Wednesday, October 19, 2016

With More Than 58 Gender Identities Currently Recognized, Provincetown Welcomes Fantasia Fair 2016

Provincetown welcomes Fantasia Fair, celebrating
gender diversity here every October since 1975. 
Fantasia Fair is underway, welcoming transgender people of all stripes to Provincetown. Among these folks we'll find a full spectrum of people who are pushing past the gender identity barriers traditionally foisted upon us all from birth.
This conference/fair/festival/celebration has grown both in scope and attendance ever since its first gathering here in 1975. It is the oldest and longest running event of it's kind. The week brings dozens of seminars, workshops, keynote addresses and panels, led by more than 40 presenters and experts in gender issues and topics.
As much a social event as a conference, the fair affords attendees the opportunity to experience "full immersion" as they feel free to spend the entire week, 24 hours a day, presenting their gender just as they choose. Provincetown offers a safe space and supportive community for those exploring gender identity. A number of partners, spouses and significant others also attend Fantasia Fair, with many of their own workshops and events, and a chance to develop friendships and create their own feeling of community as well.
Erin Spencer is wonderfully funny and original.
These visitors give back to PTown by raising funds for our local charities and community organizations while they're here, and in other ways, as well. One of those was last night's "Dinner and a Show" event, held at the Provincetown Theater. This annual function is free, and open to the public. It's a chance for local people and fair participants alike to meet each other and socialize together, and get to know each other.
The evening began with a sort of social hour. Standing at the bar, waiting for my turn to order, I met Barbara, active in the fair for many years, and the current director of the event. I met Sherri Gray, a therapist making a presentation today, but perhaps better known for the YouTube video of her song about marriage equality, called (What If We Are) Just Like You? It's been seen by some 77,000 people.
A nice buffet supper was catered by Angel Foods. Of course, I tasted everything, from the pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables to the lasagna with garlic bread. There was a great baked mac and cheese, and a very tasty shepherd's pie. At the same time there were interesting conversations going on in every corner. I've attended a few of these dinners over the years, and each time I've come away with a little greater understanding of this complicated, immense topic of gender diversity.
Jaye McBride said she had gone "too far, too far…" as bruising, hilarious
jokes about her family and difficult dad left the crowd roaring between gasps. 
Next came the entertainment, which began with a few numbers performed by several members of the Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus. This Boston based choir is among the first all-transgender singing groups in the nation.
The chorus was followed by Boston area comic Erin Spencer, who has a ready supply of material based on "the oddities of living as a transgender woman in the city." Boston comic Jaye McBride rounded out the evening. She has opened for comedians such as Gilbert Gottfried, Aziz Ansari, Bobcat Goldthwait and many others. She also won the Times Square Comedy Showdown. Both of these women were laugh-out-loud funny, and the audience loved them.
After the show there was dessert and coffee (thank you, Angel Foods,) and another chance to meet and mingle. This event will definitely be on my list to attend next year, and it should be on your list as well. Other events open to the public include tonight's Fashion Show, at the Crown & Anchor, 8 PM, and the Fantasia Fair Follies on Friday night, also at the Crown.
The Follies combine both professional and amateur talents, ranging from lip synch to dramatic readings to original songs served up through voice or musical instrument. Any kind of performance might be found here. This is always a fantastic show, bringing folks from far and wide to enjoy this very entertaining production. It will also give many people (some of them rather shy,) a chance to shine during their moment in the spotlight.
This is a fundraiser for SKIP, Soup Kitchen In Provincetown, where around 10,000 hot meals will be served over the coming winter, with a place of community offered to anyone who drops in. Over the years, Fan Fair participants have raised more than $50,000 for Provincetown and Cape Cod charities, nonprofits and community organizations.
Doors open at 7 PM, so you can get a good seat, maybe have a drink, and meet more people before the show starts at 8 PM. Have your dinner at the Central House at the Crown and they'll reserve priority seating for you, so you don't have to rush, or wait in line to get a good seat for the show. Let the restaurant staff know that you have show tickets and they'll take care of it for you. Dinner reservations are strongly recommended. Call the Central House at 508 487-1430.
Take plenty of dollar bills with you to the show, to tip the performers and show your appreciation. Proceeds from ticket sales and all tips will be donated to SKIP, so be generous as you reward performers for their courage in getting up on stage.

No comments:

Post a Comment