The Provincetown Institution; DJ Maryalice Talks About Being The Maestro At The Boatslip, Getting Her Start In P-Town & That Infectious Dance Floor Magic

Like seafood and Spiritius, DJ Maryalice is an absolute Provincetown institution. Her Afternoon Tea Dances at the Boatslip on Commercial Street are absolutely legendary, and spending some time on her dance floor is absolutely crucial each and every time you visit this stunning, unique, and oh so LGBT Cape Cod community. While Provincetown has changed as the years go by, the LGBT community continues to be the backbone of the town, with new shops, bars & restaurants appearing up and down Commercial Street and beyond. Maryalice’s music remains one of the soundtracks to the town, and her recent Bear Week Tea Dance events were some of the biggest and brawniest that the town has seen yet. I caught up with Maryalice to talk about her beginnings in P-Town, what truly makes her dance floor so magical, and gives me the real story on how the notorious “After Tea” in Provincetown really started!

Michael Cook: Right off the bat Maryalice, how did you get into the world of DJ’ing?

DJ Maryalice: I came of age in the 70’s. I loved disco and going to nightclubs; I knew absolutely every song! I came to Provincetown in 1980 after graduating from college and I waitressed at the Governor Bradford restaurant right in P-Town. One night the DJ didn’t show up and I told the owner that I could do it. I couldn’t mix yet, but they definitely danced all night! I played a couple more times after that and I was hooked. I figured out that to make the records go together, I needed to count the beats per minute. The next season I asked the owner if I could be the DJ and he said sure! It was off to the races after that…

MC: For those that have never heard your sound, how would you describe it?

DJM: People tell me that my sound is is joyful and uplifting!

MC: It’s hard to climb the ladder and become one of the premier DJ’s in Provincetown today; what do you think the secret is to your success?

DJM: You know, I think it’s the same as it is everywhere in every type of job. I knew what I wanted and I worked for it; the rest was simply luck. It’s about right place, right time.

MC: What have been some of your career highlights thus far?

DJM: I have been playing for almost forty years now. There are simply too many to count and at the end of the day, I am exactly where I want to be.

MC: Your tea dances at The Boatslip are the premier event in Provincetown and no matter who is in town, always are packed. How did they start?

DJM: Let’s see; the lore has it that Tea Dance at the Boatslip in Provincetown actually started in the very early seventies. A guy that worked there decided to bring his record player to the pool and just play music. The rest is simply history.

MC: What have been some of your favorite Tea Dance moments throughout your career? What do you think makes the perfect tea dance?

DJM: Oh geez, it’s definitely kind of a blur (laughs)! I think that is a question for the folks that come to my tea dances actually. And speaking of the crowd that comes, they are definitely what makes Tea Dance special. They create an energy that is nothing short of remarkable; I just try to keep up!

MC: Provincetown has changed throughout the years as the culture has changed, including Pied Bar now morphing into Lea DeLaria’s The Club, which is where “after tea” was always held. How has Provincetown changed for you? What is the best part of being there during the summer?

DJM: So fun fact: I actually started “After Tea” in the eighties. In truth, it was actually Marty Kane’s audition that really sparked that flame. He came to try out for a night at the Pied one afternoon and brought some friends along. It was truly an “a-ha moment”. The owners at that time were very quick to see the appeal and we launched it. As for the town, Provincetown really hasn’t changed for me. We’ve grown along together. The view from my office is pretty damn good.

MC: What’s next for DJ Maryalice?

DJM: To just keep keeping on! Like I said before, I’ve been there and done that. It’s been a long career. I am truly happy to be exactly where I am. And based on the last twenty years at the Boatslip, I would have to say that the universe definitely agrees.

MC: What gives you pride?

DJM: I guess that I have made a lot of people happy and helped create memories that they will carry with them forever.

(Art courtesy of DJ Maryalice-Facebook)

(Video courtesy of Michael Herrera)

3 thoughts on “The Provincetown Institution; DJ Maryalice Talks About Being The Maestro At The Boatslip, Getting Her Start In P-Town & That Infectious Dance Floor Magic”

  1. I was young back them 22 years old and met two great female disc jockeys ive know for so many years knew them a long time wendy hunt. was the first i remember her at 1270 in the back room she was great loved her music she was awsome back in day. then met dj mary alice who spinned at buzz the killer dance club in boston and always down in ptowm back in the day at boatslip tea dance. l always was a big fan of her spinning great music. even today i still follow her dance tracks as an artist of local talent ive been an entertainer for 30 years performing in many dance clubs all over the states. ive learned so much about dance music and producing music and my singing. I remember wendy hunt she was terrific she used to play ronnie spector (youd be good for me) and (lady bump ) penny mclean way back in the day 1975 in the back room small dj both at 1270 in boston how fast time went by all i have now are those great memories im glad i lived in the disco erra so many people today dont know what they missed it was a special time in our lives all those party people and people were great nice and warm and friendly no aditude today its not the same any more i do miss all those friends and people i wonder if any of them are still with us. So many of them have passed on most of my bar friends are gone or moved away. local recording artist stage name tony james of newton retired now in my late 60s older my mind is still young forever young boy those were the days miss them so much i wish I could go back in time love to all my friends Tony James

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  2. Michael did you go to the tea dances in the 76 77 78 79 if so my name is Butch I was the first Dj to play the tea dances there at the Boatslip the minute I put the needle on Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘ Shinning Star ‘ the Boatslip Tea Dance Was born

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  3. At the old age of 74, and going to Ptown since the early 60’s, the LBGT community used to rush to the Moors sit at long tables, have a sandwich cup of chowder, and sing a long to the piano. At the conclusion National Anthem of God Bless America leaving the crowd mostly in tears. Great memories, and Mary Alice is amazing
    Michael Capone
    Former GM of Randolph County Club south of Boston

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