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Contents May 2012

This Month 17 Going Through Changes The past, present and uncertain future of Thayer Street

22 All the Right Moves A chess master brings the classic game of skill to Wayland Square

26 An Epic Eastern Adventure East Siders spend five weeks in India

29 Derby Days These ladies don’t lunch, they crunch

22 13 Community News

47 Education Merging old and new, aged and young

34 Pajama Monologues

48 Finance

English shminglish

Easing into retirement

39 Movies The Hunger Games and Being Flynn

All the info on May’s happenings

33 Batter Up

43opportunity On the Menu For Fabulous In this league, everyone’s a winner

Chef Nick Rabar showcases the best restaurants around

Photography: Mike Braca

owner occupied!

Every Month 5 Letters/Editorial 8 Other Side

55 Calendar

112-114 elmgrove avenue

Gorgeous, spacious legal 3 family in terrific location. Beautiful moldings, floors,Guide and period charm. 44 wood Dining Large kitchens and baths. Incredible value. Greatout rental Your resource for eating history. Walking distance to wayland square and the blvd. Parking for six cars. Recently updated electrical, newer roof, siding, and windows. Fire detector system in place. $525,000 Listed by Aleen Weiss 272-6161 X16

62 East of Elmgrove How does your garden grow?

On the Cover Photography by James Jones

Family owned and operated For over 50 years a west side GeM! 20 powhatan street Charming 3 bedroom cottage on a quiet street and just 1 block from Armory Park. Bright, sunny with tons of period details. Features hardwood floors throughout, large eat-in kitchen and separate dining room and spacious living area. Brand new mechanicals, new windows and beautiful garden. $209,000 Listed by Karen Miller Assisting Buyers, sellers And renters

Aleen WeissH Jon WeissHF Howard Weiss Karen MillerH

Claire Sennott Jenny WietingH Paul Levitt Judi BlauH

HAlso licensed in MA FLicensed RI Environmental Lead Inspector 0065

785 Hope street, providence, ri 4 01-272-6161 • spitzweiss.com May 2012 East Side Monthly

3


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Editorial VENI, VIDI, VICI: The Seniors March On May is one of

the best months to be here on the East Side. The weather is close to perfect. Our neighborhoods are blessed with palettes of colorful plantings and greenscape that create masterpieces at every turn. The Beach at RISD gets repopulated  by students sunning themselves. Frisbees are everywhere. It’s also a perfect opportunity to put traditional town-gown issues aside, at least for a little bit, as we celebrate the relationship with our academic institutions that make life in Providence, and on the East Side in particular, so special. One of the major events this month is the traditional Memorial Day weekend graduation at Brown. With its campus dance, pops concert and dramatic student walks down the hill to the First Baptist Church, the pageantry is, arguably, unmatched anywhere else in the

country. It’s also a weekend when Brown opens a window to its neighbors. Residents are encouraged to attend a wide range of free lectures and presentations on Saturday morning. We can buy tickets for most of the weekend events and, of course, lining up to say goodbye to the marching seniors is also free. Plus, since this will be the swan song for outgoing president Ruth Simmons, we expect this year’s festivities will be enhanced for the occasion as well. As we go to press, the showdown between the City and Brown remains unresolved. A happy ending to this unfortunate standoff would make a fitting goodbye gesture from President Simmons to her beleaguered host city of the past decade and cement what already is an impressive legacy for her. But that not withstanding, we urge

all of our fellow East Side residents to take advantage of this special time. Our neighborhoods are at their visual best. Our streets are alive with visiting parents celebrating the graduation of their sons and daughters (mercifully ending the four years of financial servitude that frequently accompanies it). We get the chance to run shoulders with the famous parents and alumni who will be on hand for the festivities.  And most important, we get the opportunity to congratulate the seniors on their accomplishments. Here’s hoping that the departing students cherish the memories of their four years here. And, call us dreamers perhaps, here’s also hoping some of them liked being here enough that they choose to stick around and help their new adopted home prosper.

1070 Main Street, Suite 302 Pawtucket RI 02860 tel: 305-3391 | fax: 305-3392 esm@providenceonline.com www.eastsidemonthly.com Publishers Barry Fain Richard Fleischer John Howell Publishing Director Jeanette St. Pierre Managing Editor Barry Fain City Editor Steve Triedman Executive Editor Julie Tremaine Assistant Editor Erin Swanson Special Projects Manager John Taraborelli Art Director Alli Coate Assisant Art Director Karli Hendrickson Advertising Design Director Layheang Meas Graphic Designer Meghan H. Follett

Letters A Beloved Collection To the editor: I love reading East Side Monthly. While there are many interesting stories about people and events in our neighborhood, I was especially moved by Mike Fink’s look at the evolution of the RISD fashion show [“Runway Alterations,” March, 2012]. We were invited to assist backstage when Bert Surprenant was the department head and have been working there ever since. But what moved me about Mike’s piece was the well-deserved mention of three very special and devoted professors in the RISD apparel department: Lorraine Howes, Marie Clark and Linda Bowab. Lorraine Howes, along with her staff, is singularly responsible for the success Collection enjoys today and for launching many successful careers of international fashion designers and models (Nicole Miller, Robert Geller and Monique Robidoux, to name a few). One year, Kristin Holby was the next model to go out on the runway with a male model. The male model was nowhere in sight and time was running very short so Lorraine pulled a guy named Jerry from behind the scenes while doing hair, quickly dressed him, and pushed

him out on the runway with Kristin to the applause of the unsuspecting audience. Kristin Holby became a very successful model for Ralph Lauren, Yves St. Laurent, Givenchy and Chanel under her middle name, Clotilde. Kristin (Clotilde) has appeared on many magazine covers like Cosmopolitan and has appeared in several films including Trading Places and Manhunter. Marie Clark was a delight to work with. Marie appeared with a smile on her face even when the going got tough. She no doubt thoroughly enjoyed her work. Linda Bowab and her family had been lifelong friends of my family, and to see her in action with her students was a very special delight. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. Linda was a true inspiration to everyone around her. We have felt so much a part of the apparel department family that about 24 years ago, we endowed a scholarship now known as the Esper A. Shwaery ’23 Memorial Scholarship Award, to be given to a worthy student of the apparel department each year. This year there are two recipients of this award. This show is a wonderful experience for our staff and we look for-

ward to Collection 2012. Thanks, Mike, for not letting us forget. David T. Shwaery

Missing the Jokes To the editor: I saw your April cover with its funny photo of 16 individuals of all shapes and sizes looking fierce and holding their ping pong paddles ready to attack [“Blazing Paddles,” April, 2012]. I assumed it marked the return of your annual April Fool’s issue (which I truly miss and hope you’ll bring back) and that perhaps this was the group that was going to help our city “bounce back” from its financial woes. Oh well. I still did enjoy the story about the Y, but hope you’ll do the right thing next April.  Joan McGuin

Hope High Needs Gardeners To the editor: Hope High Gardens is looking for people who would be interested in joining The Friends of the Hope High Gardens.  Volunteers are needed to help

Account Managers Louann DiMuccio-Darwich, Ann Gallagher, Nicole Greenspun, Dan Schwartz, Elizabeth Riel, Sharon Sylvester, Kimberly Tingle, Jessica Webb Classified Advertising Sue Howarth Contributing Writers Keith Burkitt, Bob Cipriano, Mary K. Connor, Jill Davidson, Renee Doucette, Don Fowler, Mike Fink, David Goldstein, Bob Mariani, Betsey Purinton, Elizabeth Rau, Dan Schwartz, David Taraborelli Calendar Courtney Little Interns Emily Gardner, Samantha Gaus, Courtney Little, Michelle Reis, Eilish Shaffer Contributing Photographers Mike Braca, James Jones, Dan Schwartz Contributing Illustrators Ashley MacLure, Jessica Pollak

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 ©2012 by East Side Monthly. All rights reserved. Printed by TCI. May 2012 East Side Monthly

5


LEGEND BICYCLE

Letters

continued...

F o x P o i n t ’s N e i g h b o r h o o d B i k e S h o p

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spruce up the gardens in the front of the school and on the corner of Hope and Olney Streets. Please contact me either by email or phone. 861-1537, shirley.dimatteo@yahoo.com. Shirley DiMatteo

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To the editor: On behalf of the table tennis enthusiasts at the East Side Mount Hope YMCA, here is a very large thank you for Mary K. Connor’s wonderfully written April cover story [“Blazing Paddles,” April, 2012]. Anyone who has been bitten by the ping pong bug knows that once it’s under your skin, there is a passion which can get you out of bed even at 5:30am. The article perfectly portrayed the diversity and sense of community that can be created just by hitting around a little white ball with a rubber covered paddle. Since publication, we have added players hailing from France and Pakistan, giving evidence of the global reach of this great game. Our newfound notoriety has also rekindled old friendships and given us all the best kind of local celebrity one can ask for. Peter J. Thornton Mount Hope YMCA member

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T h e D i vi n e S iST er

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East Side Monthly May 2012

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Where There’s Smoke... To the editor: We place faith in our elected officials, expecting them to make decisions that best meet our needs, but sometimes they miss the mark. Such is the case with Providence City Council, which recently passed two tobacco ordinances that were made in haste and without input from the employers who they will hurt. The first ordinance bans tobacco products with characterizing flavors from being sold by city retailers and the second one restricts retail pricing by forbidding retailers from accepting tobacco-related coupons or offering certain promotions.

It’s clear that our officials have not fully considered the impact of these.  Neither regulation will deter consumers from purchasing these products or from redeeming these coupons, but instead will prompt them to leave the city limits to make these purchases. And while they’re at it, those consumers will be making their other incidental purchases such as groceries at these other stores, too.   This will put our businesses at stake and jobs at risk at a time when our struggling city can least afford it. Then, contrary to standard procedure, the ordinances were rushed through City Council. In contrast to the openness with which most cities conduct public policy deliberations, the ordinance language under consideration was never posted to the city’s website for public review. Taken together, this was a failure of transparency and good government practices.  The backers of these initiatives, particularly the ban on flavored tobacco products, insist it was an effort to prevent these products from ending up in the hands of children. However, there are already tough and very successful youth tobacco access controls in place. Retailers follow ID check guidances and have a bevy of tools -- computer programs, calendars, and simple age calculators -- to help them be certain that the customer is of legal age to buy tobacco. Penalties for failure to follow these procedures are stiff, with fines and termination possible for violations. Providence retailers are already fully committed to keeping tobacco out of the hands of minors and did not need new regulations to ensure this. But, thanks to the City Council, we now have a situation where we have made it more attractive for of-age consumers of legal tobacco products to take their business to neighboring cities and towns. The council’s decision was a mistake in terms of both policy and good government. Viral Patel Broadway Express Mart


Visit the all new

EastSideMonthly.com for more content, including: Statewide restaurant reviews find out what’s new in dining from the East Side to the East Bay all the way to South County

Community events calendar

Color choices a challenge of Olympian heights?

stay in the loop with our statewide events listings

Rug Therapy

Exclusive web content see videos, expanded photo galleries and added content, including a sneak preview of Nick Rabar: Chef 2 Go, as seen on page 43

Decorative decisions got you down? Can’t decide if your inner self is retro or contempo? Design direction got you confused? Our insightful staff of dedicated professionals in the rug analysis field are here to help. Sessions available at your convenience Monday thru Friday 10-5:30 and Saturday 10-5. Special requests always accommodated. Call us at (401) 751-5100, or visit www.rustigianrugs.com.

Local blogs get updates and opinions from our editors and writers

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May 2012 East Side Monthly

7


Other Side by Barry Fain

Curb Appeal Creative students help redesign Wayland Square windows Kudos to the good folks at Wayland Square who have decided to upgrade their window displays, sometimes in rather imaginative ways. Clad In decided to use RISD students to help with their designs. Milan has an especially eclectic window involving old fashioned irons, mini-skyscrapers and colorful shirts. Dorothy Williams, one of the more venerable institutions at the Square, has gotten into the act, too. Let’s hope this is the start of an exciting new tradition. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for the holidays.

The Value of a Classical Education

Don’t Worry, Be Happy Let’s forget our city’s slipping bond rating. Let’s ignore our legislators, who still mindlessly continue to drink while they drive. Let’s even put last year’s Red Sox collapse out of our minds and all just be happy! Singer Bobby McFerrin, who has sold over 20 million records, won 10 Grammys and created the feel good anthem “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” will be at Veterans Auditorium on May 10 as part of the city’s successful FirstWorks arts ini-

8

East Side Monthly May 2012

Milan

tiative. Call 421-ARTS for tickets, and help usher in what should be an exciting spring arts season in Providence.

A Possible Mexican Stand-off? Cinco De Mayo (otherwise known to us gringos as the fifth of May) is approaching the status of a national holiday. While not quite up to the alcohol levels of say St. Patrick’s Day, the Mexican alternative is certainly making a run at it. This year, we know of two areas of the city that will be vying for your business. In Downcity will be holding a block party on Westminster Street between Union and Eddy from 4-8pm, complete with a Mariachi band, piñatas, a rock and roll yard sale and who knows what else. Meanwhile, closer to home, Thayer Street is planning something on Friday and Saturday as well, again complete with bands, booze and beautiful things to buy. And of course, you know Tortilla Flats on Hope Street will have their margaritas all lined up and ready to go. Sounds like this is a Mexican stand-off we can all look forward to.

Play Ball The Fox Point-East Side Little League begins its season at the end of April and continues it into June. A long-standing tradition here (and one that boasts L.A. Dodger great and Hall of Famer Davey Lopes as one of its alumni), little league baseball on the East Side is played the way it should be… for the fun of it. East Side Monthly has been proud to sponsor a team for almost 20 years (the Yellow Journalists, the Scribes or whatever we are), which we’re happy to do regards of where our team manages to finish. After all, our philosophy has always been that the pen is mightier than the pennant.

the Loominous Rug Store at 122 North Main Street at 5pm on Friday that will be followed by a gala book signing part (complete with arias) at the First Baptist Church, 75 North Main Street. Maureen Lee, the author of Sissieretta Jones, The Greatest Singer of her Race, will be in attendance as well. Then on Saturday morning at 10am, a commemorative plaque will be dedicated near the singer’s birthplace (just below Prospect Terrace on the corner of Wheaton and South Court Streets) to be followed by a fundraiser luncheon at Pot Au Feu. For more information on this historic event, contact the Rickman Group at 421-0606.

Our Own American Idol

Clean Up During Your Spring Clear Out

Sissieretta Jones was an African America opera singer born in Providence in 1868 who went on to gain national acclaim as one of the best opera singers of her generation. The R.I. Black Heritage Society will celebrate her life as well as a just-published book about it, with a series of East Side events on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. Things kick off with a reception at

As you work on your spring house cleaning, does National Grid have a deal for you. If you’ve got an old refrigerator you’re trying to get rid of, call National Grid and they’ll come by your house and cart the old fridge away. Not only is there no charge for the pick up, they’ll even give you $50 for the privilege. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us and we know it’s a good deal for the environment.

Photography: Dan Schwartz

Since we’re about to enter graduation season, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge two local Providence boys who “dun good” and have earned special recognition from their alma mater, Classical High School. Businessman and preservationist Jim Winoker, ’49, and Speaker of the House, Representative Gordon Fox, ’79, are among the four recipients of this year’s prestigious Distinguished Alumni Awards. The other two winners are Dr. Philip DiSaia, ’55, a California-based physician who founded modern gynecological oncology, and Melanie Sanford, ’92, a MacArthur Fellow and Esquire’s Chemist of the Year. Kudos to the school for honoring its alumni and demonstrating that wise investments in public education can produce big dividends in the future. The Classical event was held on Monday, April 23 at the Marriott.


HOPE

STREET

Spring BLOCK PA RTY

May 19 2-6pm

rain or shine Live Music • Sidewalk Sales • Gourmet Food Trucks Kids Zone • Roaming Street Entertainment

Beers for the Ballet Have a cold one while supporting Festival Ballet!

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shop with an ever-changing

provides exceptional customer

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supplies with friendly, knowledge-

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2pm & 8pm. Tickets: 421-ARTS.

gouRmEt HouSE

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The neighborhood’s most popular

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authentic Cambodian and Pan

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comfort food like fish and chips

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and lasagna in a family friendly

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days a week!

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dining spot.

crust pizza and panini.


is what’s happening Explore the East Side’s most charming street

kREAtELIER

LuLI BoutIQuE 782 Hope St., 521-5854

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804 Hope St., 432-7995 www.kreatelier.com

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Kreatalier offers unique fabric

Fun. Fab. Funky. Luli Boutique

1150 Enjoy authentic Indian

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street to shop for the ingredients

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An award-winning Italian restau-

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tage furniture and jewelry.

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atmosphere.

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Community News Community News is a 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.

Summit By Kerry Kohring Summit Neighborhood Association Summit Neighborhood Association Phone Number: 272-6323 Website: www.SummitNeighbors.org Email Address: sna@sna.providence.ri.us Mailing Address: SNA, PO Box 41092 Providence RI 02940 Update on sewer and roadwork SNA board of directors member Anthony Arrigo and several others attended a public briefing by the Narragansett Bay Commission on March 21 regarding the construction on Hope and North Main Streets, plus some other neighborhood locations. Here is his report. The Combined Sewer Outflow project’s completion is set for 2015, so expect construction and torn-up streets for another three to four years. What most of us have seen so far is the gas company replacing the old metal lines with high-density plastic in anticipation of the sewer work. The sewers are currently being replaced along Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard, with North Main Street to start shortly. Expect major excavation of North Main according to the following schedule: From First Street to Sixth Street, June-July 2012; From Seventh to Ninth, plus Mathilda and Cemetery, August-September; From Colonial to Stenton and Tenth to Hillside, October-November; From Third to Fourth plus Frost, April-May 2013. The numbered streets running eastwest between North Main and Hope have not gone out to bid yet, so those will like-

ly be dug up sometime next year. As for paving, they’ll be doing a temporary patch job to the streets until all of the sewer work is complete, letting the streets “winter over,” then doing permanent “curb-to-curb” repaving sometime in 2015. However, program manager Joe Pratt said that the work had not been progressing as quickly as they’d hoped. Residents can check for updates on NBC’s Facebook page at www.facebook. com/narrabay. For specific questions, contact Jamie Samons, NBC Public Affairs, at jsamons@narrabay.com or 4618848 x 377. The project identifier is Contract 303.06C, so if you Google that, you can find more information, including NBC meeting minutes. Pratt also said that homeowners will be reimbursed if construction damages their pipes but that the cost to individual ratepayers for the entire project is hard to determine right now as borrowing costs over 20 years have to be figured in. He promised that conditions would be restored to what they were before construction started except that the water of Rhode Island would be “fishable and swimable” within the mandate of the U.S. Clean Water Act. SNA board of directors actions At its regular meeting on March 19, the board formed a committee to develop a snow-shoveling assistance program next winter, another committee to explore community-gardening possibilities and another group to investigate holding an architectural tour of community homes, focusing on the bungalow type. Plans for the annual yard sale and the summer music festival are firming up with details available on the web site. Events this month Urban Beekeeping Workshop: May 22 at 7pm. Part of a series of free, sustainability sessions. June’s topic will be water features, such as fish ponds and mosquito

prevention. Locations vary, so consult the website.

Wayland Square By David Kolsky Neighborhood Discussion Group at Books on the Square http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waylandsquare Events this month Fox Point Spring Meeting: Our April 25 meeting has been cancelled to allow attendance at the Fox Point Neighborhood Association’s spring meeting, 7 pm., Sheldon Street Church (lower level meeting room), 51 Sheldon Street. Among several speakers of interest to Wayland Square residents will be Colin Kane, who chairs the state commission managing the land released by the highway relocation. Admission is free and open to all. Come early to meet your Fox Point neighbors over light refreshments. Next monthly meeting Wednesday, May 23 at 7 pm., Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street at Elmgrove. Free and open to all. Commercial notes Kyureo antiques, next to UPS and Myopic Books on South Angell Street, is leaving Wayland Square and holding a going out of business sale. However, What Cheer, another antique and curiosity shop, remains in business underneath Myopic, at 7 South Angell. City Affairs Planning: Tom Deller, the long-time director of Providence’s Planning and Development Department, is leaving to direct planning in another New England

state capital – Hartford, Connecticut. Redistricting: In the last week of March, the city council approved new ward lines for the next decade’s elections, as proposed and amended by a committee chaired by East Side Councilor Seth Yurdin (Ward 1, Fox Point & Wayland Square), who also serves as the council’s majority leader. The vote was narrow, 8-7, and vociferously contested by other councilors, including Kevin Jackson of the East Side’s Ward 3 (Summit & Mount Hope). The deciding vote was apparently that of Councilor Sam Zurier of Ward 2 (College Hill, Wayland Square & Blackstone), who had just finished recuperating from surgery. The final map consolidates almost all of College Hill into Ward 2, after College Hill residents mounted an effective lastminute campaign against moving part of their neighborhood into Ward 3. Instead, Ward 3 spreads eastwards towards Brown Stadium and Elmgrove Avenue. The most controversial element of the new map adds part of downtown and the Jewelry District, including the highway relocation lands, to the East Side’s Ward 1. (The other twelve wards are all separated from the East Side by the Providence and Moshassuck rivers.) Wayland Square remains divided between Wards 1 and 2 (currently represented by councilors Yurdin and Zurier, respectively), although the line will now be right down Angell Street, rather than bending into South Angell at the square itself. Minerva’s Pizza and l’Artisan bakery will now join Myopic Books, CVS and Books on the Square in Ward 1, while the Wayland Manor and Starbucks remain in Ward 2. From our point of view, the danger is that Wayland Square’s already feeble and divided voice will become even further diluted if the Ward 1 councilor, whose main constituency is Fox Point, is

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May 2012 East Side Monthly

13


Community News

When you are custom framing, always choose the framing based on the artwork and not your décor. Most likely the room décor will change or you will move eventually. For graphic posters, typically, a block-style black wood frame will always look better than a thin metal frame. Stay away from thin metal poster frames as they do little to enhance any art. Portraits can be framed in more ornate silver and gold or more traditional frames. Matting should be used for photographs and watercolor portraits to protect the artwork from the glass and give the art visual breathing space from the frame. Nicely grained wood frames give a rich look to most photography, especially landscapes. Choosing a frame for paintings requires more thought. Try to select a frame that matches the subject. A modern sleek silver or black wood frame for abstracts and contemporary pieces will keep the look. For landscapes, natural wood tones often bring the painting to life. Using period-style framing for antique art, artifacts, documents, maps and paintings will maintain the antique look. Today, most homes are fairly eclectic and it’s perfectly acceptable to mix old and new style frames. Visit Picture This if you have any questions regarding custom framing.

158 Wickenden St., Providence  48 Weybosset St., Providence 14

East Side Monthly May 2012

attending to downtown as well as half of Wayland Square. Preliminary and final maps can be found under “Redistricting” at the City Council’s web site, www.council.providenceri.com. Staying abreast To check on our meeting dates and topics, as well as current news, please check the public message board at our Yahoo! Group’s website, above. Or join the group to receive these notices by e-mail.

Fox Point News By John Rousseau Fox Point Neighborhood Association Phone Number: 401/270-7121 Website: www.fpna.net Email Address: fpna@cox.net Mailing Address: P.O. Box 603177 Providence, RI 02906 Events this month FPNA Monthly Board Meeting, 7-8 pm., April 14 at the Vartan Gregorian Bath House Library. I-195 redevelopment commissioner addresses FPNA Colin Kane, commissioner of the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, pledged to FPNA at its March Board Meeting that he will create a transparent process that is “fair and open.” The commission will not be favoring any individuals, but will be looking for the best projects for the I-195 parcels, he emphasized. “We’re looking for projects that will be out of the ground within 12 months after a developer purchases the property,” he explained. If the developer is not ready to begin immediately with construction, he will not be selected. “These parcels will not be an island, but will integrate well with the rest of the city,” he continued, noting that the Department of Planning has reacted quickly to resolve zoning issues. “We have been actively engaged in the public process and believe we must exhibit flexibility and certain controls for successful outcomes.” Kane said construction on the necessary roads would begin this summer on the West Side and continue on the East Side next summer. “There will be two and-a-half years of heavy road construction, including development of sewerage, water, street lighting and other necessary infrastructure,” he added. “Parking problems need to be solved by

working with the city, state and federal governments to find some subsidy for it,” he admits. Kane said the commission is taking a “pause,” concerning park and open spaces to re-evaluate these designated areas to make sure that the most beneficial areas have been selected. “Federal guidelines require a certain amount of acreage be devoted to parks, but does not designate where they should be.” Parks on the West Side may need to be reduced in size in favor of increasing parking and building space on the edge of Dyer Street, Kane said. “I see the East Side Parks as an extension of the River Walk. There is an extreme amount of interest from developers in the parcels, noting that many want to see how Shooters can be activated, he continued. “The Renaissance of Providence never stopped—that energy will continue,” he pledged. “We are fortunate that there appears to be an institutional demand from Brown and the hospitals in the Jewelry District.” They are well capitalized and will serve as anchors in the overall development strategy, he added. “Property tax issues still need to be fixed before a large scale investment can happen.” There also is a high degree of speculative interest today in smaller scale developments in the $5 to $20 million range, he pointed out. On the West Side, institutional developers fall in the $50 to $150 million range, he added. As to returning the street grid, Kane said he believed that the proposed East Transit Street extension would be better used as a “view corridor with pedestrian access and about 10-feet width.” Plans for Dollar Street are to have it to remain a street, he added.

widened Wickenden intersection with a narrow, short boulevard,” the letter continues. “This situation would leave pedestrians stranded between lanes of rushing traffic while waiting to finish crossing the street. Additionally, their plan lacks adequate ways for merging bicycle traffic into the city, and offers no crossing mechanism for pedestrians to continue a stroll along the Providence River Walk,” she added. Schnepel also repeated FPNA’s request for a full intersection at Pike Street (one short block before Wickenden) and the long, curving South Main exit ramp. Already, the RIDOT plan allows motorists heading east on Pike Street to turn right onto the exit ramp,” Schnepel points out.

FPNA supports Complete Streets Bill FPNA offered strong support to General Assembly legislation that would require the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, (RIDOT) to use complete street design principles – ones that accommodate the mobility needs of all users. In a letter, FPNA Vice President Daisy Schnepel applauded RIDOT’s commitment to seeking a solution for the increased highway noise, resulting from the new relocation. “However, we have remained at odds with the state agency over its current design plan for Wickenden and the I-Way access streets at public meetings for the past several years,” Schnepel said. “Unfortunately, FPNA has met with few concessions that would make this area of Fox Point bicycle and pedestrian friendly.” “Our main concern is that their plan would create a grossly out-of-scale,

By Wendy Nilsson

Fox Point’s Ward I to include downtown The Providence City Council approved new ward lines for the next decade’s elections, as proposed and amended by a committee chaired by Fox Point Councilman Seth Yurdin, during the last weeks of March. The vote was narrow, 8-7, and vociferously contested by some councilman. The final map consolidates almost all of College Hill into Ward 2, after College Hill residents mounted an effective lastminute campaign against moving part of their neighborhood into Ward 3.   The most controversial element of the new map adds part of downtown and the Jewelry District, including the highway relocation.

Brown Street Park News Friends of Brown Street Park Phone Number: 454-8712 Website: www.friendsofbrownstreetpark.org Email Address: wendy@friends ofbrownstreetpark.org Mailing Address: 30 Pratt Street Providence, RI 02906 Events this month Saturday, May 19 - Fitness Expo and Children’s Museum   The expo is an opportunity to participate in short, 30-minute, versions of some of the fitness classes which will held in the park over the summer. This year, CrossFit Providence will also be organizing kids’ races at 10am. All events are free. The day’s schedule is as follows: • 9am CrossFit bootcamp class (standard 60 min class)


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• 10am  Kids’ races at the park  (30 min) • 1-3pm Try playful hands-on activities with Providence Children’s Museum at Brown Street Park. Free. Best for children ages 5-11. • 2pm Punch Rumford adult obstacle course • 2:30pm  YMCA Zumba or Punch Rumford obstacle course • 3pm OM Kids’ Yoga • 4pm  Meditation Unfortunately the SPRING10K/5K road race will have to be postponed until later in the year. Once a new date has been picked we’ll update the Friends of Brown Street Park webpage, Facebook page and East Side Monthly. We will be hosting the 5th Annual Neighborhood Performing Arts Initiative Summer Concert Series in the park every other Wednesday in June and July, from 5:30-7:30pm.

Blackstone Parks By Jane Peterson Blackstone Parks Phone Number: 270-3014 Website: www.blackstoneparkconservancy.org Mailing Address: P.O. Box 603141 Providence, RI 02906

staked in more erosion barriers at bluff and trail edges. As always, the struggle to keep invasive species in check inside the woodland and at its edges continues with the help of young City Year volunteers and others. The Boulevard Committee is revamping the South Garden, modifying the old plan to make it more inviting and prevent compaction. They’re also hatching plans for the North End. The Witherby and shelter gardens will again need tending by volunteers with help from Swan Point’s crew. And dead trees will be removed under city forester Doug Still’s watchful eye, while new ones are planted. The popular concert series will continue this summer. Reaching out and up Second on our list is to look beyond our boundaries to team up with more neighboring environmental organizations. The Blackstone parks anchor a greenway that stretches up into Pawtucket, said to be the largest coastal woodland on the shores of the Narragansett Bay. It is famous as a rest and refueling stop for migrating birds. In addition to reaching out to regional environmental organizations and agencies, we are looking to Rhode Island academics and professionals for advice.

Steaming ahead in 2012 At the annual meeting of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) in March, we reviewed our To Do list for 2012, and as usual, maintenance was at the top. But first, an exciting new garden. On April 27 and 28, the Rhode Island Natural History Society (RINHS) will install over 1,000 plants (roughly 27 different native species) near the corner of Angell and Parkside. The new planting was designed for beauty as well as education. It replaces over an acre of invasive bittersweet, which was eradicated by the Forest Health Works Project.

Renewing emphasis on education A report from Yale’s School of Forestry and the Environment notes a steady decline in images of the natural environment in prize-winning children’s books from 1938 to 2008. The growing separation of many young people from the natural world might be eased by introduction to Providence’s conservation districts. So we are stepping up efforts to promote the Conservation District as an “open-air classroom” for students and adults to learn how the earth sustains itself. In the nineteenth-century Providence, a few farsighted people realized that the city needed to set aside green space for future generations. Our vision is Healthy Urban Green Space for All.

Maintenance Behind every project in the parks, are several - sometimes many - hours of planning and preparation. The biannual Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Day in mid-April was no exception. Volunteers and Parks Department employees worked side-by-side installing materials provided by a Department of Environmental Management grant. They erected temporary snow fencing to protect the young plants on Angell Street and

Events (see our website for details) If you would like to help rescue a forlorn-looking spot, please come help unload the truckloads of plants supplied by RINHS on Angell and Parkside, April 27 and 28. Annual River Road cleanup, May 12, from 9am-12pm. Entries due April 30 for second annual photo show on June 10. Please keep those Eastside Market receipts coming.

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Something Old, Something New Thayer Street’s deciding what it needs to do

Photography: James Jones

By Steve Triedman and Barry Fain A visitor from the Midwest who’s never been to Thayer Street would be overwhelmed by all of the activity: between the street vendors, the eyebrow threading salons, the hookah bars, the international array of restaurants and quirky but unique retail stores. The place is always crowded. Dining tables spill out to the sidewalks. Music blares. And as the spring returns, so too do the motorcycles for their late night fix of coffee and eye candy. But longtime residents recall a different kind of Thayer Street that once used to function as a core shopping mecca for the neighborhood. There was parking back then, less density that attracted more of the carriage trade. There were real markets on

the street like Thayer Market and A.S. Bunn Fancy Fruit & Groceries, which evolved into a liquor store. There was Arthur Palmer sporting goods (and khakis), M’s, Alba Runci Barber Shop with the horse in the window, Ashby Dean, Tom’s Tracks, the Hungry Sheik, Jone Pasha’s, Clarke’s Flowers, Ronnie’s Rascal House, Alfredo’s, Lloyd’s, College Hill Bookstore. Thayer Street has been constantly evolving, sometimes on the cutting edge of hipness and, more recently, of national chain commercialism. The street morphs like an amoeba to the likes and dislikes of each generation. The Gap, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin’ Donuts, IHOP and even McDonald’s have come and gone, victims of the changing cultures and the lack of parking.

For every generation, this relatively small commercial district inspires intense, yet often short-lived, loyalty and patronage. The first bar, Spats, opened in 1978; now the street is virtually overwhelmed with liquor licenses. Brown, RISD and even Moses Brown and Wheeler alumni often cannot get over how much change occurs when they come back for reunion visits, even after a few short years. But the uniqueness of Thayer Street always seems to remain. Each generation has their stories about favorite haunts that no longer exist – like the original Lloyd’s, which is still fondly remembered by some of us as Providence’s best deli ever. New buildings have dramatically

changed the original look and feel of Thayer Street and, for the most part, have been larger in scale than the buildings they replaced. The Brown Sciences Library, some 16 stories high, was the first. Then came Brown’s bookstore and the Pembroke Dorms. Store 24 was a new, unimpressive structure across from the bookstore, suggesting that design was no longer an important criteria for the street. The corner of Meeting and Thayer Streets has seen the most change. A two-story brick multi-store retail strip paved the way, followed by the Gap (now City Sports), which replaced a former gas station, which became IHOP and then a funky bar. More recently, Johnny Rockets replaced a smaller building that was May 2012 East Side Monthly

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18

East Side Monthly May 2012

Gilbane Development’s proposed student housing as it would look at the corner of Thayer and Euclid

For every generation, this relatively small commercial district inspires intense, yet often short-lived, loyalty and patronage. Brown’s impact on Thayer Street is an interesting one. The university has been a major financial supporter of various efforts to improve the street. That being said, improvements are barely noticeable with the exception of an attempt to create colorful arabesque designs as crosswalks. Recently, the school got the City to create a one-way block from Waterman to George, which tied up section of the street for well over a year. It was an interesting maneuver that wouldn’t be tolerated in most other areas of the city, but it is pretty. Occupancy rates on Thayer Street have been consistently over 90% (with the exception of the former Adesso space that has remained vacant for years and whose loss is lamented by the neighborhood). And while the trend has obviously tilted towards food and drink establishments,

it is probably unavoidable, given that the overwhelming majority of the street now caters to students. Change will inevitably continue, as will trends. There often are as many as five food trucks parked near the Brown Sciences Library offering Korean, Mexican and a variety of other foods. The latest major change to the area is the proposed student housing that Gilbane would like to build on the block that encompasses Euclid, Brook, Meeting and Thayer Streets. All of the existing buildings there would be razed with the exception of Byblos, Johnny Rockets and Kabob & Curry. The $28 million four-story building would have 105 rooms, accommodate 270 students, provide 80 parking spaces and would pay taxes. “It’s a once in a generation opportunity,” argues Bob Gilbane, who grew up on the East Side, attended

Moses Brown then Brown and has been heavily involved in the community. “My company has been building these types of apartments around the country and they are the hottest real estate around. Dorms are a university’s lowest priority, yet students want, and often expect, much more. We converted the old Hospital Trust Building into a RISD dorm and it has been a major success. It remains on the tax roll, it’s convenient, quiet and the students love it. It creates an added value for the community, by keeping the properties on the tax rolls, and gives the institution greater marketability in attracting both international and domestic students.” Gilbane continues, saying “In the Providence Tomorrow report from 2008, among the key recommendations were improved sidewalks, street trees, better lighting and nicer

Renderings: courtesy of Gilbane Development Company

falling down. Urban Outfitters is a dramatic building that, while somewhat in scale, also contributes to the changing landscape and continues a trend of national chains elbowing their way onto the street. The OOP! Building, known for its former lead tenant, blended into the neighborhood at the expense of a couple of trees. Music stores are part of the street’s past, as are wonderful late-night browsing stores like College Hill Bookstore that catered to everyone and stayed open often til midnight to accommodate moviegoers. It was not uncommon to see a child sitting on the floor reading a book in the corner next to a college student also sitting on the floor reading as well. Perhaps the most beloved constant has been the Avon Cinema, which opened in 1938 and remains the only theater on the East Side since the closing of the Cinerama on Hope Street in 1983. The Avon (as well as Cable Car on South Main) have survived by showing firstrun foreign and domestic films that are not as mainstream as the multiplexes prefer. Thayer Street’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It has gritty, historic structures mixed in with new buildings, some lacking great design but with high rents that attract chain stores often populated by Moses Brown and Wheeler kids trying to look and act older. Brown students spend their non-studying time here, as do hipsters, families and visitors on motorcycles. The result is a unique coexistence that is visible on a daily basis. It’s not unusual to spot two well-dressed East Side women having lunch at Andreas seated next to a couple of students with pierced eyebrows and multiple tattoos. Merchants concede Hope Street and Wayland Square, with more parking, have drawn away a portion of Thayer Street’s old carriage trade traffic.  Probably the most dramatic change that returning visitors from the past would note is how food and liquor now dominate the street. Considering that Thayer Street once had three upscale men’s stores – Hillhouse, Harvey Ltd., and Mark David – all catering to generations of Brown students and East Siders, today it’s difficult to even buy a tie there. On the positive side, most of the businesses still remain locally owned.


street lamps and underground utilities. And this project will accomplish all of this along with fewer curb cuts, and an interior courtyard that should control noise.”  What about the demolition of the nine historic buildings that will be required? “I served on the Providence Preservation Society Board when Antoinette Downing was running the show and she was the staunchest advocate for preservation but also understood the bigger picture. Fleet Center replaced two smaller historic structures but had a tremendous effect on the city’s economy.” David Shwaery and Gerry Hammel have operated Squires Salon for 54 years and slowly accumulated almost the entire block of houses. Several now have vinyl siding and all of the backyards and many of the front yards have been paved over. (A vehicle can enter from Euclid Avenue and exit either on Meeting or Brook streets.) The buildings are mostly student apartments, and a walk by on most Sunday mornings bears witness to the lifestyle. Many of the multi-apartment homes appear to be in a state of neglect, despite the fact their rents are not insignificant and their assessed values are not inconsequential.  Speaking to some of the students who currently live in these properties as to their take on the proposed project, there was concern over the high cost of the potential new apartments, generally planned to be in the $1,000-$1,400 range. Still, having an option for improved housing was

Rendering of the interior of new dorm

generally well-received. “The dorms here suck,” was a polite response. Businesses on the street are obviously excited about the prospect of 270 new students living right in the heart of Thayer Street, especially those in the food and drink biz. There are some exceptions, though. Anne Dusseault, one of the owners of Pie in the Sky, is concerned that if the Gilbane building comes to the street there needs to be abundant first floor retail consistent with businesses like hers that might attract some nonstudents to the area as well. But perhaps the more common response came from Jagdish Sachdev, owner of Spectrum India, which will be right across from the proposed entrance of the new building. “As a businessman, how can I not be excited about 270 students living right across from my business. Though if I owned a home in the area here, well then I might not be quite so excited,” he says with a laugh. None of the properties are listed in Providence: A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources’ compiled by Mac Woodward and Ted Sanderson for the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, which at that time was chaired by Antoinette Downing. However, all of the buildings were included in the inventory of the College Hill Historic Landmark District as “contributing” buildings. Providence Preservation Society (PPS) has opined against a rezoning of the area and at least one petition is currently circulating the neighborhood trying to save the old houses.

The proposed demolition of the historic houses, especially when coupled with a long-proposed plan to build a hotel next door on Brook Street that would take down another eight houses, is raising obvious concerns at the PPS. James Hall, executive director, expresses his conflict. “On the one hand, PPS has been aggressive at trying to save almost everything in other areas of the city, yet here we’re much more conflicted. It’s troubling since we hate to lose any historic structure.” Adding even more concern to some of the neighbors is that Brown seems poised to add another new dormitory building of its own between Cushing and Brook, which would extend up to Bowen.  As we go to press, neither College Hill nor PPS have taken official board votes on their positions. Gilbane presented his proposal to PPS’s design and review committee, which has not formally offered a response. “There certainly is no unanimity of thinking on this,” admits Hall. The developer also presented to the College Hill Neighborhood Association (CHNA), which was “receptive” but is planning a follow-up meeting to gather additional community input and has expressed significant concerns over design elements of the project. CHNA has a meeting planned to solicit feedback from the broader neighborhood. Meanwhile, at the urging of constituents who would be significantly impacted by the Brown project, Councilman Sam Zurier will be convening a meeting with the

City’s planning department to explain zoning issues that would come into play for all three possible Thayer Street projects. Ultimately it is expected that the city council and the zoning board will both have to weigh in on the proposal. Hall feels this is the time for the entire College Hill neighborhood to come together and decide what it is they would like to see happen to Thayer Street. “Have we reached a tipping point where the old Thayer Street and its two and three family homes there are no longer sustainable? And if the neighborhood wants to keep it the way it is, why for years have they looked the other way while vinyl siding came in and lawns were blacktopped? I think the neighborhood association bears some responsibility for not getting the City to enforce its regulations. At the very least, what I hope will come out of this proposed project are some concessions, or perhaps a specified Thayer Street district, that will give the neighbors some say in what gets built by Brown and others on the street.” Hall specifically suggested to move one of the better preserved historic houses to the corner of Bowen and Brook, to anchor the street and make Bowen clearly all residential. When asked if he would donate the properties to anyone interested in moving them, Gilbane said he was willing, but expected that based on their condition and the cost involved that there would be few interested parties. The Gilbane project will be on a fast track and the developer hopes to formally present his demolition and design plans to the City in the next month or so. Some neighbors adamantly question the need for such speed, given the impact the new apartments will undoubtedly have on changing Thayer Street once again – this time perhaps for good. Says one 30-year resident of Bowen Street: “This will effectively kill historic Thayer Street as we know it and will destroy the scale of the area forever. I have difficulty believing this is even being seriously considered. There needs to be a thorough discussion before anything irreversible is done. Tearing down up to 19 historic houses is irreversible.” Expect the debate over the future of Thayer Street to intensify over the next few months. May 2012 East Side Monthly

19


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Chess Master Jorge Sammour-Hasbun instructs local children

King Teaches Rook

A chess master trains future generations in Wayland Square By Michael Clark • Photography by Mike Braca Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, standing in the offices of Chess Master Connections on a recent Saturday afternoon, told me: “People ask me, ‘Why Providence?’ I love Providence. I’d like to see it become a chess mecca.” Born in Honduras, Sammour-Hasbun, a two time world chess champion at the ages of 10 and 12, is one of the four founders of CMC, an organization dedicated to providing world class chess instruction to children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Founded in 2007, CMC now provides chess instruction to nearly 250 children throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Of those, about 200 are involved in after school programs and 50 participate in CMC’s chess academy, which includes chess instruction at CMC offices and participation in tournaments. On this Saturday afternoon, CMC is hosting its weekly chess tournament, which is special because of the participation of Chess Masters from around the region, as well as local children. According to Sammour-Hasbun, who began

22

East Side Monthly May 2012

playing chess at age five and is now an international chess master, this interaction between youth and masters is key. “I learned,” he says, “by playing with and watching the best.” The room is silent. Ten-year-olds and 50-year-olds sit in silence, pondering their moves. Sammour-Hasbun is closely observing the games while we stand in the hallway whispering. He introduces me to his father, Jorge senior. He was a competitive powerlifter and, as he told me, he “taught [his son] Jorge everything he knows about chess.” Jorge senior is also a CMC instructor. Sammour-Hasbun points to Tom Sorokin, a nine-year-old who recently won the state championship. “He just won state, but he’ll get beat badly today. But this is a good thing: learning to lose is just as important as learning to win.” Lawyer Times, a master from Boston who attends nearly every Saturday tournament at CMC, steps into the hallway to take a break. He tells me that you can tell the good players from the mediocre by observing their eye move-

ment. “See that kid - his eyes are darting back and forth; he’s analyzing the entirety of the board. He’s a good player. He’s thinking about the big picture. Mediocre players will fixate. Their eyes are still.” I tell him he has just pointed

to Tom, the state champ. “Huh, what do you know. He’s a good player.” Times says the weekly tournament provides him a unique opportunity to compete with masters and kids. He says, “The great thing about chess is that it teach-


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Uncertain times call for smart taxcall strategies Uncertain times for smart tax strategies es children that their decisions have consequences.” It’s clear that the instruction at CMC is making young chess players better, which is best measured by the chess rating system, a scale from zero to around 2600. The higher, the better. At a Wednesday training session, some of the kids, whose ages ranged from nine to 12, described their ratings improvement: Ryan Perrett improved from 400 to 1200, Cale McCormick from 472 to 1500, Niloy Singh from 500 to 1550 and Grant Whitney from 200 to 1300. To put things in perspective, SammourHasbun, who, at age 14, became the youngest senior master in US history (a feat which requires a minimum rating of 2200) likely has a current rating in the 2400 to 2500 range, owing to his status as an international chess master. But the benefits aren’t limited to chess, which - it seems - has taught them life lessons as well. Perrett says it’s taught him to think strategically, McCormick says it’s taught him logic, which has improved his math abilities, Singh says it’s taught him patience, and Whitney says it’s taught him problem solving. Ten-year-old Yooney

Kim, who recently won the state championship, says he’s learned how to strategize. Sammour-Hasbun says that parents tell him how their children’s grades have improved during their time at CMC. “Chess,” he says, “teaches children how to win, lose, focus and set goals.” Sammour-Hasbun started CMC in 2007 when he taught chess in an after school program in East Greenwich. He quickly found himself teaching chess in several local elementary and middle schools. About 10% of the kids enrolled in these programs wanted to compete, he tells me, but the infrastructure was lacking: there was no space for these kids to come together to practice and play with the best. This lead him, in 2011, to lease the office in Wayland Square and set up a chess academy, a space where local children could come for instruction and competition. He said: “It’s about building a chess culture here in Rhode Island.” Chess Master Connections is located at 201 Wayland Square. For private lessons, contact jsammourh@chessmasterconnections.org or 497-8366. www. chessmasterconnections.org.

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From Providence to Punjab A mother of a trip for a Benefit Street mother of three By Barry Fain

In the countryside

26

East Side Monthly May 2012

The Rotary exchange team greeted by their hosts in India

of such international derring-do? Currently a board member of the Providence Rotary club, Marcus explained that she had always been attracted to the “Service Above Self” motto of the organization. Rotary now has over 1.2 million members spread among some 34,000 clubs worldwide, who raise millions of dollars annually for both local and international projects. They, along with the Gates Foundation, have raised over a billion dollars toward the eradication of polio. “We’re down to just a few hundred cases of polio worldwide, limited to just four countries,” Marcus points

out with pride. “One of the special incentives for me to lead this trip was the chance to visit India, one of the four remaining countries, but one that has been polio-free for the last 12 months. We even got to visit a polio camp, where up to 50,000 children a day are given drops of polio vaccine, the most critical aspect of the eradication program. It’s quite a sight.” Two years ago, Marcus went on her first Rotary trip abroad, a four-day trip to the Dominican Republic with five other Rotarians, to deliver a new water purification system into rural areas near Santo Domingo. Joined by the Rotary club of Woonsocket, the team also partnered with members of the Dominican community here in Providence who helped initiate the program. Plans are already underway for an expanded project next year. There was another major reason Marcus volunteered for India. “Some 30 plus years ago, in 1974, a girlfriend and I traveled by ourselves from Istanbul, Turkey overland, all the way to India. I was curious to see how the country had changed. Parts of it have, parts haven’t. What hadn’t changed, though, was the warmth of the people in the countryside. That and their unbelievable commitment to their tea. Everywhere we went we had to have a cup of tea. I can’t even begin to calculate how many gallons we must have gone through.”

The study exchange team and its leader were selected by Rotary District 7950, which includes all the clubs in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Boston. Providence is the largest of the 67 clubs that make up the district. The leader must be a Rotarian, but the four team members can’t be. The only requirement to qualify as a team member is that you are a professional between the ages of 25 and 40. All expenses of the trip are picked up by Rotary International. In addition to Yulia, the other three team members were Joy Fox, a former journalist and senatorial aide who now works as an assistant treasurer in Gina Raimondo’s office and her brother P.J. Fox who is the assistant director of the Institute of Non-Violence. “Given that India was the home of Gandhi, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the practical aspects of nonviolence,” says Fox. The fourth member of the group was Anna Haas, also an East Sider, who is the new director of development for Shoulder to Shoulder, a non-profit organization that matches American high school students to ongoing development efforts in Honduras. The purpose of the Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange program is to improve international understanding between people, as well as to help individual team members enhance their pro-

Photography: Yulia Yelle

If you saw Wendy Marcus, a tall, attractive, impeccably-dressed Texasborn interior designer who moved to Benefit Street about five years ago from Charleston, South Carolina, you’d assume she’d was just another cardcarrying member of the local arts and museum scene. You’d be partially correct, in that Ms. Marcus is one of the cochairs of the RISD Museum’s It’s in the Bag fundraising gala, which is scheduled for May 5. But what might surprise you is that just a few weeks ago, this same stylish East Sider was sitting atop a yak, leading four fellow Rhode Island professionals into the Himalayan region of northwest India as part of a rigorous five-week international Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. “It was a challenging trip,” admits Marcus, thanks to a grueling travel schedule that had them visiting far-flung Rotary clubs in 17 cities in 30 days, often times involving long bus rides along narrow, winding roads. It was a journey made even more difficult by limited water supplies, frequent power outages, adaptation to an all-vegetarian diet and even a broken arm that briefly felled one of the team members. “It was more difficult than I expected,” says Yulia Yelle, a second Benefit Street resident and one of the participants in the trip. “But,” adds the Russian-born nurse who works at Morton Hospital in Massachusetts, “I wouldn’t haven’t missed it for the world.” “And I almost forgot,” adds Marcus, “we even experienced two minor earthquakes while we were there.” So how did this normally reserved East Side designer get involved in a trip


fessional skills. In addition to visiting locations in their specific areas of interest, team members were expected to make presentations to Rotarian groups on an almost daily basis. “My theory of leadership development,” explained Marcus, “was not just to have the team follow my directives. Rather, I wanted each of them to have their own responsibilities and lead themselves. So Yulia was our official photographer, Anna maintained our ongoing blogs to the outside world, Joy was the details person and P.J. was our in-house comedian. The Indian clubs loved him.” One of the new initiatives of this particular trip was the creation of a sophisticated blogging network so friends, family and even some local schools could follow their adventures on an almost daily basis. “Thanks to Anna and Art Norwalk, who runs his own PR firm on the East Side and is also a board member of the Providence club, we created a handsome, user-friendly web page that we then sent into several Providence schools, which were able to use our blog as a teaching tool within the classroom.” So what were the biggest surprises for our East Side neighbor? “Well initially I was concerned going into an area like Kashmir, which has been the site of regular violence over the past decade between Hindus and Muslims as India and Pakistan both contested the area. Being Jewish, I was especially concerned about the Star of David I have worn around my neck virtually forever. But I developed a close friendship with my Rotary program counterpart there, Interjit Grewal, a Sikh. When we first met, all I could see was his turban. But soon I got a glimpse into his wonderful soul and saw how much alike we were: Committed to our faiths, to the dietary laws we both followed, he as a vegetarian, me as kosher, to our fellow man. It was an incredible eye-opening experience for me.” Another interesting observation for a group in which four of the five team members were women, was the role of gender in the Indian clubs they vis-

This MoTher’s Day... Texas-born East Side resident Wendy Marcus atop a yak

ited. “Whereas we have over 35 women members in our Providence club, women were rarely represented in many of the clubs we visited in India,” reports Marcus, with one notable exception. “In Jullundhar, there was a club that was exclusively women, started by a woman and was certainly one of the most energetic and effective we visited.” The trip allowed plenty of time for sightseeing as well. “We went to a military helicopter base in the mountains where we could see five separate countries along the horizon. We got to see a mongoose, snakes, monkeys, cows stopping traffic in downtown Delhi, even got to ride a yak. We had been scheduled to go to Dharamshala to meet with the Dalai Lama but unfortunately we had to be bumped because he was seeing another foreign visitor… Nelson Mandela! And of course we saw the Taj Mahal.” Even the opportunity to visit a McDonald’s could provide some unexpected surprises. “I can remember how we eagerly stood in line behind a row of orangerobed Buddhist monks waiting for our turn. No meat of course, just vegetables and occasionally chicken.” Traveling around the country was arduous. “In India, traffic lights are merely a suggestion,” Marcus says with a laugh. “And a cow wandering into a busy intersection could snarl traffic indefinitely. At

Barefoot Rotary team members: Anna Haas, Joy Fox, Yulia Yelle and team leader Wendy Marcus

the Pakistan-India border we were surrounded by a crowd of people, perhaps 20 or 30 deep, curious to see us – always friendly though.” One of the reasons for the group’s popularity may have been team member Yelle. Tall, with long hair and usually sporting sun-glasses, “Yulia also bore a spitting resemblance to Simi Grewal, a famous Indian movie star considered the Meryl Streep of her country,” explained Marcus. “She definitely could draw a crowd.” Yulia has her own personal memories of the trip. Being in the health care field herself, she was surprised by the personal attention the local doctors extended to their patients. “They still make house calls and fees are generally charged on a sliding scale depending on the patient’s ability to pay. And while there are obvious differences between the state-ofthe-art hospitals and charitable hospitals, at both I was struck by the more personal relationship that exists between the doctor and the patient.” The group in general tried to avoid thorny international debates. “We weren’t there to discuss issues of India’s national policy towards Pakistan or change their foreign policy. We were there to learn and experience,” Marcus explains. Some of the most memorable moments for Marcus occurred when she least expected them. “I’ll never forget the pride people took in their homes, no matter how modest. Or a group of deaf girls dancing to music they would never hear. It truly was an incredible adventure.” If you want to learn more about the Providence Rotary Club, go to their website at www.providencerotary.org. And if you want to chat with Wendy Marcus directly, she is one of the co-chairs of It’s in the Bag, a “stylish fundraiser” to be held at the RISD Museum of Art on Saturday, May 5 beginning at 6:30pm. There will be festive food and drink, a live auction and, we assume, the opportunity to chat about India with Wendy. For more details, call Pamela Kimel at the museum 454-6505 or email pkimel@risd.edu.

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May is upon us

once again – let the traditions commence. Swing around a Maypole; pig-out at a Memorial Day barbecue; shake your maracas on Cinco de Mayo. Breathe easy, fashionistas: you can wear white again, sans shame. For all you sinners (myself included), the month of May is synonymous with gambling and booze – in the form of the Kentucky Derby and mint juleps, of course. But, a select few (who are tough as blood red-painted nails) know that there’s a new derby tradition hitting the town this month. So ladies, if you’re wearing an oversized hat while daintily sipping a sweet tea, you might want to step aside. Make way for the intrepid and indomitable roller derby girls, as the inaugural Northeast Derby Convention comes to the Rhode Island Conven-

tion Center from May 25-27. The event will play host to elite derby trainers and coaches for off-skates seminars, skating clinics (ouch) and scrimmages (double ouch). Attendees can also expect a full vendor expo, games and parties. These girls don’t play around. With names such as Shelby Bruisin,’ Bust’er Apart, Trophy Knife and SmackGyver, those in the crowd get a hint of what’s to come just by reading the backs of jerseys as the ladies enter the coated concrete skating rink. Speaking of fashion sense, the derby divas keep it interesting with their bold make-up, brightly colored (and patterned) knee socks and a vast array of accessories – some of which are temporary (fishnets) and some of which are not (tattoos). It’s common to see a few facial piercings too, which may seem counter

intuitive as the odds of them getting ripped right out are not exactly slim to none. According to local derby girl Cindy Lou Screw, “One of my teammates got hit in the face once and her brand new nose ring got knocked out. She couldn’t find it anywhere. Knowing that the hole would close right up, I took my nose ring out and gave it to her. I call that my ‘true friend moment.’” Founded in 2004, Providence Roller Derby was the first all-female, flat-track roller derby league in all of New England. Currently, the league practices in Narragansett, with bouts held there, Warwick and in Providence, at the Convention Center. A self-governed non-profit, the league is devoted to positively impacting the lives of their skaters and the community through participation in lo-

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cal events and activities. They encourking or dragon socks, though, so if you age teamwork, dedication and the culsee any, let me know.” tivation of each member’s individual Like Cindy Lou, Rhoda is no stranger talents and strengths. to hard work – and being on the injured The Providence league consists of list. She practices three or four nights three home teams and two travel teams. per week and spends between 30 and Cindy Lou plays on three of those five 120 minutes per day in addition to that teams: Killah Bees, The Rhode Island cross training. Bruises, bumps and cuts Riveters and the Old Money Honeys are kids’ play to this tough lady warrior. (whose tongue-in-cheek motto is, “We In fact, her worst skating-induced injury play to win, equipped with our best asthus far has been a broken collarbone. sets: Daddy’s money and Mummy’s at“The hit was legal, and I was cleared to titude”). In order to be a derby girl, one must be not just rugged but dedicated and inordinately hardworking. Practices can be long – four hours sometimes – and frequent in occurrence. Cindy Lou practices several times per week, often with aches and pains that would keep most of us self-relegated to our couches. East Side resident Rhoda Perdition, who plays on the Riveters and Killah Bees, has been playing with the league since its inception. “I believe I’m one of three remaining East Side skaters,” she says with a laugh. “It used to be a veritable hotbed.” When the league formed, Mob Squad Dee Stortion was the only team; that first batch of derby debutantes tended toward Mafia-themed names. Rhoda says, “The Road to Perdition is a graphic novel about Irish American gangsters. I’m a comic book nerd, so it seemed appropriate.” She jokes about her tendency to be verbose: “Retired skater, Da Silva Bullet, once called me skate again four months later. So, relaRhoda Perdictionary.” Most skaters tively speaking, it was not bad in the choose their names nowadays based spectrum of derby injuries.” Not bad? on their interests, heroes or favorite TV, “Some folks have chronic pain from inmovie or book characters. juries, or sit out eight months or more.” Most times, each skater’s individual That’s the reason Rhoda – and most look, “follows the theme of her name,” of the other derby girls – train so hard, Rhoda explains. “Jetta Von Diesel has a and so often. “It’s incredibly important deep love of German engineering, for to keep building strong muscles to try example, and often dresses to match and avoid injury,” she says. It’s also imthe color of her car, even accessorizing portant to stay abreast of current trends with a Volkswagen belt buckle. Craisy and research, including proper body meDukes wears jean shorts everywhere, chanics and choosing appropriate safety even off the track.” And as for the gear. Hence, the excitement regarding socks? “Socks are awesome,” she says. the upcoming derby convention. “I will “Odds are, you can find socks to reflect most definitely be attending,” she says your interests, no matter how uncomwith ferver. “Events like these are few mon. I’m a crazy cat lady – and a nerd and far between. Nothing on this scale – so I have cat socks, socks with nerd has been offered in our region before. glasses on them… I’m holding out for ViOut west they’ve got Rollercon in Las

Vegas, but it’s too expensive and far away for most of our girls to attend. Roller derby, in its current incarnation, is still a relatively young sport, and one thing that makes it special is that we all learn from each other.” Allie Trela, who is better known as Dee Stortion, is the brain behind the Northeast Derby Convention. Dee owns Bruised Boutique Skate Shop of Nashua, NH – the largest brick and mortar roller derby store in the entire country. “I was told that I never took my roller skates off as a kid,” Dee says, “but I didn’t know I was tough back then. I found out through roller derby that I am a lot tougher than I thought I was.” She’s had her nose broken and was “sort of okay with it.” She’s dislocated and broken a shoulder mid-bout, but returned to the ring to play the rest of the game. “I have pushed myself through… and have come out the other side stronger.” Dee is the poster child for persistence and perseverance. “I think what makes a good derby girl is someone who pushes themselves mentally and physically to grow. Eating right, sleeping enough, practicing, cross training, going to clinics… and treating yourself as an athlete will have profound results on how you perform.” Dee saw a huge need for a convention here in the East Coast. “We have tournaments, but nothing where we can retreat for three days and learn about everything derby. It’s like derby heaven without all the pressure of tournaments.” She’s designed it so that skaters don’t have to stand in lines or pre-register for classes, really “bringing the level of derby up on the East Coast.” It may be held locally, but tickets are being sold all over the world. “Not only should this event help you become a better skater,” she says, “but we’ve also included tons of sponsored games, prizes, events and parties, so it should be a lot of fun too.” The Northeast Derby Convention 2012 will take place May 25-27 at the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence. Tickets are available at www. brownpapertickets.com/event/214867. For more information visit www.derbyconvention.com or email Dee at info@ derbyconvention.com.

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East Side Monthly May 2012


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The East Side boys (and girls) of spring By Doug Emaunel

Listen outside. Can you hear it? The crack of the bat. Can you see it? The second baseman making the perfect pivot and turning two. Can you feel it? The thrill of the diving stab, of cowhide hitting leather, and the anticipation of whether it will stay there when the polyester uniform hits the dirt. The answer is, of course, “it depends,” because we’re not talking about the Boston Red Sox. Or the New York Yankees. Or even the Pawtucket Red Sox. No indeed. What’s out there – what you see, hear and feel – is not the polished professionalism of Pedroia, Ellsbury or Gonzalez – nor is it Jeter, Cano or Rivera. It’s the Fox Point/East Side Little League, and the season is upon us. For the umpteenth year in a row (we looked it up!), the 240 young men and women of Fox Point and the East Side will congregate twice a week, and once a weekend, to hone their baseball skills and demonstrate the civility and sportsmanship that is so often lacking in our professional athletes. With players aged 5 to 12, and with myriad volunteer coaches aged (well, just aged), FPESLL will again be operated within its traditional four divisions: Tee Ball (ages 5 and 6), Double A (AA) (ages 7 and 8), Triple A (AAA) (ages 9, 10 and 11) and the Majors (age 12, with ages 10 and 11 by invitation only). Tee ball is what every movie portrays it to be. With a ball placed on a rub-

ber tee at home plate, the batter corkscrews him- or herself into the ground hoping to put the ball in play. And once that happens, look out. Each and every fielder – regardless of position, of course – flocks to the ball just in time to pick it up and fling it in the general direction of someone, anyone, who looks prepared to catch it. (You in the stands – look alive out there.) Starting with running the bases in order – even incorporating the time-honored Sanzo Method of shouting out the names of the bases as they are touched – tee ball introduces the young novice to critical elements of the game. The FPESLL AA division turns it up a notch. The rubber tee at home plate is replaced by fathers and mothers pitching from the mound a scant 20 feet away, who do their best to make sure their own earned run averages are as high as they can be. At AA, the kids learn (and stay in) their positions, and get the treasured assignment of even putting on catcher’s gear for an inning once every three games. The AAA division leads all divisions in the category of “Most times parents say ‘Hey, this looks like real baseball!’” Played at McKenna-Frutchey Field, AAA gives the players their first exposure to observing many established rules of the game (like three outs make a half-inning). At the AAA level, the teams are allowed to “win” and “lose,” and there is a playoff and All-Star Game. Kids talk of pitch counts and standings, even though every game ends with the familiar parallel lines of right hands extended, and players congratulating

each other on a “good game.” But for the kids, the pinnacle of it all, the object of their springs of hard work, the last step in their FPESLL development, is the call they get one night in mid-March after having attended one of the two mandatory tryouts – the call that they have been drafted onto one of the four teams in the majors. For years, the kids have heard about Arden, MTI, Hot Club and yes, East Side Monthly, wondering which one would claim “their rights” for the season. The season starts on Monday, April 23. If you want to catch a tee ball or AA game, wander behind the Alliance Jewish Community Center (the “Alliance JCC”) at the corner of Elmgrove and Sessions Avenues any weekday between April 23 and June 15, starting at 5:30pm. For AAA or the majors, bring your peanuts and Cracker Jack to the baseball complex on Power Street, east of Gano (but note that major league games are not usually scheduled on Wednesdays). Just turn east at the Gano Mart, and you’ll see (and likely hear) the action. For more information about the Fox Point/East Side Little League, including the game schedule, visit the league’s website, www.fpesll.com. For individual inquiries, address them to the league’s secretary, Eric Schultz, at info@fpesll.com. Although space in the league is limited by logistical caps on rosters, there still may be openings at the AAA and AA levels, and certainly at the tee ball level. Play ball. Or at the very least, watch ‘em have fun trying!

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May 2012 East Side Monthly

33


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East Side Monthly May 2012

Speedbumps in language make for a rough ride English is a beautiful language. I don’t know who invented it, but English has a lot of characteristics that make it very satisfying to write and to speak. That said, there are some things about the way English keeps evolving that seem a bit random – inconsistencies that somebody really should attend to. The word “but,” for instance, is a perfectly neat and serviceable conjunction; so why does it sound exactly like the word for the back end of our anatomy, as in “kick some butt?” (As if we didn’t already have enough synonyms for that body part.) And then there’s words that rhyme but have different spellings and meanings – like “eagle,” and “regal” or “rain” and “rein” – not to be confused with “reign.” (What’s that stupid “g” doing in there anyway?) The often-used verb “do,” must get pretty tired of being pronounced just like “due” and “dew.” How come they get three letters and “do,” the verb, only gets two? Despite its rather negative meaning, the word “whore” has a kind of elegant sound to it, unless you grew up in the Bronx and hung around with guys like Joe Pesci, in which case it’s pronounced “Hoo-wah,” (as in the movie GoodFellas). And why does the word “odd” have to lug around two “d”s, the last of which you can’t even hear, while “rod,” “cod,” “sod” and “pod” only have to manage one “d” each? You can find the hybrid word “lite” on all kinds of product boxes and bottles. The only place you can’t find it is in Webster’s Dictionary. I guess that’s because some manufacturers are afraid their “lo-cal,” “lite” dairy product might be mistaken for a light bulb. The word “Europe” gets this big fancy “E” to start it off. So where’s the “E” for the hard-working “urologists?” And wouldn’t “humorous” just be fun-

nier if it began with an “e” instead of an “h?” The word “alright” has been kicked around a lot these days because no one can agree on whether it’s one word or two, as in “all right.” Why can’t we decide which one is “right?” Of course, when you start to bring foreign words into our language, somebody always gets hurt. Case in point; the hard working, utilitarian word “cash” gets totally trounced by the foppish French word “caché,” with an accent mark hanging off its last letter like a verbal shirttail or something. And what’s the deal with just arbitrarily sticking a “g” in the middle of a word where you can’t even hear it? Like in “foreign,” or the ridiculously un-spell-able “poignant.” Or the even more improbable “knight” with a silent “k,” “g” and a silent “h!” Those letters need to either speak up or get out. Can anyone tell me who gave permission to turn the gracefully sibilant “s” into that nasty old sounding “z” as in “cousin,” or “raisin?” (Leave the “z” for Tarzan.) But there are so many beautiful words, too. One of my favorites is “lull.” It just sounds like what it means, either as a verb or as an abstract noun. And it even feels good in your mouth. Meanwhile, “tantalize” can do a stimulating dance on your tongue, while no compound word makes me laugh more than “underpants.” I’m not sure why. “Crap” is one of our better naughty words but I think it could be a lot snappier if spelled with a nice crackling “k.” Despite all the inconsistencies in our language, I still think English sounds lovely when spoken well, and it looks so beautiful on the page, too. If you ever have any doubts about this, listen to Dylan Thomas reading one of his poems. Or Sir John Geilgud reciting Shakespeare. Good morning. (Yawn.)


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38

East Side Monthly May 2012




Movies

by Bob Cipriano

The Hunger Games and Being Flynn

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franchises based on popular fiction, The Hunger Games is one of the best – not to mention a generally excellent science fiction film in its own right. But the movie’s strength is based more on its origins (the first novel in the threebook series by Suzanne Collins) than effective filmmaking. In a post-apocalyptic totalitarian state, one adolescent boy and girl from each of 12 districts is chosen every year to compete in the gladiatorial games of the film’s title, where there can be only one survivor. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in District 12, a place that looks like a poverty-stricken town in Appalachia. Director Gary Ross, whose previous work has been the sort of mild entertainment found in Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, relies on the strong storyline of his source material and Lawrence’s considerable acting strengths to carry his film beyond what he is capable of as a director. That reliance pays off in great measure, even though he continually and exasperatingly softens Lawrence’s character.

After minimal exposition, the film jumps to the selection ceremony, or reaping, for the deadly competition. It’s a nationally televised lottery of impending death for 23 of the 24 “chosen” young people, during which Katniss’s younger, very fearful sister Prim (Willow Shields) hears her name chosen. Lawrence quickly volunteers to take her sister’s place, becoming, along with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), District 12’s girl and boy “tributes.” The two are whisked off to the capitol, where they’re spruced up before the games for televised extravaganzas by a team of outrageous stylists. This should be a sequence about the deadly decadence of a wealthy elitist state, but in director Ross’s hands it looks a lot like Dorothy’s first day in the Emerald City in the Land of Oz Lawrence and Hutcherson meet potential “sponsors” who can help them during the games. They must curry favor from the television audience, whose opinions may sway both sponsors and the game makers. And they must endure phony television interviews with a very smarmy and very

good Stanley Tucci. The movie kicks in when Lawrence and Hutcherson are transported to an outdoor arena where they must begin to battle the other tributes by employing a combination of resourcefulness and weaponry. They face additional dangers generated by the game makers, who dole out death via computer touch screens. The competition begins with a superbly cut massacre as boys and girls fight in a frantic, homicidal blur, revealing the games to be a combination of the Olympics, American Idol, The Truman Show and mass murder. What happens in the woods around the arena following this devastation is the heart of the movie, and its story is strong enough to inspire attention and sympathy. Director Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray wrote the screenplay, hitting all the high points of Collins’ novel but missing much of its essence. Ross suggests there is mystery in the forest, in its strange trees and thick vegetation, but is incapable of suggesting the deep dread of even Snow White’s forest scenes, much less the accelerated pulse of a film like Last of the Mohicans, even

181 Wayland Avenue, Providence 861-1414 • ReliableGold.com

May 2012 East Side Monthly

39


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t: 401-480-0193 | 5 Lincoln Avenue, Providence 40

East Side Monthly May 2012

with the computer-generated fireballs and vicious hounds that complicate the competition. The Hunger Games books are effective in large part because they translate the drama of adolescence, including emotional attacks, peer pressure and cliques into literal warfare. There is far too little of that going on in the woods of this film. Still, Lawrence’s character persists, self-reliant and courageous, even as her director, for reasons beyond comprehension, sentimentalizes Katniss to a point where the entire film would be in danger if not for Lawrence’s ability to bring credibility to a character whose emotions must waver, given her youth and circumstances. Not brave enough or savvy enough to be a science fiction mirror of our times or the struggles of adolescents in general - and girls in particular - The Hunger Games succeeds due to its stubborn image of a girl on the run, surviving by wit and courage, heading hopefully toward a new and better world. Being Flynn is another movie, much smaller in scale than The Hunger Games, which is also uncomfortable with the big themes of the book it is based upon. Intimate themes work well, though, as played to the hilt by strong actors who earn sympathy and engage interest as a familiar but captivating story plays itself out. Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro, freeing himself from his association with the Meet the Parents movies and reminding everyone he was once a Taxi Driver) is full of blarney, bitterness, vodka, orange juice and delusions of grandeur. An established author, he has been in prison for passing bad checks, where he wrote letters to his son (Paul Dano) that inspired literary goals in Dano. But once released, De Niro never showed up to actually see his kid. It is only after getting kicked out of his apartment and losing his job that De-

Niro finds himself at a homeless shelter where his son works. Difficult, awkward, often painful and occasionally graceful complications ensue in a movie that veers from rough honesty to the verge of trite sentimentality. It’s hard to avoid cliché and tearful mush in a movie about parent-child reconciliation, with redemption and recovery thrown into the mix. Writer/director Paul Weitz, who worked with De Niro recently in Little Fockers, does his best to give De Niro and Dano room to develop their characters in their own ways. It’s a wise move, particularly because the actors have completely different tempos. The persistently impressive Dano suggests a quiet, enigmatic presence in his voice and movement that implies sensitivity, with the ever-present possibility of some pent up rage under the surface. He plays off the volatile De Niro in much the same way he did with Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will be Blood. He holds his own so well with De Niro, and gets so much sympathy as the tormented offspring in a movie of this kind, that it’s too bad Weitz didn’t give Dano’s own inner demons a little more attention. Nevertheless, a lot of honest feeling and believable humanity is at work here, along with a respect for audience intelligence. But there is too much restraint as well. Just how far should we go with De Niro’s downward spiral? With Dano’s own addiction? Much of the film’s potential power is stripped from it thanks to its desire to make things come out with some sort of positive spin by the closing credits (and possibly fill some theater seats.) But a story about two strong, complex characters that manages to avoid as many clichés as Being Flynn does, with a strong supporting cast that includes Julianne Moore and Olivia Thirlby, can be a joy to behold.


E A S T S I D E

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41


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East Side Monthly May 2012

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On the Menu

by John Taraborelli

Try This at Home Chef 2 Go brings the local food scene to your living room How many times have you been watching a food/travel show – say Man v. Food, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, No Reservations and their ilk – and found yourself thinking, to borrow a phrase from Liz Lemon, I want to go to there? The great thing about those shows is that now you know where to get, say, the best barbecue brisket in Texas – but the problem is it’s in Texas. Unless your travel budget and vacation allotment are fairly extravagant, you won’t soon be noshing on whatever goodies Bourdain and Fieri have found this week. That’s not true with Chef 2 Go, the local food/travel show starring chef/ host Nick Rabar, which begins airing its third season on Cox Sports this month. As Rabar, the gregarious chef/owner of Avenue N in Rumford, points out, “This is a program you can watch and you can go to the place the next day.” The restaurants, food trucks, farms and businesses Rabar visits are all local, so you can actually eat the food he eats. The show began as the next evolution of Stir It Up, the cooking show on which Rabar started as a guest and then became host. Chef 2 Go is more of a hybrid of travel and cooking shows, with forays out in the field (sometimes literally) followed by segments in the kitchen incorporating themes and ingredients from the day’s travels. This makes it unique among food shows, not just locally, but nationally as well. “There are not many – if any – shows out there where you go out into the streets, you gain a little knowledge, then you take that knowledge and experience back to the kitchen and create a dish based on that theme of the day,” says Rabar. Season three will find the show focused on doing fewer segments that more cohesively tie together a theme. In the second episode, for example, the theme is The Sea: Rabar first heads out on the water with Local Catch, a group of local fishermen who text chefs with the day’s catch and then deliver it fresh to their doors, then follows the food to Cook and Brown Public House, which features Local Catch’s wares on its menu. That kind of storytelling is a point

Chef Matthew Gennuso at Chez Pascal

of pride for Rabar, who stresses that the show is not about promoting him or his restaurant, but rather “screaming the local businesses from the rooftops.” He’s bullish on the local food scene, and eager to share it with viewers, declaring, “Rhode Island’s local scene is the best in the country, and that’s one of the reasons why we have such pride in what we do.” Season three of Nick Rabar: Chef 2 Go begins this month on Cox Sports. Check www.chef2go.cox-sports.com for updates and schedule. MORE FOOD ON THE GO It seems like every other month we’re reporting on A) another food truck, B) another interesting local Kickstarter campaign or C) a Kickstarter campaign for a new food truck. Well, here we go again, but we haven’t gotten so jaded as to lack enthusiasm for Radish, the self-proclaimed “Farmer’s Food Truck.” Four students launched the effort to bring healthy, farm fresh food on the go to College Hill, and they’re well on their way to doing it. First, they won an entrepreneurship competition at Johnson and Wales, where Executive Chef

Danny Do and Founder/CEO Timothy Silva are students; then, they exceeded their Kickstarter goal of $5,250 to refurbish the truck and bring it up to code. The project was funded as of April 5, and their goal is to hit the road May 5. They will offer a seasonal menu heavy on local ingredients, including Banh Mi (a Vietnamese sandwich), Hungarian Goulash, Signature Herb Fries and the vague but promising “nightly pancakes.” We look forward to seeing Radish out on the road; for updates and locations, visit www.whereisradish.tumblr.com. Also in May, be on the lookout for PVD Pudding Pops. The pedal cart – complete with a light-up popsicle – is expected to be on the streets May 1, peddling (sorry for the pun) pops in a variety of flavors ranging from your basics like vanilla and butterscotch, to local favorites like coffee milk, to “seasonal and experimental” flavors. All pops will be made with Rhody Fresh milk and “pronounceable ingredients.” Follow www.twitter.com/PVDpops for more info. Got food news? Send it to John at onthemenu@providenceonline.com. May 2012 East Side Monthly

43


special advertising section Br brunch B breakfast L lunch D dinner $ under 10 $$ 10-20 $$$ 20+

Hope/Thayer BETTER BURGER COMPANY 217 Thayer Street; 228-7373. With angus beef burgers that are juicy and tasty, this casual spot is a no brainer for anyone looking for a quick, delicious and affordable meal. Serving wholesome veggie, falafel and salmon burgers too. LD $ CHEZ PASCAL 960 Hope Street; 421-4422. Chef Matt Gennuso’s East Side kitchen offers French food with a modern twist. Try the Bistro Menu (Tue-Thur), which features three courses for $30 per person. Delicieux! D $-$$$

Tortilla Flats 355 Hope Street; 751-6777. A fixture on

the Providence restaurant and bar scene, this spot serves up fresh Mexican, Cajun and Southwestern food, along with top-notch margaritas and ice-cold cervezas. LD $-$$

Downtown CAV 14 Imperial Place; 751-9164. The New York Times’ choice as one of Providence’s five best restaurants, CAV’s award-winning cuisine is available for lunch and dinner daily. They also feature Saturday/Sunday brunch. LD $$-$$$ HEMENWAY’S 121 South Main Street; 351-8570. A true Providence classic, Hemenway’s has been serving topnotch seafood for 20 years. Their oyster bar features everything from the famed Prince Edward Island varieties to the local favorite Poppasquash Point. LD $$-$$$ JACKY’S WATERPLACE 200 Exchange Street; 383-5000. Experience sushi, Chinese and Japanese food, noodles and much more in a stunning atmosphere, right in the heart of Waterplace Park. Sip an exotic drink while taking in the spectacular view. LD $-$$$ MILLS TAVERN 101 North Main Street; 272-3331. The only restaurant in RI to

44

East Side Monthly May 2012

receive the Mobil Four Star Award for five consecutive years, Mills Tavern provides traditional American cuisine in a warm, friendly setting. D $$-$$$

Wayland/Elmgrove HARUKI EAST 172 Wayland Avenue; 223-0332. The chefs behind this sushi bar provide a minimalist, upscale, comfortable dining experience. Try the toro ankimo – fatty tuna and monkfish liver pate with eggplant tempura, served with a black bean sauce. LD $-$$$ RED STRIPE 465 Angell Street; 4376950. Red Stripe serves classic comfort food with a French influence. Their food is reasonably priced and made with passion. LD $$-$$$ WATERMAN GRILLE 4 Richmond Square; 521-9229. With its covered outdoor seating overlooking the Seekonk River, Waterman Grille offers seasonally inspired New American fare in a comfortable setting. BrD $$-$$$

GOURMET HOUSE 787 Hope Street; 831-3400. Beautiful murals and décor set the mood for delicious Cambodian and Southeast Asian cuisine, spicy curries and noodle dishes. The tamarind duck is a must. LD $-$$ KARTABAR 284 Thayer Street; 3318111. This European-style restaurant and lounge offers a full menu of unique dishes with Mediterranean flair and eclectic flavors. They also offer a top-notch wine list and martini menu. LD $-$$ NICE SLICE 267 Thayer Street; 4536423. Hip and healthy are the best descriptions of this pizza place. It’s whole wheat, New York style pizza with plenty of choices for toppings, including vegan and vegetarian options. LD $ RUE DE L’ESPOIR 99 Hope Street; 751-8890. In business for over 30 years, the Rue has only gotten better. Beautifully prepared with the freshest ingredients, the innovative, constantly changing menu keeps diners on their toes. Superb brunch. BBrLD $$-$$$

Wickenden ABYSSINIA 333 Wickenden Street; 454-1412. Enjoy Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, using your fingers

(and Ethiopia’s famed flatbread) to sample richly spiced meat, fish and vegetable dishes. (Forks are available, but less fun.) LD $-$$ BRICKWAY 234 Wickenden Street; 751-2477. With creative omelets, French toast and an artsy décor, this iconic morning stop on Wickenden remains a neighborhood favorite. Be sure to check the specials board. BL $

Jewelry District/ Waterfront RUE BIS 95 South Street; 490-9966. This intimate eatery provides breakfast and lunch in a cozy, neighborhood bistro atmosphere – all with the gourmet pedigree of Hope Street dining staple Rue De L’Espoir behind it. BBrL $ BAKER STREET RUE 75 Baker Street; 490-5025. The Rue De L’Espoir empire expands with this comfortable neighborhood café serving “upscale diner food.” BBRL$

Outside Providence BESOS TEA HOUSE 378 Main Street, East Greenwich; 398-8855. With a breathtaking interior, this hip spot offers delicious food and a unique tapas menu. Stay for an after dinner drink as the restaurant morphs to a lounge each Thursday night. BrLD $$-$$$ LJ’S BBQ 727 East Avenue, Pawtucket; 305-5255. LJ’s features ribs, pork, chicken and beef cooked low and slow in their customized pit, made with recipes from co-owner Bernie Watson’s grandmother, Miss Leola Jean. It’s great food at a great value. LD $-$$ VINE YARD EAST 315 Waterman Avenue, East Providence; 432-7000. Wine-influenced dining meets casual down home atmosphere, and an eclectic menu of regional fare like local seafood favorites and Italian and Portuguese classics. LD $$

Photography: Dan Schwartz

Dining Guide


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At School Today by Jill Davidson

make your reservations for mother’s day brunch or dinner

Living History

mothers love “The Rue”

Experiential learning and place-based education

Illustration: Jessica Pollak

Immigration and neighborhood life. Narragansett Bay. Work in the Jewelry District. These are the themes of I Was There, an annual project at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, a Providence public school built in 1951 and located on Wickenden Street in the heart of the Fox Point neighborhood. I Was There connects Vartan Gregorian Elementary School’s students and teachers with Fox Point community members, historians, storytellers, scientists, business and industry representatives, public officials, artists and chefs. Together, they all take a deep dive into topics that bring the community together as learners who create content that is displayed all over the walls of the school and shared online. This year, Vartan Gregorian’s fourth and fifth graders are learning about the role of food in the neighborhood’s families, cultures and memories. “Placebased multidimensional education” best describes I Was There, which provides an arena for students to use resources throughout the entire neighborhood to learn about where they are, how history has evolved and what matters in their lives now. They learn oral history skills – taught first to their teachers by staff members and graduate students from Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage – to interview Fox Point residents and professionals. They go on field trips, this year to Johnson and Wales’ Culinary Arts Museum. They learn about food scientifically, studying taste, refrigeration and sanitation. They incorporate standards-based learning from across the rest of the curriculum to create a final presentation and add to a living museum in the school, for which they serve as trained docents. They create content for the I Was There website. The project provides multiple avenues for students to be historians, archivists, writers, photographers, videographers, event planners and artists. Every Vartan Gregorian fourth and fifth grader learns, develops skills and makes a lasting contribution to their school and its neighborhood. In collaboration with teachers and the principal, Vartan Gregorian parents Wendy Grossman and Catherine Carr Kelly started I Was There in 2008. Grossman and Kelly wanted to know

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more about the neighborhood where now had been a park. The neighbors their kids were going to school and wanted to preserve green space and felt that the school urgently needed advocated that the school keep that more arts education in the curricusense of place with a courtyard, which lum. “We thought that there should still has a beech tree that connects the be some way to honor the school itpast to the present.” self, the neighborhood and the past,” Fifth grade teacher Jacqueline Fish said Kelly, the executive director of the observed that I Was There created a Central Square Theater in Cambridge. unique opportunity for experiential “We wanted to know what had made learning fused with critical thinking. the neighborhood important,” added “One of the best aspects of this project Grossman, an activities therapist at is that our students learn how to ask Butler Hospital. To support and sustain real, deep, meaningful questions,” Fish I Was There, Grossman and Kelly have commented. Fourth grade teacher Eisecured funding from the Rhode Island leen Pedroso Afonso agreed, noting, State Council on the Arts, the Rhode “This isn’t a textbook. It’s living history Island Foundation, the Rhode Island through talking with community memCouncil for the Humanities and VSA bers - our students learn through conArts, which funds arts and humanities versation.” Pedroso Afonso grew up projects for people with disabilities in Fox Point herself and has brought (the project fully includes all fourth and family and community members to the fifth graders with learning and other school to be a part of the project over disabilities at the school). the years. “Every year, people want to Vartan Gregorian Elementary’s come back. They’re excited to be a part fourth and fifth grade teachers say of the history that our students are that I Was There is powerful for them documenting and sharing.” professionally, reporting extraordinary This spring, I Was There will culmiengagement among their students and nate with an exhibition and presentaan appreciation for the professional tion open to the public on May 6-8. development opportunities that reStudents and community members will sult from the connection to the John share memoirs, cookbooks, photos, Nicholas Brown Center. They also appoems and more at a community dinpreciate the ways that I Was There re- ner and other events. They hope you’ll inforced the role of the school as the join in. www.iwasthereproject.org. center of the neighborhood. As special education teacher Maureen Kenner Jill Davidson can be reached at whadescribed, “People in this area were thappenedatschool@gmail.com or her forward-thinking. Where the 178 school is blog, providenceschools.blogspot.com Wayland Ave. Providence • 401-621-6452

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East Side Monthly May 2012

Finance by Betsey Puriton

Retirement Along The Way The importance of a well-planned transition Early retirement was a

popular fantasy before the 2008 financial crisis. The yearning still lingers for some of my clients, although most have resolved to wait. I try to encourage clients not to see retirement as an open and shut event but rather as a window that gradually opens. “Retiring along life’s way,” I advise, “can create a smooth passage.” The along the way theme involves a transition period where decisions are made about working hours, income and spending. First, let’s put the early retirement fantasies to bed. Retiring before age 60 may not be good for you. Several recent studies point to higher mortality risks for those retiring early, after controlling for education, marital status, race and wealth. A U.S. study (BMJ 2005) found that people who retired at age 55 had almost twice the mortality risk compared to people who retired at age 60 or later. In this research, there were no controls for health. In a Greek study (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008) which eliminated participants with pre-existing medical conditions, the increased mortality risk was 51%. Taken together, the statistics show that retirement isn’t always a panacea; working a little longer may actually be good for you. I help clients determine when and how they can retire. From the financial planning perspective, the retirement discussion is all about income and cash flow. But I also devote time to talking about the potential difference between pre-and-post retirement lifestyles – mental, physical and financial. If there is going to be a gap between what you can do now and later, you might not want to rush for the job exit. This means taking control of the transition period. Certain careers lend themselves to cutting back office hours. Dentistry, higher education, sales and small business ownership come to mind. I work with two dentists – one age 66 and the other age 71. When they were younger, they each lamented about the hectic pace of their full time positions. The older dentist is down to four days a week and actively looking for a partner to transition the business to. If he could get down to two days a week, he claims he could work another ten years. The younger dentist sold his practice a number of years ago and has already

reduced his work load to one and a half days a week under the new owner, filling his free hours with teaching and training at a community college. He will work as a dentist for as long as he has to and wants to. Given the schedule he has created for himself, he is not under pressure financially or emotionally to step aside. Professors, like dentists, often have options. Several of the local universities are offering severance packages, which include either a very generous one-time payment or the opportunity to work part time with reasonable pay and benefits for a couple of years. Money is less an issue than loss of community and the work experience for many university personnel. Sometimes the transition isn’t about leaving early; it’s about staying too long. Hence, colleges are finding ways to make it easier for faculty and staff to phase out. This is good for both the school and the retiree – cost reduction for the institution and a graceful transition for the retiree. Sales, small businesses and nursing also present opportunities for adaptable hours. Small business owners sell and then remain for a period of time either to transition clients or help with the rebranding. Sales representatives maintain their current clients, but decline new relationships. Nurses move from salary to hourly and cut back on shifts at their hospitals or clinics. The goal is

to create extra income during the first phase of retirement to ensure spending changes are not abrupt or constraining, But what if you can’t control your schedule and your working hours? Then the “along the way” theme shifts to adjustments in budgets rather than hours. “Start living your retirement lifestyle now,” I suggest to those itching to exit early. While I have few takers of this approach, I do see a lot of serious cash flow analyses emerge from my challenge. As pencils scratch out plans, priorities are set and a realistic look at retirement often emerges. The transition period to retirement is a flexible time. Along the way, it can be used to maintain ties to a professional community or keep a mentally challenging job. It can mean extra income for special trips, gifts or home renovations that may not be possible later. It can also be a testing period for a future lifestyle before a final decision must be reached. The transition period, if well planned out, can make the entry point into retirement feel less abrupt and more seamless. Betsey Purinton, CFP® is Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at StrategicPoint Investment Advisors in Providence and East Greenwich. You can e-mail her at bpurinton@strategicpoint.com.

Illustration: Ashley MacLure

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49


Spotlight

by Dan Schwartz

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East Side Monthly May 2012

With the Payday Loan controversy creating negative news for the industry, people should keep in mind that there are reputable businesses that offer secure short term loans. Jeff Keithline, co-owner of Empire Loan, says that through pawn broking they offer loans from $30 to $30,000. “Borrowing money from us for a few months can be a very good solution for a short-term financial problem,” he explains. “It’s very quick to learn about the basics of the transaction and have the appraisal done.” Jeff has done research into online lenders and he says that the experience is cumbersome and requires you to provide your banking information. With Empire Loan, you are in complete control and you walk out with cash or a check. If you are unable to redeem the loan, the merchandise you provide in collateral is forfeited and the matter is concluded without repercussion. The price of gold is still up and Empire Loan is paying competitive prices for your unwanted jewelry. “Everybody says they pay top prices,” Jeff says. “Stop by and let us do the math so you’ll have something to compare offers. You’re going to see a significant difference if you go to three or four places, and we believe Empire will be at the top of that list.” Empire Loan carries a nice assortment of new and used jewelry if you are looking to buy a Mother’s Day gift, plus they are going to be doing a Dads and Grads sale in the beginning of June. For their musical instrument side of business, there is going to be an in-store concert on a Saturday in May in conjunction with Girls Rock Rhode Island, which is a non-profit that helps get girls into rock bands. Jeff is a big supporter of this organization as he himself has been in bands for 40 years. “I think everybody who gets up on that stage and makes that loud sound really enjoys it,” he admits. Check the Empire Guitars Facebook page for the in-store concert date. Empire Guitars sells a large variety of guitars (including vintage), basses, amps, starter kits and drums.

Empire Loan 1271 North Main Street, Providence / 437-8421 358 Broad Street, Providence / 273-7050 www.empireloan.com / www.empireguitarsri.com


Spotlight

by Dan Schwartz

Ruffin’ Wranglers Dog Excursions Nature camp for your dog

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A quick 15 minutes from the East Side and you are in the lush pastoral land of Rehoboth Massachusetts, home of the Ruffin’ Wranglers ranch. This comprises an enormous fenced-in grassy area and a walking trail that leads through the woods over small streams and out into an open field. This is paradise for dogs (and humans), I thought, as I watched 16 dogs of all sizes running with pleasure; splashing, socializing and dare I say it, jumping for joy. Blythe Penna’s business, Ruffin’ Wranglers, LLC, gives your dog a chance to play off leash with canine peers in a natural setting for a solid hour-and-a-half. Urban living and long work hours make it difficult for people to find the time to exercise their pets. Ruffin’ Wranglers removes all of the hassle: a “wrangler” comes to your house with a special outfitted Honda Element to retrieve your dog and then, after some vigorous free-range fun, returns your pooch happy and exhausted. Owners don’t need to be home as the wranglers have keys. Each prospective camper is looked at to make sure the dog doesn’t have any aggressive tendencies so the pack vibe remains cohesive. Ruffin’ Wranglers, LLC serves Providence’s East Side, downtown, Rumford and Barrington. Each excursion cost $25 and there is a full day option available for $38, which is 9:30am to 3:30pm. “I started this business because I wanted to work with my dog,” Blythe explains. “I love dogs and I saw an enormous need for dogs living in the city to be exercised. They need to be in nature off leash to get the proper amount.” They also receive an incredible amount of socialization. Blythe says, “Many rescue dogs don’t have innate confidence, it needs to be nurtured. After being with us for awhile they really do become their own dog.” They get to explore their nature of being within a larger pack. Ruffin’ Wranglers operates during the weekdays, rain or shine, and there are four different session times. Give your dog the freedom to be in their element.

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51


Spotlight

by Dan Schwartz

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Better Burger Company is in the middle of its second year of operation and while many know about their popular chargrilled patties, BBC also has an impressive breakfast lineup offered until 3pm on weekdays starting at 8:30am and 9:30am on weekends. Sticking to their motto of keeping it as organic as possible, they use farm fresh eggs for their breakfast platters, sandwiches and omelettes. General manager George Panagou says, “Nothing is frozen or pre-made. Everything is cooked fresh.” And their prices are reasonable: eggs benedict at $6.25 is what you call affordable food luxury. There are fresh fruit pancakes, Nutella French toast, breakfast burritos and a hungry man special that includes two eggs, two pancakes, choice of meat, home fries and either gourmet coffee or organic tea. Order up. For lunch, BBC makes their signature Angus steak burgers in three sizes depending on your appetite. Big sellers are the Ivy League (Swiss, mushrooms and caramelized onions), the Chipotle (bacon, smoked cheddar and chipotle sauce) and the Mexican (pepper jack, bacon, avocado and pico de gallo). Their premium burger, which George mentions is in a class of its own, is the Farmer’s Burger made with 100% grass-fed Angus beef from Blackbird Farm in Smithfield. For $7.45 you can deliciously keep it local. By press time there should be another Blackbird Farm offering on the menu: a 100% ground lamb burger. The fries are all cooked in olive oil, which gives them a distinctive flavor. And don’t forget their house organic ketchup. They currently have a unique promotion for those who want to enjoy a beer with their burger: all bottles – domestic and import – are $3 (except Guinness at $4). Coming soon will be locally made hard ice cream shakes and malts to compliment their already popular lineup of drinks. People love the Nutella shake and the Lemon Pie shake (British lemon curd, pizzelle cookies and fresh lemon juice). Better Burger Company makes deliveries until midnight daily, and the seating area is open late on weekends. As George says, “We are passionate about serving wholesome American food at great prices.” Find out for yourself.

fine clothiers

hair.com

200 South Main St. Providence 401.453.0025 • www.marcalleninc.com • theclubchair.com Tuesday–Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-4 • Mondays by appt.

52

East Side Monthly May 2012

Better Burger Company (BBC) 215-217 Thayer Street, Providence 228-7373 / www.bbcfoodsusa.com


Spotlight

by Dan Schwartz

special advertising section

Hegeman and Co.

Hegeman & Co.

Engagement rings to mothers pendants

Fine Jewelry • Custom Design

Est. 1970

Create a unique, genuine birthstone pendant for Mother's Day or Grandmother's Day! 361 South Main St, Providence • 831-6812 • www.hegemanandco.com

We buy DiamonDs, GolD & Precious Gems

Home entertainment made simple I’ve been doing this for 25 years right here on the East Side

For superb home theater systems, music systems, HDTV’s, and multi-room systems, call Jon Bell for a free in-home consultation. www.simplysas.com

Jbell@simplysas.com

401.383.4102

Photography: Dan Schwartz

Finally - Ethiopian in Providence!

When you’ve practiced the skill of cutting precious stones and designing one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for 43 years, you’re a true artist. Richard Hegeman simply enjoys creating jewelry that becomes a family treasure. Walk into Hegeman and Co. and you are greeted by informed experts. Popular lately are his custom engagement rings with halo settings; in the right light, the center stone surrounded by small diamonds creates a glittering halo. They are stunning works and can get as extravagant as your budget allows. Richard prides himself on accommodating anyone, so if a person comes in to spend $500 he’ll bend over backwards to give the customer a product they’ll love. “Kids come in here and get a little intimidated,” he says. “I’ll help them get a ring that’s affordable.” Hegeman and Co. has started to offer unique pendants for mothers and grandmothers where the pendant contains the birthstones of every child. Their extensive inventory of these stones in all shapes and sizes means that his skilled designers can create that perfect Mother’s Day gift you won’t find anywhere else. “If a grandmother has seven grandchildren we can do a unique pendant with all seven birthstones,” he explains. “It can be in a random pattern, a symmetrical pattern or a line. The customer has the option as to how they want them arranged.” Because of the varying degree of value for different birthstones, you can have a smaller diamond and a larger semi-precious stone to balance it out. And if suddenly there is another child or grandchild (which happened recently to a patron) Hegeman and Co. can add the stone. Richard laughs, “I told the customer there’s room for a few more kids.” Hegeman and Co. is all about quality service and being able to create any jewelry that you desire. Not only will they custom make your perfect piece, but they’ll provide instructions on proper maintenance so it lasts a lifetime. Stop in to browse their shimmering display cases or visit their website www.hegemanandco.com to learn more about what makes this business truly unique.

Hegeman and Co. 361 South Main St., Providence / 831-6812 hegemanandco.com

333 Wickenden Street, Providence • 454-1412 www.abyssinia-restaurant.com

Free delivery in Providence • Open Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm • Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

Graphic Innovations

Large Format Color Printing

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WWW.graphin.Com

May 2012 East Side Monthly

53


southwestpassage.net New jewelry has arrived, along with metallic pottery from Mata Ortiz Pueblo!

Native american

Jewelery | Pottery | Fetishes WaylaNd Square

180 Wayland avenue, Providence • 751-7587

teRl ae l a x i ng u o b R a t x i ng bou w a o w Permanent Shade o H this Summer? H Structure over Summer? The Sand Box • Sitthis in the shade New For 2012

• Watch your children swim • Read a book • Chat with friends • Play some tennis

Come see our larger pool Playground Tennis court Spots fill quickly Enjoy free swim & tennis lessons • Kiddy pool Sand Box • Full snack bar • Arts & Crafts Special family events • Swim team • Volleyball Great picnic area with a BBQ fire lit every night Now offering free diving lessons

Seekonk Swim & Tennis Club For For more more info info call call (508) (508) 336-9128 336-9128

255 Davis Street | www.seekonkswimclub.com 54

East Side Monthly May 2012


Calendar

by Courtney Little

May

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

DON’T MISS THIS MONTH: 10 events at the top of our list Runway Collection 2012 May 17-18 at RI Convention Center, www. risd.edu/collection/.

1

Music Thursdays presents Becky Chace Band May 3 at the RISD Museum of Art, www.risdmuseum.org.

2

Geocache Adventure A Treasure Hunt for Grown-ups. May 5 at the Blackstone River State Park, www.tourrhodeisland.org.

3

Vacancy May 3-6 at 95 Empire Black Box, www.elementaltheatre.org.

4

Kidoinfo presents Balancing Motherhood Mix & Mingle Event May 7 at Candita Clayton Studio in Hope Artiste Village, www.kidoinfo.com.

5

FirstWorks presents Bobby McFerrin May 10 at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium, www.vmari. com.

6 Fashions by RISD’s Natalia Burakowska

MUSIC

Photo: Matt Francis

arena & club | classical ARENA & CLUB CHAN’S May 6: Jazz Brunch featuring the RIC Jazz Combo. May 24 and 26: Sugar Ray & The Bluetones. 267 Main Street, Woonsocket. 765-1900, www.chanseggrollsandjazz.com. FIREHOUSE 13 May 19: Fishbone with The Brunt Of It. 41 Central Street. 270-1801, www. fh13.com.

FOXWOODS May 5: Gladys Knight with special guest Brian McKnight. May 12: The Cranberries. May 17: Maroon 5. 350 Trolley Line Boulevard, Mashantucket, CT. 800200-2882, www.foxwoods.com. LUPO’S May 3: St. Vincent. May 4: Slaughter House. May 7: Korn. May 9: Santigold. May 10: Cake. May 11: Flogging Molly. May 18: The Used. 79 Washington Street. 331-5876, www.lupos.com. THE MET May 4: Mike Stud: A Toast to Tommy

Tour. May 5: Gordon Webster. May 6: Horse Feathers. May 7: Reptar. May 8: Star Slinger and The Hood Internet. May 11: Beats Antique. May 17: Destruction. May 18: Boy Sets Fire. May 19: Yo Gotti. Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket. 729-1005, www. themetri.com. MOHEGAN SUN May 11: Florence and the Machine with special guest Blood Orange. May 12 and 13: The Beach Boys. May 18: Blink-182 with special guests the AllAmerican Rejects and Le Blorr. May 24 and 31: Resident Rooftop DJ Battle.

Wild Mother’s Weekend Celebration May 12-13 at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, www.rwpzoo.org.

7

8 9

Cake May 10 at Lupos, www.lupos.com

Cinco de Mayo Block Party May 5 at Grant’s Block, www.indowncity.com. Art Blossoms May 3 at the Providence Art Club, www.providencecityarts.org.

10

May 2012 East Side Monthly

55


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Learn How You Can Enjoy a Worry-Free Summer! Visit Our Open House on Wednesday, May 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. EPOCH of Providence offers an enriching and exciting lifestyle with a full schedule of activities to make summer your new favorite season, without the stress of ever-increasing utility bills. Spend your summer days enjoying a cool game of cards with friends after a delicious, lunch with fresh, seasonal ingredients and then take advantage of a fitness class designed with seniors in mind. Call today to learn why EPOCH is Providence’s “Residence of Choice” for seniors! Senior Living on Blackstone Boulevard 353 Blackstone Boulevard • Providence, RI

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East Side Monthly May 2012

Assisted Living on the East Side

One Butler Avenue • Providence, RI

401-285-1213

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Assisted Living . Short-Term Rehabilitation . Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing . Memory Care . Respite . Fitness Center


Elemental Theatre

May 31: Weezer. 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT. 800-477-6849, www.mohegansun.com ROOTS CAFÉ Every Tuesday: Strictly Jazz Jam. Every Thursday: Thursday Night Groove. 276 Westminster Street. 272-7422, www.rootscafeprovidence.com. TWIN RIVER May 4: Those Guys. May 5: Rick Springfield. May 11: LoVeSeXy – A Prince tribute. May 12: Bon Jersey – A Bon Jovi tribute band. 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln. 475-8346, www.twinriver.com. CLASSICAL & SUCH MOHEGAN SUN May 6: Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Beethoven’s Last Night 2012 Tour. May 27: Dazz Band. May 31: First Class Band. 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT. 800-477-6849, www.mohegansun.com.

Photo: Melissa Rabinow

OPERA PROVIDENCE May 4: Operetta 101. Edward King House, 35 King Street, Newport. 2532707, www.operaprovidence.org. PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER May 2: Human Nature Motown Show. May 5: RI Philharmonic Presents: A Spiritual Masterpiece. May 11 and 12: Festival Balet & PPAC’s Swan Lake. May 19: An Evening with Yanni. 220 Weybosset Street. 421-2997, www.ppacri.org. RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE May 11-12: Spring Performance: Tour de Ballet. The Auditorium in Roberts Hall, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue. 334-

2560, www.stateballet.com. RISD May 3: Music Thursdays presents Becky Chace Band. Chace Center, 20 North Main Street. 454-6500, www.risdmuseum.org. STADIUM THEATRE May 4: The Full Monty. May 19: Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus: Broadway… Life, Love, Laughter! 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 7624545, www.stadiumtheatre.com. VETERANS MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM May 10: FirstWorks presents Bobby McFerrin. May 15: Willie Nelson & Family. One Avenue of the Arts. 222-1467, www.vmari.com.

PERFORMANCE comedy | dance | theatre COMEDY COMEDY CONNECTION May 4-5: Mike Hanley. May 10: Aries Spears. May 11-12: Ace Aceto. May 1819: Corey Manning. May 25-26: Tom Dustin. Every Friday: Hardcore Comedy. 39 Warren Ave, East Providence. 438-8383, www.ricomedyconnection. com. EVERETT Fridays: Friday Night Live Improv Comedy featuring live music from Bertrand Laurence. The Carriage House, 9 Duncan Avenue. 831-9479, www.everettri.org. FOXWOODS May 2: Vicki Lawrence. May 2: Best of

Last Comix Standing. May 3-5: Shane Mauss. May 5: POW WOW Comedy Jam. May 10-12: Rachel Feinstein. May 12: Whitney Cummings. May 17-19: Christian Finnegan. May 19: Aziz Ansari. May 24-26: Hannibal Buress. 350 Trolley Line Boulevard, Mashantucket, CT. 800-200-2882, www.foxwoods. com. MOHEGAN SUN May 26: Jeff Dunham’s Controlled Chaos Tour. 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Unicasville, CT. 800-477-6849, www. mohegansun.com THEATRE 95 EMPIRE BLACK BOX May 3-6: Vacancy. 95 Empire Street. 447-3001, www.elementaltheatre.org. BARKER PLAYHOUSE May 11-13 &18-20: The Man Who Came To Dinner. 400 Benefit Street. 2730590. GAMM THEATRE May 1-27: 1984. 172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket. 723-4266, www.gammtheatre.org. PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER May 4-6: Burn The Floor. 220 Weybosset Street. 421-2997, www.ppacri. org.

APR 26 - MAY 27 BUY TICKETS: 401-723-4266 gammtheatre.org

2ND STORY THEATRE May 3-6: The Divine Sister. Market Street, Warren. 247-4200, www.secondstorytheatre.com. TRINITY REPERTORY COMPANY May 1-13: Boeing Boeing. May 25-31: Motherhood the Musical. 201 Wash-

172 Exchange St, Pawtucket, RI

May 2012 East Side Monthly

57


ARTISTS:

BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN

TIME & SPACE Open Studio Space and Private Flex Studios

are opening July1 in the Downtown Pawtucket Arts District [next to the GAMM Theatre]. This could be the beautiful relationship [artist+studio/gallery] that you are looking for... one without the long term commitment [of a lease]. Perfect.

ington Street. 351-4242, www.trinityrep.com.

SOCIAL HAPPENINGS

private flex studios - open studio space - art gallery maddogartiststudios.com In the Pawtucket Arts District 65 Blackstone Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860

WWW.HARUKISUSHI.COM

FOR FOODIES BOTTLES FINE WINE & CRAFT BEER Thursdays: Wine Event; Come enjoy a selection of fine wines and cheeses at this free weekly event. 141 Pitman Street. 372-2030, www.bottlesfinewine.com. WINTERTIME FARMERS MARKET Wednesdays 4-7pm and Saturdays 10am-1pm thru May 16. Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket. www.farmfresh.org. FESTIVALS IN DOWNCITY May 5: Cinco De Mayo Block Party. Westminster between Union & Eddy. www.indowncity.com RHODE ISLAND CONVENTION CENTER May 5: The US Finals for Cheer & Dance. May 17-18: “Collection 2012,” RISD’s Apparel Design Show. May 1831: RISD Annual Graduate Thesis Exhibition. One Sabin Street. 458-6000, www.riconvention.com. FUNDRAISERS PROVIDENCE ART CLUB May 3: Art Blossoms. 11 Thomas Street. 941-0795 ext. 113, www.providencecityarts.org. RISD May 5: It’s In The Bag Gala. Designer handbag and destination auction and raffle. 224 Benefit Street. 454-6505, www.risdmuseum.org.

Visit us at the location of your choice... Haruki Cranston 1210 Oaklawn Ave Cranston 401.463.8338

Haruki ExprEss 112 Waterman St Providence 401.421.0754

Haruki East 172 Wayland Ave Providence 401.223.0332

58

East Side Monthly May 2012

GALLERIES

expos | fundraisers | seasonal

for advance information e-mail:

info@maddogartiststudioscom

stone River. Take off from Central Falls Landing located at the intersection of Broad and Maderia. 724-2200, www. rivertourblackstone.com.

US OPEN CYCLING May 19: Rhode Island Women’s Ride. Starts at Roger Williams Memorial. 282 North Main Street. usopencycling.org. SEASONAL ASPIRE RESTAURANT Saturdays: Dance with Spogga Hash from Waterfire fame, fire dancing and a mix of all styles of music and performance, every week rain or shine. 311 Westminster Street. 521-3333, www. aspirerestaurant.com. BLACKSTONE VALLEY TOURISM COUNCIL Sundays: Riverboat Tours of the Black-

AUDUBON SOCIETY 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. 245-7500, www.asri.org. GALLERY Z May 3-5: Afrocentric: From the Perspective of Black Women Artists. May 17 & 31: Opening Receptions for Triple A: Ateliere of Assemblage Artists. 259 Atwells Avenue. 454-8844, www.galleryzprov.com. NEWPORT MANSIONS May 26-28: Aesthetic Movement Furniture & Ceramics. 424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. 847-1000, www.newportmansions.org.

kIDS + FAMILy BROWN UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE Saturdays: Children’s Story Time, cozy up in the children’s book section every weekend for a reading adventure. 11am. 244 Thayer Street. 863-3168, www.bookstore.brown.edu. DUNKIN DONUTS CENTER May 4-7: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. One LaSalle Square. 3316700, www.dunkindonutscenter.com. PROVIDENCE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Every Tuesday and Wednesday: Play & Learn; featuring a new interactive learning topic each week. May 5-6: Balloon Badminton. May 13: Free admission for all moms and grandmas for Mother’s Day. May 18: Let’s Move! Dance Party. 100 South Street. 2735437, www.childrenmuseum.org. PROVIDENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY May 6: Family Learning Sunday: Biomes – Introduction to Marine Animals. 150 Empire Street. www.provlib.org ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO May 5: Animal Birthday Party Club; celebrate the birthday of the three wild dogs, Thunder, Phantom and Signal. May 12-13: All mothers receive free admission when accompanied by their children. May 19: Scout Safari Day. 1000 Elmwood Avenue. 785-3510, www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org.

LEARN discussion | instruction | tour SWAN POINT CEMETERY May 10: Walking Tour at Swan Point. Free tour of this historic garden cemetery. 272-1314, anitav@swanpoint1846.com. RHODE ISLAND CONVENTION CENTER May 3: Rhode Island Business Expo. One Sabin Street. 458-6000, www. riconvention.com. DISCUSSION HOPE ARTISTE VILLAGE May 7: Kidoinfo presents Balancing Motherhood Mix & Mingle. Candita Clayton Studio, 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket. 316-5827. www.kidoinfo. com RHODE ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY May 5: Beyond Names and Dates: Taking in the Next Steps in Genealogy. May 10 & 26: The Secret Life of War with Patti Cassidy (two-part program). May 17: Gallery Night: Thomas Morrissey on Civil War Photography. May 19: Personally Providence Walking Tour: African American History on College Hill. John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street. 331-8575 x28, www.rihs.org. NEWPORT MANSIONS May 15: The Big Read Lecture: Images of Thornton Wilder and His Literary Journey. Newport Mansions Store, 1 Bannister’s Wharf, Newport. 8499900, www.newportmansions.org. PROVIDENCE ATHENAEUM May 4: Curating the City, Part II: the View from the High Line with Patrick Cullina. May 8: Policy & Pinot’s Taking the Pulse of Providence’s Contemporary Art Scene. May 11: Kipp Bradford on Making Through the Ages: The Past, Present and Future of Innovation of RI. May 18: Archaeology Professor Susan Heuck Allen on her new book, Classical Spies: American Archeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece. 251 Benefit Street. 421-6970, www.providenceathenaeum.org. INSTRUCTION AUDUBON SOCIETY May 3 & 5: Birding Basics Class and Walk. Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Avenue, Seekonk. 949-5454, www.asri.org.


LoveTheEastSide.com  Every Single Family, Condo and Multi-Family Listing on the East Side of Providence  

WeLoveLofts.com  Every LOFT Listing in Rhode Island. Both sites updated daily.  

John Risica   401-439-3634  

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R.I. Licensed Arborist #120

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Tour Rhode Island’s Geocache Adventure

AUDUBON SOCIETY May 10: Composting 101. Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield. 949-5454, www.asri. org. BLACKSTONE RIVER STATE PARK May 5: Geocache Adventure: A treasure Hunt for Grown-ups. State Park Bike Path Visitor Center; I-295-Northbound only, between exits 9 and 10, Lincoln. 724-2200, www.tourrhodeisland.org. CHEF WALTER’S COOKING SCHOOL May 1: Baked Italian Pasta Dishes. May 8: Tastes of the Mediterranean. May 15: Sauce Workshop: The Classics. Potenza Ristorante & Bar, 286 Atwells Avenue. Register ahead online at www. chefwalter.com/WP-Cooking_School. htm. STADIUM THEATRE May 16: Advanced Acting Workshop. 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. 762-4545, www.stadiumtheatre.com. UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND May 5: Adding Rhody Natives to Your Garden. May 19: Gardening for Birds:

Incorporating Native Plants as Wildlife Habitat. May 26: Native, Beautiful, Medicinal. Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, 1000 Elmwood Avenue. 8742900, www.uri.edu/cels/ceoc.

at TriniTy rep june 7–9 only Call for tickets!

SPORTS PAWTUCKET RED SOX BASEBALL May 7-10: Home vs. Rochester Red Wings. May 11-14: Home vs. Colorado Springs Sky Sox. May 24-27: Home vs. Toledo Mud Hens. May 28-31: Home vs. Norfolk Tides. McCoy Stadium, 1 Columbus Avenue, Pawtucket. 724-7300, www.pawsox.com. PROVIDENCE ROLLER DERBY May 5: RI Riveters vs. Dominion Derby Girls All-Stars, Double Header. Thayer Ice Arena, 975 Sandy Lane, Warwick. www.providencerollerderby.com. To have your listing included in the East Side Monthly Calendar, please send press releases or event information to esm@providenceonline.com. Please send submissions at least one month prior to event date.

(401) 351-4242 • trinityrep.com 201 Washington St. • Providence

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May 2012 East Side Monthly

59


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Chimney Repair

Reg. # 12299

 AMISH CRAfTED HEIRLOOMS Dining room sets, TV stands, cedar chests, children’s furniture, bedroom & more. 349-4313. carriagelanefurniture.com AN AffORDABLE PAINTING High quality work. References. 30 years experience. Based on the East Side. Reg. #17730. Call Ken at 401516-1438. ANTIqUES Buying 1 item or entire estates of antiques & collectibles; call Stillwater Antiques, 949-4999. APPLIANCES Shop at Gil’s for the best prices, brands, selection and Service. 401253-9789, www.gilsappliances.com .

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 www.chrislamprepair.com

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.

CEILING REPAIRS Repairing water damaged, cracked, peeling ceilings & walls. Located on the East Side. Over 100 satisfied local customers. Malin Painting, RI Reg. #19226. Call 226-8332.

CEILING WORK, DRYWALL Plaster (hang, tape & paint). Water damage repair. All phases of carpentry. Reg. #24022. Fully insured. Steven, E. Prov., 401-641-2452. CONSIGNMENTS The Hope Chest, A Consignment Store with a Difference. New England’s Largest Consignment Company. 2953 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 401-949-2333.

CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS and more. In-home consultation. 30 years experience. 401-949-1587.

Need A Tenant?    

Kate C. Foster 

401-477-6314 Century 21 Butterman & Kryston, Inc. 60

East Side Monthly May 2012

DOG WALKER/PET SITTER Trained to administer medications. Reliable, bonded, references available. Home visits. Call Susan 5273914. Loves animals.

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.

DOROTHY’S CLEANING We clean your home as our own! References & free estimates. Call 401-274-7871 or 401-524-7453.

JOBS BY JIM Garages & Attics Cleaned

Unwanteds Removed Small Demolitions - Garages, Sheds, etc.

EAST SIDE HANDYMAN 34 years. Repairs, upgrades & renovations. References. Insured. Reg. #3052. Call 270-3682.

Free Metal Pick-up Appliances & Lawn Mowers â?–Motors â?–Machines â?–Batteries â?–Etc.

Call 401-232-5650 Cell 401-742-7258

ELDER CARE AVAILABLE Compassionate, intelligent, mature woman seeks sleepover position with elderly person. 20 years experience. Impeccable references. Please call 781-3392 or 497-3392.

Reg. #4614

Landscape Maintenance Spring Cleanups Installation of New Beds & Maintenance 10 Years Experience

ELECTRICAL SERVICES All types. New circuits. Generator systems installed. RI #A3338. MA #16083A. Insured. Call Larry 5292087. Also, small handyman jobs.

HOUSE CLEANING

If you need a house cleaner who is organized and with good prices & excellent references, call 401-475-3283

All Your Gardening Needs

Q Gardens

Call John at 965-8074 or 632-0190 johnfizino@mac.com

LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE Spring & Fall Cleanups Bushes Trimmed â?Š Tree Removal Pine Bark Mulch

Landscape Construction Parking Lot Cleaning Handyman â?Š 26 Years Experience

MG Landscaping 743-6015 â?Š 831-5109


Classifieds

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

PROACTIVE Computer Services Home or office. Computer repairs, data recovery. WIFI Solutions. Fully equipped mobile service. Service calls $40/hr. Call 401-6477702. www.pcsllcri.com

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.

HOUSE fOR SALE New construction. Waterfront, Sand Hill Cove. Exclusively offered. MLS #997782. Cornice Realty. 401-354-4720. I BUY BOOKS Old, used and almost new. Also buying photography, art, etc. Call 401-421-2628. jcvp@cox.net INSULATION For a free home energy audit & estimate for insulation to save you hundreds every year on heating & cooling costs call AA Insulation, 401-421-3782. KIND CARE ~ SENIORS Appointments, errands, shopping, cleaning & maint. Refs. Safety bars installed. Reg #3052. 270-3682.

LANDSCAPING AND ROTOTILLING Lawns and garden maintenance. Call 523-6649 or 333-9741. LAUNDRY Self-serve laundry, pick up/delivery service, wash dry fold, and dry cleaning options. Open 7 days a week for your convenience. Laundry Club, 140 Medway St, Wayland Square, Providence. 272-2520 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.

ROOfING & CONSTRUCTION Dome Construction & Roofing Co. handles residential & commercial roof repair and replacement. For free inspections & estimates call 401-723-2877.

PLUMBING & HEATING Alpha Mechanical services all of your plumbing, heating and HVAC needs with quality and expertise you won’t find anywhere else. Contact Ryan at 434-4504 or sales@alphamechanical.com. www.alphamechanicalri.com

SCREEN PRINTING & Embroidery. T-shirts & Sweatshirts. Max Formal Co., 1164 North Main St., Providence. 421-3268. STONE MASON 30 yrs. exp. Stone, brick, veneers, walls, fireplaces, patios, chimneys. Design work. Reg. #7445. Call 641-0362. lousstonework.com

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

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

PRESERVE YOUR MEMORIES Documents, photos, slides, films saved to CD or DVD. Photos of slides and film contents are available. Your memories will always be fresh. Reasonable rates. Comen Co., 401-230-2524. Email: hcomen@cox.net

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

Want Help Making Your Yard Beautiful? Let Us Help You with â—?

Vinny’s Landscaping

& BOBCAT SERVICES

Garden Design â—? Plant Selection and Care â—? Easy Care Front Yard Plantings â—? Vegetable Gardening and More

Spring Cleanups

Lawns Cut -Weekly or Bi-Weekly

My Garden Guru Garden Coaches

Power Raking

Ramona Silk Jo-Ann Bouley 401.447.8091 508.212.5527 mygardenguru.net

Seed & Sod â—? Fertilizing â—? Planting Rototilling â—? Small Loads Delivered

Free Estimates

â—?Loam â—?Sand â—?Stone â—?Etc. â—?

497-1461 â—? 231-1851

MEDINA Painting & Remodeling Co., Inc. For ALL Your Painting & Carpentry Needs

Willard Roofing & Restoration All Types of Roofing & Exterior Repairs

We Specialize in Water Problems (Roofs, Gutters, Basements) Certified Lead Renovated LRM #0514 Fully Insured

     

Call Al Medina

RESIDENTIAL

Siding

â—?

Insulation

â—?

Windows

Call Now for a Free Estimate

R.I. Reg. #7320

401.438.8771

â—? COMMERCIAL

949-4440

Insured

Discover

â—?

Visa

â—?

Reg. #14074

MasterCard Accepted

May 2012 East Side Monthly

61


East of Elmgrove

by Elizabeth Rau

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Illustration: Jessica Pollak

An oasis of plants brightens a tough neighborhood He’d peek over the fence during his daily walks, until one day he decided to speak up. He had never seen such a lush garden in his South Providence neighborhood and wondered how he could get a plot of his own. He asked around and discovered that it was a community garden, a place by the people, for the people. By the spring, Cabreja Aquilino, who did not turn the soil, not once, during his boyhood in the Dominican Republic, was doting over his vegetables like a proud parent. Now the 73-year-old grandfather is unstoppable. His days revolve around weeds and watering cans. His peppers are green and glossy. He is amazed that he can pluck one in the morning and eat it for lunch. “If I stay home I do nothing,’’ says Aquilino. “Here, we smile, we wave. We all get along.’’ Spring is here, and so is planting season. The East Side is home to many thriving community gardens, from Brown Street to Fox Point. Now and then, it’s good to look beyond our neighborhood to find out how other gardens grow. Aquilino’s second home is Somerset Community Garden off Broad Street, in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The one-acre of land – the site of a former chop shop – is an oasis of plants in a tough section of town. Nothing goes to waste. Many gardeners grow enough so they don’t have to buy produce in grocery stores. They often freeze food to save for the winter months. Somerset is also known for its diversity. Once called a “Little United Nations,’’ the garden has members from all over the world, including Laos, Cambodia, Liberia and Ireland. Many families are Hmong refugees who resettled in Providence in the 1980s. Behind a fence smothered with vines are 72 plots of raised beds divided by chicken wire and bamboo. The garden is magical in full bloom, with narrow paths that lead to secluded spots shaded by arbors of branches and faded boards. Cats lurk in the tall lemongrass. The garden is run by the Southside Community Land Trust, a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 by a Brown University student trying to rejuvenate the neighborhood. With a private donation, she bought a few cheap vacant lots and encouraged residents to turn them into gardens. Somerset was born. Over the years, the land trust has flourished. The 62

East Side Monthly May 2012

organization now has 15 community gardens (including Somerset), an urban farm that provides food to farmers’ markets and educational programs. Every year, the land trust holds a plant sale, with this year’s event on May 19-20 at City Farm. All the gardens are unique, but Somerset is spe-

cial. It’s the oldest garden and just a few steps from the land trust’s offices. Those three city blocks of green provide residents with a calm setting. “A garden stabilizes the concept of hope,’’ says the land trust’s executive director, Katherine Brown. “Every year, you plant a seed hoping for a harvest.’’ That peacefulness is why many gardeners come back to Somerset year after year. Many fled violence in their native countries and appreciate the community they find at the garden. They meet for workshops on everything from composting to canning and begin each session with a group chant: My plot, our garden, our neighborhood. In mid-Septem-

ber, they hold a harvest party. Phil Edmonds, a native of Ireland and a member of the celebrated local band, The Gnomes, has been planting peas at Somerset for two decades. He recalls dancing to Bob Marley with gardeners from Laos and Liberia during a potluck at the Amos House soup kitchen years ago. “It was quite a sight,’’ says Edmonds. “To see these gardeners with big smiles on their faces was so beautiful.’’ Aquilino visits his plot in the morning, walking the 10 blocks from his apartment. On this day, he unlocks the front gate and enters his tidy bed of vegetables. At first, he planted everything too close together. Sara Smith, another gardener, offered advice over her cornstalks: Don’t crowd your plants. She should know. Farming was a way of life in Liberia, where she grew up and fled in 1994 to escape a civil war. She grows sweet potato leaves to simmer in sweet potato soup, a Liberian dish. “My lady, how are you?’’ Aquilino says to her. He holds up one of his peppers. “Looks good,’’ she says. She lives in the yellow house across the street. Her young grandson carries the harvest back home in his arms. “You make a garden, you eat,’’ says Smith, bending over to cut plants for the day’s meal. “It’s that simple.’’ One year, she was sick and couldn’t clear the plot to seed. Edmonds sifted the earth for her. He’s the go-to guy in the garden. He knows everyone and laughs often. Growing up in an Irish village on the banks of the River Shannon, he tended to carrots, cabbage and potatoes, which he dug up with his bare hands. A 20-year member, Edmonds is the lanky guy in a wool watch cap who gives away bouquets of collard greens and plays the pennywhistle by the yellow cosmos on summer nights. “I get to feel a connection to the earth,’’ says Edmonds. “And I get to eat organic, fresh food.’’ In the back, by a creeping morning glory, is Chantay Kingvlay, a gardener since opening day in 1981. She and her husband, Phan, tended their plot of bitter melon, long peas and a pointy-leafed plant that is a staple in the cuisine of Laos, her homeland. A storm swept through one day, nearly toppling her bamboo fence. Edmonds came to the rescue, again. He tied the fence to the arbor with frayed netting, left behind by Phan, who died not long ago. “I miss my husband,’’ she says, under the shade of her wide straw hat. “I come here and feel happy. Garden, garden, are you okay?’’


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ic01 East Side Monthly Ad May 2012 issue_Layout 1 4/5/12 1:42 PM Page 1

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Pr ic e

East Side, Providence Five bedroom home w/hardwoods & original East Side, Providence Stylish Condo in the heart of College Hill. details. Living room w/fireplace opens to formal dining. $459,000 Living room w/open layout and fireplace, high ceilings. $249,000 274-1644 D ETAILS @L ILA D ELMAN . COM 274-1644 D ETAILS @L ILA D ELMAN . COM

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East Side, Providence Victorian in Wayland Square. 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, high ceilings, bay windows & hardwoods. $480,000 274-1644 D ETAILS @L ILA D ELMAN . COM

East Side, Providence Three level townhouse in Wayland Square. 3 bedrooms, hardwoods, granite kitchen & garage. $359,900 274-1644 D ETAILS @L ILA D ELMAN . COM

May 2012 East Side Monthly

63


E ast

Nisbet St. Patterson Park. Warm and inviting 1920’s colonial with French doors, fireplace, sunroom, original details, modern kitchen and new bath. Bright sunny rooms, 5 beds, great yard and gardens. Two car garage. Walk to park, Wayland Sq. $498,000

sidE

Eames St. Outstanding 1920’s Colonial with spacious open layout! Five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. Fresh, charming, gleaming hardwoods, fireplace. Gorgeous new kitchen and master bath. Huge family room. Porch. Great yard. Two car garage. $650,000

Irving Ave. Wayland Square. Gracious Queen Anne on 1/4 acre. Exquisite detailing inside and out. Fireplaces, inlaid floors, leaded glass, original woodworking. Renovated kitchen/dining area opens to urban oasis of private yard and gardens. $819,000

Arnold St. Prepare to be charmed! Sunny city cottage with open kitchen/ dining/family room. First floor bedroom and bath. Dormered 2nd with two bedrooms & bath. Enchanting canopied brick patio/garden and parking. Easy stroll to colleges, shops, waterfront park and bike path. Sweet! $339,000

Pro PE rt i E s

Loring Ave. Majestic brick Georgian overlooking river and woods. Beautifully renovated with professional interior design. Elegant details, open layout, hardwoods, 3 fireplaces. New kitchen. Refurbished baths. Garage. Landscaped yard! $1,250,000

East St. Restored Greek Revival cottage with pine floors. Original details, charming gardens, updated mechanicals. First floor bedroom or den, a charming restoration! $385,000

Thayer St. Circa 1806 home has been thoroughly redesigned while maintaining yesteryear’s charm. Wide plank flooring, 3 bedrooms, 7 fireplaces, chef’s kitchen, new baths, A/C. Unbelievable gardens with summer kitchen. Two car parking. $624,900

Fosdyke St. Wonderful 1928 brick Georgian on a quiet street! Five bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Sunny, charming, hardwoods, fireplace. New Pella windows. Freshly painted. Updated mechanicals. A/C. Two car garage. Terrific yard. $599,000

Oriole Ave. One of RI’s prettiest homes! Turn of the century Victorian w/old world charm and modern conveniences. Fireplaced master, new energy efficient gas heat. Sunny and airy 1st floor, great front porch! $734,900

Elmgrove Ave. Charm and character throughout this spacious 5 bedroom, 2 bath Victorian. Beautifully maintained. Located on attractive corner lot convenient to Wayland Square, schools, and all of the wonderful culture within the city. $479,000

Meeting St. One of a kind restored Greek Revival with contemporary flair. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, central air. Roof deck with incredible city views, large private yard, two car parking. 94meeting.com $795,000

Congdon St. A million dollar view! Historic 1905 colonial style home with many original details intact. Great flow. Great light. Hardwoods. Fireplace. Conservatory room. Large deck with spectacular capital and city views. $785,000

Condominium HigHligHts

Rhode Island Ave. Sunny 1870 Victorian in Patterson Park. Period details, high ceilings, stained glass, first floor library, 5+ bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Walk to playground, Boulevard, Wayland Square from this charming home. $549,000

Sixth St. Nothing to do but move in! Beautifully renovated 3 bedroom, 2 bath Summit Cape. Sunny, open, hardwoods, gorgeous kitchen. Chic, sky lighted master with spa-like bath. Sun room overlooks great fenced yard. A Gem! $314,900

Arnold St. Charming historical 2 story townhouse with renovated granite/stainless kitchen, living room w/fp, open dining area, 2 marble baths and Lavette, 2 large master suites, Laundry in unit, gorgeous pine floors, Central Air. $399,900

Laurel Ave. Meticulously maintained three story townhouse. Spacious gracious rooms flooded with sunlight. Kitchen newly renovated with quality and charm. Loft like 3rd floor with new bath. Walk to Moses Brown, Wayland Sq. and Brown. $459,000

Barnes St. Outstanding townhouse in College Hill! 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Totally renovated in 2004. Sunny open layout. Wonderful original details, pine floors, brick fireplace. Gorgeous kitchen and baths. Laundry. Private entry. $389,000

Market Knowledge. Market share. Market sense. Market smart.

ResidentialProperties.com

Angell St. Stunning College Hill Condo. Gracious 2 bedroom, 2 bath residence with gourmet kitchen, hardwoods, gas fireplaces, C/A, heated driveway, private terrace and elevator. Exquisite 2006 renovation. $849,000

Pratt St. Historic College Hill townhouse. Sunfilled rooms with high ceilings, wide plank floors, 2 fireplaces, eat-in-kitchen with private deck and city views. Walk to train, dowtown and Campus. 2 car parking. $329,000

401.274.6740 ®


East Side Monthly May 2012