Provincetown VII: This Summer Just Begun

In Celebration of this Season of PRIDE, this is the Seventh and Final Post concluding this weeklong series about PTown. This is the Story of my experiences there up through the present day — and I am Happy to share it with You. Happy Pride!

 
Provincetown

PTown This Summer Just Begun

Last Week’s Gay Pride Parade in New York

The Pride Parade is held in New York City on the Last Sunday in June.
It is quite a popular Parade, made up mostly of Advertisers.
Last Sunday it lasted for over eight hours.
For Dancing,
For Hyatt,
For New York Life,
For Delta Airlines,
For Diet Coke

SUSI VILLA’s Float in Last Week’s Gay Pride Parade in New York

A comfortable three hours north on the Acela Express, followed by a 90-minute Fast Ferry Ride — The fare is somewhere around five hundred dollars, round trip; Seems like a big investment for a Weekend Away…

A middle-aged husband-and-wife, are walking along the shore at Herring Cove Beach.
An older man, remarkably fit for his age, emerges naked from the Ocean, having just enjoyed a fine swim, and crosses in front of them heading back to his towel.
The Wife seems mildly startled by the unexpected site.
The Husband explains, “There used to be a Gay Beach here.”

It does not occur to the Wife to ask how he knew that.
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Provincetown VI: Summer 2015-Today

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 Sixth 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 2015- Today

STEVE KATZ is a PTown artist who does this Lithograph/Photograph With Quotes kind of thing.
I have a piece of his on the wall of my New York apartment–– It’s a picture of the HAT SISTERS with the EMILE ZOLA quote, “I came to Live Out Loud!”
Do you know the HAT SISTERS?
They are a PTown Legend!
Two guys — big burly men with big burly mustaches who come to PTown every summer and dress in the most Fabulous drag outfits you could ever imagine with their big hairy arms, hairy chests, and these Hats — they defy description!
They create these Magnificent HeadDresses — Enormous things with Wires and Birds and trains of toile —
Hats that would make CARMEN MIRANDA green with envy!
And they’re always Well Coordinated to one another!
And for no particular reason on any given afternoon or evening of Summer,
you see them walking down Commercial Street in PTown…
often with a Regatta of Drag Queens trailing behind them!
They are so Fabulous!
They bring Joy!
Even the most conservative of straight folk now seem Enchanted by them!
Most of us always have been!
I saw them a few weeks ago (more…)

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!
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Provincetown IV: Summer 2005-2010

Provincetown

Summer 2005-2010

 

Province Lands Road

STUARD and I are walking through the Center of Town and he says, quite casually, “Notice anything missing?”
I look over at the Crown and Anchor, rebuilt after the fire some years earlier; I look left toward Galadriel’s, the Provincetown BookShop, Adams Pharmacy…
I haven’t spotted anything different. And STUARD answers his own question, prodding me to awareness:
“NO GAY PEOPLE!!!” elongating the phrase into eight syllables for emphasis on the obviousness of it.
I look around me.
And for the first time since we’ve been walking, I notice the crowd on Commercial Street is almost entirely composed of Heterosexual Couples with 2.2 children and 2.5 cars in their garage back home — the kind of people from Red States who for as long as I could remember were a shadowed minority here and only passed through this place for the express sole purpose of purchasing those exact items of Salt Water Taffy and Fudge.
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Provincetown III: Summer 2000 – 2005

Provincetown

Summer 2000- 2005

Randomly running into STUARD & THE WENDY’s on Commercial Street… Community!

New York is hosting the Pride Parade on the Last Sunday in June.
It isn’t called a March anymore.
It is a Parade.
A New Generation is Coming of Age.
For them, Gay is not so much an identity.
They have sex with a variety of Genders, and they do not think of themselves as “Gay” or “Straight,” particularly.
When they engage in Oral Sex, they do not count it as Sex.
Never underestimate what the President of the United States says,
and how it can affect a New Generation of Americans.
Young.
Impressionable.
We must be very careful about whom we Vote into the Office of President,
if only for the Power and Influence of their Words,
And the Effect those Words have on our Children!
Thank Heavens that America has learned that Lesson now in the year 2000,
So that we shall not have to repeat it.

Heading to PTown
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Provincetown II: Summer 1990’s

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. And so Today is the second in a weeklong series about my experiences there. Happy Pride!

 

Provincetown

Summer 1990’s

 

I asked THE HAT SISTERS if they would pose for a picture…

Here, in my Twenties, I have discovered this incredibly Diverse World:
Hippies of the 60s, Living their Dream,
A bucolic Portuguese Fishing Village,
Artists — painting their canvases on every roadside — since it is so far out in the middle of the ocean, the Sun Shines Brightly and the Light doesn’t change for hours; thus, it is an ideal place to paint, so Artists flock here, as I imagine they have for centuries,
Art Galleries whose works are sought after,
Japanese Businessmen in their limos on the peer, waiting to bid on Tuna and airship them immediately back to Japan for sushi,
The Lobster Fishermen putting out their lobster traps which they would shoot you for stealing, as it is understood that that is about Livelihood, and at this moment in America’s history, everyone respects one another’s Livelihood,
The Farmer Cakes at CONNIE’s Bakery at The Lobster Pot…

And So Many Beautiful Gay Boys–– Dancing!
(more…)

Provincetown I: Summer 1980’s

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. And so Today begins a weeklong series about my experiences there. Happy Pride!

Provincetown

Summer 1980’s

 

Commercial Street 1980’s

The Pride March is held in New York City on the Last Sunday in June.
It isn’t called a Parade, then.
It is a March
For Rights,
For Freedom,
For Equality,
For Our Lives!

My friends MICHELE and WENDY invite me to come for a weekend to this place they are staying for the summer.
The three buses from New York take some 13 hours, door to door.
The fare is somewhere around twenty-seven dollars, round trip —
Seems like a big investment for a Weekend Away.
(more…)

Happy Endings

JIMMY STEWART in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

I grew up in a World of Happy Endings!
I remember watching Movies on television.
Television was relatively new.
And that did not seem at the time like something that would date me the way typing that sentence does now.
As the movie ended and LASSIE came home,
Or ANNA and the KING of SIAM Danced, and she stayed to take care of his Children,
Or ROCK HUDSON and DORIS DAY worked out their relationship,
Or JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY got their show up and it was a Success…
I remember how MOM would sigh a sigh of greatest satisfaction and say something like, “All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
Usually followed by “OK, time for bed now,”
as we were often allowed to stay up late to watch the end of the Movie.

Now, I go to sleep with news reports like the dropping of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
I do not sleep well anymore — like most Americans that I know.
I am longing to hear MOM’s satisfied sigh
“All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
And I notice that Happy Endings are not so readily available.
LA LA LAND… Not for me.
And when people say, ‘Oh, but they did end up Happy. They each realized their dream and they held a special place in one another’s Lives,”
I say, “That is Ordinary!
That is what we are already Living .
What we aspire to — that is what the Arts are for!”
ASPIRE!
REACH HIGHER!
Let us be Inspired — that word, meaning literally, to Take in Air!
Take my Breath Away, that I might Breathe Again — filling my lungs with Fresh Clean Oxygen, given us by every Green Living Thing on this Planet!
Teach Us how it can be!
Even if we don’t reach it in our LifeTime, allow us for a few hours — even for a moment — to See, to Feel, what it Can Be!

Give me ARRIVAL — take a Risk and against all odds; Find a way to Peace!
Give me HIDDEN FIGURES and Help me to see the possibilities of Accomplishment in a time period in which such things seemed un-doable, and Happen Anyway!
Give me the Glorious ending of CINEMA PARADISIO!
Give me Triumph!
Give me True Love!
Give me what I am here to Learn!

Back when I saw HAIRSPRAY for the first time, years ago at its Broadway Premiere, I explained to my Office Colleagues why I Loved it So Much!
Redemption!
For me, a Musical, a Show, a Movie… a Story must have REDEMPTION!
That’s what I am going for!
That is why I am there!
Here is my Acid Test for a Play or Movie:
“I am giving you two hours of my Life! Change Me!”
And if you change me for the Better, I like it even More!

A few days later, a Colleague asked me, rather casually, “ARNIE, have you seen JUNO?”
“Not yet,” I replied.
“Well, I think you’re gonna’ like it!” he told me. “It’s got a lot of that Redemptive Shit in it that you like so much!”

The World is in a troubled place, at the moment.
So many of us have felt the tremors — to our Very Foundations!
But as Artists, we Reach Beyond,
Elevate,
Extend,
Dream Bigger,
Make Waves,
Invite New Possibilities,
And See More than just what’s in front of us!

My Heart Aches for this new Generation coming forward in a World As Is,
And mistakenly thinking that that is how it has to be.
The World is not a Factory Second.
The World is a Launching Pad for your Dreams!
The World is So Many People Beyond yourself who need precisely what it is that You have to Offer!
The World is a Pot of Boiling Eggs with Vinegar and You are the Color!
The World is a Blank Canvas and You are the Vision!
The World is a Pile of FireWorks on a Summer Night and You are the Flame that ignites it!
The World is a Piano and You are the Musician!
We have no need for you to create the World as it is! We know that already!
We need You to show us how Everything works out All Right!
We need you to help us Find a way to Peace!
We need You for the World as it Could Be!

Somehow, we have a plethora of Art right now reflecting back to us what we are.
This has Value.
And this has Merit.
But this is not what I’m in it for!

BARBARA STANWYCK in STELLA DALLAS

As RAFIKI says in THE LION KING, “Look Harder!”
Find within you what you have to Show Us…
What you have to Teach Us…
Help us to see what it is about you for which the World has waited Centuries!
Let us Celebrate your Arrival!
And in this brief time we have together,
Show Us what to do Next!

If a Happy Ending does not seem realistic enough to you right now,
Then you are not looking beyond what has already been handed to you!
Life is a Collaborative Process!
It is not for you to reflect back that which we already have.
It is yours to Create for us that which we most need!

Bring it!
It is what you came to do!

# # #

Fifteen Years

Spontaneous Memorials cropped up all over the city in the days following 9/11/2001

Spontaneous Memorials cropped up all over the city in the days following 9/11/2001

Can it be fifteen years since that one Morning?

I had just opened my own Business in New York — moved into the Office the Week Before.
A friend was coming down from Westchester to help me set up my Computer Systems, and I was to meet her at Grand Central at 9:45am.
My Partner saw me to the door, as I was heading off.
Our downstairs neighbor was heading slowly up the steps toward us — which was unusual all by itself — and looking somewhat eerily stunned.
“Have you guys heard the news this morning?” she asked.
We had not.
“A plane hit the World Trade Center!
They don’t know if it’s an accident or terrorism or what.
I am just heading up to the roof to have a look.”
We joined her. (more…)

Day of Atonement

IMG_5719A Jewish Colleague and Friend asked me last week, “Can I ask you a question? Where did you learn your Yiddisha? You speak it better than anyone I know. You spell it better than anyone I know…”

I had signed an Email “L’Shonah Tova Tikatevu!” (i.e.: “HAPPY NEW YEAR! May You be inscribed and sealed [in the Book of Life] for a Good year…”)

I told her that I grew up in New York Theater, and the Fabulous BARBARA COLTON was my Mentor in such things!
I also have spent the Jewish Holidays every year with my Best Friend’s Family (And after more than 35 years, Very Much My Own Family Too!)

 

I’ve Always Enjoyed So Many Aspects of Judaism.

I Love that each Day Begins with a Beautiful Sunset.

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