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A Diary of Fantasia Fair (2002)

A Diary of Fantasia Fair (2002)

©2002, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2002). A diary of Fantasia Fair. Unpublished essay.

For more than twenty years Fantasia Fair has been the high spot of my year. It’s a wonderful event and I like to share that fact with others.




A Dairy of Fantasia Fair

By Dallas Denny


Tuesday, 28 October

I’m back on earth (sort of!) after the 28th annual Fantasia Fair, held 20-27 October in the beautiful resort village of Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod. Cape Cod, for those of you who, like me, don’t live in New England, is that narrow strip of land that juts, like the Arm and Hammer arm logo, into the Atlantic ocean between Boston and Providence.


Saturday, 19 October

If you’ve never been to Fantasia Fair, you’re missing something, I’m telling you. It’s always an adventure. This year the P’Town airport was closed (they were winding up the rubber bands in the Cape Air planes, I think), so I flew into Providence and took the two-hour trip up the Cape with long-time Fair planner and thrice-director Alison Laing, after stopping by Alison’s home to say hello to hir beautiful wife Dottie and pick up the things Alison had forgotten to pack. Al and Dottie live just at water’s edge in a beautiful little house in Rhode Island, a delightful spot with a marvelous view (they don’t yet know that I’m sending them a Christmas present of a pair of binoculars more powerful than the ones they keep on their sundeck so they will be able see the freckles on the sailors in the boats that pass by).

We arrived in Provincetown Saturday evening, just in time to attend a dinner party thrown by Dana Noble and Kathryn and Lauren Bode. Angela O. (who is always so beautifully put together that we named the Best-Dressed award for her and retired it so we wouldn’t have to give it to her again) was present, as was Stephanie Pierce, she who runs all over Provincetown ensuring we have places to eat our meals, hold our banquets, rest our heads, hold our seminars, and throw our parties. We had a marvelous dinner. Oenophiles Alison, Kathryn, and Lauren spoiled my nose for Boone’s Farm and Annie Green Springs with three very different bottles of fine red wine.

After dinner I checked into the Crown & Anchor, since my room at Fairbanks Inn had long been booked by one of the more than 5000 lesbians in town for Women’s Week. Once situated, I stepped out onto Commercial Street and spent a long half-hour in the misty evening, watching the many passers-by enjoying their last night in town before leaving for their respective homes.


Sunday, 20 October

I don’t remember where Sunday morning went. Must have been that fine red wine. Suddenly, it was afternoon and the sun was out, the air pleasant. The whale watch boats were calling, but it would soon be time to set up the office for registration. I placed quick calls to the cell phones of Donna Johnston and Dainna Cicotello, who would be working in the office, and found them on Hwy. 6, approaching town, just minutes apart. Then I made a dash across the street to Tim’s Books, which has a large selection of used books with GLBT topics. Across the years, I’ve found many rare and out-of-print books and manuscripts there. This year, nothing. Good, in a way. That meant I wouldn’t have to find room in my already-packed luggage for a dozen books. Some years, I’ve had to mail home a box of books and dirty underwear (there are no laundromats in Provincetown) so I could get my suitcase closed.

Alison came by, and we took my suitcase and guitar to Fairbanks, where I would be staying for the rest of the Fair. Afterwards, I strolled down to McMillan Wharf. It was the last day the fry shacks would be open. I was hoping for fried clams, but the only shack still open was out of clams, so I went for the scallops. They were deep-fried, but at least they weren’t breaded, so score! on calories. They were fresh and tender, and there were a bunch of them. Yum! On the way back I stopped at Ben & Jerry’s for an ice cream, as it was their last day open as well— fortunately for me. I live for ice cream.

Office Manager Kathryn Bode, helped by the three Ds (Donna, Dainna, and Dallas) set up for registration, a difficult task when everyone was already at the table, asking questions, trying to cut deals, looking for their packets. Said packets had been pre-stuffed, so once we located pencils, pens, name badge holders, and other paraphernalia, we distributed them to everyone present and to later comers as they arrived. Good love no-hassle registration!

From 6 to 8 pm, the owners of Crowne Pointe, a beautifully restored and appointed inn high on a hill on Bradford Street and close by Fair venues, gave an elaborate reception. In the beautiful setting, appetizers were walked around the rooms by Crowne Pointe staff, and cosmopolitans— a drink I had never tried— flowed endlessly. A cosmo and one beer, which I accepted because the staff seemed uncomfortable seeing me empty-handed, and all was right with the world. I stood outside on the deck, looking out over the town and enjoying the evening’s coolness, a pleasant contrast to six months of warm Atlanta weather.

The reception was a great marketing strategy for Crowne Pointe. The owners had left a suite open for inspection, and by Fair’s end the inn was pretty well booked for the 2003 Fair.

As the reception wound down, Fairgoers made their down the hill to Commercial Street to the Pied Bar, where Lynnette Molnar, the owner of the Fairbanks Inn, had arranged a buffet and dance at the Pied Bar. There was no cover charge for Fair attendees, who munched wings and assorted bar food and danced until the 1 am closing.

The bars in P’Town all close at one a.m. Late-night activities are limited mostly to the various B&Bs and inns, although Spiritus Pizza is open until at least 2:00. The following night, I had an adventure at Spiritus, of which you will hear shortly.

Sunday was glorious.


Monday, 21 October

The morning found everyone gathered at Bayside Betsy’s restaurant for orientation and a great buffet breakfast. Program Chair Miqqi Alicia Gilbert, who, aside from her Fair activities, has a second job as a professor of philosophy at York University, was M/C. She welcomed attendees and ran through the list of workshops, seminars, and evening events. She introduced presenters, some of whom said a word about their programs. Of special note were Neila Miller, who had several workshops late in the week, and Dr. Sandra Cole, who has an intensive program for partners.

Sandra does intense work during the course of the Fair; at least two couples— probably more— come to the Fair exclusively to attend her sessions. Sandra is working all the time, sessions every morning and most afternoons. Lately, she has introduced workshops for transpeople without a partner at the Fair, a big hit.

Neila has presented at the Fair for many years. This year she gave a workshop on dreams and fantasies, and one called “Creative Explorations.”

An office of the Provincetown Police Department came to speak to attendees. In the Fair’s early years, the police presentation was all about how it was not illegal to crossdress in P’Town and Fair attendees would be protected by the police— a situation probably unique at that time. Now our safeness and acceptance are so matter-of-fact it’s become all about parking— where you can, and where you can’t. Provincetown has narrow streets, and they are easily blocked, and especially during the touristy months, parking bans are enforced enthusiastically. Parking is not that much of a problem for those who stay in town, since everyone walks everywhere in P’Town, but it can be difficult for those who stay on the East End or the West End, which can entail a half-mile walk. A reserved spot is to die for. Some inns have a few spaces, some have none. Those without parking spots must go to the lot at McMillan Wharf— which can be expensive— or to the less expensive lot beside the Pilgrim Monument, a large tower which was built to honor the Pilgrim’s first landing in the U.S., which was not in Plymouth, but at the place that would one day become Provincetown.

Miqqi kept the orientation short (hooray!). When she finished, all who wished walked a short two blocks to board the Provincetown Trolley, which took us on a 40-minute tour. Riders were shown a number of obscure alleys usually missed by tourists— they contain great galleries, restaurants, and boutiques— and we were told Provincetown was initially located across the bay and was floated to its present location, house by house, in the early 1800s. When we got out of town, we saw cranberry bogs and Provincetown’s famous sand dunes. Riders held onto their hats and wigs, as the case was, for it was mighty windy out by the Atlantic. Fortunately, the trolley carried blankets so the colder of us could bundle up.

Just before the trolley made it almost to the end of its route, we found ourselves blocked by a truck which had parked on the wrong side of the street to unload. We cheerfully walked all of 300 feet to our point of embarkation and from there to our respective luncheon places. Fairgoers were able to choose from three locations— the aforementioned Bayside Betsy’s or the restaurant at the newly rebuilt Crown & Anchor (it burned two years ago, and was almost totally rebuilt. Historical note: Provincetown is one of the few towns in New England to make it this far without burning to the ground. Houses are close, close together and made of centuries old wood; the fire department, which is all-volunteer, is always on the ready, and responds rapidly to all conflagrations). The third choice was Napi’s, which has been a Fair restaurant for many years. Meals were good at all three places, with some attendees clearly preferring one, some another. My fave was Bayside Betsy’s, which offered a choice of two entrees from the menu; I don’t much like buffets, mainly because of the lack of portion control. On my part that is. I keep going back.

At one o’clock, there was the first of a series of keynote presentations. At least, that’s what they will be called from now on. The Professor that lives inside Program Chair Miqqi Gilbert caused her to dub them plenary sessions, and she took a lot of ribbing because of it. The difference from previous years was we had one after-lunch presentation at which we all came together rather than three, one in each of the restaurants. We found it worked well. Restaurants are often not set up properly for presentations, and many remain open and non-Fair people wander in for a bite, so speaking in a restaurant can be difficult. The new setup allowed us to officially open the sessions to townspeople, many of whom attended.

Monday’s plenary was one of the few screw-ups in 2002, and it was entirely my fault; Miqqi had slotted Marisa Richmond to present— but Marisa wasn’t arriving until Wednesday. When Miqqi learned this just an hour before the plenary, she scrambled to put together a backup. Later, when I asked her what we had done to fill the void, she said, famously, “We? WE? WE set up our laptop to find a presentation! WE scurried to the copy shop to prepare overheads! WE hurried back to the Cabaret Room hoping we would be there in time to present!” Miqqi is gracious in giving credit. SHE really did all that!

There were workshops and seminars throughout the afternoon. I won’t list them by name, but let me say that all through the week, a variety of topics, from beauty to health to transgender politics, to issues of self-identity and self-exploration to dealing with family and children, were presented, often from a variety of perspectives.

Monday evening, we all gathered at the Unitarian Universalist meeting house for dinner. This event, once called the Town and Gown Dinner, is also open to townies, many of whom have attended for decades. We met and chatted with old friends, then marched across Commercial Street to the newly-rebuilt Whaler’s Wharf (the old Whaler’s Wharf, which was little more than a collection of shacks, burned in the C&A fire) for a showing of Paul Hill’s “Myth of Father.” In the film, Hill takes a look at his father’s transition and its impact on the family, including himself. The father in this case is Jodi, a long-time Fairgoer. I learned during the film Jodi came out to her family in October. Hmmm. October. The same month as the Fair. Isn’t THAT coincidental!

This is a good time to point out that by its very nature, Fantasia Fair provides space for self-growth and self-exploration. Whether for newly out-of-the-box crossdressers or those contemplating going full time or those who are post-op, the Fair provides world enough and time to work through issues, to learn and to grow. That’s the uniqueness of the Fair, and why it is so important to so many of us. Over the years, the Fair has given us many of the transgender community’s leaders and organizations, including the Tiffany Club, IFGE, the Winslow Street Fund, and now Real Life Experiences and the Transgender Pioneers Fund.

“Myth of Father” was poignant, bringing to the surface emotions and tensions felt by many of us. Afterwards, there was a 30-minute discussion in the adjacent room. A number of townspeople were in attendance, and several later told us they were profoundly emotionally influenced by the film and discussion.

After the movie, Miqqi and I and Dainna Cicotello made our way to the Vixen Bar, where we bought each other drinks. Then it was time for Spiritus, which has wonderful, extra-thin crust pizza and a soda fountain. While we waited for our pie, Miqqi, drawing on her immense experience as a philosopher, showed the woman at the fountain how to make a proper egg cream— which, she informed us all, contains neither egg nor cream. It was a hilarious Fanfair moment. Afterwards, we sat and ate our pizza in the almost empty store. There was only one customer, and for the entire time he was, or so it seemed, standing at the counter.

When we finished, my jackets— I had laid two on the table beside us— were gone— stolen. A quick inspection proved they weren’t in Spiritus. Miqqi or Dainna found my light jacket draped over a bench on the street. My heavier, fleece jacket (which, coincidentally, I had bought in Provincetown), was gone, along with about $15, my comb and lipstick, and my room key. I was most concerned about my lipstick, for there is assuredly no Estee Lauder counter in all of Provincetown. I spent a lipstickless week, my first since my transition 13 years ago. Since my return to Atlanta, I keep forgetting to apply lipstick.

We walked the short distance to Fairbanks Inn, where we were all staying, and called the police, who duly arrived and took a report, leaving abruptly to quell a disturbance at the Vixen, which he had left only a half-hour or so earlier. We knew some of our people were there, but as it turned out they had left just after we did. so we had no rowdy girlz to bail out of the P’Town jail.


Tuesday, 22 October

Another fine, sunny day. I spent the morning hanging out at the Fair office. Dainna brought Donna and I breakfast from the Portuguese Bakery, where omelettes are only $2.59. It was one of the few places in Provincetown at which one can eat cheap. Alas, it closed its doors the day I left town. No word yet on whether the new owner will open another bakery or use the building for another purpose.

Before lunch, I went shopping with Sandra Cole, looking for a replacement for my flannel jacket. The summer had been warm in P’Town, and stocks were low. I never did find a replacement, although later in the week Sandra found and got for me a nice khaki short jacket.

There were seminars morning and afternoon, and of course, another plenary at 1:00. But the big event for me was a late afternoon meeting at Fairbanks, when the Fair committee members met to discuss how the Fair was going and how the bankbook was looking. This enabled us to determine the amount of the financial awards for that evening’s events.

Tuesday night was a big, big deal: the first ever Transgender Pioneers Banquet. It was held at Provincetown Inn, the site of the former Outreach Banquet, and one of the few venues to which everyone drives. Ema, our youngest attendee, must not have known how far it was, for Dainna and I, who had returned to the Fair Office to pick up the program sheets, found her in the middle of nowhere, on Commercial Street, clicking along, her first time out in heels. She was happy to see us, for sure. Dainna said to her, “You shouldn’t get in cars with strangers. And there’s no one stranger than us!” Dainna has an infectious laugh; I have to limit my time with her, or else my face hurts from smiling.

Yvonne Cook-Riley had been kind enough to bring one of our two honorees, Merissa Sherrill Lynn, to Provincetown. The other honoree, Virginia Prince, was not present, absent for the first time in years. After a cocktail reception and buffet-style meal, M/C Miqqi Alicia introduced Alison Laing, who spoke about the many pioneering contributions of Virginia Prince. I spoke about Merissa’s many activities and gifts to the community. The big moment was when I was able to tell Merissa we were presenting her with a check in the amount of $2500, funds raised from contributions, from monies freed by grants, and from door charges for the 2001 Fantasia Fair Follies and Fashion Show. Later, we phoned Virginia to tell her we had for her a check in the same amount. It was a great moment, the first time the community had taken the responsibility of providing for our elders who had given up so much of their own lives in activism and self-sacrifice.

Attendees at the banquet left more than $600 in the envelopes we had placed the tables; this money will go toward the 2003 Transgender Pioneers Awards.


Wednesday, 23 October

I awoke (we all awoke) to heavy rain. Most of us rolled over in our beds and went back to sleep. Attendance at the workshops was dismal, disappointing some of the presenters. Everyone was up by lunch, however, and the plenary and afternoon workshops had better attendance.

Wednesday night was the Fantasia Fair Fashion Show. Miqqi, who was producing the event, had been signing up and rehearsing folks since Monday. Before the event, she and Andrea Susan had dinner, at which they got each other drunk. They co-emceed the show, doing an outrageous back-and-forth and consuming an entire fifth of scotch while onstage. It was hilarious.

That’s what they say, anyway. I’ve seen the Fashion Show in snippets over the years, and I’ve watched the videos, but Wednesday night is my night for myself. After a hectic afternoon (the reason for which I won’t go into here), I retreated to Fairbanks and spent a pleasant few hours alternately reading and playing guitar and singing.

I should say here the Fairbanks is a great space. It was built in 1776 from the timbers of a British sailing ship, after the captain saw and fell in love with Provincetown Bay. The inn is one of three brick buildings in P’Town; the bricks come from ships’ ballast. There are fireplaces in almost every room and a wonderful living room with a big hearth and fireplace, and a great sunroom, a copy of which I hope to one day add to my own house. The adjacent Carriage House provides a secluded spot for Sandra Cole’s workshops. I once spent a memorable week as a roommate of Virginia Prince in the apartment atop the Carriage House; Miqqi stayed there this year, but Princeless.

When the hour grew late enough, I grabbed my poncho and made my way up the hill in the now-light rain to Roomers, a beautiful B&B that has long been known as the party spot of Fantasia Fair. The celebration cranks up every night at about midnight and goes later and later as the Fair unfolds. There are always chocolates and other snacks and a well-stocked table of assorted liquors. The conversations are animated, and sometimes the house rocks with acoustic— and sometimes, as when Jodi bring her bass, amplified— music. I tottered home oneish and fell into bed.


Thursday, 24 October

It was clear and cool at the dawning— let’s face it, it’s never quite warm on the Cape in October. I don’t remember what I did that morning or during the early afternoon. Hung out at the office, I suppose. At four, I made my way once again to Roomers, this time for an elegant garden party provided for Fairgoers by Andy, Roomers’ gracious owner. It was a bit cool for a garden party, so most of us stayed indoors, but a few of us did go outside to see Andy’s back yard, which was, of course, nicely turned out. Someone— Dianne Karron, perhaps— said she had never seen teak with lichen on it. I said that was because it was an an-teak. One of my many funnies at this year’s Fair. Unfortunately— or fortunately, depending on one’s point of view, I’ve forgotten my other witticisms.

Andy spared no expense or trouble to put on a great party. The food was great, and remnants of it could be found at the late-night parties all the way to Saturday. We all ate merry, and drank hearty, and then departed for the non-PC named “Girls’ Night Out.” Fairgoers supped at Provincetown’s best restaurants, then regrouped for house parties.

I showed at the Carriage House at 9 for a singalong, which I had been commanded to set up by Niela M. She didn’t show, but a number of folks did, so I did the best I could playing shortly before-my-time folks songs in easy-to-figure-out keys. Neila, who knows all the words and chords, would have been a natural. Neila, where WERE you?

There were several private parties that evening, and I was invited to at least one, which I didn’t attend because of the singalong. I did make it to Roomers, which was curiously dead all the way up to 1:30 am. I never did find out where everyone was that night. Perhaps the entire Fair went to bed early to catch up on its sleep. Certainly, time in bed is a previous commodity during Fair week!


Friday, 25 October

The day was sunny, but beset by the painful realization that there were only two days left. My day is a blur to me now. That night, though, was the Follies, which I remember perfectly. I was asked to perform “Gender Bender,” a song of my own creation which P’Town loves, and which I hadn’t sung at the Follies for some years. Of course, I said yes, then retreated to Fairbanks to desperately try to remember the opening lines of the song. Before the show I went to the bar for a straight-up shot of Jack Daniels and was chatted up by a friendly lesbian who had once had an FTM lover. I made my way backstage, and, when the time came, performed my song flawlessly, thanks to old Jack, who had taken away the edge of nervousness that can translate all-too-easily to a missed chord.

I just remembered— I attended a wonderful private party at Bayshore in the late afternoon. Roomers again on Friday night.


Saturday, 26 October

I awoke to a regular Nor’Easter. It was windy and raining heavily. I can’t, for the life off me, remember what I did on Saturday, except I vaguely recall I wasn’t up and about before mid-morning. I suppose I was on overload from too much fun and too much stress and too little sleep. Oh! That’s right! I presented. Miqqi and I did a session called “Lost in the Pink Fog.” The pink fog is the feeling of gender euphoria, the way we feel when we take one more step in the direction we need to go and feel like screaming from the rooftops, telling the world who we are. It’s a dangerous feeling, for disclosure can’t be undone. When the pink fog lifts, we can find ourselves in an uncomfortable space.

Earlier in the week, I now recall, on one of those morning I earlier said I couldn’t remember— Tuesday, specifically— I did a presentation called “The Gender Train,” which is about individual choice, and to a lesser extent about not getting carried away. Neither the pink fog nor the gender train are original with me, but they’re most appropriate at the Fair, with its week-long mini-Real Life Experience, which can be intoxicating.

After our presentation, I bopped up to the office and helped Kathryn and Donna pack things up. I managed to miss a ride to Pilgrim’s Memorial Park, where there was a 4:00 p.m. dedication, in the howling wind and blowing rain, for Candy Scott, who passed away earlier this year. The Fair and Innvestments, the Cape Cod-based support group Candy founded, cooperated in purchasing a memorial stone for Candy and in planning the ceremony. Because of the nasty weather, because some of us, like myself, were so tightly programmed it was difficult to break away, and perhaps for other reasons, the group at the Park was small, 10 to 15 people. In a curious way, it was appropriate, for Candy absolutely hated being made a fuss over. It was almost as if she had ordered up the gale to prove her point. Frustratingly, there wasn’t even a stone, the stonecutter, despite having been given a firm date for delivery, having not yet gotten around to it. How very Provincetown! Candy would have loved it.

That evening, I hitched a ride with Miqqi and Dianne Sutton for the ride to Michael Shay’s for the banquet, where the Fantasia Fair awards are given out. I knew something was up, for I had been unable to get the other committee members together. After a great meal, we gave the Mr. Fantasia Fair award to Lawrence Crisara, an FTM who came to the Fair ten years ago and has come back ever since, even though he is often, and perhaps usually, the only FTM in attendance. Because he is at least a three-time winner of the award, we named it for him, the Lawrence Crisara Mr. Fantasia Fair award— which means we won’t have to give it to him again. We sure wish the Fair attracted FTMs, and are looking at ways to do that, but our efforts so far have been abortive— except for Lawrence, who came, and who has stayed, and for whom we are all grateful for keeping FTM issues at the top of our minds so he doesn’t have to be the only one. Cristi C., who stayed at Fairbanks, and who could be seen every morning riding her bicycle through the streets, won the Cinderella award. Most Helpful went to— let’s see, who DID it go to? There were so many who were helpful! Oh, yes, Jamie Dailey! More on Jamie anonce.

We were blessed this year by the presence of Trankila. Trankila started showing up a year or two ago at transgender events sporting a frock, day-glo fluorescent wigs, and a full beard. Her appearance is out-of-the-norm enough that she has been treated rudely on occasion at transgender events, and is usually more-or-less ignored. She shone at the Fair. We loved her! She was in the Fashion Show, and in the Follies, where she told the audience, as she did an on-stage transformation, that she kept her beard because it pleased her partner. No dummy, Trankila; she’s a psychiatrist. She was kind enough to do a workshop.

Trankila won the Most Helpful award. I also presented her with the on-the-spot created “I Dress This Way to Upset You” award, since Beth and Shira Lewis had been thoughtful enough to bring a supply of “I Dress This Way…” caps for door prizes.

We also drew for a free registration to the 2003 Fair, courtesy of the Rikki Swin Institute, which gave the Fair $10 toward the scholarship fund for every RSI questionnaire administered, and the free 2003 Fair to boot!

Who won the Ms. Fantasia Fair award? Oh, yes, it was me! Considering the behind-my-back antics of the other committee members, I had thought I might, and I had told them I didn’t think it was appropriate for us to give awards to one another, but I was told the award is chosen by the former Ms. Fantasia Fairs, many of whom were never on the planning committee, so I was happy to accept it. I was enormously thrilled, and I cherish the medal, which was placed around my neck by last year’s Ms. Fantasia Fair, Stephanie Pierce. I didn’t cry, which rather surprised me, but my eyes were certainly teary.

The food at Shay’s was great— a sumptuous buffet of appetizers, a salad bar, and our choice of prime rib, stuffed shrimp, chicken, or flounder. I’m afraid I ate too much. I was stuffed like the shrimp. After the banquet, I lay on my bed for a quick rest, and slept through the night, completely missing the festivities at Roomers, which lasted, or so I was told, until 4 am.


Sunday, 27 October

A nice morning, after a dreary Saturday. I was up in time for the post-Fair brunch at Michael Shay’s, at which I had to guess at the identities of some of the somber characters who came into the room. These days, many attendees live full time; some, like me, are post-operative; and some have an androgynous appearance. The next morning (Monday), it would take me five minutes to realize Alison Laing was in boy mode; Al and Alison are so much the same to me it just didn’t register.

A goodly number of people signed up for next year’s Fair, which I take as a sign they had a good time and can’t wait to do it again. Soon the majority of folks cleared out, headed back to their respective homes.

The committee met during the afternoon. Fortunately, we had been able to transact much of our business during the Saturday morning Fantasia Fair 2003 workshop— another presentation I was involved with, and another blank spot in my week accounted for! Sunday afternoon, we talked over important issues, including what we did right and what we did wrong and what we would keep the same next year, and what we would change, then adjourned. I rode with Alison to her apartment at Bayshore, where we had (surprise!) wine. Dottie and I, by pre-arrangement, educated each other, she telling me about her stock market strategies, and me telling her about buying and selling on eBay. I’m afraid I got the better bargain, since both Al and Dottie’s laptops were down and we couldn’t get online to play at the auctions.

That evening, most of those who remained in town— the Fair committee, Donna Johnston and Dainna Cicotello, the Bodes, Victoria M. (whose car had broken down), Sandra Cole, and others gathered for wine and chat at Fairbanks and then walked across the way to the high-end Italian restaurant Front Street, where I had rack of lamb. Alas, it wasn’t the round, stand-uppy rack I had envisioned, but five little lamb chops propped up in a mound of mashed potatoes. And darn, it’s at least the second time I’ve ordered it! I’ll probably forget and order it again next time! Dainna the calf-killer and a few others had veal, which I tasted and would have traded the lamb for, poor innocent, anemic baby cows or no. My dessert was crème brulé, which was very un-crème bruléish, being composed of a bland custard served on something that looked very much like a saucer. Later, more chat at Fairbanks. Later still, I snuck away for a slice at Spiritus, although I assured Miqqi, who was ready for bed but up for a trip to her favorite spot in Provincetown, that I wouldn’t. Then to Roomers, where I delivered a gift certificate from Front Street to Andy to thank him for his lovely reception (Lynnette Molnar, who had set up the dance at Pied Bar and the owners of Crowne Pointe got nice gifts from the Fair as well). Then to bed.


Monday, 28 October

The T crowd was getting thin in P’Town! I was up early this chilly, sunny morn because of the change from Daylight to Standard time. I donned my heavy coat and took a walk out to McMillan Wharf for a last look at the ocean— well, the bay— and walked Commercial Street, saying goodbye to the town. Nothing was open.

When I got back to the Inn, Alison— or, rather, Al— was looking for me, wondering where I was. She was an hour early, having set Alison’s watch back, but not Al’s. We walked with Donna Johnston and Stephanie Pierce to Café Heaven, a tiny restaurant once owned by Alice of Alice’s Restaurant fame. I ducked away a few minutes before everyone else and returned to Fairbanks, where I took a quick shower and finished packing. Then, after goodbyes and hugs to all, Alison and I were off, with a couple of quick stops. I bopped into the Portuguese Bakery to say goodbye to Oliver, the short-order cook, now out of a job. I gave him a five dollar tip, as had the townie in line in front of me. We’ve grown to know each other over the years (I spent a LOT of time in the bakery— so sue me!). Oliver had told me earlier in the week he just reconciled with his family, from whom he had been estranged for five years, after coming out to them about being gay. He will be saying his goodbyes on the Cape, then heading home.

Then a stop for hot chocolate for me and a coffee for Al, and we drove down the Cape. At Al and Dottie’s place Dottie had prepared a nice lunch of tuna salad and fixins’, pizza, olives and an assortment of pickled vegetables. Then we were off for Dottie’s doctor appointment, which was more or less on the way to the airport. Dottie and Al communicated with hand-held Radio Shack radios, which worked great from car to car. I waited in the car, basking in the afternoon sun for an hour or so, reading, quite content, until Al and Dottie reappeared. I said goodbye to Dottie and rode with Al to the airport, with a detour along the way to see Providence.

There were thunderstorms in Atlanta, so my 6:30 flight didn’t leave until after nine. I did get to see “Men in Black II,” while in the air, which helped to pass the time, but it was after one in the morning by the time I got off the MARTA train near my house. My cab driver was Ethiopian. His cab had no meter— it being mysteriously “broken,” so we negotiated the price before we left the station. He gently hit on me on the short drive home. It was a nice end to a wonderful week-and-a-half.


Postscript and Thank Yous

I’ve left out soooo much. I initially planned to mention all sorts of folks throughout the above paragraphs, but it works better this way, I think.

First, the Fair was saddened by deaths and illnesses. Candy Scott, who had been on the Fair committee for some years, passed away early this spring. Many people who have attended the Fair don’t know Candy. It’s because she always kept in the background— so far in the background, in fact, that few people understand how much she did. With Stephanie Pierce, she would go to Provincetown to negotiate arrangements with innkeepers and restauranteurs. She was the treasurer for the Fair, and for the Outreach Institute, which once sponsored the Fair. She did a great deal, yet would not take credit. Last year, after doing an immense amount of work, Candy was too ill to attend the Fair. Her bronchitis may well have been caused by her cancer.

For many years, Jack and Dana Noble, partnered for decades, have been supporters of Fantasia Fair. About six weeks before the Fair, Jack passed away. He is sorely missed— most of all by his partner, Dana, who was, understandably, distraught. Kathryn and Lauren Bode are close friends of Dana, and they were wonderful this year. Not only did Kathryn serve in the thankless role of office manager, which took much of her time, the Bodes spent much time with Dana, and still had time to throw a great party— at least I assume it was great. I was playing music in the doggone Carriage House, and missed it. The Bodes’ parties are always great, so how could this one not be?

We were saddened also by the absence of Brenda Viola, our cheerful and energetic newsletter editor of many years. Brenda had a health crisis this summer, and she was unable to attend. Brenda is now on the board of RLE, the Fair’s newly-formed oversight organization; she is missed there, also.

Brenda will be cheered to know that Kristen Nelson, her understudy at Fantasia Fair Newsletters, Inc., worked tirelessly this year, getting the daily newsletters to the office on time, every time. Because our usual photographers didn’t make it to the Fair this year, Kristen became the official photographer of Fantasia Fair 2002.

We did a lousy job of distributing the newsletters after Kristen delivered them, but that’s our fault—the Committee’s fault entirely. With Fair attendees now staying at dozens of inns rather than five or six, as was once the case, our housemother system has broken down. Over dinner Sunday night, Miqqi and Victoria M. hit on a great idea— next year the “bicycle girls”— Victoria, Dianne Karron, and Christie C.— will deliver the newsletters to the various inns during their morning rides— provided they and the Mission Impossible force accept the mission. We will then need only to have the newsletters transported to the evening events.

If you’re wondering about the newsletter— it’s entirely possible you were at the Fair and never got one, and you certainly won’t understand if you’ve never been to the Fair— it summarizes the highlights of the Fair and gives a schedule of the upcoming day’s events, with all last-minute changes and variations. We’ll do better on distribution next year. Promise.

A number of folks were unable to attend. Barbara and Susan Curry had business obligations. Jamison Green had to go to Australia so he could beat out Miqqi Alicia as the only person to have attended each and every International Congress On Sex and Gender Issues, since the first. Miqqi was sore, you betcha, but you know, she could never had given egg cream instruction in Melbourne. Karen Fox had to cancel. Jamie S., who couldn’t attend last year because she had just gotten a job as a traffic controller on BART in San Francisco and had no vacation days, couldn’t come this year because she was in BART training. We hope to see all our other regular folks next year!

We knew early on that Barb and Susan weren’t able to come. That left us with a need for a Follies producer and director. Evelyn Shade agreed to the job, but had to cancel also. Several weeks before the Fair, in panic mode, we heard from Michael Bach (a.k.a. Daisy Chain), an entertainer with a show in Provincetown. Wouldn’t you know it, Michael’s grandmother became ill, and he had to cancel his show and return to his home town of Toronto.

So here we were, mere days before the Fair, with no one to do the Follies. What to do, what to do?

What we did was contact long-time Fair attendees Jamie Dailey and Holly Boswell and ask them to, respectively, produce and direct the show. To our immense relief, they said yes, and did the tremendous amount of work necessary for the show to go on. It was above and beyond the call of duty, and I would like to tell them here and now that the hats of everyone at the Fair, and especially those of us with our a**es on the line, are grateful for their expertise and effort. They put on one hell of a show. Every Follies is the best one yet. This one certainly was. The best one yet!

When Andrea Susan arrived in town early in the week and learned we had no one to do lighting and sound for the Follies, she made it happen. Our thanks to Andrea, as well.

And then there were Dawn Marie and Stephany, and Lauren and Nancy, and Emily, and Eve, and so many others who did the many small and sometimes not-so-small tasks necessary to run the Fair. Yvonne Cook-Riley made sure Merissa was present at the Tuesday Pioneer Awards Banquet. Kathryn Bode did a marvelous job in the office, assisted by Donna Johnston and Dainna Cicotello. Stephanie Pierce was wonderful; she was always on, always worried about that something would go wrong with the meals— it never happened. Our goal next year is to show her a good time and get her to relax. Miqqi was marvelous. Alison was great; she got us publicity in the local magazines and newspapers. Miqqi was ecstatic to come to town and find herself a Page 3 girl, sprawled seductively across a Harley in the Provincetown Banner.

Many of our folks gave house parties. Many donated money to the Pioneer Fund. Our thanks to Barbara and Susan Curry for a $50 donation towards the memorial stone for Candy, and to Jamie Dailey for her $150 gift last year, which we applied, as she wished, to scholarships. Insert your name here. Thank you! The Fair wouldn’t be the same without you!



Can one have both a postscript and an afterword? Well, it’s Fantasia Fair! If a bunch of us can come together every year for 28 years, we can do anything. What’s an afterword between friends?

If you’ve never been to Fantasia Fair, I can’t begin to tell you how marvelous it is, and how great it is that it spills all through Provincetown. Remember all those edibles? The Sunday reception at Crowne Pointe, the buffet at the dance afterwards? The Monday breakfast, the Monday thru Saturday lunches, the Monday dinner, the Tuesday Banquet, the Thursday reception at Roomers, the Saturday banquet, the farewell brunch on Sunday? Remember the events and special treats? The trolley ride, the workshops morning and evening, the plenary sessions, the Fashion Show, the Follies? It’s all part of the Fair, included in the registration price, with nothing extra. We did ask for donations at the Saturday banquet, but it was for a good cause; otherwise, absolutely everything is included, and there are no hidden charges.

If you’re reading this, we want you at Fantasia Fair. Please know the Fair is not an event only for the well-to-do. While Provincetown is a resort and will be happy to absorb whatever you care to spend, it’s possible to eat cheaply and find inexpensive rooms. We’ve reduced the price of the Fair dramatically, and are looking for ways to make it even more inexpensive.

The early registration price for 2003 Fair is only $450. That’s just $64/day for the time of your transgendered life. $200 will hold your reservation. Prices for significant others are considerably lower (price not yet determined, abut about 1/3 cheaper). It’s also possible to attend for the second half of the week only— but we recommend the full boat, for the experience of living full-time for so long.

It’s a marvelous experience, a time for learning and growth, an event that gives you time for reflection while keeping you so darn busy that you wish there were more hours in the day so you could sleep a bit more.

Come to the Fair. Reserve your place. Send your $200 refundable deposit to Fantasia Fair,