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January 2011

Class is in Session New East Side voices speak out on education

Pre-Sorted Standard US POSTAGE PAID Providence, RI Permit No. 34

Our Winter Arts Preview

New Public Art on Hope Street

A Must-Read Look at Wall Street

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy


Our 82nd Year! Myra Braverman daniel Byrnes Bob del deo tara demyan sue erkkinen carl Feldman rodger gaglione

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


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Contents January 2011

This Month 16 Winter Arts Preview The best in movies, theater, music, galleries and dance

21 New Year, New Focus on Education East Side advocates offer their thoughts on what’s next

27 Book Review

The Big Short is a Wall Street must-read

Every Month 7 Letters/Editorial 8 Other Side 12 Community News 29 Politics One Rhode Islander didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas

31 On the Menu A soon-to-be neighborhood favorite in Fox Point

21 32 Dining Guide

45 Finance

Your resource for where to eat

Which investing story do you believe?

37 Pajama Monologues

47 Calendar

Finding home away from home

January’s big events

39 Movies

54 East of Elmgrove

127 Hours and Love and Other Drugs reviewed

It was a very good year

East Side Monthly is now online!

42 Education On the importance of playtime

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New Hopes for a New Year With the election of a new mayor in Providence and a new governor for the state, the next few months promise to be a time of change – and of concern. Will the two be able to address the high unemployment, economic stagnation and citizen frustration that are crippling our state? Both clearly face an unenviable situation. But both also seem to be men of good character and determination. Their first order of business is to surround themselves with people who have the skill sets to implement positive improvements despite the unavoidable reality of ever-tightening budgets. So far the first appointments seem to be thoughtful and appropriate. The next steps are more difficult: making the hard decisions

about funding priorities, pension and budget reform, and perhaps finally confronting the inevitability of consolidating services among cities and towns. Fortunately, neither the mayor nor the governor has an abrasive personality. In addition, they have chosen department heads who share this more collegial governing style. On the other side, however, a legislature awaits that will effectively call the shots in terms of what will happen in the future. It’s easy to succumb to the notion that this means things will continue to bumble along as they have. Translation: our children will continue to leave the state for jobs elsewhere as our retirees relocate to Florida for six months and a day. But then again, it’s New Year’s, a time of year

when anything seems possible – even losing that illusive ten pounds or finally giving up smoking. So let’s hope for the best and encourage everyone to play nice, since the future of our state depends on it. Unlike Washington, there is no insurmountable logjam to paralyze the process. While the union imprint in the legislature is daunting, their members also require city services, pay taxes, and are concerned about the future of their children. Here’s hoping the powers-that-be in our state can ring out the same old, same old and bring in a new spirit of collaboration and compromise. It would make for one great New Year’s Resolution. Remember, every so often, we actually do manage to lose those pounds.

Letters Grateful for Something Graceful To the editor: I just received my December issue of East Side Monthly and what a wonderful issue it is. I particularly enjoyed the stories on both Jonathan Huyck (“A Graceful Homecoming”), the new rector at Grace Church downtown, and James Hall (“Returning to His Roots”), the new executive director of the Providence Preservation Society. As a congregant at Grace Church, I will be dropping off a copy of the paper down at the church myself. Thanks for both stories. Virginia Stuart Providence

Leaving a Bad Taste To the editor: I regularly enjoy your generally thoughtful (and often humorous) editorials in the paper, so I was very much surprised by the tone of your last one (“What Is It About Rhode Island?” December 2010), which reflected either some post-election depression or the response to a particularly unpleasant lunch. By now you should understand this is just the way things happen in our beloved Ocean State and you’ve got to learn to accept it. Without a sense of humor, we’re all doomed. SRK Providence

Publishers Barry Fain Richard Fleischer John Howell Publishing Director Jeanette St. Pierre Managing Editor Barry Fain City Editor Steve Triedman Editor Julie Tremaine Assistant Editor John Taraborelli Art Director Allison Cole Assistant Art Director Alli Coate Advertising Design Director Layheang Meas

Editor’s Note: We do admit succumbing to a temporary bout of frustration over our electorate’s inability to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, or in the case of things like pension reform and balanced budgets, inaction. But we feel somewhat better now and are marginally encouraged by what seem to be some reasonable mayoral and gubernatorial appointments. We’re also trying to eat more carefully as well.

Downtown’s Past and Present To the editor: I enjoyed Mr. Mike Fink’s personal memories of Christmas from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s, before highways and shopping malls changed how people shopped and celebrated the holidays (“Miracle on Westminster Street,” December 2010). I thought I’d write to share with you that I currently work downtown, and there are still many wonderful little independent shops that are working hard to give personalized service and stay alive and well in a tough economy. While other downtowns across the country have virtually disappeared, Providence still has a healthy local business community, where shop owners, who live locally, know their neighbors and come up with all kinds of useful and fun suggestions, activities and great deals for people of all different incomes and ages: locally made crafts and gifts from places like Craftland and Homestyle; shoes you

can’t find elsewhere at Modern Love, a new store; successful clothing boutiques like Queen of Hearts and Clover; Main Street basics like Eno Fine Wines; a bookstore, Symposium Books; even a shop where the owner makes his own soap, called Zop Soap. You can take in a show at one of the many theaters in downtown offering holiday programs, from Trinity Rep to Perishable Theater to PPAC. While you’re at it, grab dinner or drinks with friends at more places to choose from than anywhere else in the city: Gracie’s, The Red Fez, Farmstead, Gourmet Heaven, Local 121, AS220, Bravo Brasserie, Aspire, Tazza Caffe, Cuban Revolution, Trinity Brewhouse or Tini. Keep your eyes open as new restaurants and bars come on the scene all the time, like The Salon or Sura. I find the easiest way to keep up with all the downtown holiday activity is to check out, a neighborhood blog that will keep you informed of all the openings, events and deals that are happening. Your article inspired me to write and share my point of view, as someone who works and spends a lot of her free time downtown. I appreciate your community spirit and your passion for downtown life and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on what’s happening here now. I hope to see you enjoying downtown this winter! Abby Fox Cornish Associates

Graphic Designer Karli Hendrickson Account Managers Danielle Claro, Louann DiMuccioDarwich, Ann Gallagher, Nicole Greenspun, Nellie Lima, Dan Schwartz, Elizabeth Riel, Jessica Webb Classified Advertising Sue Howarth, Janice Torilli Contributing Writers Bob Cipriano, Mary K. Connor, Jill Davidson, Don Fowler, Mike Fink, David Goldstein, Bob Mariani, Betsey Purinton, Elizabeth Rau, Dan Schwartz Calendar Christina Evon Interns Lauren Knight, Jen Liedke, Whitney Smith Contributing Photographers Amy Amerantes, Dan Schwartz Contributing Illustrators Emma Tripp

Calendar announcements and news releases should be submitted by the 1st of the preceding month. We reserve the right to omit and edit items. Letters to the editor are welcome. We will not print unsigned letters without exceptional circumstances. East Side Monthly is not responsible for typographical errors. Corrections will be run at discretion of editor. Copyright ©2011 by East Side Monthly. All rights reserved. Printed by TCI.

January 2011 East Side Monthly


Other Side by Barry Fain

...And a Happy New Year Start it off right with sports, arts and local writers Convention Center, so visit for more details.

Two If By Sea Of course, since we are the Ocean State, what would our mid-winter dreams be without something nautical to consider as well? Fortunately the 18th annual Providence Boat Show arrives at the Convention Center January 13-16 to do just that. While going out for a test cruise isn’t in the cards, getting juiced up for the joys of summer is. Check out all this month’s convention center events without the hassle of overcoats and boots by visiting their website.

No Veiled Threats Here

Big, as in BIG, Changes on Hope Street

Don’t know exactly what to expect here, but the good folks at Perishable Theatre on Empire Street have certainly gotten out attention. On January 8, they will be presenting something imaginatively labeled: 1001 Tales in the Night: A Modern Retelling of Scheherazade. Go to, which promises to explain all.

Kudos to the powers that be on Hope Street – especially Asher Schofield, the imaginative owner of Frog and Toad, and sculptor Donald Gerola – for their efforts to add some pizzazz to our community. By now, you likely have seen the four large sculptures that now enliven the street (in front of the Rochambeau Library, Seven Stars Bakery, Citizens Bank and the Festival Ballet). Appropriately, given Schofield’s leadership of the effort, he also gets to enjoy a nice view of some of the art, since his store is right across from Citizens. The project is funded by some of the merchants on the street along with additional help from the City’s Department of Arts Culture and Tourism. Hopefully this will spawn other public art initiatives around the city. A job well done by all concerned!

Gimme a... Well, Whatever

One If By Land...

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As the temperatures begin to go south (and we don’t), perhaps the best way to get our minds off the upcoming snow and ice is simply to dream about something else. This month offers us all the chance to shift those dreams into a high torque, turbo-charged experience just by attending either the Northeast Motorcycle Expo, January 8-9, or the Northeast International Auto Show from January 27-30. In addition to spiffy new 2011 models to check out (both automotive and attractive female), there will be concept cars, accessories and show specials as well. Both events are at the


East Side Monthly January 2011

We’re pretty used to all manner of conventions and competitions descending on our capital city, but one of the more intriguing will be at the Convention Center from January 22-23. Over 250 teams and 2,000 students will be engaged in a cheerleading and dance competition that promises to attract some of the best scholastic teams from all over New England. Part of the Athletic National Championship Series, the event is a regional qualifier that will send its winners to the Nationals later in the year. Check out for more details and info on ticket prices. And no, you don’t need to bring pom-poms to get admitted.

We don’t know how much of their humor will be localized, but on January 13 finalists from the hit NBC Show The Last Comic Standing will bring their shticks and one-liners to Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA). These are supposedly the funniest of the funny, so it might be interesting to see how they stack up against our own local comic venues (Catch a Rising Star at Twin Rivers or the Comedy Connection in East Providence for example). Go to for more information – though don’t expect to get a preview of the punch lines.

Here’s to the Cheers Now that they’ve knocked off state rival URI and are off to a surprisingly promising start, the Providence College Friars take their talented but youthful group into the much more competitive fires of Big East conference play. Coach Keno Davis is trying to rekindle a basketball program that has lost many of its best players to off-court misbehavior, and hopes his new recruits have the athletic and behavioral skills to help a once-storied basketball program get back its groove. One of the first big tests comes on January 4 when the young Friars take on Pittsburgh, currently ranked number five in the country. It’ll be a tough ticket to score, but certainly worth a full court press.

Setting Fires for a Good Cause Amidst the current economic malaise that hovers over our state (but is getting better, we cautiously dare to hope), nonprofits are desperately trying to find alternative ways to address their fundraising needs. The good folks at Everett Dance studio have come up with something that is both seasonally appropriate and easy to implement. For every half cord of wood you purchase for $175, $50 will go as a donation to Everett. Buy a full cord for $300, and the dance group gets $100. Plus, delivery to Providence is included. The wood is well seasoned and ready to go; so too is Everett. Call 508-675-5960 to arrange delivery or visit www.

A Hundred Reasons to Go from A to Z One of the pioneering art galleries in the city is turning 10 and planning to celebrate by honoring perhaps Providence’s best known art collector along with dozens of the artists he has championed. In an exhibition that both commemorates its decade in business and represents its 100th show, Gallery Z (259 Atwells Avenue) will feature the works of 24 artists that have been part of statewide NetWorks shows produced by the East Side’s Dr. Joseph Chazan. This comprehensive exhibit will include some of the area’s most famous artists, such as Tom Sgouros, Malcolm Grear and Salvatore Mancini. The festivities commence with an opening reception at the gallery from 5-9pm on January 20. For more information call 454-8844 or go to www.galleryzprov. com. Congrats to Gallery Z owner Berge Zobian and Dr. Chazan for their lifelong support of the local art scene.

Other Side continued...

A Year of Great Reads Something for everyone in new Writer’s Circle Anthology By Don Fowler

The Rhode Island Writer’s Circle, founded 17 years ago by Rose Pearson, produces an anthology of fiction, memoirs, essays, poetry and drama every year that features the best of our local writers. This year’s anthology stands up there with the best. It’s a great read for you or anyone in your circle whose list of New Year’s resolutions includes things like “writing the next Great American Novel.” If there may be one or two pieces that you don’t particularly like, don’t worry. The articles are short and varied and, as always, there is something for everyone in the book. The anthology opens with a poignant play about 9/11 by Robert Levinson, and continues with a variety of short stories, many of them personal and introspective. There is Susan Bergeron’s nostalgic piece about “Meeting Bill Haley”; Dorothy S. Clark’s poignant look at an unusual Italian restaurant singer; Charles R. Greaves’ very short humorous piece about a philanderer; David Howard’s tale of “The Taffy Man” (my favorite); Ashley O’Brien’s chilling “Summer’s Lament” with its surprise ending; Sally Sanford’s sad

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tale of the farmer’s wife; Marcia Taylor’s tongue-in-cheek “Hair I & Hair II”; and Charles P. Whitin’s nostalgic “Of Mouse & Man.” The nonfiction section is filled with mostly memory tales, including Nellie Fagen’s “Sticks and Stones,” James Marlow’s “The Hummingbird in My Garden,” Celest Martin’s look at autism from a parent’s perspective, and Patricia Pierannunzi’s look at aging from a grown daughter’s perspective. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that regular East Side Monthly columnist Bob Mariani also has a piece in the book entitled “Memorial Day Remembered.” The final section has some interesting poetry by Carol Anderheggen, Nancy E. Brown, Tom Chandler, Lisa Christine, Jack Coulehan, Diane Dolphin, Lawrence J. Krips, Silent Lotus, Michael Mack, Bob Mariani, Brett Rutherford, Michael Sheff, Lisa Starr, Christopher Stewart and Heather Sullivan. The Rhode Island Writers’ Circle Anthology 2010 can be ordered online at, or by contacting thewriterscircle@aol. com. Cost is $21.50.

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


Community News

Community News is space that East Side Monthly makes available to community organizations free of charge. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of this publication.

Blackstone Parks By Jane Peterson Blackstone Parks Conservancy Website: Email: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 603141, Providence, RI 02906 Healthy Urban Green Space for All Fresh out of a Board of Directors retreat funded by the Rhode Island Foundation, we at the Blackstone Parks Conservancy embrace a new vision statement: “Healthy urban green space for all.” As the new president, I look forward to working with the city of Providence, the Conservancy’s Board of Trustees, and the community. Our work on Blackstone Boulevard – the Trolley Shelter restoration, the five-year planting program, and the first tree pruning of the entire boulevard in nearly 25 years, to name some – is nearly complete. Only upkeep remains. Now we turn


East Side Monthly January 2011

with renewed energy to our other “ward”: the Blackstone Park Conservation District, the 45-acre woodland by the Seekonk River. A visitor to the Conservation District may encounter the thrill of the unexpected. For this newcomer to Providence in 2005, it was the astonishing sight of a red-tailed hawk swooping down to a riverside curb 50 feet ahead. For some it may be emerald green mosses and multicolored fungi sprouting on old trees – or a wild turkey waddling across the road. A quiet walk through the woods can restore body and soul. “Healthy urban green space for all” in a place where people, plants and wildlife collide is not simple. To continue working beside the Parks Department, we must all figure out how to reconcile the demands of an urban park and a conservation area. The challenges in a time of cutbacks and recession inspire us to be creative. Long ago the semi-wild park by the river was a place to pick wildflowers, and people today remember playing there as children. But later it came to be seen as a kind of no man’s land. Remarkably, after decades of neglect, these wooded bluffs and ravines and ponds still function as filters for toxin-laden runoff and dirty air. They harbor a remarkable variety of plants and wildlife. And they still hold beauty and wonder. Scott Turner’s story of arguing

with a friend over the merits of the Conservation District comes to mind. The friend finally exclaimed: “Face it! It’s not Yosemite!” “Ah,” replied Scott. “But to some people it is – it’s their Yosemite.” If you walk or run in these parks – or simply drive by – please let us hear your observations and ideas. Find membership and other information at or write to us at our PO box. Your Eastside Marketplace receipts help cover costs.

Wayland Square By David Kolsky Neighborhood Discussion Group at Books on the Square waylandsquare Upcoming Events Monthly Meeting: Wednesday, January 26 at 7pm. Books on the Square, street level, 471 Angell Street (at Elmgrove, next to CVS). Free and open to all. (Future meetings will be at the same place and time on the fourth Wednesday of each month through October.) Draft Downtown Plan The City Plan Commission intended

to hold a final hearing and vote on the Downtown-Jewelry District part of the city’s Comprehensive (master) Plan on December 14, after this issue had gone to press. Downtown was one of the dozen-odd neighborhood clusters included in the “Providence Tomorrow” participatory planning process that began in the summer of 2006 in reaction to a series of spot zonings that didn’t conform to any local consensus or citywide plan. Since the shape of Downtown affects everyone, speakers from the Jewelry District, West Broadway, Summit/Hope and Wayland Square neighborhoods presented their views to the Commission at their November 16 meeting. Other written and oral comments had been presented to two previous Commission meetings, as well as at a series of public workshops in October 2008. While the November draft of the Downtown Plan does address the huge highway gulf that has separated the West End, Southside and Fox Point from downtown for decades, it didn’t mention the circuitous and forbidding pedestrian approaches to the central East Side at Smith Hill, the bus tunnel and RISD (for example the awkward islands and difficult signals at Kennedy Plaza and the tunnel). The Commission responded to my comments about this problem by asking the staff to add appropriate language to the draft

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Public Transit Plans Another topic I mentioned to the planning commission was the lack of good transit connections across the East Side. Earlier Providence Tomorrow workshops had proposed some kind of two-way loop between the East Side’s major points. It’s hard, for example, without driving, to get from Wayland Square to Miriam Hospital; or to the Rochambeau and Fox Point libraries; or between University Heights or Fox Point and the Jewish Community Center on Elmgrove Avenue. The unsatisfactory fusion of the Blackstone and Elmgrove bus routes stops at the southern entrance of Swan Point Cemetery without reconnecting to the 42 Hope Street Bus at the end of Blackstone Boulevard. RIPTA is engaged in several planning exercises of its own. “Transit 2020” is an overall strategic plan for the next five years. The more specific “Core Connector Study” is considering a new bus, trolley, street car or light-rail connection between College Hill, downtown, the train station (perhaps), the Jewelry District (future home of Brown Medical School) and the Rhode Island Hospital complex. At press time, RIPTA hadn’t decided on the final routes and destinations on the western side of the river, but had apparently fixed the eastern terminus near the Thayer Street mouth of the bus tunnel. (Naturally, I’d prefer the route to continue along Waterman and Angell Streets to less-congested Wayland Square.) At a public forum hosted by the College Hill Neighborhood Association in November, RIPTA’s planners said that the new connection, although expensive, would not actually decrease travel time. If it uses rails and overhead electrical wires, some of them would be single track (only one direction at a time). However, there would be more scheduled trips per hour (five to seven minutes between arrivals). A separate but related and welcome plan will install Rapid Bus Service along North Main Street,

currently the system’s most overused route (number 99).

Fox Point By Ian Barnacle Fox Point Neighborhood Association Phone Number: 270-7121 Website: www.foxpointprovidence. org Email Address: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 603177, Providence, RI 02906 Upcoming Event: FPNA Monthly Board Meeting: 6:458 pm, January 10 at the Vartan Gregorian Bath House Library. Open Space and Recreation Bond Passed FPNA is very pleased that 64.6% of Rhode Island voters approved Question 4, the Open Space and Recreation Bond, in November’s general election. The bond allows Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick and the Shooters property at 25 India Street in Fox Point to be transferred into public ownership, and it allows for renovation of Fort Adams State Park in Newport. After years in limbo during I-Way construction, ownership of the abandoned Shooters nightclub adjacent to India Point Park and the Community Boating Center will be transferred from RIDOT to the Department of Environmental Management. For three years, FPNA and Head of the Bay Gateway (HOBG) have advocated for public and maritime use at 25 India Street. What’s next? According to David Riley, HOBG co-chair, “DEM will put out a request for proposals for developers interested in creating a marina, restaurant and function space, which will generate economic activity and bring lease income and tax revenues to the city and state… We [HOBG] are sharing with DEM the  info we’ve gathered, with consultants’ help, on the site’s development potential.”

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


Community News continued...

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East Side Monthly January 2011

Good Neighbors, Good Fences? FPNA and RIDOT continue conversations regarding the new Wickenden Street interchange and pedestrian access within the neighborhood. Community members have expressed concern over the design of the new South Main Street off-ramp from westbound 195. The off-ramp cuts off pedestrian access between the residential neighborhood south of Wickenden Street and the bars, restaurants and Corliss Landing Condos on South Water Street. The speed at which traffic enters the neighborhood and a new chain-link fence erected along the off-ramp on the site of the demolished route 195 functions much as the old highway divided the neighborhood in half. The $640-million I-Way project has helped visually piece the community back together, but then and now, the neighborhood is divided. FPNA hopes that RIDOT will consider our recommendation for a pedestrian bridge over the off-ramp from George M. Cohan Boulevard or crossPage 1 walk at Pike Street. “This is a minor issue for them [RIDOT], but major for us,” said FPNA President Ian Barnacle. “We have the opportunity now to rebuild and shape the future of Fox Point through innovative approaches to urban design, and FPNA hopes for RIDOT’s cooperation for a community project.” I-Way Updates In response to increased noise levels in Fox Point since the construction of the I-Way, FPNA has formed a Noise Committee to work with RIDOT to gather information and to ultimately find a solution. For more information or involvement in this issue, visit the group’s new Facebook page, “Fox Point 195 Noise.”

College Hill News By Diane Greco College Hill Neighborhood Association Phone: 633-5230 Website: Email: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2442, Providence, RI 02906

The Board of the College Hill Neighborhood Association met at Lippitt House Museum on December 6. Attending were Allison Spooner, Heidi Heifetz, Ed Bishop, Barry Fain, Diane Greco, Sara Bradford, Alex Payson and John Simpson. President Allison Spooner reported that new neighbors will soon be receiving welcome packets created by CHNA through local realtors. These packets include coupons good for discounts at local businesses and information about CHNA. Spooner also reported on a recent meeting, between neighborhood groups and the Providence Police, regarding break-ins on and near Lloyd Street.  At that meeting, representatives from various East Side neighborhood groups shared their efforts to deter crime in their communities, focusing on things that neighbors can do themselves, from establishing neighborhood watch groups to taking commonsense precautions such as locking doors, getting to know one’s neighbors, and stopping the mail during extended trips away from home. At the Core Connector study group meeting organized by CHNA in November, neighbors learned more about the proposed new bus routes that are intended to run through the neighborhood, connecting it better to the hospitals and downtown. CHNA urges College Hill residents to review the plans and voice concerns sooner rather than later. More information about the Core Connector project is available on CHNA’s website. CHNA is also reviewing aspects of the “Downtown Plan” that are salient to College Hill. In particular, we are looking at ways to improve pedestrians’ experience coming up the hill from downtown. The results of this research will be presented in a letter to the City Council. Annual dues are due!  If you’re a member, it’s time to re-up. If you’re not a member, why not join? Membership is $20 per year and includes invitations to events and our free, mostly monthly email newsletter. To join or renew your membership, visit our website, and click “Join CHNA.” Or send a check for $20, made out to College Hill Neighborhood Association, to the Treasurer, Box 2442, Providence, RI 02906. Be sure to include your email address. 

January 2011 East Side Monthly



The Curtain Goes Up on the Winter Theatre Season by Don Fowler The holiday season is over, and Scrooge, the Nutcracker and the Rockettes have all left the building, or in this case, the Rhode Island theatre scene. So it’s time to sweep up the tinsel, discard the trees and take a look at what we can look forward to during the upcoming winter theatre season to keep our spirits and interests nice and toasty warm. Here’s what on tap.

Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre

Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre welcomes winter with a little that’s old and a little that’s new. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House will be at the Gamm January 20-February 20, directed by Trinity’s own Fred Sullivan, Jr. Ironically, the serious drama in this classic play takes place on Christmas Eve, when “sweet, cheery Nora Helmer, arms brimming with gifts, is reveling in her role as wife and mother, until a knock on her door threatens to destroy her doll house of a world forever.” Artistic Director Tony Estrella reminds us that Ibsen’s play has “shocked and divided audiences for more than a century.” No reason it shouldn’t do the same thing for local audiences as well. Paul, by British playwright Howard Brenton, gets its North American premiere at the Gamm from March 17-April 17. Estrella tells us that Brenton’s “intriguing secular take on the evolution of a belief was produced to acclaim and controversy at London’s National Theatre in 2005,” and calls it a “powerful, provocative new play.” Thank you, Gamm, for giving us some hard-hitting, stimulating theatre to kick off 2011. 723-4266, www.

Providence Performing Arts Center

At PPAC, the old year ends and the new one begins with the return of the ever-popular Mamma Mia!, featuring the music of Abba, playing December 28-January 2. Always a crowd-pleaser, the musical already has a lot of locals planning their New Year’s around this proven toe-tapper. PPAC then opens its Broadway Series with the moving, funny and uplifting In The Heights, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2008. It’s the story of a community of hard-working immigrants seeking a better life and trying to find their place in their new country. It plays January 11-16. The big theatrical event of the season roars into town for three weeks in February (1-20), with the arrival of Disney’s blockbuster musical The Lion King. We saw the award-winning Best Musical when it played in Rhode Island a few years ago, and can’t wait to see it again. The music, sets, story and imaginative scenes will leave you breathless. Next To Normal, from the director of Rent, is about a family of people trying to take care of themselves and each other. It won three Tony Awards in 2009, and was the most talked about new show on Broadway. My daughter saw it in New York and loved it, as did critics who chose it as one of the year’s ten best. Called the “feel-good” musical hit of the year, Next To Normal is at PPAC March 22-27. If you have never seen the hilarious Blue Man Group, you can catch them at PPAC March 4-6. I have seen them in Boston twice, leaving with my sides aching from laughter. What they do to entertain their fans is beyond description, and made for one of the most difficult reviews I have ever had to write. It’s tough to


East Side Monthly January 2011

The Lion King at PPAC describe exactly what they do and why it works, but it does and certainly provides for a spectacular evening of enjoyable theatre. 421-ARTS,

Trinity Rep

Trinity’s winter season begins on February 4, running through March 13, with Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible, directed by Brian McElenny. Set in colonial days when there was a witch around every corner in Salem, Massachusetts, the play is as relevant today as it was when it was first staged over 50 years ago during the height of the McCarthy witch hunt. Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, a tale of growing up in a small South Carolina town, is, according to Artistic Director Curt Columbus, “a haunting and heartbreaking parable about family, love and the complexity of race in America.” It’s in the downstairs theatre February25April 3. Winter is generally the appropriate time for thoughtprovoking theatre, so Trinity would appear to be on target with both their offerings. And given the credentials of our Tony Award-winning theatre, you know whatever they do won’t be boring. 351-4242, www.

2nd Story Theatre

Artistic Director Ed Shea calls Gina Gionfriddo’s offBroadway hit Becky Shaw “difficult to describe but impossible to forget... engrossing, shocking, hip, sexy, and improbably funny…a contemporary collision of crisis and comedy when a newlywed couple fixes up two romantically challenged friends.” That sounds pretty interesting to us. The play will be presented at their Warren theatre January 21-Feb. 20. More traditional will be J.M. Synge’s classic The Playboy of the Western World. Set in a pub on the west coast of Ireland in the early 1890s, the play is a wild comedy about Christy Mahon, who turns up in a remote village with a tale of having killed his tyrant father. The play caused riots when it opened at Ireland’s Abbey Theatre in 1907. I’ve seen it more than once, and it still packs a punch. Check it out March 11-April 10. 247-4200,

The Colleges

Brown University presents Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Nicholas Ridout, March 3-5 and 10-13. We’ve has the chance to catch several Brown productions this year and can attest that their quality is superb. (Can’t beat the location either.) Providence College presents The Sweetest Swing in Baseball by Rebecca Gilman, February 3-6, followed by the hysterically funny Fuddy Meers, by David LindsayAbaire February 11-13. 865-2218

Newport Playhouse

Now that the crowds have gone from the beloved City by the Sea, the quiet streets of Newport are even more charming and romantic, as you and your significant other bundle against the winter winds. So take a trip down south and check out the Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant as they bring back one of their most popular plays, Norman, Is That You?, by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick. The play will run February 10-March 27 and is directed by Matt Siravo. Norman is about a dry cleaner who visits his son in New York after having an argument with his wife. He finds his son living with a male roommate, and hires a lady of the night to get Norman on the “right track.” Sounds like a production that should produce some lively post-performance discussions. Shows are Tuesday through Sunday. Don’t miss the fabulous buffet, which matches any in Rhode Island. Then enjoy the play and return to the restaurant for a lively cabaret featuring many of the waiters and actors. 848-PLAY, www.

Courthouse Center for the Arts

This small Kingston theatre is making quite a name for itself with some good productions of Broadway musicals. CLUE: The Musical opens February 11 and is based on the popular board game. It’s a rousing, fun-filled musical that brings the world’s best known mystery suspects to life on the stage and invites the audience to play along and solve a mystery. 782-1018, www.

On Stage and In the Galleries by Lauren Knight Think you’re going to spend the winter hunkered down indoors with just your DVR and/or Netflix queue to keep you occupied until spring? Think again. The arts haven’t gone into hibernation. Quite the contrary, the first three months of the year are alive with art, dance, music, film, and even fashion. THROUGH JUNE 5

From Dover to Penzance: Watercolor Views of the English Channel


England’s southern coastline has been the inspiration for many 19th century watercolors. Scores of artists have dedicated their time to illustrating rushing waters from the English Channel to the cliffs at Dover. RISD’s permanent collection provides the beautiful paintings displayed in this exhibit, including work by watercolor specialists David Cox, Anthony Vandyke and Copley Fielding, to name a few. JANUARY 19

A“Go Red StyleWeek Challenge” Runway Show

Fashion will be storming the runway of the Grand Ballroom at the Biltmore for a great cause. StyleWeek Providence and the American Heart Association have teamed up to raise awareness and funds for women with heart disease. Using only red fabric and embellishing with Swarovski crystals, designers will create original looks inspired by heart survivors. JANUARY 22

RI Philharmonic Presents Pictures and a Piano

Internationally renowned conductor Jahja Ling is taking the stage with Pianist Jessie Chang at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. They will be performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, op. 21, as well as other selections such as Suppe’s Poet and Peasant Overture and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Ling directs the San Diego Symphony and continues to guest conduct around the country in major orchestras. With beautiful tone and technique, Chang and Ling make a perfect pair for an inspiring evening of music. 421-ARTS, FEBRUARY 4–6

Festival Ballet Presents Carmen

Providence’s premier ballet troupe presents this iconic story of passion, jealousy and murder by Viktor Plotnikov. His innovative and unique choreography tells the story of a man’s obsession with a woman he could never have: Carmen. The men around her fall victim to her charm and each time the result is deadly.

Violinist Karen Gomyo performs with the RI Philharmonic in March Connecticut and Massachusetts gather to rehearse and perform as a quality wind ensemble. The Philharmonic Music School inspires youth of all ages and abilities to become involved in a lifelong dedication to music, and the result pays off. This concert at Rhode Island College’s Sapinsley Hall will show you what these kids can do. www. FEBRUARY 26

RI Philharmonic Presents Also Sprach… Brahms

Music Director Larry Rachleff leads the orchestra and internationally acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker in a performance of Brahm’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat minor, op. 83 at the VMA. Parker’s exceptional talent has taken him to Cargenie Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, and as far as Zimbabwe and Canada’s Baffin Island. He holds one of Canada’s highest civilian honors as an Officer of the Order of Canada. The orchestra will also be featuring Wagner’s Lohengrin: Prelude, Act III and R. Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra, TrV 176, op. 30. March 18–20, 25–27


RI Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensembles Concert

Talented young musicians from Rhode Island,


Viktor Plotnikov and Mark Harootian combine classical with modern inspirations for an evening of short dances. The program is infused with energy, emotion and adventure as the dancers incor-

porate props into a few selections. An evening of traditional and classic pieces will mix unexpected choreography with tango or contemporary influences. MARCH 18–JULY 29

Once Upon a Time

German filmmaker and artist Corinna Schnitt turns on the camera for short films featuring everyday absurdities. Through the lens of seemingly mundane scenes, these films explore the patterns of behavior that shape an individual in our society. In this RISD exhibit, Schnitt examines a population of animals inhabiting a middle-class living room. The film catches the domesticity and change of the animals as they settle in. MARCH 19

RI Philharmonic Presents Mozart… 1905

Larry Rachleff and the orchestra invite guest violinist Karen Gomyo to join them in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216 (Strassburg). Also featured will be Mozart’s Cosi fan tutti Overture, K.588 and the Shostakovich Symphony No.11 in G minor, op. 103 (The Year 1905). The extraordinarily young and talented Gomyo is an excellent addition to the stage, as she was the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008 and the Summis Auspiciis Prize, among other awards. January 2011 East Side Monthly



Stay Warm By the Light of the Silver Screen by Whitney Smith While the winter movie season is usually a graveyard for studios to dump troubled projects and third-rate popcorn flicks, the first three months of 2011 actually boast their fair share splashy actioneers, hard-boiled thrillers and raucous comedies. Here are some of the highlights. JANUARY 14

The Green Hornet

Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz Like most great superheroes, Britt Reid (Rogen) is two people in one: a newspaper publisher by day and The Green Hornet by night. Fighting crime with his partner, martial arts expert Kato (Chou), is an easy task – trying to keep their identities a secret proves a little more difficult. Don’t expect your standard issue superhero movie, as the eccentric Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.


The Dilemma

Just Go with It

Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, Queen Latifah This comedy stars Vaughn as a man who finds himself in turmoil as he debates whether or not to let his best friend (James) in on a secret: James’ wife is having an affair with a younger, tattooed stud (Tatum). Director Ron Howard takes on comedy after three consecutive features dealing with international intrigue (Angels and Demons, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code). JANUARY 21

The Way Back

Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell This dramatic film follows a group six prisoners who have managed to engineer a taxing escape plan from their grisly Stalinist Siberian gulag during World War II. Their daring and moving journey treks across Asia, in hopes of finding security in India. (Limited release) JANUARY 28

The Rite

Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Ciarán Hinds When, Michael Kovak (O’Donoghue) an unwilling seminary student, finally agrees to attend an exorcism school at the Vatican he is met by an unorthodox priest. As Father Lucas (Hopkins) begins to acquaint Michael with the darker, demonic side of their religion through encounters with demons, he is able to find his faith. FEBRUARY 4

Frankie and Alice

Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgård, Phylicia Rashad A young woman’s (Berry) life is plagued with multiple personalities, as she struggles to remain her true self, rather than caving into her racist alter-personality. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the movie is based on the troubling real life story of Frankie Murdoch. (Limited release)


East Side Monthly January 2011

Jason Sudeikis and Owen Wilson in the Farrelly Brothers’ Hall Pass

Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker A single man (Sandler) ultimately convinces a mother of two (Aniston) to masquerade as his monster of a soon to be ex-wife in order to score some dates and ultimately woo his dream woman (Decker).

“Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us?” Rising politician David Norris (Damon) is on the verge of winning a winning a seat in the U.S Senate when he meets his gorgeous, prima ballerina Elise (Blunt). Life couldn’t get any better. Yet, just has he begins falling in love, a gang of inexplicable men and mysterious forces enter his life, conspiring to keep the two apart.

The Eagle


Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland Set in second century AD and based on the legend of the Ninth Legion, a young Roman officer (Tatum) begins on a monumental quest to discover the truth about his father’s lost legion in northern Britain twenty years prior. With this, Tatum is determined to restore his father’s tarnished reputation. FEBRUARY 18


Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones When Dr. Harris (Neeson) awakens from a coma after a serious car accident in Berlin, he is confronted with a nightmare: his identity had been ruthlessly ripped from him. Yet this is only the beginning – as he soon learns no one, not even his wife (Jones), believes him. Determined to gain back not only his identity, but his life, he sets out with a young woman (Kruger) to prove who he is. FEBRUARY 25

Hall Pass

Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate The Farrelly Brothers return with the story of Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis), two married guys given a week’s worth of freedom to engage in extramarital affairs after showing signs of restlessness at home. They soon realize that maybe the single life really wasn’t all it was cut out to be. Jealousy ensues when they realize that their wives (Applegate and The Office’s Jenna Fischer) are beginning to have their own fun too. MARCH 4

The Adjustment Bureau Matt Damon, Emily Blunt

Jane Eyre

Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell A mousy governess, Jane (Wasikowska), lives contently in her newly appointed position at Thornfield Hall. Shortly after her beginning her employment, she meets her master and employer, Mr. Rochester (Fassbender). It is not long before Jane and Mr. Rochester form a close friendship, which eventually evolves into love. Just as Jane thinks she has finally found happiness, she learns Mr. Rochester’s terrible secret. MARCH 18

The Dark Fields

Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Anna Friel, Abbie Cornish Working as a copywriter and living a not-so-exciting life, Cooper soon gets his hands on a top secret drug which posses the power of enhancing intellect and other social abilities. It seems like the miracle drug that quickly brings him an abundance of success. Yet, his new life is cut short by the drug’s shadowy origins and the lethal and lasting side effects he discovers, both directly and indirectly.

The Lincoln Lawyer

Marisa Tomei, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Mickey Haller (McConaughey) operates his business out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. After spending the majority of his career working for deadbeat criminals, he soon lands the case of a lifetime: defending a Beverly Hills playboy (Phillippe) who has been accused of rape and attempted murder. The case is not all Haller has to worry about, as he is suddenly a pawn in a deadly game and must fight for his survival.

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January 2011 East Side Monthly





And they own Gil’s. Lisa and Gail know what it takes to run a business, raise a family and keep a home.They also know that the right appliances can make every day easier and chores, well, less like chores.Their parents opened Gil's in 1961, so you could say they've grown up in the business. If you need appliances, why not talk with Lisa and Gail?

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And they own Gil’s. Lisa and Gail know what it takes to run a business, raise a family and keep a home.They also know that the right appliances can make every day easier and chores, well, less like chores.Their parents opened Gil's in 1961, so you could say they've grown up in the business. If you need appliances, why not talk with Lisa and Gail?

Celebrating 50 years in business HOURS: Mon-Wed-Fri 9:00am - 6:00pm Sat 9:00am - 4:00pm


East Side Monthly January 2011

Tues-Thurs 9:00am - 8:00pm Sun Closed - Family Day

397 Metacom Avenue, Rte.136 Bristol, RI 02809 401-253-9789 Fax: 401-253-2404

, r a e Y w e N N o s u c o F New ? N o i t a c Edu

s e t a c o v d a e East Sid s t h g u o h t offer their t x e N s ’ t a h on w Nor N o C . K y r a M By aNtes r e m A y m A y b photography After the Dust Settles 2010 was the “Year of the Election” in Rhode Island. There were contested races galore – a dream-come-true for political junkies; a boost for grass-roots organizers; a nightmare for those seeking a little peace and quiet through the dinner hour. Indeed, it sometimes seemed like the list of those running was as long as the list of those who would be voting. All of that is behind us now. The campaigns are over. The phones have stopped ringing. The bulk-mail volume is down and the transitions are well underway. Governorelect Lincoln Chafee and Mayor-elect Angel Taveras are making news with their preinaugural moves, giving us clues as to how they will govern. Certainly, the decisions made by these two new administrations will have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives over the next four years, but it is too early to assess what the impact will be or whether the governor and mayor will be effective leaders, successful in keeping their campaign promises. Still, it is the New Year, a time for making assessments. As the dust settles on the past election year, it seems appropriate for East Side Monthly to focus on one issue almost all candidates listed as a top priority, one that is especially important to East Siders: education. Chafee began his campaign partly stepping into the fray at Central Falls High

School, seemingly on the side of the union, but more broadly, in favor of a more collaborative approach to achieving educational goals. He has expressed caution when it comes to expanding the number of charter schools and even about the wisdom of accepting federal Race to the Top funding, but he has pledged to listen carefully to what Commissioner Deborah Gist and the Board of Regents have to say about education reform. Next to jobs, Taveras has pointed to improving public education as one of the most important challenges his administration will tackle. Indeed, many argue that jobs and education are, in the long run, one and the same. Just before Thanksgiving, Taveras announced that he had named over 100 city leaders to seven “transition advisory committees.” Roughly thirty are on his Education committee, more than are on any other committee. Taveras has tapped leaders from nonprofits, teachers and administrators from independent, charter and district schools, Brown University and CCRI administrators, and current and past members of the Board of Regents. Many have direct connections to the East Side, including Hope High. The City of Providence has a lot at stake when it comes to public education. So does the East Side. Will 2011 bring a new and effective focus on education? East Side Monthly asked a few East Siders who care deeply about education for their thoughts.

Sam Zurier, City CouNcilor-Elect Sam Zurier is well known to East Side Monthly readers. Zurier grew up on the East Side, and went to Henry Barnard Elementary, Moses Brown Middle School and Classical High School. He graduated from Yale University, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a degree at Yale Law School. Currently in private practice, his list of professional accomplishments is extensive, as is his involve-

City Councilman-Elect Zurier is a founding member of the East Side Public Education Coalition January 2011 East Side Monthly


ment in supporting public education in Providence. He served on the Providence School Board, was on Governor Carcieri’s Education Transition Team, and is a founding member of the East Side Public Education Coalition, which was instrumental in “saving” Nathan Bishop. He also served on Rhode Island Is Ready, a grassroots organization that fought for a fair educational aid funding formula. Zurier teaches education law as an adjunct professor at Roger Williams Law School. In November, Zurier was elected to represent Ward 2 on the Providence City Council. While education is just one of the issues he hopes to address as a councilor, it is one he is very passionate about. Prior to announcing his own candidacy, Zurier volunteered for the Taveras campaign, as a member of the committee advising on education policy. As a councilor, his role will be much different. Education policy is set by the School Board, not the City Council, and only the mayor will communicate directly with Superintendent Tom Brady about education policy. The council will be responsible, however, for approving the new teachers’ union contract – the existing contract expires in August – once it has been negotiated by the School Board. “In Rhode Island, we build a lot of education policy right into the contract,” explains Zurier. He intends to ask the school leadership for “a chance to review the contract at the beginning of the cycle and not just the end.” He hopes the City Council will be afforded the opportunity to hold its own hearings on the contract in January or February and to be able to develop a “wish list” of items they would like to see included in the contract. “It will be up to us to convince the school department that we can play a positive role. It is certainly something we have the ability to do.” Zurier cites as a precedent the recent firefighters’ contract negotiations, in which the City Council was unwilling to approve the cost-of-living adjustments as first presented. Zurier is not proposing to insert the council into collective bargaining. His bottom line is to find savings in the contract that will translate into the ability to provide more for the students and to do so in a positive way. Zurier also intends to ask the City Council to pass a resolution telling the General Assembly that the recently adopted school funding formula is inadequate. He was part of a parents group that studied the funding formula and testified at the State House. “We identified a number of issues [in the formula] that were not fair to kids in general, and just about all of the issues we identified are problems that affect Providence,” he notes. “If my colleagues on the council agree we should make a statement, I hope to give them the materials [to review].” Zurier hopes to emulate the approach his predecessor, Cliff Wood, took as a city councilor. “Cliff made a great contribution with regard to education that doesn’t involve any of these policy issues,” he says. “He made the case to our mayor that we needed to improve Nathan Bishop rather than close it down. I would like to continue to be an advocate to make the case for schools on the East Side. There is a certain amount of meddling involved, because that is primarily the School Board’s responsibility. But if Cliff hadn’t been there, we might not have Nathan Bishop. If I could find a way, I would help with one of the local schools – and the obvious target is Hope High. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were so attractive that all the kids at Nathan Bishop would want to go there?”


East Side Monthly January 2011

Zurier is encouraged by Governor-elect Chafee’s campaign statement that the property tax burden is too high and that the State has to come up with revenue to mitigate that burden. He notes that Rhode Island ranks in the bottom third nationally in terms of the portion of local school budgets that are funded through the State. Some methods of calculations put the ranking in the bottom ten percent. Another positive development on the state level, in Zurier’s opinion, is the project being implemented by Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and the Board of Regents to set statewide standards regarding teacher evaluations and teacher quality. In the meantime, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, the union that represents Providence teachers, has been addressing this issue for over a year, with the help of a federal grant, and will implement pilot programs in five urban districts next fall. The union has been working closely with RIDE. Zurier is buoyed by these developments.

Chris Blazejewski, State Rep-Elect Fox Point resident Chris Blazejewski will also be looking to positively impact education policy when he joins his colleagues in the General Assembly in January as Providence’s District 2 Rep. More than a quarter of house members will be serving

State Representative-Elect Blazejewski, along with his wife, founded a nonprofit to provide free college counseling to high school students

their first terms, says Blazejewski, and he predicts there will be plenty of opportunity for new ideas. Blazejewski grew up in Rhode Island. He went through Rhode Island public schools, as did his wife, and Blazejewski was the first in his family to attend college. He received undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard. He and his wife are strong supporters of Rhode Island public education. Together, they founded and operate a nonprofit that provides free college counseling to high school students. Blazejewski currently practices law at Sherin and Lodgen, LLP, representing Rhode Island and Massachusetts nonprofits and small businesses. “Education happens at the local level, where the schools and the students are,” says Blazejewski, “but its impact is on a state level. I want to ensure that we have a work force that meets 21st century needs. Nationally, education is important. It is tied to the country’s economic well-being and health.” Blazejewski is upbeat about the impact two new administrations will have on education: “One thing the Governor-elect and the Mayor-elect have in common is a commitment to working collaboratively. It is important to get all stakeholders at the same table together.” He cites Race to the Top as an example of how working together can accomplish good things for the state. The freshman representative is also upbeat about

Heather Tow-Yick is the founding Executive Director of Teach for America’s Rhode Island chapter the fact that for the first time Rhode Island has a funding formula for schools. “Just by changing the way funding is figured, you are changing the dynamic,” he enthuses, while recognizing that the formula does not take into account the needs of urban communities, which have a high proportion of students with English language needs or with disabilities from low-income areas. He will fight to make the necessary adjustments. “But, realistically, it will take time. Given the fact that it just passed, after so many years, it may not be the highest priority during this coming year. It can’t stop with that initial legislation.” Blazejewski believes the State must also increase its overall funding level, so that schools are less reliant on funding town by town. Schools on the East Side are a bright spot in public education in the city, says Blazejewski. Hope High has made very strong improvements over a relatively short period of time and he believes the school will be able to go back to the block scheduling that contributed to its success. “What strikes me about Hope,” he explains, “is that the students took the initiative on their own behalf.” He understands that there might be money issues involved, “but ultimately we need an education system that allows for flexibility.” Blazejewski supports the State’s initiative in recent years to ensure that students have “multiple pathways” to gaining an education, pointing to the 2009 opening of the Providence Career and Technical Academy as a necessary ingredient to providing options for all students. He also supports the types of early learning initiatives Taveras has talked about, such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, as vital to public education policy. “I am a strong believer that the bedrock of our democracy is having people who are educated and able to participate,” he declares. “That is a core, an absolute need.”

Heather Tow-Yick, Teach For AmericaRhode IslaNd Heather Tow-Yick is another native East Sider with a passion for education. A 1998 Brown University graduate, Tow-Yick began her professional career teaching English and American History at a South Bronx middle school, as a corps member of Teach For America (TFA). “I had a phenomenal opportunity to see firsthand what is possible for students who are faced with historically lower expectations, or outcomes,” she recalls. More than half of her students – she taught 60 eighth-graders in her second year – began the year reading and writing at well below a seventh grade level. By the end of the year, all but one scored proficient or higher in state standards. That teaching experience had a profound effect on Tow-Yick: “I started asking myself this question: what makes my classroom more effective than the one down the hall?” For Tow-Yick, and for TFA, the answer is in the teacher – in the leadership skills she possesses, the intense training and continuing support she received through TFA, and in the expectations she set for the students and for herself. Following her two years in a classroom, Tow-Yick joined the New York staff of TFA, working for three years as an instructional leader. She then took a job as Special Assistant to Joel Klein, New York City’s Chancellor of Education and noted education reform expert. “I was able to have a bird’s eye view of how a CEO runs the largest school district in the country,” she notes. While in New York, Tow-Yick earned a Masters in Education at Columbia University. In 2007, she received an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Tow-Yick then worked for the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategy consulting company founded by Bain and Company. “I loved consulting,” she says, “but I missed

the work of implementing, of being close to teachers, as well as being action-oriented.” Tow-Yick returned to the field of education, and to her hometown of Providence, last February when TFA expanded into Rhode Island. As the founding Executive Director of Teach for America-Rhode Island, TowYick oversees the support services that TFA provides for the 30 corps members who are now in their first year of teaching. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist worked hard to get TFA to expand into the state. TFA has received support from educational, political, business and nonprofit leaders, including Rhode Island Foundation’s Neil Steinberg and Board of Regents member Angus Davis. TFA teachers are hired and employed by individual school districts. Recruitment, training and placement of teachers is done through TFA’s 39 regional districts. Tow-Yick is a member of Taveras’ Education Transition Committee. She has a good working relationship with Superintendent Tom Brady and his staff: TFA has 20 teachers in Providence public schools, including one at Hope High. “Rhode Island has shown amazing support for improving academic outcomes for all students in the past two-and-a-half years,” Tow-Yick says. She cites the new funding formula, which has “resources following students,” the increase in the cap on charter schools from 20 to 35, and passage of alternative teacher certification regulations two years ago as positive developments for education in Rhode Island. Tow-Yick thinks that education leaders in Rhode Island see TFA as complementary, an addition to what is currently happening. Assessing the outlook for education under Chafee and Taveras administrations, Tow-Yick is optimistic. “I think they both recognize that there has been a lot of activity over the past couple of years,” she says. “I am excited to work with both administrations in helping to achieve a shared vision, which I think is raising the January 2011 East Side Monthly


AP English teacher Laura Maxwell came to Hope High when criteria-based hiring was implemented six years ago bar for academic achievement for our students.” The $75 million dollars the state will receive through Race to the Top will increase efforts to support teachers and to implement an evaluation system. “We want to make sure we have a really great public school system and that there are options for parents and families. There is a deep link between economics and education.” Tow-Yick looks forward to welcoming 30 more TFA teachers in the fall, and to being “one piece of the puzzle,” addressing the needs of students in schools where an achievement gap exists.

Hope High School Do people on the East Side care about Hope High School? Should they? Much has been made over the past few years about the grassroots efforts that saved Nathan Bishop. Hope High has been in the news a lot, too, but for different reasons. The school isn’t a “person” to be interviewed, but, there it sits, seeming to beg the big question: what is the outlook for public education in Providence? Can Sam Zurier’s vision – a Hope High that every Nathan Bishop student would choose to attend – possibly come true? Shouldn’t the parents of current students be able to have that same vision? Arthur Petrocinelli has been principal at Hope High for nearly six years. The popular administrator recently took a job in Johnston, a natural next step for him, he says. Petrocinelli reminds East Side Monthly readers about the good things that have happened at Hope since the State intervened in the failing school, which it did through the authority of the General Assembly and under the direction of then Education Commissioner Peter McWalters. What is noteworthy about what Petrocinelli has to say is that he highlights exactly the same thing that everyone else is talking about these days: that the basic ingredient for improved education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Hope was the first school in Providence to implement


East Side Monthly January 2011

criteria-based hiring for teachers. “This is taken for granted now,” says Petrocinelli, “but six years ago, no one was able to do that.” Through a process of interviewing “the best and the brightest,” Hope hired 54 new teachers. Teacher quality making a difference – sounds familiar, right? There were many other reforms as well: division of the school into three academies, establishment of department heads and teacher leaders, and implementation of a more rigorous curriculum among them. “Teachers were able to be visible to the students, to personalize the education,” Petrocinelli recalls. “You first have to take control of the climate and culture, and then you can do teaching and education. Hope was going in the right direction two or three years ago.” Success at Hope High is not all about money, says the principal: “More East Side parents have to get involved. They have to be a voice for the school.” One big bright spot, according to Petrocinelli, is the fact that Taveras has put Peter McWalters on his Education Transition Committee. “If I were at Hope still, I would be hopeful about that. He gets it.” Laura Maxwell is one of the 54 teachers who came to Hope High six years ago. Maxwell is also on Taveras’ Education Transition Committee. She teaches Advanced Placement English and Writing. “I love teaching at Hope,” she boasts. Is Maxwell optimistic about the school’s future? “The challenges are great,” she admits. “We need to have a school structure that includes the ability of teachers to know their students, to be able to support them, individually.” That was the purpose of Hope’s implementation of common planning time – it was based on principles laid out by educator Ted Sizer. “That was our time to share what we knew, so that each student could benefit. That’s gone now.” Does Maxwell expect that common planning time will be restored? “We’re still working on it. We haven’t given

up hope.” Maxwell believes that everyone involved in education sincerely wants what is best for every student. “If I had one wish, it would be that administrators, parents, community members, corporations – that everyone would really trust that teachers know their students, and understand that teachers need the time and space to share with each other what we know.” Hope students have clearly demonstrated their support for block scheduling and common planning time. Their response – marching to City Hall and filing a lawsuit against the school district – is noted by supporters of the school’s reform efforts as a very bright spot in assessing the progress made in recent years. The students, says Maxwell, understand that as the level of anonymity at the school goes up, the capacity for teaching and learning goes down. They want that connection with their teachers, in order to have a sense of safety, in order to really be students. Education is the critical, urgent issue of the day, says Maxwell, “not just for students, staff and family, but for every single person in the state.” There are no simple solutions, she says: “Overlook the simple solution.”

What to Expect Next? Everyone seems to agree that good policy will come only through collaboration. Race to the Top was successful because it had the support of all the stakeholders, including the state union that represents Providence teachers, the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools, and Teach for America. If the makeup of Taveras’ Education Transition Advisory Committee is any indication of how he looks at education reform, packed as it is with so many different points of view, expect no simple solutions. Taveras was most passionate during his campaign when he spoke about the role education played in his own life. It would be surprising if his administration accepted anything less than a bold new plan that is both comprehensive and measurable.

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East Side Monthly January 2011

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is hot. His book The Blind Side traced the relationship between an abandoned, oversized black teenager, who gets adopted by a white, upper middle class family that helps him develop both his football skills and ability to deal with the real world around him. He ultimately makes it as a professional player in the NFL, an unusual journey that was made into the movie of the same name, earning an Oscar for its star Sandra Bullock. Lewis also wrote the insightful Moneyball that introduced most of us to the complex sabermetrics of Major League Baseball and how baseball GMs really play the game. What people may have forgotten is that it was Lewis’ first book, Liar’s Poker, written in 1989, that first secured him a prominent place on the literary landscape. The book retraced his experiences as a naïve financial analyst in his twenties who provided firsthand observations of the craziness of the go-go ‘90s on Wall Street. The book became an acclaimed best seller – but, for Lewis, for all of the wrong reasons. “I wrote the book as sort of a cautionary tale for business students, suggesting the best and the brightest of them might want to consider an alternative career path,” the author has stated. “Instead, many students saw this book as an insider’s view of how to game the system and bought it hoping I could provide some guidance to help them with short cuts.” In The Big Short, there is no such ambiguity. Lewis takes great pains to focus on the greed and lack of understanding about the new financial instruments developed to monetize subprime mortgages and how they almost took down our entire international financial system. He spares no one from his withering, though often humorous, barbs on everyone involved in the debacle, including the rating services who were supposed to protect us and the financial wizards of Wall Street who never really understood how their own new hybrid instruments really worked. What makes the book so fascinating is that instead of just rehashing the complex financial shenanigans that created the crisis, Lewis introduces us to the handful of individuals, most of them social oddballs, who successfully analyzed the situation, realized the current housing pricing and mortgage models were unsustainable and then put their money where their mouths were and made millions. Lewis has a superb sense of humor and smooth writing style that makes the book a quick and enjoyable read despite its somewhat complex subject matter. If nothing else, it certainly will force all of us to

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


Politics by David Goldstein

A Holiday Wish List All I want for Christmas is a state that doesn’t suck The holidays can

be troubling times for many Rhode Islanders, and this year those people include me and my family. Maybe if people celebrated Christmas 364 days and took December 25 off, things might be better. In any case, I am doing what most desperate people do: turning to Santa Claus. I know we just had an election that was all about reform and change, but I’m getting a nervous feeling about things. It’s Rhode Island, after all, where it’s good news if the reformer hardly changes anything, versus say being worse than their predecessor or ending up in jail. I took my kids with me to minimize my embarrassment with talking to Santa. I figured it would be better to add in a, “By the way Santa, mind if I talk to you for a second while I’m here,” rather than just showing up alone. Don’ t worry – I didn’t try to sit on Santa’s lap. “Santa,” I said nervously, “I speak for many Rhode Islanders (I figured this would make me look less selfish), when I say all we want for Christmas is a state where we can walk out of our homes every morning and view sugar plum trees and green grass, under a warm sun, with children playing in the street, kitties and puppies running around, and the only bad thing I have to look forward to is picking up my doggie’s poop.” OK, after getting a weird look, I added, “If that’s a bit impractical, how about a state where every person has the opportunity to fulfill their potential and dreams, and live as high a quality of life as possible, and doesn’t feel the need to leave the state to succeed? How about a state where politicians work day and night for the public interest,

to make things better for everyone, rather than special interests or themselves? What about a state where I or my family members can get nice cushy state jobs, with huge pensions, and can let the taxpayers support us. Wait, stop, stop! Sorry Santa. That’s my dark side speaking. It’s getting harder and harder to keep that part of me under control. “What I would like, at the very least, Santa, is a state where every child has the chance at a quality education with quality teachers and schools, every person has the chance of obtaining a decent job where they keep as much of their hard earned money as possible, and where every person has a decent home, enough food and toys, and access to reasonably priced health insurance and quality healthcare. “I would like some of those juicy no-bid contracts and insider deals for me, my friends and family where we can make tons of money bilking the taxpayers.” “Stop, stop!” I yelled, holding my head, trying to shake those thoughts out from my mind. I sensed the people behind me in line getting a bit pissed off, no doubt at what sounded like my true feelings coming to the forefront. As I began once again apologizing to Santa and explaining that I didn’t mean any of that, he told me to hold on. “Look, I would like to help you, but let’s be real,” Santa said. “The person you really need to talk to is the new governor, who promised all those things.” Okay, I said, somewhat dejected. I don’t even know if he’ll listen, but I’ll try. When I got back home, depressed, I began writing to Governor Chafee. Repeating what I asked for from Santa (minus the bad stuff), I added,

“And, Governor, we would really appreciate it if you could actually do what you promised during the campaign (maybe except for the tax increase, unless absolutely necessary). Please really work to substantively change things vs. doing quick fixes. Don’t say you tried to do stuff but the big, bad legislature wouldn’t let you. Avoid being led by the nose by all those political insiders you are appointing, and really look at complex, political issues like regionalization and centralizing services, real pension reform, and really cutting waste and abuse so there is more money for people that need it. And please don’t resort to political or PR stunts if you can’t or are unwilling to do real reform. “I really believe this will be good for the state and your political career – although you can probably do none of that and still be reelected. Think about all the people you can really help, and lives you can really improve. Getting reelected means nothing if you don’t change things in a way that once things are fixed, they stay fixed. “Now if you can’t or are unwilling to do any of that, I’ll still do what I can do best: paint a pretty portrait of what our state could and should be – in those wonderful colors you love so much. As you know, there’s no one who’s better at depicting how things ought to be than I am. “I sincerely hope you’re successful. Please don’t join the ranks of all the disappointing reformers who preceded you. I’d hate to have to pick up the paintbrush again and go negative.


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East Side Monthly January 2011

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On the Menu

by John Taraborelli

McCurdy’s Junction House is a family affair

Instant Classic Down-home comfort food on Ives Sometimes a new restaurant opens and just instantly feels like it’s been there for years. Such is the case with McCurdy’s Junction House (79 Ives Street), the latest addition to an increasingly revitalized Ives Street. “We wanted to have a down-home, eclectic approach,” proprietor Michael Devolve says of the his newly renovated storefront, which the retired history teacher runs as an equal partner with his two sons, Michael Jr. and Ryan, and Michael’s longtime girlfriend Morgan Nahrwold. That approach is evident both in the interior – a cozy, inviting space punctuated by antiques and family photos – and the food, which is seasonally inspired, shockingly inexpensive and, as Michael says, “sticks to your ribs.” Take, for example, what is soon to be their signature dish: the Black and Tan Beef Stew. Both Guinness and Bass go into a hearty, rich stew served over creamy mashed potatoes, a thoughtful twist on a traditional comfort food. There are also the Sea Salt Brined Pork Chops, smothered in mushroom gravy and far more moist and tender than the tough, dry pork chops you remember as a kid. McCurdy’s is also vegan and vegetarian friendly, offering more than just the cursory mixed greens or grilled vegetables; think more like Baked Pears with wine, gorgonzola, raisins and candied walnuts. The three younger partners bring extensive restaurant experience to their

new endeavor. Michael, Jr., the chef, comes from nine years at Blake’s Tavern downtown. Morgan, a RISD grad responsible for designing the logo and menus, previously worked at Wings to Go and Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches, among others, and Ryan used to run the kitchen on the day shift at Wes’ Rib House. The patriarch of the clan has never worked in a restaurant, but claims “I just like to cook and entertain.” NEW BUZZ DOWNTOWN There are several new places in the works Downtown, the first of which will be open by the time you’re reading this. The Salon (57 Eddy Street) is the brainchild of Brown grad and New York City transplant Ethan Feirstein. This casual nightspot, occupying the space that formerly housed Salon Marc Harris, is his attempt to “create a fun meeting place that could be a lot of things to a lot of people.” While Feirstein’s concept does incorporate some elements of the former tenant, he wanted to create an aesthetic that felt temporary and transient, “as if a bar sprung up overnight in a former hair salon.” To that end, the space is furnished with unfinished pine bars that are meant to look hastily thrown together and raw wood picnic tables that can be rearranged, flipped over, or used for an impromptu ping-pong game. The food and drink match that playful, unexpected feel. Feirstein stresses,

“there are four, and only four, things on the opening food menu”: a PB&J sandwich, a PB Deluxe sandwich (with Nutella and honey), a Fluffernutter and S’mores. “I wanted to do juvenile comfort food,” he explains, “the kind that people might think is a little weird to serve at a bar, but are going to love when 10pm rolls around and they’re three beers in.” The cocktail menu will be equally sure to inspire curiosity, with whimsical choices like the Kali (a cabernet and Coke mix that Feirstein says is popular in South America) and his personal favorite, the Pickle Back: a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice. “I’m into odd combinations,” Feirstein summarizes, “and hope everyone else will be too.” Two other eagerly awaited restaurants are in the works. The Korean barbecue Sura, which is a hidden gem on George Waterman Road in Johnston, is opening a second, more high profile location at 232 Westminster Street, where they will also be offering sushi. Around the corner, the stately Federal Reserve (60 Dorrance Street) will be reborn as The Dorrance, with Chef Joe Hafner, formerly of Gracie’s, on board. The new restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily and promises “the best in seasonal and culinary delights.”

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THREE SISTERS 1074 Hope Street; 273-7230. Try their local, organic coffee, quick and filling breakfast sandwiches, fresh panini and famous homemade ice cream that’s simply to die for. BBrL $ TORTILLA FLATS 355 Hope Street; 751-6777. You can’t go wrong with the laid-back attitude and exceptional Mexican fare at Tortilla Flats. Sample a Margarita from the bar and the “Nawleens”-style Catfish to get the full experience. LD $-$$


CHEZ PASCAL 960 Hope Street; 421-4422. Chef Matt Gennuso’s East Side kitchen offers French food with a modern twist. Sample the Escargots a la Bourguignonne, or try the Bistro Menu (Tue-Thur), which features three courses for $30 per person. Delicieux! D $-$$$

TASTE OF INDIA 230 Wickenden Street; 421-4355. Providence’s first Indian restaurant delivers on its promise of serving real (and really delicious) Indian cuisine, with seafood delicacies like Shrimp Masala and Tandoori specialties like broiled Chicken Tandoori, made with authentic Indian spices. LD $-$$

GOURMET TAKE & BAKE PIZZA 357 Hope Street; 751-0355. Toppings like sirloin steak and shallots justify this pizza shop’s name. Also available are specialty entrees such as Tuscan Chicken Florentine with fresh mozarella, roasted red peppers, baby spinach, balsamic and olive oil. LD $$

UNITED BBQ 146 Ives Street; 7519000. Barbecue is an art form here. Feed the inner man with a classic rack of ribs (sold in half or whole racks) or make it light with a “Tofurkey” kielbasa sandwich from the menu’s Weird Stuff section. They deliver. LD $-$$


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January 2011 East Side Monthly



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short term, and many businesses have been forced to reexamine their strategies. AutoWerks is an exception. Bob Moreau actually began his business with the notion that customers’ needs come first. He wants you to benefit from the best deal– even if it isn’t his. For Bob, a relationship based on trust and real results benefits both parties. You get a great car and dependable service. He gets a customer for life. It sounds trite, even counterintuitive, but this long term thinking seems to be working at AutoWerks. Imagine Bob as an old-fashioned family doctor for your car. He makes house calls and offers advice 24/7 that protects your family’s well being. Emergency? Bob is a phone call away. (What other repair shop owner gives you his private number?) Need a car for your teenager? How do you know when passing down the family clunker is a good idea, or a safety issue and monetary disaster? You need an expert like Bob. The family fleet is a depreciating asset, and your third biggest household expense. Bob can help you reduce that expense by showing you the whole picture. Thirty-five years in the business give him a unique perspective and ability to create a working plan to limit your financial exposure, and keep you driving worry-free. He even offers a free consultation, so you can see just how this all works. Just meet him for coffee. AutoWerks offers custom purchasing of new or pre-owned autos, and repairs in their cutting edge, environmentally friendly shop. Have your car detailed, repaired or replaced after a crash, find your dream car, or sell that ancient car you inherited from grandma. Free pickup and delivery means always coming home to an immaculate car that runs perfectly. Bob and his partner/wife Joni have developed many valued relationships over the years because of their caring approach. Some have become close friendships. That’s a sure sign that they are doing something right.


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East Side Monthly January 2011

Spotlight by Dan Schwartz

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All of our meats are cooked low and Center offers so much for individuals and sloooow in our hickory smoker families that it is difficult to compare it to typical gyms. Amenities include Succulent St. Louis cut Pork Ribs, Beef Ribs, a four-lane heated pool, basketball gym, a state-of-the-art fitness center Chicken, Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket and plenty of group exercise and yoga classes led by professionals. If you (Vegetarian options too!) are concerned about financial commitment, then consider the discounted three-month Winter Promotion, which gives you full membership priviUnited BBQ Open Tues. - Sun. 11am-11pm • Closed Mondays leges for $175. Just sign up for this special offer by January 31 (no appli146 Ives St. Providence cation fee) and you’re all set to fight off the winter doldrums. 751-9000 • The JCC is open to everyone, Jewish and not Jewish. Sunday Basketball leagues begin in January, and there are teams for all ages. The fitness center is full-service. Christine Parker, Marketing Director of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, explains, “We offer a lot of the current hot EAST SIDERS: DON’T GO OUT IN THE SNOW! GET trends to help make your workout better, from Zumba and aqua Zumba classes, to weight ropes and the TRX Suspension Training Workout, like you see used on Biggest Loser. We have professional trainers and staff on hand to help people get a good, safe workout.” You or your child can learn to swim through the American Red Cross I’m Chad Jones and I want to be your Milkman! I’ll deliver milk and more to program offered at the JCC. This type of certified instruction is the lonyour home weekly — fresh and frozen gest running swimming program in North America. There are classes for foods — many local, from organic all abilities, including lifeguard training, water safety and master type spring mix to grass fed meats. classes for triathletes. They even have a new popular aqua Zumba class, (401) 435-MILK which amazingly incorporates dancing in the water. Says Parker, “Water Call today to receive $25 in FREE groceries & dairy! (mention code ESM-J11) fitness is a great way to exercise, because it’s less weight bearing on COWTRUCK.COM the joints.” The JCC has recently brought in a Hasbro Children’s Hospital nutritionist and chef graduate of Johnson and Wales to revamp the menu for the rimo_jan_ad_profile_series.indd 1 preschool and after school programs to make them healthier, in keeping with the overall mission of the center. Look online to see the full breadth of offerings, classes and special promotions. The JCC – your full service club in the neighborhood. All are welcome! The Jewish Community




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January 2011 East Side Monthly


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is the office of Dr. Thomas Morison. Dr. Morison specializes in Chiropractic Biophysics Technique (CBP®). He is the only Certified Distinguished Fellow of CBP practicing in the state of Rhode Island. Chiropractic Biophysics Technique (CBP) is used for structural rebuilding of the spine to a stronger, more stable and ultimately healthier position. It is currently the only technique that has been scientifically proven to make structural changes to the spine. Every protocol and procedure utilized by Dr. Morison is state of the art, and clinically relevant to the patient’s specific condition. Dr. Morison is passionate about improving the quality of life for each and every patient. Among the many conditions successfully treated at Northeast Chiropractic are migraine headaches, spinal pain, pinched nerves, disc injuries, sciatica, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, shoulder and arm pain, poor posture, whiplash, and jaw pain. Dr. Morison is honored to be able to help the people of Rhode Island whom he sees not only as patients, but as his community. Dr. Tom saved my life! At the very least, he gave me back my mobility. I have suffered from recurring back and neck pain for almost 20 years, and every year it got worse. Until now. For the first time in years I wake up in the morning without pain, and have more stamina and flexibility. Thanks to Dr. Tom back pain no longer rules my life! -Donna L.    I came to Dr. Tom because I was experiencing chronic neck pain after years of desk work. Thanks to his training, Dr. Tom is actually able to improve structural spinal abnormalities to as near normal as possible, thereby addressing the root cause of the pain. After a few months of Dr. Tom’s care, it was apparent from the “before” and “after” x-rays that my neck had improved tremendously. I highly recommend Dr. Tom, not only because of the amazing service he provides but also because it is clear that he genuinely cares about his patients and wants them to enjoy the best results possible. -Brian E.

Northeast Chiropractic

187 Waterman Street, Providence / 401-861-1300


East Side Monthly January 2011

Pajama Monologues by Bob Mariani

Happy New Year From your Neighboorhood Law Firm

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Finding the familiar in an unfamiliar place ing – the switchback path that went from an old abandoned fortress down to the quiet beach. The few people we passed on the streets of Vasto gazed at our baby and smiled at us. “Bellissima!” an older man with a brilliant green leaf tucked in his hatband observed quietly from his park bench. Gradually, the faces we passed on the streets began to seem somehow familiar to me. There were reminders in their features of my cousins and aunts and uncles back in America, in the way they’d gesture and turn their heads or cast their eyes. It was not a realization that came all at once, but accumulated until it was simply inescapable. Suddenly it felt as if the earth had shrunk to the size of a scant few blocks and that these people with their soft, friendly smiles and dark wine-colored eyes were all leaves from the same ancient tree. I pressed my new baby’s smooth cheek against my own, felt her small, bird-like bones moving beneath her skin. An elderly woman with a gray braid wrapped around her head, just like the braids my aunts used to wear, approached us carrying a bag of groceries. She stopped and looked directly into my little girl’s face and in a whisper exclaimed, “Perfecto!” My daughter looked back at her inquisitively at first, and then she looked deep into the woman’s eyes and smiled the way you do when you meet someone you know in an unexpected place. Good morning. Bob Mariani and his brother, John, have published a memoir, Almost Golden, about growing up in the North Bronx in the fifties. Available at or on

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I came to Vasto, the little city on the Adriatic Sea, near the end of my first trip to Italy. It was March and the weather was gradually changing from soft gray to bright blue. Traveling with my wife and 7-month-old daughter, we’d visited Milano, Venice and Bologna, all of which had been revelations with their layers and layers of civilizations and art. But the only thing I really knew about Vasto was that my paternal grandfather had come from there. On the map Vasto was just one of countless miniature towns clinging to stone cliffs that look down onto the dark purple waters of the Adriatic. It had a few remnants of an old Napoleonic fort – a tiny park with rusty iron gates and a single cannon – and one grand hotel with a white tower and red tile roof. It was early spring and the town lay quiet, still groggy from the selfdeprivations of Lent. My wife and I walked the narrow streets, taking turns carrying our baby girl. At one point I held her up and looked at her against the backdrop of this diminutive, chalk-colored town with its flowering gardens and flapping lines of white laundry – the same streets where her great grandfather had walked as a young man, before leaving to go to “the New Land.” I had grown up looking at a small oil painting of Vasto on our living room wall. There was nothing particularly historic or famous about this place. Most Italians probably didn’t even know it existed. The trees and fields surrounding the town were already putting out their leaves and nuts and blossoms for the coming summer. The sea was flat and quiet, the rocky beach empty, just like in the painting. With my eyes I traced a path from the remembered paint-


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January 2011 East Side Monthly


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East Side Monthly January 2011


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Be Careful How You Fall 127 Hours and Love and Other Drugs reviewed Director Danny Boyle’s

feverish pace and dazzling camerawork have been responsible for some terrific films, including Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. Boyle might seem an unlikely choice then to write and direct 127 Hours, the film version of Aron Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Ralston’s memoir about his fall and entrapment in a crevice in Blue John Canyon in Utah is a claustrophobic, existentialist nightmare, relieved only by engineering logic. None of that is especially cinematic. Yet 127 Hours is one of 2010’s most exciting, well-crafted films. Without betraying Ralston’s situation with impertinent flashbacks or overdramatized histrionics, Boyle manages to open up that crevice in the midst of Ralston’s dilemma to display cinematic scope and daring. (He’s helped by two splendid cinematographers: Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle.) When he ventures out of the

canyon to provide back story for Ralston via flashbacks on family and friends, the process is brief, and enhances the plot. He adds a few evocative hallucinations and dream sequences, too, but 127 Hours is primarily a chronicle of the then 28-year-old’s ordeal. And there’s never a dull moment. The challenge to Ralston, an engineer and outdoorsman, was to find a way to get his arm out from under an immovable rock that pinned him inside a narrow crevice when his over-confidant lark of a canyon excursion came crashing down. Boyle faced a similar challenge in making this film: how do you take confined space and a trapped protagonist, and then turn them into an exciting, tense film about a hero in a jam? Boyle straps his crazy, zigzag style to James Franco, a good physical actor who always displays an intellectual streak, suggesting a mind-body balance. He’s perfectly cast as a reckless outdoorsman

blessed with the methodical logic of an engineer. His introductory mix of confidence and goofiness is appealing, and it’s easy to stay with him thanks to Boyle’s tricks. For instance, Boyle has Franco narrate his predicament into a small video camera with a mix of comic acceptance and objective sincerity. At one point he comically pretends to be host and guest on a feelgood daytime talk show, confessing his reckless failure to tell anyone where he was going as an imaginary audience laughs and applauds. He hallucinates old girlfriends, remembers his childhood, and dreams of escape. But in other scenes he attacks his predicament with that engineering logic, resulting in some pretty grisly moments. As he did with poverty, violence, drug addiction and flesh-eating zombies in his previous films, Boyle brings life-affirming energy and exuberance to an impossible situation. There is a profound vision at work here.

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January 2011 East Side Monthly





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East Side Monthly January 2011

Established in 1972

HAMILTON HOUSE Community Center For Active Adults 55+ Fine Arts • Yoga Personalized Computer Instruction Tai Chi • Bridge and other Games Book Club • Discussion Groups Music Programs • Billiards Room Foreign Languages Educational Presentations and Group Travel 276 Angell Street, Providence 401-831-1800

Love and Other Drugs is a lifeaffirming, energetic movie of the more typical sort: a romantic comedy with nothing at stake but entertainment, which it mostly manages to accomplish for over an hour. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a highly confident, buoyant young guy not prone to the outdoors, but very good at selling things (first home electronics, then pharmaceuticals) and bedding women (first a few walk-ons, then Anne Hathaway). It’s 1996, and Gyllenhaal’s aimlessness gets a lift with the singular sensation of that year: the advent of Viagra. Gyllenhaal’s penchant for women and his inevitable overweight and sexually challenged brother (Josh Gad) immediately bring some predictable but funny coarse jokes and sight gags to the forefront. However, director Edward Zwick and co-writers Charles Randolph and Marshall Herskovitz have more than low comedy in mind. Gyllenhaal is assigned to the Midwest, pushing another drug, Zoloft, where he finds the usual sex and some unusual violence in the mix. The film takes a melodramatic turn even as it continues to scour for laughs with Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria contributing effective bits. Then Gyllenhaal meets Hathaway, who cynically sees through his surface charm but is attracted to him

anyway, as sex begins its evolution to romantic love. Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are solid actors, can handle comedy and generate good chemistry on screen. They’re easy and fun to watch. In another attempt to get beyond clichés, or at least switch clichés, Hathaway suffers from early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the filmmakers don’t really know how to handle this state of affairs, and seem content to use Hathaway’s illness as an excuse for her adventurous approach to sex in general and Gyllenhaal in particular. Until, of course, they need it to tie up the movie’s loose ends and apply a moral veneer to the finale. The low comedy, sexual hi-jinks, and the love affair constitute the first hour or so of Love and Other Drugs, and they all work well enough. After that the film bogs down with phony sentiment and romantic movie conventions. It’s a tribute to Hathaway’s considerable talent that she can take an underwritten role and make enough of it to carry the weak second half and almost make the movie work. Ultimately the comedy, romance, disease and drama are too many balls for Zwick and company to juggle with any dexterity. By the end, they’re on the ground and out of sight.

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Douglas G. Vrona, D.M.D. Westport, MA 1-508-636-3044 20 minutes East of Providence January 2011 East Side Monthly



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East Side Monthly January 2011

At School Today

by Jill Davidson

Recess, Play and Learning Or, the importance of free time in the school day More often than not, recess is my elementary school-aged kids’ number one topic in response to, “Hey, guys, what happened at school today?” Eventually, until I found ways to learn about math, science, reading, art, library and other learning opportunities they might have experienced between 9am and 3pm, this apparent recess fixation troubled me. However, I no longer interpret their passion for recess as a devaluation of the other 350 minutes of their school days. Quite the opposite: without those 10 minutes, they and their peers would likely get far less out of the rest of the school day. Their animated retelling of those action-packed minutes on the playground contrasts starkly with the larger reality of many schools, in which recess clings to a tenuous existence. In Providence and across urban school districts nationwide, recess has become a scarce commodity that kids need more than ever. The educators with whom I’ve talked about this understand comprehensively that kids need some “down time” to be at their best. To make ten minutes of recess, school administrators, teachers, aides and other adults in charge of the school day face significant obstacles. The most pressing is the challenge of the clock. State and district mandates for formal, structured teaching and learning occupy most of the available 360 minutes of the standard elementary school day. Most teachers and administrators are well aware of the tension between fulfilling academic requirements and creating the opportunities for playtime that allow kids to recharge and refocus. I acknowledge that the young people in your lives may not be as recess-obsessed as mine, and even my kids express high regard for science experiments, field trips and engaging math, reading and other classroom-based experiences. What your kids discuss at your dinner table may vary. What don’t vary are those necessities that recess and, ideally, other aspects of kids’ days ought to fulfill: physical movement, conflict resolution, play, creativity and autonomy. Schools often find ways to infuse play into teaching and learning in ways that clearly benefit most kids academically and developmentally. That’s essential, but it’s not the same as unstructured, unenforced, undirected and unevaluated down time. As documented in the February 2009 volume of Pediatrics, the American Association of Pediatrics’ journal, when kids have time for recess – at least 15 minutes per day – there’s a clear correlation between unstructured play and academic achievement. Obviously, recess as traditionally understood and practiced is not always paradise. Some schools do not

have safe outdoor or indoor space. Other schools lack the resources required to supervise kids properly, which can result in injuries and antisocial behavior. Others mistreat recess, using it as a punitive measure by withholding it when kids make poor behavioral decisions. (Sadly, that is when they often most urgently need a short break to refocus and regroup.) Under these circumstances, coupled with mandates about how time needs to be used during the school day, making already endangered recess extinct can seem like the most reasonable option. Fortunately, some schools are focusing on finding ways to incorporate the benefits of recess in new ways. Some have opted for forms of structured recess that use the services of a “recess coach” who provides organized games and activities to keep kids active with fewer possibilities of injury or conflict. While cost and lack of self-structured imagination-driven downtime make this a difficult option for many schools, it’s a choice that is working well in some situations. Ultimately, because more instructional time, however necessary, cannot come at the costs of what makes instruction effective, we need systemic changes that will allow play and learning to coexist in mutually beneficial ways. An expanded school day, sometimes described as extended learning time, is one such option that is beginning to gain some traction in Rhode Island. Under the right conditions, which must include adequate funding to pay educators for their additional time, a more comprehensive school day can add tremendous benefit to kids’ learning and lives, especially when it provides a variety of school- and community-based options for learning and engagement. Many kids with whom I have spoken would gladly trade more time in school overall for a pace that allows more breathing room. Let’s listen to them and act accordingly to create better conditions for teaching and learning. Jill Davidson can be reached at whathappenedatschool@, @dazzlingbetty on Twitter, and at her blog, To make “At School Today” the best it can be, please contact her with your thoughts, ideas, comments, criticism and ideas.

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


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East Side Monthly January 2011

Gourmet Kitchens Master bath plus 1/2 bath Central a/c & gas heat Hardwood floors

• • • •

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Judy Croyle 1488 Westminster Street, Providence • 401-499-7541

Finance by Betsey Purinton

Investing in Stories How narratives affect diversification Life is in the stories, and so is investing. You invest based on which economic story you buy into. Stories, like the markets, can change radically, as can the commitment of the followers, and no two stories are alike. So picking your stories carefully is important. It’s January, the start of a new year. Is your portfolio positioned properly for 2011? That, of course, depends on what you believe is likely to happen in the coming year. Let’s review some basic stories, which is simply another way of saying, let’s talk about the risks and opportunities that lie ahead.

No/Slow/Rapid Growth The growth story is a bit more complicated, as it can take the form of no growth (a recession), slow growth (the new normal) or rapid growth (the type of growth often seen at the beginning of a recovery). Growth can be paired with the other risk stories, such as slow growth and inflation, better known in the late 1970s as stagflation. You can also combine no growth and deflation, as witnessed in Japan for many years. Within the growth story, there are both optimists (the economy has turned around) and pessimists (double dippers).

Inflation Investors who focus on inflation risk tell the following story: US debt is rising rapidly, thanks in part to repeated infusions of money from both the Federal Reserve and Congress. Quantitative Easing (QE2), the Fed’s latest program for adding liquidity to the system, is designed to increase spending and lending in the hopes that businesses will hire new workers and the economic recovery can stay on track. Inflation is often defined as too much money chasing too few goods. Inflation advocates say you can’t pump so much money into the economy without eventually creating too much demand and too little supply, leading to inflation.

Your Portfolio What does all this mean for investing? Different asset classes work best with different stories. What you believe is going to happen can influence where you want to place your money.

Deflation Deflation is synonymous with a general decline in prices. The story here is that when prices fall, businesses can’t make as much money as they once did. Nor can businesses raise prices for fear of losing market share. Meanwhile the consumer is in no rush to buy. If the consumer waits, prices may get even lower. Demand falls, profits are squeezed and the recovery falters. Rising Interest Rates Interest rates can rise as a result of inflation, at which point the Federal Reserve hikes rates to stem rising prices, or in anticipation of inflation. All you need are expectations to dislocate the bond markets. Witness this past fall after the Fed announced QE2, and before it purchased one additional Treasury note; investors sent the ten-year from 2.47% to over 2.9%. The issue was whether QE2 would work, not whether it had. There was no real inflation, only its anticipation.

Investing for Inflation If you believe the inflation story, you want to hold commodities, including precious metals, which respond well to rising prices. You may also choose emerging markets, many of which are dependent on commodities for growth. Stocks perform well in low inflationary environments because companies can raise prices and increase profits. You can also add a straight inflation play such as Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). Investments for Deflation Deflation hurts company earnings, so stock prices are less likely to appreciate. Instead, investors should focus on income, either in the form of dividend paying stocks or interest paying bonds. Treasuries perform particularly well in a deflationary environment as interest rates often fall in conjunction with prices. Rising Interest Rates Usually rising interest rates are bad for bonds, since the yield on bonds moves in the opposite direction of prices. So, if interest rates rise, the value of your current bond holdings can fall. However, there are some bond funds that can respond well to rising interest rates. These include floating rate funds and unconstrained bond funds that can position themselves to take advantage of rising rates. In addition, high yield bonds, although not immune to the risks

of falling prices, can help cushion that fall through larger interest payments, although credit considerations should also be factored into any selection of high yield positions.

1860 Broad Street • Cranston • 467-2601

Growth Stocks can perform well with most outlooks for economic growth. Even under slow growth, investors can benefit if they are able to pick sectors or individual holdings that can outperform. This applies to large, mid and small cap stocks as well as international positions. Currently, the greatest global growth is estimated to fall in emerging market economies. Risk Diversification What I have been talking about is probably familiar to many of you. It’s called diversification. But while many investors used to diversify across asset classes, we now diversify across risk parameters. Since 2008, most asset classes have moved together, reflecting a high level of correlation. Last fall was a prime example. Following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement that the Fed was considering QE2, stocks, bonds and commodities all rallied. Once QE2 became a reality following the election, those same asset classes fell simultaneously, as investors questioned the efficacy of QE2. Going forward, we anticipate that diversification will work again depending on how the recovery unfolds and whether or not we see inflation and rising interest rates or deflation and falling prices. For now, investors should have assets distributed across all four risk scenarios, emphasizing or deemphasizing holdings based on where they believe the economy is headed. We should note that risk diversification alone is not sufficient to build and maintain a portfolio. Valuation of assets is equally important. Once you have picked what you want to own, the next question is when you buy it and at what price. But that is a story for another day.

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Betsey Purinton, CFP® is Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at StrategicPoint Investment Advisors. You can e-mail her at January 2011 East Side Monthly


East Side Ballet A small Classical Ballet studio devoted to excellence, creativity, & the individual student. East Side Ballet is the home of JUMP!, Providence’s unique dance company.

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East Side Monthly January 2011


by Christina Evon

January music | performance | social happenings | galleries | learn | sports

DON’T MISS THIS MONTH: 8 events at the top of our list

Sun Winefest, January 28-30 at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT.

Northeast International Auto Show, January 27-30 at the Convention Center.

Finalists from NBC’s Last Comic Standing, January 13 at the VMA.

Opera Providence’s Winter Concert Series, January 28 at Blithewold Mansion and Gardens, Bristol.

Boat Show, January 13-16 at the RI Convention Center.

1001 Tales in the Night, a retelling of Sheherazade, January 8 at Perishable.

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, January 20-February 20 at Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket.

Cirque Le Masque’s Evolution, January 29 at Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket.






6 7


See general event listings for additional contact details.


FOXWOODS & MGM GRAND Jan 1: Sarah McLachlan and Friends. Jan 21: The B-52s. Jan 28: Robert Plant & the Band of Joy. 39 Norwich Westerly Road, Mashantucket, CT. (866) 646-0609,

arena & club | classical ARENA & CLUB AS220 Jan 7: Panther Moderns, and more TBA. Jan 14: Songwriters in the Round 8th Anniversary Party. Jan 15: The Gambees, Young Vicorians, Watch Your Head, and Plain & Simple. Jan 23: Juliana & Alexander Fraioli, Carminda Rocha, Justin Marra, and Goodwood. 115 Empire Street. 831-9327,

Frederick J. Harkins AAMS, CRPC

College Admission Advisors Strategic counseling for college-bound students

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College List Creation Academic and Extra-Curricular Advising College Visit and Interview Preparation SAT and ACT Tutoring Essay and Application Counseling Sports and Performing Arts Recruitment

LADDER 133 Jan 29: Take 3. 133 Douglas Avenue, Providence. 272-7427, www.ladder133. com

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• • • • • •

JERKY’S MUSIC HALL Jan 22: Necro. 71 Richmond Street. 6212244,

Call or Email for Schedule w: | e: t: 401-480-0193 | 545 Pawtucket Ave, Pawtucket – On the Prov/Pawt. Line

January 2011 East Side Monthly




Fine Horticulture Maintenance, Design and Installation

LUXURY BOX Jan 1: Under the Coverz. Jan 8: What Matters. Jan 15: Felix Brown. Jan 22: World Premier. Jan 29: Those Guys. 350 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA. (508) 336-6634, MET Jan 21: Band Together for Gianni Lopergolo: The Return of the Hasbro All-Star Band Benefit, featuring T-Bone Scott and the Hillbillies, Tequila Mockingbird, The Cusaks, Press Here, and the Try Me’s. The Met at the Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket. 272LUPO

Pilates one-on-one training Pilates Mat Classes Functional Fitness Training Pilates Reformer Duets & Trios Bosu Classes, Yoga Classes Therapeutic Massage Chair Massage (401) 475 - 0084

A Friendly Visitor Pet Sitting and Boarding Services

Providing high quality pet services: - Walks/Home Visits - Unique in home boarding services with up to 3 dogs at once for individual attention For more information call Sharon at 401.301.1712

MOHEGAN SUN Jan 15: Aaron Lewis of Staind. Jan 28: Music as a Weapon tour, featuring Disturbed, Korn, Sevendust and In This Moment. Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT. 800-4776849, STADIUM THEATRE Jan 15: Royalty of Doo-Wopp concert. Jan 21-22: 1964 (Beatles tribute). 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545, STONE SOUP COFFEEHOUSE Jan 8: Meg Hutchinson and Heather Maloney. Jan 15: David Mallett. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 50 Park Place, Pawtucket. 921-5115, www.

PERFORMANCE comedy | dance | theatre COMEDY CATCH A RISING STAR AT TWIN RIVER Jan 1: Geno Bisconte. Jan 7: Ben Hague. Jan 14-15: Rich Vos. Jan 14, 21, 28: Frank Santos Jr., Comic Hypnotist. Jan 21-22: JJ Ramirez. 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln. 331-2211, COMEDY CONNECTION Jan 6: Robert Kelly. Jan 27: Donald Glover. 39 Warren Avenue, East Providence. 438-8383, FOXWOODS & MGM GRAND Jan 1: Lynne Koplitz and Kevin Brennan. Jan 6-8: Rachel Feinstein. Jan 8: Jo Koy. Jan 20-22: Nick Thune. 39 Norwich Westerly Road, Mashantucket, CT. (866) 646-0609, www. MOHEGAN SUN Jan 1: Vince Dantona & George, featuring Buddy Fitzpatrick, special guest Mick Thomas. Jan 8: Brian McFadden, featuring Johnny Watson, special guest Quentin Heggs. Jan 14-15: John Pinette, special guest Leighann Lord. Jan 22: Steve

Shaffer, featuring Tom Daddario, special guest Linda Belt. Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT. 800477-6849, STADIUM THEATRE Jan 14: Dinner & Drag with Kitty Litter. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545, VMA Jan 13: Finalists from season 7 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing perform. 1 Avenue of the Arts. 4212787,

DANCE STADIUM THEATRE Jan 9: Showcase Dance Productions’ Everlasting Love, featuring jazz, tap, ballet, musical theatre, and Irish step. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545,

THEATRE GAMM THEATRE Jan 20-Feb 20: A Doll’s House. 172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket. 7234266, MIXED MAGIC THEATRE Jan 13-17: Legends at the Old Campground. 171 Main Street, Pawtucket. 305-7333,

TWIN RIVER Jan 21: Storm Front (Billy Joel tribute) and Benny and the Jets (Elton John tribute). Jan 22: Meat Loaf. 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln. 3312211,

CLASSICAL OPERA PROVIDENCE Jan 28: Winter Concert Series at Blithewold Mansion and Gardens, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. 331-6060, RI PHILHARMONIC Jan 21: Open Rehearsal performance. Jan 22: Pictures and a Piano, featuring pieces by Suppe, Chopin and Mussorgsky. VMA, 1 Avenue of the Arts. 222-1467,


East Side Monthly January 2011

Larry Rachleff conducting the Philharmonic

Roasting Coffee Daily. Since 1984. organic fair trade

coffee EXCHANGE wickenden st

SOCIAL HAPPENINGS expos & exhibitions | seasonal

EXPOS & EXHIBITIONS NEWPORT WEDDING SHOWCASE Jan 16: Premier wedding expo, featuring vendor booths, mini-workshops, giveaways, fashion show, and more. Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. 847-3300, www. NORTHEAST INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW Jan 27-30: View the newest models of cars, trucks, SUVs, hybrids, and concept vehicles. Kids Day on January 30. RI Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. 458-6000,

In the Heights at PPAC

PARK THEATRE Jan 14-Feb 27: The Murder Trial of Josh Gordon. 848 Park Avenue, Cranston. 467-7275, PERISHABLE THEATRE Jan 13-16: The Pillowman, presented by Burbage Theatre Company. Jan 27-30: Elemental Theatre Collective’s 2011 Go Go Plays. 95 Empire Street. 331-2695, www.perishable. org. PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Thru Jan 2: Mamma Mia! Jan 11-16: In The Heights. 220 Weybosset Street. 421-ARTS, STADIUM THEATRE Jan 1-2: Show Me the Glory. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 7624545, TRINITY REP Thru Jan 2: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. 201 Washington Street. 351-4242, www.trinityrep. com.

VARIETY PERISHABLE THEATRE Jan 7: Live Bait, a monthly open-mic night where attendees can share stories on the evening’s theme topic. Jan 8: 1001 Tales in the Night, a belly dance, burlesque and performance artist retelling of Sheherazade. Thursdays and Saturdays: Improv Jones comedy troupe. 95 Empire Street. 331-2695, STADIUM THEATRE Jan 28: Spiritual consultant and medium Roland Comtois; includes dinner. Jan 29: Evolution performed by Cirque Le Masque, featuring acrobats, contortionists, and more. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545, www.stadiumtheatre. com. VMA Jan 15: Skinnygirl Night Out: A Conversation with Bethenny Frankel, from The Real Housewives of New York. At the VMA, 1 Avenue of the Arts. 222-1467,

NORTHEAST MOTORCYCLE EXPO Jan 8-9: Motorcycles, Midgets, & Mayhem Tour, featuring vendor expo, merchandise, SPIKE TV’s Half Pint Brawlers, the Finnegan 10-inOne Circus Sideshow, and more. RI Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. (978) 688-8888, www.kevmarv. com. PROVIDENCE BOAT SHOW Jan 13-16: 18th annual show features the power boat and sailboat showcase, navigational system displays, fishing gear, giveaways, and much more. RI Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. 640-1992, SNE BRIDAL SHOW Jan 9: Meet with over 140 top wedding professionals, plus giveaways, two fashion shows, and more. RI Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. SUN WINEFEST Jan 28: Whisky & Bourbon Tasting. Jan 29-30: Grand Tasting, featuring over 1,000 wines and beer, as well as signature dishes from regional restaurants. Celeb chef demos feature Bobby Flay, Todd English, and more. Other events include the

The Focus Is On Results Facials • Waxing • Makeup

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Life Coaching Your key to a better life

Dream! Dare! Do! Steven M. Kane, Ph.D. Providence, RI 401-454-5700 Inquiries invited

January 2011 East Side Monthly


Calendar For lease: Eastside commons, top floor corner unit 2-3 beds, 2 baths, w/d, elevator, jacuzzi, deeded indoor parking. $2,700 Mth. AvAilAble now! 508-336-4000 x22 •

Peace and Prosperity New Session Enrollment Jan. 3-15

Yoga in the tradition of B.K.S. Iyengar

Visit our website for FREE Preview Classes

461.6665 • 2170 Broad St, Cranston


Celebrity Chef Dine Around and a champagne and dessert event. Visit for tickets.

SEASONAL & HOLIDAY BANK OF AMERICA SKATING CENTER Thru Mar 20: Public Skating. 2 Kennedy Plaza. 331-5544 x 5, CHRISTMAS AT THE NEWPORT MANSIONS Thru Jan 3: Experience the magic of Christmas at the Newport Mansions. See website for calendar of events. 847-1000, www.newportmansions. org.

GALLERIES AS220 Jan 9: Gallery opening. 115 Empire Street. 831-9327, BANK RI GALLERIES Jan 6-Feb 2: Paintings by Mac MacDougall. One Turks Head Place. 456-5015 x 1330, BELL GALLERY AT BROWN Jan 22-Feb 13: Faculty Exhibition 2010, Part II. List Art Center, 64 College Street. 863-2932, www.brown. edu. BERT GALLERY Jan 12-Mar 19: The Magical Realism of Louise E. Marianetti. 540 Water Street. 751-2628, www.bertgallery. com.

Expert Custom Framing

The Camera Werks

766 Hope Street, Providence 401-273-5367

GALLERY Z Jan 12-Feb 26: NetWorks Exhibit, featuring works by artists selected for NetWorks 2009 and NetWorks 2010. 259 Atwells Avenue. MUSEUM OF WORK AND CULTURE Thru Jan 10: The Preservation Movement Then and Now, chronicling the revitalization of historic sites and neighborhoods. 42 South Main Street, Woonsocket. 769-9675,

M-F 10-5:30 • SAT 10-2:00PM

Passport Photos only $8.95 50

East Side Monthly January 2011

PAWTUCKET ARTS COLLABORATIVE Jan 9-Feb 18: From Sketch to Fiber,

Exempla at the RISD Museum an invitational show. 260 Main Street, Pawtucket. PROVIDENCE ART CLUB Jan 3-14: New Members Show in Dodge House Gallery; and Class & Staff Show in Maxwell Mays Gallery. Jan 16-Feb 4: Rev. Bill Comeau in Dodge House Gallery; and William Barnum and Arsen Dadeklan in Maxwell Mays Gallery. 11 Thomas Street. 331-1114, www.providenceartclub. org. RISD MUSEUM Thru Jan 9: Sculptor Lynda Benglis. Thru Feb 28: Brian Knep: Exempla. Thru Apr 17: Prints for the Japanese New Year. Thru Jun 5: From Dover to Penzance: Watercolor Views of the English Channel. 224 Benefit Street. 454-6674,

KIDS + FAMILY RYAN CENTER AT URI Jan 28-30: Sesame Street Live: 1-2-3 Imagine! With Elmo and Friends. 1 Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston. 331-2211, STADIUM THEATRE Jan 25: Madeline and the Bad Hat, musical for grades K-2. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545,

LEARN discussion | instruction DISCUSSION AS220 Jan 12: LEF Foundation Grants Workshop. Learn about the Moving Image Fund, which provides funding for long-form documentary film projects. Jan 23: Providence Poetry Slam presents: a Writing Workshop. Every Tuesday: Life Drawing class. 115 Empire Street. 831-9327, www. MUSEUM OF WORK AND CULTURE Jan 30: Local historian Erik Eckilson presents on the impact of Woonsocket’s first textile mill, the Social Manufacturing Company. 42 South Main Street, Woonsocket. 769-9675.


Lunch Specials! $7.95 Weekdays 11am-3pm

pad Thai

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PC Friars Basketball RIHS LIBRARY Jan 19: Christopher Pastore, Ph.D. candidate at UNH, discusses how settlers in the 1600s through the 1800s affected the health of Narragansett Bay. 121 Hope Street. 2738017 x 12,

INSTRUCTION AS220 Jan 23: Providence Poetry Slam presents: a Writing Workshop. Every Tuesday: Life Drawing class. 115 Empire Street. 831-9327, www. PERISHABLE THEATRE Jan 18-Mar 22: Improv Comedy for Performance workshops with Melissa Bowler. Jan 18-Mar 15: Introduction to Acting workshops with Elise Morrison. Jan 24-Mar 28: Introduction to Acting with Mark Peckham; and Scene Study with Mark Peckham. Sundays: Intermediate Ballet, and American Tribal Belly Dance. Wednesdays: Intermediate/ Advanced Modern Dance. Thursdays: Hop to the Beat Hip Hop classes. Saturdays: Belly Dance. 95 Empire Street. 331-2695, www.

SPORTS ATHLETIC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Jan 22-23: Largest cheer and dance event in New England, featuring 250 competing teams. RI Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. BROWN MEN’S BASKETBALL January home opponents: Jan 8: Lyndon State. Jan 15: Yale. Jan 17: Quin-

nipiac. Pizzitola Sports Center, Hope and Lloyd Street. www.brownbears. com. BROWN MEN’S HOCKEY January home opponents: Jan 16: Yale. Jan 21: St. Lawrence. Jan 22: Clarkson. Meehan Auditorium, 235 Hope Street. 863-2773, DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER Jan 31: WWE Raw. 1 Lasalle Square. 331-2211,

93 Hope St., Providence • 831-1122

Patti Watson 401. 423 . 3639

Buying or Selling?

Taste_ESM_SEP2010.indd 1

MOHEGAN SUN ARENA Jan 2: Harlem Globetrotters. Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT. 800477-6849,

Mon-Thur 11am-10pm Fri 11am-11pm Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm

7/26/10 10:28 AM


PC FRIARS BASKETBALL January home opponents: Jan 1: St. John’s. Jan 4: Pittsburgh. Jan 26: Villanova. Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 1 LaSalle Square. 865-GOPC, www. PROVIDENCE BRUINS January home opponents: Jan 7, 21, 23: Manchester Monarchs. Jan 9: Bermingham Senators. Jan 14: W-B/Scranston Penguins. Jan 16: Worcester Sharks. Jan 28: Portland Pirates. Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 1 Lasalle Square. 331-0700, URI BASKETBALL January home opponents: Jan 9: Xavier. Jan 16: Bonaventure. Jan 22: LaSalle. Ryan Center, One Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston. To have your listing included in the East Side Monthly Calendar, please send press releases or event information to Christina Evon at Please send submissions at least one month prior to event date.


“Let me do the work for you!” Ellen O’Donnell-Forte

a.k.a. “Elle Forte,” Realtor® cell: 401.524.0563 office: 401.521.9490







Single Vision $79 BiFocals $99 Progressives $149 (EXP. 11/30/10)

Prescriptions Filled • Designer Eyewear Sunglasses


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Butterman & Kryston 749 East Avenue Pawtucket, RI 02860

831-7353 145 Wayland Ave. Providence Mon thru Fri 9am - 6pm & Sat 9am - 2pm

January 2011 East Side Monthly



To place your classified ad, please call 732-3100.

CHRIS’ LAMP REPAIR We Make House Calls!!! âœŻ Repairing all types of Lamps âœŻ Vintage Lighting Specialist âœŻ Chandelier Repairs âœŻ Serving the East Side for over 15 years âœŻ Fully Insured

(401) 831-8693

APARTMENT FOR RENT 261 Rochambeau, 2nd floor, neat 2 bed. New kitchen, dishwasher, living room, dining room, sunroom, new kitchen, dishwasher, washer & dryer. Hardwoods. Parking. $1,100/mo. Call 401-831-2233. A+ INTERIOR PAINTING Fine interiors. 20+ yrs. experience. Highest quality work. Many references. Fully insured. Based on the East Side. (RI Reg. #19226). Call Patrick, 226-8332. AUDIO/VIDEO HELP If you need some help with your TV, home theater or stereo, call me at 401-383-4102. Jon Bell, Simply Sight & Sound. Reasonable rates. 25 years of experience. BEST CLEANING Residential/commercial cleaners. Excellent local references. Green cleaning available. 524-1982 BOOKKEEPER TO GO Professional, experienced bookkeeper for individuals and small business. Louise Zuckerman 742-5420. BUYING OLD PHOTOGRAPHY Also art, fine books, collectibles, etc. Call 401-421-2628.

CEILING WORK, DRYWALL Plaster (hang, tape & paint). Water damage repair. All phases of carpentry. Reg. #24022. Fully insured. Steven, E. Prov., 401-641-2452. C.M. HOUSE CLEANING Professional, reliable, experienced. Excellent local references. Please call Marilyn at 497-8770. CYC PAINTING Interior & exterior. Minor carpentry. Power washing. Reg. #27017 & insured. Carlos 749-3928 DOG WALKER/PET SITTER Trained to administer medications. Reliable, bonded, references available. Home visits. Call Susan 5273914. Loves animals. DOROTHY’S CLEANING We clean your home as our own! References & free estimates. Call 401-274-7871 or 401-524-7453. EAST SIDE HANDYMAN 34 years. Repairs, upgrades & renovations. References. Insured. Reg. #3052. Call 270-3682. ELDER CARE AVAILABLE Very kind, patient, mature woman seeks position with elderly person. Intelligent, cheerful, reliable with 20 years experience, including several long-term positions. Impeccable references. Please call 781-3392 or 497-3392.

ELECTRICAL SERVICES All types. New circuits. RI #A3338. MA #16083A. Insured. Larry 5292087. Also, small handyman jobs. ET’s PROFESSIONAL CLEANING SERVICE Cleaning homes & offices. Over 15 years experience. Insured. Free estimates. Call 272-0334.

ELDER HELP AVAILABLE Light housekeeping, erransa, appointments. East Side. Call 2742006. HOUSE CLEANING Experienced. Local references. Free estimates. Call Lilly, 401-419-2933. HOUSECLEANER Available Crystal Clean, a quality housecleaning service. We don’t cut corners. Weekly or bi-weekly. We use environmentally friendly products. Bethany 265-0960.

  All Concrete Services Specializing in all Masonry Repairs Decorative Stamp Concrete No Job Too Small

Chimney Repair

Reg. # 12299


Outside & Inside Painting Clean Cellars, Yards & Garages Install Fences

We also Clean Apartments & Houses Specializing in Removing Boilers and Oil Tanks Bennie Woods Office 438-5708 â—? Cell 286-6338 Reg. #6515

Fine Stonescapes Patios • Steps • Walls • Firepits • Fireplaces

Michael J. Marelli 401-212-7837 • Reg# 33141 fully insured


East Side Monthly January 2011


KIND CARE ~ SENIORS Appointments, errands, shopping, cleaning & maint. Well being & home checks. Refs. Ins. 270-3682.

LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Spring & Fall Cleanups Bushes Trimmed ❊ Tree Removal Pine Bark Mulch

To place your classified ad, please call 732-3100.

MALIN PAINTING Most ceiling & wall repairs, wallpaper removal, oil-based and latex finishes, staining, varnishing. Fully insured, many local references. Safe, secure, fast service. Call 226-8332. Reg. #19226.

Landscape Construction Parking Lot Cleaning

USED MUSIC WANTED! Round Again Records needs your used CDs and records. Cash paid. Call 351-6292.

PROACTIVE Computer Services Home or office. Computer repairs, data recovery. Fully equipped mobile service. Service calls $40/hr. Call 647-7702.

Handyman ❊ 26 Years Experience

MG Landscaping 644-7417 ❊ 831-5109

PROPERTY MANAGER AVAILABLE 24/7 on call. Rent collection. Rentals, evictions. Call 421-0092.

LEE’S BASIC CLEANING Basic house cleaning. Reasonable rates. References. 20 years experience. Call Lee, 785-1230, please leave message if out. MASTER ELECTRICIAN Install, service, repair. Expert troubleshooting. Free detailed computerized estimate. Deal direct with owner. Lic. #AC 004110 & insured. Small jobs done promptly. All work guaranteed. Save $$$. Family owned & operated. Local resident. Calls returned immediately. 401-258-4793, John.

SUPERB HOUSEPAINTING High end workmanship. Small jobs a specialty. Call Ron 751-3242. Reg. #18128.

PRESERVE YOUR MEMORIES Photos, slides and papers saved to CD or DVD. Comen Co., 7516200. Email:

SNOW PLOWING Residential/Commercial Free Estimates

Vinny’s Landscaping


497-1461 ● 231-1851


Need your cellar, attic or garage cleaned, but... can’t quite get to it?? You can call TAKE-IT-AWAY-TOM at 401-434-8156 Mobile 401-316-2273

“Counselor on the Debris of Life”


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January 2011 East Side Monthly


East of Elmgrove

by Elizabeth Rau | illustration by Emma Tripp

Thanks for the Memories Reflections on a year of fascinating personalities Now that 2010 has come to an end, this is a good time to look back on the people I wrote about over the last year and give a hearty thanks to the men, women and children who put up with my nosy questions and graciously disclosed personal details about their lives with candor and humor. Merci. Danke. Gracias. I am forever indebted. I know who they are, but just in case you’ve forgotten let me refresh your memory. Yousef Nagib Journalism is a tough profession to break into, but 8-year-old Yousef, also known as You-You, has a good start. His self-published newspaper, Yay My Name is News!, was a hit on his East Side street, selling for 25 cents a pop.   You-You not only reported and wrote all the stories – my favorite was “Getting Hert at Recess’’ – he also drew the illustrations, challenged readers with a tough word puzzle, and penned a creepy comic strip about an alien named Carl. I run into You-You every now and then in his newsroom, uh, living room, and he assures me that he’s working on another edition that will roll off the press when he’s good and ready.  Never rush a genius. Joe and Jonathan Conway It was impossible to miss – a shrine of photos and personal mementos dangling from a stone wall that runs along Arlington Street near the playing fields at  Brown University. The shrine appeared the day after Jonathan Conway, riding his Harley, collided with a car on the street. His friends left flowers, cigars, a bottle of Jack Daniels, hastily-scrawled farewells, and a cross cut from the fender of a Harley, maybe Jonathan’s. Joe Conway, Jonathan’s brother, wrote me a note thanking neighbors for keeping it up and for their kindness. The shrine came down only a few months ago. But the memory of  Big Jon lives on through the internet with videos, online tributes, and photos of the red-bearded biker, who left behind a wife and two young children. Abhishek Pruisken When I first met Abi, he looked pooped. He’d been up all night baking stroopwafels. Abi is Dutch, and stroopwafels, creamy caramel between crisp waffles, are his country’s beloved treat. Abi’s dream is to become the stroopwafel king of America.


East Side Monthly January 2011

He graduated from Brown with a degree in economics and applied math and was offered a hotshot finance job in London. He said, “No thanks, cookies are my thing now.’’ If you see his cookies, Rip Van Wafels, for sale at a local café, buy a package, or two. Place a Rip over a steaming cup of coffee. Watch the caramel melt. Indulge. Then buy a cookie for your mother or BFF.   Years from now, when Rips are as common as chocolate chip cookies, we can all say we knew Abi way back then, when he was still stirring his own pot.

Linda will never forget opening her door on that Wednesday in May and seeing the men in military uniforms. She knew then he was gone. The box from Afghanistan arrived a few weeks later. There was a compass, his wallet, two cigars, and the nametag from his camo shirt: BHATIA. But it’s the watch she treasures most. “It overpowers my wrist and is quite heavy,’’ she told me not long ago, “but I take comfort in wearing it.’’ Tom Hunter One of the best things about living next door to a spaghetti Western cowboy is that I get to watch his movies for free. My favorite is The Hills Run Red. Tom plays Jerry Brewster, a sweaty-faced rebel out to get the baddie that killed his wife. A softer version of Clint Eastwood, Tom appeared in 16 films from 1965 to 1975 and even co-wrote two screenplays, The Final Countdown and The Human Factor.  I found out about Tom’s adventures on the big screen during a sidewalk conversation one day. Lesson learned: Talk to your neighbors. Their pasts might surprise you. If you want to see Tom in the flesh, check out the Providence Public Library, where he might give a reading from his book, Memoirs of a Spaghetti Cowboy: Tales of Oddball Luck and Derring-Do.  

Linda Bhatia What could be more painful than losing a child? Nothing. Linda knows this. Her son, Michael Bhatia, a 1999 graduate of Brown, died in 2008 in Afghanistan when the Humvee he was riding in hit a roadside bomb. He was a scholar, not a soldier, working with a military program to improve relations with villagers. Michael also was the focus of a documentary shown at the Avon, co-directed by a Brown professor and two local filmmakers. “Don’t worry mom,’’ Michael told his mom in all those long-distance calls. “This is safe.’’

The Happy People at the National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics Every now and then, I jump ship and write for another paper. On one such occasion, I covered a national conference at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick on the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Doctors and pony-tailed growers (known as caregivers since they are permitted to grow cannabis for patients) listened for hours to speakers talk about how pot helps people with severe debilitating illnesses, such as HIV and cancer. I spoke to a 70-year-old woman from Oregon who credited marijuana with curing her glaucoma. She smoked daily. She kept her stash in her pocketbook. “Look,’’ she said, and pulled out a couple joints. The crowd was friendly, downright chatty. Smiles all around. And then it struck me: Everyone is high! Legally – of course. What a country. Happy New Year. Elizabeth Rau is an East Side resident who can be reached at

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January 2011 East Side Monthly


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East Side Monthly January 2011  

Class is in session: New East Side voices speak out on education Our Winter Arts Preview New Public Art on Hope Street A Must-Read Look at W...

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