Live Music and Family Fun in the Sun: RI Blues Fest and Nashville RI Country Music Fest come back swinging

“Summer can be brief and fleeting in New England, so we’re always trying to find new ways to make the most of it,” says Michael Freidman, owner of Mulligan’s Island and host of two of RI’s up and coming music festivals – RI Blues Fest and NashvilleRI Country Music Fest. If you’re looking to have some summer fun with live music outdoors, both these festivals have something special to offer.

RI Blues Fest will be on Saturday, July 16 and Nashville RI Country Music Fest on Sunday, July 17, both running from noon to 9 pm and hosted at Mulligan’s Island in Cranston. Featuring line-ups that mix of local musicians and national ones, the festivals have something for everyone. 

As a large outdoor venue, Mulligan’s Island also has room for families to bring games, lawn chairs, tents and all the essentials. 

“People who come, they’ll bring chairs, they’ll bring blankets, they’ll bring umbrellas – sunbrellas,” says Freidman. “This year we’re actually going to be putting up additional tents to provide more shady space to families that maybe want to get out of the sun more, or adults who just love being outside but maybe don’t want as much direct sun.”

All other Mulligan’s Island activities will also be open during this time, including a mini-golf course, driving range, batting cages and more, giving attendees the option to switch things up for a bit during the festival if they so desire to. 

“This year we’ll have more activities for the kids like inflatables and other things,” Friedman adds, noting that while the majority of their attendees are typically a bit older, they want the event to appeal to young families so that they can bring their kids as well. 

Food and drink will be served, including craft beer, barbeque and several other food options. Something that distinguishes the music festivals at Mulligan’s Island from others is that participants are allowed to leave and return throughout the day, so if an attendee wants to dine elsewhere or just wants to get out of the sun for a little while, they have the option to do that and return later.

This year, Mulligan’s Island has also teamed up with the Park Theater so that the festivals will have an indoor alternative should there be inclement weather. 

Since their inceptions, the two music festivals have attracted attendees not just from RI, but from out-of-state as well. 

The RI Blues Fest began in 2018, when Freidman noted that though RI has many music festivals, there was a gap in the representation of some genres. 

“Blues music was not well represented in the spectrum of shows that were being promoted,” explains Freidman. “We went out and we found that we could attract really good talent both locally and nationally … and we just sort of rolled it out there.”

Noting the growth of popularity for country music in the state, it occurred to Friedman that Blues might not be the only genre of music that would benefit from a festival. Thus, in 2019, Mulligan’s Island hosted its first Country Music Fest. “We evaluated [that growth in popularity] as another opportunity to reach out to our audience and find talent that would perform and would appeal to those people who were coming out to Mulligan’s already. It’s been good and it’s been growing.”

This year, the musician line-up for Blues Fest will include Neal & The Vipers, Vintage R&B All-Stars with special guest Sugar Ray, Robin Kapsalis & Vintage #18, and Victor Wainwright & The Train. For Nashville RI Country Music Fest, performing musicians include Lauren King,  Country Wild Heart, Annie Brobst, Houston Bernard, and Tyler James & The Silks.

“Overall we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from both performers and the crowds,” Freidman reflects. “We’re always sort of tinkering with it, trying to learn what would be better going forward.”

Because the festivals are outdoors, there are no COVID-19 restrictions in place for these events. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit mulligansisland.com

Truly Divine: Catching up with Umberto Crenca

Umberto Crenca, one of PVD’s best known artists and the retired cofounder of renowned arts non-profit AS220 took the time to catch up with us about his current series of works, Divine Providence.

Crenca began his new collection of works in early 2020. Divine Providence pays homage to the streets and sights of the city he was born in, has lived in for the past forty years and has so much love for. Though he spent much of his early life living in North Providence, he has many fond memories of PVD as a child. 

“My nonna lived her entire life in Mount Pleasant,” Crenca shares. “As a young boy I was often left with my nonna or my aunt, who also lived in the Mount Pleasant area. I have such awesome memories of walking to the corner store with my nonna, always with a little change to buy myself some candy. It seemed like an epic journey when in fact the store was only a few blocks away.”

He emphasizes his paintings are not just of the city in general, but are on a human scale, meant to depict and honor the perspective of the city’s residents.

“People walk in PVD,” shares Crenca. “These paintings are intended to celebrate and elevate this point of view, to bring value to the ordinary. The density of human scale, forms and structures — the layering of PVD’s built environment — this all inspires me in a completely abstract sense.”

He adds, “Included with the potential of an endless cache of compositions, PVD neighborhoods are living, thriving communities rich with people from different backgrounds and cultures.” 

To date, Crenca has painted 168 works for his Divine Providence series. He aims to complete at least 200 that could then be reassembled as an entire body of work to create a retrospective exhibit in a formal setting. 

For more information about “Divine Providence” including how to visit or purchase artwork, visit umbertocrenca.com.

Celebrating Women’s History of Month: Judith Lynn Stillman’s “Women of Note” film and concert event

After a positive reception last November, Judith Lynn Stillman will be screening her film “Women Trailblazers in Music” for an encore event in honor of Women’s History Month.

Stillman is Rhode Island College’s artist-in-residence and a professor of music. She’s won numerous awards for her compositions, films, and projects including, most recently, Honored Artist by The American Prize for her work as a pianist and composer. In February Stillman also completed composing and performing the score for a short Hollywood film.

“Women Trailblazers in Music” depicts the lives of extraordinary female composers across twelve centuries and highlights their revolutionary but often overlooked compositions.

The Women of Note event consists of the encore film screening followed by a live concert on March 16 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm in Sapinsley Hall at the Nazarian Center.

“We have several thrilling additions to our concert, including multidisciplinary works spotlighting two brilliant guest artists,” Stillman says. 

Bessie Award-winning dancer Shani Collins, currently a visiting artist at the University of Ghana, will premiere her newly-choreographed dance to music by Melanie Bonis, an underexposed female composer who wrote during the late Romantic period. 

The other premiere performance features Valerie Tutson, director of Rhode Island Black Storytellers, in a composition by Stillman for spoken word interlaced with music. “Tutson and Collins are amazing. I’m honored to be working with these remarkably talented artists,” says Stillman.

Also performing with Stillman are Charles Dimmick, the concertmaster of the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Steven Laven, principal cellist of Pro Arte Orchestra; and Rhode Island College faculty members Michael De Quattro, Joseph Foley, Ian Greitzer, Mary Ellen Kregler and Lori Phillips.

Stillman sees the event as an opportunity to make music with her colleagues, share her film and champion female composers for Women’s History Month.

“They were forced to remain in the shadows of men, but they were equally talented,” she notes. “Their innovative masterpieces are imaginative, passionate, and heartfelt – and they’re a joy to play.”

While there have been significant improvements since the times of some of the women highlighted in her film, Stillman emphasizes that the music industry is still rife with systemic inequities for women. In particular, she notes lower pay, harassment, ageism and unfair bias against women, which leads to fewer women finding success in the industry; this is a cycle that results in fewer female role models for future generations.

“It’s difficult to revamp earlier periods of music history, but we can shift the paradigm,” notes Stillman. “By examining the past, we can hope to change the shape of the future. We need to shine a light on historical gender discrimination and existing problems as well. We’re making headway, but systemic challenges remain. I think the best way to effect change is through education.”

Her personal connection to the film makes it even more meaningful for her. “My mother and grandmother were extraordinarily talented opera singers,” Stillman shares. “Their careers were thwarted due to the politics of their existence, which fostered stereotypical women’s roles of the era and expectations that their lives would be a certain way.”

Stillman’s grandmother was even asked to perform at the Metropolitan Opera as a young woman, but her stepfather forbade her.

Though her mother and grandmother were unable to pursue their musical dreams, they encouraged Stillman. “I was blessed to have their support and encouragement throughout my life and through the development of my career continuously from early childhood onward. It was the dawning of a new era. Many of my compositions are for women’s voices, perhaps because I’ve felt compelled to try to redress the imbalance illuminated by my family’s history.”

In addition to in-person attendance, Stillman is offering a live stream link to schools, and Anchor TV at RIC plans to show the live concert. The event will also be live-streamed to the University of Ghana.

The “Women of Note” film and concert event is free to the public, but attendees must register in advance and abide by all COVID-19 guidelines. For free tickets, click here

Attendees must wear masks and present proof of full vaccination (two shots of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and a booster if eligible) or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the previous 72 hours or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the previous 6 hours. (At-home tests are not accepted.)

The Future of Movie Theaters: On the brink of change

Most of us aren’t old enough to remember the first few decades when cinemas became a normal part of American life: they’ve been around for well over a century. However, some of the practices film companies engaged in in those early days were abusive and had to be addressed on a national scale.

A key example of this was film production companies owning movie theater chains and holding exclusive rights to their films. This meant that if you wanted to see a film, you would have to go to a theater specifically owned by that production company, and most theaters would not play any films except those from their own film studios. This made it virtually impossible for both independent films and theaters to thrive. 

In 1948 the Supreme Court found in U.S. v. Paramount Pictures that this violated United States antitrust law, and this landmark decision fundamentally changed the way films were produced, distributed and exhibited in the United States. This ruling created the Paramount Decree, which stated that no film production companies could own movie theaters.

However, nearly two years ago former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department moved to throw out this old consent decree, and the sunset period during which the old rules remained in effect will reach its end in August of this year.

The argument for vacating the Paramount Decree is that with so many technological changes, the old decree is no longer relevant. 

Former co-owner of independent theater Limelight Cinema, which closed in 2001, and Motif writer Michael Bilow weighed in. “The old consent decree was limited to traditional movie theaters, putting movie producers at a disadvantage relative to competitors such as Amazon and Netflix who are unrestricted as to owning the entire vertical business chain from production to distribution,” says Bilow. “In other words, the old consent decree was having an anticompetitive effect, protecting Amazon and Netflix from competition.”

However, the total vacating of the decree still presents significant problems for independent theaters and filmmakers. When so much of the entertainment industry has already been monopolized by a select few companies, the choice to vacate the decree entirely rather than alter it to be more relevant to our current era could have serious consequences.

Disney, for instance, has been continually growing its grip on the industry for several years now. The corporation’s assets include not only the traditional animated features associated with the company, but also ABC, ESPN, 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Lucas Films, and Pixar, among many others. With the ability to have Disney-only theaters, they can buy out independent theaters and older chains and, especially for those who may only have one or two theaters local to them, consumers who want to see films in theaters could find themselves entirely limited to whatever production company owns their local theater. 

“I think this will kill independent theaters, which have been a dying business for 20 years, and probably also accelerate the demise of all theaters, which I expect to be gone in 10 years,” says Bilow. He cites the Cable Car Cinema, Acoustic Java, and the Route One Cinema Pub in Attleboro all as local examples of independent theaters that have closed in recent years, although the latter plans to reopen soon after temporarily closing for the pandemic.

“The issue is much broader than the consent decree and really reaches into fundamental changes in consumer behavior,” Bilow adds, citing streaming releases occurring simultaneously or instead of theatrical releases as another variable complicating the issue. This practice became more common in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and puts movie theaters in an even worse position.  

For consumers, the negative impact of vacating the consent decree will likely be mitigated by the existence of streaming. Streaming creates more accessibility for consumers (at least in theory) so that any person can find and watch the film they are interested in online. However, streaming poses an additional threat to movie theaters, as well as to independent filmmakers without the funds to access those distribution channels. 

The true impact vacating this decree remains to be seen. Whether we end up in a reality where, ten years from now, there are no theaters left; or instead one where theaters are bought out by production studios and revived, but monopolized, has yet to be determined. Still, come August this year, the Paramount Decree will be abandoned – for better or worse.

Fair Weather Pedaling: Winter shouldn’t stop you from using your bike to commute

When that first snow falls in winter, many believe that’s the end of using a bike to get around until temperatures begin to rise again in the spring. Even many cyclists themselves fall for this narrative – snow and the cold are commonly listed as the main reasons to not hop on a bike. Yet, cycling in the winter is not only possible, but can be a lot of fun and a great way to get around.

“Biking is a great way to shake off the winter blues: the fresh air and physical activity help a lot,” says Jonesy Mann, Operations Director at AS220 in Providence and year-round bike commuter. “Biking when it’s snowing is really fun! Zooming through the flurries is exhilarating, and you don’t get wet. [It’s] way better than biking in the rain.”

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared if you want to commute by bike this winter. “Layers are key in cold weather. I start bundled up, and as my body heat builds I’ll shed the scarf and unzip my outer jacket,” says Mann. “To figure out how many layers to put on, I’ll look at the temperature and dress as if I’m going to take a brisk walk in the park.”

“Skinny racing-style tires don’t grab the road very well when it’s slick,” Mann adds. “Wider tires, especially knobby ones, make me feel much more stable when there’s ice and slush on the road. Adding fenders to your bike will keep your clothes dry as your wheels kick up water.”

Mann is hardly the only one who uses his bike to get around no matter what time of year: Biking during the colder months is actually more common than one might think. The Winter Cycling Federation, an international organization dedicated to making winter cycling more accessible, has many projects to promote the activity, including a winter bike-to-work campaign and an annual February Winter Cycling Congress that’s been taking place since 2013. While the 2022 conference was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19 and the surge of the omicron variant, the Winter Cycling Federation is already preparing for its 2023 conference.

The main reason cycling in the winter can be difficult is not because of the cold or snow as many assume, but instead inadequate maintenance of bike infrastructure. 

“This is our first snow with our new bike lanes,” shares Susan Mocarski, referring to an early January storm. Mocarski is the founder and designer of Cleverhood, a local Providence company that designs waterproof athletic outerwear for biking, walking, and traveling in all weather. “Providence is new to all of this, it might take a little time for them to understand why it is important [to properly clear bike lanes].”

Oulu, Finland, for example, has far more intense winters than most major North American cities, yet cycling barely declines at all when winter rolls around due to the city’s dedicated and creative maintenance of its bike infrastructure. When bike lanes are given less consideration than car lanes in snowy weather, biking can be a lot more difficult. 

“We have to keep trying to make our local legislators and politicians see that roads are not only for cars but they are for people,” adds Mocarski. “People that are walking, that are waiting for buses, that are in wheelchairs or walkers, people that cycle…These people all pay taxes too and should be considered and included in our road plans.”

While it hasn’t stopped Mann, the maintenance of Providence bike infrastructure leaves room for improvement. “The protected bike lane on Olney Street is too narrow for Providence’s snow plows, so it essentially doesn’t exist for much of the winter. I don’t believe our bike trails get cleared either,” says Mann. “It would be nice to see the city invest in a special plow that can handle these narrower spaces. If the city really wants to support year-round bike commuting, then the Department of Public Works has to take the upkeep of bikeways as seriously as they do for cars.” 

If you are thinking about commuting by bike this winter, don’t let the snow or the cold put you off. If you know that where you’ll be biking will be clear and maintained, give it a try!  

Expanding Vegan Dining: Providence Vegan Restaurant Week Returns

For its third year in a row, Providence Vegan Restaurant week returns in just a couple of weeks. This annual event extends outside of Providence and allows restaurants from all across the state to show off their vegan chops. Restaurants, vegan and nonvegan alike, create specials and demonstrate their ability to make delicious vegan meals. 

This year’s event will span two weekends for a collective nine day extravaganza from October 29th to November 7th. Currently, there are 28 restaurants and businesses participating. 

Among those participating are two pop-up businesses, the Afro-Indigenous Vegan and Basil and Bunny. 

Vegan Comfort Food from Basil and Bunny

Basil and Bunny launched in February 2020, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic. They pop-up all over Rhode Island with their foodtruck, the Bunny Mobile, and focus on vegan comfort food like burgers, hot dogs, and tacos. This year will be their second year participating in Providence Vegan Restaurant Week, they will be launching a few special dishes, while including some of their normal favorites on their menu as well.

“We wanted to illustrate how you can still enjoy all the foods you love without any animals,” says Basil and Bunny creator Lyslie Medeiros. “Burgers can still be juicy, and fries can still be topped with gooey cheese without any cows and dairy. Biting into a sandwich should be so satisfying that you crave it again and again. That’s what we’re bringing to RI. All your favorite foods that you crave – made from plants.”

When asked about her favorite meals on her menu, Medeiros says, “I have always loved both the Bunny Mak and Buff Bunny. They bring back memories of going to McDs as a kid with my grandma and enjoying a Big Mac and then enjoying buffalo wings on wing nights in college.”

Basil and Bunny’s pop up dates and locations can be found here as well as on their Instagram @basilandbunny.

This year will also be The Afro-Indigenous Vegan’s second year participating. AI Vegan does both pop-ups and delivery, and focuses on providing delicious and healing vegan comfort food. 

“I used to dream of being a chef as a child as I watched the television chefs on PBS,” Chef Bree Smith says “I started my AI Vegan Instagram page as a way to document my transition to a plant-based diet. AI Vegan the business was born when my husband tasted my Coconut Curry Lentil soup, looked at me and said, ‘Why aren’t you selling this? We’re going to get business cards tomorrow.’” She adds, “It’s [also] about the legacy that I am leaving to my heirs.”

Smith also shared about her roots and how they impact the food she serves. “Afro refers to the Diaspora, the 12 tribes if you will. Indigenous refers to my roots on this planet. I make Vegan comfort food from across cultures, which not only shows my range and versatility, but my inherent and spiritual connections to the places, people and food that I create.” She adds, “For me, it’s more than food. It’s that spiritual connection that comes through me to you with every bite. Plant-based eating is where my roots are. It is not a new practice, just a forgotten one. I am here to reclaim it.”

Chef Bree also emphasized that all the food she makes, even the fried items, include healing herbs and spices. 

The Afro-Indigenous Vegan will be making appearances during Vegan Restaurant Week on October 31st, November 2nd, November 4th, and November 7th. They will also be hosting a ticketed event, Chef Bree vs Chef Bree on October 24th, in which Smith demonstrates how easy it is to veganize all your favorite classic comfort foods. For information about menus and locations be sure to follow them @the_afro_indigenous_vegan. 

For more information, you can visit the Providence Vegan Restaurant Week website here or go to the event Instagram @pvdrestaurantweek.

Women Trailblazers in Music: Film to Premiere at RIC

Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky — when thinking of great composers, there is no shortage of household names. It is unlikely, however, that many, if any that come to mind are female. Dr. Judith Lynn Stillman is remedying that imbalance. 

Stillman is a professor of music and RIC’s artist-in-residence and has been producing prolifically through the pandemic. The film of her quarantine opera, “Essential Business” which she composed towards the beginning of COVID-19, won first prize in the international OperaVision #OperaHarmony competition, and featured Metropolitan Opera star baritone Will Liverman. The film was also presented earlier this year at RIC. 

Most recently, Stillman was inspired to create a film about talented and inventive yet often forgotten female composers of the past.

“My talented mother and grandmother’s musical careers never took off in the male-dominated societies,” she said. “This propelled me to champion women composers who were repressed, undervalued, discouraged, and forgotten due to the politics of their existence.”

Women Trailblazers in Music: Noteworthy Composers, which premiers November 4 at Rhode Island College, depicts the extraordinary lives of these female composers across a span of twelve centuries and features their revolutionary compositions. Stillman cites her inspiration to create the film as part of her ongoing dedication to giving voices to the voiceless. The incredible ways these women changed music should have earned them recognition and acclaim, but instead, their music has been routinely forgotten when it should be lauded. Previously, she has also created projects addressing the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, refugees, artists of color, and the climate crisis. 

The film begins in Constantinople with the 9th century Byzantine composer Kassia. “She became an abbess, and that ensured the longevity of her music for twelve centuries,” Stillman said. “Hers was a calculated career choice. Many of her hymns are used in the Orthodox Church liturgy to this day.” 

She added, “Women composers had to be quite clever. For example, several of the featured composers [in the film] married music publishers to secure the survival of their music. Some adopted male pseudonyms. It took a lot of ingenuity.” 

She also emphasized the importance of recognizing Florence Price, another composer featured,and the first Black woman to have her compositions performed by a major symphony orchestra.

 “In Western music history, women were permitted to be the interpreters, but not the creators,” Stillman said. “They were not encouraged to pursue music professionally. Gender inequality has been rampant throughout the industry.” 

The world is still not close to redressing this historic imbalance, but progress is slowly being made. “The climate for female composers is still problematic as the dominance of male composers remains strong, but the tide is shifting. Slowly,” Stillman explained. “Statistics confirm that only a handful of male composers comprise the majority of all programming. We need to encourage and empower women and women composers and make a concerted — pun intended — effort to redress the historic imbalance and harness momentum for change. Many [women] should have earned a crucial place in Western history and should be household names, but are merely in the process of being fully recognized and celebrated.”

While COVID-19 caused difficulties in made producing the film challenging, it also gave her opportunities to build connections resulted in opportunities for building connections for Stillman. “The pandemic created the necessity for a remote platform,” Stillman said, which afforded me the opportunity to work with artists from all over North America. Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Chicago, Vancouver, Hartford, in addition to Boston and Providence. ,” says Stillman. She adds, “I am filled with so much gratitude to all my amazing colleagues who joined forces with me to be a part of this groundbreaking film and help bring the project to fruition.”

The film will premiere for the public on November 4th at 7:30 PM in Sapinsley Hall. Presented by FirstWorks and Artists & Activists Productions, it will be followed by a live concert featuring the works of both historical composers featured in the film and contemporary women composers as well. Admission is free, but registering for tickets in advance is mandatory because of social distancing and contact tracing protocols. Unregistered guests will not be admitted. Tickets can be obtained through the box office at Rhode Island College, by emailing boxoffice@ric.edu or calling (401) 456-8144.

Out this September: Looking for some new entertainment? Look no further!

Motif contributor Katarina Dulude rounded up her top picks for entertainment this September, including a few local selections. 

September 2: If spooky season can’t come soon enough for you, check out What We Do in the Shadows, which will be returning for its third season on September 2. This horror comedy mockumentary was created by Jemaine Clement and produced by Taika Waititi, who is perhaps best known for directing Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. The show is based on the creators’ earlier film of the same name and tells the story of four vampire roommates and their familiar living in modern times in Staten Island. Its third season will be available on September 2 on FX and Hulu. It’s worth taking a bite out of this incredibly hilarious and absurdly fun show.

September 3: The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and Loki and follows Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist, who is drawn back into The Ten Rings, a shady organization, to confront the past he left behind. Director Daniel Cretton described the film as both funny and “a cross between a classic kung fu film and a family drama.” The film will receive a 45-day theatrical release.

September 9-17: Looking for a live performance? The Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins by Haus of Glitter will be presented outdoors through the Wilbury Theatre Group at the former home of Esek Hopkins. The activist dance opera is described by co-directors Anthony Andrade, Assitan Coulibaly, ​Steven Choummalaithong, Matt Garza and Trent Lee as “a story of mermaids, revolution and resilience [that] exposes how our BIPOC lineages intersect with Hopkins’ legacy of white supremacy.” Tickets are available here.

September 14: For those who enjoy a good romance, Farah Naz Rishi’s It All Comes Back to You will be released midway through September. The contemporary romance book centers around teens Kiran and Deen. Kiran doesn’t know what to make of her sister’s new quickly moving relationship. Deen is thrilled his brother has found a girlfriend so that the attention can shift off of him for a while. However, when Deen and Kiran come face to face, they agree to keep their past a secret. Four years prior they dated until Deen ghosted Kiran without an explanation. Now, Kiran is determined to find out why and Deen is equally determined to make sure she never finds out. 

September 17: Netflix’s hit British dramedy series Sex Education makes its return this September. For those who haven’t seen the series, it begins with Otis, the teenage son of a sex therapist, who discovers that despite his own inexperience, he is adept at giving sex advice to others. With his best friend and crush, he turns this into a business. The series explores the emotional (and sexual) likes of teens in a way that is funny, awkward and incredibly heartfelt. Much of the third series has been kept under wraps, but it’s clear that a new headmistress will be changing things up at the teens’ school, for better or worse.

September 21: Inspired by the story of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history, the book Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao will be released this month. Described as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale, the sci-fi reimaging follows Wu Zetian, who seeks vengeance for her sister’s death at the hands of an intensely patriarchal military system that pairs boys and girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots used to battle mecha aliens. While boys are revered, girls must serve as their concubines and often die from the mental strain. When Zetian gets her vengeance on the boy responsible for her sister’s death and emerges unscathed, it is discovered that she is an Iron Widow, a special type of female pilot, much-feared and much-silenced. She is paired with the strongest and most controversial male pilot in an attempt to tame her, but after getting a taste for power, Zetian will not give it up.

September 30-October 24: Opening their 37th season, A Lie Agreed Upon will be premiering at The Gamm Theatre on the last day of September. This play, written and directed by Tony Estrella, modernizes Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. “Inconvenient truths fight alternative facts, minority rights battle majority rule, and individual conscience clashes with economic interest in this powerful reinvention of Ibsen’s masterpiece.” More information is available here.

Green New Careers: The Sunrise Movement challenges people to imagine their role in a brighter future

The Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization set on stopping the climate crisis while creating millions of fair-paying and sustainable jobs in the process, recently launched a Green New Careers website. The site invites users to imagine not only a better future that tackles the climate crisis head on, but what role they would play in it.

Paris Moran, Digital Director of Sunrise Movement shared, “We launched Green New Careers to show another future is possible – one that’s not extractive and includes fulfilling, good paying jobs that will revitalize our communities and combat climate change. Sunrise is excited and proud to launch Green New Careers to meet young people where they are and bring them into the political process in ways that our lawmakers often fail to – by being accessible and engaging for the next generation. This is how we build public support for good jobs combating the climate crisis, this is how we build the movement for a Civilian Climate Corps, this is how we will kick-off the Decade of the Green New Deal.”

The site offers information as well as a quiz in which users are able to discover which Green New Career type is best suited to them, whether that be careworker, observer, naturalist, communicator, organizer, builder, grower or analyst. Each type has its own page in which users can learn more about the valuable work they could perform toward a more sustainable and equitable future should politicians take bold climate action. 

“This year, we emerged from an apocalyptic global pandemic only to face the brunt of the climate crisis in the form of deadly heat waves, droughts and destructive storms. The climate crisis is here and the good news is we have the chance to pass one piece of the solution –  a bold Civilian Climate Corps,” said Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement. “The climate priorities in the reconciliation package must match the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, and Green New Careers is just one way we’re bringing people into the fight, especially for young people growing up and feeling the despair that comes with seeing your world burn with no solution in sight. We’re hoping that through this we can bring hope and vision for a livable future as we push our politicians to deliver for us.”

All the power and technology to halt the climate crisis already exists. A future in which both the planet and its people flourish is entirely possible. Through its Green New Careers, Sunrise invites us to see that better future. The next step is getting our politicians to see it, too.

Plantastic!: A roundup of vegan restaurants


Raffa Real Food, 19 Sharpe Dr, Cranston*


Blackstone Herbs + Coffee Bar, 3 Dexter St (at Broad St), Cumberland

East Greenwich

P.B. Bistro, 241 Main St, East Greenwich*


Plant City X, 619 West Main Rd, Middletown

Sprout and Lentil, 796 Aquidneck Ave Unit 3, Middletown


Root, 6 Broadway, Newport


Garden Grille, 727 East Ave, Pawtucket*

Wildflour Vegan Bakery and Juice Bar, 727 East Ave, Pawtucket


Veggie Fun, 123 Dorrance St, PVD

The Grange, 166 Broadway, PVD*

Plant City, 334 S Water St, PVD

PiANTA, 65 Bath St, PVD

Like No Udder, 170 Ives St, PVD

Blush Bakeshop, 408 Atwells Ave, PVD

The Glow Cafe and Juice Bar, 389 Admiral St, PVD

Beatnic (formerly By Chloe), 223 Thayer St, PVD


Juice Bar & Co., 266 Putnam Pike, Smithfield


Celebrated, 901 Warwick Ave, Warwick


High Tide Juice Co., 55 Beach St, Westerly*

* Restaurants with an asterisk are vegetarian with many vegan options