July Holidays, Ranked

It’s back. Now in its third iteration, this column ranking holidays of the month has already gone on way too long. Is anyone reading this? Good thing I can laugh at my own jokes. 

Let’s get this one out of the way: 

6. 4th of July: What do you know, it’s on July 4. 

Yea, yea, yea. It’s all anyone thinks about when I say “I’m going to write about July holidays” and they’re all like “oh, like the 4th of July?” and I’m like “yeah, I guess.” When I think of the 4th of July I think of my suburban upbringing, sitting in a field at the local high school for hours waiting until the sun went down to see the fireworks. It’s hot and crowded, I’m sitting on the ground and the fireworks last a total of like 10 minutes, tops. Damn. 

I guess it’s better as an adult because of the beer, but that doesn’t stop the 4th of July from regularly falling short of childhood expectations. I’m over it. If you’re not, go to Bristol and look at the painted line on the road maybe, idk. 

Now that that’s behind us, let’s dive into these bad boy holidays of July: 

5. International Town Crier’s Day: July 11

Hear ye, hear ye! It’s International Town Crier’s Day on July 11 this year. What is a town crier, you may ask. Thank you for indulging me. 

The first town criers were running messengers, bringing news from battlefronts, declarations of war or offerings of peace from kingdom to kingdom. Later they would just call out information in the town square, ringing a bell and announcing stuff like, “Hey the king says y’all gotta pay more taxes,” or “Tunics are 50% off at Bartholomew’s Tunic Emporium.”  Interestingly, whatever the town crier said was considered official notice, so if you didn’t hear what they said right, that was your problem. 

Criers would usually read it off a written document, then nail it to a well-frequented doorpost, at an inn or somewhere people gathered. This is where we get the pattern of association between news and the term “post,” like in The Washington Post. Fun facts!

4. National Mac and Cheese Day: July 14

Mac and cheese is great and all, but I really just wanted to take this opportunity to plug my favorite cheesy meal at the Newport Creamery. Nothing makes me feel more Rhode Island than sitting with my elbows on the lunch counter, hunched over my favorite meal: the Super Crunchy Grilled Cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich with four mozzarella sticks on it, with an ice-cold coffee milk on the side. And yes, if you’re keeping track, that’s breaded cheese then surrounded by more cheese and then more bread. Now that’s Good Mood Food™. 

3. International Kissing Day: July 6

Pucker up, Motif fam, cause you just won a one-way ticket to smooch city — a kiss coupon, or koupon, if you will. Cut out this section of the article and show your current (or hopeful) smooch partner and ask if you can celebrate the holiday together. It expires at the end of this month. Let me know how it goes.

This day has me thinking of all those movies where at the end the main characters kiss and it’s just perfect. I can’t imagine how many awkward kisses that trope has prompted. Think of all the people in your life who are bad at reading social cues, and just pump them full of soppy stories where the solution to all of their relationship problems is a big romantic gesture like a public open-mouth kiss. I’m cringing just thinking about it. 

International Kissing Day falls on the same day as our magazine distribution day this month — if you’re reading this in print, that means that I’ve already offered our distro team a little (consensual) smoochy bonus in honor of the holiday, and I imagine it’s gone incredibly well. 

2. National Words with Friends Day: July 19

Let’s take a trip back to 2009. Obama just got inaugurated, your hair looked like Bieber’s when he was innocent (at least mine did), and Zynga dominated this new thing called Facebook. We poked our friends, answered and shared long personal quizzes about ourselves that we now know were just scams trying to get our security question answers, and we played FarmVille and Words with Friends. Don’t be embarrassed. We all did it. 

Last year, Zynga announced that July 19 was to be National Words with Friends Day. This year the holiday marks its 13th birthday (yea, you’re old, it’s true). I feel like they probably should slow their roll a little bit. While Words with Friends was certainly a major component of my life at that time, does it deserve a national day? Can any company just declare a national holiday for something they make? 

2 ½. National Bradly Writes This Article Day: July 1

Speaks for itself. 

1. Gorgeous Grandma Day: July 23

I feel like anyone in charge of ranking July holidays would put Gorgeous Grandma Day in the number one spot. The idea came from Alice Solomon, who graduated college at 50 years old, and realized that society often treats older women as irrelevant or of limited capacity. She decided to challenge this stereotype with Gorgeous Grandma Day, which teaches us to replace the image of helpless retirees with an edgier, foxier version. 

I’m way ahead of you Alice. Just last week I had to sit down with a friend to explain that while it didn’t have to affect our friendship, I was going to be his step-grandpa now. I think it went about as well as it could have. 

Happy July!

Featured Contributor July 2022: Nicole LaBresh

Nicole’s journey with Motif started with an internship in the summer of 2016. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. A time of Pokémon Go and political upheaval. A time of food trucks on rooftops and the existential dread that comes with being a rising senior in college realizing what she wanted to do was not what she had been studying. While Nicole did not set out to become a theater reviewer, she took a stab at it and, well, the rest is history.

By day, Nicole works at Roger Williams Park Zoo, assisting in the management of photography and body art and watching animals all day (the latter is not technically in her job description, but when in a zoo…). By night… well, she often also does that. 

But when not watching animals, it’s all about theater: Viewing it, writing about it and doing it. She was most recently seen on stage being gay, committing crimes and singing sea shanties as Antonio in The Tempest at RISE, a production two years in the making, having been delayed by the ’rona. Since then, she has become involved in a new work: Permanent Solutions, a play about mental health by local talent Cass Caduto (who, incidentally, was her Sebastian in The Tempest). Nicole appeared in a one-night preview at RISE back in April and will be back for future productions, including one at AS220 this fall. 

Nicole can also be found selling tie-dye on Saturday mornings at the Scituate Farmer’s Market for her autistic brother’s business, T’s by B (fb.com/tsbybrendan). 

Interests outside of theater and writing include travel (more in theory than in practice at this point), music, snuggling with her guinea pig, napping and talking about herself in the third person.

News Analysis — RI New Gun Laws: Constitutional problems certain to lead to lawsuits

Through a series of weird parliamentary maneuvers, RI hurled itself into a legal nightmare on gun control. Three proposed bills would ban carrying long guns (rifles and shotguns) in public except for hunting (H.7358/S.2825), acquisition of firearms and ammunition by anyone under 21 (for whom handguns were already prohibited) (H.7457/S.2637), and possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds (H.6614/S.2653). All three were passed by both chambers of the General Assembly, sending them to the governor who said he would sign them into law.

Although the first two proposals passed both the House and Senate easily, the magazine capacity ban faced stiff opposition in the Judiciary committees of both chambers. The House Judiciary Committee on June 9 only passed it 10-8 because the speaker and majority leader used their rarely-exercised power to vote ex-officio (by virtue of their office) as members of every committee to forward the bill to the floor, and the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday deadlocked on a tie vote even with the Senate president and majority leader voting ex-officio in favor. Because a tie vote in committee kills the bill, Senate leadership later in the day used a parliamentary maneuver to take up instead the House-passed bill for immediate consideration and pass it in concurrence, an extremely unusual move that requires a two-thirds super-majority vote and is almost never employed for anything controversial; the Senate voted 24-11 to override an objection to immediate consideration, the thinnest of margins. The Senate session ran almost six hours.

The RI magazine capacity bill is especially controversial because it provides for no grandfather clause that would allow owners of newly-banned magazines to keep them. While courts have generally held bans on manufacture and sales of magazines to be legal, no court decision currently in effect has allowed such a ban without a grandfather clause. California banned large magazines in 2000 but repealed its grandfather clause in 2016, leading to a flurry of litigation (Duncan v. Bonta) now pending before the US Supreme Court; an internal conference May 26 was held to decide whether to hear the case (certiorari), but legal observers expect that a major gun rights case on interpretation of the Second Amendment (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen) due to be decided by the end of this month will lead to the magazine case being remanded back to the lower courts.

By jumping into this fray, the RI ban on large magazines is certain to drag the state into litigation. The RI bill requires owners of existing magazines to either permanently modify them to reduce their capacity, surrender them to the police, or transfer them to a federally licensed firearms dealer for transfer out of state; violations constitute a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, and forfeiture of the magazine. The bill exempts active and retired law enforcement officers as well as active members of the military and National Guard.

Magazines are low-technology devices consisting of little more than a box and a spring, unchanged in fundamental design for more than a century. They are designed to fit a particular firearm, either a long gun or a handgun, so they generally are not modifiable without making them incompatible with that firearm. Highly popular current models probably would be served by manufacturers making new reduced-capacity magazines compliant with the ban, but the vast majority of magazines are old, often decades old, and their sudden unavailability would render their companion firearm itself useless. The generally accepted estimate is that about half of all magazines in private hands hold more than 10 rounds. Because magazines can be swapped in seconds, it is far from clear that capacity limits are effective even if the goal is to reduce rate of fire.

Magazine capacity letter, Attorney General Peter Neronha to House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Craven, June 10, 2022.

A grandfather clause on the magazine ban was vociferously opposed by Attorney General Peter Neronha in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee on June 10 (the day after its passage by the committee): “Put simply, inclusion of a grandfather clause will render these laws unenforceable, and our public safety gains will be lost. Most high-capacity magazines do not have identifying marks, serial numbers, or registration numbers, which could be used to indicate when they were manufactured or sold. Because law enforcement would be unable to verify whether an individual possessed a magazine prior to the effective date of this legislation, such an exemption would serve as a readily available defense for every prospective criminal defendant.” Neronha in his letter compared the six months owners would have to comply with the magazine ban to the prior one month to comply with “ghost gun” (homemade guns without serial numbers) ban, but of course there are thousands and probably tens of thousands of about-to-be-banned magazines while there are almost no “ghost guns” extant.

“This is rather breathtaking. In just a few months, tens of thousands of Rhode Island gun owners could become felons,” the RI Republican Party said in a statement this morning. “Never have so many law-abiding citizens been put at risk for jail time since the days of Prohibition when possession of alcohol was a crime. A few weeks ago, the General Assembly decided to pass a law that expunged any criminal convictions related to marijuana possession even though, at the time, marijuana was illegal. Now that same General Assembly wants to make possession of certain capacity magazines a crime even though the magazine was bought at a time when it was legal in Rhode Island. This makes no sense.”

Entering a similar legal swamp, the RI ban on possession of any firearms by those under age 21 is even more expansive than a ban on possession of some firearms (semi-automatic centerfire rifles) that was ruled unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on May 11 (Jones v. Bonta). “Young adults have the same constitutional rights as the middle-aged or the elderly – even if some of them may not necessarily have the wisdom or judgment that age and experience can bring – for the same reason that we do not limit fundamental rights based on supposed intelligence, maturity, or other characteristics” the court wrote, later noting that “young adults have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Because that right includes the right to purchase arms, both California laws burden conduct within the scope of the Second Amendment.” (The court upheld a second California law that required some purchasers to first obtain a hunting license.) While RI in the First Circuit is not strictly bound by Ninth Circuit precedent, the recent court ruling bodes ill for the survival of the new RI ban.

The ban on carrying long guns in public may likewise face constitutional problems, if as expected the US Supreme Court rules within the next few weeks that there is some Second Amendment right to carry a firearm in public (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen), thereby making licenses or permits to carry in public a right subject to increased scrutiny if denied. While RI law does contain a provision that local police “shall issue” permits to carry handguns in public, in practice police departments have been reluctant to comply, even refusing to accept applications, without being sued.

FINALLY!: Rhode Island legalizes cannabis for adult use

Pardon my excitement, but WE DID IT!! After years of coordinated advocacy efforts and many months of negotiations between stakeholders, at long last RI lawmakers managed to put a unified legalization bill to a vote on the House and Senate floors, where it passed with minimal opposition and was signed into law by the governor the very next day. Of course, we knew this was coming — not that it was inevitable, as many have opined over the last few years, but that at some point, our legislature would get its act together to join the rest of New England and much of the country in legalizing cannabis for adult use. But even though I meant it every time I said “this is really the year we make it happen,” a part of me was still in shock as I watched the House vote from a wooden bench in the gallery, the back wall lined with police officers standing in solidarity — a thin blue line of stoic opposition. After spending one third of my life advocating for this very moment, it was surreal to see the names of representatives light up in green, one by one, on the Capitol TV screen on the wall. I couldn’t help but well up with emotions as the final gavel fell, signifying the end of cannabis prohibition and the start of a new chapter in RI. 

The Bill That Lived

Whether it was reduced stigma around cannabis due to legalization in 18 other states, continued advocacy work finally making an impact or just an increasingly acute awareness of the tax revenue being lost to MA every day, lawmakers seemed to come to the table with a different attitude this legislative session. 

For the first time in ten years, they managed to put differences aside to come up with a singular bill to file in both chambers – a compromise between the needs and demands of all the various stakeholders, without diluting the best parts of each approach. It’s a tall order, but it was that spirit of collaboration, coupled with some critical last-minute amendments, that brought this legislation over the finish line to become one of the best legalization laws we’ve seen yet in this country. 

Effective Immediately:

  • Possession – Adults (21+) can possess up to 1 oz of cannabis for personal use (maximum of 10 oz in storage per household) and possession of up to 2 oz for adults 18+ and older will be decriminalized, resulting in a civil penalty without the threat of jail time.
  • Home Grow – Adults (21+) can grow up to 6 plants for personal use (3 immature / 3 flowering), as long as safety requirements laid out in the legislation are met.
  • Expungement – While the automatic expungement process is pending (see “Stay Tuned” below), those eligible may petition the court immediately for expedited clearance of their case.
  • Social Equity Fund – All fees paid by legal cannabis businesses will be directed into a dedicated fund to provide assistance to applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
  • Licensing – New license structures will be available and set aside for social equity businesses (with at least 51% of owners or employees qualifying under specific criteria) and worker-owned cooperatives, the latter of which has never been done before – RI may have missed the boat on a lot of firsts when it comes to cannabis, but at least we can say that we led the way in one thing!

The Road to Retail

  • “Hybrid” Dispensaries – Starting August 1, 2022 (mere weeks from now!), the first stores to open for adult-use sales will likely be the ones that are already open. The amended legislation expedites the licensing for existing medical marijuana dispensaries – for a $125,000 fee — in an effort to streamline the path to adult-use cannabis sales.
  • New Licenses – Aside from the nine hybrid licenses that will presumably be granted to each of the existing compassion centers, 24 new retail licenses will also be available right away — of those, 25% of licenses must be awarded to social equity applicants, 25% to worker-owned cooperatives, and all 24 must be divided up equally between the six geographic zones laid out in the state.
  • Cultivation & Vertical Integration – There will be a moratorium on new cultivation licenses for two yearsUnlike our existing dispensary business model, the new licenses will be retail-only, and no single entity will be allowed to possess more than one business license. 
  • Taxes – Retail cannabis sales will be subject to a 7% state sales tax, 10% state excise tax, and 3% municipal tax (the latter of which will only be available to those cities and towns that allow for cannabis businesses).

Stay Tuned:

  • Expungement — The amended legislation mandates for state-initiated (automatic) expungement of criminal convictions for misdemeanor or felony possession up to 2 oz, a process that must be completed by July 1, 2024.
  • Regulatory Authority —  An independent Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and new advisory board will be created to help craft regulations. Members of the CCC will be appointed by the governor using a suggested list compiled by the legislature — a compromise that was reached after Gov. McKee raised concerns about the constitutionality of too much legislative control over appointees. 
  • Medical Marijuana — All fees associated with application, renewal, and cultivation of medical marijuana for personal use will be eliminated completely as soon as adult-use sales begin, perhaps as early as December of this year.
  • Detecting Impairment — One of the more urgent issues to address as we move forward, at least according to opponents of the legislation, will be the criteria used by law enforcement to detect cannabis impairment in drivers. Proposed solutions include more “drug recognition experts” — a costly pseudoscientific training program, increasingly marketed to police departments in the age of legalization — the odor of cannabis, and blood testing of drivers for THC, but it should be noted that there are no scientifically reliable or valid forms of detecting cannabis impairment yet.

The work of building a stronger, more equitable cannabis industry in RI is far from over, but I believe we have laid a solid foundation with the Rhode Island Cannabis Act. I am sure that I will have plenty of opinions and criticism to offer as we move into the regulation and implementation phases, but for right now, I am quite proud of our small state.

Hope to See You There: Can we overcome COVID-19 fears and rebuild community? 

A quick flip through the Motif Summer Guide pages will give you a full calendar for the next few months. However, the tumultuous past few years have given some individuals pause about partaking in community events. Even with daily entertainment throughout this beautiful state, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get ready and leave the house. 

Chris Donovan is an events organizer with a background in theater. He moved to PVD eight years ago, adopting it as his home and spending time giving back to the city that helped him thrive. The pandemic caused him to feel disengaged and disconnected from the community; This year, he went to coffee with his friend Ray Nuñez, CEO of digital marketing agency Nuñez, and the two discussed how they both felt disconnected from the world and that many others felt the same. They discussed ideas and came up with the concept: “Hope to See You There.”

“In my journey to re-establish my love for PVD,” Nuñez explained, “I connected with my good friend Chris Donovan to make sure I wasn’t the only one feeling lost. He empathized with me and we agreed that in order to regain that PVD magic, we had to dust off our milk crates and publicly evangelize the need for community building. We wanted to bring together those new PVD transplants, those long-timers who lost their pack and all those who long for connection.”

The goal of Hope to See You There is to give a sense of community to everybody and remind people that they still belong, even after a long absence. Donovan sees this initiative as an invitation for people to engage and feel comfortable with each other, meet someone new and explore the state.

“Rhode Island has a lot of great things, but it’s the people and the community that make this a special place to live,” Donovan says. “Everything we have wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have a community to support it and lift it up. Everybody that has been looking for community feels a stronger sense of investment and pride in Rhode Island and really makes it an even better place to live.”

Hope to See You There is a visible symbol that people can connect to quickly. Participants will be wearing a pin with the logo, which lets others know that they are safe people to start a conversation with. This initiative belongs to the community, and aims to give everyone a feeling of security and the motivation to leave the house and socialize with other community members.

“This felt like the perfect opportunity for me to roll up my sleeves and get involved,” said Julia Brough, a volunteer who hand illustrated the lettering. “I see myself as someone out in the community wearing the Hope To See You There pin, open to connecting with my fellow PVDers. Giving visibility to that line of communication could really be a huge influence on whether a transplant wants to stay here or possibly move elsewhere. This initiative bubbles those opportunities to the surface and I dig that.” 

Hope to See You There plans to be a decentralized way for all communities to get back together. They will rely on community leaders to become ambassadors and spread the message to their individual groups. 

“Our hope is to get enough of these people and have a ripple effect,” Donovan says. “It’s the best possible outcome of a pyramid scheme that we could expect.”

The reception has been positive, and the volunteer list has grown to a dozen. This grassroots effort relies on word of mouth from enthusiastic individuals who believe in this initiative. Nuñez and Donovan have obtained enough support to do the initial launch but are looking for more donations to keep Hope to See You There going.

“Sustainability will be a community response,” Donovan explains. “If people believe in this and want to keep it going, they will. If the community at large believes in this idea, it’s going to find a way. The transformation has already begun. It’s a matter of how big it can get.”

The official launch of Hope to See You There will take place June 5 at the Van Leesten Memorial Bridge (unofficially called Providence Pedestrian Bridge) in the Guild PVD Beer Garden. A team of volunteers will be spreading the word, discussing the initiative and doing personal invitations to people to get kits and a poster that explains the concept.

“We want this event to be an anchor point for people to show up, find out more about the purpose of Hope to See You There, and collect their kits to bring back and become ambassadors to their community,” Donovan says. “We hope people stay and connect with community members that believe in this mission and are doing this work. It’s an anchor point for the members of the community that are going to become ambassadors to come together and embrace the idea.”

The Best Way to Get Around This Summer: A guide to biking in PVD

With inflation on the rise, many people are looking for ways to cut down on their gas money spending, but this doesn’t have to mean staying home all summer. There are lots of things to do locally and the City of Providence has been working to provide alternative transportation options.

Before the Great Streets Initiative, commuting by bike was not an option for many people, but now that’s changing in parts of the city. It’s normal to feel hesitant, according to Liza Burkin, a lead organizer of the Providence Streets Coalition and a strong advocate for micromobility in RI. She says, “[You] should expect it to be a skill just like anything else, like learning a language or learning how to do pottery. It’s a skill that absolutely gets easier and better the more you do it. I think anybody commuting by bike for the first time is going to probably feel amazing in their body and feel more connected to nature or to their city. You’re going to be able to notice things about your neighborhood and about the streets that take you from your house or your job or wherever you need to go, on a much more intimate level.” 

Thanks to Spin, you don’t need to bring a bike with you to PVD to get around. Spin provides rental e-bikes and scooters to college campuses and various US cities — all you have to do is download the Spin app and add your payment information. There are even options if you don’t own a phone or credit card through Spin Access. In PVD, Spin bikes cost $1 to unlock and an additional $0.32 per minute. At this rate, a ten-minute ride would cost $4.20. Spin also offers a discounted rate for those with limited income. A map of currently available bikes and scooters can be found here or on Spin’s mobile app. When you arrive at your destination, just park the bike on a rack so it can charge for the next person. 

If you’re planning on using a bike to get around, it’s important to be prepared, especially when commuting to work or school. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation offers many resources for cyclists, including roadside assistance. Know the limits of your rental bikes. For example, the Spin vehicles are only operational within PVD: the motor will turn off if you cross a border. Make sure to bring water on hot days, and carry an external battery to charge your phone. Spin also recommends wearing a helmet while using their bikes and scooters. When using a bike, you don’t need to worry about traffic jams or parking, but you do need to accommodate for other factors. If possible, plan your route ahead of time. 

If you don’t know where you’re going, Burkin recommends a navigation app called POINTZ. “Google Maps will give you the route that is the fastest from point A to point B and POINTZ will give you the route that’s safest from point A to point B,” she explains. “Get a portable Bluetooth speaker that you can attach to the handlebars or to your backpack or to your belt. Or keep one headphone in your ear.” This way, cyclists can listen to directions without having to stop and look at their phones.

Another option is the Destinations feature on Spin’s mobile app. A Spin spokesperson explains, “This feature optimizes routes to use bike lanes where possible, making for a safer and more comfortable ride.”

Above all, cyclists should take into account the safety of themselves and those around them. Burkin emphasizes the importance of stopping for pedestrians who are also on bike paths. “Just like we expect drivers to yield to cyclists because they’re more vulnerable on the road, we should expect cyclists to yield to people walking and rolling in other ways because they’re more vulnerable on the road.” 

Biking can be a recreational activity in and of itself. Burkin is also involved in planning Providence Bike Jam, one of many biking events happening this summer. “Bike Jam is the second-to-last Friday night of every month, and it always starts at Burnside Park at 7pm and we do about 8-12 miles around the city, stopping at parks for dance parties, and it’s a lot of fun.” RI Department of Transportation also offers state-wide maps of recreational bike paths at ridot.maps.arcgis.com

Whether it’s just for fun, or part of your commute, biking is not only a great way to exercise but also an affordable alternative to driving. It’s much better for the environment too. As the Great Streets Initiative progresses, micromobility will be more accessible than ever in PVD.
If you’re looking for more bike safety tips, check Spin’s Safety Quiz.

On the Cover: June 2022

For this Summer Guide, Motif recruited one of our favorite cover artists — Zoë Anderson –– to paint us a panorama of the perfect summer: one far away from resurging COVID-19 rates, high gas prices and long lines at the Del’s stand. 

“I kinda went off of things that I like to do during the summer. I like swimming and camping.” 

It was important for Anderson to also shout-out her subtle homage to Pride Month. Look closely and you’ll see for yourself. “I definitely wanted to include some pride flags here and there,” she shared.  

Anderson did disclose that this idyllic scene is more an invention of her imagination than any specific geography (though if any adventure-seekers want to head out into the woods of Exeter and try to find it, we are in). “I drew a lot of inspiration from Pinterest,” she said. Sure, Zoë, sure. 

We asked Anderson what she was up to this summer, and she told us she was headed to Firefly Arts Collective, which seems pretty much like a Vermont version of Burning Man, followed by a camping trip to New Hampshire. 

We noticed that Anderson included a cat in the tent. “I think it’s cool when people take their cats camping, but I don’t think Silver or Apricot would be up for it,” Anderson said. While Motif could not confirm by press time, we are nearly certain that Silver and Apricot would agree. 

Featured Contributor June 2022: Kristen Dansereau

Hi everyone, my name is Kristen Dansereau. I am a rising senior at Roger Williams University studying journalism and minoring in sustainability, and I play on the women’s volleyball team. I will be graduating early this December and am beyond excited to begin my career.

This past spring I worked as an intern for Motif and loved it so much that I wanted to continue working with them as a contributor. I truly believe everyone has a story to share, and in my short time at Motif I have already had the pleasure of meeting many people in RI that have expanded my knowledge and given me the chance to put their stories into words.

When I was younger I always had my nose nuzzled in a book, so it’s no surprise to me that I fell in love with writing. Since my sophomore year of high school I have pursued my desire to be a journalist. As my experience increases I’m drawn to this field of study even more because I love to learn and share everyone’s stories.

A couple fun facts about me: I am the youngest of six girls and I have been an aunt since I was 8 years old. If I’m not writing you will likely find me in the gym playing volleyball or spending time with my family.

Pride in Providence: PrideFest and Night Parade return for 2022

Photo provided by RI Pride

Rhode Island PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade is back! On Saturday, June 18, the events are returning to the Creative Capital after a two-year pause due to the pandemic. Well-known traditional programming will be back, including the vendor exhibition area, community resource hub, mainstage entertainment and much more. The vendor and community resource hub will consist of over 200 companies, food trucks and nonprofit organizations supplying much-needed support to the LGBTQIA+ community. Mainstage entertainment will have a variety of drag performers and vocalists from the RI and New England queer community. Multiple queer bars and clubs in downtown PVD are planning block parties after the Illuminated Night Parade to keep the fun going all night.

Although the programming will feel familiar, RI Pride is excited to announce that there will be a new location for PrideFest and a new route for the Illuminated Night Parade. RI PrideFest will be taking place throughout Innovation District Park, on the downtown side of the pedestrian bridge. Completed at the end of 2021, the seven-acre waterfront greenspace sits in the middle of PVD’s growing innovation and design district and will expand the amount of space for PrideFest and its attendees.

The Illuminated Night Parade will also be following a new route. Traditionally the parade started on Dorrance St, went past City Hall and down Washington St, then looped around to Weybosset St where it would end in front of PPAC. This year, it will march to a different drummer, down Washington Street in the opposite direction, crossing Dorrance St and coming down Weybosset St to end in front of PPAC. The parade will still have the same visibility as previous years with a different pathway through downtown PVD.

This year’s theme underscores the importance of community coming together, especially after the weight of the pandemic on all of us. This year’s theme is appropriately titled: Together Again!

Sponsor, parade and vendor registration is still active, and organizations are encouraged to sign-up.

The full event will run from noon to 9:30 pm on June 18.

Details on PrideFest 2022 can be found at prideri.org

Get Ready To Celebrate!: PVDFest brings local and international talent to the Creative Capital

If you’re looking to be immersed in a wide variety of live performances in the heart of Providence, PVDFest is definitely the place for you – a rare opportunity to stroll downtown, perhaps with a beverage in hand, without feeling like a target for motorists. Outdoor entertainment can be found around every quirky corner. 

This year, the organizers of PVDFest, including local nonprofit arts organization FirstWorks, have gathered tons of renowned international groups to perform, and entertain attendees. Musicians like the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins from New Orleans, eight-time Grammy-winner Eddie Palmieri & his Salsa Orchestra and Hit La Rosa from Peru are just a few of the amazing, “globe-spanning stars” that will be performing at this year’s festival. PVDFest will also have plenty of local flavors, from PVD schools’ music groups to RI’s Kung Fu and Lion Dance Club, which always inspires the crowd. The locally-curated Burnside Park Stage, which is set up within Kennedy Plaza, will bring a line-up of more local bands and performers, including RISA (the RI Songwriters Association) singer-songwriters, rockers AquaCherry, hip-hop crew #MVTHACROWD and more local favorites including Guess Method, Salem Wolves, No Exit Four, the Benji’s, Vudu Sister and military brass band Coyote Brass.

To make an already impressive festival even better, organizers have brought the Squonk “Hand to Hand” performance to Providence. This performance is a mesmerizing, humorous performance that ties together music and visual arts and features moving hand sculptures the size of small buildings. Kathleen Pletcher, executive director of FirstWorks, is beyond excited to have Squonk in Providence: “PVDFest street spectacles create indelible memories – this year, long-time FirstWorks favorite Squonk will blow us all away with a rock opera featuring animated sculptural hands as big as a house! It is all un-missable!” Squonk brought a rock show with a blimp to PVD in 2012, and has been back with a 40-foot-high “Lady Pneumatica” in 2015 and a bicycle-gymnastics-rock-show hybrid in 2018. This is expected to be their most hands-on performance to date.

To learn more about the festival and its lineup, visit PVDFest.com.