“Mardi Gras By the Sea” Transports Bourbon Street to Provincetown

Written by | Lifestyle

Cher impersonator Thirsty Burlington

“Mardi Gras By the Sea” was the Provincetown Carnival theme this year, and revelers went all out to bring the flavors, the heat and humidity and the magic of New Orleans to Provincetown.

There were boys wearing aprons from Café Du Monde (home of their world-famous café au lait and beignets) and not much else. There were King Cakes (complete with the baked-in plastic baby) and there were amounts of sugary alcohol consumption (thanks to the daily Tea Dance parties at the Boatslip) to rival any celebration of Southern Decadence.

The Crown and Anchor bar is rapidly becoming an anchor on its own merits, with a new outside bar and covered seating ideal for people watching and light noshes. At night, the complex becomes an all-inclusive (although not all ages) complex for such singular performance pieces as Cher impersonator Thirsty Burlington and a fun little distraction called Star Boys, in which a pair of lithe young men work their way through a wide variety of acrobatics, interspersed with drag comedy relief. It’s billed as burlesque, and yes, there are teasing glimspes of guyjunk, but the show actually delivers well past expectations given the shoestring video-game production values and g-string skilled performances.

On the other hand, Thirsty Burlington is an all-stops out tour of two lives intermeshed, as both Cher and Thirsty get equal time during her hour-plus show. Looking for those over-the-top Bob Mackie costumes? They’re here (and the “Turn Back Time” outfit, while not identical, is a brilliant explosion of bedazzled bling). Looking for Cher classics from every era of her career? They’re sprinkled liberally throughout as well.

But there’s an additional treat tucked into the festivities — a snippet of Thirsty, a docudrama based on her rise from bullied femme boy into the “fantabulous” Ms. Burlington. It’s no wonder she’s been a P-Town mainstay from season to season.

Just a few blocks up the street, Pilgrim House is doing much the same: providing top-notch entertainment with an LGBT twist. Through most of Carnival week, our former coverboy Brian Justin Crum was crooning to packed houses, and local living shrine Miss Richfield continues to tickle tourists’ funn bones as P-Town’s unofficial ambassador of mirth.

The takeaway: No matter the theme, the weather (political climate included), P-Town remains the greatest LGBT mecca in the country, and if Disneyland can claim to be “the happiest place” on Earth, then P-Town certainly deserves the title as “the gayest place” on the planet.

Last modified: August 20, 2018