Arts & Culture

Wikimedia Commons

As you may or may not know, the TV show “Family Guy” killed off the family dog Brian Griffin. Thousands of fans are petitioning online to bring Brian back.

But one Providence resident is hoping to do more.

"Let’s strike while the iron is hot, and get a really dope statue in the city of Providence," said David Rocha in his online plea to get a statue in Providence.  

That really dope statue he wants is of everyone’s favorite sarcastic martini swilling cartoon dog, Brian Griffin.

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Ah, yes. Good old Chris Durang. What’s he gotten into now? Over the years he’s been known for such ideosyncratic shows as “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and, of course, “The Idiots Kasamazov.”

But Durang’s nicely into his 60’s now. Perhaps he’s calmed down a bit?

Well, no. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” concerns Bucks County, PA., Snow White, licking postage stamps, movie stars, the theatuh, voodoo, pricks, getting old and the significance of the blue heron. Among many other things.

Artscape: Fellini's Famous Thanksgiving Pizza

Nov 28, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Today is thanksgiving, so for this month’s Rhode Island Artscape, Rhode Island public radio’s John Bender, looked to the culinary arts.

You’re probably familiar with all the traditional dishes of thanksgiving, but once a year, one the day before the big turkey; hundreds of people wait in line for a very specific pizza.

John went over to Fellini’s pizzeria to find out more about their Thanksgiving pie.

Fellini’s Pizzeria on the east side of Providence has your typical pizza fair. 

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Yup. Charles Dickens is back in town. Played with great good humor by the veteran Tom Gleadow, this year’s “A Christmas Carol” has Mr. Dickens on stage often and to considerable effect.

The rotund Gleadow is one of those luminous actors whom you find yourself watching anytime he’s on stage. And he’s there a lot, giving this year’s version more of the dialogue from the novel then perhaps ever. He also chides, and directs, poor old Ebenezer Scrooge a bit, too, which lends a nice comedic touch.

Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

Yes, indeed. There are lots of reasons why this production is a splendid piece of theater. First and foremost is Sandra Laub, the actress playing the one-time prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir.

Most theater people, especially actors, will tell you that doing a one-woman or one-man show is the most difficult of assignments.  After all, it is just one soul out there, alone. It’s a matter of getting the audience to fall for you, and there’s nobody to help out. You, and you alone, must keep the play’s pulse moving, must make the character live.

Peter Goldberg

Well, I don’t want to go overboard here. But “Good People” is just nothing less than a sizzling comedy with a real life message. It’s delicious, deep, delightful, and just plain dandy.

Directed with fire and feeling by Rachel Walshe, the production will have you laughing out loud and holding your breath as the characters reveal themselves.

Led by a splendid Janine Kane, the acting is as good as you’re liable to see anywhere. The sets and the goofy, great costumes add a lot, too.

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

Ah yes, the late Vince Lombardi. I can see him now, back in the black and white TV era of the 1960s. He’s standing like a statue on the sidelines on the tundra that is a Green Bay football field. Legs apart, polo coat covering his broad shoulders, absurd fedora on his head. And most of all there’s his shouting, bellowing, at anyone nearby. The refs, his own players, his assistant coaches, were all fair game, targets of his single minded drive.

He was the Bill Belichick of his time, the best-known coach in all of football. Only louder, tougher, harder to deal with.

Tuesday is the last day on the job for Raymond Bacon, co-manager of Woonsocket’s Museum of Work & Culture. Bacon’s retirement ends 16 years working at the museum.

Before his time at the museum, Bacon spent 30 years as a high school teacher. Before that he worked his way through college at The French Worsted Mill. That experience, Bacon said, helped connect him to the people whose lives are chronicled at the Museum of Work and Culture. He said he knew some of the people in the pictures on display.

Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

“Sons of the Prophet” comes to Rhode Island with a pretty darn good reputation. Brown University graduate Stephan Karam’s play was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and did win several awards that year. It was a favorite of Manhattan’s downtown theater crowd, too.

So, what happened?

At 2nd Story this work, which the author calls “a comedy about a guy coping with chronic pain” seems pretty much weak-kneed. Its “comedy” never really clicks; its philosophy, which seems to be that coping with the unspeakable can be nourishing, doesn’t seem real, or true.

John Bender / RIPR

For the last twenty years Brown University’s organist Mark Steinbach has been playing a concert on Halloween at midnight.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender, went out to the University to learn more about the spooky tradition, and what makes a piece of music scary.

That’s Mark Steinbach, the University Organist at Brown.  He’s practicing for his annual organ recital which happens at midnight on Halloween.

“Technically it starts at 11:59 pm, so that people know which day to come,” said Steinbach.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

As a 10-year-old child, Howard Phillips Lovecraft would tuck himself into his grandfather’s library and read. Lovecraft’s father had gone mad and his mother eventually would too, making his wealthy grandfather – and all of those books –the center of Lovecraft’s world. Then his world fell apart. Lovecraft’s grandfather died and the estate was badly managed, wiping away his comfortable life in Providence. To earn much needed income Lovecraft, at 13-years-old, carefully crafted astronomy pamphlets and sold them, essentially starting his career as a published writer.

Festival Ballet's Up Close Is One Of Its Best

Oct 30, 2013
A. Cemal Ekin

Widely varied, indeed.

This latest “Up Close” offers dances from the 19th century to world premieres. Topics range from a smartly funny, and goofy, piece called “Tea Time” to a heart-rending vision of the end of life. The music? Well, that goes from Igor Stravinsky and Gustav Mahler to Ray Charles and Jacques Brel.

The dancing by Festival’s best is, generally, at a high level. And, of course, in that rehearsal room the dancers are right there in front of you.

Mark Turek / Ocean State Theatre

Yes, you could figure that “Les Mis” might be just a tad over-saturated these days.

Many have seen it at least once. Or, they’ve heard the wonderful score.

But, you know what? “Les Mis” is still worth seeing, worth being affected by, worth pondering for its immense world view. And the production opening the season at Ocean State is a first-rate effort. No, it doesn’t have the great turntable racing the pace on stage. It hasn’t reached the incredible settings of Broadway or top flight road shows.

Historic Providence Diner Gets a Second Life

Oct 7, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

An historic Providence diner is back in business after years of painstaking restoration.  The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The West Side Diner on Westminster Street was originally located in Olneyville. After it closed in 1999, it was slated for demolition until developer Jon Ozbek purchased and moved it.  The result is a gleaming stainless steel and glass block edifice that has been fully restored to its 1947 glory.  Co-owner Lisa Arena said much of the structure is original.

John Bender / RIPR

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender profiled Warwick musician Lydia Perez. 

Originally from Puerto Rico, Perez has been performing throughout Rhode Island since the mid-nineties.

With her group, Yoruba 2 she has toured throughout the region, teaching and performing the traditional music and dance of Puerto Rico.

“Well my name is Lydia Perez, I’m a traditional artist in the state of Rhode Island.”

“My name is Yidell Rivera.  I am Lydia’s oldest daughter, and I’ve worked with her since, well, my childhood.”