Ptown is FAMOUS for its Inns…
Each is a UNIQUE experience like no where else in the WORLD. Here are a few of our Favorite places to call HOME away from HOME!
By M. Sebastian Araujo
NYC has Warhol… and Provincetown has Critchley!
Artist, Writer, Performer and Founder of “The Swim for Life”. I recently had a chance to catch up with Jay
while he was thawing out his toes after his annual” Re-Rooters” New Year ceremony in Provincetown
Harbor, where everyone in town ends the old year by lighting a floating bon fire and sailing it out towards the horizon taking with it good vibes for the Future!
The well spring of Creativity in this Renaissance man never seems to stop !
What in the world around you affects what you do ?
I grew up outdoors in Connecticut. With nine kids, my mother’s mantra was, “Get out of the house!” The drama and unpredictability of New England and Cape Cod weather and landscape are in my DNA. My concern for the Earth’s sustainability keeps me appreciative of each day I have to revel in its splendor. It’s about quality of life for all, including environmental justice, inequality and countering the uber-capitalistic tendencies of our “democracy.” Speak the truth, spread the joy, and let your hair down (what’s left).
How do you feel technology may have changed the Art scene today…?
I’m still adapting to the telephone! …the personal is planetary, not digital. Our bodies are microbes not nano-bites. Technology often becomes an end in itself, like being on a continuous cruise ship without any destination, like the infamous NYC garbage barge in 1987 that was destined for North Carolina but was turned away and cruised around unwanted anywhere for six months until it ended up back in NYC. A metaphoric Ship of Fools! But it returned, chastened.
What makes people respond to what you do?
Often they have no choice. My work appears in unexpected places – parking lots, shopping malls, motels, newspapers, condoms, cars, a bathhouse, the beach , the water…
Was there a “shining light bulb” moment in your career when you realized that you were an artist? If so what was it?
I came out as a “born-again” artist at the age of 33. My first project was installing a series of cars in Provincetown’s waterfront parking lot. It’s what people see when they get off the ferry – a gigantic parking lot. It was the Sand Car series, from 1981 to 1984, called “Just Visiting for the Weekend”: a sand incrusted car, the Sand Family, a sand “fulfilled” car and a sand-blasted car. People started calling me an artist and I was just having fun playing with the cars and the sand and being delighted with the public’s response, including the Board of Selectmen, who wanted to have it removed because it was a “threat to life and limb”.
How do you begin your creative process?
I get up in the morning, breathe, eat breakfast, maybe read the paper, check emails, go out to the garden or check the weather outside, come in, look at my to-do list for the day, ponder, maybe write some thoughts, go for a bike ride or a swim or cross country ski, and tackle some of the items on the list: go to post office, hardware store, food shopping, scour the beach for detritus after a storm, write a proposal, contemplate assorted objects and materials…
What is it about Provincetown that keeps you and other Artists either living there or coming back again and again?
I fortunately own a house here, otherwise I’d be lost in some Un-Provincetown world – an outlier! Of course the reason I moved here was to escape – to the edge – and I was drawn to the exquisite, protected landscape and ocean – an unending outdoor playground. Unfortunately, the shrinking population here due to unfathomable real estate prices has engendered castaways of artists and families – ex-patriots, who long for their homeland (or Homo-land). This dynamic creates a mythology about our peculiar, compact community that provides inspiration whether you live here or not, and a desire to return whenever possible. A crossroads.
Art as Life is something we often see when we look thru the glass of history ,how groovy is it that in P-town a chap like Jay Critchley lives and works on his vision of not just what is, but what might be….I think it’s a very groovy thing indeed.
What would this world be like without places and people like this? Well Luckily even those of us who are not there all the time can find it out on the very tip of the known world…..still clinging to the crooked rocks and holding its own!
To Find out More about Jay Critchley:
Jay’s recent exhibition at Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Jay Critchley, Incorporated, will travel to Florida Atlantic University from February 4- April 2, 2016
His new website features the show’s catalog book and iBook.
By M.Sebastian Araujo
Sometimes Life can be a truly magical carpet ride.I have always been blessed with knowing that Magic when I see it.A feeling,a place or a persons creativity will shine light out into this world of ours and luckily we catch a gmiller of it in Art!My pal Suzanne’s Art and Life are truly Magical . BeeKeeper,Artist and One of the Loveliest Women I know! Recently we had a chat about just how she does it. What inspires the many ways she finds that inner voice and listens to it and than sends it out into the world around us….
What in Life and the World around you affects your Creativity?
Oh please….the color of the rug, my angst of a day, cardinals (both kinds), boredom, museums, nature (of course), what I have in the bin under my bed, that genetic itch, pure curiosity of how this can be put together with that. People, the psyche, animals, spirit, stupidity, goofiness, color, stripes, the need to do something, anything, else.
Easy if they don’t have to rely on living off their sales. I think their are less private commissions, less patrons of the arts, less money put towards promoting the arts. Art and Recreation are the first things cut in schools when there are budget cuts. In America the Arts aren’t as connected to the culture as in other countries. Perhaps there are too many cultures or not enough. Support from a community, a culture that shares ideas and gives you a place…that’s what I find missing.
Did you have a “Shinning Light Bulb” moment when you realized ,you were an Artist?
I made a “sit-upon” in Brownies when I was about 6. I made this square of fantastic blue and green vinyl which I stitched up the sides with yellow/orange yarn. The filler was newspaper. It was used to sit on when you were outside. I was so happy. But as an adult the lightbulb is dimmer
and I am trying to find out which room it’s coming from.
What is it that makes someone collect Art?
Something in the heart…a spark that is ignited within someone with cash in their pocket. Or the idea that “this will be worth something someday”. Something NEW, never seen before, which is pretty rare these days. Though no one makes something truly the same as the next person unless it’s manufactured. It comes from the inside out
Mixed Media Figure
What is it about Ptown that keeps you and other Creative people living here and coming back?
The influx of people and money here is very appealing to Artists.The art community is strong,and though it can be competitive and sometimes “all the same”, there is a niche of the Cape Cod artist that is unique. We have four Art Schools with amazing teachers and classes in a very small area (Ptown and Truro). We are surrounded by beauty in nature and on the streets. There is a lot of stimulus, a lot of sharing, a lot of support with the town artists. A lot of people retire here, they have time to take up a second career as painter, potter, printer etc. There are facilities to do your art, studios to rent, places to be visible, fundraisers to get involved in…and you don’t have to be GREAT, you just have to be willing to do ART.
Mixed Media Figure
It is truly amazing that amid all the mass produced and digitally generated imagery and idea and technology…a small spit of land on the very edge of the known world has with stood Time,Tide,Treachery and Many many humans. And that place called Provincetown has welcomed and embraced it whole heartedly .Somethings are fundamental and for a base of life,Art in Provincetown seems to be a good one!
To Find out more about Suzannes Art and WorK
By M.Sebastian Araujo
There is nothing quite like waking up in Provincetown on a Summer’s morning.Sunlight filtering through fluttering curtains, carried aloft by the coolness of the bay.A piebald and scruffy dog snoozing on the pillow above me.Awakened by sunlight and a crows cawing,down the creaky stairs to the kitchen . The noisy crank of the coffee grinder,and I do mean grinder,a rusty old iron one not a fancy electric one. This is New England but my tastebuds Latin and like strong coffee.Sitting under the pergola,looking out onto my little garden that has been a bloom and a buzz with Summer for along time now. I feel insored to get on my old bone shaker of a bike …this perfect morning to have a peek into some of the gardens in this crazy quilt of a town.Come along !
Here in New England , gardens has been thriving for centuries,and in Provincetonw,where nothing should really thrive, the
battel is endlessly waged .Things are tried and some work,others just never quite take to the sandy of the place. Every street and part of town is an entirely new bio-sphere. Some shady,some not…others windy and chilly while just round the corner it is hard,dry and almost barren. Gardeners have adapted spaces to suit the rythmn of the landscape.Occassionally completely reconstructing the natural design to suit their aims. Determined delphiniums, fanciful foxgloves, luscious lavender, ponderous peonies,delightful dahlias, tempestuous tulips, rambunctious roses, heady hydrangeas,georgeous grasses and sundry other species of the sensous that comprise the “Cottage Style”. The idyll here on Olde Cape Cod. We Cape Codders really take gardening to heart!Long winters indoors make time for perusing seed catalogues,and plotting next years ideal garden.Some of us start the garden, late in the winter while the
North wind is still howling. Sharing seeds from former gardens,(including those fellow gardeners ) are always the most loved.They bring share nature’sbounty from one garden to another.
While the the icy Winter is still months away , the “Late Summer” blooms are begining as the cooler days become shorter and thepaceof life slows a bit. So many things have changed in the decade or more that I have been here,yet onething still remains,the love of a garden. Wether it is one of the great overgrown gardens in the “Classically Dignified” East End or the “Shabby Chic” newer ones popping up in the West End or an austere “Zen” minimalist which dot the landscape …there is always somethng blooming in this “GardenSpot” of a town.Thatis why so many of us have flocked here for a few centuries now. Life is good here by the bay which is hopefully how it shall always remain,no matter the Season. As you wander about these crooked streets make sure to take time to stop and smell the roses. With love from Provincetown!
By M.Sebastian Araujo
Show Stills by : Micheal Von Redlich
Summer is in FULL swing here in Gay Old Ptown.The time of year when all the butterflies fly back to New England taking the form of people,making it beautifully enchanting place to be. Even the dogs live an enchanting life now that they have a hotel of their own! Of course the beautiful season is more enchanting because Ryan Landry and the “Golddust Orphans” just opened their SMASH new musical based on the classic fairy tale “Snow White”. I sat in on a rehersal and what a rehersal it was! The caliber of talent,professionalism and magic are not to be believed – the sets by Windsor Newton are truly amazing.The music will more than get you heart and toes tapping to a new beat.The choreography is truly out of this world; of course the acting and stylized special affects are always truly something to behold, but I truly came to see the costumes!
Amid the kerfuffle, I had a chat with costume designer extraordinare and “Elliot Award” winner Scott Martino at his studio tucked down an alleyway,just off Commercial Street. He was busy “touching up”some last minute details and gearing himself up for another “Opening” and the Season ahead.He is the costumer for the “Gold Dust Orphans” and each year, he cranks out an amazing number of costumes for the entire troop .What a job ! Imagine if you will Edith Head dressing Godzilla to play “Mary Queen of Scots”. His tools range from a sewing machine to paperclips and there is nothing that will not be used to make a costume happen.His work is truly amazing.,not only are the costumes made by him, they are always unique and often on that cutting edge of Art. He began making costumes for himself to go out dancing while attending Parson School of Design,NYC and you might say he has never stopped.
After many years of hard Work,Drama and putting one foot in front of the other Scott and the rest of “The Orphans” have become Legendary performers in Boston, NYC,San Francisco and Ptown. This Summer is proving to be the best Summer Ever for Ryan and the Gang . Amid the flurry of new shows in town,the cream has risen to the top and we are so lucky to get to see these clowns on and off stage.This Summer you are in for a real treat.”Snow White and the 7 Bottoms ” will have you howling in the aisles. Ptown changes each and every year,but a few things remain the same and lucky for us, Ryan Landy and Scott Martino and the rest of “The Golddust Orphans” go on and on,thats one of the things we all hold so dear here in Gay Olde Provincetown!
To find out more about “Snow White” Click Here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/692865
By M.Sebastian Araujo
Summer has begun – bees are buzzing in the wisteria in my little garden, my old piebald terrier Mame seems to be under its warm spell… The Sun is out and smiling upon this crazy quilt of an Old Towne.Turned in my tweedy cap for a wide brimmed straw hat , ambling down Commercial Street with my dog this week,happy to see so many galleries and shops open, filled with delightful things from near and far.Mame has a nose for scents,she began to pull towards a charming shop in the Near East End , Botanica. I wondered what was up.Inside this special place whose owners Mark and Rob have selected some of the most charming things for your home.Flowersand Plants are the inspiration of this wonderful shop witha truly beautiful English cottage garden out front which will delight your senses. A potpourri of Art, Gifts and Delightfully Scented Candles to make your Home feel fresh and cheerful all Summer long.Need a great gift for your hostess or something to remember your trip to Ptown,well these chaps have just the thing!
Find out more about Botanica here: http://botanica-pt.com Just up the street and down an alley way is the shop of Ptown’s own Art Historian Extraordinaire, Mr Jim Bakker.Famous for his auctions and knowledge of Art Antiquites and More…Mr Bakker has asembled one of the finest collections of treasures spanning the decades and styles. If you happen to pop in when he is there, be ready to have a good long chat about life in Ptown past and present. With an eye to detail and quality it is always pleasureable to stop by and peruse the wonderful treasurs on a Summer’s afternoon.The sort of place where you simply want to see everything,and own most of it. From Persian Carpets to Olde Cape Cod Furniture and Provincetown Artistic Masterpieces,it is a delight for the senses and a real learning curve of Antiques, all presented with a sure hand of someone who knows his game and is tops in it!
Find aout more here: http://www.bakkerproject.com/ Sometimes my eyes are surprised by what I find as I cruise down Commercial Street.That’s what happened as I passed by the window of a new shop on the strip,Room 68. I was struck by the sparseness of the space and the merchandise within. Room 68 has its feet well planted in Jamaica Plains and I have been to the shop there a few times, and find it utterly delightful. Modern Design as such is often overlooked by many as something that is a passing whim,but when it is done with a sense of Style and Quality it can hold its own amid all Styles. Good is Goods no matter the Time or Culture.In the New Ptown location a specially curated selectionfrom their JP shop and a few specific finds geared towards a more Cape Cod. Room68 is the MOMA of Ptown!
Find out more about Room 68 here: http://www.room68online.com/
So the next time you are in Sunny Gay Olde Provincetown,make sure you take a stroll down Commercial Street and have a look around.I promise you will always enjoy what you see! Is it is a sunny day you may even catch a glimpse of me and my old piebald dog Mame,poking our noses into whats going on around the town,inquiring whats going down or chatting with some clown. Which is why I live here all the year round!
By M.Sebastian Araujo
by M.Sebastian Araujo
Spring is starting to unfold here on Gay Olde Cape Cod. Like a Lady of old she bestowes beauty where ever she goes. It is a time of changes small and BIG; transformation seems to be the theme that is whirling around in my brain these days while tooling about this Gay Olde Towne. Recently I stopped my rusty old boneshaker when I espied with my roving eve the painter Jo Hay tending her garden ,on a Spring like day. Jo is English,and has lovely and gracious manners some of us adore. However it was her studio that intriuged me most.She has works in a dream of a space- a separate building with good light and wonderful energy.Being nosey,I had to find out just what it was that made her change from a rather prestigous life and career in Graphic Design, to come and work in this place we call home.
Painting for some is a gift,for others it is work and I think for Jo it is a life long quest. Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne,England in the 60’s,painting even as a child. Her fascination with color was the catalyst that made her pursue a career in Art. Having acquired a solid professional background in magazine design, Hay moved from London to New York City. While working in the design biz she attended classes at the Art Students League of New York. In the early 2000s she left Graphic Art designing to dedicate herself to painting full time. While living and painting in Greenwich Village she became aware of the obvious presence of androgyny represented by the transsexuals, transvestites, and transgendered men and women.Fascinated by the mysterious middle ground between the sexes,she began to probe the psychological and sexual perceptions of gender through her work. Hay’s work has been included in various group and juried shows,her most recent solo exhibition entitled “Betwixt” a series of large scaled heads that appeared to be male and female simultaneously.She explained that the series of paintings are not portraits of specific people,but are pieced together from photographs, paintings and life.She strives to make dynamic compositions with overlapping brushstrokes that weave together creating a strong anatomical forms. The patchwork nature of these compositions allows her to push some of the painting towards the abstract. Making the structure dissolve and resolve with the question of gender .Not surprisingly in November 2013 one of Hay’s recent works from the “Betwixt” series was selected as a finalist in Madonna’s “ARTFORFREEDOM” competition ( http://madonna.tumblr.com/page/2) a global initiative encouraging creative expression that bringing awareness to human rights violations.
As the late afternoon light was boucning off the various planes and angles of paintings finished and not quite finished in her studio, we chatted like magpies about many things…life,gender issues and Provincetown. Nearly teatime she invited me to tea in the charming ,rambling and colorful (why did that not surprise me too much) old house she and her partner Carolyn Kramer share. Color and Art and Cups of good strong Tea …chatter about NYC days …lifes up’s and down’s, all the while my eyes were happily taking in the colors of each room surrounding us.More and more of her Artt flowed into my eyes including those amazing little bunnieportraits which drew me to her work and brought me here to this lovely afternoon. The future promisesto be just as colorful for this truly wonderful woman and her painting, there are new avenues to discover and many more ideas to study and expose to the rest of us. My hat is off to this genuinely creative painter who takes such care and thought with each and every flick and stroke of the brush. Find out more about whats going on in Jo Hay’s colorful world here: http://www.johay.org/
By M.Sebastian Araujo
Spring like most Great Ladies is taking her Time.The day after what hopefully was the last Winter Storm,the frigid North wind is still blowing down Commercial Street. The sun was out, trying it best to warm the early bulbs that dot the gardens around town, and warm the souls of the local charecters already sitting on the creaky benches infromt of Town Hall. Even the weathered clapboard on the buildings is heaving a sigh of relief.My old boneshaker of a bike seems to be feeling a case of the Spring Giddies,it’s rusty chain telling me Winter must be at an End! Peadling along the Street,looking for some inspiration amid the kerfuffle of shops opening and closing some new some old.The anticipation of things to come,and work to be done.Ptown like many places faces the challenges of Modern life.Big Business and other not too savory ideas,come and go. I find that individually owned businees still far out number the ones from across the Bridge as we say here on Olde Cape Cod.
Luckily! “Kiss & Make Up ” is a True Ptown success story. Begining as a small shop in the East End,it has grown into a larger new space and it is now a cosmetic retail experience for men and women. It offers an assortment of top innovative brands with an emphasis on eco-friendly, vegan and animal cruelty free product lines.Owner Christine Gero Horovitz and Staff offer a Full range of services to make you and your life a more beautiful experience.Even Paddington the Shop Mascot will make sure your feeling Beautiful! Christine has been helping people be more beautiful for many years and is a true Ptown Master at the Art of Beauty. Part of her mission is to help those who sometimes cannot help themselves.She founded “The Steven Horowitz Fund ” in memory of her Husband, to help people with substance abuse issues through the sale of Custom Designed Color Lipsticks. She has gotten some of the Luminaries of the Provincetown Theatre and “Drag Scene” to choose a color and give their Name and Lips to the campain. Luminaries such as Ryan Landry,Olive Another,Penny Champagne and many,many more STARS! Who could NOT resist buying the same lipstick worn by Dina Martina!
Find out more here; http://www.kissandmakeupptown.com/
After getting some lipbalm for my chapped lips, wrapping a scarf around my neck and setting my cap back to its jaunty pose,I headed over to the RED DOTStudio located at # 30 Conwell Street.This is a real great placein which to get just about anythng you might need to make Your Summer Rental or Ptown Home as “Gay as Balloons”. Artist /Owner Richard LaCasse has curated an amazing melange of vintage and upcycledhome goods. Anytime you pop in, you just might catch him hard at it making one of his Famous “Assembled Art Pieces”.This Queen really knows his stuff , after a long Carrer over the Bridge he is now doing what he loves best. Creating Art and Selling beautiful cool things.Museum Quality Finds at Tag Sale Prices! Open anytime you see the flag flying.Stop by and find out why everyone is talking about this Ptown Treasure Trove of Amazing Finds!.
My last foray on this Sunny Day is the Museum with the Best Collection of Ptown Art any where in the World PAAM. I am especially intrigued to see the Annual Members Open Show aptly titled “Fresh”. Here one will find new and innovative works from Museum Members that have not been shown or have available for Sale before.The exhbit is Huge with a vast array of media ,subject mattersand pricepoints. Everything from Photgraphy to Sculptured Dolls, this annual event is one of my favorties because not only are you in a World Class Museum,but you are looking at World Class Art,that you can buy.What an idea!!How often have you secretly wanted to hang the Mona Lisa on your livingroom wall and not only could you not get near it at that French place,but who could afford it? Even I couldn’t resist a certain painting by a certain Artist! Get out the red dots,I am ready to buy .These amazing pieces of Art will go fast so make sure you pop in sometime soon! Find out more about the Exhibit and Museum here; https://www.paam.org/
In this fast paced world of change and change and more change,I am truly glad that while Provincetown too has also changed,Art,Beauty and Commerce are all still thriving and survivng amid the flurry of moods swings that hit Commercial Street often this time of the year. My hat is off to you the independantly owned and operated business here in town .Not an easy task in this .com world.Glad to know some of you are still there and growing and thriving because of the uniqueness and determination in this place I call Home Provincetown….
It has been a long Winter, a very long Winter. We’ve Been to Paris and back and even that did not make this Winter seem any less harsh. Spring is on the calendar, the snowdrop flowers in the garden are bursting through the frozen ground, just as the Polar Vortex (which I think sounds like the name of a silent film star ) has began to howl and blow some of the most frigid temps of the year. My mind has began to Spring ahead of the natural transfiguration outside.Transfiguration,that is the word I was searching for amid the flurries of snow last time I gassed up the old Volvo and headed to Orleans to hear the world reknowned choir http://gdcchoir.org/ singing a program of Bach and Buxtehude.I sat there listening my eye began to wander, and the building itself began to talk to me in a very profound and spiritual way. I was drowning in honey,skinless.
This amazing building http://www.churchofthetransfiguration.org/ which is the life spring and core of “The Communtiy of Jesus” , an ecumenical Benedictine monastic communtiy whose mission is to glorify God through the Creative Arts. The 230 professed Community members come from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds and occupations, and include celibate brothers and sisters, married couples, and single adults. What binds them together is a love of Art and Creativity and God.The architecture of the Church itself always has intirgued me to and made me wonder just how in the year 2000 it was possible for this place to be built stone upon stone . The church’s architecture is a contemporary expression of the ancient basilica form, used by the Romans, and later adopted by the earliest Christians.It reflects both the Community’s ecumenical vision, and its monastic identity. Its shape and design beautifully accommodate the worship that takes place within it both the daily celebration of Eucharist, and the Liturgy of the Hours. The strong longitudinal layout, the columns and arches flanking the central nave, the central roof trusses, and the apse that envelopes and displays the altar, all underscore the altar’s significance, and give directional movement to the sanctuary. Antiphonal seating allows for chanting the psalmody. The unique placement of the organ chambers in the side aisles allows the organ to speak throughout the church.
What amazes me each time I cross the threshold of this place is the fact that in the year 2000 this group of people decided to do something that isn’t done all that often these days.The Frescos and Mosaics and other forms of Sacred Art , were all made on site,by the monks and nuns and some world reknowed artists that all came togther and to create a miracle. This church is not a reproduction rather it is a recreation of an ancient form,made fresh by modern eyes and minds.
Its masterfully handcrafted bronze doors are open to everyone who is seeking something not too often found in this chaotic world that seems to be spinning at too rapid pace. So the next time you are tooiling about the lower Cape do stop by Rock Harbor and have a peek inside theis amazing place…like so many places here on Olde Cape Cod its always a great way to spend an afternoon,a while or perhaps even a lifetime! As the sun begins to warm up this olde place I am once again beginning to realize that no matter where I go, be it Paris, France,Azerbijan or Rome…there really is no place like Home.Keep
Smiling and Remember to Breath Deeply and Exhale,and get here when you can……
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