In other Federal Hill news, the former gas station at the corner of Broadway and Courtland may just be reborn. cluck! (399 Broadway) will be a retail shop for urban farmers and gardeners. Whether you’re growing vegetables in a community garden plot, raising chickens or bees in your backyard, canning your own produce or making cheese, cluck! will be able to provide you with the products, materials, expertise and service you need. Owner Drake Patten promises the property will go from “an abandoned gas station to an oasis of green. Asphalt will be replaced with trees, raised beds and unusual planters growing vegetables and herbs.” There’s just one little snag: she needs a zoning variance to open the property for retail use, instead of strictly residential or office use as it is currently zoned. There has been some resistance from at least one local property owner, but Patten has been doing her due diligence, keeping the neighbors informed (as at a December 5 open house) and rallying supporters. If all goes according to plan, cluck! will be open for business on March 15.
Who: Jessica Ricci
What: Designer, Jessica Ricci Jewelry
When: 3:30pm, Monday, November 12
Where: Her studio at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket
Why: We have so much in common it’s sort of frightening
I first met Jess Ricci in April at TEDx Providence; we bonded over a shared love of innovative ideas and cute lap dogs. (Jess calls her Cavapoo the love of her life.) After doing some research I discovered a few other passions we share: traveling and writing. In fact, she built her wildly successful jewelry brand around the two.
After graduating with a master’s in journalism from NYU, she worked and lived in Manhattan. Seeking adventure, she moved to Italy to teach English and gain some creative inspiration. (Did I mention that I too used to be a teacher?) It was there in Rome that Jess discovered her passion for jewelry making.
I enter Jess’s studio to find her answering emails, a pup curled up on her lap. She greets me with a smile; Aggie greets me with a lick. The bright and airy studio inside Hope Artiste Village functions as both workspace and storefront. While Jess sometimes utilizes interns, her only full-time employee has fur.
“Aggie comes here every day with me,” Jess says as she stands up from her chair. She lovingly pets the tiny hypoallergenic pooch that’s now nestled in the crook of her elbow while I browse her meticulous display cases. I notice there’s nothing I wouldn’t myself wear. Everything is so chic, so global. There’s a reason for that.
While in Italy, Jess was mesmerized by found objects such as coins and keys. “Back then I had no real jewelry making experience except for stringing beads. I thought it would be amazing if I could figure out a way to turn the antiques into jewelry.” It wasn’t an easy task, but the results of her work are impressive.
Pieces from Jess’s collection have been featured in magazines including InStyle, O, Real …
We’ve done it again. After months of campaigning and a tumultuous political climate in which many voters claimed to be undecided, fed up and unhappy with the direction things are going, we did what reliable Rhode Island voters can always be counted on to do: reward the incumbents and strengthen the Democratic monopoly of our state offices. The next General Assembly will convene with Democrats holding 69 of 75 House seats and 32 of 38 Senate seats. Speaker Fox, tarnished by his role in the 38 Studios fiasco, retained his seat and his speakership. Congressman Cicilline has been faulted for both mismanaging city finances and misleading the public about them, yet was handily rewarded with a second term.
Of course, the Democrats aren’t entirely to blame. Their only real opposition comes from a Republican Party seemingly incapable of producing a slate of candidates worthy of election to a student council, let alone state office, and remains trapped between the rock and hard place of an increasingly extreme and intractable national party agenda and a local electorate that’s not buying what they’re selling. The fact that they could not produce a victory for a well-respected former State Police superintendent of unquestioned integrity over a weak incumbent who fought a damaging primary battle says all we need to know about their prospects – simply put, they took their best shot and came up short. We often talk of a need for a third party, but at this point we’d do well just to have a second party.
If there is one state in this country that should be capable of fielding a viable third party, it is the smallest one, with a reputation for independence and contrarianism. There is evidence of this already – admittedly small flickers of hope, but hope nonetheless. Whatever people may think of Governor Chafee, it is significant that we elected someone without party affiliation to our highest state office. On the East Side, a grassroots independent with no …
Now that the votes have been cast and counted, and the president has handily won a second term, the long and convoluted process of dissecting this election will begin. The data wonks will begin combing through demographics and vote tallies searching for hard numbers to chart Obama’s path to victory. The pundits will either fume or gloat, depending on their party affiliation, but either way will bloviate and prognosticate and offer post-mortems. The Obama team will give itself a well-deserved pat on the back for reassembling (most of) its 2008 coalition and once again running a formidable ground game. And, of course, the Republican Party is likely to assemble quickly and noisily into a circular firing squad.
There will be many attempts by various right-wing factions to explain Romney’s loss. The more pragmatic among them will mix undeniable truths (Obama’s undoubtedly superior get-out-the-vote machine, the failure of Republicans to court a wider swath of the growing Latino population) with unanswerable questions (Should so-called “Moderate Mitt” have emerged sooner? Did having Romney sidelined during Sandy drain his momentum?). The more rabidly ideological base will find any which way to spin this into a reaffirmation of their impenetrable world views, rattling off arguments ranging from tin-eared and out-of-touch (they lost because Romney was never a true conservative) to downright insane (Obama was manipulating the jobs numbers; the Democrats control the weather and unleashed Superstorm Sandy to turn the election).
And while the Republicans have their firing squad, the Democrats will have their circle jerk. Liberal strategists, pundits and supporters will weave the admittedly numerous strands of good news into a warm, fuzzy security blanket to keep out the cold, hard facts of a divided country that just barely skewed left this time. They will claim a mandate, a decisive refutation of the conservative agenda, despite a slim …
Can't get to the polls this election year? Not to worry because Zipcar has the affordable solution for you and your fellow car-less concerned citizens. On November 6, if you are a Zipcar member and book a reservation from 5am-9pm you can enjoy a 50% discount on the hourly rate. With over 50 vehicles and 20 lots throughout the Greater Providence area, including downtown spots like Brown and RISD, there's no excuse not to get out to the polls.
Zipcar has emphasized their belief that "everyone should vote" by teaming up with Rock the Vote, an organization at the collision of pop-culture and politics that inspires young people to vote. You can join the movement by registering to vote at Zipcar's Facebook page. Visit their regional office at 65 Eddy Street in Providence, find them on the web, or call 401-234-1480 for more info.
A funny thing happened in Providence on Columbus Day. The fifth annual PRONK! Providence Honk Fest kicked off in India Point Park. It’s a daylong gathering of street and marching bands, a truly grassroots event that came to Providence after the original Honk Fest was founded in Boston. What struck me as funny was its simplicity: you just show up.
Granted, a substantial effort goes into organizing this thing – people volunteer their time, money is raised to cover transportation for bands from all over the county, visiting musicians are housed in guest rooms and on couches of local participants, organizations like the Providence Tourism Council and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts pitch in – but the experience for the end user, the person attending the festival, is refreshingly simple and low impact: you just show up. There’s no ticket to buy, no list to be on, no cover charge to pay. And when you do arrive, there are no food vendors charging pumped-up prices for mediocre food, no bar where you need to show ID or buy drink tickets, no merch vendors hawking t-shirts or posters. There are no lines to wait in, no rules to follow (other than the everyday rules of a civil society, of course), nothing to do except enjoy the music and have a good time. It sounds simple, but how many examples of that kind of streamlined, low impact fun can you bring to mind?
Another great example of this simplicity is Project Night Vision, something that I’ll call an after after school program. It’s an intramural sports and activity program for children and teens in underserved communities – basically, it’s a way to keep kids off the street who might not otherwise have somewhere to go and something to do. Again, a tremendous amount of (unpaid) time and effort on the part of dedicated volunteers led by founder Kobi Dennis goes into making Project Night Vision happen. But again, the beauty is the low bar to entry and thelow impact …
Who: Cousins Amanda and Jesse Corey
What: Photographer and make-up artist, respectively
When: 5pm, Saturday, October 20
Where: Core Creations, 1320 Cranston Street, Cranston
Why: I wanted the Coreys to make me gory
This is what I first saw upon arriving at Jesse and Amanda Corey’s Cranston studio on Saturday, October 20. My beautiful friend Ellen was looking a gory mess in preparation of the 2012 Providence Zombie Pub Crawl, which was later that night. We took one look at each other and burst into hysterical laughter. Clearly, my decision to sign us both up for a horror makeover was the right one.
Jesse seemed super excited at the opportunity to gore us up, and encouraged our input as to shaping the “look” we wanted. We both told her, “Just do whatever you want.” Apparently that was Jesse’s green light to rocket us to hideous town. Ellen’s pre-made mold consisted of an eyeball that was hanging from its eyesocket, her face appearing to melt into itself. Awesome.
I soon discovered that I would be strutting my stuff around town with a circular saw protruding from my chest. “It’s a real blade,” Jesse said with a proud smile. “My boyfriend sanded the edges down, though, so you won’t injure anybody.” Um, he what?! Jesse held the mold up against my body, this way and that, searching for the perfect spot on which to affix it.
I had planned ahead and ordered a post-apocalyptic vest fashioned from bicycle tire inner tubes that exposed both my stomach and my chest, per my "slut-it-up-it’s-Halloween" tendencies. Jesse looked me up and down; her smile grew larger. “Your outfit is perfect!” With that, it was decided that the mold would be most noticeable nestled just above my cleavage. Lovely.
I was surprised at how quickly the time passed as I sat in Jesse’s chair being poked, prodded, dusted with liquid latex and dabbed with gobs of fake blood. She …
Give a coat, get a coffee – it's that simple!
The 5th Annual Coats for Coffee drive to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Providence kicks off this Monday at all Seven Stars Bakery locations. Bring a gently used kids or adult coat to either Providence (820 Hope St. or 342 Broadway) or Rumford (20 Newman Ave.) Seven Stars between October 22-November 4 and you'll receive a free small coffee. To help kickstart things, on the first day only they will also throw in a free baked good. All coats will be cleaned by Courtesy Cleaners before donation. You can also drop your coats directly at one of their locations and receive a voucher for your free coffee. Over the past four years Coats for Coffee has donated hundreds of badly needed coats to children and families in need during the chilly winter months. Help us reach this year's goal of over 500 coats this year and you're guaranteed to feel warm all over.
If you haven’t seen the rosy-colored State House recently, then here’s a newsflash: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in recognition of this, CORE: Center of Real Energy will be offering a series of Pilates for Pink classes. These one-week-only workouts begin on Monday, October 15 and run through Saturday, October 20. CORE is partnering with Shape magazine to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization and one of the pioneers in breast cancer research. So, if the rainy autumn weather has you feeling blue, boost your spirits with a workout that will benefit your body and mind. All classes are $20, and some require pre-registration, which can be done right on their website. Won’t be able to make it to a class but still want to contribute? CORE will also be accepting check donations at their original studio on Angell Street in Wayland Square and their newly opened location on Governor Street. With 100% of the profits from these special classes going directly to breast cancer research, you can feel even better knowing that your ab-ripping Pilates workout contributed to women’s health everywhere.
Who: Karen Bentley
What: Owner, Karen Bentley Tarot
When: 6pm, Wednesday August 22
Where: Cactus Grille, 800 Allens Ave., Providence
Why: I’m a sucker for all things mystical
Karen Bentley Tarot is a one-woman show. The self-proclaimed “tarotpreneur” makes a living by reading tarot cards. Similar to the standard 52-card deck, a tarot deck features four suits; in place of a spade or a club, however, you might find a cup or a sword. Magicians, emperors and fools run rampant. Oh, and you should probably watch out for that pesky devil card.
I spot Karen in the back room of Cactus Grille. She’s draping a table with a swatch of wispy leopard fabric in preparation for her monthly Manicures and Margaritas event, featuring $10 tarot card readings, $6 express manis and $5 drink specials. As my late grandmother practiced tarot, my interest in the esoteric runs deep. I park it beside Karen in the circular red booth.
She’s a beautiful lady, with eyes that smile even when her lips stay unmoving. “I’m an ethical reader,” Karen explains after I recite a few of the past tarot-based predictions that never quite materialized. I was supposed to meet my future husband last September! “I don’t ‘cast the mark,’ she says. “That’s usually bad news for people that approach the tarot with misguided expectations.”
I shuffle the deck, concentrating – as instructed – on the topic I craved insight on: romance. “At these events I do a seven-card horseshoe spread,” she explains. Satisfied after a minute of shifting the cards back and forth, I randomly choose seven and hand them over. She arranges them neatly. “The cards tell a story,” she says, “and they must be read in conjunction with the others.”
The 78-card tarot deck can be broken up into two parts: major arcana (22 cards without suits) and minor arcana (56 cards containing the …