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Restaurant Week presents

Take a Bite Out of Winter January 23 - 29, 2011 That summer favorite, Providence Restaurant Weeks, is heating things up with a winter version. Cure your cabin fever with a delicious meal at an affordable price. Whether you want to revisit old favorites or try something new, enjoy a great meal and a great value.

$12.95 for a three-course lunch $29.95 for a three-course dinner

. For a list of participating restaurants visit

www.ProvidenceRestaurantWeeks.com Sponsored by: Presented by:

New Year. New workout.




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 No MeMbership Fee  Group FitNess Classes $12 

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Personal Training • CORE Body-Barre • State of the Art Spin Studio • MVE Vinyasa Yoga • Strength Training • Navy SEAL • Pilates • Run Group WillPower & Grace • Indo-Row • CORE S.W.E.A.T. • Barefoot Training

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TRX Suspension Training • Indoor Boot Camp • Pilates Stick 469 Angell St. Wayland Square • 273.CORE • corefitprov.com


Photography: Jonathan Beller (left), Kate Kelley (right)


21 This Month 21 10 to Watch Our annual list of the 10 people you don’t know now, but soon will

50 35 City Style A more stylish way to show your local pride 37 The Look 38 Beauty 40 Shop Talk

43 Feast Grand hotel dining is back downtown 45 On the Menu 46 Behind the Bar 48 In the Kitchen 49 In

Every Month

the Drink 50 Review 51 Dining Guide

57 Get Out

8 Editor’s Note

An artful celebration on the Hill

10 Feedback

58 Calendar 61 Music 62 Theatre 65 Movies 66 Art

13 Providence Pulse

68 The Last Detail

Get struck by beauty

Hope Street gets a little better looking

14 City 16 Malcontent 18 Scene in PVD

On the Cover: Illustration by A. Cole

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Editor’s Note

Providence MONTHLY

Publishers Barry Fain Richard Fleischer John Howell Publishing Director Jeanette St. Pierre

New Faces for a New Year Every year around

this time, we take stock of things in Providence: what’s going well, what needs improvement, what can reasonably be improved, and who the people are who can make it happen. Good ideas are good ideas, but actually implementing them – and making what could be lasting improvements to the city – is another thing altogether. Thinking about who’s poised to do just that, we present Providence Monthly’s 10 to Watch, our annual list of the city’s rising stars. Looking at all aspects of city life, from technology and business development to education, politics and the performing arts, the list gives you a good introduction to the people you’re going to be hearing quite a bit about in the upcoming year (and beyond.) Speaking of changes for the new year, we’ve got

plenty of ideas this month for self-improvement – from shaping up at a new, ladies-only boxing gym on the East Side, to retraining yourself to be a better pet parent with Rhode Island’s answer to the dog whisperer, to rehabbing your home décor at a new Smith Hill design shop. And when you’re ready to fall off the New Year’s resolution wagon, we’ve got the scoop on the new restaurants and bars springing up around town. Here’s to a better year coming.

Editor Julie Tremaine Assistant Editor John Taraborelli Art Director Allison Cole Assistant Art Director Alli Coate Advertising Design Director Layheang Meas Graphic Designer Karli Hendrickson Account Managers Danielle Claro Louann DiMuccio-Darwich Ann Gallagher Nicole Greenspun Nellie Lima Dan Schwartz Elizabeth Riel Jessica Webb Illustrators Robyn Ng Emma Tripp

Read PM online at providenceonline.com


Photographers Jonathan Beller K Harber Photography Laurel Mulherin Mike Braca Dan Schwartz Stacey Doyle Kate Kelley Contributing Writers Stephanie Obodda Linda Beaulieu Cristy Raposo Emily Dietsch Dan Schwartz Scott Duhamel Jen Senecal Dawn Keable Alyssa Smith Molly Lederer Vikki Warner Michael Madden Andrea E. McHugh Interns Lauren Knight Whitney Smith Jennifer Liedke

Coats for Coffee Providence Monthly, in partnership with Seven Stars Bakery and Courtesy Cleaners, donated over 250 coats, gloves and hats to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Providence through our third annual Coats for Coffee coat drive. From October 31 through November 14, anyone who donated a gently used coat at any Seven Stars location received a free small coffee. Courtesy Cleaners then laundered each and every piece and delivered them good as new to the Boys and Girls Club, just in time for the cold weather. Over the past three years we’ve provided warmth to almost 1000 children and families in need, and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity and dedication to community service of our partners. Thank you to everyone involved. We’re looking forward to a great fourth year. 


Providence Monthly | January 2011

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER. PAPER CONTAINS 20-25% POST-CONSUMER CONTENT Providence Monthly, 167 Valley Street Providence, RI 02909 • Fax: 401-521-0024 www.providenceonline.com providencemonthly@providenceonline.com For advertising rates call: 401-521-0023 We welcome all contributions, but we assume no responsibility for unsolicited material. No portion of this publication can be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. Copyright ©2011 by Providence Monthly, All rights reserved. Printed by Gannett Offset. Distributed by Special Delivery.



Safe and affordable housing & ending homelessness “Housing First takes chronically homeless people and puts them in apartments where they also get direct access to services that move them toward healthy and productive lives. I know that working together we can end ALL homelessness in Rhode Island.” – Don Boucher, Program Director, Housing First


Logo & Web Design by Rouge-Gorge Graphics

Wishing You Health & Happiness this New Year

Dr. Arthur Mansolillo F Dr. Joseph Mansolillo F Dr. Jeffrey Mansolillo 1347 Hartford Avenue, Johnston F 861-1080 F 861-7643 F mansolillodental.com

Buy Art, Feel Good Once again it’s fabulous to open your December issue and have such a presence for the BUY ART campaign. I especially liked the party – I think by December 9, people were in need of a free drink! Margie Butler BUY ART

Leader’s in Eye Care Since 1927 Dr. David A. Vito Dr. John D. Corrow Dr. Carl D. Corrow

Wagging Our Tails I want to thank Providence Monthly and Michael Madden for the very nice article (“Pamper Your Pet,” December 2010). We do appreciate it! As always, everyone at the magazine is very professional and nice. I would invite anyone from PM to come for a visit!

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Sue Price Ocean Dog Club

A Barking Good Cause Thank you for your sponsorship of our event and “coming to the rescue” of homeless animals! Providence Animal Rescue League’s signature event, The Rescue, was a great success. Our community came together for one evening to


discount shoe boutique


Providence Monthly | January 2011

Tokyo Milk beauty products

401.383.9777 808 Hope Street, Providence

“eat, drink and bid their tails off,” proving how important animals are in our lives. The success of The Rescue would not have been possible without your support. Thank you so much for your donation of the Dine Out for a Year package. We could not provide our crucial care and services without you. Your commitment to compassionate care for animals in need is so greatly appreciated. PARL relies solely on the generosity of individuals, local businesses and fundraisers like this to help us care for over 2,500 unwanted animals each year. Every animal has a story, and each one deserves a loving, permanent home. During their stay at PARL, each animal is spayed or neutered and receives a health and temperament evaluation, vaccinations, food, veterinary care and medication when needed. Your support ensures that PARL can continue to find caring homes for Rhode Island’s homeless pets for generations to come. Many, many thanks on behalf of the animals. Connie Balduc Events Manager Providence Animal Rescue League

Got Two Cents? Email providencemonthly@ providenceonline.com or find us on Facebook.

join us as we celebrate

Providence Monthly’s



Here’s your chance to meet this year’s 10 to Watch, Providence Monthly’s annual list of the city’s rising stars.

wednesday january 12, 2011 5:30-8:30pm hope artiste village, 1005 main street, pawtucket

tickets $10 advance available at providenceonline.com $15 at the door • cash bar all proceeds benefit The Hub, a new initiative for high schoolers from the Providence After School Alliance food by Russell Morin Fine Caterers music by DJ Lively Experiment and Thirsty Sounds

Providence Pulse City / Malcontent / Scene in PVD

Photography: Holly Applegate

Punched in the Face By Fitness Ladies, get ready to “pow pow pow” your way to a more confident, fabulous you in a female-friendly environment. Striking Beauties is a new women-only boxing gym located on the East Side. Women can work out like a real boxer or train competitively without feeling intimidated. Most boxing gyms cater to the male demographic, but Striking Beauties focuses on making women more comfortable with the sport. Females of all ages and fitness levels are welcome. Hot yoga classes and personal training are also available. Considered the number one calorie burning exercise by the President’s Council on

Physical Fitness and Sports, boxing stimulates all muscle groups and provides the perfect combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Their first location, home of four-time World Champion Jamie “The Hurricane” Clampitt, opened in North Attleboro in 2009. Owner Dena PaolinoScarcia, a Rhode Island native, says, “Striking Beauties’ philosophy transcends boxing. Boxing has become a metaphor for strength, self-confidence and courage. Boxing is much more than a physical competition – it’s a mental challenge.” 189 Angell Street. 331-4269, strikingbeauties. com –Cristy Raposo

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Think Spring...

Pulse | City PM Experiment

The (Local) Dog Whisperer Canine boot camp for your best friend I have a big, dark secret: I haven’t

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A specialty boutique Open Daily 10-5:30 Saturday 10-5

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Providence Monthly | January 2011

and I’m immediately taken back by how nice it is. It’s a carpeted studio with doggie treadmills and a lounge area with pillows. The décor is Asian influenced, with Buddha portraits and bamboo shades on the walls. “I want to nurture a calm state of mind for the animals,” explains Nini. We discuss the customized program she’s put together for Jack. It’s a sunny day and the plan is to take him on a two mile nature walk with the pack. It’s important Jack understands his position as a “follower” in the pack. “He’ll just walk by my side, no leash. I just want him to be one with nature, to use his nose and enjoy his time outside,” says Nini. It sounds lovely, so I leave them and head back home. When I pick him up the next day, he certainly seems more relaxed. “It’s not anxiety. It’s pent-up energy,” she tells me of Jack’s odd behavior. It’s clear how passionate she is about her work. She’s the owner of two dogs herself, whom she uses in sessions with dogs with social issues. “I’m basically a personal trainer for your dog,” Nini says. “I customize a fitness program that ful-

fills the animal’s needs.” Depending on the breed and temperament, a program can include use of the treadmill, swimming in the lake or hiking in the woods. CHI offers a several options for your pooch, including three-hour training sessions, annual membership and alternative boarding, where the animal is in a home-like environment. While Nini is technically a fitness trainer for dogs, it’s really changing the owner’s behavior that has the most profound effect on the animal. After seeing how calm Jack is after his fitness getaway, I know I have to make exercise a priority. It’s the first time my new year’s resolution included my dog, and hopefully it will be the last time, too. By appointment only: 692-0147, chiinteraction.com –Jeanette St. Pierre

Providence is for Foodies

A Bite Out of Winter, but Not Your Wallet You’re tapped – you’re absolutely spent. The rush of the holiday season is over, your wallet is mostly empty, your good cheer is threadbare at best, and it’s still the cold, dark depths of winter in New England. What are you going to do? “Take a Bite out of Winter,” says Providence Restaurant Week. From January 23 to 29, many of Providence’s best eating establishments

will take part in this twice-a-year offering of three-course prix fixe meals designed to get diners in the door, trying new things. Restaurants taking part will offer three-course dinner selections at $29.95, and threecourse lunch menus for $12.95. Never been to the La Laiterie? Well, Mario Batali has, so what are you waiting for? Oh right, a great deal like this. Have you gazed wist-

fully through the windows at Gracie’s, stomach grumbling at the sight of foie gras with pistachio nougatine, and turned away because you thought you couldn’t afford it? Providence Restaurant Week was made for diners like you – the intrepid taster, the adventurous eater and the hopelessly penurious payer of the bill. goprovidence.com/RestaurantWeek –Michael Madden

Illustration: Robyn Ng

New arrivals Daily!

walked my dog in months. I have plenty of excuses (I worked late. It’s too cold out. Jersey Shore is on.), but not one is actually excusable. It wasn’t always this way. When we adopted Jack, my husband and I had really good intentions. The now five-yearold black pug was our baby and he had all of our attention and time. Then came a real baby and yet another one. Now we’re lucky if we can open the door in time for Jack to do his business in the backyard. Jack hasn’t adapted well to the changes in our household. He has some fairly annoying habits, including anxious pacing and what I like to refer to as peeing out of spite. He will just lift his leg to let out a few drops, then growl at it until I come along and clean it while yelling at him. Yeah, it’s not really working for either of us. I set up an appointment at CHI (as in Canine Human Interaction), a fitness resort center for dogs. As I spoke with owner Nini Silva, she stressed how critical exercise, discipline and structure are in a dog’s life. She wanted to spend some time with him and evaluate his needs, so I set up an overnight retreat at CHI. Nini sent me a four-page pet profile and asked that I bring it, along with a few of Jack’s items, to the center. CHI is located lakeside in Glendale (a village of Burrillville), about 20 minutes from Providence. I walk Jack in,

Pulse | City

One City – Two Great Restaurants DAILY DEALS Mon – 20% off entire bill TuES – 2 for $39.99 (Bottle of wine or sake, 2 soups, 2 salads, 2 entrees) WED – Buy 1 entree, get 2nd 1/2 price (includes 2 soft drinks) ThurS – 40% off all sushi, sashimi and hibachi FrI – Any glass of wine $3.99 or bottle of beer $1.99 w/ each entree SAT – All sushi rolls, buy one get one free Sun – Free bottle of wine/saki when you purchase three entrees or more Can’t be combined with other offers

A Snapshot of the State

Speaking Thousands of Words If our state had a Photographer Laureate for capturing nature and cityscapes, then Stephanie Izzo would be on the short list. Her book Rhode Island: Ocean Sites & City Lights displays iconic images we’ve seen many times, yet her photography captures these scenes with unique poetry: Providence City Hall besieged by a snowstorm while the Haven Brothers truck sits illuminated on the corner; the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge lit up in a ghostly night fog; the Manches-

ter Street Power Station in Providence looking majestic in all its industrial cathedral splendor. Izzo has created a beautiful book of panoramic postcards in the best sense of the word – this is an idealized Rhode Island. If we have any criticism it would be that the pictures are almost surreal in their perfection, which may be a sign that we take for granted how magical this state is. Do we really look this good? Izzo’s book reminds us that, yes, indeed, we do. stephanieizzo.com –Dan Schwartz

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Providence Starwatch

Star Gazing in Providence Long gone are the days when we were excited to hear that Robert Englund, Freddie Krueger himself, was in town to film a movie. Nowadays, we’re bumping into more A-list celebrities than you can shake a Golden Globe at. It all started last year when Emma Watson enrolled at Brown. Without paparazzi nipping at her fancy heels, the lovely actress roams the city like any other normal student, frequenting her favorite East Side eateries and grocery shopping. Word must have traveled back to Hollywood, because in just the last few months, huge stars have been spotted all over Providence. There’s the always interesting trio of Ashton, Demi and Bruce, who dine at the swankier restaurants while visiting daughter Scout

(also at Brown). Wyclef Jean, a recently appointed visiting fellow, is another celeb walking through the university’s gates. Mad Men’s resident hottie Christina Hendricks and wunderkind Tyra Banks were in the city just days apart this fall, both seen dining on the East Side. And then there’s James Franco, who somehow is finding the time to take classes at RISD as he pursues several degrees in several states, prepares to host the Oscars next month, and films the occasional acclaimed movie. While we can tell you exactly where these superstars have been seen and have even returned, we won’t. We want them to keep coming back, adding more twinkle to our already bright city. –Jeanette St. Pierre

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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Providence Monthly | January 2011

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Pulse | The Malcontent

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this month, and despite the possibility for change the influx of new blood presents, we can pretty much expect more of the same: more partisan bickering, more bluster, more grandstanding, more gridlock, less sensible, effective government. Each new wave comes in – Republicans oust Democrats, Democrats usurp Republicans, and the cycle continues – with their “Throw the bums out” mentality, full of piss, vinegar and promises of change, convinced that the old way of doing things is over and this time it’s all going to be different. It never is. Rather than recognizing each other as two groups of duly appointed representatives of the American people with very different ideas about how best to govern that must be reconciled into some sort of workable, sustainable compromise based on common ground and pragmatic negotiations – the sort of thing that could be expected of rational, responsible adults, instead of the hysterical, shrieking children that make up the majority of congress – the two political parties glare at each other across the aisle, two warring camps more concerned about making sure the other side doesn’t get its way than they are about serving the public good. Each party views its own attempts to push its agenda as selflessly doing the will of the people, and the other party’s attempts as slavish partisan hackery. Lather, rinse, repeat. With this in mind, I offer a modest proposal to introduce real, substantive change into American governance. The plan is simple, accomplished in one grand yet uncomplicated masterstroke: we move the seat of power and instruments of government out of Washington, DC, reestablishing our nation’s capital elsewhere, but – and here’s the kick-

er – we don’t tell anyone in Washington. That’s it. That’s the plan. I am confident that no one in congress will notice, consumed as they will be by partisan rancor, stealthily attaching self-serving earmarks to important spending bills, and generally tending to the rolling, self-immolating clusterf--k that is the legislative process. Congress will be like a hamster on a wheel, happily placated by an activity that creates the illusion of forward motion, free to embrace its worst impulses, as it will (unknowingly) no longer be burdened by the thin, tattered veneer of responsible government. For our efforts, we will get the chance to hit the reset button – not so much throwing the bums out as distracting the bums with something shiny and meaningless while we surreptitiously move to another town and change our phone number. We get to truly start over with a genuinely clean slate and try to establish a new legislative process that is more responsive, effective and less divisive. Of course, this places heavy responsibility squarely on our shoulders, and if we screw it up we’ll have no one but ourselves to blame, but if we keep our wits about us and are careful not to let the small but vocal fringe elements dominate the conversation, this thing might just work. (And if it does, then we can expand the process to include [or rather, exclude] state governments.) Now in order for us to keep this ruse going, we’ll need to stage some phony elections every couple years or so, but that seems like it can be accomplished by handing the reins of CSPAN over to the producers of American Idol. We’ll get a shot at good government and a new hit TV show. (Legislative Idol?) Now let’s quietly start packing up the capital and… sshhhhhh… Is that Harry Reid? Okay, play it cool. I don’t think he heard us.

Pulse | Scene in PVD

Do Your Next Event to the 9’s!

e place

ng memorable experiences, all in one place

Providence Monthly helped the Blue Grotto celebrate its 30th anniversary in style, enjoying cocktails made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Photography by Mike Braca.

Rehearsal Dinners Intimate Receptions Bridal Luncheons Sunday Jazz Brunch On and Off Site Catering

Creating memorable experiences, all in one place Rehearsal Dinners Intimate Receptions Bridal Luncheons Sunday Jazz Brunch

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Kara Cassino, Elizabeth Ortiz

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rty Nine 1149 Division St. Warwick, RI 401.884.1149 Nine East 965 Fall River Ave. Seekonk, RI 508.336.1149 www.elevenfortyninerestaurant.com

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CreatingEleven memorable experiences, all in oneAve. place Forty Nine East 965 Fall River Seekonk, RI 508.336.1149 Creating memorable www.elevenfortyninerestaurant.com experiences, all in one place Contact your Specialized Event Planner, Amanda Marcello for more information.

Rehearsal Dinners Intimate Receptions Eleven Forty Nine 1149 DivisionBridal St. Warwick, RI 401-884-1149 Luncheons Sunday JazzNine Brunch Eleven Forty East 965 Fall River Ave. Seekonk, MA 508-336-1149 On and Off Site Catering www.elevenfortyninerestaurant.com Corey Grayhorse, Meghan Grady, Kim Ahern, Heather Fullenlove


Providence Monthly | January 2011

Scene in PVD |


Shana Weinberg, Sara Emmeneker, Kathryn Higgins

Providence Monthly and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism’s BUY ART campaign partied at the Duck and Bunny in celebration of this year’s original BUY ART pin designs, toasting with Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale. Photography by Mike Braca.

© 2010 Salon Panache all rights reserved

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Specializing in Eyebrow & Facial Threading Eyebrow threading is an all natural alternative to waxing and plucking. Especially for people who are on Retin-A and Accutane. Mike Jagolinzer, Kaitlyn Frolich

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for more information and pictures visit

salonpanache.com 1103 Park Ave. Cranston, RI 401.464.4044 Margie Butler, Stephanie Fortunato

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Best catch in Providence The Bluefin Grille is a hideaway of casual elegance located in the Providence Marriott Downtown. The cuisine is globally inspired, utilizing fresh local ingredients with an emphasis on responsibly caught seafood. Come see our new look and explore our updated menu. "It was the Bluefin Signature Pan Chowder on a second visit that turned heads... the subtle flavors were magical together."

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Vodka Single Malt Scotch Single Barrel Bourbon and more...

to WATCH for 2011

Our annual list of the city’s rising stars profiles creators, innovators, collaborators, communicators and more. By John Taraborelli | Photography by Jonathan Beller January 2011 | Providence Monthly


10 to Watch


Allan Tear Managing Partner, The Aptus Collaborative and Betaspring

We don’t just have to be the best in RI. We have to be the best in the country, and even the world. 30-Second Bio 40; father of two public school children Attended Carnegie Mellon University for Electrical and Computer Engineering and Public Policy. Once started a streaming media company that was essentially “the first Pandora.” So why do you use Pandora and not Tear’s company? “We spent all our money and they didn’t,” he laughs. Cofounded the Uncaucus, a citizen-led group that became engaged in the mayoral election, and the Providence chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which awards $1000 grants to people with awesome ideas. betaspring.com, aptuscollaborative.com 22

Providence Monthly | January 2011


eople wind up in Providence for many reasons, but Allan Tear may be the only one who wound up here because of a spreadsheet. Prior to 2002, he and his family had been living in Atlanta and looking to relocate. “I hated Atlanta,” he recalls. “It was a city with no center – no chewy goodness.” So with the help of a spreadsheet listing 30-plus criteria, he and his wife spent a year visiting a dozen cities across the country, eventually narrowing the choice down to Portland, Oregon or Providence – and the rest is history. “I was looking for a place I could sink my teeth into,” Tears says of his adopted home. “Providence is a Goldilocks city: not too big, not too small, just right.” Through the Aptus Collaborative, a tech-oriented consulting firm

he founded shortly after arriving here, Tear was able to network with other business and technology innovators. They found that while Providence had a lot of latent talent and resources, not much was being done to connect the dots. “When I got here there was no connective tissue in the entrepreneurial community,” he recalls. This led Tear and Providence Geeks founder Jack Templin to bring Open Coffee, an international networking movement for tech entrepreneurs, to Providence; those opportunities to connect later inspired the founding of Betaspring, a 12-week startup accelerator program that puts teams of young entrepreneurs through what is essentially a boot camp for business plans. The program, which provides mentoring, shared office space,

money and direct access to the entrepreneurial community to teams that enter through a competitive application process, has already graduated two classes and become a magnet to not only retain students from Brown and RISD, but attract entrepreneurs from all over the country, such as Ken Johnson, a Betaspring grad and Florida transplant who moved his mail order underwear (yes, underwear) startup, Manpacks, to Rhode Island and met with great success (and national press). And that’s exactly the idea. “We’ve done it for two years. We’ve made 16 companies. Those companies are growing. The talent is starting to give back to the community,” Tear boasts. “Now we’re putting the gas on. We’re going to do 100 companies in the next three years.”

10 to Watch

Social Entrepreneurship

Navyn Salem Executive Director, Edesia

You can do something here that has an impact around the world.


avyn Salem proves that one individual with the right motivation can start something with international reach. She founded the nonprofit Edesia out of her Rhode Island home in 2008, as a way to give back to her family’s native Tanzania. It is part of a global network of independent producers that addresses malnutrition in the developing word by producing highly nutritious Ready-to-Use Foods for clients like USAID, the World Food Program, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders. Her first two employees were hired in Tanzania and are still based there, but when the time came to expand, she started thinking about prob-

lems closer to home – as in the need for economic development. “We were right in the middle of the worst of the recession,” she recalls. “No one was starting a business in Providence – let alone a manufacturing business.” Edesia’s 15,000 squarefoot factory began operation in the north end of town last March, with the capacity to churn out 4500 metric tons of food per year, and has been humming ever since, with a staff that more than tripled. With employees often drawn from Providence’s refugee communities through the International Institute, Edesia has been running two shifts, five days a week – and Salem

hopes to add a third soon. “Our goal this year is to reach over 500,000 children,” she asserts. It’s truly a beautiful cycle that keeps Salem’s business going: the more people she can help in the developing world by fighting hunger, the more people she can help at home through employment opportunities. It also allows her to travel to areas of need, like Haiti last year, or droughtracked Niger in February, and bring home stories of the people Edesia can help. “We should be proud that all these boxes say ‘Providence, RI’ on them and are going to the far corners of the earth to save children’s lives.”

30-Second Bio 39; mother of four daughters: twins Halle and Zarra (10), Maya (6) and Jolie (5) Native of Bloomfield, CT. Attended Boston College for Communications. Is an avid photographer, often photographing children in the countries Edesia services: “That is the fun part about travel: to be able to bring back these smiling faces.” Traveled to Haiti after the earthquake last January. “The sign on my hotel room said ‘Do not stand here.’ I thought, ‘I can’t stand here but you want me to sleep here?’” edesiallc.org January 2011 | Providence Monthly


10 to Watch

Transportation/Public Policy

Amy Pettine Is there a world class

Special Projects Manager, RI Public Transit Authority

city that doesn’t have a good transit system? It’s one of those key components that we neglect, but it’s critical. 30-Second Bio 35; mother of two children: a daughter (2 1/2 years) and son (10 months) Was in the first graduating class of Providence College’s Public and Community Service Studies major. Received masters in City Planning at University of Pennsylvania. Once spent six months backpacking in Europe. Favorite place in Providence: “The Children’s Museum is a godsend. My family is there at least once a week.” transit2020.com 24

Providence Monthly | January 2011


ou might say that Amy Pettine has transit in her blood. The Fall River native’s father ran the transportation system in her hometown, and now, after a career spent working to engage citizens in public policy, she finds herself in a position to shape the vision for transit in her adopted home of Providence. For the last three years, Pettine’s job has been to manage and carry out the Metropolitan Providence Transit Enhancement Study (known as Transit 2020), a joint effort between RIPTA and the City of Providence to improve public transportation in and around the capital city. While that may sound rather dry, it

could have huge implications: reshaping downtown, concentrating economic development along key travel corridors, and creating a city that is more navigable and attractive to visitors and residents alike. “If we want to be a world class city, a place where people don’t need to own a car, then we need to make investments in a transit system that supports that type of density and growth,” says Pettine. “It’s multi-modal. It’s seamless. It’s got a range of choices. There’s a concentration of activity around that system, so our commercial corridors are vibrant, our downtown is thriving, people are living and working without driving long distances.”

To that end, Pettine is overseeing the Core Connector Study to better connect Providence’s core, defined as College Hill, Downtown and Upper South Providence, with the goal of implementing a streetcar system, something that would simultaneously hearken to the city’s trolley car past and represent a bold step forward. “We’re broadening the conversation about transit,” she says. “So it’s not just about getting from point A to point B, but it’s about the environment, the economy, public health, affordable housing. It’s about these larger goals. We get to partner in news ways to leverage funding for our state, to concentrate growth, to create vibrant urban centers.”

10 to Watch


Sabina Matos City Council, Ward 15; Associate Director, New Roots

I’m a big fan of trying new things. If the way we’re doing things isn’t working, then why con-


want to do a good job representing my neighborhood and be a voice for members of the community who don’t feel like they have a voice,” says Sabina Matos, incoming freshman City Councilor for the ward encompassing Silver Lake, West End, Valley and Olneyville. It’s pretty much a stock claim for a minority politician representing under-served neighborhoods, but in Matos’ case, that statement runs deep. In many ways, she is the personification of her working class, immigrant-heavy ward: a Dominican transplant who came here at 20, worked in a jewelry factory, bettered herself by attending state schools (CCRI and RIC), worked to organize her community in various capacities, including years on

tinue doing it? the board of the Olneyville Housing Corporation and her current work at New Roots, assisting nonprofits with capacity building, and was eventually tapped to run for City Council. Even her children are testaments to this. “My son Diego represents so much of that neighborhood,” she explains, referencing her Olneyville home, which hosted waves of Polish and Irish immigrants before the current Latino population came in. “His dad is half-Irish, half-Polish. I am Latino.” Her declaration of purpose is also a constant refrain for the upand-coming politician, who unseated deeply entrenched incumbent Josephine DiRuzzo in her second attempt (she also ran in 2006). “I want to do a good job,” is a statement she makes over and

over again, indicative of her sense of responsibility. Indeed, Latinos are not the only underrepresented group she will speak on behalf of; when the City Council convenes in January, with seven new members out of 15, she will be the only woman. “That represents a big challenge,” she says, returning to her mantra, “and puts me in a position where I really want to do a good job and encourage more women in politics.” She certainly has her work cut out for her, but finds hope in the myriad new faces arriving at City Hall this month. “This is a really good group coming in,” she enthuses. “Even though it’s a challenging time, I’m still encouraged that there is a group of people with good intentions getting in there.”

30-Second Bio 36; mother of two childen: Diego (five years old) and Annemarie (10 months). Came to the United States in 1994, first to New York City: “I got here on Friday – by Monday I had a job.” Favorite place in Providence: Olneyville Square. “It represents a lot of what Providence is about and what it could be.” Book recommendation: In the Name of Salome by Julia Alvarez. “I actually named my daughter Annemarie Salome.” newrootsprovidence.org January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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10 to Watch


Kristen Minsky Creator, Chifferobe and the TropiGals

One of the things I like about Providence is if you have an idea, someone is willing to listen.


risten Minsky arrived just over a year ago as a graduate student in sculpture at RISD. The Atlanta native had previously been in New York City, as one half of the tap dancing duo the Minsky Sisters. “I was looking for an opportunity to perform and a community to be a part of,” she recalls of her first months in Providence, “so I decided to start Chifferobe,” a Jazz Age cabaret featuring tap dancing, burlesque, music, magic, puppetry and more. Chifferobe debuted at Tazza in December of 2009, and was an immediate success. “A lot of people picked up on the fact that

30-Second Bio it was happening,” she says. “It’s been really quick.” The monthly event has since switched bases to Cuban Revolution and become the sort of unique cultural scene that makes Providence more attractive to young, creative types. In the process, Minsky herself has become both a curator and ambassador for talent. She provides an outlet for local performers that might not otherwise have one, such as the TropiGals, a troupe of novice dancers she recruited for Chifferobe, and has since taken on the road. Meanwhile, her connections in cities like New York and Philadelphia allow her to foster interaction between Providence and

other creative communities. And she’s in demand, appearing with various collaborators at the Hotel Providence, the Lippitt House Museum, Sound Session and Perishable Theater. Minsky will continue to nurture local talent while teaching a six-week class on Cabaret and the Avant Garde during RISD’s “Wintersession,” and will incorporate her students’ work into the February edition of Chifferobe. As other cities beckon for her talent, Minsky says she plans to remain in Providence after graduation in May. “There is more room here in terms of ideas and space,” she notes. “I feel I can make of my ideas what I wish.”

25; received a BFA in Studio Art with a focus on Performance Studies and Dance at NYU. The Minsky Sisters were voted Best Burlesque Act in 2009 and 2010 by Loungerati, a website dedicated to lounge culture, and one of their recent performances was highlighted in the New Yorker. Some of her favorite vintage era performers: Loie Fuller, Anita Berber, Vera Ellen, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Favorite place in Providence: Prospect Terrace. “In winter it’s really quiet. I enjoy the solitude of the space.” chifferobecabaret.com January 2011 | Providence Monthly


10 to Watch


Heather Tow-Yick Executive Director, Teach for America Rhode Island

I can’t think of a better way to direct my skills and talents than working for something I care about in my hometown. 30-Second Bio 34; Native East Sider; attended Henry Barnard, Moses Brown and Brown University, and later MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Columbia University Teachers College. Was on the women’s sailing team at Brown, which won the national championship her senior year. Taught middle school, then instructional leadership in New York City through TFA; special assistant to outgoing NYC Chancellor of Public Schools Joel Klein; nonprofit consulting work with Bridgespan Group. teachforamerica.org 28

Providence Monthly | January 2011


here are few things about which all stakeholders in education reform agree, but one of them is this: there is no silver bullet, no one solution to the problems of education. This is where organizations like Teach for America and people like Heather Tow-Yick come in. TFA is a 20-year-old national nonprofit that trains, certifies and places recent college graduates as teachers in under-resourced school districts, both rural and urban, and Tow-Yick is the founding executive director of its Rhode Island chapter. “I love starting new things,” she exclaims. “Entrepreneurial innovation,

building things and creating things are motivating to me.” Last winter, Tow-Yick returned from New York to launch TFA Rhode Island; the end of June will mark one full year that its first 30 teachers have been in local classrooms, mostly in Providence Public Schools, with several scattered among Rhode Island Mayoral Academies – Blackstone Valley, Newport Public Schools, Central Falls’ Segue Institute and Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts. Right now, her main goal is “making sure that our current teachers are doing everything they can to

raise, maintain and achieve the bar of academic rigor that we expect of them, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for another 30 to come to Rhode Island.” She plans for that to happen in June, and with over 60 TFA alumni already in-state, Tow-Yick will soon have a base of 120-plus highly-driven, reform-minded educators with a shared skill set and experience, which she believes will in turn attract more of the best and brightest. “I think people across the country will look and say, ‘How can I be a part of that?’” she predicts. “That’s what’s exciting to me.”

10 to Watch


Michael Gazdacko Director of Development, Urban Smarth Growth

I’d like to be able to make a difference in these communities, to create something viable.


e are not your normal developer,” declares Michael Gazdacko of Urban Smarth Growth, the California-based real estate company for which he is Director of Development. “We don’t come in, level buildings and try to create strip malls or high-rise apartment buildings. We take an existing, once-functioning part of the community and breathe new life into it.” The company specializes in projects like Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village, a former mill that, due to Gazdacko’s community-minded boosterism, now houses commercial, residential (live/work) and lightindustrial tenants like Farm Fresh RI, the local food nonprofit that has both its office

and its Wintertime Farmer’s Market there; the production facility for Seven Stars Bakery’s growing empire; and the new Met Cafe, Rich Lupo’s mid-sized music venue. He hopes to kick the 134-unit residential phase into high gear this year. Meshing with the community is something Gazdacko has tried to do personally, as well as professionally. He recently took the reins of Pecha-Kucha Providence, the local chapter of an international movement that began in Tokyo. This monthly platform for presenting ideas through slide shows has become a vital source of interaction for a growing community of young, urban creatives. With over 365 cities now hosting Pecha-Kucha

nights, Providence is one of the most successful, and the only one that happens every month. Gazdacko, who inherited it from founder Stephanie Gerson, is already building on that success, hosting bigger crowds and collaborating with organizations like Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, the FirstWorks art festival and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “There’s an endearing quality about this area that is unexplainable – you really have to come here and feel it,” Gazdacko says of his new home, adding, “If you like something, you can find other people that like it also because it’s such a tight-knit community.” Both his personal and professional lives are proof of that.

30-Second Bio Age 31; Midwest native, moved here from Los Angeles. Lives in Urban Smart Growth’s other major RI development, the Greystone Lofts in North Providence. Worked on film sets while in LA, doing grip, gaffing and electrical work. Got the Tokyobased founders of Pecha-Kucha to send a video congratulating the Providence chapter on its twentieth monthly installment. (20 is the number on which Pecha-Kucha is based: speakers present 20 slides for 20 seconds each, beginning at 20:20 military time.) urbansmartgrowth.net; pecha-kucha.org January 2011 | Providence Monthly



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10 to Watch

Social Services/Communications

Chris Medici Executive Vice President, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, United Way of Rhode Island

We help shape and define a sense of common purpose for our community.


op quiz: Have you heard of United Way of Rhode Island? Of course. Okay, now what does United Way do? Not sure, are you? That is where Chris Medici comes in. He is the mouthpiece of UWRI, the man whose job it is “raise the level of awareness of what help is available, what resources are available, and try to connect as many people as possible to as many resources as possible.” United Way is essentially a clearinghouse for help for struggling Rhode Islanders, operating programs like 2-1-1, a 24/7 hotline connecting people to services, and the Community Impact Fund, which provides money for things like edu-

cation, financial stability for individuals and families, affordable housing and much more. While United Way is a funder of many initiatives, it is also a connector, linking people to opportunities, money to need, citizens to government agencies, and organizations to communities. “More people know about the work and are getting engaged,” Medici says of UWRI’s outreach efforts. “We’re also increasing the impact we’re making.” Medici has been a rising star in the world of public relations and communications, making the jump from Chief Communications Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield to UWRI. He admits that while United Way is

a well-established brand, people are less sure about why that brand is important. “People make a donation,” he explains, “but there’s not actually a high level of awareness of what happens after that point.” This is a problem for Medici not so much from a branding perspective, but because he sees more people than ever in need of United Way’s help, and he wants to make sure they know what’s available. Is it working? “We’re as busy as we’ve ever been,” he notes, pointing to evidence like the fact that the call volume for 2-1-1 through the first nine months of 2010 surpassed the whole of 2009. Clearly the message is getting out.

30-Second Bio 46; father of two daughters (five and 11) Cranston native Majored in Philosophy at Providence College before attending Suffolk Law School. Professional background: Governor DiPrete’s office; Fleet Bank; (add)ventures; New England Gas; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Favorite quote: “That which unites us is, must be, stronger than that which divides us.” –Robert F. Kennedy www.uwri.org January 2011 | Providence Monthly


10 to Watch


Stephanie Federico I love politics. I love the

Chief of Staff, Providence Public School Department

adrenaline rush that comes along with making decisions that are in the best interest of people. 30-Second Bio 32; New York native Professional background: Clerk for RI Superior District and Family Courts; Assistant Solicitor for City of Providence; civil defense in Superior Courts; Prosecutor for Board of Licenses, Housing Court, Municipal Court, RI District Court; legal counsel for Providence External Review Authority and Human Relations Commission; Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Cicilline. Doubled majored in political science and theater; spent a semester with the National Theater Institute and traveled to Russia to participate in the Moscow Art Theatre’s centennial. providenceschools.org 32

Providence Monthly | January 2011


n the surface, Stephanie Federico’s lawyert u r n e d - g ove r n m e n t official story might seem pretty standard for Providence, but she is that archetype so rare as to almost make us question its existence: the tireless public servant. “It’s not about feeling good,” she says of the grueling business of running the state’s largest public school system. “It’s about knowing that you’ve made the community in which you live a better place. Indeed, service is a word that comes up a lot when Federico discusses her career. The Roger Williams Law School grad practiced law in a number of capacities and

served several roles throughout the Cicilline Administration (including Deputy Chief of Staff) before being tapped for her current position under Superintendent Tom Brady in 2008. “The opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t say no,” she explains, “because what is most important to me is being able to serve.” While Federico never set out to work specifically in education, she embraces the challenge, crediting time spent as a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and the School Department for helping her “see how important public, urban education is to the wellbeing of a city. It is at the base what makes a city great.”

Many observers, including sources who suggested her as a candidate for this list, expect to see Federico move on to bigger challenges in the near future. She is an admitted political junkie, and campaigned enthusiastically for Mayor Cicilline during his successful run for congress. Rumors had several newly elected officials eyeing her for possible positions in their administrations, but for the moment, she’s staying put. Although her star is rising, Federico maintains that it’s not about her. “You get into public service because you want to serve,” she stresses. “Because you feel there is a need to make a difference.”

10 to Watch


Michael D’Amico Director of Administration, City of Providence

Private companies tend to do things first. They try approaches governments don’t try.


he Providence to which Michael D’Amico returns from Pennsylvania is starkly different from the one he left behind in 1988 as a freshman headed to the University of Pennsylvania. “They moved the rivers since I left,” he jokes. “It’s not like the changes are small.” The man who will oversee finance, personnel, public works and property, purchasing, information technology and more under incoming Mayor Taveras is relearning his hometown, while at the same time learning the entirely new business of government after a career spent in the private sector, most recently as Vice President of the US division of international

chemical and materials manufacturer Johnson Matthey. While the public sector might be new to him, the fundamentals of large scale operations are not. “Managing a large, complex organization with a lot of moving parts is difficult,” he says. “I have a lot of experience in that area.” D’Amico points to the kind of efficiency and streamlining of processes that make private companies thrive and innovate, and believes he can apply those concepts to the business of running a city in ways that will help balance budgets and make government more responsive to the needs of its citizens. “I’ve learned some things in the private sec-

tor that people who spend all their time in government maybe don’t get exposed to,” he observes. He’s also a skilled negotiator, boasting significant experience dealing with unions, a set of tools he’s sure to have to use in his new role. The Silver Lake native and longtime friend of Taveras, not only recognizes the challenges that face the new administration, he embraces them. “If the city were at a high right now, I’m not sure the job would have been as interesting to me,” he notes. “The fact that people are asking for improvement and think there can be positive change was part of my interest in the job.”

30-Second Bio 40; father of an 11-monthold daughter. Spent his entire career with two manufacturing companies: Ametek and Johnson Matthey. Education: University of Pennsylvania for business administration; Villanova for an MBA in Finance. Extols the Japanese concept of kaizen, a process of continual improvement through small steps. Is a die-hard Providence College basketball fan. Subscribed to ESPN’s Full Court college basketball package so he could watch games in Pennsylvania. providenceri.com January 2011 | Providence Monthly



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City Style shop talk / beauty / the look

Wear It with Pride Move over, Galilee gift shops: there’s a new Rhode Island-inspired graphic shirt line in town. Not that there’s anything wrong with your unadorned, touristy threads, but the boys behind Thirteen Star kick it up a notch with their stylish take on Little Rhody pride. Neil Pettit and Eric Carnevale, two born and bred Rhode Islanders and longtime friends, started Thirteen Star 14 months ago, when Eric noticed a lack of funky Rhode Island shirts while going about his daily grind at the Biltmore Hotel. Neil, who has been a designer his entire adult life – from commissioned murals during high school to corpo-

rate website work – and Eric, the “ace-upthe-sleeve idea man,” regularly brainstorm concepts for their tees and sweatshirts until something sticks and a design is born and printed. “We offer mostly RI-inspired designs, but throw in anything we think we can sell,” Neil tells me. “One of our popular sellers is the Java Roger, which was inspired by the café I manage.” With hopes of expansion into children’s gear on the horizon, the guys’ love for Providence is what keeps them creating. Check out their site for cool designs (and names) like Poseidon Rhode Island or Nautical 401. thirteenstar.com –Jen Senecal

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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You own two stores. Awesome. Tell me more. Queen of Hearts is a handcrafted boutique. The majority comes from local artists; we have about 53 right now. It’s over four years old, and has this crafty, nifty feel. Modern Love is a shoe store with its own identity. It opened in October, and it’s all about clean lines. I had wanted to expand before, but didn’t want to mess with the handmade vibe of Queen of Hearts. So, I expanded to this space, and the stores are connected. And you have your own line, Lucille. Lucille has been around since 2001. I’ve done many shows, several a year for the past few years in LA, New York and Japan. It’s really my first passion. I feel it’s wearable clothing that fits a wide age of women, and you can really dress it up or down.   Do you sell Lucille at your store? Yes, but it has been hard to get to the sewing machine with the opening of a shoe store. It’s crazy; I went from this little store to having six employees. Now I can finally get back to sewing, back to focusing on that, and it’s a great feeling.   Are you excited to show this month at StyleWeek? Yes! This collection is influenced by the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and by funk and soul music. I found inspiration while spinning records, and thought, “This is the show’s opening song!” and went out and bought fabric. But a runway show is a performance. The music, hair, makeup, accessories are just as important.   Tell me about this outfit. I’ve had this fabric for years. I think I made a t-shirt with it in eighth grade. This I sewed in two hours. It’s one of those pieces you can dress up or down.    Would you say this is more your personal style? Yes. I have to dress up every day because I work in a boutique and shoe store. I feel that when you present yourself in a certain way, people get a vibe from you. That’s one of the fun things about owning a boutique, and loving what you do every day.   Have any advice for those aspiring to launch their own line? First, sew as much as you can. You have to know how to sew to have your own line. No one will make anything for you, especially not in the beginning. To teach anyone to construct your pieces, you must be able to construct yourself. Second, learn the business end if you don’t want to work in a fashion house. Everyone is capable of teaching themselves; the more you do, the better you get at it.

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City Style | Beauty

by Julie Tremaine

Clean Hair, Clear Conscience Could locally-made products save the planet?

So, if you’ve been keeping up on current trends in beauty (and really, who hasn’t?) you’ve probably heard some nasty rumors about the safety of your beloved products. As much as I don’t want to believe what the Cosmetics Database (think of it like WikiLeaks for the cosmetics industry: cosmeticsdatabase. com) has to say about the carcinogens in my perfume and the neurotoxins in my mascara, it’s about time that I started listening. After all, I’m buying organic produce and responsibly raised fish – and if I’m careful about what I put in my body, then I should be careful about what I put on it, too. A quick search on the database showed me that the mousse I put in my hair this morning has butane and propane in it – let that sink in for a second: butane and propane! – and that those chemicals are linked to organ system toxicity and possibly to my head being engulfed in flames. See? It’s totally distressing. Take a second to look up a product you used this morning. I’ll wait here. Now that you’re thoroughly freaked out about the implications of using your favorite product, I’d like to remind you about Warren superteen Ava Anderson. This time last year, Ava launched a line of skincare products that all registered “zero” on the database – meaning that every ingredient in every product has been deemed by the skincare gods to be safe to use. The response to her stuff was so good that she’s since launched a cosmetics line. (Super-cute lip gloss, lipstick, loose powder blush and founda-

tion without evil parabens? I’ll take it.) This month, Ava is debuting hair care products – shampoo and conditioner to start, with plans for more shortly. The shampoo and conditioner are definitely worth a try. Instead of unhealthy chemicals, they use aloe vera, organic coconut and palm oils, peppermint, yucca, lemon balm, sweet orange and pomegranate oil to get their cleaning done. I’ve got demanding curly hair, and I was really pleased with the results – my hair felt soft and clean in that way that makes you think all of the buildup from your other products is gone. The conditioner has some smoothing power, but doesn’t weigh hair down, which is nice. All in all, it’s almost exactly the same as other, less healthy hair care, and that’s a trade-off that I’m increasingly willing to make. Because here’s the thing: if the benzyl alcohol in my beloved John Frieda Brilliant Brunette shampoo is poisonous to me, imagine how many other things (water, soil, fish, plants) it poisons when it goes down the drain. Ava recently teamed up with Save the Bay to talk about ways they can get out the message about how harmful everyday shower products are to the environment. If her really impressive, safe products – and her even more impressive accomplishments, especially for being, oh, say, 16 years old – are any indication, you can expect to hear even bigger things from Ava Anderson shortly. For now, check out her line at avaandersonnontoxic.com.

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Providence Monthly | January 2011

newly opened boutique, Source at Reconstructure, is the retail manifestation of Lisa Foster, an interior design architect with an enviable East Coast client base. Principal of the Providence firm Reconstructure, Foster corralled her colleagues, a forward-thinking group of young designers, to help create Source, which now features a wellrounded collection of furnishings, home accessories, vintage finds and gifts. Running a successful design firm at the same address for six years, Foster describes Source as a “logical extension [to Reconstructure] that just made sense.” In a business that revolves around style, to include furnishings, lighting, art and accessories, Foster has taken ideas from the page – that is, samples, swatches, design boards and tear sheets – to reality. “It’s so much easier for clients to see pieces in person or to match [pieces] with a sample library,” she explains. As with ordering anything from a catalog, furnishings and accessories in photos can be drastically different than what arrives on your doorstep. At Source, design clients can run their fingers over textures, evaluate comfort and get a better sense of scale. “It’s really great being around all these amazing items all the time, and

the beautiful lighting and accessories,” she says. To finish each project Reconstructure works on, Foster styles the space with accoutrements that give an added sense of definition, just like a home design show on TV, and more often than not, the space is professionally photographed. “Every time we’ve done it,” she enthuses, “I think they’ve kept about 95% of the product!” You don’t have to be a client of Foster’s to take advantage of all Source has to offer. “There’s fun stuff too,” Foster is quick to add. “It’s an indulgence for me, so you’ll also find jewelry, handbags, wallets, candles and candlesticks,” she continues, adding that she expects to expand the inventory in the coming months. Source at Reconstructure, is, at least as of now, an all-women run venture. There are two other designers Foster works with, and a pair of RISD interns whom she says breathe a refreshing youthful energy into the thoroughly modern open design studio space. While client projects can take Foster out of the area, she plans to have Source move to a regular Monday through Friday schedule – and of course, always by appointment. 96 Calverley Street. 3831311. reconstructure.com

Photography: Laurel Mulherin

A local designer goes retail

Sunday Jazz Brunch starting January 2 • 10am to 2pm The Stage Door Restaurant and Lounge with the Historic Park Theater is pleased to announce it’s Sunday Jazz Brunch. The brunch will consist of a variety of traditional breakfast and lunch items, salads and pastries. Featuring the most talented musicians that Rhode Island has to offer.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Demand Authentic BBQ! All of our meats are cooked low and sloooow in our hickory smoker Succulent St. Louis cut Pork Ribs, Beef Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket Vegetarian options too!

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Providence Monthly | January 2011


IN THE KITCHEN / on the menu / behind the bar / review / in the drink

Photography: Kate Kelley

50 REVIEW Centro

Ribbons of black peppered pasta with braised beef cheek and black trumpet mushrooms

January 2011 | Providence Monthly




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Providence Monthly | January 2011

Feast | On The Menu

by John Taraborelli

Your Must-Eat List The city is buzzing with new openings

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The Salon

Photography: Mike Braca

There are several

new places in the works Downtown, the first of which is already open. The Salon (57 Eddy Street) is the brainchild of Brown grad and New York City transplant Ethan Feirstein. This casual nightspot, occupying the space that formerly housed Salon Marc Harris, is his attempt to “create a fun meeting place that could be a lot of things to a lot of people.” While Feirstein’s concept does incorporate some elements of the former tenant, he wanted to create an aesthetic that felt temporary and transient, “as if a bar sprung up overnight in a former hair salon.” To that end, the space is furnished with unfinished pine bars that are meant to look hastily thrown together (despite the significant work that went into them) and raw wood picnic tables that can be rearranged, flipped over, or used for an impromptu ping-pong game (for real). The food and drink match that playful, unexpected feel. Feirstein stresses, “there are four, and only four, things on the opening food menu”: a PB&J sandwich, a PB Deluxe sandwich (with Nutella and honey), a Fluffernutter and S’mores. “I wanted to do juvenile comfort food,” he explains, “the kind that people might think is a little weird to serve at a bar, but are going to love when 10pm rolls around and they’re three beers in.” The cocktail menu will be equally sure to inspire curiosity, with whimsical choices like the Kali (a cabernet and Coke mix that Feirstein

says is popular in South America) and his personal favorite, the Pickle Back: a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice. “I’m into odd combinations,” Feirstein summarizes, “and hope everyone else will be too.” Two other eagerly awaited restaurants are in the works. The Korean barbecue Sura, which is a hidden gem on George Waterman Road in Johnston, is opening a second, more high profile location at 232 Westminster Street, where they will also be offering sushi. Around the corner, the stately Federal Reserve (60 Dorrance Street) will be reborn as The Dorrance, offering lunch and tapas Monday through Friday, as well as made-from-scratch cocktails. INSTANT CLASSIC ON IVES >> Sometimes a new restaurant opens and just instantly feels like it’s been there for years. Such is the case with McCurdy’s Junction House (79 Ives Street), the latest addition to an increasingly revitalized Ives Street. Even the name evokes the sense of a neighborhood institution: it’s named for the Irish pub that the great grandfather of proprietor Michael Devolve owned on Plainfield Street at the turn of the 20th century. (The original McCurdy’s survived Prohibition, but not the fire that later destroyed it.) “We wanted to have a down-home, eclectic approach,” Michael says of the his newly renovated storefront, which the retired history teacher runs as an

equal partner with his two sons, Michael Jr. and Ryan, and Michael’s longtime girlfriend Morgan Nahrwold. That approach is evident both in the interior – a cozy, inviting space punctuated by antiques and family photos – and the food, which is seasonally inspired, shockingly inexpensive and, as Michael says, “sticks to your ribs.” Take, for example, what is soon to be their signature dish: the Black and Tan Beef Stew. Both Guinness and Bass go into a hearty, rich stew served over creamy mashed potatoes, a thoughtful twist on a traditional comfort food. There are also the Sea Salt Brined Pork Chops, smothered in mushroom gravy and far more moist and tender than the tough, dry pork chops you remember as a kid. McCurdy’s is also vegan and vegetarian friendly, offering more than just the cursory mixed greens or grilled vegetables; think more like Baked Pears with wine, gorgonzola, raisins and candied walnuts. LEARN FROM THE BEST >> Local cupcake artiste Kristin Walcott-Brennan of The Cupcakerie (1860 Broad Street, Cranston) will be teaching a cupcake workshop at RISD Continuing Ed on March 9. Sign-ups begin January 10, and you can register online at www. risd.edu. Anyone interested in learning the art of the gourmet cupcake couldn’t ask for a better teacher. For more details, call The Cupcakerie at 467-2601.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Feast | Behind the Bar DeLuise Bakery Traditional Italian Baking for more than 70 years Pastries • Mini Pastries Zuppa Inglese Cakes • Decorated Cakes Homestyle Pies • Pizza • Calzones Spinach Pies • Italian Cookies

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Saddle Up Bartender Sam Hood of Providence’s new gay bar

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Providence Monthly | January 2011

Tell me about Stable. It’s the hottest gay bar in Rhode Island, formerly Wheels. It’s been open for nine months. The owners totally gutted out the bar during the renovation – it looks nothing like Wheels. Stable is a fun video bar with a good crowd – more of an adult clientele, late 20s to 50s. Back in the day, it was a real stable. When they were stripping away the walls, they found the original stable sign. As you walk in the bar, it’s on the right hand wall. How does Stable differ from other gay bars in Providence? It’s more upscale and trendy. Stable is an NYC bar for Providence – clean, classy. You always know what to expect. There’s always a good crowd and good music. Drinks are strong and inexpensive. Staff is fun and friendly. It’s a fun atmosphere. What is your signature drink? Sangria, but I can’t take credit for it. Michael Slade, the owner, came up with it and would be mad if I gave away the ingredients. I call it the “SamGria”— same ingredients but it sounds better. I make a famous Pineapple Upside Down Cake shot. When did you start bartending? I started when I was in Florida at a straight bar called The Moon. I tended bar for their ladies’ country western night for three years. It was horrible. When I moved back here, I started again so I could work and go to school. I prefer to work at a gay bar because I’m gay. Also, I like the music they play and prefer the atmosphere. What’s your background? I was born in Indiana, grew up in Philly, lived in LA for four years. I graduated from Florida State with a degree in International Business. I’m in school now for nursing. How did you end up in RI? My family moved here when I was living in Florida. When I graduated from Florida State, I then worked in LA doing modeling and makeup. I did

makeup and hair for the judges on the Animal Planet show Rumor Has It. It was a lot of fun, but I wanted more out of my life. I did some soul searching and found nursing. However, in California there is a two- to three-year wait list to enter a nursing program; here it is performance based – and my family was here.

Is there anything you dislike about bartending? Dealing with the drunk and obnoxious, but it’s very entertaining at the same time. A lot of straight girls come in and will say, “Give me just one night with you,” and will leave a decent tip to try to convince me. I’ll flirt back – for the money. (laughs)

What’s the craziest thing you have seen at Stable? This 20-piece marching band came in with their instruments and performed live. It was crazy.

Any nursing advice for curing a hangover? Take Advil before you go to bed and drink Pedialyte in the morning. It will correct your electrolytes. That’s what Nurse Sam says. (laughs)

What’s your advice to straights who might want to venture into Stable? It’s a very chill, laid back bar. Come early when it’s not so crowded. It’s a good time, any time. No one has anything to be afraid of. It’s not your typical gay bar. Everyone is accepted there.

The Stable

125 Washington Street 272-6950. Facebook: TheStableProvidence

Photography: Mike Braca

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Feast | In the Kitchen

by Stephanie Obodda

Sinfully Good

Jennifer Luxmoore of Sin Desserts talks about eating wicked

DoN’t let the ball Drop register Now for: acting + Comedy Dance and get on with it at perishable theatre arts school Perishable TheaTre 95 empire st. Providence www.perishable.org • 331.2695


What were your birthday cakes like growing up? I think they were probably Duncan Hines. And I do remember the first one I made myself: it was a long, short igloo with chocolate frosting and white piped lines and gumdrops (for some reason). It was pretty bad, but then again, I was only 10. What appeals to you most about baking, the creativity or the precision? Both. I’m a perfectionist; I love precision, defined amount. I can’t cook to save my life, but I can bake. And I’m creative: my previous job was creating radio ads. I’ve written a young adult book. I need a creative outlet. Cakes give me the perfect one.

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Providence Monthly | January 2011

What’s your favorite cake flavor you’ve developed? The first cake that I “played” with was a recipe from Colette Peters. It was her chocolate coconut bourbon cake. I took out the coconut, and tweaked the recipe a bit, changing the chocolate and bourbon amounts. I love this cake. It’s our richest chocolate cake and a staff favorite. Have you used any interesting ingredients lately? For the holidays we did a Thomas Tew Rum Caramel truffle – so good! We have a coffee milk ganache that uses Coastal Roaster’s coffee; our Chai ganache uses cardamom, cinnamon and a variety of other spices, and we have a terrific Chipotle Peanut Butter cookie.

Have you ever gotten any cake requests that were so bizarre, or impossible, that you had to turn them down? We had someone call and ask for a replica of the Eiffel Tower. They called on Wednesday and wanted it for Friday. Normally we’d accept an Eiffel Tower, but not with only two days notice. When I first started out I wouldn’t do any carved cakes; now we’ll do pretty much anything. Currently we have a fire truck, a McLaren F1 and the Death Star coming up. What are your favorite – and least favorite – trends in cake today? I recently did a Pecha-Kucha presentation that was titled “Trends in Food... And Why I Hate Cupcakes.” To set the record straight, I don’t really hate cupcakes – we eat them all the time. For us, it’s the fact that when we do cupcakes, we do 200 or more. Transporting them and setting them up for a wedding, when we have limited time, is stressful and usually messy. And most of the wedding cupcakes we do are filled with something (raspberry, chocolate ganache, etc.). Coring, filling and frosting 200 cupcakes – well, let’s just say

nobody volunteers for that job. I like the macaron trend (see our local guy Moondust Macarons). They’re pretty, delicate cookies, but I will never make them – they’re difficult and time consuming. Whoopie Pies are fun and we hope to have some of those in our retail space that we are planning to open in 2011. Retail space? We’ll open it sometime and somewhere – I just don’t know either yet. Right now we have a lot of people who stop in looking for treats and we don’t have any to sell. We want to do retail with our line of cookies, brownies, whoopie pies, cupcakes, cakes which can be custom decorated quickly for clients, and maybe some pies and cheesecakes. But no breakfast pastries or muffins – we are not early morning people!

Sin Desserts 369-8427 eatwicked.com

Photography: Mike Braca

Need a resolution solution?

When did you first become interested in baking, and how did you end up making it your career? I’ve always baked. My grandmother lived next door to us and I was always her helper. It was my job to press down the peanut butter cookies with the fork, to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the scraps of pie dough, and to lick all the bowls! I went to school for Communications and ended up with a Masters, then ended up working in radio. Finally, after 15 years, I decided that I love to bake, so went I back to school and made it my second career. I love my job so much now – it’s exactly what I want to do.

Feast | In the Drink

We Buy, Sell & Trade New + Used Commercial Restaurant Equipment

by Emily Dietsch

Custom Metal Fabrication Exhaust Hood Design & Installation

A Fiasco in a Bottle

From ranges to smallwares, we have it all!

A belated embrace of the portable potation

Illustration: Emma Tripp

Fiasco happens to be

the Italian word for “bottle.” How we English speakers meandered from the word’s simple, Italianate definition to our secondhand derivation is, one imagines, a fascinating if self-evident linguistic journey. Perhaps no small factor within that story is the English cognate “flask,” our noun for a bottle made miniature and thereby portable. In effect, flasks are literal mini-fiascos, as well as invitations for larger, figurative ones. Near mythical in stature, flasks are everywhere in American iconocraphy: toted by gun slinging cowboys when saloons were scarce; pocketed by writers working simultaneously on great novels and cirrhotic livers; prized by teenaged rebels circumventing liquor laws. Having occupied at least two of those positions, it’s a wonder that a flask was never part of my personal universe until now. Recently a friend gifted me with a sleekly architectural number, engraved at the bottom with a pickled witticism. “You probably already have a one,” he’d said, almost apologetically. But in fact, I didn’t, and hadn’t even entertained the thought. Until that point, a towering, stainless steel coffee Thermos was the only beverage carrier to be found on my person. Lack of need presumably underwrote my lack of initiative; simply put, alcohol nearly always seems legitimately procurable when necessity arises. Nonetheless, one can say much for the flask’s DIY and illicit aspects as worthy grounds to reconsider it. Seeking expert counsel to ensure my new possession’s proper use, I queried local cocktail authorities to glean a decidedly Rabelaisian list of best practices. Predictably colorful, their responses collectively exposed one general demographic tendency. Well, one tendency and one sub-tendency: Ladies don’t tote, but if they (er, we?) did, clear liquors would court favor. Precisely zero

women I consulted own or carry flasks, even if said women, like myself, gravitate to the masculine side of the drinking universe. Take Shara Spelkoman, who slings drinks at the 201 in Providence, who admits only to a MacGyvered “road soda” when the occasion warrants one. As the name might signal, she uses whatever inconspicuous plastic bottle lends itself absent an actual flask. As for the “soda’s” contents, Spelkoman vows sternly against brown liquor: “Never brown,” she decrees. “ Always vodka-based.” By contrast, all the men I consulted

maintain loyalties to flasks and the whiskey family. All of them carry flasks, at least occasionally, and invariably cite brown liquor as the choice filler. To wit, the epigrammatic Mike Kelly, co-owner of the West Side’s beloved E&O Tap, declared flasks “imperative” and what fills them “always brown and always Irish.” A man of sound allegiances, this Mr. Kelly. Breaking somewhat from this gendered dichotomy, the ever-resourceful Michael Dietsch (honorary cousin, local cocktail blogger - adashofbitters. com - and all-around epicure) raised the specter of tequila. Specifically, a strawberry-infused tequila – which he’d hand-blended using seasonal pickings,

conceivably while also tending honeybees, thatching a chicken coop and cultivating ancient grains for fermentation. (I exaggerate, but slimly.) Unsurprisingly, Cousin Dietsch boasts “at least” four flasks to his name, including one replete with an enviable cigar chamber. Likewise true to form, he ticked off a range of viable potations, from the aforementioned tequila to bitter amari (singular, “amaro”) and other such liqueurs. Though a touch unconventional, carrying a pseudo-medicinal digestivo like amaro smartly harnesses the vessel’s in-a-pinch capacity; indeed, think of it as the proto-Tums packet, ready for a nip when indigestion beckons. Inventiveness aside, Mr. Dietsch stopped short of recommending a cocktail to fill my new acquisition. In fact, nobody recommended one. One might conclude, then, that a flask’s rogue character carries through to what’s carried within: no additives, no perishables, no cocktails. Surely upstart mixologists of the world might beg to differ, overzealously prescribing one elixir or another to liven up the flask routine. But really, must we reinvent the wheel? La Laiterie’s resident bar maven, David Mangiatine, respectably balks at the notion of flaskcontained cocktails. “Just think about a freshly shaken cocktail, poured in its glass, with a hint of froth and some floating ice chips,” he avers. “This cannot be achieved from a flask.” To put it mildly, the cocktail’s art is lost when cased inside an opaque vessel, rudely knocked about, and surreptitiously sipped at room temperature. This is not to say, of course, that all artistry’s forsaken when taking booze on the road. Mangiatine himself prefers to tote a peaty Scotch from the Islay region, which is nothing to snicker at in any form. And me? Early trials suggest good bourbon’s promise, its sweet warmth somehow intensified through a flask’s narrow spout. Everything in its right place, this one capped tight and kept close to the hip.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Feast | Review

by Linda Beaulieu

Return to Form Grand hotel dining is back at the Westin at the Westin hotel is back, and it’s more beautiful than ever. Centro is the new name for the space formerly known as Agora, which was one of the city’s best restaurants a decade ago. After the departure of Chef Derek Wagner, who went on to open the fabulous Nicks on Broadway, Agora slipped into that boring hotel restaurant persona with a rather generic menu. Open since August of last year, Centro seems determined to make dining at the Westin exciting once again. This is a big restaurant with soaring ceilings and huge windows that offer city views. The layout is the same, with a jazzed-up bar and lounge area on the right, which you walk through to get to the huge dining room. The formally set tables are widely spaced, which provides privacy for conversations, whether they be romantic or based in business. Like most hotel restaurants, Centro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Centro has a mostly Italian menu,

although there are some classic New England dishes as well as meat and seafood to please just about everyone – a wise decision for any restaurant located within a hotel. According to Manager Joe Delle Cave (who you might remember from Moda), the name Centro was chosen because the menu offers many dishes from the central part of Italy. When you go to Centro, please order the Sushi-Style Prosciutto, one of the most unique appetizers I’ve ever enjoyed. At first glance, you will think you’ve been served a platter of basic sushi with all the essential accoutrements. But a closer look reveals what’s really on the stark white oblong platter. A Japanese soup spoon holds not soy sauce but a balsamic glaze. What you think is wasabi is green olive tapenade, and finely sliced red onion stands in for the usual pickled ginger. No, those aren’t chopsticks but rather pencil-thin breadsticks. Delicate slices of prosciutto have been rolled up and sliced, much like a classic California roll. Pop

Slow-cooked cod with poached baby shrimp, tomato confit and saffron-mussel broth


Providence Monthly | January 2011

one in your mouth, and you will taste grilled eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and basil. It’s bit pricey at $14, but there’s enough there to feed four people as a first course. Another wonderful appetizer is the Raviolo ($13): one very large, handmade ravioli that is stuffed (and I do mean stuffed) with Gorgonzola cheese, ricotta and walnuts in burro noce – that’s Italian for walnut butter sauce. Yes, you could share this dish, but it’s so good you won’t want to. Every salad is tempting, mostly because of the different dressings. The arugula has a sun-dried fig dressing, and the spinach is paired with white balsamic vinaigrette. We loved the Romaine Salad ($10 and more than enough for two to share) with its fullof-flavor focaccia croutons, shavings of grana cheese and blood orange dressing. This was a whole new twist on the classic Caesar salad. Our only disappointment was the Tuscan White Bean Soup ($8). The menu said “with sausage,” but there was little to be found in the broth. If it’s lunchtime, we heartily recommend the Centro Burger ($16). Everything about this big burger on toasted brioche pleased us. The eight ounces of Black Angus meat was topped with crispy prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese and pickled red onions. On the side was a ramekin of Chianti ketchup, which we will never tire of, especially when added to the excellent steak fries that came with this very Italian burger. At dinner, I would undoubtedly order the Pan-Seared King Salmon ($23) again and again. A very generous slab of thick salmon, cooked perfectly, was

served over a mellow Parmigiano potato cake (just like my mother used to make). The salmon was dressed with a limoncello reduction, a brilliant pairing of flavors, with fried caper berries and sautéed arugula alongside. After all these wonderful Italian flavors, I was craving a bit of gelato to end my meal but instead chose the Flourless Frangelico Chocolate Torte ($9), which was surprisingly light, topped with a mixed berry sauce, a bit of whipped cream and premium vanilla ice cream. The serving seemed small, but it was really just enough. All the usual desserts, such as Tiramisu and Crème Brulee, are also on the menu at Centro, as well as the much more interesting Panna Cotta with Amarena (sour cherries) and the PearRicotta Cheesecake with Vin Santo caramel. No matter how many good restaurants a city has, a fine hotel needs a signature spot. The Westin is now back in the game. Linda Beaulieu is the author of The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook, available at stores throughout the state.


One West Exchange Street (at the Westin) 598-8000 westinprovidence.com/ centro-restaurant

Photography: Kate Kelley

The beautiful restaurant

Feast | Dining Guide

A Ve vai nd lab a R le av at iol i

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Federal Hill, and one taste of their old world classics and contemporary Italian will remind you why. LD $$-$$$ BOMBAY CLUB 145 Dean St.; 2736363. Taste authentic North Indian cuisine in the cozy atmosphere of Bombay Club. The extensive menu includes Indian specialties such as lamb, seafood, vegetables and more. Weekends offer a lunch buffet. LD $-$$ BYBLOS 235 Meeting St.; 453-9727. Providence’s original hookah lounge offers more than just a relaxing smoke and chic atmosphere. You can also enjoy classic Lebanese dishes and light cuisine with your cocktail. LD $ Café Paragon 234 Thayer St.; 3316200. This hip eatery serves sandwiches, pasta, and entrees at prices lower than the chic décor would have you believe. The adjoining Viva lounge is perfect for after-dinner drinks and private parties. BrLD $-$$

Camille’s 71 Bradford St., 751-4812. This culinary landmark has been a Rhode Island favorite since 1914. Located on Historic Federal Hill, Camille’s offers many Italian favorites in a romantic atmosphere, including the restaurant’s famous Capellini Aglio. LD $$-$$$


prepared sushi. The gorgeous banquet room is available for private functions. LD $-$$$

Andreas 268 Thayer St.; 331-7879. For a taste of Greece, head to Andreas. Their menu includes souvlaki, moussaka and a variety of kabobs, along with specialties like Lemon Oregano Lamb Chops and Spanakopita, an appetizer of spinach and feta in flaky phyllo dough. BrLD $-$$

Aspire Restaurant 311 Westminster St.; 521-3333. Aspire offers an exquisite fine dining experience with a number of delicious small and large plates, numerous fine wines and full bar – with an emphasis on local ingredients. BBrLD $-$$$

Photography: Kate Kelley

ASIAN BISTRO 123 Dorrance St.; 3833551. Chinese, Japanese and Thai, hibachi and sushi – they’re all under one roof at Asian Bistro. For the freshest flavors in a convenient downtown location, this is the place. LD $-$$$ ASIAN PALACE 1184 North Main St.; 228-7805. All the flavors of Asia are here: from Chinese classics to new Thai favorites to fresh, impeccably


BLUEFIN GRILLE 1 Orms St. (Providence Marriott); 272-5852. The Bluefin Grille is a hideaway of casual elegance with a nautical atmosphere. The cuisine is globally inspired, utilizing fresh, local ingredients with an emphasis on responsibly caught seafood. LD $$$$$ BLUE GROTTO 210 Atwells Ave.; 2729030. “An old friend with a new attitude,” the Blue Grotto is an icon of

Br Brunch B breakfast L lunch D dinner $ under 10 $$ 10–20 $$$ 20+

CARLITTO’S CUCINA AT OLIVES 108 North Main Street; 751-1200. Thursday through Saturday nights, enjoy dinner and drinks at one of downtown’s best nightspots. With grilled pizzas and Italian classics, you can make it a great night out at Olives. D $-$$ CASERTA’S PIZZERIA 121 Spruce St.; 621-9190. This Rhode Island tradition serves big pizzas with generous toppings and thick, rich tomato sauce. The Wimpy Skippy, a spinach pie with cheese and pepperoni, is not to be missed. LD $-$$ CAV 14 Imperial Pl.; 751-9164. The New York Times’ choice as one of Providence’s five best restaurants, CAV’s contemporary upscale cuisine is available al fresco for lunch and dinner daily. They also feature weekend brunch. BrLD $$-$$$ DON JOSE TEQUILAS 351 Atwells Ave.; 454-8951. Don Jose’s digs a little deeper than your average Mexican restaurant, with all the basics you love alongside more artfully composed entrees and a wonderful selection of house-made tequilas. LD $$ EBISU 38 Pontiac Ave.; 270-7500. Ebisu serves Japanese classics like Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and Shabu-Shabu (hot pot style meats and vegetables) in a fun, relaxing atmosphere. Their full bar features many

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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Providence Monthly | January 2011

Feast | Dining Guide Asian specialty drinks. LD $-$$ GOURMET HOUSE 787 Hope St.; 8314722. Beautiful murals and decor set the mood for delicious Cambodian and Southeast Asian cuisine, spicy curries and noodle dishes. The tamarind duck is a must. LD $-$$ HARUKI EAST 172 Wayland Ave.; 2230332. For authentic Japanese dining, try Haruki’s large variety of sushi, sashimi, bento boxes, soba noodles and delicious specialty entrees. Enjoy the chic atmosphere and the freshest sushi around. LD $-$$$ HEMENWAY’S 121 South Main St.; 351-8570. A true Providence classic, Hemenway’s has been serving topnotch seafood for 20 years. Their oyster bar features everything from the famed Prince Edward Island variety to the local favorite, Poppasquash Point. LD $$-$$$ HUDSON STREET DELICATESSEN 68 Hudson St.; 228-8555. For a true neighborhood deli, head to the West Side. Try one of their delicious specialty sandwiches, using only quality Boar’s Head meats, including the biggest and best grinder in town. BLD $ Kartabar 284 Thayer St.; 331-8111 This European-style restaurant and lounge offers a full menu of unique dishes such as Champagne Sea Bass and Gorgonzola-stuffed Filet Mignon. They also offer a gourmet wine list and martini menu. LD $-$$ McFADDEN’S RESTAURANT AND SALOON 52 Pine St.; 861-1782. Looking for a great sports bar that also offers top-notch dining? Look no further. For game night, a quality lunch or dinner, or a great after-work cocktail, stop by McFadden’s. LD $-$$ MILLS TAVERN 101 North Main St., 272-3331. The only restaurant in RI to receive The Mobile Four Star Award for five consecutive years, Mills Tavern provides traditional American cuisine in a warm, friendly setting. LD $$-$$$ MU MU CUISINE 220 Atwells Ave.; 369-7040. Get a true taste of China in the heart of Federal Hill. Mu Mu mixes the best of familiar stateside favorites with a selection of authentic Chinese specialties. LD $-$$


NEW RIVERS 7 Steeple St.; 751-0350. Long considered one of Providence’s finest restaurants, the James Beard Award-nominated New Rivers serves creative New American cuisine with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients in an intimate setting. D $$-$$$ PARKSIDE 76 South Main St.; 3310003. Chef/owner Steven Davenport’s Parkside offers innovative foods ranging from spicy crab cakes to grilled tenderloin and Portobello salad. The menu also includes creative pasta dishes and Parkside’s signature rotisserie meat. LD $-$$ Pizza Gourmet 357 Hope St.; 7510355. Toppings like sirloin steak and shallots justify this pizza shop’s name. Also available are specialty pasta entrees and sandwiches. Their delicious white and wheat pizzas are also available in take-and-bake versions. LD $-$$ Pizzico Ristorante 762 Hope St.; 421-4114. Pizzico sets the standard for Italian cuisine on the East Side, with award-winning food, a wide variety of wine and a rustic yet eclectic atmosphere. LD $$-$$$

Frankly Scallop, I Don’t Give A Clam!

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Fried Clams • Baked Dinners • Chowder/Clam Cakes 809 Broadway, East Providence • 434-3116 www.hortonsseafood.com • Wed. Thur. Sat. 11-8, Fri. 10-9

PROVIDENCE OYSTER BAR 283 Atwells Ave.; 272-8866. Oyster Bar welcomes you to be spoiled by impeccable service and an innovative, seasonal menu. From traditional New England to international specialties to their impeccable raw bar, you won’t be disappointed. LD $$-$$$ PROVIDENCE PRIME 279 Atwells Ave.; 454-8881. Providence Prime combines the world’s finest beef with first class service in an upscale Manhattan-like atmosphere. It’s one of Providence’s premier steakhouses, bringing you the best USDA Prime beef. D $$-$$$ Red Stripe 465 Angell St.; 437-6950. It’s classic comfort food with French influences. From their Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup to ten styles of Moules & Frites, Red Stripe’s menu is reasonably priced and made with passion. LD $-$$$ Rue De L’espoir 99 Hope St.; 7518890. In business for over 30 years, the Rue has only gotten better. Beautifully prepared with the freshest ingredients, the innovative, constantly changing menu keeps diners on their toes. Superb brunch. BBrLD $$-$$$

Br Brunch B breakfast L lunch D dinner $ under 10 $$ 10–20 $$$ 20+

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Feast | Dining Guide Tomasso Auto Swedish Motors

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Providence Monthly | January 2011

Contemporary American Cuisine in an historic waterfront setting DeWolf Tavern at Thames Street Landing 259 Thames Street, Bristol www.DeWolftavern.com • 254-2005 www.bristolharborinn.com • 254-1444

Siena 238 Atwells Ave.; 521-3311. Federal Hill’s Siena features authentic Tuscan cuisine in a warm and lively atmosphere. The extensive menu includes wood-grilled veal, steak and seafood entrees along with signature pasta and sauté dishes. D $$-$$$

WATERMAN GRILLE 4 Richmond Square; 521-9229. An exquisite waterfront dining experience, Waterman Grille offers a plethora of delectable dishes including grille and seafood plates with a focus on seasonal flavors and local offerings. BrD $-$$$

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

Waterplace Restaurant & Lounge One Financial Way; 2721040. With its gorgeous views of Waterplace Park, this stylish eatery is guaranteed to please. The chic and sensible menu offers award-winning cuisine that is always fresh and seasonal. LD $$-$$$

Tazza Caffe 250 Westminster St.; 421-3300. One of downtown’s hottest spots for lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks, Tazza’s outstanding panini and burgers are the perfect accompaniment to their outdoor seating and live entertainment. LD $-$$ TEMPLE DOWNTOWN 120 Francis St.; 919-5050. This stylish restaurant in the historic Masonic Temple building features a variety of flavors from across the Mediterranean including pastas, kabobs, mezze, tagines, salads seafoods and more. D $$-$$$ TRATTORIA ZOOMA 245 Atwells Ave.; 383-2002. Located on historic Federal Hill, Zooma offers award winning Neapolitan cuisine in a beautiful, upscale setting, specializing in house made pasta, local fish, meats, vegetables and authentic wood fired pizza. LD $$-$$$ Twist on Angell 500 Angell St.; 831-4500. Get casual fine dining with a “twist” at this popular Wayland Square restaurant. With creative takes on classic comfort food and inventive appetizers and entrees, it’s a successful combination of food and flair. D $$ United BBQ 146 Ives Street, 7519000. Barbecue is an art form here. Feed the inner man with a classic rack of ribs (sold in half or whole racks) or make it light with a “Tofurkey” kielbasa sandwich from the menu’s Weird Stuff section. They deliver. LD $-$$ WALTER’S RISTORANTE D’ITALIA 286 Atwells Ave.; 273-2652. Experience the authentic flavors of Chef Walter Potenza, a name long synonymous with Italian food in Rhode Island. This is a must-stop for foodies and caters to gluten-free diners. D $$-$$$

East Bay Boneyard Barbecue and Saloon 540 Central Ave., Seekonk; 508-761-6855. From tender, juicy pulled pork to full and half racks of ribs to chicken wings with over 30 sauces to choose from, Boneyard will satisfy your appetite for food and fun. LD $-$$ BUCA DI BEPPO 353 Highland Ave., Seekonk; 508-336-4204. Dine with family and friends while enjoying the Italian traditions of food, friendship and hospitality. Buca di Beppo’s dishes are served family style and are meant to be shared. LD $-$$ DEWOLF TAVERN 259 Thames St., Bristol; 254-2005. Set in a historic stone warehouse, DeWolf Tavern offers casual dining and drinks on its outdoor patio. An elegant upstairs dining area serves contemporary American cuisine by acclaimed Chef Sai. D $$-$$$ HORTON’S SEAFOOD 809 Broadway, East Providence; 434-3116. Enjoy the finest of fresh seafood at this family-owned-and-operated restaurant. Horton’s is famous for their fried clams and fish and chips, and offers takeout. LD $-$$ Ichigo Ichie 5 Catamore Blvd., East Providence; 435-5511. The name roughly translates as “one encounter in a lifetime,” but you’ll want to visit again and again for the enchanting Japanese décor, and of course, the sushi and hibachi menus. LD $$ JACKIE’S GALAXIE 338 Metacom Ave., Bristol; 253-8818. Jackie’s offers

Tuesday special: Manicure and Pedicure for $28! *Now Offering Shellac Manicure an eclectic taste of Asia, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese. Enjoy traditional recipes combined with modern technique and flair for a unique dining experience. LD $-$$$

South County BISTRO 9 1646 Division St., East Greenwich; 884-5656. Overlooking the East Greenwich Golf Course, Bistro 9 serves up American and Italian cuisine seven days a week, year round. Enjoy steak, seafood, pasta and a full service bar. LD $-$$ CHELO’S WATERFRONT 1 Masthead Dr., Warwick; 884-3000. Everybody’s favorite chain of Rhode Island family restaurants also provides great waterfront dining overlooking Greenwich Bay. Enjoy all the classics, plus deck and lawn seating, fire pits and live entertainment. LD $-$$ COAST GUARD HOUSE 40 Ocean Rd., Narragansett; 789-0700. This beachfront institution serves classic New England seafood, plus pasta, steak and a raw bar, all in the shadow of the iconic Narragansett Towers. Outdoor bars offer more casual fare. LD $-$$$ ELEVEN FORTY NINE RESTAURANT 1149 Division St, (Warwick/East Greenwich line), 884-1149. 965 Fall River Ave., Seekonk; 508-336-1149. Metropolitan chic comes to the suburbs at this super stylish restaurant with a raw bar, outstanding menu, and some of the best cocktails around. LD $$-$$$ FLARE BRICK OVEN BISTRO 577 Tiogue Ave., Coventry; 615-8577. Flare serves a wide variety of pizzas fresh from their brick oven, including a “build your own” option. Also, choose from sophisticated steak, pasta, seafood and chicken dishes. LD $-$$ KON ASIAN BISTRO 553 Main St., East Greenwich; 886-9200. This innovative bistro sets the standard for Asian food in southern RI, featuring a variety of sushi and sashimi, classic rolls, hibachi combos, and delicious sushi entrées. LD $-$$$


LILIANA’S 3009 Tower Hill Rd., South Kingstown; 789-4200. Serving authentic Italian at affordable prices, Liliana’s offers great service in a family atmosphere. Owner Dino Passeretta brings over 15 years of experience Boston, New York and Miami to South County. LD $$-$$$ RHODY JOE’S SALOON 515 Kingstown Rd., South Kingstown; 312-6500. Rhody Joe is a legendary Rhode Islander and his namesake saloon does right by his good name, serving up mammoth burgers, grilled pizzas and lots of classic pub fare. LD $-$$ SIENA CUCINA 5600 Post Rd., East Greenwich; 885-8850. Siena features authentic Tuscan cuisine in a warm and lively atmosphere, plus over 20 wines by the glass and an Italian “tapas” menu. D $$-$$$ TAVERN BY THE SEA 16 West Main St., North Kingstown; 294-5771. Located in historic Wickford, Tavern by the Sea offers a relaxed yet romantic atmosphere and an array of dishes like seafood, burgers and a complete kids’ menu. LD $$


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We’re Celebrating our Silver Jubilee Year! Cheers! 25th year 1986-2011 284 Wickenden Street, Providence • 351-1775 "A landmark known for quality and creativity of its constantly evolving menu . . . One of Rhode Island's very own fine dining places." Bob Mariani, Find RI.com "The favorite Sunday brunch spot." Glamour Magazine

ENN JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR 600 George Washington Hghwy, Lincoln; 333-0366. Enn serves authentic Japanese cuisine with the freshest ingredients possible. You’ll find classics like tempura and teriyaki mixed with eclectic innovations like Spicy Tuna Tostadas and Tuna Tartar a la Korean. LD $-$$

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Rue De L’Espoir American Bistro Cooking

open daily breakfast, lunch, dinner 99 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906 info/reservations 751-8890 www.therue.com

VINTAGE RESTAURANT 2 South Main St., Woonsocket; 765-1234. In the heart of Woonsocket, Vintage offers top notch cuisine without the top notch prices. Enjoy classics with creative twists in a casual but sophisticated setting. LD $-$$ WILDFIRE 1874 Mineral Spring Ave., North Providence; 353-7110. This brick oven pizzeria and bar offers a friendly, relaxed atmosphere for dining out with family, friends or colleagues. Enjoy an extensive menu featuring sandwiches, salads, burgers, panini and pasta. LD $-$$

Br Brunch B breakfast L lunch D dinner $ under 10 $$ 10–20 $$$ 20+

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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Providence Monthly | PROVIDENCE January 2011 MONTHLY

1/4 PAGE TRIM: 4.375" X 5.875

Get Out

Events / art / music / MOVIES / theatre

A Decade in the Making

Artwork by Thomas Sgouros

January 20: Break out the tasteful party hat – Gallery Z is turning ten! Granted, in the civilized world, surviving a decade on the planet isn’t quite the accomplishment it used to be. But the rules are a bit different for humans versus art establishments. Since January 2001, Providencebased photographer Berge Ara Zobian has been committed to supporting artists by offering an intimate setting in which to share their creations, while at the same time presenting meaningful and highly collectible forms of artistic expression to

engage a diverse audience. The opening reception from 5-9pm, which also holds the distinction of being the gallery’s 100th exhibition, doubles as a birthday celebration. And while you’ll probably miss out on a raucous game of pin-the-tail-on-thedonkey, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the featured works by 24 artists of the NetWorks shows produced by Joseph A. Chazan, MD, with the chance to purchase a piece in a tax free zone. Gallery Z, 259 Atwells Avenue. 454-8844, galleryzprov.com. –Dawn Keable

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Get Out | Calendar

by Dawn Keable

Taste of India Authentic Indian Cuisine

“Where The Taste Says It All” Everyday Lunch Buffet

FULL BAR 230 Wickenden St, Providence 421-4355 • 453-2288 www.tasteofindiaprovri.com

This Month January 1 Ring in the New Year Arctic Circle style with a Polar Bear Plunge at Easton’s Beach, Newport. www.newportpolarbears.bravehost.com/.

Visit The Gallery/Studio of Anthony Tomaselli 419-2821


Your neighborhood yarn shop. Providing quality yarns, knitting and crochet supplies with friendly, knowledgeable service and a smile.

fresh purls

769A Hope St, Providence 270-8220 • www.freshpurls.com

Invest in you . . .

Life Coaching Your key to a better life

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


Providence Monthly | January 2011

January 4 Save the world with the Standard First Aid with CPR/AED-Adult, Child and Infant skills picked up in Providence. www.riredcross. org. January 8-9 Listen to the ultimate bedtime story, all night long, as New Bedford’s Moby Dick Marathon spans twenty-five hours. www.whalingmuseum.org. January 9 Visit the Southern New England Bridal Expo at the Convention Center, to avoid the wedding day fashions of northern Maine. www.southernnewenglandbridalexpo.com. January 10 Uncover the secrets of The Mob and Me: Wise Guys and the Witness Protection Program with Arlene Violet at the Weaver Library in East Providence. www. eastprovidencelibrary.org. January 13 Applaud not just the Last Comic Standing, but the finalists of Season 7, taking the mic at Veterans Memorial Auditorum. www. vmari.org. January 15 Dish with Bethenny Frankel, Bravo reality and culinary star, at Veterans Memorial Auditorum. www.vmari.org. January 17-23 Celebrate Black Storytelling, with the lucky number 13th edition of

Start Your Engines January 27-30: Kick a tire or two at the Northeast International Auto Show. Okay, maybe not literally. Those steel-toed winter boots you’re sporting could do a bit of fender damage if your accuracy were slightly off. You certainly don’t want to be asked to leave before you gather enough information from each of the major auto manufacturers, spread out over two levels, to help in your decision. While these parked prospects can assist in narrowing the field quickly, without trudging through snow banks from lot to lot you’re not going to be able to get a highway type test drive within the Convention Center. But nothing says that you can’t ask one of the sales reps to get in the backseat and recreate the experience. January 27-28: noon-10pm, January 29: 10am-10pm, January 30: 10am-6pm. $9, $6 seniors, $4 ages 7-12. Rhode Island Convention Center, One Sabin Street. 458-6000, motortrendautoshows.com. Funda Fest, across the state. www. ribsfest.org. January 29-30 Trade the slots for the bottle at Mohegan Sun during the Sun Winefest – only not at the same time.

www.sunwinefest.com. January 31 Wrestle free of your daily aggressions with help from WWE Monday Night Raw at the Dunk. www.dunkindonutscenter.com.



Have you ever DIFFERENT in

Keith Dennis – 53 years old, went from 228 to 153


Weight Loss • Diets • Work Out Programs

1385 Mineral Spring Ave. North Providence, RI Fitness-technologies.com • 401-353-7580

wondered what’s our classrooms?

W he r e Q ua ke r e

MB to see oses BrownVisit School CONFIDENCE an

Attend OPEN HOUSE at Moses Brown School

Sunday, January 9, 2011 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. (last tour at 3:30 p.m.) Learn more about MB, an early learning through grade 12 school on the East Side, at our next Open House. Meet faculty and students and witness the pursuit of excellence and other hallmarks of Quaker education. Please stay to hear our award-winning upper school ensembles (wind & percussion) in concert after Open House, taking place at 4:30 in the Waughtel-Howe Field House.

Moses Brown School 775 girls & boys early childhood – grade 12 250 Lloyd Ave., Providence

Learn more at: www.mosesbrown.org & find us on facebook

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Bring in the New Year Right with Tony Cerbo Southern New England’s ONLY Michael Bublé Act!

Book Tony Cerbo for your Special Event! Call 401.516.0571 SATURDAY JANUARY 15Th

Graziano’s 501 Cafe’

501 Park Ave, Portsmouth RI, 6PM SATURDAY JANUARY 22ND

Uncle Ronnies Red Tavern

2692 Victory Hwy, Nasonville RI, 8:30PM EvERY FRiDAY NighT STARTiNg JANUARY 14Th

Capital Grille- in the Lounge 1 Union Station, Providence RI

820 Hope Street, Providence 342 Broadway, Providence

Rumford Center, 20 Newman Avenue, East Providence


For directions and hours, visit us at www.sevenstarsbakery.com

Do You Know the Catering Gourmet ? Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed with Corn Bread and Sun-Dried Cherries

Tradition... Redefined Experience award winning cuisine where casual meets refined. Two fireplaces, colorful decor and fine art make Zooma as entertaining on the eye as it is on the palate. Also Offering • Spicy Tuna Rolls for Your Cocktail Party • Sandwich Platters for Any Occasion • Chicken Wings and Brats for Game Day • Chicken Parm & Pasta for Your Child’s Birthday

The Catering Gourmet Imagine the Possibilities!

401.751.0355 • Open Mon-Sun • Open Late 357 hope street, providence, ri 02906 • www.thepizzagourmet.net


Providence Monthly | January 2011

Private room available for up to 30 people Open Daily For Lunch and Dinner 245 Atwells Ave., Providence www.trattoriazooma.com 383.2002

Get Out | Music

by Alyssa Smith

Concerts Check out this month’s awesome shows by Dawn Keable B-HIVE!

Your Own Private Providence B-HIVE! keeps the B-52s’ party alive As many music aficionados have said, cover bands can be a touchy subject. What makes artists want to devote their music careers to imitate someone else’s signature sound, anyway? Is it the novelty factor, the sheer devotion or is it simply a lack of creativity? Whatever the reason, many musicians continue to pay homage and even cash in on impersonating songs first made famous by other bands and artists. While some are undoubtedly lame and can’t hold a candle to the “real thing,” some cover bands’ skills actually rival the original music and provide a necessary second spin, giving that old sound some fun, new tricks. One member of that elusive category of cover – nay, tribute – bands is the Providence based BHIVE!, a B-52s homage. Started by long-time musician and local performer Jo-Anna Cassino, the band was formed three years ago to pay tribute to her complete “geekery” for all things B-52s related. “They were the first concert I went to, when I was 15,” Cassino recalls. “I always loved them. They were the ultimate party band.” After long using her vocal prowess as a frontwoman, Cassino also thought the band would be a good way to showcase her other musical talents while letting someone else

get the limelight; she opted to play the role of B-52s singer, Cindy Wilson. Assembling her band mates was her next step, and Cassino first enlisted her friend and occasional karaoke partner-in-crime Adam Comire to take on the role of Fred Schneider. Never a professional singer but always prepared to get fabulous, Comire had no idea his vocal abilities could match one of his idols until JoAnna convinced him to try. “It was so nerve-wracking, but if I wasn’t good at it, Jo-Anna would’ve let me know,” Comire explains. After performing the first two songs with his back turned during their debut show, Comire got over his fears quickly and was ready to put his hot pants on and perform. Cassino’s other band mates occurred through chance meetings, her other career as a hair stylist and through the always-reliable Craigslist. “We found our drummer, Frank through the rehearsal space we were renting; Kelly, the bassist, because I cut her hair; and Ryan, the keyboardist through Craigslist, in addition to Dave, our guitarist,” Cassino says. The six-piece band has seen quite a bit of turnover due to the assumption that the B-52s’ light-hearted sound would be easy to replicate. “It’s actually some of the hard-

est music I’ve had to learn,” bassist Kelly McCullough, who plays Kate Pierson, notes. “The rhythm section is really complicated, and the lyrics are so quirky – it’s not written in straight forms,” drummer Frank Stannem adds. Playing the Dark Lady, RISD events, and most recently The 201 in Providence, the band hopes to continue to rock as many venues possible and impress the audience with their elaborate costumes and ability to play any and all B-52s songs. “We’ll play the hits on the radio, but then we go back and forth between their older albums and their newer stuff because people from all different time periods listened to them,” Comire says. Prepared to don the campiest costumes and wigs, the sky is the limit for the sound and the sights of B-HIVE! Cassino and Comire have some lofty goals for their upcoming shows. “I’d really like to play RI Pride,” Cassino says, as she dreams of wigs and dressing the male musicians as Kate and Cindy. “One show, I want to ride on a disco ball with my gold lamé and roller skates on,” Comire adds. To experience their “Cosmic Thing” and see upcoming shows, check out the B-HIVE! Facebook page.

January 7 Go ahead and thank Edwin McCain. Ten years ago, the Southern soulster added “I Could Not Ask For More” to your wooing playlist, making you look both sensitive and romantic. Showcase Live, 23 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA. 888-354-7042, showcaselive.com.

January 14 Forget all your learned museum etiquette. Talk, eat and dance in the newly reopened European galleries to the high energy funk, soul and blues of Sauce, featuring vocals of Chelsey Lau. The RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, Providence. 454-6500, risdmuseum. org.

January 15 Curtsey if the urge hits during The Royalty of Doo-Wop, reintroducing the former lead singers of The Flamingos, The Ink Spots and Billy Davis, who have earned this respect. Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Main Street, Woonsocket. 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com.

January 22 The online program notes for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra classical concert Pictures and a Piano can make you look like you actually belong here, versus posing. Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Avenue of the Arts. 421-2787, vmari.org.

January 28 If Robert Plant’s first band, and current album, The Band of Joy, had taken off in ‘66, Led Zeppelin and rock would have been altered. MGM Grand Theatre, Foxwoods Resort Casino, 39 Norwich Westerly Road, Mashantucket, CT. 1-800-FOXWOODS, foxwoods.com.

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Get Out | Theatre

by Molly Lederer

Go.Go. Plays!

Love, Death and Pickles A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Surprises abound at Elemental’s Fifth Annual Go.Go. Plays Here’s a riddle for you. What do a bone, a pickle and a moment of intense light have in common? Get your mind out of the gutter, please – this is a respectable column. The answer is: the four world premieres of The Fifth Annual Go.Go. Plays! (That was your second guess, right?) The festival, produced by Providence’s ever-innovative Elemental Theatre Collective, challenges playwrights to incorporate five wacky elements in the creation of new works. This year, in addition to the aforementioned items, the writers had to interweave the concepts of “mistaken identity” and “something important going unheard.” The results, written in six short weeks, are smart, surprising and wildly diverse. Alexander Platt, local theatre artist and Artistic Director of Elemental Theatre Collective, directs all four short plays in this year’s festival. Over 30 brave playwrights accepted the challenge and sent in their original works. Winnowing down the entries to four winning plays was no easy task, but Platt predicts, “It’s going to give you a lot to think about and a lot to chew off, without hitting you over the head with it.” The required use of five elements could be limiting, but the Go.Go. writers all seemed to find it liberating. For award-winning playwright George Brant, who also contributed a piece to last year’s fest, the idea of “mistaken identity” inspired his new work. He describes the dark comedy Baby Talk, a fast-paced tale with a surprising twist, as being “about two couples’ attempt to attain perfection through their children.” Of the festival’s rules, he says, “There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page and the prospect of limitless possibility – having a few elements that must be incorporated into a play funnels one’s creativity quite helpfully.” A relative newcomer to the Providence scene, veteran playwright Rob Grace began his Go.Go. submission with an idea totally unrelated to the five elements: “the free market’s deleterious effects on the soul.” He explains of his tender, moving, and often funny play, The Pickle Shop, “The obligation to include the elements forced me to investigate this material in different ways, from different angles.” Jill Blevins, who has worked with Elemental as an ac62

Providence Monthly | January 2011

tor and director before, views participation in the Go. Go. fest as a great opportunity to develop as a playwright. After spending a few days mulling over the elements, she awoke one morning with the idea for her play Wake – a short but powerful piece in which each element matters (except for, possibly, the pickle. “Pickles are just funny!” she points out). In Blevins’ play, two siblings return from their father’s funeral and wind up in a heated discussion of his will. Resentments flare and long-buried secrets emerge as death dredges up painful truths about the family. For his submission, Dave Rabinow – playwright, performer, co-founder of Elemental and theatrical wunderkind – penned A Brief History of the Earth and Everything in It (As performed by Ms. LoPiccolo’s Third-Grade Drama Group from the William Jennings Bryan Elementary School in Springfield, Missouri). With a title like that, it just had to be a musical. Rabinow sums up the play as being “about a bunch of third graders who create a subversive musical comedy in an attempt to subvert their school’s Christian fundamentalist culture.” Along the way, the kids explore the meaning of life, the role of religion and the threat of “Level Four Detention.” In a relatively short time, both the Go.Go. Plays festival and the Elemental Theatre Collective itself have developed a reputation for featuring wonderfully original works. This year’s batch of new plays raises serious questions without being heavy-handed about it: how we accept ourselves in the face of ugly truths, how we stand up for ourselves in times of adversity, how love endures in spite of great obstacles. Turns out that there’s a lot you can learn from a bone, a pickle and a moment of intense light.

The Fifth Annual Go.Go. Plays

January 27 – February 13 Elemental Theatre Collective 95 Empire Street (Home of Perishable Theatre) elementaltheatre.org

On Stage See what’s going up this month by Dawn Keable

January 6-16 Even though there might be a fake cat corpse or two on stage for The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a black comedy by Martin McDonagh, no actual animals were hurt during this production. Conley’s Wharf, 200 Allens Avenue. thewilburygroup.com.

January 11-16 Thriving Dominican and Puerto Rican population? Check. Hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul soundtrack? Check. In The Heights will be just as at home here as in NYC. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street. 421-2997, ppac.org.

January 14-February 27 Maybe things would have turned out a bit differently for The Murder Trial of John Gordon if the jury had these facts, instead of the 1843 version resulting in RI’s final execution. Park Theatre, 848 Park Avenue, Cranston. 467-7275, parktheatreri.com.

January 21-30 The four couples trying to work out the troubles of their marriages in a Bedroom Farce apparently understand that you should never go to bed angry, but not the fact that pillow fights cure all. Jenks Auditorium, 350 Division Street, Pawtucket. 726-6860, thecommunityplayers.org.

January 28-30 I’m With The Band is less hardcore Pamela Des Barres groupie and more rock and roll play with music, created by kids in partnership with Girls Rock RI. The Media and Arts Center at Met Public, 325 Public Street. 3317007, mantonavenueproject.org.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


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Providence Monthly | January 2011

Get Out | Movies

by Scott Duhamel

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Style and Substance Two hotshot directors return to form

Two late season releases, Black Swan and The Fighter, are already appearing on a majority of film nitcrit’s top ten lists and garnering nominations by the great spate of end-of-the year awarding bodies. Both films, while quite different in tone and execution, share one common element: they are helmed by on-the-rise directors with considerable talents, who both boast relatively small but sharp and intriguing bodies of work. Darren Aronofsky, director of Black Swan, made his initial splash with the much praised Pi in 1998, followed up by the vivid Requiem for a Dream, the admirably grand failure that was The Fountain and then his popular comeback effort The Wrestler. Black Swan is swaggering with style – yet another of Aronofsky’s patented tales of despair and self-destruction, this time set in the seemingly delicate world of ballet. David O. Russell initially made a name for himself with the idiosyncratic Spanking the Monkey in 1994, followed by the low-key and equally quirky Flirting with Disaster, then the superb Three Kings and the overtly droll and sadly unseen I Heart Huckabees. While The Fighter is ostensibly a boxing film, it actually can rest quite assuredly on the shelf with Russell’s prior self-puncturing character studies, and it is indeed crafted with a potent mix of directorial dexterity and razor sharp acting. The acting in Black Swan is commendable too, particularly the full goose, looney central performance

of Natalie Portman (easily her best screen work so far), the type of acting turn that brings both Oscar nominations and hipster hating. Barbara Hershey registers strongly as a smothering stage mother, while Mila Kunis is something of a revelation as a fellow ballerina who is hard to distinguish as friend or foe. Aronofsky, working with his regular cinematographer Matthew Libatique, follows Portman around with a highly affecting stalking camera, a camera that also dances and pirouettes with a distinctive fluidity. Black Swan starts out as a classic glimpse into a particular arena of the arts, a movie ostensibly about commitment and artistic passion, but it slowly evolves into a nightmarish tour de force, cheekily transforming from a god’s eye view of a dancer’s intensity and grace to a Grand Guignol probe into the psychology of repression. It’s a visceral and hallucinatory ride, accented by dozens of subliminal directorial touches and a strange, just this side of supernatural suggestion of doubling and doppelgangers: an art film that is streaked with blood, passion and an ever mounting touch of delirium. On the other hand The Fighter, marketed and understandably categorized as another entry in the age-old boxing film sweepstakes, is one of those genre excursions that is made better by most of what takes place outside the ring, a study of a certain type of peculiarly Massachusetts provincialism. The movie depicts the true tales of boxing half-brothers Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) and Mickey Ward

(Mark Wahlberg), their steel-eyed (and willed) Irish-American mother/manager (Melissa Leo), Mickey’s townie-with-some-smarts gal pal (Amy Adams), and – perhaps the most important character – the suffocatingly gray, acrid and potentially toxic air of their own personal playground/prison, the city of Lowell. The Fighter may not quite scale the boxing film tower of greatness, but it is a rousing melodrama with galvanizing performances by all of the abovementioned. Best of all, the movie neatly balances itself between Bale’s all-the-way, astoundingly showy depiction of the herky-jerky ball-of-misspent-fire that is crack-addicted Dicky, and Wahlberg’s admirably restrained, astonishingly vanity-less and largely reactive (but heartfelt) choices as Mickey. The Fighter works as uproarious glance at the type of familial love that is linked directly to familial dysfunction; it also works as a spritely boxing tale, and it may work best as an exploration of the socio-economic and psychological restraints, burdens and inherent contradictions brought on when one is part of a blue collar, stay-athome, urban culture. The Fighter is wonderfully ambivalent about it all, a movie both crackling and kinetic, yet brushed with deserved pathos. It’s obvious that David O. Russell, like Darren Aronofsky, is currently working on all cylinders, thus the devout and ever hopeful filmgoer should already be brimming with anticipation over their respective next movies.

Film Here’s what’s showing on the local big screen. by Dawn Keable

January 7-8 The Three Stooges Film Festival gives you complete permission to take a breather from that overly polite decorum that seems to be expected from civilized adults. Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Main Street, Woonsocket. 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com.

January 11 Maybe you’ve always wanted to see the course before you strapped on your running shoes. Hood To Coast documents and sneak peeks the world’s longest relay in Oregon. Showcase Cinemas Warwick, 1200 Quaker Lane. 885-1621, nationalamusements. com.

January 12 How do you change all of those predictable Hollywood endings? The obvious answer: Write Your Own Blockbuster during a fourpart class that’ll help you understand the ins and outs of screenwriting. Learning Connection. 274-9330, learnconnect.com.

January 19 Sure, there might be Trouble In Paradise, the 1932 film produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch, but you can just focus on the exquisite costumes, jewels and grand Venice hotels. Barrington Public Library, 281 County Road, Barrington. 247-1920, barringtonlibrary.org.

January 22 Just when you were feeling smug about the innovation of our local movie industry, this Silent Film Series reveals classics made in RI from 1915-1929, as well as our ability to be ahead of time again. Aldrich House, 110 Benevolent Street. 273-8107, rihs.org.

January 2011 | Providence Monthly


Get Out | Art

by Vikki Warner

Exhibits Get inspired at this month’s artsy events by Dawn Keable

The Archivist Painter A portrait of the artist as a collector Buck Hastings is a collector of images – old or new, scientific or fanciful, if it catches his eye, he stockpiles it. He’s a connoisseur of the hazy, saturated colors of photos from old books and magazines. He maintains neatly arranged stacks of photocopies and cutouts, some unaltered, others cut up and collaged together to create an epic dreamland from which he can choose subjects or concepts for his dazzling oil paintings. In his studio, he has hundreds of such small compositions at his disposal, ready to become larger painted works when the mood strikes. When Hastings, a 2006 RISD painting grad from the Chicago suburbs, was commissioned by the owners of the Cable Car Cinema to create murals for its newly renovated theater, for example, he delved into his image arsenal and gathered a selection of small collages that he envisioned enlarging to paint the three large, distinct sections of the wall. After discussions with the cinema’s owners, three individual collages were settled upon, and Hastings set himself to the daunting task of painstakingly painting the bold, surreal murals. They’re the perfect embellishment for this much-loved local institution – colorful, Providence-centric (just like our city, they’re dreamy and industrial at the same time) and painted with a deft hand and a spirit of fun and humor. Thoughtful and introspective, Hastings is quite willing to change his approach, to veer from previous definitions of his style if it will encourage growth and reflection. To that end, when not painting commissions, he’s spent the last year working outdoors on representations of the forest floor, hoping to free up his tech66

Providence Monthly | January 2011

nique and, after years of realistic, detailed painting, create looser, semi-abstract layers of observed color. Hastings paints the colors that we don’t usually see, the patterns that dance across every surface but recede when we try to look directly at them. Jagged, frenetic lines tear across the canvas; colors jump provocatively. These are not your standard, prosaic naturescapes; they have an air of unrestrained excitement about them. While Hastings continues to define his particular artistic outlook, he enjoys being able to produce paintings in both abstract and realistic styles, with collages and other work thrown in to keep him limbered up. His commissions run the gamut from intricately hand-lettered signage to untraditional family portraits to small billboards and pieces for private collections. His personal work is contemplative and existential, with wild, varied subjects and recurring themes such as freedom vs. confinement and manmade disaster vs. natural beauty and perfection. He blends patterns, leading the eye to question where one ends and another begins, and in the end revealing the interconnectedness of nature. In a too-fast, always-bored world, Hastings’ pensive methods and straightforward enthusiasm about his work are rare. The wooded path he’s treading is exactly the right one. Buck Hastings’ website, buckhastings.com, displays many of his recent paintings and collages, as well as his Cable Car murals and other commissions. He can be reached at buckhastings@yahoo.com. Some of his recent work is currently on display at New Rivers, 7 Steeple Street.

Through January 7 You can learn the intricacies of The Arts of Outer Mongolia or just admire the pretty colors. Reilly Gallery, Providence College, 549 River Avenue. 865-2400, providence.edu.

January 8 What kind of stories do you tell with your tummy? Note: being hungry doesn’t count. These belly dancers make up for your deficiency with 1001 Tales In The Dark, a rework of the classics. Perishable Theatre, 95 Empire Street. 331-2695, perishable.org.

January 9 Those recently wrapped holiday parties made you aware that your cocktail small talk needs a major revamp. Learning a bit about Paul Gaugin, one founder of primitivism, should help. RISD Continuing Ed, 20 Washington Place. 454-6200, risd.edu/ce.

January 9-27 Watercolor Now! features work from the Watercolor USA Honor Society based in Springfield, MO. Please don’t ask anyone why you haven’t been nominated yet. Rhode Island Watercolor Society, Slater Park, Armistice Boulevard, Pawtucket. 726-1876, riws.org.

January 13 AS220 Director Bert Crenca says that You Can’t Call Your Own Baby Ugly. And although the sentiment equally applies to child rearing, this lecture focuses on art. Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket. pawtucketartscollaborative.org.

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January 2011 | Providence Monthly


The Last Detail

You might have noticed

something different about Hope Street recently. Sure, for the last month it has been lit up by holiday decorations and crammed with shoppers, but that wasn’t it. What could it be? Oh, right – it’s the four brand new, oversized public art installations by Pawtucket artist Donald Gerola. Adding the vivid, unmissable sculptures was the bright idea of Asher Schofield of Hope boutique Frog and Toad. “My feeling is that we could do much better by our arts community. A great way of doing that is with public art: even though it’s just a sculpture, it’s emblematic of a larger creative movement - of every artist, sculptor and musician we have in Providence,” he says. Schofield


Providence Monthly | January 2011

spearheaded the movement, which was backed by the Hope Street Merchants Association and financed by donors like Miriam Hospital, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, Citizens Bank, Seven Stars Bakery and Friends of Rochambeau Library. “It’s so important to not only show that we have an arts scene, but to bring it to the next generation,” Schofield says. “The idea behind this is also to inspire children to keep that creative energy going in our community.” With the demise of the Wickenden Street mural, this new art popped up just when the city needed it most. Now, imagine the possibilities if other neighborhoods followed in Hope’s artsy footsteps… -Julie Tremaine

Photography: Dan Schwartz

Hope Street Goes Artsy


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Profile for Providence Media

Providence Monthly January 2010  

10 to Watch for 2011: Our annual list of the city's Rising Stars Dining in Style at the Westin The B-Hives head to the love shack Drink Fash...

Providence Monthly January 2010  

10 to Watch for 2011: Our annual list of the city's Rising Stars Dining in Style at the Westin The B-Hives head to the love shack Drink Fash...