There’s a reason why the LGBT community cherishes Provincetown Massachussetts in general, and Carnival week in particular: It’s the gayest, most welcoming place in America, and never more so than during this sweltering week in August.
“What is Carnival in PTown meant to observe?” I once asked a B&B owner here in town. The reply surprised and delighted me in its candor. “That’s simple,” he replied. “It represents a meeting about 20 years ago when a bunch of members of the tourist bureau got together and said, “This is the slowest week of the season. What can we do to make it exciting enough for people to want to come?”
Our week began with what’s traditionally known as the “booze cruise,” which is four hours on the water of Provincetown harbor as the sun sets with guys and girls dancing on the deck of a huge ferry to the sounds of house music and the latest and most popular jams of all time. Everywhere you turn, there are new friends to make and the kind of music that makes it impossible to stand still.
Once the cruise is complete – well after sunset, participants head their separate ways to grab a bite and decide what’s next. There are a number of dance venues, each catering to different tastes. At the Crown and Anchor complex, there’s a piano bar for those looking to sing, the Wave bar, which is über-straight friendly and playing a series of videos (most of them retro to keep with this year’s Carnival theme, “Back to the ’80s”), and the Paramount, which deals in deep beats and electronic dance music. Not only that, but proprietor Rick Murray hosts some of the best-known and most beloved stars of stage and screen throughout the summer, including living legend Lilly Tomlin, Luci Arnaz and up-and-coming talents like Broadway sensation Levi Kreis, who performs selections from his six albums live later this week.
Monday started with a jam-packed pool party that we thought would be a kind of exclusive wine-and-cheese get together called “Boys Just Want to Have Fun” at a local inn called the Brass Key. Well, the boys – including grand marshall Davey Wavey – ranged from 18 to 80, and excepting remixes of songs from the era, this was much more a 2016 expression of what makes being gay… well, so gay. Nothing but sunshine, guys in next to nothing, very strong drinks and the thump-thump-thump of a DJ at the top of his game.
That’s just day one. I’ve been here a day, and it feels like a week. More adventures tomorrow.
Last modified: April 17, 2018