A Christmas Carol Dazzles at Trinity 

carolTrinity Repertory Company’s annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol features a top-notch cast of adults and children and some truly inventive staging.

Fred Sullivan Jr. plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a cranky old miser who treats everyone with disdain, including his long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit (Stephen Thorne). One night, Scrooge is visited by his deceased former business partner Jacob Marley (Tom Gleadow) who warns him of the impending visit of three spirits: the ethereal Ghost of Christmas Past (Elise Hudson) who descends from a moon, the irreverent Ghost of Christmas Present (Joe Wilson, Jr.) who flies over the audience on a wire, and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Ralph Adriel Johnson), an otherworldly figure.

Director Taibi Magar has succeeded at getting vibrant performances from the large ensemble. Sullivan is never less than compelling as the haunted Scrooge, who slowly morphs from a man whose spirit has been broken to one who has achieved redemption. This role seems tailor-made for Sullivan, who delivered a superb comic turn in Laughter on the 23rd Floor earlier this year. He is a master at physical comedy.

The supporting actors are every bit as effective. Gleadow delivers a memorable turn as Marley, who rises out of Scrooge’s bed in an eye-popping moment in the story. Rattling chains and sporting ghostly makeup, he is a terrifying apparition. Wilson, an engaging performer who most recently appeared in Ivanov, is one of the highlights of the show. Anne Scurria, who plays multiple roles, has some funny moments as Mrs. Partlet, who tends to Scrooge. Scurria’s comic timing is impeccable as she reacts to Scrooge’s transformation. The child actors are also impressive, especially Henry Siravo as Cratchit’s son, Tiny Tim.

This incarnation of A Christmas Carol is notable for one clever interlude that features Scrooge in some very familiar locations. I won’t spoil the surprise.

The joy of giving to other people is a timeless message and one which is worth repeating in this cynical age.

One caveat: A Christmas Carol contains some intense scenes and therefore may not be suitable for very young children. It is recommended for mature theatergoers.

A Christmas Carol runs until December 31. Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St, Providence, trinityrep.cominfo@trinityrep.com401-351-4242

Regulating Marijuana in Rhode Island: A Public Health and Safety Approach Takes Place to Educate Locals and Leaders

mariAfter a successful week at the midterm ballot boxes, the crusade to end cannabis prohibition seems to be gaining momentum. With victories in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., supporters are champing at the bit to see where the next domino will fall. One such domino has been teetering on its edge for the past three years and one of the major forces behind this push is a man named Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island.  After a long morning of training and organizing the future advocates of the regulation and taxation movement here in RI, Jared was gracious enough to sit with me and discuss the next big event that he has organized, which takes place at Brown University, 64 College St, List Art Building Room 120 on Nov 18 from 6:30-8:30pm.

David Sorgman: First off, who is Jared Moffat and why has a clean cut kid like you chosen to become involved with the cannabis movement?

Jared Moffat: Cannabis prohibition is a central pillar in the war on drugs, and for several years I have been an active member of the movement to dismantle our failed drug policies that contribute to mass incarceration, the stigmatization of marginalized populations, and terrible violence here and abroad. I have always felt called to organize people to overcome social injustice. So when I saw that we have a real opportunity to remove a cornerstone of the war on drugs by ending cannabis prohibition in Rhode Island, I decided to go for it.

DS: There are a few local organizations that deal with the cannabis topic such as NORML, RIPAC and SSDP. What is Regulate RI and how do you differ from these other groups?

JM: Regulate Rhode Island is a coalition of citizens and organizations working to replace cannabis prohibition with a system to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis to adults. Regulate RI shares a lot of goals in common with those other groups, especially NORML and SSDP, which are both Regulate RI coalition partners. Where we differ is that our mission is solely to pass a law to regulate cannabis like alcohol. We wanted to establish a formidable political force with a very clear focus, drawing support from a broad alliance of groups that come at the issue from different perspectives. We are one of those rare “tri-partisan” political coalitions whose members include leaders from the Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic parties.

DS: What can you tell us about this next event, Regulating Marijuana in Rhode Island: A Public Health and Safety Approach and why have you decided to put this event together?

JM: With the addition of Oregon and Alaska to the list of states that have decided to regulate cannabis like alcohol, the recent elections on Nov 4 showed us that momentum for cannabis policy reform is continuing to grow. Regulate Rhode Island is hopeful that Lil Rhody will become the next state to follow that path. As discussion about cannabis policy reform gains more attention, we wanted to hold an event to educate state leaders and the general public about what it is exactly that we’re trying to do. We cannot rely on sound bytes in the media to adequately convey our message (although Motif does a great job of that!). So there’s a real need to facilitate public discussion about the issue, inform Rhode Islanders about what is happening in states like Colorado, and educate people about the opportunity to regulate cannabis here in Rhode Island.

DS: I noticed that there are some pretty significant names (local and national) on the list of speakers for this event. Who are the individuals and what kind of expertise does each bring to the discussion?

JM: We wanted to choose a diverse set of panelists that could contribute to the discussion about cannabis policy from different angles. From a medical and public health perspective, we have Dr. David Lewis, founder of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, and Michelle McKenzie, a public health researcher at The Miriam Hospital. Elizabeth Comery is a retired attorney and former Providence police officer. Ms. Comery is also a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), and she can explain why regulating cannabis is better than prohibition for public safety reasons. Jim Vincent, president of NAACP – Providence, will speak to the harmful consequences of cannabis prohibition for communities of color. Mason Tvert is a nationally recognized advocate for cannabis regulation and was a leader in the successful campaigns to regulate cannabis in Colorado and Alaska. Pat Oglesby is the former Chief Tax Counsel for the US Senate Finance Committee and an expert on cannabis tax policies. And finally, we will have the primary sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, Senator Josh Miller from Cranston, to explain his proposal and his vision for a regulated cannabis market in Rhode Island.

DS: With so many advocates and a majority of popular support, it seems like regulation and taxation is obviously the people’s choice. However, in Rhode Island we do not have the option of a ballot process to decide an outcome for this issue. Why is that and can you explain what the alternative to this method is?

JM: Rhode Island laws say that only the General Assembly has the power to put a question on the ballot. So unlike other states that allow citizens themselves to put initiatives on the ballot, Rhode Island must go through the state legislature. We believe it makes more sense to put forward a bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol rather than ask the General Assembly for a ballot question. The former option is a one-step process, whereas the latter takes two steps. It is possible that the General Assembly may decide they would rather put the question to the voters, and we would certainly welcome that if they are unwilling to vote on a bill themselves. But we are trying to pass a law directly through the state legislature as our first course of action.

DS: What do you feel are the prospects of RI legislators passing such legislation in this manner?

JM: I am very optimistic about our chances this year. A lot of legislators see the writing on the wall and recognize that the end of cannabis prohibition is inevitable — it’s simply a question of when. They also realize that states like Maine and Massachusetts are very likely to pass ballot initiatives to regulate cannabis like alcohol in 2016. So we have a window of opportunity in 2015 to give Lil Rhody a head start in developing what will soon be a national, multi-billion-dollar legal cannabis economy. If we become an early adopter, that means more businesses will want to headquarter their companies in Rhode Island, which means more jobs and more tax revenue for our state. All of the newly elected state leaders ran their campaign on revitalizing Rhode Island’s economy and regulating cannabis like alcohol is certainly one way to do that.

DS:  Do you think that the victories in Alaska and Oregon will have any influence on the efforts to legalize and regulate cannabis in RI?

JM: Absolutely. It shows that the cannabis policy reform movement is continuing to build momentum and that cannabis prohibition is on the way out. It is especially encouraging to see those results in Alaska and Oregon given that it was a mid-term election when the voting population is typically older and more conservative. These victories show that support for ending cannabis prohibition spans ideological and age divides.

DS: Why should people attend this next event and what can they expect to learn?

JM: We invite anyone who is interested in cannabis policy to attend our event, which we think will be informative and engaging. Each panel will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience, so I would encourage attendees to come with questions and an open mind. In our first panel we are going to have a conversation about why our nation is moving away from prohibition and toward cannabis regulation. We will discuss the social costs of prohibition as well as the various benefits of regulation. The second panel will take a more in-depth look at some specific topics such as cannabis tax policy, the specific provisions of Senator Miller’s Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, and what we have learned from Colorado’s and Washington’s experiences so far.

DS: How can those who support an end to cannabis prohibition help make this dream a reality?

JM: The most important action people can take is to contact their state representative and state senator and ask them to make ending cannabis prohibition a legislative priority in 2015. It is not enough for legislators to say that they support the issue. We need them to speak out and ensure that our bill gets the vote it deserves on both the House and Senate floors. I would also encourage supporters to join the Regulate Rhode Island coalition by visiting RegulateRI.org, where you can sign up for our email alerts and learn more about the issue. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you Jared, once again, for taking the time to sit with me and discuss the future of Cannabis in Rhode Island. I appreciate your efforts and am honestly baffled that the act of taxation and regulation isn’t already practiced on a national level. With all of the current research, science and testimonials (easily accessed with the creation of a new piece of technology called the “interwebz”) it should be considered a crime against humanity that the government continues to enforce such archaic laws and penalties on the cannabis community.

The Wickenden Walkabout

wickenFIt’s soon to be that time of year again. Crazy uncles taking over the living room couch, chaos in the kitchen, giant plucked foul defrosting on the counter. No wonder Rhode Islanders have chosen the night before (or after) Thanksgiving to be the night of high school reunions and boozing with friends. This year, however, think about abandoning the local watering hole and exploring some untapped neighborhoods. For instance, Wickenden Street in Providence has a great selection of pubs to bounce between, from the well-known summer hangouts to the hidden side-street gems that only the Fox Point locals know of. I got the insider’s look during my walk down Wickenden, all thanks to an accidental Facebook invite.

It wasn’t until our first stop at Captain Seaweeds that it occurred to me I didn’t know the host or anyone else in attendance. The friends I’d invited — a girl visiting from Hawaii and a guy from France — were among the first to arrive. The bar was identifiable by a hanging wooden plaque that featured the Captain himself, his beard reminiscent of Medusa’s hair, and the interior decoration was superb: walls and ceilings covered in pictures, posters, and memorabilia related to ships, pirates, hula dancers, and creatures of the sea. There was a pool table and a few tables, but most seating was at the bar itself. We ordered our first round of drinks, though none of us were brave enough to try the $1 Captain Seaweed’s Lager, and we waited for everyone to trickle in.

By 9:30, Captain Seaweed’s was a happenin’ place. I’d made friends with those who were intentionally invited to the “Wickenden Walkabout” and discovered that I knew the host’s brother, which I pretended was the reason I was there. I also ran into a coworker—an event that made me feel like a true Rhode Islander.

Running an hour behind schedule, our host informed us we were going to the next bar. “We’re going Round the Corner!” he yelled. Our group of 15 followed the leader, and it was more complicated than simply walking around the corner. We walked through a maze of side streets and residential neighborhoods until the houses split and we saw a dimly lit sign for Round the Corner. The window revealed only a neon shamrock and ATM logo. I would have never found this place on my own.

The inside was completely full, but given its small size, it’s hard to say how many people were really there. We squeezed in, our group separating around the bar in order to find enough standing room. The other patrons eyed us warily, and as there was only one bartender, he didn’t seem thrilled at our arrival. We ordered Sam Seasonals and my friend contemplated stealing the pint glass. “How great is this?” she asked. The glass read, “For the love of beer,” which would have made a great Rhode Island keepsake, but her conscience was too pure.

Given the tight quarters, we quickly moved to Wickenden Street proper and attended its namesake bar. Compared to Round the Corner, Wickenden Pub was huge and carried an unusual musk. “This is what I envision a medieval pub being like,” someone in the group said. There was a dartboard in the corner, tables and booths scattered about, and a lot of wood and stone. It felt like we were inside a cellar where it wouldn’t be unusual to order a pint of mead. I found the Walkabout host, and he gave me some background on our previous locations.

“When I discovered Captain Seaweed’s, it was completely sketchy. The first time I walked in, there was a woman wearing just a bra with a knife tucked in; people were doing drugs and gambling. But now, it’s a tourist destination. Old people and families go there. It’s completely different.” He also described Round the Corner as being the opposite, a safe haven full of quiet and welcoming locals. “It wasn’t quite as friendly tonight,” he added, but it might’ve been better if we hadn’t gone with an entourage.

The group’s next stop was Point Tavern, but I ditched the walkabout out of hunger and landed at Fellini’s Pizzeria, where I ate two amazing slices of pizza. (Note: from my quick glance inside Point Tavern, it appeared to be the classiest of all the bars we visited.) My friend and I re-joined the group at The Hot Club, our final destination.

The Hot Club by day, especially by summer day, is not the same as The Hot Club by night, when patios are closed and strangers come together at the bewitching hour. Crowds consists of locals, visitors, young adults and the young-at-heart, and everyone is beyond the tipping point. I wrote the best quotes from the evening, but none of them are appropriate for this magazine. After a single vodka soda, I called it a night, but the party raged on into the early morning.

So this November, gather your friends, sing a little Kumbaya, and give thanks for Uber because the Wickenden Walkabout is worth leaving the neighborhood to experience.

Captain Seaweeds: 162 Ives St, Providence

Round the Corner: 12 Governor St.

Wickenden Pub: 320 Wickenden St.

The Point Tavern: 302 Wickenden St.

Fellini’s Pizzeria: 166 Wickenden St.

The Hot Club: 575 S Water St.

IMBIBE: The Sherry Negroni

imbibeSLIDEAh, the classic Negroni. That ballsy little drink of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Herbal, bitter, sweet, blushing. Just what you want when sitting down after a long hot day discussing the finer points of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

But then again, a classic drink sometimes needs a classic fling. Hold the gin, folks. There’s a spot called Bodega Malasaña on Union St. in Providence, where James crafts a mighty fine Negroni with a twist. And we’re not talking citrus, either. Enter the underdog of wine – sherry. Always a fan of underdogs and thus a sucker for sherry, I felt amiable enough to hear James out and try his concoction.

In the venerable words of Wayne and Garth, “Schwing!”

I found myself cupping my glass (okay, swigging it) imagining Steve Zissou and Garth dueling it out with air guitars on Union Street.

What: The Sherry Negroni

Found Where: Bodega Malasaña

Go Get:
Santiago Manzanilla or Fino Sherry
Sweet Vermouth
Slice of orange

Add equal parts* (about 1-1.5 oz) of the Campari, sweet vermouth and sherry, but really, you should favor the sherry. Stir with ice and pour into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of orange and some witty poetic saying. Or just ask James to make you one.

When asked about this recipe’s exact measurements, James grinned and quoted Emerson, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

And isn’t cocktail craftsmanship part science and part art? Something tells me James is more of an artist. But that’s up to you to find out for yourself.

Watering Holes on Water Street: The Warren Pub Amble

pubSLIDEI regrettably knew nothing about Warren before I embarked on this journey. I wasn’t even sure where it was — in the middle of Rhode Island somewhere? But I’d heard it described as “an underrated beach town” with an artsy feel and waterfront restaurants, and that was a romantic enough portrait to make me plug it into my GPS and discover it for myself. (For the geographically challenged, Warren is nestled between Bristol and Barrington, the Cinderella to its two ritzier stepsisters, and is only 20 minutes from Providence.)

My friend Sarah, I fortuitously discovered, is a Warren resident, and she created the perfect line-up for a Friday night. Our first stop was Blount’s Clam Shack. It wasn’t a restaurant that screamed, “Get your alcohol here!” but I’d heard rumors of its high caliber chowder, so I thought it might be worth a try. Since it closes early — 8pm — I assumed it’d be a prequel for the evening; I did not anticipate it being a worthy crawl location.

I was oh-so-wrong. In fact, I’d recommend all evenings in Warren begin with Blount’s Clam Shack — it is full of charm and epitomizes the seaside lifestyle. The venue is outdoors, with white seashells carpeting the ground, picnic-style benches beneath a large tent, a smattering of umbrella-covered tables and wooden chairs facing the river. The “Shack” operates from two windows, one for ordering and one for pick-up, and the employees wear visors that say “Chwdr” and are upbeat and amazingly friendly.

When we arrived, the sun was setting and a musician sang with a Jack Johnson-esque sound.  I felt transported to my days of living in Hawaii, where the vibe is always “relaxed” and everyone has an air of being on vacation. We read the neatly penned blackboard menu and tried to choose an appetizer from so many wonderful-sounding options: spicy calamari, lobster bisque, Chourico stuffies (which I was mispronouncing until my friend corrected me) …

Finally, we decided on three clam cakes with a cup of chowder and a pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. I thought nothing of the line (it was barely long enough for two indecisive people to figure out what to order) until a girl came around with a basket of clam cakes and offered everyone one, complimentary, for “enduring the long wait.”  This is nothing compared to brunch on Federal Hill, I thought, but I WILL take a clam cake, thank you!

We faced the river and enjoyed our “prequel” until the sun disappeared and it was time to move on to cocktails. We crossed the street to Stella Blues, where the inside has a rustic, cozy feel — a great place to warm up in the winter — while the outdoor seating and covered patio are airy and perfect for summer weather.

The cocktail list was long and exciting — more than 12 different martinis — but I chose the “Stella Blues” cocktail: vodka, blue curacao and lemonade. It was as bright as a blue snow cone and just as easy to consume. Sarah enjoyed a Red Sangria garnished with four large slices of fruit. I wanted to return later for another cocktail, but our waiter said the bar closes, “Whenever the last person leaves,” so it wasn’t guaranteed we’d be able to come back. Alas. But it was time to move on.

We hopped over to the slightly-more-happenin’ Square Peg and this time sat at the indoor bar. One of the beer specials was a coffee milk stout, and since I love coffee milk, I confidently ordered one. The bartender eyed me carefully and asked if I’d ever tried it before — “people either love it or hate it” — and she offered me a sample. Good woman. I decided on an actual coffee instead, Irish style, while Sarah ordered another sangria, different from Stella’s but equally delicious. We chose two desserts: the house specialty banana crème pie (my assessment: “there are real bananas in this!”) and a strawberry rhubarb pie. After we polished off both plates and emptied our cups, we journeyed to our final spot: Jack’s Bar.

Sarah’s impression was “a super sketchy hole in the wall,” which meant we had to go. We walked half a block down to an unassuming white door with a neon outline of “Jack’s Bar” posted above it. Inside, we were greeted by a sweet brown dog with a “please pet me” face and a small Chihuahua-mix held in the tattooed arms of a young woman who warned us, “Be careful: he licks faces.” There were Boston team flags strung across the ceiling, and pictures and fliers covering the walls. A handwritten sign said “Cash Only,” and much to our dismay, we only had $7 between us. As we fretted over finding an ATM, the bartender told us wine was only $3 a glass, and we rejoiced! Jack’s Bar is the new favorite! We finished the evening with two glasses of wine in a definitively non-sketchy atmosphere, and left Jack’s Bar to find a quiet, mostly-asleep Warren.

An enchanting place to enjoy sunset drinks with waterfront views and friendly dive bars, but at the stroke of midnight, Cinderella’s coach turns back into a pumpkin, and it’s time to turn in for the night.

Blount’s Clam Shack: 335 Water Street (Warren)
Stella Blues: 50 Miller Street (Warren)
The Square Peg: 51 Miller Street (Warren)
Jack’s Bar: 187 Water Street (Warren)

Oaksterdam University: The Future of the Cannabis Industry

oaksterdamSLIDEOn August 15th through 17th, the RI Convention Center will be home to a rare three-day seminar presented by Oaksterdam University and hosted by the legendary Todd McCormick. During this program, Grow Medicine, Todd will discuss his personal history in the industry, commercial cultivation and the future of the cannabis industry. This event promises to be both informative and entertaining. Visit the Oaksterdam University website: oaksterdamuniversity.com or Todd’s site at hemp.xxx for event specifics and registration information.

To truly comprehend the significance of this event, however, one must first understand the two major players bringing this presentation to the East Coast. Oaksterdam University is the first university of its kind formed in the US. Founded in 2007 by Richard Lee, OU was modeled after Cannabis College in Amsterdam, where the primary focus of the curriculum was horticulture. Unlike Cannabis College, Richard recognized the potential for a booming industry that expanded beyond growing cannabis. When Oaksterdam was founded, Richard introduced courses in cannabis trade, politics, history and legal issues to offer students a broader scale of knowledge and a better chance to succeed in what could be the next big industry in our country.

Since 2007, Oaksterdam University has provided quality training about cannabis and marijuana policy reform for over 17,000 students at several US campuses. “The institution offers the chance to learn about this controversial plant, and creates an interesting blend of individuals and opportunity,” said Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor. “OU welcomes diverse students who are looking to change careers; some simply want to brush up on their horticulture skills. OU also attracts business owners who want to train their staff, folks who want to open their own business, and patients simply trying to understand the law and their rights. More and more baby boomers are discovering they would rather smoke pot than reach for pharmaceuticals.”

Seven years later, OU has become the pioneer in addressing the growing needs of the marijuana movement — from patients to regulators — and has compiled an impressive academic staff, that includes some of the most recognized names in the cannabis industry. Their goal is to remove the stigma associated with the cannabis industry and provide the necessary knowledge and training to make it a respected and acceptable career path.

The second major player to participate in this event is presenter Todd McCormick. Todd started growing marijuana in 1984 to combat the side effects of cancer treatments. Between the ages of 2 and 10, Todd underwent long-term chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, and had nine major operations in his fight against a rare disease called Histiocytosis X. When his mother feared that he would not survive a new tumor in the soft tissue next to his heart, she decided to give him some marijuana medicinally. Todd was 9 years old at the time, and his mother’s decision saved and changed his life.

Since 1994, Todd has been an activist, publicist and researcher of cannabis. He collaborated with Jack Herer on the ground-breaking book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. In the mid-90s he lived in Amsterdam, where he became one of the first 10 patients in The Netherlands to receive a prescription for medicinal marijuana. Best-selling author Peter McWilliams brought McCormick back to California in 1997 in order to write his first book: How to Grow Medical Marijuana. That summer, the DEA raided Todd’s Bel Air home and destroyed all the legal plants on the premises; years of work and rare genetics were lost forever. After a three-year-long legal battle, Todd was denied a medical necessity defense in federal court and imprisoned for five years. His only crime was growing and studying the medicine that saved his life.

There is no blueprint for what these pioneers of the cannabis industry are trying to accomplish in our country. Every day is a new learning experience where we must conquer new hurdles. We must master the art of not only growing and cultivating the marijuana plant, but also the art of regulating and refining the distribution and sale of these products. The best way to approach this industry is to set up for success but prepare for the worst. With people like Todd McCormick and organizations like Oaksterdam University, opportunities to do so are becoming more plentiful.

A History of Revolution Leads to the Providence Prohibition Party

Progressive Change with Providence Prohibition Party

hempfestIn 1972, one of the first documented hemp festivals in the US took place in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was a response to new Michigan legislation that reduced the penalty for marijuana possession from 10 years to 1 year and the penalty for marijuana sale from a life sentence to a 4-year sentence. Though these changes seemed a great victory to those against marijuana prohibition, some felt that they didn’t do enough. And so was born the Hash Bash. Shortly thereafter, Michigan made even greater strides toward reform, practically decriminalizing marijuana use by replacing prison sentences for possession with a $5 fine (now $25).

Hundreds of other cannabis-related events take place each year. In 1989, the Boston Freedom Rally began and has become one of the largest hemp festivals in the world. In 1991 the first Seattle Hemp Fest took place and has become the world’s largest public gathering to advocate for marijuana decriminalization. Even under the scrutiny of federal law, these events continue to sprout up and grow each year, defiant of the unjust laws that bind them. In states such as Colorado and Washington, rallies have led to massive changes in laws and regulations. Decriminalization and medical marijuana laws now are recognized in over 23 states with many others, including Rhode Island, seeking full legalization and regulation.

In Rhode Island, a bill to regulate and tax marijuana was completely discarded by the house judiciary committee this year. In response to the legislature’s refusal to acknowledge a shift in public opinion, Rhode Islanders will make their own statement. 13 Folds Magazine is hosting Providence’s first hemp festival, dubbed the Providence Prohibition Party and sponsored by Motif, MBS, Green Side Up, Regulate RI and a variety of  other organizations that want to end RI’s failed war on drugs. This event will feature local celebrities, political activists, vendors and performers as well as some of the very best local and national bands, including Boo City and Atlantic Thrills. There will be an indoor dance party running all night for those who like to travel with glow sticks, and a beer tasting sponsored by New England breweries, such as Fool Proof and Bucket Brewery, will take place between 4 and 7pm.

Though it may not carry the same recognition as other festivals, this event is just as relevant. It represents a challenge to unjust laws and a desire for progressive change. Decriminalization and medical acceptance are a step forward in the fight to end prohibition, yet they are not enough. Too many families, communities and futures have been destroyed by the authority’s actions toward a substance less harmful than tobacco, alcohol or even sugar. Too many tax dollars have been spent and too many lives have been lost in an attempt to eradicate a substance that was once considered this country’s number one cash crop. Too many lies and misconceptions have been perpetrated for us to accept anything less than a complete overhaul in our marijuana laws and reparation toward those unjustly prosecuted. In order to fully right the wrongs that this war against marijuana has caused, we must follow the lead of those who pioneered the historical Hash Bash and push for full legalization and regulation … and nothing less.

Please join the Providence Prohibition Party on Saturday, July 12, at Simon’s on 677 Valley St., Providence, to support the movement. Ten percent of all proceeds will go to Regulate RI to help fund the mission to reeducate society on the truths behind the war on drugs, its effects on our community and its negative impact on cultural and industrial progress. This event will also provide local artists and musicians the opportunity to gain exposure and support themselves. The Providence Prohibition Party will allow our community to come together in support of one another and demonstrate our commitment to bringing about change to archaic regulations.

To learn more, visit 13 Folds Magazine‘s events page on Facebook: facebook.com/13FoldsMagazine/events

Sage Francis Grasps Listeners by the Neck and Shakes with Copper Gone


Earlier this month Providence’s hometown hip-hop hero, Sage Francis, lovingly referred to as “Uncle Sage,” released Copper Gone.  The much anticipated album marks the end of a four-year hiatus and his first studio album under his own indie label, Strange Famous Records.

Copper Gone is a 14-track trip into the psyche of Sage, merging his eminent quick-tongued sharp lyrical flair and what may be his darkest autobiographical poetic styling yet. He masterfully uses twisted imagery as commentary on his personal state of affairs along with the absurdity of today’s popular culture (“Knit me a sweater with the intestines of attention whores,” he  raps in “MAINT REQD”).

“It’s mainly in reference to houses that get stripped for their scrap metal,” Sage explained of the album’s title. “There was an abandoned building near where I live that had ‘Copper Gone’ spray painted onto it in an attempt to keep people from breaking into it. It was basically a plea to the people. Like, ‘Hey … there’s nothing left. I’ve been stripped clean. Stop fucking with me now.'”

The album explodes out of the gate 15 seconds into the first track, “Pressure Cooker,” with an abruptly shouted, “I been busy, get off my nuts,” as if to say, “Yeah, I’ve been on hiatus. What’s it to you?” setting the pace for the level of energy that holds strong through the entirety of Copper Gone. “I definitely felt the pressure to have an album that socked people over the head. And in the bread basket. And in the bean bag,” Sage explained of creating his first full-length album since 2010’s LI(F)E. 

The power that Copper Gone demonstrates commands the listener’s attention through mellower lulls in the track list as well with captivating lyricism and well developed, easy riding beats. Sage’s infamy as a wordsmith comes to fruition with his visual storytelling. He depicts a love gone far downhill in “Grace,” rapping in the outro,

“This a music box that haunts me from the top-shelf of the bedroom closet 
I don’t touch it, it just cuddles with my conscience
I’m on constant guard, jittery the whole night
Clinging the sheets because it sings to me slow like
And that’s her song running through an hourglass…”

Sage’s lyrics flow easily over by a diverse mix of beats from a number of producers in addition to affiliates Buck 65, Alias, Ceciel Otter and Reanimator. “A French producer by the name of Le Parasite put together [the “Over Under”] beat,” Sage explained, “It was actually submitted as part of a remix contest we held on our website a few years back. I liked the beat so much I asked him if I could keep it on reserve for an original song. The beat for ‘Say Uncle’ also came about in a similar way. In fact, now that I think of it, a lot of the producers on this record got in touch with me from the remix contests we held at Strange Famous. Crazy how that all worked out.”

Indie record Copper Gone has seen an overwhelming amount of support in its first month in circulation. Mid-June the album reached number 135 on Billboard’s Top 200 list of current albums and number 23 on the list of current hip-hop. Sage is currently on the final leg of his US tour, ending the journey at home in Providence.

He’ll be tearing down the house at Fete with Strange Famous artist and RI local, B. Dolan on July 4. What can fans expect at this homecoming? “Pure fucking insanity. We’re leaving it all out on the stage that night. If people leave that show feeling like it wasn’t the best show they’ve seen in recent years I’d be surprised. This will be one for the books. No doubt. Medical ones especially,” Sage assures us.

Copper Gone is available for purchase on strangefamous.com on vinyl, CD, digital download and yes, cassette tape.

Sage Francis with B Dolan
July 4, 7pm
Fete Ballroom, 103 Dike St, Providence

Freud’s Last Session Is Brilliant Theater

freudWhat would happen if you put two highly intellectual individuals in a room and let them debate the existence of God? Freud’s Last Session, a witty and provocative play by Mark St. Germain, isolates the legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud and the author C.S. Lewis in Freud’s office for a riveting 60 minutes at Warren’s 2nd Story Theater. The show opened in previews on June 6 and runs through August 3.

Ed Shea, as Freud, and Wayne Kneeland, as Lewis, have electrifying chemistry as they argue over the existence of God, the meaning of the Bible, humor, sexuality and Freud’s plans for his own suicide. St. Germain’s dialogue is brilliant as it displays the different personalities of these two highly articulate and opinionated men. Freud acts on his intellect, not on emotions. Lewis was critical of Freud’s views and is not hesitant to debate him on religion and the nature of God. “I state the truth no matter who it outrages,” Freud says at one point.

Freud’s Last Session takes place in London at the outset of World War II, and air raid sirens frequently sound. Freud and Lewis listen to the radio for news updates, and the anxiety of living in a turbulent era clearly affects both men profoundly. Their essential vulnerabilities are exposed as they seek solace from the violence erupting all around them. But despite this stark drama, there is a great amount of humor in the play.

Director Pat Hegnauer created a fast-paced show that challenges the audience to reconsider their own views toward many subjects, including religion, and there is an effective moment at the end of the play where Freud reveals his chat with Lewis allowed him also to reconsider one of his views. It is just one of many reasons to witness Freud’s Last Session.

For tickets, contact 2nd Story Theatre at 401-247-4200.

EDM: Providence Is Party Central


Club XS : The Newest Hot Spot

Providence is known as party central with club events happening all across town, and the heavily involved EDM scene shows that we’ll be here for generations to come. Every club has its own unique formula that seems to work just fine; some offer a sexy atmosphere, others explore an artsy appearance and let’s not forget the amazing shore nightlife summer offers.

The club phenomena in Providence has been non-stop since the ’70s when NYC was on top of its game and RI was right behind. There were a few very popular clubs throughout the city, like BT Bogarts, one of the first to have a lighted dance floor, and Play Dan and Club 2001 where party-goers could explore their inner disco souls. Today, Providence replicates the best experiences of big city night clubs, like in Miami and LA. We offer some of the best sound systems around and EDM is a hundred times better when it’s loud with a pulsating base driving through your body. It’s an instant formula for dancing. For party-goers, a memorable night is driven by special guest out-of-town DJs and popular local DJs who carry a hefty schedule.

Providence’s newest club, Club XS, opened to huge success on its first weekend. Local DJs already lining up to be one of first to bless the turntables is a definite sign that PVD gained another nightlife spot to influence an audience and further an agenda.

As we head deeper into the summer, the club action shifts to our amazing beaches and we tend to get a little nervous around the city — unless you’re Sequel Lounge with an amazing outdoor patio sure to please and breeze everyone. But the city is full of fun and excitement with dozens of clubs to explore. And clubs always seem to offer a top notch menu of exclusive cocktails that you may not find anywhere outside of RI.

Club Highlight:

Club XS, 1 Throop alley, Providence; XSLOUNGERI.com

Sequel Lounge, 178 Atwells Ave., Providence; www.sequelprov.com

DJ Highlight:


Offical Numark Artist/DJ and the driving force behind Blinded Records, Osheen, New England’s own veteran DJ and producer, is no stranger to the music culture and electronica house music scene. He began his career in the early 1980s dosing the dance floors of local clubs and rave events in the northeast. When the rave phenomena hit in the early 1990s, he took his skills and signature sound of chugging tribal proper house music out to the masses and quickly became known as one of the premier underground house DJs in the US. The demand kept growing for his talent as a DJ, leading him to the next logical and creative step, the creation of his own music and record label. Osheen currently has numerous remix and original releases on major and independent record labels.