On Stage

Live From The Jewelry District

A look at Providence’s eccentric music venue


Askew is the name of an eclectic bistro and entertainment venue located on Chestnut Street in the Jewelry District. The vibe is welcoming, loose, mellow, and improvisational. This cool spot hosts everything from rock shows to birthday parties, poetry and fiction readings, and all manner of combinations of the aforementioned. There’s also liquor, coffee, and food–some of which is appropriately served on skewers.

Windsong Hadley and John Difruscio, Askew’s “Circus Director” and “Commander in Chief,” respectively, actively cultivate such an eccentric ambience. “One thing that has always been supremely important to me is that everyone should be welcome
and comfortable,” says Windsong. “We are open to everyone, not bound by one age, race, genre, religion, craft, sexuality. [There’s] punk rockers and jazz musicians; a comic and an artist, straight and queer… I like to joke and call us the Land of Misfit Toys. We’re all a little askew, and askew people need friends too!”

The quasi-subterranean decor lends cozy beatnik-atmospherics to any live performance. Eclectic wall art includes eye-catching posters by esteemed graphic designer Swamp Yankee, along with autographed cymbals donated by Stumpy Neckritz, drummer for perennial Providence punk band Neutral Nation. Painters and illustrators are encouraged to hang pieces, many of which are for sale.

Askew’s support extends to music, writers, and visual artists. Check their events listings, which include everything from Martinis and Massage, to Funk Night Tuesdays, to their monthly Wordsmiths and Storytellers series, where authors, poets, journalists, and others can take to the stage to read new (or old) work in front of an audience. There’s something for everyone who is slightly askew.