2022 Music Awards

Motif Magazine 2022 Music Awards are BACK!

Live musical performances, yummy food from The Biggest Little Easy, and spotlights on the best local talent during the awards ceremony!

Where?: Fete Music Hall

When?: July 18th 7pm-10pm

Let us know if you plan on attending and keep an eye out for more information at this link: https://fb.me/e/2EMrtnWcm

Vote Now!!!


See the results from last year!

Learn more about our nomination process.

2022 Bartenders Ball

We want to recognize bartenders that elevate tending to an art form. Join us in celebrating your favorite local bartenders! We are still taking nominations, nominate at the link down below, It’s free to enter, and we’d love to know about your favorites!

Nomination Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KLRVTVB

Where is the event taking place? R1 Indoor Karting, Lincoln Rhode Island!

When is the event taking place? Monday, August 1st!

Interested in attending? Let us know at this link: https://fb.me/e/1JkOpICgu

Crowdsourced Valentine’s Day Ideas: We asked the Hive Mind and Dating in RI what their VDay plans were, and shared our thoughts too…

Instead of leaving our Valentine’s Day plans in the hands of advertisers, promoters, and self-serving bloggers, we thought to ask you, dear readers and social media followers, what it is you’d be doing on the 14th if you didn’t have a partner. The results were not disappointing, so we at Motif figured we’d spread the love: 

“I’ll be on a solo trip to Disney World. Not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but the fact that it is didn’t factor into my decision-making process either way.” 
We hear Mickey’s been single ever since that thing with Minnie and Felix the Cat… 

“My friend and I are going to Gregg’s to take advantage of their Valentine’s Day specials! We went last year and really leaned into the cheesy nature of the holiday.”
Are you over 70?

“Crying and downing a bottle of wine.”
As long as it’s in that order.


“Buying myself a new toothbrush.”
Sanitary. We hope that’s a kind of foreplay for you! Buy two!

“Take-out and bad TV.”
Good take out?

“I haven’t had a SO on Valentine’s Day in years so idk outside of that”
Courage! Somewhere, there’s an SO who hasn’t had you on VDay. 

“Probably the same thing I did last year… Taking myself out for a steak and salad alone.”
As long as the steak has salad with it, they’re never really alone…

“Cook myself a full course meal, then buy discount v-day candy the next day.”
Yes! Although, the Christmas candy is on discount now!

“Wine and cookies.”
Do you dip the cookies?

“Getting back from my Bahamas vacation for my birthday. VDay is my birthday.”
Is your name Cupid?

“PlantCity and Veg Fest for Galentines!”
Extra eggplant at least, we hope?

“Myself probably.”
Well played!

“Since the end of a long term relationship in 2017, I’ve donated to my fave wolf sanctuary on Valentine’s Day.”
This feels like a metaphor.

“I vote second Halloween!!”
Yes! I call the one in the slutty nurse outfit.

“It’s a Monday so probably work, dinner, lay on the couch pantless watching TV.”
Well, at least there’s a pantless part.

“My tradition is to gather up some babies, give them little bows and arrows and throw them out the window to see which ones fly. I give them a little time with the bows first, just to see if they can hit anything.”
So wrong.

“I like to print out photos of my exes and take them to some place like Dart City or the Axe Bar, where they let you attach them to the targets and throw things at them. Turns out doing that to the real thing can get you arrested, but with print outs it’s ok.”
We are glad we don’t have to inform SWAT.

“My VDay tradition is to get some high quality construction paper and cut out heart shapes. I write the name of anyone I need to release from my thoughts, and make a nice little fire to warm the mid-February air.”
I can’t figure out if this is really evolved or really scary.

A Whole Bucket of Fun: The Pawtucket Arts Festival brings two weekends of arts programming to the state

Twenty-three years ago, the Pawtucket Arts Festival was just a small arts fair that allowed vendors to set up shop and sell their art. This year, festival director Anthony Ambrosino and his team have pulled out all the stops. 

The festival, which is presented by the Pawtucket Teachers Alliance, The Pawtucket Times and the City of Pawtucket, will take place over the weekends of September 10 and September 19. 

Ambrosino, who became the festival’s director in 2019 when Eastern Equine Encephalitis was prevalent, says he believes the festival has minimal COVID-19 risk because it is all outdoors.

“I was more scared last year than this year,” he says. “ Everything is outdoors, so really the only worry is weather. People are desperate for things to do that are safe and get them out of their house, and we hope to provide that.” 

The free arts festival offers an eclectic itinerary of food, dance, music, painting, yoga and more. 

“We try to stretch that art definition as much as we can,” Ambrosino explains. 

Ten restaurants will compete for the title of best empanada, with festival goers as judges, and the festival has teamed up with Pawtucket Central Falls restaurant weeks to get people out to support local restaurants. 

Tree Yoga Studio will offer yoga; art studios and galleries will be open and interactive craft events also will be offered. There will be sculptures on site and live music performances throughout the event. For the little ones, there will be face painting, bouncy houses and more during the family fun day. 

The festival’s headlining attraction is Plein Air Pawtucket (see sidebar). En plein air painting refers to the practice of painting outside. For this event, 12 renowned artists will set up their canvases around the Blackstone River so that viewers can watch them paint live. “It speaks to what we’re trying to do with the festival, which is create art outdoors,” says Ambrosino. The artists will sit before Pawtucket’s landmarks and breathtaking skylines, and capture them on canvas in what promises to be an awe-inspiring experience for all those watching. 

The Rhode Island Philharmonic returns, bringing with them a sense of long-standing tradition.

“I hope to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and bring the festival in the direction it needs now,” he says. Asking the Philharmonic to perform was important both because bringing tradition to the festival is a priority and, “it’s a celebration of a partnership that benefits our youth.” The Philharmonic has partnered with The Pawtucket Teachers Alliance for some time now, hosting many programs with Pawtucket schools.

With the world seeming a bit grey these days, it’s important to provide people with a colorful escape, though Ambrosino believes art is inescapable in our day-to-day lives.

“The arts are imperative,” he says. “Everything from song to storytelling to any kind of artistic expression goes back to the cavemen. The definition is so broad. From the design of your coffee cup to the Netflix show you are watching, art really is everywhere.” 

The Pawtucket Arts Festival takes place Sept 10 – 19. For more information, go to pawtucketartsfestival.org. 

Ecstatic Ekphrastic

Public art is meant to inspire conversation, and What Cheer Writers Club and The Avenue Concept recently teamed up to formalize that exchange in an event called Ecstatic Ekphrastic. The two arts organizations selected four pieces of Avenue Concept-installed art — “Condemned” by Richard Goulis, “Misty Blue” by Andrew Hem, “Night Flight” by Lauren YS and “The Revolution Starts in the Earth with the Self” by Jess X. Snow — then What Cheer Writers Club members were tasked with creating poems, essays or communal texts in response to the pieces chosen.

Writers who submitted work in July were entered into a random drawing for the opportunity to read their work at a virtual showcase that will be held Aug 13. For more information, go to whatcheerclub.org/ecstatic-ekphrastic

Writing on the Wall

After a June night of violence in PVD, many downtown business owners covered their surviving windows with plywood to protect them from being broken during anticipated protests. Local artists beautified the display by using the panels as blank canvases where portraits of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and messages of peace and justice emerged. The protests were peaceful and the panels unnecessary, but the art remains. They’re now displayed on Eddy Street, just across from the Biltmore Garage, where passersby can witness their messages.

Photo credit: Tess Lyons; art by @twobirds.Art, @diaryofaquarantinedartist, @coleseyeview, @mister.diablo, @_Happysloth_, @tattoovandal, @lunabadoula, @lizzysour, @96CYRI, @so.Roni, @naturalsnatural,  @lucidTraveler_Art, @joselin_0321, @Escoky, @_happysloth_, @brooxana,  @shelaughsxo, @martin_p292

Getting Loud: Gen Z: We Want to Live make their voices heard

A group of students led by 15-year-old co-founders Jaychele Nicole and Isabella James is making their voices heard under the moniker Gen Z: We Want To Live. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked Nicole’s and James’ anger and fueled their desire to create an organization for youth that fights for change so that members of their generation would be part of the conversation.

Left, Jaychele Nicole; Right, Isabella James

“As youth, we saw many people fighting the good fight without us — forgetting us. We are not just the voice of tomorrow, we are the voice of today. There are many pressing issues now that the world is facing that as the next generation we will face later on as well. We are looking to solve them sooner than later,” Nicole and James say. “Our generation has grown up hearing about traumatic experiences and dealing with the generational trauma.”

Gen Z: We Want To Live is dedicated to fighting for their generation through youth advocacy and political influence, which is done by building a strong coalition of skilled young activists. They showed their strength on June 14 when the group organized a protest at the State House with more than 1,500 people in attendance. To honor George Floyd and recognize the tragic way his life ended, protesters participated in a die-in, during which they laid down in the street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time it took for Floyd to suffocate under a police officer’s knee.

A group of people in the medical profession also came out to march that day. “There was a dramatic moment where a separate protest led by medical professionals, Code Black, marched up behind us during our rally and we split the crowd in half in order to let them in,” say James and Nicole. 

Gen Z: We Want To Live, though mainly for youth, also has a separate group for older people, called Generations for Gen Z. The main Gen Z group has about 40 youth advocating for change while the Generations for Gen Z group has roughly 20 people from different generations. When someone joins the group, they receive a list of 11 social justice issues they can work on with Gen Z. “The issues we focus on are the following: educational equity, reproductive health/justice, gun control, race and police brutality, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, affordable healthcare, hunger and poverty (affordable housing), immigration, women’s rights, and domestic/child abuse,” explain the organizers. The group also runs workshops on dismantling systemic racism and teaches adult allyship workshops. As interest in the group grows, more demonstrations and workshops will be held. 

As for what the future holds for the group, Nicole and James say they hope to see Gen Z go bigger and create more change beyond Rhode Island’s borders. “We cannot just fight for issues at the local level, we would like to see change at the national level. We have some plans to meet with city and state politicians, to release our full brief of policy initiatives, and to host more community building events.”

The cofounders are grateful for the support and help they have received, but want it known that the problems we are dealing with now aren’t new, and they feel young people have been left to clean up the mess of generations before them. “It is time to heal what we have inherited from the generations before us, who are now trying to limit us,” say Nicole and James. Having the different generational group Generations for Gen Z is helpful as it has people from older generations lending a hand to help fix issues that have been around since they were young. 

It’s intimidating to think about fixing all the wrongs in the world, but it’s also impossible to stay silent — impossible not to take a stand and demand change. Going against what has wrongfully been deemed normal for decades is what this fight is all about. And the youth won’t be silenced. Gen Z: We Want to Live is just one organization that will keep pushing boundaries and working toward a fairer future for all.

For more information on Gen Z: We Want to Live, email info@genzwwtl.org or visit genzwwtl.org

Chuck and Brad Go Visual: The popular podcast revamped with a new video component

The creativity that some are displaying during the pandemic has been impressive. Baking a homemade loaf of bread, learning new languages or taking time to really deal with mental clarity are all up there on what people are doing to stay busy. A lot of people have also gotten creative in tweaking and modifying what their work life looks like. 

Chuck Staton, podcaster and co-host of “The Chuck and Brad Podcast” added a visual component to their usual voice-only podcast. “When the quarantine happened, Jim Nellis from RI Food Fights (RIFF) called me. He’s been a big supporter of our podcast over the years, and we’ve done a lot of hosting live events for RIFF. He basically said that there are all these comedy podcasts that film every episode, and if we’d like to do that during the quarantine and post them through the (monstrous) RIFF social media accounts, he’d be happy to have us do it,” said Staton.

Chuck and Brad began posting videos of the podcast with frequent guest Ray Harrington, who adds a very funny third voice. The back and forth banter they have consists mainly of Harrington criticizing every word that comes out of Staton’s mouth, but all in good fun, according to Staton. 

Staton hopes that the podcast will be an addition to people’s list when seeking out art forms to help get them through the pandemic. Staton says,  “I think if you do have an artistic outlet, you should focus as much as you can on it right now and maybe even experiment in new directions. This is kind of trite, but when you have a passion, I think it’s very common for artists to jump into that passion fully when times are tough. If you’re an appreciator of arts, jump in!” 

Experimenting in new directions with art is exactly what Staton has been doing with his podcast. “We never really did video podcasts before. We’ve done a bunch of live episodes (in front of an audience) and filmed the performance, but we’ve never really filmed our podcast recording,” said Staton. Staton has had an eclectic shuffle of local people on, such as Robert Yeremian, owner of the Time Capsule Comics; the owners of Boneheads Wing Bar and Jim Nellis. 

As for the future of the podcast, Staton says he urges more local restaurateurs, comedians, musicians and artists to call in or reach out to be on the show. “We consider our podcast a creative playground. We’re open to all of it and want to help creatives spread the word about what they’re doing,” says Staton. So any restaurateurs who would like to share how they’ve gotten creative in keeping business afloat, any musicians willing to share tracks to be played on the show, or any comedians down to just share some humor, all are welcome. 

Staton is going to keep on keeping on with the show and even share some archive episodes as well. Keep an eye out for more podcast episodes by following RIFF on social media and get in touch with Staton through the shows Facebook page “The Chuck and Brad Podcast.”

Under Pressure: Dealing with the pressure to attend the right school

I remember the first time the idea of college really stuck into my mind. It was the summer going into seventh grade and my family went to the beach with my mother’s college friends’ family. The kind of college friend who earns the title of auntie. I always admired this woman. She created a beautiful life for herself and her family and so when while eating some pizza at the place they were staying, I was taken aback when this woman I call auntie brought up her daughter’s college sob story. Her daughter, who had been a straight A overachiever with almost lifelong dreams of going to Yale didn’t get in, she was devastated. She ended up attending Cornell instead. Cornell, an amazing school, but still not her first choice. 

Little me hearing all of this was astounded. Cornell to me was an Ivy League. All I knew was that to get in was something to be proud of. But then all of the sudden an idea was pushed upon me. To aim higher. Higher than what I physically, mentally and emotionally could take. Like my mother’s friend’s daughter. To not just take a great school but to desire a spectacular school. A prestigious and then some school.

Maybe that was the start of it all. The pushing to be more, to be enough. Suddenly college was a way to measure my status. From that point on I took school more seriously. I wanted to have a way to feel proud of myself. A way to calculate what my worth was. 

The journey to get into the perfect college was my ticket. My ticket to calculate said worth. I originally picked Stanford as my “dream school” but understand, to me I saw that Stanford was THE place, THE college. I loved California so location wasn’t an issue and I loved the elite reputation.  

A lot of it all is for the reputation. The acceptance rate. The number it’s listed on Forbes.com. And colleges love that. They love being known for being the best. Behind the “every student can make it here” facade, there’s the “only the very best will even get the chance” undertone. 

As I reached junior year of high school, I had a tennis state championship high school title under my belt, been published and paid for my articles at an arts magazine, received an invitation to a well-known journalism conference in Washington DC and had my eye on New York University to call my home for the next four years. 

I wanted to attend NYU like plants want to be watered. I disguised it as a want, but in truth, it was a need. I needed New York City and the news publications and the job opportunities and the mentorships and the professors like a plant needs water. There wasn’t any loophole to make it okay not to get it.  

So senior year was spent working harder than ever. Writing as much as I could, volunteering and buffing up my resume any ways I could. And then I had the moment. The moment my mother’s friend who I call auntie said broke her daughter. 

I didn’t get into NYU. 

A real bummer. My plan for the next four years of my life was wiped away. I was sad, of course, and it took a little time to wrap my head around it. Luckily I was accepted to Emerson College, the college that is home to the  #1 journalism program in the country. My reporter heart soared. 

Now Boston wasn’t New York City, the home I’d been dreaming of for a decent number of years, but it was still a magical city. I visited Emerson and fell in love. 

In love with Boylston street. I could see myself strolling through the city blocks getting inspiration from the lights at dusk and the sunrise over the skyscrapers. The professors and amenities and study abroad programs all caught my fancy instantly. Emerson was going to be my home and Boston my new stomping ground. 

I decided to take a gap year to raise money, though I think I knew how naive I was being. I never seriously considered state school or community college. I wanted the big leagues. Emerson has a reputation and I would get a good job bearing the Emerson alum name after. I’d continue to strive for a dream lifestyle beginning with a dream education.

Never could I make enough money at my hostess job at the local burger bar for one year at Emerson. Never mind four. I took the gap year anyway with the intention of still attending Emerson in the fall.  

In my gap year, I traveled, wrote, began and ended my first relationship, and dealt with a pandemic along with the rest of the world. 

During my gap year I also came to terms with something. I wasn’t going to Emerson. It was heartbreaking and many tears were shed. However, in another light I felt freed. When I realized I couldn’t afford Emerson, I was angry. Real blown away that a girl who worked hard and seemingly did everything right in the formula to attend a good school couldn’t. It wasn’t fair. And then I started thinking about how silly that was. How silly I was, and had been for so long. 

I had let what college I would attend define me. But I couldn’t just blame myself for working that idea up in my mind and I couldn’t blame my mom’s friend or her story about her daughter. It’s instilled in us to allow things that absolutely don’t matter be the reason we feel proud of ourselves. We all crave reasons and reassurance that we are special. And for teenagers, it can so easily become college that is the source for validation. That is the deciding factor of if we can do something. Getting into Yale, you must feel like you can do something, a whole lot. Thinking about all of the people who have gone to Yale and done something, just being grouped with them or having some connection to them makes you feel like that could be you. There are reasons that it could be you. 

And then there’s the acceptance rate number. That little number that kept me awake some nights. You can picture groups of people then pick out the 28% or 12% or, for Brown University, 8%. 

You want to be in that acceptance group. And the knowledge that you beat out other students for the spot fuels your fire even more. 

It’s an idea that needs to stop. All of it. 

College education is where small people can feel big. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can still feel small. And you get your fix through the college admissions process. The chance to prove to others what you are and what you bring to the table. The college we attend showcases what defines us. Now this isn’t a diagnosis or accusation. This is an observation of the ugly possibilities and overbearing pressure the college process brings. Now, in the slightest way I’m grateful for the mindset, but in the smallest way possible. I mean, I graduated valedictorian. The hunger I had to put that title on my resume to impress schools was the same hunger that eventually got me it. 

However, I could have still been one of the brightest students and not felt that a good college was the only way to a good life, a good life in any sense. Happiness, love, safety, good health, all were incorporated in the impressive college package. I now am going to attend Rhode Island College, and I fully intend to put in my best work. Not because I have Stanford or NYU on my mind, but because I know that with hard work you can really make the right life for yourself, and find that happiness that matters to you. Another thing, my mom is just as happy with her “My Child Goes to RIC” mug as she was with her now unwanted  “My Child Goes to Emerson” mug. And that fact makes everything a bit more alright in my eyes.

College of Corona: How are students in higher ed dealing with shutdowns?

COVID-19 is causing global shutdowns, but these closures affect more than businesses or already planned weddings. Colleges have felt the brutal impact of coronavirus, but more importantly, the students have. Physically showing up to class is a thing of the past, and classes now are being held online. It seems like a simple fix, but from students’ perspective, just because it’s seemingly the only option during this tough time doesn’t mean it’s an ideal alternative. I spoke with several college students who make it clear that COVID-19 is negatively affecting their costly higher education. 

Mikayla Swenson is finishing up her senior year at the University of Rhode Island. Having studied and put in effort for her degree, she is dealing with feelings of being deprived of a decent senior year. “I couldn’t stop crying over it. I hate feeling like I’m being selfish ,but it just felt so anticlimactic and like the class of 2020 deserved more.” Swenson studied religiously to earn her two degrees. However, she feels like students in the class of 2020 aren’t going to have the same opportunities as those graduating in the past and the future seeing that essentially a whole semester of quality education was taken from them. COVID-19 has already hurt the economy; now students are expected to go into the job market world with less experience than their competition. The loss of a decent graduation is also part of the pain for Swenson. While understanding that she could have it worse, working tirelessly to be the first person in her family to successfully finish college has Swenson upset over the cancellation of graduation. Swenson says, “I’m the first to complete high school and college, it was supposed to be a unifying moment for my family, so it was an emotional ride and it took some mourning after finding out it wasn’t going to happen.” Swenson also brought up that decent communication and consistency were lacking in her online classes as well, due to the fact that many of her professors were not tech savvy enough to go about the online teaching the correct way. “A lot of anxiety was turned up while trying to attend and learn from those classes,” says Swenson. 

Rhode Island College senior Justin Cormac, though acknowledging that online classes weren’t ideal, says it was the best that could have been done considering the circumstances. Cormac doesn’t blame RIC for the online classes situation, though he does think some students didn’t try as hard as they could have. Cormac says, “Online classes exposed a lack of discipline in students. When classes began, students backed off. Many students just didn’t meet college half way. The opportunity was there to manage and students didn’t rise to the occasion.” 

Cormac also brought up the point that although he managed to get his degree despite this wild ordeal, he’s struggling with feelings of not having actually earned it. Cormac adds, “There’s a definite part of me that says my degree doesn’t hold as much weight as someone who graduated last year. My spring semester was a cake walk. However, just because it was easy doesn’t mean that it was rewarding, doesn’t mean I earned it.” The feelings of not having actually deserved a degree or deserved a decent grade because everything was through online class are ones many college students and recent graduates are feeling, despite how hard they worked or didn’t work. 

Coronavirus isn’t just making it difficult for students who know what college life is like already. Lily Rhodes is going into her freshman year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and says that not knowing how classes will be done in the fall has her thinking a lot about the decisions she has to make when the time comes. “It’s honestly been on my mind so much lately. basically I’m trying to take a rational approach when deciding what to do if in the fall there are online classes only.” Berklee is one of the most respected music schools in the country and to Rhodes, who deals with ADHD, it’s unknown if the rigorous art classes could be taught through a screen. “Berklee is such an intense school. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle that through a computer, especially when it’s an art school. It comes down to the fact that our school really just needs to be in person.” Thoughts of uncertainty swirling around Rhodes’ head have caused her to consider taking the fall semester off, opting to possibly instead take classes with Community College of Rhode Island to save money. 

In short, we’re all aware that coronavirus has taken its toll on everyone and everything. Dealing with it is tough. However, we can’t fail students; especially not college students who put their money and hopes into getting a decent education. It’s not an easy fix, but online classes and the way they are being gone about seems like using a chewed piece of gum as adhesive to connect an elevator roping system. It’s not going to work in the long run. Here’s hoping for a vaccine so this Band-Aid of a solution can be a thing of the past.