CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Don't know why, there's no sun in P-Town's sky, stormy weather...
The weather graphic showed seven little clouds, with rain falling out of them. "Chance of rain 80% for the next ten days." "An historic convergence of storms." Welcome to Province-town's Women's Week 2005.
Bonnie and I packed ourselves, our rain gear and the dogs for a road trip. I was due in Provincetown, Massachusetts for a book signing and reading on Friday, Oct. 14, but we headed up on Tuesday to experience the wonders of this legendary P-town extravaganza.
Wow! This is what our spring Women's Weekend should morph into!
Despite the weatherit was raining cats and dogs (very appropriate for a lesbian convention), with howling winds and roiling surf (not even the butchest dykes dared to whale watch), the week still rocked.
Arriving after the long drive, the last four hours without a pit stop, I ran directly to the rental unit's bathroom. From my seat on the toilet (and only from that specific perch) I could part the curtains to see towering white caps on the bay. From that moment on, we called the can the room with a viewa great place to study the entire glossy magazine devoted to Women's Week activities.
No less than nine comediennes performed all over town, most with a couple of shows a day and one funnier than the next. Vickie Shaw is a treasure. We laughed so hard we peed.
Three shows ran simultaneously at the Crown & Anchor, and four other venues offered comics along with blues, jazz, folk and any other kind of music you could want.
In between deluges, it was raining (wo)men behind Town Hall. Two teams of scary-looking gals played touch football, refereed by Kate Clinton. The game involved lots of fumbling and falling into weather-induced mud, plus requisite tackling, grunting and cheering.
But that was nothing compared to the Good Old Fashioned Lesbian Revival inside Town Hall. Kate, Vickie, Cris Williamson, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Judy Gold, and several other performers stood together on stage, testifyin" about coming out, kickin' butt and fightin' for equal rights. I felt the power. I was healed. Naturally all this was accompanied by a signer and Indian drum corps. Really.
Let's talk about food. Rubbing elbows with thousands of lesbians in bars and restaurants is a dream come true, but when you're eating lobster, clam rolls, and Portuguese specialties, it's to die forbut not without guilt.
Our luck, my book tour took us to P-Town on the holiest Jewish holiday of the year, the Day of Atonement, when my tribe is supposed to fast all day. Strike me dead. Freshly made Portuguese rolls for breakfast (hmmm, the origin of the word "breakfast" would be...) signaled my breaking the fast right out of the sack. By lunchtime I was well on my way to infamy by chowing down on a lobster roll, a big religious gaff, requiring extra atonement in some circles. Let's face it, I'll be atoning until Joan Rivers looks her age.
Forgive me thoughit was all worth it. So was the wet t-shirt contest. I know, I'm supposed to be past such trivial pursuits. In our defense, we left early, because the club was crammed with young 'uns and we old farts got headaches from ogling. We did stay long enough to see a few firm young things jiggling in the bar's inflatable swimming pool. Help me out here, is this kind of thing degrading to women when womyn run the contests? Just asking.
Oh, but we did get some real culture, including a play about a lesbian adopting a baby, a younger sister transitioning into a younger brother, and a desperate housewife older sister. Very contemporary, very funny and very gay.
Heck, the audience was as entertaining as the play. The cornucopia included women who might have been men, or the other way around, oldsters, youngsters, boomers, pierced eyebrows, mullets, shaved heads, lipstick lezzies, gals with goatees, moms and daughtersa profusion of dykedom and the people who love them.
The next day we saw a one-woman show about journalist Lorena Hickock, who lived in the White House with her "special friend" Eleanor Roosevelt. In this meticulously researched show, we shared the charming and sometimes sad tale of a clandestine love story that managed to smolder despite politics, war and impossible circumstances. Now that's dyke drama!
As for the book business, I had a blast. The reading took place on stage at the legendary Crown & Anchor, and lots of women showed up at 9 a.m. on a bleak, rainy morning to hear well-known authors like Karin Kallmaker, Radclyffe and Ellen Hartand unknown author, me.
I have to admit, it was exhilarating to read one of my columns out loud and hear people laughing about life in Rehoboth. And I was thrilled by the number of women who showed up later at the friendly Now Voyager Book Shop, to chat and buy my book.
Any illusions of grandeur were easily quashed when later in the day I found myself walking in a squall, behind the dogs, and carrying their poop in a plastic bag. Reality check.
Meanwhile when the rain held up for an afternoon, we walked the beach, explored the pier, visited that enormous P-Town monument and joined a zillion other lesbians walking their canine companions up and down Commercial Street. Oh how I'd love to see the same kind of women's week parade here. And there's no reason we can't make it happen.
In fact, Rehoboth mirrors P-Town in a lot of great waysgay friendly small town beach resort, fabulous restaurants, adorable B&B's, an artist's haven, etc.
Unfortunately, we share some not-so-good things as well: condos and townhouses multiplying like rabbits; skyrocketing prices, cottage properties bulldozed and both locals and young visitors being priced out. Oh, and P-Town's biggest dance club, the historic Boatslip has been sold for, what else, condos. Twin cities, separated at birth?
Despite a tourist season shorter than ours, P-Town's sisters and brothers are really fighting back. Their energetic business people plan great gay weeks, weekends, and festivals, with lots of local and imported entertainment. It's inviting to gay travelers, encourages tourism and helps protect Province-town's allure and future.
Here in Rehoboth we should be able to ramp up our festivities and roll out an even bigger welcome mat than we do now. I'm already looking forward to our Spring Women's Weekend and envision it growing into a nationally known party, bringing women, their pups, and their money to Rehoboth each Spring.
And speaking of 2006, this is the last issue of Letters for the year. Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season from my home to yours. See you in 2006...and when you spot me walking the boardwalk, Schnauzers in front, me bringing up the rear, with a little plastic bag, don't forget to wave.
Here's to a happy, healthy 2006 for us all.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 15 November 23, 2005