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Reaching the Outermost

It’s 5:00pm on a Friday and, with a long workweek done, you find yourself crossing the Sagamore Bridge en route to a relaxing weekend on Cape Cod. The radio dial lands on 92.1FM and you hear something that sounds more like a party than a radio show. The sing-along, toe tapping program “Leggs Up and Dancing” with Lady Di is in full swing! Well, that’s exactly how Parallax EP/Director Alan Chebot became a WOMR /WFMR listener, and therein lies the motivation to produce a documentary feature film based on this eclectic station, its colorful DJs and how these folks collectively embody the essence of Provincetown’s “Outermost” community.

You can find this sign at the station, or more commonly known as "The Schoolhouse"

The filming of “Outermost Radio” began last summer during what most would argue is Provincetown’s wildest time, Carnival Week. Alan, along with DP Michael Quill, captured the WOMR float in the Carnival Parade where the gender gifted Lady Di held court. Station manager John “The Rev” Nelson marched in front as a parade marshal and the unavoidable array of colorful- literally and figuratively- Carnival goers completed the scene. Oh yea, and Charo, of cuchie-cuchie fame, was the grand marshal.

The fabulous Lady Di atop WOMR: Outermost Radio's float in the 2011 Carnival parade

Yet, though the seaside party atmosphere that takes over during the summer months here is enough to build a film on, it is not the direction Parallax seeks. Provincetown year-round and its permanent, non-seasonal residents are a story unto themselves- a story we are eager to tell through the lens of its community radio station.

Mid-celebration of the 30th Anniversary, March 25th, the whole Provincetown gang- WOMR DJs and supporters alike- gather for a group photo outside the Harbor Hotel

So, Parallax returned to Provincetown in November of 2011 to interview WOMR’s station manager, The Rev. Spending the day with him gave us insight into the behind-the-scenes struggles and victories that have made Outermost Radio so successful and such a beacon of community pride. We even filmed The Rev performing his own music, including “Provincetown Rag.” You may just find this on our soundtrack!

John "The Rev" Nelson performance-ready at his home in beautiful Provincetown

Though the winter months left little time to venture back out, Alan did manage to shoot some snowy scenic images that beautifully represent the vast contrast of Provincetown from season to season. And, on March 23rd, Team Parallax headed out yet again. The weekend marked the 30th Anniversary of WOMR: Outermost Radio, and we weren’t about to miss capturing all the celebrations!

Tony Pasquale, WOMR DJ and gourmet chef, shares some local stories of his own with Team Parallax at the 30th Anniversary party

The crew hit the ground running, literally… Barefoot, lugging all necessary gear, we sprinted over the dunes to catch a dozen or so Right whales feeding off Race Point Light. It was a magical sight our crew won’t ever forget, and what greater way to symbolize “Outermost” on film, while also presenting yet another way this area is so special.

Our next stop was The Schoolhouse, home to WOMR/WFMR studios. There we filmed the infamous, fabulous, outrageous Friday night show, “Leggs Up and Dancing” with the ravishing Lady Di. The energy she brings to that small booth in the heart of Provincetown is contagious and, trust us, it’s hard to hold a camera steady while dancing!

Alan and DP Nikki toe tapping along while filming "Leggs Up and Dancing" with Lady Di in the WOMR/WFMR radio booth

Set to film the transition of Vernon Porter, a Town Hall employee and ordained minister, to name a few hats he wears, into Lady Di, a multi-hat wearer herself, we arrived at the home of both the following morning. Welcomed by guests, dogs and one beautiful fella exclaiming, “I’m half and half, ‘cause I didn’t know how you wanted me,” the shoot was successfully underway before we even got in the front door… We then filmed, in intimate detail, what it takes to become Lady Di, on the outside. But by the end of our afternoon, we also understood more clearly how, whether in a suit or a dress, she is “Me, myself and I, and we are unanimous in our decision.”

Vernon Porter "transitioning" into Lady Di

Saturday night the station’s 30th Anniversary included a visit from the 5-time Grammy winning, internationally acclaimed gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama. Drawing a crowd of nearly 600, the Provincetown Town Hall pulsated with the energy of an entire community thrilled to celebrate the occasion.

WOMR DJ and peace activist Chuck Cole entertains the crew with his fishing tales, shucking fresh (and delicious!) Wellfleet oysters all the while

WOMR’s official 30th Birthday Party the following night was an even closer view of a diverse neighborhood united by their community radio station. While one DJ shucked oysters on the patio telling stories of past generations fishing off the coast, another was inside on stage, playing bass in his band for the local crowd. Later, a WOMR/WFMR jar was passed around raising money for the recently destroyed transmitter antenna, while Lady Di formed a conga line and DJ and gourmet chef, Tony Pasquale commentated poetically on the whole display. At the close of the Anniversary weekend it was crystal clear that the Outer Cape has its own identity, and being there was all these folks needed to connect them. Whether born and raised here through generations like some, or having travelled from as far as Virginia and beyond just to attend the festivities like others, this region’s “community” has grown far past its physical borders, thanks in great part to Outermost Radio.

The Rev and DJ Tom Brogan happily count the donations made over the Anniversary weekend... That much closer to a new antenna, WOMR!

As we drove back to Boston after 4 days of principal photography, Team Parallax recounted the weekend’s experiences, the community we had gotten more familiar with and the characters that emerged before us. This shoot confirmed that we have a really cool movie in the making…

So, stay tuned for a really cool “Outermost Radio” trailer, coming soon to a computer monitor near you!

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