Tuesday, October 10, 2006

City Planning Charretts

This week the Providence Planning Department (PPD) will hold a Charette to gather ideas on citywide planning issues. It’s a preliminary part of updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan and revising the Zoning Code, changes that will steer development for years to come.

We have an opportunity to participate in the redevelopment of Providence, and to encourage smart planning, smart parking, and smart renovation and reconstruction.

Find out more about the process

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pixelirations [v.3]

PIXILERATIONS [v.3] is a digital arts showcase taking place within the FirstWorksProv Festival. It features works in digital media and interactive performance by Brown and RISD faculty, students, graduates, and select artists from the digital artist community. Pixilerations [v.3] events are planned to take place in downtown Providence at 191 Westminster Street and other locations to be announced.

Pixilerations [v.3] will help celebrate the opening of the FirstWorksProv Festival on Friday, September 29 at 5pm with an evening of events in each space. Following the opening, Pixilerations [v.3] will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through October 14. Interactive performance works will be programmed on the opening evening, Friday, September 29 and on Friday, October 13.

For more information, visit pixilerations.org

Monday, September 18, 2006

Behold the Wonder of... Pizza!

If you live on the East Side, one of the Pizzas that you probably have bought is from Pizza Pie-er. I interviewed them once back when they were Pizza Pizza (so you know it was a long time ago) It's a good operation, they make excellent pizza, and they've got a new sideshow campaign that a good friend of mine drew. [
CORRECTION: I'm not sure if I made this clear-- these are sculptures, not illustrations. Erminio made these puppets/creatures, which were then photographed for the ads.]

My friend (Erminio Pinque of Big Nazo>) is an accomplished artist, illustrator and genius puppetmaker (he does all of the posters for Bright Night) Pizza Pie-er had a crazy idea to create a series of sideshow freak vegetables as an ad campaign. Naturally, Erminio was the right guy for the job...

I'm not sure if it's working (do you really want to eat Freakish vegetables?) but I love the idea, I love the concept, I love the execution, and I absolutely love that they hired my friend and local artists in general re (a few years ago, they hired another friend of mine as a local mascot/street performer who would hand out stuff to college students and entertain at local events as a representative of Pizza Pie-er.)

Have to say-- that's good community thinking!

And their pizza is good-- not sure if it's freakishly good, but it's well worth eating.

Here's two more edible freaks for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Just One Word For You... Plastics

Interesting stuff from that liberal arts university up on College Hill.... Apparently they have some pretty good engineers, too!

Brown Engineers Build a Better Battery- With Plastic

It's thin, light, flexible-- and plastic. Brown University engineers Hyun-Kon Song and Tayhas Palmore have created a prototype polymer-based battery that packs more power than a standard alkaline battery and more storage capacity than a double-layered capacitor. Their work, published in Advanced Materials, will be of interest to the energy, defense and aerospace industries, which are looking at more efficient ways to deliver electricity.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Inquiry into the Providence Public Library

Tom Sgouros over at RI Policy Reporter published a very interesting letter from a CPA who investigated the Providence Public Library's finances.

Suffice to say, things are a little murkier and not as clearcut as "We are out of money, give us more."

Read the letter from Ellen Schwartz, CPA to get the full scoop. Here's a brief sample:

Is the Library Really Broke?

From Ellen Schwartz, a Providence CPA:

I am a resident of Washington Park and a volunteer tutor with the after school homework club that used to meet at the Washington Park Branch of the Providence Public Library (PPL). When the library informed the residents that it was closing the branch because of structural damage to the building due to an unrepaired leak in the roof, I could see first hand the terrible effect it would have on the neighborhood. I am also a Certified Public Accountant so I decided to take a look at their financial statements to see why they had been too broke to fix the roof.

All non-profit organizations have to file an informational tax return called Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. All of the information in this article is from tax forms filed by the PPL, which are open to public inspection, and which are available on the Internet at www.fndcenter.org.

For the most recent year posted, June 30, 2004, the PPL had an excess of revenue over expenses (called profit in the business world) of over $2.6 million. For an institution with an annual budget of around $10 million, this is not an indication of financial crisis-quite the contrary. But since a single year could be misleading, I also looked at the tax returns for the two previous years. Those two years also showed "profits" of $710,000 and $459,000. But the PPL claims there is a crisis so I decided to look further.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

La Laiterie at Farmstead Opens

Farmstead of Wayland Square is one of the best places around to purchase cheese, olives, and other gourmet food stuffs around. It's always a pleasure to walk through their store and see what's new. And they've been named the best cheese shop in Rhode Island by a couple of different places, including Rhode Island Monthly.

They've opened a new restaurant next door that serves beer, wine, cheese, and food. By chance, I ended up at the first night opening last night. Had some great beer (The Ayinger Celebrator was particularly good, and came in a Celebrator glass), but unfortunately they'd run out of the burger on their menu that sounded great (organic beef with shallot jam and a special kind of bleu cheese. It's an $11 burger, but I'm betting it's a lot better than Wendy's! (I've posted their menu below)

Farmstead is at 186 Wayland Ave. Providence RI 02906
phone: 401-274-7177 fax: 401-521-4691
WEBSITE: farmsteadinc.com
La Laiterie is right next door and will currently only be open for dinner at 5 pm.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

WaterFront Meeting

Design Matters: The Providence Waterfront/Old Harbor District
WHERE: RISD BEB, ROOM 106-- 231 South Main St, Providence, RI
WHEN: Monday, 5/22 5:30-9 pm

SPACE IS LIMITED Registration does not guarantee you a seat. Arrive early for best seating.

Please join the Rhode Island Chapter of the AIA for a fascinating and educational evening looking at the following:

HISTORY of the 195 Relocation and Old Harbor Project
OBJECTIVES and PLANNING PRINCIPLES of the Original Old Harbor Plan
DESCRIPTIONS of Components Being Built
VISIONS of the Area over the years

If you have questions, you should contact R. Drayton Fair by email

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

But will he survive... Inside?

One of Rhode Island's most notorious villains (Richard Hatch, original survivor winner) is being held in protective custody in prison while awaiting sentence.

I think it would be awful, but bizarre to have a Survivor... Alacatraz where the survivors are in prison. Kind of like Oz, but with prizes.

Okay, I know it's twisted, but it would be funny/bizarre.

(As equally twisted as Survivor...Plaza Hotel where you get voted out for ordering the wrong wine, not using the salad fork, and throwing a so-so high tea.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Motif Magazine- Now Online!

Motif Magazine,Rhode Island's newest free Arts weekly, has now, finally got an online presence. They offer all the A&E info you’ll need enhance your cultural experience.

One of the key new things Motif Magazine has created is a section called “Get Out.” You’ll find a large icon on their main web page. Click on it, and there’s a long calendar of live Music, Theatre, Art exhibits, Indie Films, etc that their staff says are some of the area’s best.

Motif really focuses on local arts and local news, and is an excellent source of information about what's going on. They've been very supportive of local arts organizations and artists (including Bright Night, and I highly recommend that you check them out online-- http://www.motifmagazine.net

Friday, March 17, 2006

Proudly, I'm Publicizing Something... Call for Submissions


The Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies (PIPS) is looking for experimental projects in contemporary urban exploration and public art. Provflux brings together a wide range of artists, thinkers, and thrillseekers for a weekend of interventions, discussions, explorations, and citywide entertainment.

The projects can take any form, providing it engages notions of urban space and the public's interaction with it. Interventions, actions, urban installations, presentations, and any other projects of this nature will all be considered. All disciplines are encouraged to submit material.

Deadline is May 1.  
To submit, visit www.pipsworks.com

PIPS could also mean People Involved in Providence Sculpture, Personages Invading Public Schools, and/or Popular, Interesting, Persuasive, and Sexy.

Part of the pips AESTHETIC is fluidness of meaning, and a sense of humor about the work.

I haven't been to any of the other festivals, but I'm going to try to be at this one!

More about PIPS

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Providence Chamber of Commerce and Arts & Business Council of RI Part ways

Interesting things afoot-- the Arts & Business Council of RI (ABC/RI) very ably run by Peter Bramante, a former dancer with Groundwerx) and the Chamber of Commerce are splitting ways.

ABC/RI is the founder of ArtTix, which recently lost its chief staff member/developer-- Richard DeFlumeri, who left to take a great job with Yale University. ArtTix is a much need resource for RI theatres and artists, and there would be a big hole in the theatre world of RI if ArtTix couldn't continue. (Not to mention all of the other good programs that ABC/RI runs)

As the article says-- the independence will be good, but fundraising will have to increase. "Fundraising will have to increase" is sadly a familiar restrain in the local arts world lately.

From the article:

Charles T. Francis, chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors, said in an interview last week that the organization will no longer fall under the governance of the Chamber, which has provided an office and services to the council since its creation nearly 17 years ago.

“The Arts and Business Council and the Chamber have decided to go separate ways,” Francis said. “We wish the council the very best … I think they would like their independence, and we’ve helped them to get their independence.”

Council Executive Director Peter N. Bramante said the group views the change as a positive one that could give it a greater, re-energized face in the community.

“We’ve been grateful for our affiliation with the Chamber,” Bramante said. “That connection to the business community has been an important one that we think will continue. But now, we will be a direct go-to for the business community and our member organizations.”

The most immediate and physical change resulting from the divestiture is the location of the council’s offices. In the upcoming weeks, the council will complete its move from the Chamber to the Dorrance Street home of ArtTix, a service of the council that provides information, marketing and ticketing services for arts and cultural organizations in the region.

The council’s advisory board, which includes several past and present members of the Chamber’s board and staff, will become a governance board with power over the council’s direction. James DeRentis, executive vice president of retail banking and marketing for Bank Rhode Island, will serve as chair of that board, Bramante said.

The level of the members’ involvement also will likely increase, he said.

“I think the independence that comes with this divestiture from the Chamber is going to create a greater investment from the members on the board,” Bramante said.

Other changes are not immediately known. Bramante said the arts council would lose the services provided by the Chamber, and fund-raising efforts will have to increase as a result.

Read Full Article in Providence Business News (Note-- Articles are not archived for long-- read quickly!)

See the ABC/RI website

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Prize is Right Extravaganza on March 5, 2006

The Providence Hebrew Day School is having a fundraiser on March 5, 2006. It features great klezmer music, food, a silent auction, and lots of other stuff. To find out more visit http://www.phds-event.com