PULSE MAGAZINE: JANUARY 2022

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PULSE MAGAZINE: JANUARY 2022 COVER STORY PEOPLE TO WATCH 2022

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ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS & CULTURE

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Now Streaming 12 LIFESTYLE Arts & Culture 13 NEW YEAR Listings SELF CARE Entertainmant Listings

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PulseShots 16

DINING REVIEW Dining Review: BREEN’S CAFE New in the Woo: THE WINE BABES CANAL DISTRICT WINES

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420 in 508

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Out and About

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Style Savvy

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SPORT AND FITNESS Shaun Knows

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Sports?

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Hot & Now 22

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PulseBrew 23

24 Paul Giorgio, Publisher pgiorgio@pagioinc.com David Simone, Vice President, Sales dsimone@pagioinc.com Jenny Pacillo, Editior jpacillo@pagioinc.com Kevin La, Art Director kla@pagioinc.com Michael Brevde, Executive Events Coordinator mbrevde@pagioinc.com

READ PULSE ONLINE: THEPULSEMAG.COM

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA: TWITTER @WORCESTERPULSE • INSTAGRAM @WORCESTERPULSE • FACEBOOK.COM/THEPULSEMAGAZINE

Bernie Whitemore, Jennifer Russo, Travis Duda, Jason Savio, Shaun Connolly, Giuliano D’Orazio, and Shannon Jutras Writers

PULSE Magazine is produced 12 times a year by Pagio Inc., 134 Gold St., Worcester, MA 01608. (508) 756-5006. Copyright 2021 All rights reserved. Pagio, Inc. does not hold itself responsible for statements made by any contributor. Statements or opinions expressed in Pulse reflect the views of the author(s) and not the official policy of the Pagio, Inc., unless so stated. Although all advertising material is expected to conform to ethical standards, acceptance does not imply endorsement by Pagio, Inc. unless so stated. Material printed in Pulse is covered by copyright. No copyright is claimed to any work of the U.S. government. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission. For information on permissions, reprints and other services, contact Pagio, Inc. Also by Pagio Inc.: Worcester Medicine, Vitality Magazine, Thepulsemag.com, Thevitalitymag.com, & TasteWorcester.com

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22 BY JASON SAVIO

Worcester has a lot of movers and shakers on the fast lane to making noise in 2022. From politics to entrepreneurs, here’s a look at some people who are making a name for themselves.

ALICE DILLON Alice Dillon is making sure everyone can enjoy art and not feel left out. As the associate director at Arts Worcester, Dillon says she is “demystifying” what goes into creating an art exhibit so that artists and those who come to view the work aren’t intimidated. Dillon started at Arts Worcester in 2018 as an intern while studying art history for both her bachelors and masters degrees at Clark University. Now, as associate director of Arts Worcester, she is in charge of all the steps that go into producing the physical exhibitions held at Arts Worcester’s galleries, including corresponding with the artists, describing what the gallery is looking for in terms of theme, and ultimately organizing and helping to set up the exhibitions. “I would say that I am most proud of the relationships I’ve cultivated with not only the artists but also the visitors to Arts Worcester” Dillon says. “Because I am very aware that walking into a gallery can be very intimidating for a new artist or just somebody walking in off the street.” She makes the experience at Arts Worcester more accessible by taking the time to answer questions artists have and creating signage for visitors who might be walking into a gallery for the first time and aren’t sure how to read artwork labels. Going into 2022, Dillon says there are “great and exciting exhibitions coming up,” and she’s also focusing on her own artwork as a fiber artist working with fabric and thread. She exhibits her work regularly in Worcester and is looking to expand.

KATHERINE AGUILAR It’s lit, literally, at Katherine Aguilar’s Kommon Sense Co. inside the Worcester Public Market. Specializing in all-natural soy wax candles, Kommon Sense is a “sustainable gift boutique” that also carries products like organic bath and body supplies from other woman-owned businesses. Aguilar, owner of Kommon Sense Co., started her business in 2019 as only an online merchant before adding her current brick and mortar location. She creates the candles herself as well as the holders, which are repurposed glass bottles she gets from the landfill. A U.S. immigrant from El Salvador, Aguilar is a proponent of woman-owned businesses. She is currently partnered up with 16 other businesses run by women and sells their products in her store. She has hopes of expanding to multiple locations across multiple states in the years to come. Aguilar says she wants to help as many young women as she can and is looking for interns who want to get involved with K. Sense Co. She also hopes to create a non-profit sector of her company in 2022.

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JOHN MURRAY

John Murray is making moves and making the most of the unprecedented time COVID brought. Between the time he graduated from Saint John’s High School in 2019 and his recent start at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Murray volunteered on multiple campaigns, including Tony Economou for Worcester City Council, Deval Patrick for President, and Joe Kennedy for Senate, for whom he worked communications and was an intern and a delegate at the Worcester caucus. He started his own student run political radio show at Worcester Polytechnic Institute called “Youth Views” where he’d interview political candidates. Murray has also got involved with student government at UMASS, serving as a senator on the Outreach and Development Committee. Murray took time off from school during the pandemic, and calls his decision “a blessing in disguise” because he was able to work in local political campaigns for Johanna Hampton-Dance for City Council District 2, Khrystian King for City Council at Large, and Jermaine Johnson for the Worcester School Committee. “Seeing the level of success across the city, and saying I played a small role in big history, is very fulfilling,” Murray says. Murray is looking forward to returning to UMass in the spring and in the interim has created a Facebook group called Worcester Political Dialogue to try to promote conversations about local politics and bettering the community.

MARIA RAVELLI

If you’ve seen a running fridge sitting outside around town lately, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. It’s part of Maria Ravelli’s Worcester Community Fridges, a mutual aid effort she founded in January 2021 to combat food insecurity in the city. The concept is exactly what it sounds like: an outdoor refrigerator that belongs to the community so that free food can be available to everyone 24/7. “Hundreds of families access the fridges on any given week,” Ravelli says. “There’s definitely a lot of food going in and out of the fridges every day.” Anyone can take what they need out of the fridge and also leave what they can, any time of the day, no questions asked. There are currently four locations: Main Street, Portland Street, Brooks Street, and South Street. Local businesses sponsor the electricity and allow the fridges to be placed nearby. Ravelli has a large group of volunteers helping her, but she says it’s really up to the community to take care of the fridges. Ravelli is already working on a location for a fifth fridge and is also piloting an upcoming mutual aid resource fair in the spring for all the local grass-roots organizations.

NICK LAZZARO At just 21 years old, Nick Lazzaro is already a big part of the community and striving to make a difference. He was elected to the Millbury School Committee when he was only 19 years old, where he currently sits as a board member, and is also the chairperson of the Policy Sub-Committee which reviews and suggests policy adjustments for the school committee to accept. “I enjoy the ability to represent the student perspective,” Lazzaro says when asked about his experience on the board. “Most of my policy making and decision making comes through the lens of how I would have reacted to these policies when I was a student. I enjoy being able to advocate for students who have previously been underrepresented.” Lazzaro is currently a Junior at Holy Cross and plans on going to law school. As for his work in the community, he is hoping to continue being active in local government in some capacity after his term is up in April. When not in class or working with the school committee, Lazzaro has his own small business called Nick’s On-Site Detailing that he’s used to create a scholarship fund for student entrepreneurs. t h epu ls emag.com

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DEREK CRUZ For something to get done, you have to get up and do it yourself. That’s the approach Derek Cruz took when he decided to run for Fitchburg city councilor of Ward 6 this past November and winning despite having no real political background. In fact, Cruz had gone to film school in L.A., but when he returned to Massachusetts after graduation he made a change in his career path. “Basically I just got pretty frustrated with what I was seeing on a national level across the board and got to a point during the pandemic and my isolation that I decided I either have to shut this TV off and live in my own little bubble, or shut this TV off and get involved,” he says. “I chose the latter.” Cruz, 32, “got the Campaigning for Dummies book and it worked out,” as he explains it. As a ward councilor, a lot of the work Cruz does is “constituent services,” the “day to day” issues, like fixing potholes and settling disputes between neighbors, for example. “I’m looking to build bridges and break down some of these barriers we put up during the pandemic,” he says. He describes his new role as “therapeutic.” “For anyone who is missing that sense of community, the best advice I can give is to get involved and give back to the community,” he says. “It’s a great feeling once you get involved.”

GUILLERMO CREAMER JR. If you’re working as an intern and enjoying a check, you may owe Guillermo Creamer Jr. a thank you. Creamer Jr., 27, is the co-founder of Pay Our Interns, an advocacy group that focuses on getting interns paid in the public and private sector. He co-founded Pay Our Interns in 2017 and to date it has gotten Congress to allocate over 45 million dollars in intern pay, according to Creamer Jr. Creamer Jr. knows what it’s like to be an unpaid intern because he once was one working at the D.C. Mayor’s Office and in Congress. “To put it bluntly, Pay Our Interns has completely changed the way internships function,” Creamer Jr. says. “It’s now less common to find an unpaid internship than it was five years ago.” A Worcester native, Creamer Jr. is no longer working hands-on with the D.C.based Pay Our Interns and is instead a remote special projects associate for Blue Haven Initiative, an impact investment organization, for which he is in charge of running a $3 million portfolio. Creamer Jr. is also on the Human Rights Commission for the city of Worcester, helping lead the police body-camera effort and “being in tune with human rights throughout the city.” He ran for city council during the last voting cycle but came up short. Not deterred, Creamer Jr. is not eliminating the chance of running again. “It’s possible,” he says. “I can’t say no.”

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SONIA PAULINO Sonia Paulino is all about sharing what she loves with others in the community. She recently started a teaching position at Worcester Technical High School after working as a software developer for nearly five years in the Worcester Public School system. As a software developer, Paulino worked on a small team developing internal applications--mostly apps administrators would use-such as a sign-in application for people visiting a school so the office could digitally keep track of everyone who entered the building. She’s also part of Code Squad, what she describes as a “nonprofit boot camp that teaches adults how to code.” It was there that she realized she has an affinity for teaching and decided to take on the role at Worcester Tech. “I thought that vocational teaching specifically was a good for me because I still love IT,” Paulino says. “It was my chance to combine my love of IT and my love of teaching.” In the new year, Paulino says she is going to strive to be a good teacher, positive influence, and get involved in the Worcester Tech community.

CLARE ROBBINS For Worcester native Clare Robbins, the future continues to look brighter and brighter. Last summer she was hired as the chief of staff to the Worcester City Council and in the fall was promoted to the role of assistant city clerk. As chief of staff to the city council, she says her responsibilities included assisting the councilors with day to day operations, events, communications, and constituent services. In her role as the assistant city clerk, she assists with election and clerk operations. Robbins has always had an interest in the political process. She graduated from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire with a degree in Politics and Gender studies, and studied at the school’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, a spot that every presidential candidate stopped to campaign. “It really showed me how important it is for elected officials to hear from citizens and influenced me to pursue a career in government,” Robbins says. “I particularly like municipal government since it affects everyday people the most.” Before joining the city of Worcester, Robbins was the state scheduler for United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. For 2022, Robbins says she is looking forward to continuing to work with her colleagues in the Clerk’s Office and serving the residents of Worcester.

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BRENDAN EDDY Chances are you may have met Brendan Eddy when he was a child knocking on doors helping his father, William J. Eddy, run for city councilor in Worcester. That experience developed a passion for politics for the younger Eddy, who has since gone on to serve as field director for District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson’s successful re-election campaign. Eddy also worked on congressman James P. McGovern’s campaign for re-election in 2020 and Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty’s campaigns for re-election as well as interning in his office in 2018 and 2019. Currently a senior at Boston University majoring in Political Science, Eddy is about to embark on a new adventure as a strategic engagement & business development intern at National Grid Ventures, working on a joint-venture with RWE to develop offshore wind farms along the east coast. He will be joining National Grid’s graduate development program post-graduation from Boston University in May 2022. “I’m proud to be a part of the clean energy transition and look forward to doing my part to ensure environmental sustainability,” he says.

LARDY NAVARRO Worcester’s own Lardy Navarro discovered his passion for fighting at a young age. “I used to fight in school, or you know, outside in the streets. I felt like people were bullying me because I was the smaller guy,” Navarrao explained. He began taking martial arts classes by the time he was 14 and hasn’t looked back since. Navarro is set to make his pro debut in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in early 2022 as the youngest fighter in the organization at only 20 years old. He will begin the year at a five week training camp with top fighters, boxers, and Olympains in Florida. As an amateur boxer, he won Golden Gloves, Silver Mittens, and even competed in the Nationals. Bare knuckle boxing was only recently sanctioned in the United States, and Navarro explains it’s a “whole different sport”. He is thankful for his strong support system in Worcester, ranging from his family to his sponsors. “I know from the bottom of my heart I’m going to do big things, I want people to tune in and get excited,” Navarro says.

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2022 sponsorship & advertising opportunities Now available! t h epu ls emag.com

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ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS & CULTURE

NOW STREAMING. JASON SAVIO

Words like “dark” and “haunting” get used quite a lot to describe certain kinds of music that traverse in the realm of metal. But in the case of Aquilus’ Bellum I, the music truly is dark and haunting in an unexpected way. Bellum I, the first half of a two-part sophomore release from Australian-based Aquilus, plays more like a soundtrack to a dark fairy tale or horror film. There are no real discernable lyrics—it’s a border line screamo but with a much bigger emphasis on atmosphere and melody than you’d expect, creating a wide open and cinematic feel. Many of the songs clock in at over eight minutes and will jump from extremely heavy and fast metal with double bass drums one minute, to soft, menacing piano and acoustic guitar melodies the next. The approach of going big and then drawing it back is one that Aquilus likes to use often, notably on “Eternal Unrest,” an over 13-minute expedition that takes the listener into the darkest shades of black while tiptoeing into the light, briefly, before being snatched back by an unseen monstrosity. The same can be said for “Into Wooded Hollows,” that also features a demonic chant, then a chorus of background voices that sound like evil gods concocting a destructive plan. On a more simple-yet-grand scale is “Moon Isabelline,” a solo piano number with a majestic, tragic melody that belongs in an old-fashioned goth film. What is perhaps most impressive about this album is that it is composed and produced by one person-- Horace Rosenqvist. Being as long as they are, not all of the songs will likely hold your attention, and it certainly is a required taste; more than once while listening you may begin to space out, and not in a good way. Overall though, there are enough interesting flourishes on Bellum I for those who prefer their metal with a good helping of mood and drama. 12 JA NUARY 20 22

For more, visit: https://www.facebook.com/AquilusMusic


ARTS & CULTURE LISTINGS Old Sturbridge Village 800-733-1830 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge https://www.osv.org/ Jan. 8 - Night in the Museum: Evening Investigation Jan. 22 - Night in the Museum: Evening Investigation Jan. 29 - Night in the Museum: Evening Investigation

Tower Hill Botanical Garden (508) 869-6111 11 French St., Boylston https://www.towerhillbg.org/ Tuesdays - YoAga in the Garden and Chair Yoga Wednesdays - Qigong & Tai Chi Movement and Afternoon Yoga for Stress Relief Thursdays - Yoga in the Garden and Digital Photo Online Workshop Worcester Art Museum Saturdays - Drawing Basics (508) 799-4406 Jan. 11 - Climate Talk 55 Salisbury St., Worcester Jan 12 - Art Basics: Woven Coasters https://www.worcesterart.org/ & Pot Mat Free First Sundays Jan. 12 - Climate Talk Saturdays & Sundays - Art Cart: Hands- Jan. 20 - Art Basics: Collage Journal on Armor/Public Tour of Love Stories Jan. 23 - Introduction to Zentangle Jan. 2 - Highlights Tour with a WAM Do- Jan. 23 - Forest Bathing in the cent Conservatory Jan. 8 - Ice Carving by Chip Koser Jan. 25 - Art at Home: Recycled MateriJan. 9 - Screening of “Doctor Zhivago” al Nature Journals Jan. 12 - Zip Zoom Discussion: Jacob van Ruisdael’s “View on the IJ on a Arts Worcester Stormy Day” (online) (508) 755-5142 Jan. 15 - Zip Zoom Discussion: Jacob 44 Portland St., Worcseter van Ruisdael’s “View on the IJ on a https://artsworcester.org/ Stormy Day” (in person) Jan. 16 - Public Reception at the HaJan. 23 - Highlights Tour with a WAM nover Theatre Tracy Spadafora: Left Docent Behind Jan. 26 - Zip Zoom Discussion: “The Jan. 21 - Public Reception for Lisa BarPeaceable Kingdom” by Edward Hicks thelson: meld merge mix and Dodge (online) and Burn: A Juried Members’ Exhibition Jan. 29 - Zip Zoom Discussion: “The Peaceable Kingdom” by Edward Hicks JMAC Popup (in person) (508) 561-0173 Jan. 30 - Highlights Tour with a WAM 20B Franklin St., Worcester Docent www.jmacworcester.org Jan. 16 - Worcester Chamber Music Fitchburg Art Museum Society presents (978) 345-4207 Spotlight Concert: Joshua Gordon 185 Elm St., Fitchburg and Randall Hodgkinson https://fitchburgartmuseum.org/ Jan. 19 - LIFT: Imagine a World Without Free First Thursdays Demand Brick Box Theater (508) 413-5622 20B Franklin St., Worcester https://www.jmacworcester.org/ brickbox.html

Worcester Center for Crafts (508) 753-8103 25 Sagamore Rd., Worcester https://www.worcestercraftcenter. org/ Jan. 8 - Give a Monster a Pinch! Calliope Productions Theater (508) 869-6887 150 Main St., Boylston https://www.calliopeproductions. org/ Worcester Chamber Music Society (508) 926-8624 323 Main St, Worcester https://worcesterchambermusic.org/

Hanover Theatre (877) 571-7469 2 Southbridge St., Worcester https://thehanovertheatre.org/ Jan. 16 - STOMP Mechanics Hall (508) 752-5608 321 Main St., Worcester https://www.mechanicshall.org/ Worcester Historical Museum (508) 753-8278 30 Elm St., Worcester https://www.worcesterhistory.org/ Preservation Worcester (508) 754-8760 10 Cedar St., Worcester https://www.preservationworcester. org/ Boulder Art Gallery (978) 354-7000 960 Main St., Fitchburg http://theboulderartgallery.com/ Gallery open Thursday, Friday, Saturday

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ENTERTAINMENT LISTINGS PULSE OCTOBER ENTERTAINMENT LISTINGS As COVID restrictions begin to ease and live music returns to the area’s bars and restaurants, we are excited to bring entertainment listings back to Pulse. If you’d like to be included in future listings, please email JPacillo@pagioinc.com. ---Black and White Grille 508-885-5018 Blackandwhitegrille.com 206 North Spencer Rd., Spencer Blueprint New Bar & Grille 978-668-5580 10 Village Sq. Westminster

American

Boynton Restaurant & Spirits 508-756-8458 117 Highland St., Worcester Cafe Neo 774-253-6139 97 Millbury St. Worcester Karaoke. Chuck’s Steakhouse (508) 832-2553 10 Prospect Street, Auburn Jan 1 - Heather Rae Karaoke Jan 7 - Tequila Bonfire Jan 8 - Jim Perry Jan 14 - Voxx88 Jan 15 - Alley Kings Jan 21 - The Violin Kat Jan 22 - Mark Manzella Jan 28 - Missy Maxfield Jan 29 - Old Tom

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Classic’s Pub 978-227-5258 285 Central St., Leominster

Gardner Ale House (978) 669-0122 74 Parker St., Gardner

Compass Tavern 508-304-6044 90 Harding St., Worcester

Greater Good Imperial Brewing 508-926-8736 55 Millbrook St., Worcester

Chashu Ramen + Izakaya 508-304-7183 38 Franklin St., Worcester Electric Haze 26 Millbury St., Worcester Jan 1 - Hookah HAHA Comedy Show Jan 1 - Odyssey: A Psychedelic Event Series Jan 7 - EH, WCMA, and WSP Presents: Brass Funk, Reggae/Rocksteady, Rocking Rhythm & Blues, Ska & Ska Punk Jan 14 - Termanology and Chris Rivers at Jordan’s Birthday Concert Firefly’s BBQ 508-357-8883 350 E. Main St., Marlborough DANTE’S at FIREFLY’S BBQ January 1 - XS Band January 7 - Bare Hill Band January 8 - Freeballin January 14 - Phine Connection January 15 - Synergy January 21 - Way Up South January 22 - XS Band January 28 - Billy & the Jets January 29 - Flock of Assholes Flying Rhino 508-757-1450 278 Shrewsbury St., Worcester

Greendale’s Pub 508-853-1350 404 W Boylston St. North, Worcester Halligan’s 508-832-6739 889 Southbridge St., Auburn Thursday Bike Nights Happy Jack’s (978) 466-3433 785 N Main St., Leominster Indian Ranch 508-943-3871 Indianranch.com 200 Gore Rd., Webster Jan 8 - Fellowship of the King Jan 13 - Jim Spinnato: Comedian, hypnotist Jan 22 - Three More Funny Ladies Legends Bar and Grille (978) 342-6500 68 Airport Rd, Fitchburg

MB Lounge 508-799-4521 40 Grafton St., Worcester Wednesday -- Karaoke Thursday - Drinks with Ashley Friday - Dance Party Saturday - Dance Party Sunday - Game Night

*** Saturday, January 22 Ladies Night MCL Club 508-797-0141 Worcestermcl.org 181 Lake Ave., Worcester Michael’s Cigar Bar (508) 459-9035 1 Exchange St, Worcester Nick’s 508-753-4030 12 Millbury St. Nola Cajun Kitchen 774-261-8008 340 W. Boylston St., West Boylston One Eyed Jack’s Tiki Bar & Grill 508-459-0089 433 Park Ave., Worcester Park Grille 508-756-7995 257 Park Avenue, Worcester Tuesdays-Rock Open Jam Thursdays-Office Party Partner’s Pub 978-345-5051 970 South St., Fitchburg Jan 1 - Dan Julius Jan 8 - Way Up South Jan 15 - Dave Harrington Patsie Duggans (508) 755-4155 49 Millbury St, Worcester, MA 01610 Peppercorn’s Grille & Tavern 508-752-7711 455 Park Ave., Worcester


Purgatory Beer Co. 508-596-2194 670 Linwood Ave. Building C, Whitinsville Ralph’s Diner Ralphsrockdiner.com 148 Grove St., Worcester Jan. 3. Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic! 8:30 p.m. Jan. 5 - Karaoke! 9 p.m. Jan. 7 -Tom Petty tribute: The Honeybees, Melatonin 8 p.m. Jan. 8 - Backstabbers Inc., Grishka, Ritual Blade, Vaulted, Black Palm, 8 p.m. Jan. 10 - Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic! 8:30 p.m. Jan 12. - Karaoke! 9 p.m. Jan. 14 - Benefit show, more TBA Jan. 15 - The Dirty Catechism, Think Machine, Paper Tigers, Crimson Wing, 8 p.m. Jan. 16 - Jen Mujo, Between 3&4, PV Jan. 17 - Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic! 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19 - Karaoke! 9 p.m. Jan 20. - Harley’s Funhouse Drag Night 9 p.m. Jan. 21 - Super 400, John Powhida, more TBA 8 p.m. Jan. 22. - Black Pyramid, Archdruid, Warm Jan. 24 - Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic! 8:30 p.m. Jan. 26 - Karaoke! 9 p.m. Jan. 27 - Marko Bruiser, Stateroom , A.P.E., Trash Mammals, TueTewsday 8 p.m. Jan. 28 - Pocket Vinyl, Cheap City, Whalom Park 8 p.m. Jan. 29 - Hope for Rain, more TBA Jan. 30 - Past Life, Layzi, Jiddo, Oldsoul Jan. 31 - Dirty Gerund Poetry Open Mic! 8:30 p.m.

Rascal’s Rascalsworcester.com 70 James St., Worcester Reunion Tap & Table 774-293-5501 198 Worcester St., North Grafton Jan. 1 - Clamdigger Jan. 6 - Wine Glass Paint & Sip Night Jan. 14 - Rubix Kube Jan. 15 - Shot of Poison with Burning Sky Band Jan. 22 - LoVeSeXy… Tribute to the Music of Prince Jan. 28 - Geoff Tate 30th Anniversary of Empire and Rage for Order Jan. 29 - Aquanett

River Styx 978-696-5176 166 Boulder Dr., Fitchburg Live on the Patio Rock Bar 774-243-7000 81 Water St., Worcester

Vincent’s Worcester 508-752-9439 49 Suffolk St.

Wachusett Brew Yard 978-874-9965 175 State Rd. E, Westminster Southside Grille Jan 1 - Jake Hunsinger 978-632-1057 242 West Broadway, Gard- Jan 2 - Tandem Acoustic Jan 7 - Cramer Hill ner Jan 8 - Best Not Broken Tuesdays - Slingo Thursdays - Trivia with Kevin Jan 9 - Brain Chaffee Jan 14 - Flock of Assholes Jan 15 - Wolfpack/CashThe Bull Run wood Jan 16 - James Keyes 978-425-4311 Jan 21 - Royal Furs 215 Great Road, Shirley Jan. 7 - The Corvettes Doo Jan 22 - JT Horne/A Good Wop Revue Jan. 8 - Albert Time Jan 23 - Chris Barber Jan 28 - Amanda Cote Lee Band Reunion Tap & Table Jan. 14 - Vanessa Collier Jan 29 - Pete Towler/Maddi Ryan Jan 30 - Quincy Lord 774-293-5501 Band 198 Worcester St., Jan. 15 - Chris Smither North Grafton Jan. 22 - Veronica Lewis Mondays - Nate’s Jan. 29 - Sarah Borges and Whiskey on Water 774-578-8829 Musical Bingo the Broken Singles 97 Water St. Wednesdays - Trivia Every Friday 10pm Dj with Nate Briggs E-Class Upstairs/Dj Rey G Jan. 1 - The Half Wits, Musi- The Comedy Attic Downstairs Jan. 1 - Alex Rocian’s Recovery Jam Jan. 2 Upstairs at Park Grill han - Alex Calabrese 508-756-7995 Jan. 15 - American Who Jan. 6 - Between the Waves 257 Park Ave. Thursdays - Open Comedy Jan. 22 - Tequila Bonfire Jan. 7 - Electric Flannel Jan. 8 - Comanchero with Night Jan. 7 and 8 - Corey Jan. 29 - Hit the Bus Band Josh Briggs Jan. 9 - Tom Manning Jan. 14 and 15 Brian Glowacki Gilmartin White Eagle Jan. 13 - Sails & Anchors The GazBar 508-753-9612 Jan. 14 - Jediah (978) 534-6600 Whiteeagleworcester.com Jan. 15 - Ripple Effect 1045 Central St, Leomin- 116-120 Green St., WorcesJan. 16 - Matt Brodeur ster ter Jan. 20 - Cara Brindisi Jan. 21 - Jon Piehl The Mill at 185 Woo Bar & Grill Jan. 22 - Boogie Chillin Themill185.com 774-243-6130 Jan. 23 - Tom Gilmartin 358 Shrewsbury St., Jan. 27 - Grateful Dead Night! 774-261-8585 w/ Better Off Dead Jan. 28 - 185 W Boylston St., West Worcester Chad Clements, Josh Briggs Boylston & Friends Jan. 29 - Stereo Tryst Lounge Love Trio (978) 400-7906 Jan. 30 - Alex Calabrese 320 Main St, Fitchburg

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DINING REVIEW

BERNIE WHITMORE

BREEN’S CAFE 16 CAMBRIDGE STREET, WORCESTER (508) 799-2808

Talk about restaurants for more than a few minutes and the conversation usually devolves to “Who has the best?” Whether it’s the best pho or the best fish n chips or the best strawberry gelato; everybody has a passion and a fierce opinion. My friend, who avidly tracks these debates on Facebook, has been telling me about the buzz Breens Cafe has been stirring up with their steak and cheese sandwich.

After making our food decisions we walked over to the bar to place our order and get drinks. Then we sat back down to soak in some of the vibes and try not to look like the tourists we were. When the Bruins game started, people stood up to honor the national anthem. Soon we heard the loud clatter-mc-clatter of metal spatula on a sizzling grill, a sound that could make a steak and cheese lover salivate.

I must acknowledge, steak and cheese is not a sandwich I’d travel too far out of my way for. But I’m aware of its cult-like popularity and, besides, I found the idea of checking out Breens to be compelling. Besides that, what could go wrong? Most chefs aren’t one-trick ponies; if they can make good steak and cheese, there must be plenty of other solid menu items.

Breens isn’t fast food, so in around twenty minutes the cook came to our table with our meals. My friend started with a cup of the day’s soup special, Hamburg Mushroom Noodle. As much as we wanted to love it, liking it proved a challenge. Pudding-thick and lukewarm were its operative adjectives. True, there were firm slices of mushroom and bits of hamburger meat seasoned unobtrusively.

Immediately on entry, Breens struck me as a fullbore old-style barroom, the kind of place I first encountered decades ago that would be fitted out with a jar of pickled eggs on the counter and populated with accomplished drinkers who look unfavorably upon amateurs. In short, well into their eight decades of operation, Breens Cafe has a comfortable feel, like your favorite pair of faded Levi’s. Also in that first glance, there was no food in sight. Then, after a deeper scan, I saw at the far end of the bar a grill-top and meal prep station. Across from it were open booths, so that’s where we headed. On noticing we were there to eat, the proprietor arose from her bar stool and brought menus. 20 JA NUARY 20 22

My friend diagnosed the reason for the soup’s viscosity, reminiscing, “As my mother used to say, never cook the pasta in the broth!” As a result, the noodles had absorbed all the broth and dissolved right into the soup. Undeterred, he moved to his steak and cheese. This thing was a monster! A fresh torpedo roll had been crammed-to-the-max with razor-thin sliced steak slathered on top with melted-in cheese. Cut in half and served with a bag of Utz chips and a crunchy pickle spear, each half was a handful that barely contained all that tender meat. Breens’ steak and cheese sandwich lived up to its reputation in both flavor and size. My friend vora-

ciously dug into it, savoring the tasty shaved steak and proclaiming it, by far, the best! With such a reputation for sliced meat, I’d ordered one of my favorites, Breens’ Pastrami Sandwich. In this case, I regret that I missed the spices, coarse pepper, and zesty Jewish Deli flavor. Breens’ heap of sliced pastrami came packed into a pillow-soft bulky that I loved, but the flavor experience was encumbered by fat. It’s said that a marbling of fat gives meat flavor. But too much of it becomes burdensome. Flavor relief came with my glass of Wormtown Brewery’s standby, Be Hoppy. This IPA continues to stand up to all challenges thrown before it. Next time I’d try Breens hamburger… I hear it’s getting a lot of buzz.


NEW IN THE WOO: THE WINE BABES – CANAL DISTRICT WINES JENNIFER RUSSO It all began with a matter of convenience – why drive to another town to grab more bottles of wine for parties or a glass of the good stuff while Netflix binging, when you could just open a wine shop right down the street? That is what wifewife team Olivia and Rachel (aka Livy and Rae) thought when they saw an opportunity to create a shop of their very own. Wine beginners themselves, Livy and Rae wanted to offer a boutique style shop where people who love wine could come together and see rotating selections of some of the best, while being a part of the strong small business culture that we have come to know and love in Worcester. Known as the “wine babes”, the owners and extended staff tell Pulse that they, as a woman-owned-and-operated entity, are “reclaiming the term Babe and also having a little fun with it.” The General Manager of the store, Brittany, is a seasoned wine expert, with a Level 3 certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, having taught multi-level wine classes weekly in Jamaica Plain, and was promoted to GM of Coda Bar and Kitchen in Boston. Livy and Rae consider themselves “baby-beginners” in the wine world but are learning fast working with Brittany and have the passion and business know-how to bring quality wines to the area. The store sells a selection of 24 wines (8 red, 8 white, and 8 rose/sparkling), focusing on smaller producers with sustainable farming practices, women-winemakers, and people of color winemakers. You won’t find these wines in big retail stores, making this a unique shopping experience where you will get that bottle that stands out from

the rest. “The first thing we do is create an approachable, fun atmosphere where we hope people feel like they can be truly open and curious about wine, no matter their level of knowledge,” the Wine Babes tell us. “We tend to have a bottle open in the shop to pour samples – the guest can let us know if they like the sample or, if not, we can use that as a starting place to help guide them toward what they might like.”

more about the shop, current wines, and their tastings at www.canaldistrictwines.com Visit the shop at 160 Green St, Worcester.

When asked how they hope to make their mark on the scene, being a woman-owned business in a traditionally male-dominated field, their response was simple and to the point: “The same way women make their mark in every field…by being twice as good at everything we do.” The Wine Babes work with Gilbert Distributors, a mother-daughter business, to curate and source their wines to offer a variety that is both diverse and reasonably priced. Canal District Wines is a friendly and fun place where people can learn as much as they want to learn about wine. It is located in the bustling Worcester Public Market on Green Street, just across from Table Talk Pies and, in fact, they have paired one of their wines with each of their fellow market vendors for a truly immersive experience. There will be new inventory in January and once the weather warms up again, they are looking forward to activating their sidewalk/storefront. Their formal tastings have also been a huge hit –and they can work with guests to offer custom, private tastings for your next get-together. Learn t h epu ls emag.com

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HOT & NOW What’s hot and happening now in the restaurant scene

PAUL GIORGIO NO SKIN OFF MY CHIN. Ken Chin’s on Worcester’s Mill Street has emptied its wok after 48 years in business. Prior to its Mill Street location, the restaurant was downtown on Pearl Street. This is a real loss to Worcester. BROWN RICE OPENS. Brown Rice Thai Cuisine opened at the end of November on West Boylston Street in West Boylston. IS ALTHEA’S ABOUT TO EXPAND? The Park Ave restaurant may be expanding after the owner purchased the space next door that was occupied for a long time by Neal Rosenblum Jewelry. It would give the restaurant an extra 5500 sq ft. DUDLEY ROCKS. That’s the name of the new restaurant/club. It will offer early dining before turning into a club late in the night. It is just down the road from Webster’s Indian Ranch and will be owned by Jessica Valby TINY WOULD BE PROUD. Quinn’s Blue Plate in Holden was set to open in December. It occupies the space that the Blue Plate, an iconic Holden landmark, occupied for generations. Tiny Stacy the former owner would be proud of how Tim Quinn has reimagined the local hotspot. MORE DOUGH. Mochi Doh an Asian donut and ice cream place will be opening on Harding Street in Worcester’s Canal District. This follows as Worcester was named the number 1 place in the country for donut aficionados. MORE CANAL NEWS. Jeff Mararian who owns the building that houses the Rock Bar, recently purchased the building that was home to Mambo and before that Blu. He says he has one restaurant going into half the space. TATNUCK SQ JUST GOT SWEETER. The new home of Mrs. Moriconi’s ice cream is at 1116 Pleasant St. Owner Julia Moriconi said this location fell into her lap by chance. She is sharing the space with On the Rise Bakery. THE WEX GOES ASIAN. The Wexford House, a Shrewsbury Street restaurant which closed in April 2020, has been sold to a family of Asian-cuisine restaurant owners. Son Vo, Tram Vo, Cynthia Tsang, and Hannah Vo purchased the Worcester restaurant. The four are siblings who own and manage four restaurants in Central Massachusetts. They also own Pho Sure in Shrewsbury, Kaizen Sushi Bar & Grill in Sturbridge, and Chashu Raman + Izakaya in Worcester. IT’S NO BULL. The former Bull Mansion on Worcester’s Pearl Street is now home to Nuestra, which kicks off a soft opening in December. The restaurant will serve drinks and small dishes before building up to a full menu inspired by Puerto Rican culture in January. CROSSING THE SAHARA. Word on the street is that Sahara Restaurant on Worcester’s Highland Street will be closing. The restaurant, which serves Middle eastern food, has been around for over 20 years. GRAB A TEE TIME. X golf is expected to open at the end of the month at the Trolley yard Plaza on Worcester’s Grove Street. X Golf will feature 9 golf simulators, a full bar, and food menu.

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PULSEBREW DRINK GREAT BEER IN THE NEW YEAR

SHANNON JUTRAS Hello Fellow Beer Lovers, We meet at an unusual time for beer enthusiasts. That time of year when we set good intentions for our health and our livers beg for rest. These are inauspicious days to start a beer-based relationship, I know. There are those who will encourage you to observe a dry January, but not me. As a commercial brewer and all-around beer enthusiast, I instead urge you to invest in good, local beer this winter. Great beer. Award-winning beer. Beer like Funk Daddy, an 8% sour IPA from Greater Good Imperial Brew Company that was nationally recognized for its excellence in September. One of 9,680 beers submitted to the 2021 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), Funk Daddy took home a silver medal in the American Sour Ale category. Without going too deep on all the nerdy details, I assure you this award is a very big deal. Each July, breweries around the world tenderly package their best beers, ciders, and meads and send them to Colorado to be evaluated by some of the world’s most qualified beer judges. This competition is a unique opportunity for breweries to get unbiased feedback about their products from experts. When I spoke with Meredith McNamara, Greater Good’s Co-Director of Operations: Supply Chain, Analytics, and Brewing, I was curious: Did she foresee Funk Daddy’s acclaim? “I honestly thought that Pulp Daddy [Greater Good’s flagship hazy IPA] would do very well. I thought maybe the sour category was a little too competitive. We all know Funk Daddy is fantastic, I just wasn’t sure about the judge’s palates.” Although the Greater Good team was in Colorado for a separate event, the Craft Brewer’s Conference, they had no idea they could attend the GABF awards ceremony. Meredith was at a bar when her phone started blowing up with congratulatory texts from friends. She sent a message to the Greater Good crew with the big news: Funk Daddy had just won a silver. Much excitement and profanity ensued, and unbeknownst to her, two of her coworkers jumped in a cab and raced to the awards ceremony. While she finished her beer and watched the rest of the livestreamed awards, her colleagues Pat Fahey and J.T. Ethier popped up on the screen, crossing the stage to accept the medal. She spit out her beer in surprise. “I was like, ‘What are you guys doing up there? How’d you get there?!” The team was fable to celebrate together at the Willamette Valley Hops VIP party, where they had the opportunity to mingle with some of the industry’s biggest names, including the owners of Rolling Rock. In addition to being part of the production team, Meredith handles supply chain procurement for Greater Good, an often overlooked element of the beer production process. Like every other industry right now, beer is impacted by supply chain issues, and anticipating and avoiding shortages to key ingredients like hops and barley is critical to keeping consistent products on the shelves. In fact, in the days before their big win, she was in Oregon to take part in Willamette Valley Hops’ annual harvest. When I asked what she had gained from her experience of seeing such large scale hop production up close, I was struck by the broader relevance of her answer. “It’s really important for us to see how much is going into our beer… It’s not just the people who mill in and brew, and cellar and then pour your beer that get it into your pint glass; it’s hundreds of other people. It’s the people harvesting our raw materials, it’s the people who are crafting our cans, it’s truck drivers.” This sentiment, dear drinkers, is why I invite you to dive even deeper into your appreciation of beer in the new year. Every can you crack or glass you clink is a collaborative triumph of hundreds of people in your community, around the country, and around the world, working together to fill your cup. If that’s not worth toasting to, I don’t know what is. Happy New Year! Stay thirsty. Funk Daddy Tasting Notes Appearance: Hazy, pale golden hue with gentle lacing Aroma: Hay, mild funk Taste: BOLD lemon, citrus, pleasant tartness Overall Experience: This is a surprisingly sessionable sour. The IPA base offers complexity from the interplay of sour yeast and heavy hopping rates, while citrus lovers will rejoice at the assertive lemon character. Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company is located at: 55 Millbrook Street #2804 Worcester, MA. t h epu ls emag.com

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LIFESTYLE

Self Care Sunday by MKoby Art

NEW YEAR SELF CARE JENNY PACILLO

Let’s be real about New Year’s resolutions for a minute. I typically make mine during that dead week between Christmas and New Year’s after living it up over the holidays. I feel guilty for overindulging and this influences my unrealistic promises to lose weight and clean up my act, even though deep down I know I’ll never follow through on any of it. By mid January I’ve abandoned my ridiculous plans to hit the gym every morning and I feel guilty all over again. I’m going to flip the script this year and focus on self care rather than self criticisms, and so should you. Journaling has a number of benefits, but the best part is you don’t have to get out of bed to do it. Reflecting on your day in a journal helps to relieve stress, improve your memory, and even increase creativity. All it takes is a paragraph or two each night to help clear your head and start fresh in the morning. Take the classic yet affordable route with a Moleskine or get back to basics with a Mead Composition notebook. There’s even the Five Minute Journal that offers prompts and exercises to help beginners get into the swing of journaling. Wrap up your busy day with a gratitude journal instead of trolling social media, and enjoy a more peaceful sleep. Every dermatologist will tell you about the importance of keeping your face moisturized, especially during the winter months. It can be tricky to find the right one for you, but it’s definitely worth the work. Neutrogena is always a great choice, specifically their water gel Hydro Boost. It’s affordable at less than $20 and will keep your skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Maybe that Christmas bonus that everyone hopefully got is burning a hole in your pocket. In that case, check out Origin’s Age Defense Moisturizer with White Tea for $50. This SPF 40, vegan product will protect your skin from the cold as well as the daily pollutants we all encounter.

so you can enjoy the convenience of supporting a small business in the name of good health, it’s a win win. One of the most affordable ways to feel like an A list celebrity is to end your day with a hot bath, and you cannot forget the bath bomb. I feel like the bath bomb fad has passed, but I’m still all about turning my bathroom into a spa. Get your laptop safely set up in the bathroom, find a good show, and hit autoplay. Turn the water up to boiling and toss that bath bomb in for the most relaxing evening ever. Lush Cosmetics is top of the line in my opinion. All their products are ethical, handmade, and never tested on animals. Coat yourself in glitter with the colorful “Unicorn Poop” or relax in lemon and rose oils with their “Black Rose”. If you really want to chill hard, swing by your local dispensary for a treat and just soak your troubles away. I’m not trying to take this to a dark place, but the past two years have been challenging at best in a lot of ways. It’s important to have goals and resolutions, but it’s also very necessary to go easy on yourself. Think of all the things you accomplished in 2021! You deserve that smoothie or quality moisturizer. So relax in the tub with a bath bomb and write your little heart out in that journal before bed. We have a whole year ahead of us to hit the gym or clean out our closets, what’s the rush? I think we should all focus on our mental health and wellbeing before tackling 2022. The old saying “New Year new you” can go directly in the garbage, it’s all about New Year self care from now on.

Dry January is a great idea on paper, but in reality I’m not about to say no a glass of wine, or two, after a stressful day. However, I can offset that with a healthy smoothie a few days a week. There’s always the option to juice up at home, Pinterest has roughly one million easy smoothie recipes so all you need is a decent blender. There are a number of local cafes with amazing smoothie menus right here in Worcester too. Trade in your latte for a Mochachino Smoothie with espresso from Root and Press on 623 Chandler Street. Or hit up the Nu Cafe on 335 Chandler Street for a number of real fruit smoothies and juices. Both cafes offer online ordering for quick pickup 24 JA NUARY 20 22

Bubbletub by Artist Bubble Gum


420 50 8 IN THE

TRAVIS DUDA

The Green New Year As we enter 2022, here are some things I’m hopeful about, regarding our favorite weed. By many accounts, it appears that Democrats are looking to move on some initiatives aimed at decriminalizing marijuana this spring. Specifically to establish modern banking services for the nearly $18 billion industry and purge the criminal records of thousands of marijuana offenders. Many of my colleagues would like to see cannabis removed from the Controlled Substance list and have the records purged for people convicted of marijuana-related crimes. Also the SAFE Banking Act would look to provide the cannabis industry access to the types of banking practices that most other companies receive, including loans and checking accounts. This could also simplify the purchasing process, and do away with the weird rounding and foreign atm fees that happen when you forget cash. That said, I don’t think we’ll see national legalization for a few more years, however, if the Senate were to instate some of these policy changes, we’d definitely be one step closer. These along with a collection of other bills would help lay the groundwork needed for national legalization and would continue the progress we’ve made. Kids These Days In more good news, according to a recently federally funded survey, high schoolers used significantly less cannabis in 2021. I’ll repeat that, despite the growing access to legal cannabis, and a pandemic that caused for a lot of alone time, 32,260 self reporting 8th through 12th graders across 319 schools reported lower use of cannabis than the previous year. By the numbers, the numbers are down 5-10% from the previous year. These numbers shine in the face of those that swore the increased availability of cannabis would cause an uptick in youth use. This could be evidence the established regulated cannabis models might actually lead to lower marijuana use among adolescents. Or this could speak to a lower amount of purchasable street level bud. Either way it’s the types of numbers we need to see to put a nail in the prohibitionists narrative. Way More Than Half Baked Ok, we’re wrapping up this month with a fun story. It was the brownie heard round the internet. On December 8th, 2021 Norwood-based company, MariMed Inc. celebrated National Brownie day by baking an 850 pound pot brownie. This extra chunky confection was 36” long by 36” wide and 15” thick and packed a walloping 20,000 mg of THC. MariMed Inc. baked this bulky brownie in celebration of Bubby’s Baked, their new line of cannabis-infused edibles. A spokesperson said the brownie was going to be split up and sold at dispensaries, though I’m hoping all the employees got to take home a nice big chunk. Also, I have heard no reports on how it tastes, though my guess is “weedy”. I’m all about these weird publicity stunts to grab my easily distracted attention. I want to see a joint as long as Park Ave, or the world’s biggest weed gummy bear. The sky’s the limit, both literally and metaphorically. Hope you all have a great 2022. Thanks for reading and happy trails! -Travis (@hunchbacktravis) t h epu ls emag.com

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S Savvy TYLE APRIL GODDARD Happy New Year Pulse Readers! Welcome to 2022! I can hardly believe that it is here already and I am so excited for the year ahead and all of the exciting new things that will come with it! In the spirit of the new year, let’s talk about how to make a fresh start in fashion. One of the most major ways to get a little refresh in the new year is to go right for the shears…let’s talk about hair trends for 2022! This is truly an easy and straightforward way to add a whole new edge to your look without having to purchase an entirely new wardrobe or doing a 180 on your personal style. I’m particularly excited for all of the 90’s trends that will be coming in strong this year, so if you are as keen as I am for a cool new ‘do, read on to discover the top hair trends for 2022. 1. The Side Bangs Get a Revival: Okay, I know what you’re thinking-they weren’t good in the early aughts and they are not going to be any better now. But hear me out: Even a great cut can go terribly, terribly wrong if it is not styled correctly. So try this: If you are willing to give this trend another go, commit to it! Sit down with your stylist and ask for long, chin length curtain bangs (another trend that will continue this year) and lots of layers, especially if you have very long hair. Ask for the bangs to be blended into the angling at the front of your hair as well. This way, you can make the most of both trends-style your hair by blowing it out with a round brush. Then, you can choose to part it in the middle for the curtail bang trend or sweep your part to one side for a casual and modern side bang. I promise, this will change the way that you see the side bang. 2. The Side Part Gets a Fresh New Style:To go along with the above, we are seeing the revival of the side part coming in hot for this year (sorry gen z). Particularly popular is the slicked back side part. Slicking the hair back and to the side is an elegant take on the “wet” hair look and perfect for date nights or special occasions. 3. The Pixie is Here to Stay: The Pixie cut is really making a comeback this year. There are so many ways to style this cut, from naturally, to slicked back, parted to the side-we are even starting to see the resurgence of the quintessential 90’s “bowl cut”. Imagine that! Whatever way you like to style the pixie, you can be sure that cut will add a fresh new elegance to your look for the new year! 4. “Fluffy Hair” is All That: This look is easiest to achieve with layers, but as long as you have a round brush and a hair dryer, layers aren’t essential. The whole idea with fluffy hair not to be confused with “poofy” or “frizzy” (although if that’s your preference, you rock that hair!). It is simply hair with a lot of volume and movement. To achieve, apply product, section, and blow dry with a round brush. You can allow the hair to set with large curlers, but this step is an extra and you can just as easily hit freshly styled hair with some hairspray to complete your look! 5. Really REALLY Long Locks: Super-long locks are also here to stay for the foreseeable future. Think waist-length, ultra sleek hair with frizz-free maximum shine. This is a dramatic look with heaps of upkeep, so be sure that you are ready to commit to a lot of extra hair care if you go for this look. The key is keeping the hair as healthy as possible, which can be challenging, but will be well worth it for this dramatic and elegant style! 26 JA NUARY 20 22


OUT AND ABOUT

STUDIO 154 THURSDAYS: QUEER NIGHT AT VALENTINO’S

GIULIANO D’OR AZIO Poll queer folx in Worcester who enjoy being ‘out and about’ in the nightlife scene, and you’ll hear a common refrain: “we need more queer spaces!”. I’ve covered a lot in my prior columns about the MB Lounge (currently Worcester’s only officially gay bar), and their efforts to open their doors to a new generation of queer clientele. In that regard, I do think good work is being done, and there’s more to do, but ultimately one small bar cannot adequately be all things to all members of a diverse community with varied tastes, interests and identities . Before I go on, I gotta give a quick shout out to The Woo Bar & Grill on Shrewsbury Street. The LGBTQ+ community has been lucky to have them as they’ve burst onto the scene over the last year or so. They’re a gay-owned and operated establishment, serving up casual fare, great drinks, and a fun, friendly atmosphere that’s easy going without being the least bit divey. I personally agree that our city needs more options for queer folx looking for a fun night out, and I also am of the mind that we don’t necessarily have to wait until someone opens another gay bar. A ‘guerilla queer takeover’ situation can happen just about anywhere. As a musician who regularly performs locally, I’ve experienced first-hand the queer takeover effect at some of my shows, and it can be so much fun. With a little word of mouth promotion and social media marketing, venues like Birchtree (I’m there the third Wednesday evening each month!) Vincent’s, Nick’s, and Michael’s Cigar Bar can easily become queer hangouts. I know there can be trepidation from folx when looking for a place to go out with their friends. Let’s face it… as cool, artsy and alternative some spots in Worcester are, there are a LOT of townie bro bars where, as a queer person, you may or may not get through the night clear of a dirty look, sneer, or snide remark thrown your way. Sometimes just knowing you’re gonna be with your crew can give the needed boost of courage to don that new fabulous lewk and strut your stuff. For the record, I would posit the spaces mentioned above are generally pretty welcoming, with or without a queer takeover night, and do not fall under the townie bro bar column. Last month, the cries for a popup queer dance night were answered. In collaboration with the Worcester Gay Professionals group, Valentino’s (154 Shrewsbury Street) launched Studio 154 Thursdays, a new queer dance night, with a tip of the hat to New York’s legendary disco hotspot, Studio 54. Let me just say, the aesthetic of Valentinos, on any given night, are already primed for a queer crowd. Pink neon signage, oversized portraits of Marilyn Monroe, velvet curtains and cozy alcoves appointed with plush sofas and loveseats scream fabulous with a capital ‘F’. Not to mention the bathrooms: the best in the city. Check them out and you’ll see what I mean. Launching any new nightlife event can be a tricky sell, especially during the rush of the holiday season. It’s safe to say that didn’t steer anyone away, as the debut night was a smash success. The DJ was on point, the drinks were flowing (champagne anyone?) and the conversation and dancing almost made you forget it was a school night! I hope we continue to see more nights like this in Worcester. Our community’s appetite for fun is bigger than can be satisfied by a single bar. I’m pulling for the success of Studio 154 at Valentino’s, with the intention that other venues will see that more options for queer folx is a win-win situation. For more info about Studio 154 Thursdays, follow @ValentinosWorcester on Instagram. Giuliano D’Orazio (he/him) is a Worcester native, musician, music educator, member of the queer community, and a board member of Love Your Labels. Email: giulianodoraz@gmail.com Instagram: @musicbygiuliano

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SPORTS AND FITNESS

Shaun2 KNOWS SPORTS?

SHAUN CONNOLLY

When I was first added to the Pulse team to write about Sports and Fitness, I was very excited. I began to tell people about this new endeavor. Almost right away, I got chuckles. I am a comedian and have built up my brand as such. So, taking on this new job, I understand there may be a little confusion. After talking to my very serious and very demanding editor, Mrs. Pacillo, we came up with an idea to introduce you to the idea of me, a guy who is generally a goofball for a living, reporting to you about sports, athletics, and fitness. First, I will proudly point out I played on a Joe Schwartz Little League All-Star team that made it all the way to state sectionals. We were two games away from playing in the state championship and ultimately vying for the chance to play on ESPN in the Little League World Series. As you may know, Worcester had a team about 20 year ago with a Schwartz rival, Jesse Burkett. As a side note, I did work with Jesse Burkett All-Star and commentator Harold Reynolds favorite, Andy Fallon. I was a four time Telegram Inter-High All-Star at Burncoat in both baseball and basketball. I played Shortstop on the diamond and point guard on the court. Our basketball team was horrendous, but I had a blast. Those same years, Burncoat’s football team was unbelievable, making it to two state super bowls, and winning one. We even had the late Ron Brace on one of those teams. While I did not play football, I was at every game as the school’s mascot, the Patriot. Being a mascot kept me in the sports arena well after my high school glory days. I was Bridgewater State’s mascot for four years, stealing the show at football and basketball games. I even frequented women’s volleyball matches and wrestling meets as well. Nothing is more athletic than trying to stay hydrated in a wrestling gym while wearing a suit that makes you 35 degrees hotter than the atmosphere itself. My mascot fame got me a job as someone you may be the most familiar with, Twister the furry orange dog-thing for the now defamed Worcester Tornadoes. I missed the first year championship season, and retired two year before Jose Canseco signed, but I was there for the good times. As Twister, I would stir up mischief with Dave Petersen, aka Peterman, who was then the on field MC, and is now the Worcester Bravehearts’ general manager. One day we were really getting the hijinx going with the visiting team’s bullpen when I got a tap on the shoulder. It was Red Sox folk hero, relief pitcher Rich Garces aka El Guapo. He was even more ugly in person. He told me that our act was better than most he’d ever seen which is a lot for a, at the time, 40+ journeyman relief pitcher. He offered to buy me a post game beer. Later that series he signed my Topps rookie card I had of his from when he was a young lad on the Expos. After college and my stint with the Tornadoes I became a teacher in Worcester’s South High Community School. While I loved teaching, the real reason I kept coming back each year was coaching. I was the JV and the Varsity Field Hockey coach, the JV and then Varsity girl’s basketball coach, and the JV and then Varsity baseball coach as well. Not to toot my own horn (well this is my column, so toot a way Shauny!) I helped bring all three of those programs from losing seasons to playing in district playoff games.

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So yeah, I know a thing or two about sports. I am a diehard Celtics fan. I enjoy watching Liverpool play soccer. The Bruins are a fun team, but I must admit I’m the casual fan that real devouts roll their eyes at and really only watch come playoff time. Football is fine. Most of my heart, though, is devoted to the New York Mets. I promise you, faithful Pulse reader, I will follow everything with an even keeled journalistic approach. Just know, as I am writing about the Worcester Red Sox, my soul is being crushed by those blue and orange idiots in Queens. Looking forward to covering every aspect of athletics, this city has to offer. Till next time, Worcester.


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HOUSE AD full page


Please Consume Responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children. This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of edible marijuana may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.


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