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In the Green Room with Civil Twilight

Steven McKellar sits on the vintage patterned sofa in Fete’s green room; Civil Twilight’s lead singer looks relaxed, albeit fatigued, as he looks up from his Narragansett Lager. I ask him if he knows he’s drinking Rhode Island-made beer: Narragansett is indeed a real place. “Oh,” he says, examining the can. “This is local?” He hasn’t lived in South Africa for roughly eight years now, but that fact does nothing to quell his distinctive accent, which at times sounds largely British. “I like it,” he says, simply. “It’s really quite good.” In a navy plaid shirt, perfectly faded denim and dark, tousled hair, Steven is the epitomical rocker. Choosing not to employ a stylist, the guys just wear “whatever.” In fact, those faded jeans belong not to him, but to his older brother Andrew, who plays guitar in the band.

Drummer Richard Wouters is in stark contrast to Steven, with his fair skin, long limbs and blush-colored button-up. While Steven speaks deliberately, Richard’s words are free-flowing and airy: “We did a show on the river here [in Providence] once,” he tells me. “It’s really cool down there.” He’s speaking of their June 2010 appearance at Waterplace Park; the band played as part of WBRU’s Summer Concert Series, which is – ironically – happening as we speak, on the other side of town. Civil Twilight have been brought in again by the radio station to headline that show’s after party, which apparently they hadn’t yet realized. It’s three hours until show time, their third show in as many nights. One evening prior, they performed at Mohegan Sun, and the day before that, the band gigged at Brooklyn’s famous Knitting Factory.

Regarding their heavy touring schedule, Steven reveals, “It’s all a bit of a blur, though I remember a thing above Hell – that was Providence, I think.” I figure that he’s referring to the now-defunct Jerky’s. (The band played a show there in early 2010.) The two friends …   More

We Were There - Flaunt Boutique's Grand Opening of Alex & Ani "Shop Within A Shop"

Flaunt Boutique is now the only store in Rhode Island to feature an Alex & Ani "Shop Within A Shop," meaning an entire portion of their store is now dedicated to those irresistible bangles. They also used this event to launch the Peacock Bangle (shown above), designed for Alex & Ani by Flaunt owner Amanda Doumato herself, which is available in gold and silver exclusively at her shop. Providence Monthly was there for the cocktail party to celebrate this charming occasion! A percentage of the sales from the night's festivities were donated to the Providence Animal Rescue League.   More

An Hour in the Life Of... Streetwear Designer Longston Johnson

Who: Longston Johnson

What: Urban streetwear designer

When: 8pm, Saturday May 26

Where: Little Bastard Co. Headquarters, 285 Main Street, Woonsocket

Why: It’s not just a t-shirt line, it’s a lifestyle… and a movement

It’s a big day for 27-year-old Longston Johnson: he’s hosting a grand opening party at his brand new Little Bastard Company Headquarters, which is part clothing boutique, part art gallery. After having success at area boutiques, pop-up shops and online, he’s proud to set up a retail store in his hometown of Woonsocket, which has seen its fair share of trouble.

By the time I arrive, the party has been in full swing for almost four hours. Still, the room is filled with music and laughter. A DJ spins hip-hop, kids breakdance on the floor, an orchestrated rap battle takes place — put mildly, it’s awesome. I spot Longston in the back of the room, leaning up against a table, receiving well wishes. He’s excited, but exhausted.

“You should have seen it earlier,” he says nodding at the crowd. “This place was packed.” It’s still packed (by my definition at least), and I’m glad to hear he’s had such a great turnout. He deserves it. Longston’s a hardworking guy who’s already done much to give back to his city: organizing canned food drives, raising money for cancer and feeding the needy at church.

And then there’s the guns. Community members have been outraged by both the name of the brand and its logo – silhouettes of kids, one of which holds a pistol. Those in opposition to the “provocative” store are having a field day on message boards: “Not a positive message for our already troubled city,” and “What in the world are they selling? That is disgusting.”

At first, Longston was angry. “My teenage rebellious side came out,” he says. “I wanted to protest, pitchfork, …   More

We Were There: H&M Grand Opening, Warwick Mall

H&M had their grand opening at the Warwick Mall this past Thursday and the crowd, myself included, was pumped to shop for some $30(!) bikinis! Well, the female half of the crowd that is. The anticipation was killing me, as I got there an hour early (which should have been two hours early, as I stared enviously at everyone in front of me with the cool swag bags), and the dance music only fueled my desire to dress for less. The clock struck noon, and we poured in the doors like people who love to shop for high fashion at an affordable price.

The women's section was chock full of cute options for all occasions, from bohemian and beachy to dressed for success (and I don't mean polyester pant suit status). The men's section is equally impressive, where you can get a $60 suit and look like a million dollar man. There is also an adorable children's section (and by section, I mean it takes up a considerable portion of the store). No longer do local men have to travel to New York or Boston to enjoy the fabulous H&M experience. This sort of shopping excitement brings me back to my pre-teen days of shopping at the Limited Too, minus the bedazzled jean jackets, perfume, and sparklies.   More

ICON7 Comes to Providence this Week

Calling all illustration, comic and arts and crafts lovers: ICON7 is bringing the Illustration Conference to Providence, June 13-16. This non-profit organization creates community in the illustration and design professions through the four-day conference, which will include guest speakers, workshops, parties and even a soccer match at various locations around the city. But if you can’t commit to the conference, there will be two special events held on Friday, June 15. First, Lynda Barry, creator of the long-running, influential comic strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, will be holding the Main Stage Keynote 5:30-6:30pm at The VETS Theater. Tickets are $25. Immediately after, the conference is hosting the Rhode Show Bazaar at the Symphony Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel, 6:30-10pm, presenting a group of over 60 artists in a portfolio showcase and marketplace. Illustrated products will be for sale by the artists themselves and illustrators Chris Buzelli and Jessica Hische will be signing free large-format ICON7 posters from 7-8pm. Both events are open to the general public and the Rhode Show Bazaar Marketplace is free.   More

Family Fun, From Dawn til Dusk

No doubt by now, you've read the summer itinerary for family fun in this month's issue. With school's summer break upon us, it's great to know that there are all-day options to keep your kids occupied during these next couple of months.

Since we've already offered a fantastic guide for you in print (one which works wonderfully for us on the weekends), I'd like to give you my own personal itinerary of a successful summer day alone with three young children.

5:45 am: Pretend it's not 5:45 am. Hand over your iPhone, iPad, TV remote and all the money in your wallet to your children so that you can get just a bit more of that desperately needed shut-eye.

6:00 am: Get up. Drop a few f-bombs, out of earshot of the small tyrants, and make some coffee.

8:00 am: Frantically email or call all of your friends and ask what their plans are for the day, because there is no way in God's great land that you'll be taking them to the beach without backup. In fact, there's no way you're taking them to the beach at all.

8:30 am: Realize that goldfish crackers probably didn't constitute a solid breakfast for a 3 year-old and pop some frozen waffles into the toaster. And then give her a popsicle.

9:00 am: Pack no less than 3 bags of STUFF so that when you do finally get to leave the house, you never have to come back.

10:30 am: Leave the house. Call your friend that was supposed to meet you at 10 am and tell her you're running late (or, more accurately, on-time), but you'll bring her an iced coffee to make up for it.

11:00 am: Arrive at any destination that is, a.) fenced in, b.) has some kind of seat restraints or c.) just far enough away that one of your kids will fall asleep during the car ride there so that you'll be forced to sit in the parking lot, drink your friend's iced coffee and play on Facebook while you wait for her to wake up.

If option "c" doesn't occur, some favorite spots for our family that adhere to rules "a" and "b" are strawberry …   More

Give & Glam Girls' Nite Out

The first-ever Give & Glam™ Girls’ Night Out event will take place tomorrow night, June 7th, at NYLO Hotel in Warwick. This sold-out red carpet affair will feature a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a shopping showcase of local boutiques and designers, swag bag goodies, live-time social media presence, a DJ, a fashion show and more.

A silent auction to benefit Hasbro Children’s Hospital will feature over 100 items donated by Rhode Island’s business owners and famous celebrities like Shanna Moakler, Krisily Kennedy and Gretta Monahan.

The silent auction will be held online and is open to the public for bidding and can be found HERE.

Pre-sale tickets are available for the next Give & Glam™ Girls’ Night Out event on October 4th at Belle Mer in Newport. For more information, visit www.giveandglam.com.

* Jen Senecal is a mom to three girls, a writer, blogger and graphic designer. Read more on her foray into parenthood at www.keekoin.com or visit her at Rhody Mamas.   More

Happy Anniversary, StyleWeek

The thing about fashion shows is that they're very alluring with all the glamour and glitz and fabulous clothing, but they tend to be so hoity-toity and exclusive; most of them aren't really accessible for us regular folk. That's the real beauty of our own StyleWeek: everybody's welcome, so you get all of the style and none of the snootiness. While a full-on StyleWeek won't be hitting the runway again until the August/September 2012 edition, you can get your fashion fix this Saturday, June 9 at the RISD Museum as we celebrate the event's two-year anniversary. That's right, it's already been two full years and four seasons of Providence's most stylish event, and "The Ascension of Style" is going to be a soiree to properly mark the occasion. The theme of the party is indeed "four seasons," and StyleWeek-affiliated designers will create installations to illustrate them. Plus, there will be live music courtesy of Miss Wensday, performances by TEN31 Productions, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and first cocktail, a cash bar, and great silent auction prizes to benefit Gabrielle's Heart Camp. As always, you're invited, so you won't need to stand on the other side of the velvet rope while high society hoots it up. It's fashion for the people. Get your tickets now and, despite what you may have heard, don't arrive fashionably late.   More

RISE Celebrates Excellence at its 2nd Annual Awards Dinner & Recognition Ceremony

Adversity does not have to stand in the way of achievement. Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE) is a Providence based non-profit organization dedicated for the last 15 years to supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring children with family histories of incarceration.

On Monday, June 11, RISE will honor select students with its 2nd Annual Awards Dinner & Recognition ceremony hosted by Brown University and the Samuel M. Nabrit Black Graduate Student Association. Family members, volunteer mentors, and donors will gather at the Alumnae Hall Auditorium, at Brown’s Pembroke campus, to celebrate the success of nineteen exceptional students. This includes the Inspirational Student of the Year.

Eric Shorter, Managing Associate at Next Street in Boston, MA will address the attendees as a keynote speaker for the event. Mr. Shorter plans to use his personal experiences, which have made similar barriers to success the RISE youth face, to prove hard work and commitment to education is key to success.

Long time supporters like The Collette Foundation have made RISE and its activities possible. Youth who receive a scholarship from RISE have the opportunity to attend a private or parochial high school in Rhode Island. The program is currently making a difference in 49 students’ lives. Ninety percent of the program’s high school graduates have plans to enter college.   More

An Hour in the Life of... Skateboarder Pete Dorrance

Who: Pete Dorrance

What: Skateboarder and social activist

When: 5:30pm, Monday, April 30

Where: A house on the West Side of Providence

Why: ‘Cause skateboarders are awesome, duh

Pete Dorrance skates as much as he can. Between his full-time job (working with autistic students) and chipping away at his dream (starting a nonprofit), he’s a busy guy. Still, skateboarding always factors heavily into the mix. He’s been skating for 20 years; he knows no other way. “When I was a kid, my parents took me to Waterbrothers — a surf and skate shop in Newport. They had a halfpipe next to the shop, which was right on the beach,” he recalls.

Pete grew up in suburbia and skated in his neighborhood; occasionally, he came to Providence to street skate. Regardless of where he chose to shred, he always faced opposition. “Skating has become more accepted, but it’s still a constant battle for skateboarders to street skate and find new terrain,” he says. “Skaters still get tickets, police still confiscate boards and security guards still hassle kids.”

Skaters need to seek out new places to shred in order to ramp-up their own repertoire of tricks and keep up with the increasing level of “mind boggling” competition that currently exists out there. Pete and his crew got sick of butting their heads against the proverbial wall; a few of them banded together and hence the idea for the nonprofit was born.

“There are not nearly enough skateparks and until that problem is fixed, skating will always be a battle,” Pete says. He thinks that more cities and towns should recognize the need for certain unused public spaces to be sanctioned for skating. “We’re in the process of starting a nonprofit called RIPS, which will stand for Rhode Island Public Skateparks or Revitalizing Inactive Public Spaces.”

While the group hasn’t yet settled on the antecedent of their …   More

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