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Big Blue News

Imagine our surprise when these sweet cupcakes arrived at our office this morning. Clearly, someone at the newly renamed Big Blue Bug Solutions, formerly New England Pest Control, knows that the best way to get our attention is with food. It seems like the name change was inevitable, given the fact that their mascot, the famed "big blue bug" Nibbles Woodaway, is one of the best-known and most iconic corporate symbols in New England. We wish them luck with the name change, and thanks for the sweet treat (from the also iconic Wrights Dairy Farm, no less).   More

We Were There: Roger Williams Park Zoo Animal Feedings

This week, Roger Williams Park Zoo debuted a new program: animal feedings. Small groups can actually go inside the giraffe paddock to get up close and personal with the Zoo’s three giraffes: Sukari, Amber and Jaffa Prince. Our executive editor, Julie Tremaine, was the first non-employee to try out the program (and to get drooled on by a giraffe).   More

An Hour in the Life Of... Designer Bianca Jones-Pearson

Who: Bianca Jones-Pearson

What: Artist, designer and creator of Trashy Bow Couture

When: 5:30pm, Sunday March 25

Where: Weirdgirl Creations, Barrington

Why: The girl can work wonders with “trash”

Her motto is “Your Trash: Reworked, Reused, Restyled, Recycled.” Her email signature reads: “$tay Tra$hy.” Bianca Jones-Pearson, however, is anything but trashy. In fact, she is adorable, stylish, creative and hard-working. She’s also incredibly adept at transforming everyday refuse into remarkable (and often prodigious) hair bows and accessories. It’s pure fantasy. Sign me up.

I met with the young designer at Weirdgirl Creations, the pottery studio that her mother has owned for over 30 years. When Bianca’s not working with customers, she’s toiling away in the back room. “I’ve been drawing and sculpting since I was a kid,” she says. “I guess the art gene runs in the family.” One look at her, and I instantly felt as if I’d fallen into Alice’s looking glass.

Bianca has been making bows for two years now. In her early compositions, the materials (such as newspaper, plastics and cans) were easily identifiable. Believing that “there’s always room for improvement,” she began constructing them to appear less crafty and more high-end. A skilled ceramics artist, it seems natural that the bows would evolve to sculptural works.

Her sustainable designs have graced several catwalks thus far, and she’s only just begun. In preparation for the annual Catwalk to Campground fundraiser fashion show, the earth-friendly fashionista is currently constructing a newspaper couture piece that’s more boa than bow. Bianca, who attends art school in Providence, is also now working with plant materials.

There are a few designs that she keeps in regular production. Among them are “I Heart the Paper Boy” (newspaper), “Big …   More

We Were There: Giada DeLaurentiis Book Signing

Giada DeLaurentiis came to town on Friday, March 30, and, for a huge fan like me, it was better than Christmas. She was signing copies and promoting her new cookbook, Weeknights With Giada, at Dave's Marketplace in The Crossing at Smithfield. The book signing took place at 4pm, and I had initially (and very naively) planned to arrive at 3:30. Luckily, I was informed that previous celebrity chef book signings at Dave's (which have included Mario Batali) had fans lining up at 8am, so if I had any intentions of getting a signed copy, I had better get there early. By the time I arrived at 2pm, the line was indeed significantly long. The very first group of women in line informed me that they been there since (sure enough) 8am.

In all the excitement of seeing Giada, I realized I had forgotten to bring a lunch to eat while I waited in line for two-plus hours and ... panic ensued. Well, I was glad I forgot, because Dave's makes an entire event out of these book signings. They try and make the long wait as enjoyable as possible for those standing in line, and enjoyable it was. Samples were passed out to everyone waiting in line, which included (my favorite) cheese from Narragansett Creamery, Butternut Squash & Cheese Ravioli, and these scrumptious little salmon cakes. Needless to say, I certainly had my fill of yummy passed appetizers. A raffle was drawn for Dave's gift cards. Time went by pretty quickly as I chatted with my fellow Giada loving comrades and wondered if every car that drove past me was her.

Finally, she arrived. Although I swore to myself I was not going to freak out and sweat profusely like my mother did the day she met Kevin Bacon on the Today Show, I totally had the same reaction. The line flew by as we entered the store, and soon enough, there I was standing right in front of her. As she signed my copy of her book, I muttered, "Eh, eh, I love you! Eh, eh, my whole family loves you!" to which she replied, "I hope you enjoy the book." From the …   More

Craftopia Returns

There really is no better way to get into the spirit of spring then by enjoying a day at Hope Artiste Village for Craftopia. A twice annual day of art, craft, food and fun, Craftopia is a popular event, produced by Rhody Craft 100 – a seasonal shop selling locally handmade goods. The shop also serves as a networking outlet for many local artists. Craftopia showcases the unique work of over 70 independent artisans. The items featured range from repurposed clothing, stitched handbags and one-of-a-kind jewelry to fine arts and even bath and body products. As you peruse the large variety of unique displays, you can grab a bite to eat at the food trucks outside or a coffee inside to help make your shopping day that much more enjoyable. Providence Monthly proudly sponsors Craftopia, which will be held on April 28 from 10am to 4pm at Hope Artiste Village. Free parking available.   More

The Reanimation Proclamation

Have your ever wondered what happens to a book after it falls out of routine circulation? In some cases it might find its tattered old cover and yellowing pages listed for a buck outside of some nostalgic old second-hand bookstore. Then again it could find itself in a Farenheit 451 bungle and disappear entirely. But if it’s lucky, it may find a prosperous second life at the Reanimation Library, a small, independent library based out of (where else?) Brooklyn. At the Reanimation Library, books are transformed into valuable visual resources for any and all sort of anthropological or artistic pursuit, from gathering research for that long-ignored historical novel, to finding inspiration for the final strokes of brilliance over that incomplete canvas.

Lucky for you, during the months of March and April, 186 Carpenter (located at, you guessed it, 186 Carpenter Street on Providence’s West Side) will be hosting a branch of the Library in Residence, where you can sign up for classes offering guidance on using the collection to create personal encyclopedias, reclaim and reinvent discarded images as captivating new fictions, create bound journals and more. Check it out for a completely fresh take on the library.    More

The Malcontent

No Sleep 'Til Tampa

On the 24th of this month, Rhode Island Republicans go to the polls for primary day. In a long and often surprising election season, one thing we can count on is that the Rhode Island votes won’t matter. This is not a knock on the party, but a simple statement of fact. Romney will likely take the primary in a walk, Obama is a lock to win our deep blue state in the general, and no candidate much cares about our paltry delegate count anyway. So go ahead and vote your conscience, Republicans, because it’s pretty much all you’ve got.

This election, like all, will illustrate so much of what’s wrong with our democratic process: the pandering hysteria of campaign rhetoric, the divisiveness of wedge issues and party politics, the corrupting influence of money, the apathy of voters. The general election will bring the usual cries about the need for campaign finance reform and the abolishment of the electoral college, but let’s not overlook what the primaries teach us about the corruption, perversion, inefficiency and futility of our electoral process.

As I write this, Mitt Romney has just handily won the Illinois primary. While the overwhelming odds still point to him earning the nomination, the how and when of that are increasingly hard to answer. Challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich recognize that they can’t overtake the former governor in the delegate count, and instead are campaigning to deny him the 1144 votes needed to secure victory, forcing a brokered convention. This long, slow, often surprising battle for the soul of the Republican Party has become the story of the 2012 election thus far, but it has unfortunately eclipsed the lesson to be learned about the innate ridiculousness of this entire process.

The march to the nomination is an unnecessarily complex and convoluted obstacle course of primaries, caucuses, delegate apportionments, media markets, election laws, balloting, political climates. That chaos all but …   More

We Were There: Foxy Shazam at The Met

If there are two words that describe Foxy Shazam, they’re ridiculously awesome - because the six piece indie/glam/pop/rock band’s show last night at The Met was equal parts both of those things. The band isn’t that well known yet (and the crowd was smaller than it should have been) and the single that’s on the radio right now, “I Like It,” is fun, but not exactly indicative of what they’re about. I was expecting a catchy, tongue-in-cheek rock show: and at its core, Foxy Shazam provided that, but there was so much more. The band’s sound is something like an unholy brew of Spinal Tap and Hedwig and the Angry Inch with hints of Queen and The Darkness. Their look is completely over the top in a really good way: skin-tight pleather, denim jackets with gold lace, rhinestone-studded leather, Freddie Mercury moustaches. But what sealed the deal on this being one of this year’s best concerts to date was their commitment on-stage acrobatics. Lead singer Eric Sean Nally tumblesaulted across stage mid-lyric, smoked five cigarettes at once throughout a song, jumped on guitarist Loren Turner’s shoulders in the middle of a solo. Keyboardist Sky White alternately played with his hands and feet, and used the audience as a stand. Backup vocalist Alex Nauth completely stole the show during the band’s finale with his flying rock squats that he pulled off while playing the trumpet. Nally described the band best in one of his hilarious non-sequiters: “If Foxy Shazam were an animal at the zoo, we’d be the one who would bite your head off WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT.”   More

An Hour in the Life Of... Artist Jason Mayoh

Who: Jason Mayoh

What: Artist, filmmaker, horror enthusiast

When: 3pm, Saturday March 3

Where: His house, XXX Street, Providence

Why: The man shares my love for the late Rocky Point Park

Jason drew this entire comic book in 24 hours

The darkened room smells of incense and creativity. Jason and his friend Christian White are holed up inside on a sunny Saturday afternoon, drinking beer and working away on various endeavors. A jack of many trades, Jason is constantly juggling projects. Luckily, he’s very organized. And he’s got the labeled file folders to prove it.

Jason created this comic book in elementary school

“There’s a 24-hour comic draw tonight,” he says. “You literally draw for 24 hours straight.” He’s tired, though, and so he debates over whether or not to go. It’s no wonder he’s exhausted. Jason has been shuttling himself back and forth to Boston, where he’s storyboarding an ABC pilot. He storyboarded Ben Affleck’s The Town, and has worked on several other film sets, too.

Those movie sets were the perfect place for him to show his artwork around. Jason also busied himself back then by collecting and amassing Rocky Point memorabilia. “Online urban exploration sites showed what the park had turned into. I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “So, I tried to come up with Tales of the Crypt type comics… history meets urban legend.”

I first held a copy of Tales of Rocky Point Park – Issue 1 in my hot little hands back in 2007, while eating breakfast at the Liberty Elm Diner. It was the first in Jason’s trio of horror comic books, which chronicled the history of and rumors surrounding the now-defunct (and supposedly haunted) amusement park.

Apparently, not all rides buried in the “ride graveyard” remained six feet under like they were supposed to. By the time the three individual issues were bound together …   More

Drag Brunch Returns

Aspire at the Hotel Providence, which recently underwent an overhaul to become As- pire Seasonal Kitchen, just announced that it will be reviving the now closed Downcity’s popular Drag Brunch, which combines mimosas and late morning fare with men in eyeliner and wigs for a fabulous time. It was one of the most lamented things about Downcity closing, and we’re happy to see it return. Check the web site for updates.   More

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