A Taste of Provincetown’s Music Scene

 

Musical entertainment is never hard to find in Provincetown. Just stroll down Commercial Street in the evening and follow your ears! The options are vast. Everything from live performances, DJ’d dance parties, classic standards, Broadway show tunes, cabaret, and acoustic nights. Chances are, someone, somewhere on Commercial Street can scratch whatever musical itch you’re feeling at any given time. If you are looking to catch some live music, here are a few of my favorites venues.  Each one has a jam-packed schedule for the summer season.  No matter when you’re here, you can catch a great show.

Crown & Anchor

This perennial favorite rocks all kinds of music in each of its signature venues. Listen to sing-along favorites while dining on delicious bistro-style fare at the Central House Piano Bar. Looking for the afterhours hot spot? The Paramount may hit the spot, with top international DJs and entertainers lined up all summer long.

Payomet Performing Arts Center

Just down the hook, in North Truro, Payomet is an easy drive from Ptown and brings an eclectic mix (40-50 concerts a year!) of up-and-coming and established performers to the Outer Cape. It’s a great venue with a real range of national and international talent, on a local stage. Upcoming artists for 2017 include Suzanne Vega, Aaron Neville, Las Cafeteras, the Skatalites and newer musicians such as Anna & Elizabeth, Sienna Hull, and Harold Lopez-Nussa (direct from Havana, Cuba!).

The Art House

This place embraces and upholds Provincetown’s spirit of fun, adventure, and escape…for all. Presenting high quality performances ranging from live music to stand-up comedy, it has something for everybody. The Broadway@The Art House series, now in its fifth seasons, brings Broadway superstars to the Outer Cape.  This year’s series includes Tony award winners Sutton Foster and Laura Benanti.

Post Office Café & Cabaret

If it’s cabaret you’re after, this must be your first stop. Located right in the heart of town, with a fantastic line-up of performers such as Thirsty Burlington, Elektra!, Atomic Bombshells, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Jimmy James. Plus, their breakfasts are legendary.

Celebrating in Style: July 4th in Provincetown

I suppose I’m biased, but I think Provincetown is one of the best places to be for the 4th. It is crazy, fun, happy wild, beautiful. If “party” is the word that first comes into your mind when you think of July 4th, it may just be the perfect place for you too. A few caveats: it’s not exactly kid-friendly—so leave the littles with the grandparents and keep it adults-only.  Also, it’s crowded and crazy.  If you are not a crowd person, probably not your ideal weekend to come visit. July 4th festivities kick off on Thursday and go all weekend and right up through the holiday.  Here’s the breakdown on what you need to know:

FOR THE DANCE PARTY

Independence 2017 is the Crown & Anchor’s signature full-on, weekend-long july 4th extravaganza. Think great entertainment, DJ’d dance parties, pool parties and more. You’ll need to purchase tickets to get in. They have tons of events going on all weekend.

FIREWORKS & PARADE

What is July 4th without the fanfare and pyrotechnics? The JULY 4TH PARADE starts at 11am, begins East End, Harbor Hotel and proceeds up Commercial to Franklin Street. FIREWORKS start at dusk over Provincetown Harbor (view from any bayside beach).

CATCH A SHOW

With some of the best acts in town, Post Office Cabaret will be lighting it up all weekend with Electra!, Male Call, Trixie Mattel, and Raja: Gawdess Show! Broadway @ The Art House presents Michael Cerveris for two shows only on July 1 & 2. It will be a seamless mix of intimate behind-the-scenes stories and songs from some of the biggest hits from his musical theatre repertoire. A spontaneous evening of hilarity and show-stopping songs not to be missed. The Camp Lightbulb Variety Show is Friday, June 30 and features performances from the Camp Lightbulb campers, MC Zoe Lewis, Janet Mock, and the Hat Sisters. Proceeds benefit Camp Lightbulb, Ptown’s very own camp for LGBTQ youth.

CHECK OUT SOME ART

Well, we can’t party the whole weekend, can we? Don’t answer that. Either way, Friday Night Gallery Strolls are a nice change of pace. Wander down to the East End of Commercial Street for a sampling of amazing contemporary art from local artists and beyond. For this weekend’s line-up of opening shows, click here.

The Best Men’s Apparel Shops in Provincetown

We will start with the obvious: I’m a woman.  A hetero one. So, I suppose my insight into what makes a great men’s apparel store is somewhat limited to the fact that I am often stealing my husband’s clothes…and purchasing things for him so that I can steal them at some point in the future. But here’s what I do know: the shopping on Commercial Street is the best on the Cape. With the exception of an outlier here and there (Puritan in Hyannis, for example), if you are looking for menswear, Ptown is the place to go.  Next time you’re in town, don’t miss these Commercial Street shops (it’s not a complete list, but hey, I had to stop somewhere!):

BodyBody

I remember wandering into this shop back in the 80s, when I was kid visiting Ptown with my family. Shops come and go frequently in Ptown. To stick around this long, you have to be doing something right. Sexy, high quality (and therefore, a bit pricey) clothes—a head-to-toe one-stop shop.

Henry & Co.

Forget shopping for my husband—I always find the coolest kicks, hats, and backpacks here. I want to buy them all.

Kenneth Scott

A relative newcomer to Commercial Street (I think this is their second season). A fresh crop of nautical prep style. Again, I guess it’s a given but great brands, high quality, fun colors.

ITEM

Classy clothes with a preppy, nautical flare. Sweaters, bags, polos, button-downs, shorts—another spot for a fun, head-to-toe dress-me-up game.

MAP

Folks RAVE about this place. A favorite Ptown shop for many. Amazing clothes. Classic style with an 80s punk twist.

Coffey Men

A one-man operation, with everything made here on the Cape. Particularly known for his fab belts, hip t-shirts, and retro flare (think velour zip polos).

TimScapes

With a pop-mod aesthetic all its own, this shop has everything, home décor, apparel, art. But the custom-designed and printed t-shirts are the highlight. Want a t-shirt that everyone back home will compliment you on? Stop here.

June Events in Provincetown

June is a great time to visit Provincetown. There is already so much going on. Here are some great events happening this month to entice you to come for a visit (if you haven’t already booked a stay). Quick! Get here before the kiddies get out of school!

Twenty Summers is wrapping up their 2017 season in a couple weeks.  Some of the events have sold out but there are still tickets available to see author David France and political commentator Andrew Sullivan (Friday, June 2), architects Peter Bohlin and William Rawn (Saturday, June 10) and poets Sharon Olds and Mark Doty (Saturday, June 10).  Such a spectacular setting.  Really—this place is a must-see.

Provincetown Theater has two events going on this month.  First up is Amadeus.  Starring Billy Hough, this Tony Award winning play by Peter Shaffer tells a highly fictionalized biography of the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his rival composer Antonio Salieri.  It is playing now through June 11.  Get your tickets soon!

Second: Presented by both Provincetown Theater and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill is the 2017 Provincetown Dance Festival, June 23-24. Showcasing hip-hop, ballet, tap, contemporary, and classical Indian dance, this year’s event features Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater, with work by Tony Award nominee, Donald Byrd, Rachna Agrawal (Hartford), Rovaco Dance Company (New York City), Case Closed! (Providence), Portland Ballet (Portland, ME), Boston Tap Company and Tony Williams Ballet (Boston).

June 14-18 is the 2017 Provincetown Film Festival, one of the country’s best film festivals presenting an array of American and international narrative features, documentaires and short films.  In addition to the awesome line-up of independent films, some of this year’s guests include Sofia Coppola, Chloe Sevigny, John Waters, and Sebastian Junger, who will all be present for a different panel discussion.

And of course, Tea Dance season is…ON!  Can’t miss those SOLID GOLD SUNDAYS courtesy of Boatslip!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Amanda Wastrom is a Cape Cod-based writer, artist, and curator. She is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod Magazine. For more on Amanda’s work, click here. Thanks! Amanda [/author_info] [/author]

5 Tasty (and Sweet!) Reasons to Visit Provincetown this May

Provincetown’s ‘Shoulder Season.’ It usually starts off pretty darn slow, but by May, things are picking up and seasonal restaurants are back open.  It’s a great time to visit Cape Cod. The weather is warmer but not actually beach weather, so it’s a great time to explore town and do the things that you don’t want to do when it is 80 degrees and glorious (think: museums, shopping, that sort of thing).  It can also be miserably rainy and cold—there, you’ve been warned—but don’t worry, there’s plenty of indoor activities to be had. The best part about May?  My FAVE restaurants and haunts are back open again so it’s time to indulge in those tasty vittles we have been craving all. Winter. Long.  Hoorah!  Here are five yummy reasons to get to Ptown this month.  Bring your appetite (and your sweet tooth)!

Reason 1: A Great Meal for $35

Cape Cod Restaurant Week is going on NOW (May 15 – 21).  The Red Inn, Spindler’s and The Pointe are all participating with a fixed three-course menu for $35 per person.  A great way to try some new restaurants.

Reason 2: Donuts

Donuts.  Ice Cream.  Coffee.  What a heavenly combination, right?!  Want a donut decorated like a kitty?  How about piled high with marshmallows and chocolate like the s’more of your dreams? Happy Camper on Commercial Street just opened for the season two weeks ago and they’re making up for lost time.  Yay for the rest of us!

Reason 3: Cookies

If cupcakes and cookies are more your style, Relish is open for the summer season.  Their confections are almost (almost!) too pretty to eat.  But oh, are they worth it.  Plus, they’re on the way to the beach!  P.S. They’ve also got delicious sandwiches but what can I say? They aren’t nearly as fun as the cookies!

Reason 4: Cocktails

While I am obviously partial to the vibe here at Shipwreck Lounge (and oh, how I missed those Tiki Tuesdays!), I do occasionally venture elsewhere.  If I do, Aquabar is my next choice.  Creative cocktails plus one of the most beautiful views in the world, IMHO.  Perfect combination.  And they’re open now too.

Reason 5: Ice Cream

Nothing says “hello, summer!” here on Cape Cod better than the mass reopening of the ice cream shops in May every year.  If you’ve been to Ptown before, you’ve probably been to Lewis Brothers—they’re the classic, homemade, can’t miss spot.  But have you checked out I Dream of Gelato?  If not, you should. Even if it’s pouring rain and raw and 40 degrees out.  Especially if it’s pouring rain and raw and 40 degrees out. They’ve even got vegan and dairy-free options (and I don’t mean like one or two flavors, I mean like a whole legit menu).  YUM.

Weddings in Provincetown: Brass Key Style

 

It’s almost May which means Wedding Season is upon us. Many people (me included!) think of Brass Key Guesthouse as their favorite getaway stop in Ptown.  I’m thinking perfect lounging by the pool, cocktails in Shipwreck Lounge, and those guestrooms!  Guess what?  We do weddings too!

 

If vanilla is your favorite flavor—you may want to look elsewhere.  But if you want your special day to fit who you are, Brass Key may be just what you are looking for: a unique off-the-beaten-path wedding venue.  Comfortable.  Customizable.  Classy.  If you’ve stayed here before, you already know about our service and the laid-back, comfortable vibe that we strive for here.

 

For weddings, we have a new Special Events Pavilion featuring beautiful gardens and a large pergola—a setting that offers privacy and intimacy.  Plus, staying at the Guesthouse, you get the added perks of built-in accommodations and bar service.  For more formal receptions, we can work with our sister property located just across the street: The Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa, with its award-winning restaurant, The Pointe. We have professional wedding planning services available, so you can be as involved (or hands-off) as you’d like in planning the details of the day.  There’s a variety of packages to choose from and we can handle parties of anywhere from 50 to 150 guests.

 

Let’s face it, no one wants their wedding to be an automatic, cookie cutter affair. That’s why we only do one event at a time.  All attention is on you. Convinced yet?  Click here to get into the nitty-gritty details and see photos of past events.

Beyond Provincetown: Discover Truro

Truth be told, there’s so much to do in Provincetown that visitors really don’t need to venture beyond town lines.  There’s also this thing that happens whenever anyone visits Cape Cod.  I know cause I was a summer kid. Wherever you end up, you tend to stay there and settle into your routines. You come, you park, you vacay—whatever that means to you: a cloudless sunny day at your favorite beach, mid-afternoon ice cream break at your favorite shop, dinner at your favorite restaurant, morning paper and coffee at your fav bakery/coffee shop. Repeat every summer weekend.

But perhaps this time you are looking for a bit of an adventure. A short mystery ride? Or better yet, a bike ride? If so, check out Truro.  Sandwiched between Provincetown’s busy, rolicky buzz and Wellfleet’s just-a-little-bit-out-there quirkiness, Truro is like Ptown’s cute little sister.  It is also perhaps the last bastion (at least for now) of Cape Cod wild.  You can still get lost there.  The rambles through the National Seashore bring you temporarily back to what the Cape must have felt like before the 20th century found it. Truro is also one of the hottest spots on the Cape for new construction and development so who knows how long it will stay quiet.  All good reasons to put aside one day of your next Ptown jaunt for a little Truro exploring.

What to do in Truro

  • Wine tasting at Truro Vineyards.
  • Dine at Blackfish Bistro (described as “one of the lower Cape’s best kept secrets by com.
  • Hike in the Cape Cod National Seashore.
  • Visit Highland Lighthouse (one of the oldest in the United States)
  • Golf at Highland Links (known for amazing scenic views and challenging natural rough).

Springtime Whale Watching in Provincetown

It’s been a cold, cold spring, but as it is now the end of March, the end of the cold, cold weather has got to be coming soon.  While we all do our best to get out in the winter, when that warmer (i.e. above 50 degrees) weather finally does arrive, it is a breath of fresh air-literally-as we all venture outdoors into the sunshine.  It also means it is almost time for us to open our doors.  We will be open for the season in just a couple short weeks!

Spring is a great time to get out into nature and enjoy all that the Outer Cape has to offer.  You’ll likely beat the crowds i.e. there won’t be any.  It also just happens to be THE BEST time of the year to see whales from shore.  The best spot to do it is Race Point Lighthouse, which also happens to be a great hike with a beautiful scenic finish.

Provincetown also happens to have one of the world’s most respected marine research and rescue institutions, the Center for Coastal Studies.  Founded in the 1970s by three Provincetown scientists, the center does an amazingly broad range of programs¾everything from running a sea discovery space for kids, to offering educational programs and films, and conducting research on marine mammals, climate change and a whole host of other issues.

If you are in town this weekend, the Center is sponsoring a free whale walk on Saturday, April 1, 10am.  Jesse Mechling, Director of Education at the Center for Coastal Studies, will be leading a walk along the shore, teaching how to identify the different whale species by their appearance and behavior.  At this time of year it’s possible to watch rare North Atlantic right whales, humpback, fin and minke whales from the beaches of Provincetown.  For more information, click here or visit the Center for Coastal Studies facebook page (where they also post updates on any recent whale sightings).

Provincetown for Art Lovers-Spring Edition

Provincetown’s reputation as a creative destination is well established.  Artists, writers, and performers have been flocking here for well over a century now.  Even in the off-season, there is plenty going on.  For the visual arts lover, there is plenty to see and do this March.

The Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) is one of the country’s premier artist residency programs for visual artists and writers.  This month, visual arts fellow Victoria-Idongesit Udondian’s work will be on view at FAWC, with an opening reception on Friday, March 17, from 6-8pm.  I recently saw Udondian’s work at the Higgins Art Gallery at Cape Cod Community College.  Working primarily with found clothing and fibers, I’m sure she gets comparisons to Nick Cave all the time.  I loved the way she played with materials and color, for example, using wire to transform a pair of pants into tentacle-like tubes.  Definitely worth a visit this month!

The Provincetown Art Association & Museum (PAAM) has several great shows up at the moment.  The Members’ Juried and Open exhibitions are an ideal way to get a taste of the variety of artworks currently produced in Provincetown and beyond. Check out the watercolors and block prints by Lester Johnson, in a show curated by Christine McCarthy that’s up through the end of the month.  Johnson was an important Provincetown artist who showed actively in the middle of the 20th century.

The galleries (mostly located at the East End of Commercial Street) are quieter this time of year (many are closed) but if you visit on a weekend, there’s still plenty to see. Berta Walker Gallery, Julie Heller Gallery, Rice Polak and Simie Maryles (Saturdays) are all open on the weekends this month.

Provincetown Performances: What to See in Winter

In the summer, Provincetown has some of the best theater around.  Top notch.  Between the Provincetown Theater, Peregrine Theater Ensemble, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, there’s plenty worth watching (and that’s not including Truro or Wellfleet.  But come February, most theater doors around here are locked and the voicemail messages may say something about calling back in June.  Theater-wise, it’s a bit bleak.  But there are some bright spots.  Here are a few performances (some live, some not) worth checking out:

 

Romeo & Juliet at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater

Adapted and performed by Psittacus Productions in association with Lincoln Center’s Education Department, this performance features original music and stylized movement in a fresh look at the familiar story.  Runs March 25 through April 9.  For more information and tickets, click here.

 

Sea Change Film Series

On March 18 at 7 pm at the WHAT Theater in Wellfleet, Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, WCAI, and WHAT present Wild Ways: Corridors of Life, a documentary featuring some of world’s most cutting edge conservation biology work.  Following the film, David Paulson of Mass Wildlife will discuss the state’s Linking Landscapes program and efforts to accommodate wildlife, especially around major roadways. He’ll be joined by Bob Wilber, director of Land Conservation for Mass Audubon, the largest owner of private conservation land in Massachusetts. WCAI’s Heather Goldstone will moderate the panel.

 

Open Mic Nights

Now in it’s 26th (!!) year, the Coffeehouse @ The Mews is an open mic for writers, playwrights, poets, singers, songwriters, comedians, etc.  It is every Monday night through May 8, 2017 with host and co-founder, singer songwriter Peter Donnelly. You can also listen live, on Mondays, from 7-9:30pm here.

 

Movie Nights

As part of the Film Art Series at Waters Edge Cinema, the Provincetown Film Society presents screenings every Wednesday, 7p.m. of a wide variety of films ranging from 1931’s Le Million (a French film about the journey of a winning lottery ticket) to Popeye (Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall circa 1980) to Nightcrawler (a 2014 psychothriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal).

 

This Winter, Sage Inn & Lounge presents the Crone’s Film Series every Friday, 7p.m. Film historian Michelle Crone presents a different film from 1939, a year she describes as “the greatest year in the history of filmmaking.” Films include The Wizard of Oz (March 3), Wuthering Heights (March 10), and Goodbye Mr. Chips (March 24).