Open/Closed

SAY HELLO

Notes Coffee Company: 508 Armistice Blvd, Pawtucket. They held their grand opening on July 17, this java shop is dedicated to melding music with a cafe scene.

Industrious Spirits Company: 1 Sims Ave, #103 PVD. iscospirits.com. Providence’s first distillery since the days of Prohibition. They specialize in gin and vodka, with bourbon currently aging. 

Wayfinder Hotel: 151 Admiral Kalbfus Rd, Newport. Formerly the Mainstay Hotel, this North End Newport hotel went under a $16 million renovation, with brand new walls, floors and ceilings. It has the largest hotel room of any establishment in Newport, and they are currently in the process of installing a fitness center (which is quite a workout). More than 1,000 pieces of local Rhode Island art have found their way there.

Open Air Saturdays: Every Saturday in August, Westminster Street in PVD will be closed to cars, so patrons can enjoy social distance shopping. Local businesses are hoping it will draw customers back to the downtown area. Who likes driving down Westminster Street anyway?

Crepe Corner: 1577 Westminster St, PVD. This breakfast/ Belgian eatery opened a new storefront in PVD on Westminster St.

Durk’s BBQ: Closing their Thayer Street location, this southern fried inspired eatery will be reopening sometime this month on Aborn Street.

WAVE GOODBYE

Loie Fuller: This art-deco styled restaurant was a jewel in PVD’s Armory District for over a decade. It closed July 29, with no plans to reopen.

Duck and Bunny: Under renovations since 2019, owners have announced it will not be reopening before 2021. Their satellite bakery in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village, the Cafe and Sweetery, recently closed.

Greenville Inn: Owner-operators Diane and Jim Belknap ran this Greenville eatery for more than 23 years. While they thought of reopening for takeout, they enjoyed the time off at home and have officially retired. 

Knead Donuts: The Custom Street, downtown PVD location closed. Knead still has two other locations in Providence, and a new location in East Greenwich.

Luxe Burger Bar: When the weekday lunch crowd dried up, the fat lady sang for this Providence burger place.

Red Fin Crudo: This Washington Street eatery announced just last month they would be closing permanently due to the pandemic. Fin.

Public Art Gallery: Sadly even the biggest community boosters among us are facing a pinch. Public has been closed for five months, and due to a revenue shortfall, it will be vacating its current space when the lease ends this month. They’re planning to reopen in a new location in 2021. Anyone interested in donating to them to help with costs go can to: publicshopandgallery.com

Brickley’s in Wakefield has announced it’s temporarily closing. The decision comes as numerous beach businesses in Rhode Island face rude and unsavory customers who are upset by new COVID regulations.

Mulligan’s Island has been for sale for a while, and it may have a buyer. Developers from Massachusetts are seeking a mixed use planned district for the area, envisioning putting in a CostCo and other smaller scale commercial retail and restaurants. 

Pier 1 is the latest national retail big box chain to close. It had only two locations, one in Westerly and one in Warwick, but its closure shows it’s not just local business feeling the fallout from a pandemic.




Lunar Notes

In August, Mars agitates and aggravates the big three in Capricorn: Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. When they were all together in March, we had the big shut down. Mars rules fevers along with other nasty things like war and strife. So, we can expect more violence, strikes and protests as well as a big spike in COVID cases. Jupiter rules law, Saturn rules order and Pluto rules the real big stuff like mass reorganization, disintegration and transformation. Focus on the transformation; don’t let fear (Saturn) rule you. Be hopeful and connect with spirit (Jupiter).   

Aries: Your ruler Mars, at home in Aries, fires you up, bringing a lot of energy your way. Use this energy in a positive way. You anger easily. Stay focused and don’t let what you cannot change aggravate you. Go with the flow. Love, romance and creative activities come your way. Burn off that energy with some healthy exercise. 

Taurus: In this topsy-turvy world, yours has been especially so. Some shocking events have you looking inward. Be aware that your actions may not have the results you expected. Your social life picks up this month and you are busy with some pleasant encounters. You think about changing your life’s direction.  

Gemini: Money issues present problems and you spend a lot of time gathering facts, having conversations and negotiating as you navigate through this morass. You’re quick and agile mentally, which works in your favor. A little monetary help appears. A friend gets a bit aggressive, and you have to talk them down from their anger. 

Cancer: Relationships — the pleasant ones and the not so pleasant ones — take center stage. Some folks are really difficult to deal with at this time. Remember it is their fears that are motivating them. Don’t buy into that. Treat the aggressive and belligerent with a spoonful of honey. They’ll chill out.  

Leo: The Full Moon in Aquarius at the beginning of the month brings relationship issues to the fore. You may want to keep a particular relationship on the down low. Some unexpected events change your direction in life. Give it some thought. The New Moon on the 18th in your sign says it is time for a new beginning. 

Virgo: You really don’t mind all this lock down stuff, but at the same time you manage to engage in some fun, frivolous social engagements. You are not ruled by fear. In your usual efficient way, you gather the facts and then make your decision and act accordingly. You strike the right balance using caution without fear. 

Libra: These past few months have been tough on you, Libra, but they have given you time to reflect and analyze your wants and needs. August is a good time for you to recalibrate your life and shift your goals and perspective. Some pleasant folks help to guide you on your way. There is one not so pleasant who seems to prefer arguments. 

Scorpio: While your range of activities have contracted, you are still able to be constructive and accomplish a great deal. In August, you navigate delicately through your personal and professional life, creating balance. Restriction does not prevent you from thinking and dreaming big. When things get normal, you’ll be ready to move on.

Sagittarius: Despite restrictions, you have had a busy time of it and will continue to do so. You are passionate about something or someone. Go with the flow and see where it takes you. Money matters and the material world play a big role these days. You need to get some of this stuff in order. Get some exercise, you’ll feel better. 

Capricorn: You’re in the midst of a long, slow process of change and transformation.  Some of this is deep and subtle — so much so that you may not be consciously aware of it now. You will see it when you gain some distance. For the short term, expect an uptick in your social life, activity around the home and a bit of excitement.

Aquarius:  A lot of behind-the-scenes, into-the-subconscious stuff has been going on with you. It is like you are cleaning out the dustbin of your mind and emotions, as well as your closets. You’re ready for a breakthrough. In the meantime, conversations, local activity and a bit of craziness on the home front keeps you busy.  

Pisces: Keeping on schedule has been a bit difficult for you because of sudden upsets, unexpected changes and events beyond your control. You will manage to take in some fun by engaging in activities you enjoy. Friends old and new get you out of the doldrums. There could be a light romance on the horizon. Exercise and meditation work well for you. 




Lobstah Rolls 101: Local experts give us the 411 on eating in the 401

Dune Brothers; photo credit: Melissa McKelvey

To the first human who looked at a lobster and said, “I bet there’s good eatin’ inside that claw,” kudos to them. Lobsters look like giant, prehistoric, water-dwelling vinegaroons, and if you’ve never heard of a vinegaroon, you probably didn’t grow up in the Southwest and were spared the pure terror that comes when finding them your garage. (They are also known as “whip scorpions.” Google it if you dare.) 

Nevertheless, lobsters have become a staple of New England cuisine, particularly when they are de-shelled, dressed and stuffed into a hoagie roll. I decided to ask a couple of dedicated lobster roll enthusiasts to offer their top picks of the state. The first person I spoke to was Gina Pezza, a chef at Vanda Cucina, because she has dedicated an entire Instagram account to the rating of lobster rolls: @rhodyrolls401

The Boat House; photo credit: Melissa McKelvey

Jenny Currier (Motif): Do you work with lobster, or do you just enjoy lobster?

Gina Pezza: It’s funny — I just like lobster rolls. I won’t buy lobster. I worked at Hemenways for three or four years, and I got lobstered out. But a couple of years ago I would go on bike rides and me and my friend, if we stopped to get lunch, we would always get a lobster roll. Obviously, it’s good. It’s cold, it’s easy to eat, and it’s not heavy. Then I just started really enjoying lobster rolls.

JC: Do people give you tips, or do you stumble upon the places you rate?

GP: This was just a fun project I started. I thought, I’ve gotta start writing these down so that the next year when I’m like, ‘What was the place that had good lobster rolls?’ I would remember which ones to go to. I went to get a lobster roll in January at a brewery, and that’s when I started it. A few people who follow me will give me pointers and other places to go to. Other than that, it’s just from being out and about. 

Lobster Bar; photo credit: Melissa McKelvey

JC: Are you a native Rhode Islander?

GP: I am! I’m from Johnston. 

JC: What are some of the things you think make a lobster roll great?

GP: [My rating system] has about four or five components. 

The first, obviously, is the main one: lobster. Is it fresh or frozen? I’ve even had fresh ones that weren’t cooked properly or were overcooked. I don’t know if it’s because it’s soft shell or hard shell, but sometimes it has a different flavor — a sweeter flavor. 

Then you have the sauce and the dressing. 

The third component is whether or not there’s lettuce. Some places, I’m like, why are you using a giant, green leaf lettuce? I like it shaved, or a nice little piece of it to keep it in the bun. 

And last, of course, is the bun. Traditional lobster roll, it’s gotta be the split, New England style roll. And it’s gotta be butter grilled. Butter, with its salt, helps with the lobster. Some people just — I don’t know — throw it in the oven, some are stale. And you have to get the oversized bun, because realistically, if you went to the market and got those hotdog buns, they’re super small. 

Then you have to consider proportion. Standard price is probably $20 – $25. If you’re paying $29 – $30 and it’s good, it’s not going to be that good because now I’m spending an extra $8.

Castle Inn; photo credit: Melissa McKelvey

JC: Are you opposed to frozen lobster meat if it tastes good?

GP: When I worked at a hotel, I did half and half. You can get frozen fresh-shucked lobster meat, which is different from the frozen claw/knuckle meat, and it has a totally different texture and color. My issue [with frozen lobster] is that it gets stringy. So if you mix it — which is great, because you’re working on the bottom line, and you’re not really making money on a lobster roll — if you use the fresh lobster meat as the big chunks and the frozen meat to chop up small to get flavor in, then yes. It would be good.

JC: Have you set aside a special lobster fund to support your habit?

GP: I should! It’s really digging into my savings here. [She laughs.] No, I spend money on food and go out to eat because that’s what I enjoy doing. It’s more of a hobby…but people set aside money for their hobbies, like — I don’t know — golfing or something. So, yeah, I probably should start saving for it because it’s probably as expensive as golfing.

Anthony’s Seafood; photo credit: Melissa McKelvey

JC: Okay, so currently what are your top favorite lobster rolls?

GP: The top two are Dune Brothers and Matunuck Oyster Bar, for sure. Newport Lobster Shack is very good — also one of the top. I know Benjamin’s (in Newport) is good because I ate there last year, probably at the end of the season, and that’s the one I was dreaming about in January. And Quito’s was good. That one’s more expensive, though. It’s in Bristol. We’d always overlooked that because it’s at the end of the bike path, a shack on the water. That was one of the first weeks of outdoor dining. We waited for 45 minutes for a takeout lobster roll. 

To read the full reports, visit @rhodyrolls401 and give her a follow.

Pro Tip: There’s a hashtag on IG: #iratelobsterrolls, started by Rhode Island food enthusiast Melissa McKelvey, who also reviews lobster rolls in New England. I asked for her top five, and she said (with the caveat she hasn’t tried Matunuck Oyster Bar or Blount’s Clam Shack): 1. Dune Brothers Seafood; 2. Boat House in Tiverton; 3. Anthony’s Seafood; 4. The Lobster Bar; 5. Castle Hill Inn.




The Four Cs: Courtland Club’s (ice) cream and cocktails

A couple of years ago, the Courtland Club opened on the West Side of Providence, a revamped social club that’s not just for old men anymore. But as its interior is more speakeasy-vibe than luxuriously spaced, they needed to adapt (as every other restaurant and bar) to CoronaTimes.

Their solution was an outdoor window — where the keypad-containing door now remains propped open with a table — through which they serve freshly made cocktails and ice cream to go. Recently, they’ve added five outdoor tables to their quaint backyard, which means you can snag a spot to sit if you time it right. My friend and I happened to get lucky on a Sunday afternoon, and we were taken to a small table in the shade, adorned with a vase of flowers. 

Their menu was put together on an old-fashioned message board, with black and red letters. The list of cocktails contains some of their classic favorites, like the Mother Theresa — and with a garnish of edible gold stars, how could you not love this drink? — and seasonal creations. For example, each month they have a zodiac-inspired cocktail, and even though I visited in my birth month and am proud to be a Cancer, I’m not usually a fan of tequila. Instead, I opted for a Beach Rose Martini, and hot damn, it was perfect. It was like inhaling beach air, in the best possible way. It was served in a small mason jar, and garnishes (like the gold stars for my friend’s Mother Theresa) were given in a small Ziploc bag. 

The ice cream is drool-worthy, and with the heat wave we’ve been experiencing, I was not only drooling but profusely sweating. I couldn’t decide between Piña Colada ice cream and the Strawberry Daiquiri Sorbet, so I decided to do the unthinkable and get a scoop of each. Mixing sorbet and ice cream? Yes. Regrets? None. In fact, I loved the Piña Colada ice cream so much, I got a pint of it before we left. 

If cocktails and ice cream aren’t enough to inspire you, here’s a bonus: Each week they serve a specialty cookie for which 100% of proceeds to go charity (a “dough-nation,” if you will). I’m proud to say I supported the EduLeaders of Color RI, and I will happily eat more cookies if it means I can help more people.

The Courtland Club accepts online orders and table reservations. You might even find a pizza on their menu — the Pizza Of the Week is always worth checking out. Masks are required, because we want to spread love, not germs. The Courtland Club has come a long way since the ’40s, and now the doors are wide open. 

51 Courtland Street, PVD; @courtlandclub; Closed Monday




Get Your Flea Fix!: Providence Flea returns to the great outdoors

If you, like us, have been missing your casual Sunday shop along the river at the Providence Flea, have we got some good news for you! On Sunday, August 2, Providence Flea will begin a 5-week outdoor trial run that welcomes shoppers back to the river.

Providence Flea takes safety seriously, and it’s made some changes to its format to ensure the health of its vendors and shoppers. Fewer vendors will attend each event — rather than three rows of vendors, shoppers can expect two for a total of 38. Vendors prefer cashless payment, and crossing rows between vendors will be prohibited. Masks and social distancing will be required.

As always, food trucks will be available at the Flea. Some of them might require preordering, which can be done on site. And although eating while browsing isn’t allowed, there’s plenty of space along the river for a picnic. What better way is there to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Providence Flea takes place Sundays, Aug 2 – 30 from 10am – 2pm across from 345 South Water St, PVD; for more information on social distancing guidelines, go to providenceflea.com/covid-19.html




I Scream, You Scream: We all scream for (vegan) ice cream

Summer’s heating up, and what better way to beat this heat wave than with a giant scoop of ice cream on a scorching afternoon? However, not all of us can indulge in the dairy delights of America’s fave summer treat (just ask my boyfriend, affectionately monikered “Non-Dairy Gary” by my family because of his aversion to milk products), so it’s vegan ice cream to the rescue! Rhode Island’s vegan ice cream purveyors are tough to suss out, but after several hours of Googling, Yelping and asking random strangers on the Internet for recommendations, I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 favorites!

Like No Udder: 170 Ives St, PVD

Rhode Island’s go-to spot for vegan sweet treats, Like No Udder churns out an impressive selection of dairy-free hard and soft serve delights, which can be twisted and scooped into a variety of preparations, including their signature “Unicorn” — soft serve blended till THICC with your choice of toppings swirled in. Browse the shop while you wait for your sundae! Like No Udder also peddles a respectable selection of vegan snacks, like jerkys, locally made condiments, and the ever popular cheese understudy, nutritional yeast (which is low-key better than actual cheese, but I guess we can argue about that in a different column). 

Dear Hearts: 2218 Broad St, Cranston  (Additional locations in East Greenwich and Warwick)

Got friends who are indecisive and take five-ever to pick out their flavors? Bring ‘em to Dear Hearts, and they’ll have a field day with the menu, which offers a wide selection of almond milk based soft serve in 24 (!!!) different flavors! Picky eaters will go wild for the classic coffee, their best seller, and the more adventurous lot will flip for the cotton candy and coconut flavors, which are winning over the hearts of vegans and non-vegans alike this summer!

Green Line Apothecary: 905 North Main St, PVD (Additional location in Wakefield, Rhode Island)

Belly up to the refurbished 1940s soda fountain at this hidden gem, and you’ll see why this is my all-time favorite date spot! Yes, Green Line Apothecary is a full-service pharmacy with its own soda fountain, which harkens back to a time when I wouldn’t have looked stupid for wearing poodle skirts in broad daylight. The vegan selection rotates on a monthly basis, and the upcoming August offering, cookies n’ cream, is better than any regular ice cream I’ve ever tried. Trust me. Get there. You’ll love it.

Wildflour: 727 East Ave, Pawtucket

A staple in the Li’l Rhody vegan community, Wildflour’s got it all! From delish salads, prepared foods like superfood “sushi” and a killer avocado toast (#millennial), it’s one of my fave spots for a healthy nosh. Save room for dessert, though, because their ice cream’s off the hook! I especially love the fruity ‘n’ floral strawberry rose, as it is just as unique and weird as I am, but purists go crazy for the simple and sweet vanilla chocolate chip. No matter if you choose classic or creative, you can’t go wrong at this vegan paradise!

Sticks n’ Cones: 8 Fair St, Newport

I had to add in an on-island favorite of mine, and Sticks n’ Cones right in the heart of downtown Newport does the trick when the vegan ice cream cravings start and I don’t feel like going over the bridges! The small but handcrafted selection includes a delish cookies n’ cream incarnation, a flavorful coconut scoop, and an out of this world coffee indulgence that’ll have you buzzing with caffeinated joy long after the last morsel is gone. Hungry for more? They also specialize in homemade sweet waffles and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, perfect for Instagram!




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




Get Your Jocks Off: An interview with Strapped for Danger II director, Richard Griffin

Richard Griffin

Unassuming, welcoming, understated, even shy at times, you need to peel back the layers to uncover the man beneath the myth. But Pawtucket-based film director Richard Griffin has long been a legend in Rhode Island film circles, and is also becoming an important figure in the nation’s LGBTQ+ creative scene. We caught up with Griffin ahead of the July 31 premiere of his latest movie, Strapped for Danger II: Undercover Vice to discover why he returned to the Strapped for Danger franchise, and how the sequel is even more explosive than the first. 

Amadeus Finlay (Motif): Strapped for Danger II has just landed; tell us more about the plot. 

Richard Griffin: Strapped for Danger II: Undercover Vice revolves around two straight and highly inept police officers who, after blowing a big case, are forced to go undercover as gay porn actors to bust a blackmail ring involving several Republican senators. It was originally written as fiction, but now in 2020, it’s basically a documentary. 

(L-R) Graham Stokes, Ninny Nothin’, and Victoria Paradis star in the movie

AF: How have critics responded?

RG: The critical response has been nothing but overwhelmingly positive. It’s always a worry that a sequel will not live up to the original, but so far, the reviews have been as positive, if not more so, than the original. Reviewers are really getting into the political satire of the movie, as well as the well-drawn characters, performances and the overall comic book tone of the film. I seriously couldn’t be more proud. 

AF: The second in the franchise, why did you return to the Strapped for Danger setup?

RG: One of the major things I’ve loved about the original Strapped for Danger was the strong LGBTQ+ characters that writer Duncan Pflaster created. When I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, when you’d see a gay male in a movie, they tended to be weak, cowardly and ineffectual. So, it was a delight to see really strong, forceful and proactive gay characters. Even though you do not have to see the original Strapped for Danger to enjoy the sequel, they are very spiritually related in terms of the strength of the characters.  They are also very playfully erotic, without either being blatant pornography, nor keeping it in the shadows. One of the greatest compliments I’ve gotten about the original film was from gay men who have said it was the type of film they really wish they could have seen when they were younger.  That really means everything to me.  

AF: How was it working with this group of actors?

RG: It was a delight. The cast was broken up into actors I’ve worked with before, and a group of fresh faces. It did take a couple of days for us to get up to speed, but that’s the nature of things. But once we got going, it was wonderful. I love working with actors who are passionate and want to bring something of themselves to their roles and, most of all, take some risks. I mean, being in a movie like this takes a lot of guts, so I applaud all of them not just for their talent, but also their bravery. 

Undercover Vice also features Alec Farquharson, Jay Walker, and Ricky Izzary

AF: What’s next for your production company, Scorpio Film Releasing? How about that long-hoped-for Richard Griffin Western?

RG: I would love to do a Western, but you know … it’s hard to find those locations in New England. Maybe someday when I decide to go really John Ford / Howard Hawks. But we have three movies currently in the works — Disorienting Dick, a dark comedy about a “gay conversation” group that may not be what it appears, Gay as the Sun, which is a satirical fake documentary, and The Taint of Equality, which is based on an award-winning, off-Broadway play by Duncan Pflaster. Obviously with COVID still being a major threat, we have to wait and see when it will be safe enough to go back into production. 

AF: Where can our readers watch Strapped for Danger II?

RG: Strapped for Danger II will be having its world premiere online on July 31. Readers can find out all about it on its Facebook page: facebook.com/events/275054047148391

There is no set ticket price, but we are asking people to donate to three Rhode Island LGBTQ+ organizations.




Comic Book Junkies: The hero we all need

Days after Lenny Schwartz and Nathan Suher premiered their film Far From Perfect: Life Inside a Global Pandemic, fans were clamoring for more. “I told them I’d only do if it they cancel San Diego Comic Con. And then they cancelled San Diego Comic Con and I don’t like to break a promise,” said writer and co-director Schwartz. And that’s how Comic Book Junkies, which will stream over a Facebook watch party on Saturday, July 25, was born.

Comic Book Junkies is a comedy that focuses on fans and cosplayers who are thrown into turmoil when San Diego Comic Con 2020 is cancelled because of coronavirus. That’s enough to throw any comic book junkie for a loop, but then the earth gets thrown into a black hole by an unknown villain. To save the world, these fans and cosplayers must become the one thing they have all aspired to be: heroes.

Making this film provided a bit of a balm for Schwartz, who was disappointed about San Diego Comic Con’s cancellation. “I know it seems like it is this crazy place but honestly, I have been at every one of them for the last 12 years(this would have been 13). The first three years I went as a fan and the last 9 as a professional. It is my time out from the real world.”

The film was created in a similar way to Schwartz and Suher’s previous social distancing film. Schwartz wrote more than 100 vignettes that he sent to their actors, who were each tasked with filming their piece. Then Suher stepped in to stitch all the pieces together.

“When you have a script where everyone is recording their scene independently and the stories sometimes directly intertwine, there is a risk that the performances that are intended to dovetail with each other just don’t work out as they did on paper. As an editor, I have had to deal with that several times on this film by occasionally finding creative ways to create chemistry between abutting scenes,” co-director and editor Suher said.

Luckily, Schwartz and Suher had a little more time to plan Comic Book Junkies than they did Far from Perfect. “With Comic Book Junkies Lenny and I discussed several months out how we were going to allow for enough time to find and accentuate the nuances in the performances with the use of basic editing, some music cues, and manipulating some of the video and audio for dramatic or comedic effect.  The extra time also gave us the opportunity to inform the performers if their submissions needed to be redone for either technical reasons or if we felt they needed some direction,” Suher said.

Schwartz was thrilled with the number of actors who wanted to be involved in the film and the quality of their performances. His favorite moment from the film? “It was great to work with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Films. I see Lloyd every year in San Diego, and I have ben watching his films since I was 13. It was an honor. But I can’t pick a favorite because I am so appreciative of the actors’ work and love the thought everyone put in.”

Comic Book Junkies will be shown via a Facebook watch party on Saturday, Jul 25 at 8pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/events/293303155190042




Death Drop Gorgeous: Providence film to stream as part of Boston’s Wicked Queer film festival

Young gay men who work at a local drag club are lured out through the dating app POUNDR and then brutally murdered. This is the story behind Death Drop Gorgeous, a film written and directed by Michael Ahern, Brandon Perras-Sanchez and Christopher Dalpe that is set to be streamed on July 25 as part of the Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBTQ Film Festival. If you enjoy B-movies, ’80s slashers, John Waters-style irreverence and Giallo psychedelia sprinkled with unforgettable drag queens, then this is a ride you’ll want to get on.

Ahern said of the film, “Death Drop Gorgeous came to fruition because we wanted to create a horror movie we hadn’t seen being made. A lot of queer folks love the horror genre, but proper representation is often lacking within it or the representation is cliche and underdeveloped. We started writing it on nights and weekends and our mantra was, ‘Let’s see how far we can take this.’ The momentum kept on coming!”

Providence almost becomes a character in this film. Ahern said, “I think people will recognize a lot of themes and motifs throughout the movie that’ll remind them of the creative capital.” But Ahern credits the community for helping to bring the film to fruition. “Between partnerships and local businesses who let us film in their establishments, to our actors and local drag artists who signed on, to fundraising our budget, this entire endeavor has been a community effort, so the film is definitely a love letter to our little city.”

This is Wicked Queer’s 36th film festival. Though the film typically is hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and screened in theaters throughout the city, this year’s festival will be entirely virtual. “Wicked Queer is kind of my proudest achievement thus far,” said Ahern. “This is our first feature film and to say we got into one of the longest running queer film festivals in the nation? Insanity. Shawn Cotter, executive director of Wicked Queer, has been so supportive of our grassroots ethos, and we couldn’t be happier to be amongst family. Also, our film is legitimately wicked queer, so it feels quite appropriate to be premiering with them.”

The Wicked Queer Film Festival takes place Jul 24 – Aug 2. For more information on the festival, go to wickedqueer.org. Death Drop Gorgeous streams on July 25 at 9:30pm. For more information on Death Drop Gorgeous, go to deathdropgorgeous.com.