The Provincetown II docking during Boston Tall Ships (photo: Courtesy Bay State Cruises)
40 years ago, new boat service initiated a freedom ride to sexual and personal liberation during a time less welcoming to LGBTs
By Mark Krone
Note: the following article is adapted from the July/August 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.
It’s been one of those weeks. Your boss revealed yet another irrational side; you can’t seem to please your partner; and you had so little time to pack for this trip to Provincetown, you must have forgotten something. When you arrive on the dock, you decide the perfectly coiffed men in front of you are a little too self-consciously handsome and the high-spirited young women in front of them are too happy for this time of the morning.
Looks like you need a little Provincetown.
With the engines grumbling, the boat slowly makes a 180 degree turn and heads away from the city. When it passes Nick’s Mate into the Outer Harbor, the seas swell, the breeze cools, and your body slackens. You lean on the railing facing seaward for the rush of salt air. Suddenly, you know why the women were laughing and the men-boys were smiling. The truth is, you’re all lucky to be alive, on this boat, and heading to the unique seaside town you’ve come to love. Transformations like this do not happen in traffic on Route 6, but are a regular event on the historic Boston-Provincetown ferry route.
If you’re a veteran P’town ferry rider, memories of prior trips dip and dart in the boat’s wake like seagulls chasing tossed pretzels. For LGBT passengers who came of age in less welcoming times, the boat was a freedom ride to sexual and personal liberation where they could escape land-side’s harsh stares. Though only 55 nautical miles, it seemed like a trip over the rainbow.FULL ENTRY
Divine (photo: Lynn Davis)
15th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival — June 19-23 — keeps getting bigger and better
By Loren King
A documentary about Divine, director John Waters’ muse and star, is just one of many LGBT-themed films that will grace the 15th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF), running June 19-23. From its first year, when Waters himself was honored as the festival’s “Filmmaker on the Edge,” PIFF has championed LGBT films and filmmakers. For this milestone year the festival will do it again — but even bigger.
As the PIFF has grown in reputation and popularity, its organizers have been savvy about attracting not just A-list talent more than happy to spend a few days in P-town but the funding to put on a destination event. This year, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded grants to PIFF for its 15th annual fest. It will be used to bring back several “Filmmaker on the Edge” awardees from the past 15 years.
Besides Waters, directors Mary Harron and Gregg Araki and producer Christine Vachon are among past guests slated to return. PIFF will screen seminal films from each of these filmmakers, who all have strong LGBT ties. These include Waters’ legendary Pink Flamingos; Vachon’s Kids; Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol; and Araki’s Mysterious Skin, the 2004 drama starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and based on gay writer Scott Heim’s novel. Other past honorees Jim Jarmusch, Todd Haynes and Quentin Tarantino have been asked to invite a rising director they admire to attend. PIFF artistic director Connie White says this underscores and continues the festival’s mission to recognize independent filmmakers “on the edge.”FULL ENTRY
One of the most popular international gay travel publications, Spartacus, ranks the United States of America at 38 when it comes to best gay tourist destinations.
Sweden takes first place in the publication's Gay Travel Index.
The USA racks up points for anti-discrimination, marriage/partnership, and equal age of consent, but loses points for religious influence and hostility from locals.
The USA shares 38th place with eight other countries, including Aruba, Cambodia, and Italy.
The full report can be accessed in PDF form at www.spartacusworld.com/gaytravelindex.pd.FULL ENTRY
The Standard Spa Miami
As the cold weather is expected to hit the Hub again, Boston style maven Ricardo Rodriguez shares the secrets of warm Miami, as divulged by his friend, Southern Florida insider and style maven Louis Aguirre
Note: Fabulous videos that accompany this story can be accessed here.
By Ricardo Rodriguez
Forget what you think you know, these days Miami is much more than just a beachside resort town. The party still rages, but it’s the art and design scene that rage stronger and have transformed Miami into one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Once known as the gateway to Latin America, now Miami is the gateway to the world, as people from all over the globe have rediscovered this tropical slice of paradise.
So I recruited the help of my dear friend Louis Aguirre to help us build the chicest, most amazing insider guide to this exciting new Miami. And he definitively knows best. Louis is the host of the popular South Florida entertainment TV show Deco Drive and an actor appearing on hit shows like Sex and the City, JAG, and Burn Notice. His newest project LouisList.com is a perfectly curated video insider guide to the city.
So now that the winter is in full force you might want to plan a little escape. Go ahead. This is his Miami.
In its fourth annual ranking of LGBT municipalities, Advocate, a national LGBT news magazine, ranked two New England cities in its top 15. Providence, Rhode Island came in 12th, and Springfield, Massachusetts — yes Springfield! — holds the number 2 position.
The survey employs unorthodox criteria, such as how many roller derby leagues a city has.
With places like New York City and Provincetown not even cracking the top 25, the list defies expectations.
Here's how the Advocate explained its Springfield ranking:FULL ENTRY
Highlands Inn in Bethlehem gets a new lease on life
By John O'Connell
Highlands Inn, the much-loved lesbian bed and breakfast in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, could have faced some drastic changes over the past year. After over twenty-five years of service to the resort, founding inn-keeper Grace Newman decided to sell the property in 2011. As is typical with the warm and welcoming nature of the property, Newman sat down to explain her decision to long-term, repeat guests, such as Jenny Wackerle and Gia Koumantzelis. “We were there last July for vacation and Grace sat us down and said she was retiring,” explains Wackerle. “Our first reaction was, ‘Oh no!‘ But on the way home we said to ourselves, ‘Wait a minute. Is this something that we should do?’”FULL ENTRY
After years of disrepair, the 2100-seat Lynn Memorial Auditorium was reopened in 2006 following a full refurbishing. It now hosts major talent on both the local — Boston’s Gay Men’s Chorus — and national scale.
Just ask the leaders of NAGLY, Go Out Loud, Art After Hours, Lesbiatopia.com and other locals—the formerly maligned suburb is turning around, and LGBTs are leading the way
By Scott Kearnan
“Everyone deserves a second act.”
So says DJ Brian Halligan. Halligan stepped away from spinning for nearly a decade. But dance music remained a passion, so last year he decided to get back into the groove. He had few connections in the current local landscape, but networked away. Gig by gig, doors reopened. Now he’s not only a regular on the Cambridge and Boston scenes, but has a Friday night residency at gay club Cirque—a revamped version of gay bar 47 Central in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Halligan sees a certain commonality between his own experience, and that of the city.
“I feel like my story is a parallel to Lynn’s,” says Halligan. “There can be a certain condescension that comes across from people outside it. But it deserves that second act.”
Ah, Lynn. She’s sort of like Boston’s hardscrabble little sister: only a fraction of the size (about 90,000 people) but with a big reputation. That rhyme “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin” is ubiquitous enough to go on coffee cups, and associations with high crime rates and economic malaise have been hard to shake. But as one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, and located just a few miles outside Boston, Lynn has a thriving gay community. It’s becoming an increasingly popular pick for LGBT folks seeking a cost-effective alternative to living in the Hub, and those looking to enjoy the city’s revitalized dining, entertainment, and arts scene as a visitor.
‘Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub’: spirited launch party set for new book by local out author Sam Baltrusis
Adam Berry, of Syfy's 'Ghost Hunters,' will be on hand for the launch party of 'Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub'
It promises to be a spirited evening at Old South Meeting House tomorrow night when Sam Baltrusis’ new book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub gets its big coming out party.
Baltrusis is a regular contributor to Boston Spirit, and he just happens to be an expert on otherworldly spirits as well!
Ghosts of Boston made its appearance this month, and the big release event gets underway Tuesday, September 18, at 7 p.m. in downtown Boston.FULL ENTRY
The Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts
A Handful of Under-Rated LGBT New England Destinations
Including Bette Davis’ birthplace, Emily Dickinson’s home, Walden Pond, and a Cher filming location
Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from a feature that ran in Boston Spirit magazine, March/April 2010.
By Sam Baltrusis
Provincetown? Ogunquit? Been there, done that.
Why not head out to a handful of hidden gay-fave gems scattered throughout New England, like Emily Dickinson’s home, Bette Davis’ childhood home in Lowell, or Walden Pond?
What’s so gay about them? Fasten your seat belts ...
BETTE DAVIS HOUSE
22 Chester Street, Lowell, Massachusetts.
If the vibrant pink color of this old-school Victorian isn’t enough to tip off tourists, the historical plaque displayed on the front of this Lowell home dating back to the 1890s should set the record straight. The birthplace of movie legend icon Bette Davis is still standing amid a row of triple-deckers in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood near the UMass Lowell campus. In fact, most of the home’s original woodwork dating back to when Ruth Elizabeth was born in 1908 is still in tact. While the LGBT landmark is currently occupied by tenants and is off limits to Davis fans, locals seem to embrace out-of-towners wanting to sneak a peek of where the saucy Jezebel icon was reared.
Gay Factor: Birthplace of the woman who uttered some of the cattiest lines in film, like “But you are Blanche, you are in that chair!” from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? If these walls could talk.FULL ENTRY