Arts & Culture

Mark Turek

That is for sure. Playwright Lynn Nottage, a Brown graduate, has called “Intimate Apparel” a “meditation on loneliness.” Surely that is a more exact, more piercing description of this lovely, incisive and heartbreaking work at Trinity Rep.

“Intimate Apparel” is one of those plays that will have you confused sometimes, a little bored perhaps, and then will suddenly strike, make you fall for the people involved and for the ideas being put forth. It’s a play most worth seeing, and thinking about.

The Rhode Island Foundation has announced the winners of MacColl Johnson Fellowship. The $25-thousand fellowships are for the fine and performing arts.

The Foundation gives out three MacColl Johnson fellowships each year to Rhode Island-based artists, composers, and writers.

This year the fellowships were given to visual artists Leslie Hirst, Anthony Giannini, and Daniel Sousa. Sousa, a filmmaker, has been nominated for an Academy Award this year for his short animated film “Feral.” He says he’ll use the fellowship to expand his filmmaking operations.

Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

Right-o. Let me say it up front. “Seven Keys to Baldpate” at 2nd Story is nothing less than a charmer. It’ll tickle your funny bone and warm your heart in the middle of this obstreperous winter of our discontent.

Okay, that’s enough of 1913-type hyperbole. But there’s no question that the Providence-born Cohan knew what he was doing. He adapted “Baldpate” from a novel by the author of the Charlie Chan film series. He said the play is both a farce and a melodrama. He was right on both counts.

On-stage, “Baldpate” is filled with goofy moments and overwrought happenings.

Think it’s easy to be funny? Is it a joy to tell jokes? To do “physical” fun?

Ah, . . . no folks, not really. 

Comedy, as any actor or comedian will tell you, is hard.

And that’s just the case these nights at Ocean State. The production of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” finds nine hard-working performers giving it all they’ve got.

Led by Trinity Rep’s leading actor, Fred Sullivan Jr., the cast pounces and pumps.

They jump on every Simon gag. They are happy to be physical throughout.

Aaron Read / RIPR

In this month’s Artscape, RI Public Radio’s Scott MacKay speaks with Rhode Island author Rosemary Mahoney.  Mahoney spent time in India and Tibet volunteering at a school for the blind.  Her new book about that experience is entitled `For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind.’

She spoke with Scott MacKay in our Providence studios.

Wilbury Theater Group

Ah, yes, ahh, “The Iliad.” By Homer. We all know that. Helen of Troy. Achilles Agamemnon. Lots of battles, murders and . . . Well, you know truth is that a lot of folks, myself certainly included, pretty much slept through any course we ever took on “The Iliad.” We ended up with not a whole lot more than the ability to say, “Oh, yes, the Iliad. By Homer.” Haven’t looked at that in years.”

file / RIPR

Newport Jazz and Folk Festival founder George Wein is calling folk legend Pete Seeger the heart and soul of the folk festival. Seeger was on the Newport Folk Festival’s first board, and Wein credits Seeger for re-starting the festival in 1963 after it fizzled out in 1960.

Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island Public Radio's Chuck Hinman speaks with acclaimed Irish writer John Banville.

Banville was in Rhode Island reading from his works to kick off this year's Contemporary Writer's reading series at Brown University.

Banville is the author of numerous books, including The Sea; for which he was the winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Jesse Burke / Providence Preservation Society

The Providence Preservation Society is out with its annual list of the most endangered properties.

These are buildings of historic or architectural interest that are threatened by neglect or development.

This year’s list includes the Superman Building in downtown Providence, which has been sitting vacant since its tenants moved out last year.

The Statehouse lawn is also included; it was partly mowed over to create more parking spaces.

Also on the list is a building at 57 Federal Street, which the society says is one of the oldest buildings in Federal Hill.

Courtesy: RR Auction

An exceptionally rare scrap of music written by Ludwig Von Beethoven goes on the auction block Wednesday night at an auction house in New Hampshire. The single page document, which Beethoven apparently tore out of a sketch pad, provides rare insight into the composer’s creative process.

Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

In an interview concerning the New York production of “The Big Meal” the 33- year-old author, Dan LeFranc, makes a point of saying that his own growing up saw, quote, “lots of support but also a ton of friction and fear.”  And that was “critical in making me the kind of writer and person I am today,” he added.

Well, that would be a guy who has sharp instincts both for the jugular and the heart. “The Big Meal” checks out those eight folks in all kinds of ways.

We asked you for photos of how your pets were dealing with the frigid weather — and you folks sure did deliver. Here are some of the images you tagged #nprfrostypaws on Instagram.

Just a reminder, though, that we are seeing in some places, .

[View the story "Outdoor Pets, Indoor Pets" on Storify]

Artscape: Opera Star Calls Rhode Island Home

Dec 26, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

John Reylea is an internationally renowned opera star.

The bass singer has performed and recorded with many orchestras and companies including Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Boston Symphony.

Reylea hails from Canada, but now calls Rhode Island his home.

For this month’s Artscape, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender sat down with the opera star, to talk about his career and what brought him to the ocean state.

John Bender / RIPR

Elementary, middle and high school students from across Rhode Island are storming the State House this month to perform music for the holiday season.

The holiday concerts are part of a series put on by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, with up to three or four schools singing in a row, in the Statehouse Rotunda.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender caught a few of those concerts and has this audio postcard.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.

Newport Jazz Festival Adds Extra Day

Dec 5, 2013
Aaron Read / RIPR

The Newport Jazz Festival will be a little longer next year.

The Newport Jazz Festival, which has been a two-day event for decades, is adding a third day for its 60th anniversary next year.  The bonus day will be Friday, August 1st    and will feature new and emerging artists. The extra day was made possible by a 40-thousand dollar grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Neil Steinberg is CEO of the Foundation.