometer might say it’s getting cold out, but the temperature will be rising with the annual Jingle Bell Run, where scantily clad Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and mischievous elves sprint down Commercial Street on Saturday, December 7. That night of Holly Folly is punctuated by the annual Boston Gay Men’s Chorus holiday concert, A Super Gay Christmas, at Town Hall. And the party goes into the wee hours with the Snow Ball at the Atlantic House. If the weekend has you feeling like you’ve had a bit too much eggnog, but you’re still in the mood for a party, head over to Bayside Betsy’s for a Pajama Drag Brunch on Sunday.

Suede

The year 2020 seems to be a long awaited one with of course the presidential election coming on November 3. But 2020 will also see the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower in Provincetown before they headed over to what is now Plymouth. To welcome in the New Year the Art House is presenting Well-Strung with their musical stage show Home For The Holidays at Town Hall Sunday, December 29 and Tony Award-winning star of Dear Evan Hansen Rachel Bay Jones with host Seth Rudetsky at the Art House on Monday, December 30 and Tuesday, December 31. The Pilgrim House brings in Marti Gould Cummings with her show 2019 Is So Over! to ring in 2020 with shows on Friday, December 27 and Sunday, December 29.

Anita Cocktail. Photo: Bobby Miller

The Crown and Anchor welcomes 2020 starting on Saturday, December 28 with Tiki Bronstein hosting First Light Drag Bingo (and again on Monday) followed by the ladies of Illusions with a powerhouse drag revue. Sunday night the fabulous Thirsty Burlington presents her Holiday Spectacular.  The incredible Suede presents a one-night-only concert on Monday, December 30 as the legendary piano man Bobby Wetherbee entertains all weekend long.  The big event of the weekend is Sunday evening as the PBG presents a fireworks display over Provincetown Harbor to welcome in the New Year. All over town, bars, clubs, and restaurants ring in the New Year with special parties and dinners on Tuesday, December 31. And to begin the year with a most sobering event, join the brave and/ or crazy and take part in the Fifth Annual Polar Bear Plunge and take a quick dip in frigid Provincetown Harbor on the first day of the new year! Happy 2020 everyone!

Venues Mentioned

ART HOUSE
214 Commercial St. 508.487.9222. ptownarthouse.com.

 ATLANTIC HOUSE
4 Masonic Pl. 508.487.3821. ahouse.com.

BAYSIDE BETSY’S
177 Commercial St. 508.487.6566. baysidebetsys.com.

THE CANTEEN
225 Commercial St. 508.487.3800. thecanteenptown.com.

CROWN AND ANCHOR
247 Commercial St. 508.487.1430 onlyatthecrown.com.

THE GIFFORD HOUSE
9 Carver St. 508.487.0688. giffordhouse.com.

PILGRIM HOUSE
336 Commercial St. 508.487.6424 pilgrimhouseptown.com.

PILGRIM MONUMENT AND PROVINCETOWN MUSEUM
1 High Pole Hill Rd. 508.487.1310. pilgrim-monument.org.

THE PROVINCETOWN THEATER
238 Bradford St. 508.487.7487. provincetowntheater.org.

Provincetown TOWN HALL
260 Commercial St. 508.487.7000.

TIN PAN ALLEY
269 Commercial St. 508.487.1648. tinpanalleyptown.com.

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