Provincetown V: Summer 2010-2015

In Celebration of this Season of PRIDE, I have culled a few writings from my Summers in Provincetown, as well as pulling together some photographs from over the years. This is the Fifth Post in a weeklong series about my experiences there. A reminder that this is intended to be a Celebration of Pride and Gay Culture from my Perspective, over some three decades. It is my story — the Story of My Experiences — and I am Happy to share it with You. Happy Pride!

Provincetown

Summer 2010-2015

 

Me pointing to my Favorite Beach, Back in the Day…

Performance Artist PENNY ARCADE says, “I can’t stand these young overprivileged people who say, ‘We’re Queer!’ I want to say to them, ‘You’re not Queer! Because to be Queer means that you have been so judged and so marginalized and so wrongly treated in this society that you could never judge or marginalize or mistreat another Human Being!’”

It occurs to me that Young people arriving in PTown today would not find
the Healing that I found (and continue to find) here.
Perhaps they do not need the same kind of Healing (though I doubt that’s True!)
Provincetown has changed so much!

The World has too, of course!
It has gotten so expensive to live here.

One is forced to wonder if the Utopia I discovered in my twenties is to be a thing of the past!
Oh there’s still plenty of Men my age and in their fifties and sixties…
But the Young Gay Men have other places to go now.
Most travel destinations now advertise as Gay Friendly because they want our dollars. (The Advertising term is “DINKS”: Double Income – No Kids)
Although the “No Kids” aspect of Gay Relationships has become increasingly less common, being DINKS may have done as much to move Gay Rights Forward as all of our Protests!
After all, this is America and Capitalism Rules!

Folks around town say, “No kids in their twenties could afford to Live here!”
But, in fact, there are Jamaicans, Serbians, Russians, Irish, and other Immigrants working in town now at the shops and restaurants, doing the types of jobs I used to do, as they are willing to live sharing a room so that they can afford to work here, and be in this Beautiful Place!
The twenty-something Americans of today are not willing to live Velcroed to a Wall!
Businesses sponsor these Immigrants on special Visas which allow them to pay these people less.
What’s all that about Immigration going on in Congress now?
Hmmmm….

Perhaps it is a Good Thing.
Perhaps, on the Up Side, our Society is becoming more integrated,
And instead of the need for Gay Beaches, Young People all Go Out Together to places where they live an integrated lifestyle.
Perhaps.
But Provincetown is like that too.
It always has been.
Gay and Straight and Old and Young, People of All Colors, of All Genders…
That is the secret of its Magic.
But there is a New Breed of Straight People — Dare I say, Straight White People — who do not Live in Town, and have not come here as friends of Townies,
who seem to Live in a manner that does not allow for that Magic in quite the same way as the Straight People I have known here for so many years…

Now Voyager is gone (though it lasted Longer than the Minskoff Studios!)
and DI now works at the Post Office
(Not the Café, but the Actual U.S. Post Office);
NAN works at the Provincetown Book Shop.
They are a Beautiful Couple — still Together and Happy after all these years!
STUARD is creating and directing the highly regarded O’NEIL Centenary Events around Town.
At the Provincetown Gym, now relocated up Shank Painter Road, I ask the Guy at the desk if he knows what ever happened to BETTY and MARGE, and he replies,
“BETTY is living Up Cape and MARGE I’ve never even heard of!”
DUFFY’s Mermaid in front of the old Kite Shop has deteriorated and is replaced by an elegant pillar with a nicely trimmed bush!
The Provincetown Cheese Market and Deli is replaced by something more upscale in keeping with the rising economy of the town, and the economic bracket of its visitors… something expensive!
JOE has moved from its tiny spot toward the West End of Commercial Street to a grand location in the Center of Town, where there used to be a Seaman’s Bank. TONY KUSHNER has breakfast there every morning.
The Old Store is gone.
Fortune Cookie is still there. I tell SOPHIE that I remember when she first opened — she was pregnant when she started that business. She reminds me that that was over twenty years ago and both daughters have now graduated College.
Women are Amazing!
The gentleman behind me in line asks her if they deliver to the East End and without missing a beat, Sophie says, “Ohhhhhh, the East End!? You might as well live in CHINA!!!”

Music in Gay Culture continues to evolve.
Topping the Charts is “Brave,” the Song SARA BAREILLES writes for her Gay friend who is afraid to Come Out, and she wants to encourage him.
The Advocate calls it “destined to become an LGBT Anthem for the Ages.”
I Love this Song, although the Music Video does seem to rather conspicuously veer away from that interpretation…

LADY GAGA’s “Born This Way” is getting a lot more play at Tea Dance…

 

BILLY, Photo from Obituary Posting

BILLY, Back Then, Photo from the Internet

BILLY TOLZMAN has committed suicide.
Beauty is such a Double-Edged Sword.
How does one go from being the Most Beautiful Boy
in the Most Beautiful Town
of the Most Beautiful Boys in the World,
To Not?
MARILYN MONROE couldn’t do it either.

BILLY, painted by Local Artist, CHET JONES. Image from the Internet

… Heterosexual Couples are sunbathing on Herring Cove Beach this summer, as they continue to migrate further and further down toward Wood End.

The Beach Trail floods now…

The tides are so much higher–– The marshes flood now and at certain times of day, parts of the trail are neck high, and you walk holding your towel and sunblock up above your head like the National Geographic pictures of women in Africa carrying their baskets!
The straight people from Red States are massively confused by this–– they stop me and demand, “Where is the path?”
And when I point to the flooded marshes they insist, “No! We want a clear path!”
I reply without bitterness, “Then work to stop Global Warming! Because 20 years ago, there was a clear path! Right there!”
And there is more Trash left behind on the beach…
Now litter is a daily sight here!
Even broken glass
Who brings a glass bottle to the beach?
I suppose eventually we may succumb to trash cans and concession stands and convenience stores and a boardwalk with shops…

I am not asking for the world.
I just want the Freedom and Peace of this one little sandbar 30 miles out in the middle of the ocean! But we’re being told it’s federal property now and that we cannot have it!
Because now that we have turned that remote fishing village into a most Colorful Utopia, there are straight families who want to come there, drop their trash and erode the dunes.
Sigh!
I feel so Israeli! Or Palestinian! Or Something…

The town is still almost entirely Gay Owned.
Some of the older townies lament to me how so many Gay owned businesses are doing everything they can to attract Straight dollars
and why don’t they make more of an effort to attract Gay dollars…
But there are still plenty of Portuguese fishermen’s families who see Provincetown as a Portuguese fishing village!
And most people passing through town might not even notice that aspect of the place!
I guess all of us see this place as we wish it to be.
Perhaps there may come a day, when I write from PTown as an old Portuguese fisherman,
Living in the bliss of my Magic Kingdom,
And watching the sunset over the ocean!
And it will still be there!
And still be Beautiful!

So much Beauty!
In one Summer!
On one Planet!

# # #

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: