Summer things-to-do list: Island book and comedy festivals, art and theater in Provincetown

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The Martha’s Vineyard Book Series this summer will feature seven talks with authors on a variety of topics, with organizers describing the events as “provocative discussions with some of the country's leading voices.”

All events take place at 7:30 p.m. at Chilmark Community Center, except that the final one — Amor Towles discussing his latest best-seller “The Lincoln Highway” — will take place at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center in Oak Bluffs.

The festival kicks off July 7 with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia whose historic election flipped control of the U.S. Senate in 2021, will talk about his journey and just-released memoir “A Way Out of No Way.”

The Martha's Vineyard Book Series will kick off July 7 in Chilmark with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia whose historic election flipped control of the U.S. Senate in 2021, will talk about his journey and just-released memoir “A Way Out of No Way.”
The Martha's Vineyard Book Series will kick off July 7 in Chilmark with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia whose historic election flipped control of the U.S. Senate in 2021, will talk about his journey and just-released memoir “A Way Out of No Way.”

On July 10, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks will discuss her new book “Horse,” which was close to the top of the New York Times bestseller list last week and tells the story of the Black horsemen behind the massive horse-racing industry in the antebellum South. On July 14, cultural historian Peter Guralnick will talk about his 2020 “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing,” which includes profiles of musicians in blues, gospel, country and rock.

On Thursday, July 21, the author talk will be with New York Times staff writer Eric Kim, about his new cookbook “Korean American: Food that Tastes Like Home,” which is described by the presenting Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival as “an homage to what it means to be Korean American, with recipes that honor the past and present.” On Aug 4, Dawnie Walton will discuss  her novel “The Final Revival of Opal and Nev” that deals with the music industry’s racism and sexism and an artist’s agency.

Best-selling author Amor Towles will talk Aug. 14 on Martha's Vineyard about his book "The Lincoln Highway."
Best-selling author Amor Towles will talk Aug. 14 on Martha's Vineyard about his book "The Lincoln Highway."

Towle’s talk on Aug. 14 will focus on “The Lincoln Highway,” his best-selling 2021 story of two brothers and the people they encounter on an unexpected 10-day journey after their father dies. Towle’s other novels are “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “Rules of Civility.”

More books: 10 new beach-read books (or new in paperback) tied to Cape Cod & the Islands and how to meet the authors

Ticket prices for each event, $45, include a signed book. Some authors will pre-sign, others will do a signing, according to festival information, and anyone getting a book signed will be required to wear a mask. All attendees are encouraged to wear masks to each event. Full schedule and information: https://mvbookfestival.com/.

Art pays tribute to Mary Heaton Vorse's past and future

An exhibition of artwork honoring legendary Provincetown arts patron Mary Heaton Vorse will be displayed July 14-Aug. 7 at her former 466 Commercial St. home. An opening reception for “Mary’s Friends: An Artist’s Reunion” will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. July 14 at the house recently bought and restored to Vorse's era as an arts center by designer Ken Fulk.

The exhibit's artwork has been curated by Berta Walker of the self-named Provincetown art gallery and Mary Heaton Vorse House exhibitions director Gene Tartaglia to create a “unique exhibition” to support the recently commissioned life-size sculpture of Vorse by Penelope Jencks. The house is open for visitors from 10 a.m. to noon Thursdays through Sundays and by appointment by emailing gene@provincetownartssociety.com.

The exhibit will honor both Vorse and Jencks by featuring many Provincetown artists who knew Vorse from her 1907 arrival in Provincetown through her death in 1966, as well as several sculptures by Jencks. The exhibition is part of fundraising efforts launched in 2021 by the Provincetown Public Art Foundation that commissioned the sculpture. In collaboration with the Provincetown Arts Society, the life-sized bronze of Vorse is due to be installed near the door at the front of the house.

This model shows the planned statue by Penelope Jencks of writer and arts patron Mary Heaton Vorse that is due to be installed at Vorse's restored home on Provincetown's Commercial Street.
This model shows the planned statue by Penelope Jencks of writer and arts patron Mary Heaton Vorse that is due to be installed at Vorse's restored home on Provincetown's Commercial Street.

Vorse was a journalist, labor organizer, war correspondent, editor and arts patron who co-founded the Provincetown Players, and donated her old fisherman's tackle house in 1915 as a home for their plays. Her home after World War I became a haven for many artists and writers, including modernist artists encouraged to come to town by renowned teacher Hawthorne, according to historical accounts. Vorse was an author whose book “Time and the Town, a Provincetown Chronicle” has become a classic.

Among the 50 or so pieces in the new exhibit will be artwork (reflecting both the Figurative and Modernist art schools in the town’s cultural history) by Hawthorne, Ross Moffett (“Still Life with Lilacs,” 1929), Salvatore Del Deo, Robert Henry, Paul Resika, Brenda Horowitz, Kyra Markham (an original performer with the 1916 Provincetown Players), Blanche Lazzell (considered to be the first non-objective female artist in America, according to event information), Reynolds Beal, William Boogar, Dorothy Lake Gregory, Tod Lindenmuth, Ione Walker, Oliver Chaffee, Agnes Weinrich, Marsden Hartley, Karl Knaths, Lucy L’Engle and Selina Trieff.

Ross Moffett's oil on canvas from 1929, "Still Life with Lilacs" will be part of a “Mary’s Friends: An Artist’s Reunion” exhibit coming up at the Mary Heaton Vorse House in Provincetown.
Ross Moffett's oil on canvas from 1929, "Still Life with Lilacs" will be part of a “Mary’s Friends: An Artist’s Reunion” exhibit coming up at the Mary Heaton Vorse House in Provincetown.

Sculptor Jencks’ commissions over the years have been portraits of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and orchestra conductors and composers Serge Koussevitsky, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland and Seiji Ozawa. In the announcement of the exhibit, sculptor Romolo Del Deo, co-founder and president of Public Art Foundation called Jencks’ “one of the great portrait sculptors of America.”

What Ken Fulk created: A cultural center, restored

Curator and 33-year gallery owner Walker has her own history with Provincetown and Vorse. Walker’s grandparents, a writer and a composer, arrived in town in 1915 and became close friends with Vorse, according to exhibit information. Berta Walker’s parents were among the founders of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Information on the exhibit: Informatiohttps://bertawalkergallery.com/. Information on the Vorse house and events there: https://provincetownartssociety.com/.

Staged readings to be held at Provincetown library

Live theater will return to the Provincetown Public Library in a new summer play series, with costumed, staged readings of new works by Cape-based authors and playwrights. This season, there will be five one-acts from various genres.

Shows will be at 2 p.m. Sundays July 10 to Aug. 7 at the library, 356 Commercial St., followed by a talk-back with the author or playwright. The program dates back to 2012 and will again be produced by actor/writer Bragan Thomas, working with library director Amy Raff.

First up, July 10, will be “Reverend Mother’s Final Confession,” a comedy by Lucy Blood about a nun sharing a “trinity” of secrets during her retirement party as principal of the Immaculate Conception Elementary School. On July 17, emerging author John Hanright’s “The Finishing Touch” will be a drama examining the complex relationships between a dying woman, her daughter, and her nurse, all of them linked by love, and the craft of quilt-making.

Reviews: 6 Cape Cod theater shows our reviewers say you should see

On July 24, the mood will shift to satire with a reading of Jonathan Scott Ryder’s “Summer Stalk,” based on 1980s “slasher” films with a story of a group of camp counselors spending the night sharing their local legends and potentially facing danger. On July 31, in Peter Creedon’s “A Rainy Night on India Street,” set on Nantucket in the late 1960s, four characters gather on “a dark and stormy night.”

The series will conclude on Aug. 7, with a teaser presentation of the fantasy play “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” adapted by Thomas from the classic 1927 novella by sci-fi/horror author H.P. Lovecraft about an aristocratic scholar who makes an unexpected visit to a mysterious, isolated seaport somewhere along the Massachusetts coast.

Comedian/actor Kevin Flynn is the founder of the Nantucket Comedy Festival, which returns to the island July 13-16.
Comedian/actor Kevin Flynn is the founder of the Nantucket Comedy Festival, which returns to the island July 13-16.

Comedians gather for four nights of laughs on Nantucket

The Nantucket Comedy Festival will return for the evenings of July 13-16, with a variety of types of events that all raise money for the “Stand Up & Learn” comedy and public-speaking program for island kids started by comedian and festival founder/executive director Kevin Flynn.

The kids are actually part of the festival, presenting their own free “Stand Up & Learn Comedy Showcase” at 5 p.m. July 15 at the White Heron Theatre.

For professional acts at The Dreamland theater, the festival opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 with the world premiere of “Nantucket Nights: A Filmed Special Featuring Don Gavin” that was edited together after first being televised from The Dreamland during last year’s island Christmas Stroll. This event will include live opening comedy by Boston comic Jimmy Dunn and a post-screening live Q&A with Gavin (described as "the Godfather of Boston Comedy"), Dunn, Flynn and director Dan Driscoll.

Through July: All 4 plays in Cape Cod Theatre Project season focus on life for women today

At 8 p.m. July 14, it’s “Ladies’ Night,” with nationally headlining comedians Tammy Pescatelli, Marla Schultz, Bernadette Pauley and Carolyn Plummer. At 8 p.m. July 15 will be “A Night of Southern Comfort,” featuring performers from the South: comedians Ron Bullard, Tony Esposito and Karen Morgan and musicians from Brian Glowacki's band, Perfect, to celebrate the life of comedian Vic Henley.

At 8 p.m. July 16, the Boston vs. New York Smackdown closes the festival with comedians from Boston and New York facing off and Emmy Award winner Bob Ley from ESPN officiating. Performing for Boston's honor: Jay Whittaker, Brad Mastrangelo and Paul D'Angelo. For New York: Al Ducharme, Marla Schultz and Alex Babbitt.

Information and tickets for all: https://nantucketcomedy.com/.

Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at kdriscoll@capecodonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.

This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Summer on Cape Cod: Island books, comedy, Provincetown art, theater