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StyleWeek Plants a SEED

Part of what gives Providence its creative cutting edge is the presence of the colleges and universities. Every year,  thousands of young, motivated students are hard at work in our city, and they can be a powerful resource for new ideas. (For evidence, see the student-run A Better World By Design conference at Brown and RISD.) Now StyleWeek Providence is trying to leverage that resource to find the future of fashion through SEED, a new student design competition.

Fifteen designs were chosen from hundreds submitted by students in local and regional schools like University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, School of Fashion Design in Boston and Massachusetts College of Art. On January 24, those designs will grace the StyleWeek stage at the Providence Biltmore in a competition judged by five industry professionals. Judges include Bob Grant of event sponsor Swarovski Crystal; Lisa Pierpoint, founder of Boston lifestyle website; designer Daniela Corte; Good Morning Providence anchor Doreen Scanlon; Paul Brooks, Chairman of the Providence Tourism Council; and Boston television journalist Elizabeth Hopkins (formerly of Fox Providence's Rhode Show).

The winning designer will receive a $500 cash prize, along with an installation at StyleWeek Spring/Summer 2013, and two months of marketing/PR representation from StyleWeek. Buy tickets and learn more at StyleWeek's website.   More

Vogue Hearts RI

For the second month in a row, Vogue magazine has shot a cool, blonde, Oscar-winning Hollywood A-lister along the equally cool Rhode Island coastline for its cover. In December, it was Charlize Theron, shot in Newport...

This month, Meryl Streep kicks off the New Year Charlestown...

Who's next? Kirsten Dunst in Little Compton? Cate Blanchett in Watch Hill? Here's hoping they ditch the blondes and graduate redhead Emma Stone to big girl Vogue. Oh, Emma...


Fertile Underground's "Soft-Boiled Opening"

The West Side's new community grocery, Fertile Underground, celebrates its "Soft-Boiled Opening Celebration" this Friday, January 6. The event marks the start of regular store hours and the unveiling of a new mural.

The store was established at 1577 Westminster Street as a worker cooperative that will run a traditional grocery store and cafe, both with a focus on local, healthy, sustainable foods. Fertile Underground was established by a group of artists concerned about access to healthy food in urban communities and connection to nature.

One of the founding artists, Dauna Jean Noble, painted the mural in the store's interior, which depicts the growth of agriculture in Providence and pays tribute to the Kickstarter supporters who helped Fertile Underground raise the money necessary to open the store.

The grocery and cafe, which had previously both been open limited hours, will now operate seven days a week: 8am-7pm, Monday through Friday and 8am-3pm on Sunday. A larger grand opening celebration is being planned for February.   More

City Style

Local Designer Accessorizes Hollywood

Local designer Margo Petitti began her now booming collection of scarves and pocket squares on a sewing table in Providence, where she pieced together fabric swatches into patchwork. Today, her pieces are worn by some of Hollywood’s finest, including actors from Breaking Bad and The Good Wife. Her scarves also made a big splash amongst celebrities visiting the VIP lounges at this year’s Emmy Awards. Petitti chooses classic styles – glen plaid, herringbone, houndstooth and birdseye weaves – and fashions them into high-quality unisex accessories sewn from luxurious fabrics produced in the finest Italian mills. Her apparel is produced in nearby Fall River, where talented local artists spin cashmere, silks and woolens into collection pieces that will last a lifetime – a very fashionable lifetime.   More


Second Annual Fun-a-Day Providence Kicks Off

Every year on the first day of January, we begin resolutions that we likely will not stick to. This year can be different with the help of an organized event that will inspire you to do something creative every day during the entire first month. The second annual Fun-A-Day Providence is a program that encourages the community to get creative. The idea is this: in the month of January you will do something – anything – every day. whether it’s writing, painting or taking an inspiring walk. At the end of the month, there will be a gallery show to share what everyone has been up to.

Last year over 30 participants showcased their work to over 300 attendees including ideas like Samurai-A-Day, Song-A-Day and Thread-A-Day. There’s a launch party on January 4 at Sherri’s Café, where you can meet with other participants and work on ideas. Just remember, it’s all about fun and with a little inspiration and enthusiasm you might be amazed at what you can create.   More

On the Menu

Restaurant Week Returns

It’s that time of year again, as Providence Restaurant Weeks return for another winter installment after last year’s successful debut. From January 15-28, many of the hottest restaurants in and around the city will be offering three-course prix-fixe menus for $14.95 at lunch and $29.95 at dinner. It’s always a great opportunity to try a new restaurant with a low bar to entry, or finally cross off a pricier entry on your to-do list without breaking the bank. Go to the website for the full list of participating restaurants and menus.   More

The Malcontent

Panhandling on Wall Street

As this goes to press, I’ve just finished reading Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, a gripping inside account of the 2008 Wall Street collapse as it pertained to the subprime mortgage market. Lewis (author of Moneyball and The Blind Side) looks at the endemic corruption and corrosion of Wall Street through the stories of the few shrewd investors and money managers who saw the housing collapse coming from miles away. One in particular was Mike Burry, an odd, reclusive, Asperger’s-afflicted stock picker who set up his own hedge fund in California and won big betting against the subprime market. There is an especially salient passage in the last few pages of the book that nicely encapsulates what went wrong at the systemic level:

“The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, future Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein... They had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome.”

When Wall Street collapsed in 2008, the reckless and immoral speculation of big time bond traders generated massive losses for the major investment banks and financial firms. All of them were at risk. Then the government stepped in to bail them out, essentially transferring risk from the institutions that created it to the American taxpayer, who lacked even the most basic understanding of what was happening beyond the vague fear of another Great Depression. Both Bush and Obama signed off on financial policies that absolved Wall Street of all responsibility for its colossal mistakes – and no differences between their stances on the Iraq War or gay marriage affected their willingness to hand a blank check to the very same people who put us in this mess. Most recently, in late …   More

Drumroll Please....

Once again our January issue reveals our "10 to Watch," our annual list of the movers, shakers and innovators we think you need to know about for the coming year. Our "10 to Watch for 2012" hits newsstands this week, and these are the people we've selected. Pick up your free copy this week (or check back to this site) and read all about them. And now, without further adieu...

Development/Health Care

Wendy Lawton

Research Development Director, Lifespan


Alec Beckett

Creative Partner, Nail


Andy Posner

Co-Founder and Director, Capital Good Fund

Community Development

Henrietta White Holder

Founder, Higher Ground International and Broken Pieces International

Art and Business

Joanna Levitt

Director of Commercial Leasing and Marketing, Cornish Associates and In Downcity

Community Service

Kobi Dennis

Founder, Project Night Vision

Global health/Social enterprise

Meg Wirth

Founder, Maternova


Sheila Dormody

Director of Sustainability, City of Providence


Ted Nesi

Digital Reporter, WPRI


Mike McCarthy

Student/freelance animator/member of Occupy Providence   More

Chapel Grille Opens in Cranston

The Garden City/Chapel View area of Cranston gained another attraction this month with the opening of Chapel Grille. The restaurant will feature a cathedral-like atmosphere reflective of the building’s history, with historic stonework and an ornate steeple, and will offer a panoramic view of the Providence skyline in the distance. The menu is built around Mediterranean-style hearth cooking with locally sourced ingredients, overseen by Chef Tim Kelly, formerly of Café Nuovo. The dramatic ambience is intended to convey grand ambitions and position the restaurant as credible competition to the Providence dining scene.   More

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