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Flashback to queer Provincetown, 2013

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Provincetown Tourism Office
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Escape with Out in the Bay to a simpler place and time. Before monkeypox, before COVID, before traveling got so fraught. To a town its promoters claimed then was gayer than San Francisco (and where September is superb). Sit back, relax and hit “play.”

In our time-travel, here’s what we found in our 2013 vault: How did Provincetown, MA, get to be “gay, gay, GAY,” as the Provincetown Business Guild puts it? Let the locals tell you – the lounge pianist who’s been there 50 years, The Fabulous Dyketones founder, the activist-artist who made a dress out of tampon applicators, and the town clerk who married 200+ same-sex couples in one day.

They and others talk of Portuguese sailors, fine art, sand-filled cars, mass weddings, the dunes, the “dick dock,” San Francisco connections and more on this documentary-style romp with Out in the Bay host Eric Jansen through what is likely the gayest little city in the world – at least per capita!

Please help us keep bringing queer air to your ears. Out in the Bay is an independent non-profit production. We receive no funds from podcast platforms nor from radio stations that air Out in the Bay weekly. Your gift will help keep LGBTQ voices and stories coming to you and others who might not be able to give. (Donate tabs on our website will take you to a Media Alliance interface. Media Alliance is our non-profit 501(c)3 fiscal agent. Your gift will be earmarked for Out in the Bay.)

Out in the Bay is supported in part by Project Open Hand, which provides 2,500 life-saving meals and 200 bags of groceries daily to sustain people experiencing illness, social isolation, or the health challenges of aging. Learn more at OpenHand.org. Project Open Hand – Meals with Love

The core of this Ptown documentary was edited by Nora Elmeligy and first aired in September 2013. As of August 2022, the establishments listed below are faring well after two-plus pandemic years. The people, however, may have changed … If you know otherwise, please send updates to OutintheBay@yahoo.com

Provincetown people, places and links: For more PTown info, check out the Provincetown Business Guild (LGBTQ tourism promoters) or the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce.

I enjoyed my stays at the Prince Albert Guest House — one of Ptown’s many small, charming historic inns — and at The Crown & Anchor, a lodging, dining and entertainment complex with six gay bars including Ptown’s largest nightclub and the piano lounge where Bobby Wetherbee holds court. Big thanks to hoteliers Bob Sanborn of Prince Albert Guest House and Rick Murray of The Crown & Anchor for your hospitality!

Also enjoyed waterfront cocktails at Cass Benson‘s Harbor Lounge (love her slogan: “Drink in the View”), a cozy place with its own pier that’s not a huge “scene.” It’s very close to Bakker Antiques, where you’ll often find art historian Jim Bakker and will surely see many fine pieces of art and antiques. Be sure to stop in and say hello to handsome and helpful Char Priolo at the Chamber of Commerce’s info office at the foot of the pier, and encourage her to get The Fabulous Dyketones together for a reunion tour! (You can hear The Fabulous Dyketones and other queer music-makers, past and present, online at Queer Music Heritage) If you’re a swimmer, paddler, or supporter of either, consider Jay Critchley‘s annual HIV services and women’s health fundraiser, the Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, held every September since 1988. Finally, if you’ve an urge to merge in Ptown, plenty of info on marrying there is on the Provincetown Town Hall’s website. Doug Johnstone has been Town Clerk since 2003.

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Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.