Best Places to Celebrate the Fourth

fireworksFourth of July Events

Independence Day Beach Ball: Traditional clambake on the beach with live music to keep you grooving through the night. The Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill. July 4. oceanhouseevents.com

Fourth of July Clambake: Celebrate the birth of the nation with a traditional New England clambake. Stick around for post-dinner s’mores at the Weekapaug Inn, 25 Spray Rock Rd., Weekapaug. July 4. weekapaugevents.com

Family Fourth of July Celebration: A decades old tradition in South Kingstown featuring live musical entertainment, children’s activities, food vendors and fireworks from 5 – 9pm at Old Mountain Field, Kingstown Rd., Wakefield. July 4. southkingstownri.com

88th Annual Ancient & Horribles Parade: Nothing is sacred as Gloucester locals spoof local and national politics during this famous parade on the Fourth of July. The parade first wound its way down Main Street in Chepachet, in 1926 and has continued to delight Glocester residents (and many others) every year since. July 4, 4pm. glocesterri.org

Arnold Mills Parade: Road race, parade and band concert. The theme for this year’s parade is Proud to be an American. Activities start at 9am, Diamond Hill State Park, Cumberland. July 4. arnoldmillsparade.com

Bluegrass on the Pawtuxet: This first annual event from Angry Lobster Events and the RI Bluegrass Alliance turns Pawtuxet Village and Rhodes on the Pawtuxet into a Bluegrass mecca, featuring camping, master classes, and lots of performances, including the Steeldrivers, Pete & Joan Wernick, Tony Trischka and Blue Highway. July 4 – 6

19th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival: Featuring nearly 50 of the best in contemporary, traditional and Celtic folk music, including Chris Smither, Poor Old Shine, Vance Gilbert, Christine Lavin and Don White, the Celtic group RUNA and Grammy Award winning children’s entertainer Bill Harley. Arts and craft vendors, food and drinks downtown outside of Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and the Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford. July 5 – 6, 11am – 9pm.


Block Island, Thursday 3, 9pm, Crescent Beach, blockislandinfo.com

Bristol, Thursday 3, 9pm, Independence Park, july4thbristolri.com

Cumberland, Thursday 3, 9pm, Cumberland High School, 2600 Mendon Rd., cumberlandri.org

East Providence, Thursday 3, 9pm, Pierce Memorial Stadium, 201 Mercer St., epheritagedays.com

Fall River, Friday 4, 9:30pm, Battle Ship Cove, 5 Water St., battleshipcove.org

Jamestown, Saturday 5, 9pm, East Ferry Beach, rockethogs.com

Narragansett, Friday 4, 9pm, Narragansett Town Beach, narragansettri.gov

New Bedford, Friday 4, 9pm, Hurricane Barrier, centralrichamber.com/1048/events/fireworks         New London, Friday 11-Sunday 13, Sundown, New London Waterfront, sailfestnl.org

Newport, Friday 4, 9pm, Newport Harbor,  centralrichamber.com/1048/events/fireworks

Newport, Friday 4, 9pm, Rose Island Lighthouse, 365 Thames St, roseislandlighthouse.org/events.html

North Kingston, Saturday 5, Sundown, North Kingston Town Beach, lafayette-band.com

Warwick, Thursday 3, 9pm, Oakland Beach, warwickri.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1217:annual-fireworks-display-set-for-july-3&catid=192:news-archives-2012&Itemid=207

Make Misquamicut Your Beach


A family friendly summer destination

“It’s funny, on a busy day, you can go out on Atlantic Ave. and count the license plates,” says local business owner (Seafood Haven) and Executive Director of the Misquamicut Business Association, Caswell Cooke Jr. “You’ll see them from all over. You’ll see a lot from New York and tons from Connecticut and Mass., but you won’t see a lot from Rhode Island.” Some of Rhode Island’s greatest treasures aren’t widely recognized here at home. At Motif, we see it with artists, musicians and other specialists all the time. Right now, Misquamicut may be the RI beach mecca that goes unnoticed within our own borders.

For a while, Misquamicut didn’t have the greatest reputation. In the ‘80s, it was known for its busloads of drunken shenanigan perpetrators, occasional brawls and no shortage of Paddy wagons. But while the ghost of that reputation may linger in the long memory RI prides itself on (“Take a left where the drunken rascals used to be”), Misquamicut has left the ‘80s in the past. Who hasn’t, really? It now presents many family-friendly options and non-baccanalic ways to drink, eat, sun and have a good time.

The beach, of course, did get a lot of coverage two years ago, when Hurricane Sandy, apparently trying to get home to the Sandy Shore Motel or Sandy’s Lighthouse [Bar], whalloped the shoreline full force. It took a year to rebuild and recover, but now the beach is pristine again, devoid of errant chunks of buildings past, and ready for sunbathers. Spots like Paddy’s, The Andrea and The Windjammer allow on-the-sand drinking and eating that brings all the creature comforts together (bring a beach read: see page xxx).

There’s also an active side to this stretch of summer with jet ski rentals, waterslides and a standing amusement park that includes a Ferris wheel, mini-golf, batting cages and bumper cars, kids and adults can lift their adrenaline before hitting the nightlife. That nightlife includes classic movies (from, well, mostly the ‘80s) at a classic beach drive-in theater, and clubs galore with drinks from basic ‘Gansetts to exotic frozen creamsicle cocktails, to those giant margaritas with the upside down Corona inside them. The strip is long enough to let you move around, but not so long that it gets overwhelming.

And of course, no conversation about Misquamicut would be complete without mention of some of the events they have during the summer: Tons of live music, family-friendly “Magic by Sea” every Thursday in July and August (7pm at the Windjammer), Hermit Crab Races — yes, they don’t know they’re racing, but still they do it — every Wednesday (7:30pm at Purple Ape), and their famous Classic Car Cruise Nights, every Thursday in the Windjammer’s East Parking Lot.

Top Things to do in Newport this Summer


Take a Break From The Beach

If you’re heading to Newport this summer, you’re probably thinking the beach or maybe the cliff walk, but the city has more to offer than just sun and sand. A leisurely stroll down Thames street is always fun, but here are some things to try if you’re in the mood for something new!

Dinner Train
The Newport Dinner Train takes diners back to the golden age of railroads with delicious food and ocean views. The 22-mile train ride includes events like “Romancing the Rails,” “Afternoon of Elegance” and family night. The train departs from the depot at 19 America’s Cup Ave. and business casual attire is required.

Newport Harbor Shuttle
The Newport Harbor Shuttle is a convenient, cost-effective way to experience the sights in the harbor. The boat departs from Perrotti Park and stops at Fort Adams, Bowen’s Wharf and Goat Island. The biggest advantage of the shuttle is you can hop on and off to your heart’s content for just the initial ticket price! The harbor shuttle is located at 39 America’s Cup Ave.

Naval War College Museum
Learn about the naval history of New England and Narragansett Bay at the Naval War College’s Museum. The building was formerly the Newport Asylum for the Poor and is now a National Historic Landmark, and the exhibits focus on the development of the permanent naval fixtures in the city. The museum is located at 686 Cushing Rd.

Old Colony and Newport Railway
The Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway takes you on a relaxing locomotive ride along the west shore of Aquidneck Island through Newport and Middletown. The line was originally built to provide steamships from Fall River with a railway connection. The train leaves from the depot on America’s Cup Ave., and the train runs most Sundays at 11:45am and 2pm.

Newport Tower (Old Stone Mill)
The round stone tower located at Touro Park may not be as flashy as the Marble House, but many visitors find its history fascinating. The interesting part: the 28-foot structure was probably built sometime in the 17th century and is commonly thought to be a windmill, but there is no hard evidence that points to exactly what it is. Other theories speculate that it’s a Viking tower, an observatory or a Chinese lighthouse. Come see Newport’s answer to Stonehenge for yourself and formulate your own hypothesis. Touro Park is located between Mill St. and Pelham St.

Ghost Tour at Fort Adams
Come to Fort Adams for a nighttime ghost hunt and explore the paranormal side of this famous Newport attraction. Fort Adams has a handful of other educational options, including tours highlighting the military aspects and daily life in the fort, but this is perfect for those interested in the supernatural. Join the Rhode Island Paranormal Society as they take you on a guided tour beneath the walls and explore dark tunnels of this centuries-old structure. Ghost tours will be hosted on July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 19 and go from 10pm to midnight.

Newport Art Museum – Events
When you’re all tired out from the beach, head indoors and take in some culture at the art museum. Their current summer exhibition is “Very Simple Charm: The Early Life and Work of Richard Morris Hunt in Newport, 1858-1878.” Hunt was a preeminent American architect known for designing many famous structures in Newport (including The Breakers) and around the US. In addition, the museum hosts a number of special events, including an “Appraisal Day,” where you can get a professional appraisal for your art or jewelry (June 21), a lecture on Picasso’s obsession with Degas (July 8) and a metal crafting workshop/drum circle (July 28). The museum is located at 76 Bellevue Ave.

Newport Murder Mystery
Come see the Newport Murder Mystery troupe for a night of mysterious, family-friendly fun. The company describes themselves as “murder professionals” who are committed to C.R.I.M.E. (Creative Role-Playing Interactive Mystery Experiences). Currently, two alternating performances make up their “Summer of Sin” roster: “Mobsters and Molls” pits swingers and flappers against each other for a whodunnit set in the jazz age, and “Ballgowns, Bling, and Betrayal” is a classy affair set in 18th century high society. The shows are held at the John N.A. Griswold House at the Newport Art Museum and the performances take place on Saturdays throughout the summer.

Irish History Museum on Thames
Newport is probably most famous as a summer playground for the country’s most ostentatious millionaires, but the city also has some interesting working-class history. Located in the heart of Newport’s famously Irish Fifth Ward neighborhood, The Irish History museum is a non-profit organization that takes visitors through the experience of the Irish immigrants in Newport. Irish immigrants were instrumental in creating some of the iconic Newport elements; they were recruited to construct Fort Adams and, later, worked in many of the mansions. The museum is located on 648 Lower Thames St. in Newport and is open Thursday – Sunday from noon – 5pm. Admission is by donation.

The 40-odd minute ride to Newport from Providence can seem like a huge undertaking for a Rhode Islander, but activities like these make it worth the drive. No matter what you’re interested in, Newport offers New England residents plenty of options to get out and try to forget that the long, grueling winter ever happened.

Alt-Parenting: Stay-at-Home Parents’ Summer Survival Guide


Enjoy a Peaceful Summer, Kids Included

Summer is fast approaching and excitement is in the air.  If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you’ve probably spent the past few weeks fantasizing about the wonderful break you’ll have from homework battles, making lunches and endless after-school activities.  You’ve pooh-poohed the idea of summer camp, as you picture long days at the beach, day trips to Canobie Lake Park and the zoo, and being outdoors, 24/7.

If this describes you, take a look in the mirror. Do you see yourself or have you transformed into a snowman? I ask because you sound an awful lot like Olaf from Frozen, and, like him, your summer fantasies are about to land you in a BIG mess.

Granted, your summer won’t find you melted into a puddle, but you’ll be suffering a fate just as painful: nine weeks straight of entertaining your children. Yes, summer is fun for the first few days. I guarantee, however, that by July 4th, you’ll be begging to turn back the hands of time and find a full-time summer camp (or turn them back much farther and schedule a vasectomy).

If I’ve convinced you of this certain doom, take heed. There is still hope for those of us who want to enjoy some summer fun with our kids, but think we might need a back-up plan – a place to send them when we’re at our wits’ end.  Below is your summer survival strategy.

Enroll your kids in a flexible drop-off camp, like Dream Big Gymnastics in Cranston, which has a summer camp that looks loads of fun, but the best part is the program’s flexibility. The kids can go for a half-day, full-day, whole week, or just once – as little or as often as you like. You can register them in advance to save a bit of money or drop in whenever you choose. KidZone in North Kingstown has something similar .  Be sure to call ahead as space is limited. For younger children, your local preschool might offer something similar. In East Greenwich, for instance, Little Red Hen has a flexible summer camp for children ages 3-7. Such flexibility comes at a price, so if you’re on a budget, use these camps judiciously, like if we get a week of rain … or you get a serious case of PMS.

Find a half-day camp.  These can be ideal, as they give you a chance to get your errands done, pack up the beach gear, even take a shower – in peace. You’ll feel refreshed and ready for an afternoon outing.   Teamworks in Warwick and Jump Dance Company in Providence both offer a selection of half-day programs. The East Greenwich parks and rec department, which is open to non-residents, also has some terrific half-day camps at a ridiculously affordable rate. The best part? Optional lunch and playground time for an additional $25 per week. At that price, who cares if they ever even go? The comfort of having options is worth every penny. Check with your local parks and rec to see what they offer.

Hit the beach — often. Yes, preparing for the beach can be quite a project. Also, unless you live in South County, it’s a long ride (by Rhode Island standards) often riddled with traffic and the crowds can be annoying. The beach, however, is a parent’s Nirvana – you relaxing in your beach chair while the kids play happily in the sand, all day. You know you want to be there, so make it easy. Get yourself a beach buggy at the Christmas Tree Shop, keep a packing list on your fridge so preparation’s a breeze and pick a beach that’s kid-friendly. Roger Wheeler is always a good choice, but it does get crowded and has that dreaded playground.  I’ll never understand this – isn’t the beach itself a playground? I prefer George’s – down the shore from Roger Wheeler and next to Salty Brine State Beach. You can watch the boats from the rocks, get some chowder and clam cakes, and, best of all, easily sneak in a bottle of wine as there are no lifeguards and no one patrols this private property. It’s my favorite beach – just don’t take my spot!

Finally, get organized and hyper-scheduled.  I’m not a terribly structured person, but for this summer, I’m armed with a spreadsheet containing the names and contact information of all the stay-at-home parents with whom I enjoy spending time, and a calendar of weekly activities, carefully selected from Motif’s summer guide.  I’ve planned kid-swaps with fellow stay-at-home parents, and extracted promises, in blood, to be invited to pool clubs and beach houses. I’m ready for summer!

If you think I’m a bit paranoid, think again.  I’m writing this on Memorial Day – the third day in a row of being home with both boys.    It’s been a mere three days, yet I’m thrilled to send them back to school tomorrow.  If this is a glimpse of my summer, there’s no way I’d make it without a back-up plan.  Now go get one for yourself and survive – maybe even enjoy – summer with the kids.


Up In The Air: The Closest Thing to Heaven Without Dying

balloonAs a native of Roswell, New Mexico, I’m accustomed to looking to the sky for activity. We consider it a tourist attraction. In Rhode Island, however, The Ocean State, it makes sense that most people look to the water for summer fun. And while I cannot argue with anyone wanting to anchor down at Potter’s Cove for AquaPalooza, I want word on the street to reflect Rhode Island’s plentiful reasons to keep your eyes to the sky as well.

Newport’s Annual Kite Festival

“It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s — a gigantic dragon?” is what you could be saying if you head to this year’s Kite Festival on July 13 and 14 in Newport. The festival takes place at Brenton Point State Park, a premier spot for kite flying that keeps the sky colorful all summer long. For those with young’uns, there is no better way to spend a Saturday. There will be contests like the Bol races (running upwind while pulling a parachute) and the Candy Drop — something akin to a large piñata that releases candy, which is, unfortunately, restricted only to children. New kites will be given to contest and raffle winners, and if the festival sparks an interest in a new hobby, even better! Ron Kitt, owner of Kitt Kites and host of the Newport Kite Festival, has a mobile site at Brenton Park and offers free lessons every weekend during the summer.
The events are free of charge, and beginning at noon on Saturday and Sunday, there will be demonstrations of Sport Kites and Power Kites, Rok (and roll) battles among traditional Japanese Rokkaku-style kites, and The Largest Kite contest. Randy the Kite Man, known for his large show kites, will be back this year from Florida and bringing a gigantic dragon with him. Grab a Del’s and enjoy the show.

Another “super-fly” event worth attending is the South County Hot Air Balloon Festival at URI on July 18 through 20. What was once a small gathering of hot air balloonists has now become one of the greatest summer attractions in Rhode Island. Now in its 36th year, this festival has a calendar so full of activities that people will enjoy arriving at an ungodly hour of 5:30am to catch the sunrise balloon launch and staying until 9pm to watch the dusk balloon lighting and firework display. There will be wildlife shows, carnival games, craft booths, a car show, tightrope walkers, steel drummers and a rockin’ R&B band. All are free with admission. There will also be a BBQ contest in which teams compete for $1,000 and a chance to represent Rhode Island at the National BBQ Championship this year. (Great news for foodies like me: It’s not too late to be a BBQ judge! You can find applications online.)

But the main attraction is, of course, the hot air balloons. One of the pilots, Jeff Haliczer, will be coming to the South County Festival for the first time with his dog, Ben, and his “Off the Wall,” Humpty Dumpty-shaped balloon. Jeff got his start flying hot air balloons in Gallup, NM (New Mexican high five!), and he’s looking forward to flying in Rhode Island, one of the four contiguous states he has not yet visited. He won’t be hard to miss with his funky balloon at the dusk glow Friday and Saturday night, or flying high each morning as the sun comes up.

I’ve often wondered if flying in a hot air balloon was a peaceful experience, since I imagine floating through the sky would be, so I asked the expert.

“My passengers fill out a guestbook after they’ve ridden with me,” Jeff replied, “and one of them once described it as ‘the closest thing to heaven without dying.’ I think that sums it up pretty well.”

For those who are interested in experiencing heaven at this year’s festival, pilots can be contacted directly. Tethered rides are also available throughout the day. Details for balloon rides and other events can be found at southcountyballoonfest.com

Even without a festival to attend, Newport is a popular summer destination. Daredevils and adrenaline junkies (you know who you are) can skydive Newport or Lincoln, RI, with Skydiving Rhode Island (1-800-591-7984). Take pictures! More subtle adventurers should look into Island Style Parasail. Parasailing is an activity that perfectly combines the air and water — soaring through the sky with a parachute while being tethered to a boat. My hot-air-balloon-serenity theory came from parasailing: amazing views, open environment, stress-free. Wade, the owner, has 17 years of experience parasailing in Hawaii and began this operation last summer. Even people afraid of heights will find nothing to fear. Tandem rides are perfect for friends, families and couples. Wade brings the Island Style to RI by igniting laughter, throwing shakas (thumb and pinky finger out), and showing folks a lot of Aloha. Call 401-601-0330 for reservations.

This summer, remember to keep your eyes up or take to the sky yourself. There’s plenty to do up in the air.

MotifTV Top 5 RI events May 8 – 13: Mother’s Day Edition

CORRECTION! The URI East Farm Spring Fest is on SATURDAY!! Not Tuesday 

Valentine’s Day Events 2014


Love it or hate it, Valentine’s and anti-Valentine’s day events are going on all weekend. Grab your sweetheart or your pack of single friends and see what the greater-RI area has in store

Bad Rabbits have been around for a while but this is being touted as their moment to break out internationally, fusing rock and funk. The Met, 999 Main St, Pawtucket, 9pm.
themetri.com Feb 14

Be My Ally: The Upstander Play: Written by a collaboration of kids from Manton Avenue Project’s Tag Team Program and performed by adults, tickets are pay-what-you-can at the door in the Media and Arts Center at the Met School 325 Public Street, Providence. mantonavenueproject.org
Feb 14 – 16

Black Valentine’s Day Party: Whether you are single or in a relationship, love V-Day or despise the color red, join others in the celebration of Black Valentine’s Day at The Ocean Mist, 895 Matunuck Beach Rd. Wakefield.
oceanmist.net Feb 14

Brass Attack: Nine-piece brass dance band on Valentine’s night starting at 9pm The Last Resort, 325 Farnum Pike, Smithfield. Feb 14
Chocolate and Wine Stroll: Stroll to participating restaurants and receive beautiful wine and chocolates tastings. A great way to celebrate Valentine’s week! This event is a benefit for Stand Up for Animals in Westerly. Downtown Westerly at 6pm.
westerlychamber.org Feb 12

Chocolate and Wine Tasting Party at the Contemporary Theatre. 7- 9pm thecontemporarytheater.com Feb 15…

Cupid Ball: A Pink Tie Affair: The Center by The Blackstone will be hosting the Cupid Ball to benefit their annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Music, raffles and prizes from 5pm – midnight. 175 Main Street, Pawtucket. centerbytheblackstone.com Feb 14

The Dancin’ Feelin’ Valentine’s Day Ballroom Dance Party: Couples and singles welcome – all levels of dance. Wear red and be in a drawing for prizes. 8pm at the Dillon Council,  1675 Douglas Ave, North Providence. kathyandrandydance.com Feb 14

Dining at Aldrich Mansion: Spend a romantic evening over a four-course meal along with live music, in the historic Aldrich Mansion, 836 Warwick Neck Ave. Warwick, RI. RSVP at aldrichmansion.com Feb 14

Hotel Providence Valentine’s Weekend Package: A charming room in downtown Providence, breakfast for two, and valet parking as a nice getaway for you and your Valentine. Package deals are available at Hotel Providence. hotelprovidence.com Feb 13 – 15

Jazzy Valentine: Join Roy Scott and the Big Band for a show at Lake Pearl Lucciano’s. Playing hits from the swing-era, the concert venue will also include a cash bar and a dinner option at 6:30pm. The show starts at 7:30pm at Lake Pearl Lucciano’s, 299 Creek Street Wrentham. sharonbands.org Feb 15
Kool & the Gang: Spend your Valentine’s Day listening to R&B and funky sounds at Twin River Casino’s Lighthouse Bar 8pm at 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln. twinrivercasio.com Feb 14
Lantern Tour in Colonial Newport: Looking for a little less romance and a little more history this Valentine’s Day? Join Newport History tours and be led through the streets of downtown Newport by a guide dressed in historical colonial attire. The tour will begin at 4:30pm at Brick Market Museum & Shop 127 Thames Street, Newport. newporthistorytours.org Feb 14
Laughter & Love Valentine’s Day Show: The Bit Players will be playing two improv shows this Valentine’s Day at the Firehouse Theater in Newport. The first show will be at 8:00pm and the second will start at 9:30pm. 4 Equality Park PI Newport. firehousetheater.org Feb 14

Love Is In The Air III  is a Valentine’s Day show of Broadway love songs with a twist of jazz. 8pm at the Greenwich Odeum, 59 Main St, East Greenwich. theodeum.org Feb 14

LuLz! Comedy Night with Leslie and the Lys, Randy Bush, and Boone County Comedy Troupe: Leslie and the Lys began as an internet sensation for her website gemsweater.com. Leslie and the Lys is touring over the next couple months with Boone County Comedy Troupe and Dean & the Delilah’s. If you are looking for laughs this Valentine’s Day Head to AS220 at 9pm, 115 Empire Street, Providence. as220.org Feb 14 & 15

Martha Redbone Roots Project – Garden of Love: FirstWorks presents Martha Redbone performing sounds of funk and R&B at the Aurora (formerly Roots), 276 Westminster St., Providence, 7:30pm. first-works.org Feb 13

My Funny Valentine: After performances of Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Ocean State Theatre Co’s lobby will be transformed into a piano lounge equipped with drinks and late night appetizers. Attendance at the performance preceding the cabaret is not required. The lobby doors will open for the cabaret at 9:30 pm. The theater is located at 1245 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick. oceanstatetheatre.org Feb 14 & 15

Narragansett Towers Valentine Dance Bash: A night of dancing to  R&B, rock n’ roll, and swing with Roger Ceresi and his All Starz at The Narragansett Towers. 7:30pm, 35 Ocean Road Narragansett. thetowersri.com Feb 14

Ocean House Dinner: Celebrate with a 5-star dinner in Seasons at the Ocean House. Ocean House chefs will take you through five palate-enticing courses, each highlighting the best of the New England bounty. 5:30pm Ocean House, Watch Hill.
oceanhouseevents.com Feb 14

Opera Providence Valentine’s Day Concert: As part of Blithewold Mansion’s Winter Concert Series, Opera Providence presents 2 special shows. 101 Ferry Rd, Bristol. operaprovidence.org  Feb 14 & 16

Pete Seeger Memorial Concert:  He spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change. Join John Fuzek, Bill Harley, Atwater Donnelly and others for a musical tribute at Sandywoods, 42 Muse Way, Tiverton. Sandywoodsmusic.com Feb 14
Stargazing: Every Friday night (weather permitting) the Frosty Drew opens their dome and telescopes. What’s more romantic than a night under the stars? 61 Park Ln, Charlestown.
frostydrew.org Feb 14

Sweetheart Dance at Mount Hope Farm:  A night of dancing, cupcakes, and a cash bar for you and your sweetheart. 8-11pm, 250 Metacom Ave. Bristol. mounthopefarm.org Feb 15

Motif TV : Top things to do this weekend

Funda Turns Sweet 16

fundaFestChrisJohnsonUPRhode Island Black Storytellers’ (RIBS) annual event welcomes in its 16thyear as the state’s premier, longest-running and only black storytelling festival: Funda Fest

I have been on both sides of the stage with Funda Fest as both a performer and an audience member, and I have to say the sheer power of this viva voce marvel is guaranteed to move you. Stretching across the state, caravaning in the week of January 19 through January 26 will be 10 of the most heartfelt and exciting storytellers you could possibly ever want to be responsible for your unguarded imagination.
Along with favorites Teju Ologboni from Milwaukee, Grammy nominated Christylez (pronounced Chris Styles) Bacon, and renowned storyteller Eshu Bumpers, making their debut appearance in the state and headlining the festival will be will be the performance duo of In the Spirit (vocalist Glenda Zahra Baker and storyteller Emily Hooper Lansana) along with the celebrated cast of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers.
More than 20 years ago, Emily Hooper Lansana and Glenda Zahra Baker came together to form Performance Duo: In the Spirit. They have developed an extensive repertoire of stories that carry us on enthralling journeys. Each performance celebrates the power of the word to connect, uplift and transform. Their interactive, spirit-filled stories and songs engage audiences in a memorable, soulful way.
Highlights of their performance history include: The National Association of Black Storytellers Festival and Conference, The National Storytelling Festival, The Illinois Storytelling Festival, Dance Africa Chicago and a number of museums, community and educational institutions across the country.
I first witnessed this production in 2006, when the featured performers hailed from New Orleans, in support of the tragedy that happened there. The night totally changed my perception of storytelling. The orator’s voice connected everyone in the room until in the silence was weaved a people quilt held together by the single thread of the storyteller’s voice. This is not just for bedtime; because of the magic and level of coziness crafted by orator after orator, by the end of the evening a village was molded from the raw clay of strangers. Now seven years later I can say the momentum has not let up. Year after year I have been thoroughly inspired and I can’t wait to see the gifts brought by Funda 16
I asked Valerie what was the impetus that sparked Funda Fest (Funda meaning to teach and to learn in Zulu and KiSwahili) 16 years ago. “In 1999, The Rhode Island Foundation had an initiative to celebrate black arts and artists in Rhode Island. For years previous to that, RIBS would travel every year to the National Association of Black Storytellers Festival (NABS) and a group pondered having such a thing in Rhode Island.” she said. Storytelling is how we inspire blacks to tell our story in all the dimensions of being human. It’s what gives us hope, and what makes us black while bringing a broader image of being black. She finished.
For full festival Information, join Rhode Island Black Storytellers on Facebook or check the website at www.ribsfest.org

New Years Eve Events

hnyslide2014 NYE Masquerade Ball is an annual event that draws thousands of masked dancers to the Rhode Island Convention Center. This ball has confetti, champagne toasts, live music, a dozen bars, VIP rooms, and DJ Neil Armstrong, DJ Finesse and DJ Jazzy Jazz. 9 pm – 3 am at 1 Sabin St.

Ben Hague: “Ever sleep naked in your parent’s bed … but you can’t get to sleep ‘cuz your dad’s tossing and turning all night?” Here begins the journey into the slightly twisted comedic mind of Ben Hague. Catch a Rising Star Comedy Club at Twin River, 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI. catcharisingstar.com

Cannibal Ramblers with Boo City: The Cannibal Ramblers proudly play Delta Swamp Backwater Stomp. Nick-a-Nees, 75 South St, Providence. 8 pm.

Chifferobe at the Dorrance. “Something tells me it’s not 2013 anymore.” This year’s NYE show is themed toward old Hollywood – represented by the Wizard of Oz, with black tie and glam suggested. There will be a best Dorothy costume contest, too. So surrender to the flying monkeys and cabaret-style performances by Cifferobe, Miss Wensday & The Cotillions, and more. 9 pm+ at 60 Dorrance St., Providence.

Coffee Exchange Auction. A silent auction to benefit Coffee Kids and the Coffee Trust. This event features live music and lots of coffee! 9 am – 6 pm 207 Wickenden Street, Providence. thecoffeeexchange.com

Dom Irrera: Nominated six times for an American Comedy Award, Dom Irrera’s stand-up material was honed in a multi-generational Italian household in South Philadelphia with his mother, sister, grandmother, uncles and cousins all under one very big roof. Comedy Connection RI, 39 Warren Ave, East Providence, RI. Shows at 8 pm and 10:30 pm. ricomedyconnection.com

Empire Revue. The once-a-month variety show pulls comedy, music and more to help spank in baby New Year. AS220, Empire St. Providence at 8 pm (but get there early, this is sure to sell out).

Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons. Ring in the New Year and make all the wrong resolutions at The Met. J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices, and Smith & Weeden open. 1005 Main St., Pawtucket. themetri.com

Last Night Providence – Keep the Celebration Going features The Gnomes, Mystic Jammers, The Banished Fools, and the Extraordinary Rendition Band. 7 pm, Aurora, 276 Westminster St, Providence.

New Year’s Eve Party with the Fat City Band: Ring in the New Year dancing the night away. Includes dinner buffet, entertainment, hats, noisemakers and a champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 7:30 pm, starts 9 pm. Chan’s, 267 Main St, Woonsocket, RI
NYE 2014 with Spiritual Rez, Daddie Long Legs and more. The Spot Underground, 101 Richmond Street, Providence. Doors open 7:30 pm, music 9 pm.

Portsmouth Polar Plunge caps off Portsmouth, RI’s year-long celebration of its 375th anniversary with a group dive into Narragansett Bay. Collective insanity? Or a brisk, refreshing way to kick off the New Year? You decide! Post plunge party at “The Beach House” in Island Park. 12 Noon. Island Park Beach, off Park Ave.

Whiskey Republic Midnight Resolution Party. This Black & White Party will feature Shawn Dillon with DJ Hevan, and Playboy’s Miss February 2013 will be there, presumably with her clothes on, but who knows? Doors at 8 pm, hors d’oeuvres at 9 pm. 515 South Water St. Providence.