Motif Event Picks for June 22 – 28

Motif is trying something new, where our team selects a handful of events we find particularly interesting or cool for the upcoming week. Check out our favorite events in the area between June 22 and 28!

WED 22

Girls Night Out The Show: Revisiting classic fantasies and steamy exotic temptations. Features some of the most physically perfect male dancers that artistically capture a wide range of female desires, delighting audiences with a series of disarmingly sexy, yet tasteful, dance numbers and exciting routines with one goal in mind: the pleasure of women! 8pm, Fête Music Hall, 103 Dike St, PVD. fetemusic.com

FRI 24 & SAT 25

Ocean State BBQ Festival: Help define what good BBQ is in RI with the inaugural Ocean State BBQ Festival highlighting RI-based BBQ joints, restaurants, enthusiasts and backyarders! Two days of culinary competitions and live music. The Steel Yard, 27 Sims Ave, PVD. thesteelyard.org

FRI 24+

Social Security: The domestic tranquility of a pair of married art dealers is shattered upon the arrival of the wife’s goody-goody nerd of a sister, her uptight CPA husband and her archetypal Jewish mother. They are there to try to save their college student daughter from the horrors of living only for sex. The comic sparks really begin to fly when the mother hits it off with the elderly artist who is the art dealer’s best client! Granite Theater, 1 Granite St, Westerly. granitetheatre.com Runs Jun 24 – Jul 24

SUN 26

RI Food Fights 5th Annual Incredible Ice Cream Throwdown: The biggest ICE CREAM celebration is BACK! All you can sample from the very best ice cream vendors in RI. Count on all-you-can-chug Yacht Club Soda and New Harvest Coffee Roasters Iced coffee, too. 1 – 3pm, Rhode Island Eye Institute, 150 E. Manning St, PVD. rifoodfights.com

MON 27

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness: This is a man who was diagnosed with cancer at 22 years old, on the cusp of releasing his debut album (as Jack’s Mannequin). Also featuring Civil Twilight. 6:30pm, Fête Music Hall, 103 Dike St, PVD. fetemusic.com


Mobile DIY Antifolk Rockers Celebrate 10 Years

Durham, North Carolina based folk rockers Beloved Binge will be stopping in RI on their country wide tour. The couple, who describe their music as, “rubble pop in a punk pot,” have been compared to Olympia, WA indie record label k-records, placing them somewhere in the ranks of indie folkies and shoegaze rockers. Beloved Binge is celebrating 10 years of making music, their 10 year “bandiversary”. Their music spans the rolling sounds of folk, and extends out to the feedback filled backbone of garage rock. The constant that winds through their recent album Pockets is the way the duo’s voices come together, part folk chorus, part rock anthem.

Eleni Vlachos is the self-identified drummer of the multi-instrumentalist duo, which will be gracing the stage at AS220 this Wednesday. She and husband Rob Beloved, quit their jobs and got in an ‘82 camper van with their dog, to tour the United States in celebration of making it 10 years.

Beloved Binge does more than just make music. Both members are vegan and work to raise awareness of the suffering of animals, especially as part of the high production food system. On a trip while touring they were traveling from LA to San Francisco and passed a feedlot for dairy cows, the conditions in which the animals were being kept convinced them to take the step from vegetarianism to veganism.

“One of our interests is reducing suffering in the world,” Vlachos explained. Animals make up a lot of life on the planet, and the members of Beloved Binge believe that with increased awareness of plant-based food options, people can make the switch.

“It’s hard to change,” she acknowledged, “Every meal is choice.”

Vlachos is also interested in film work. She has made two films, one called Seeing through the Fence which focusses on the reasons for switching to vegetarian and vegan diets, and why people are reluctant to do so. She will be giving out free copies at the show. While they are on tour this fall she is working on a new project called Big Talk. She is asking the artists they meet while touring questions off her “big questions” list, such as “What is the hardest part of being alive?”

Vlachos grew up in Seattle, working the cash register at her father’s pizza place. Her mother’s family had many classical musicians. She started playing the drums at age 21.

In 1998, Vlachos traveled to Crete, as part of a trip around Greece to get to know the country and visit her father’s family, there she bought a bouzouki (μπουζούκι, pronounced: boo-ZOO-kee), a Greek instrument resembling a lute.

“My father was embarrassed,” she joked, the instrument is usually played by men.

Vlachos met Rob while they were both still living in Seattle. She was looking to get involved with a new band. After the third member of their group left, they re-located to Durham, North Carolina.

“We were kind of broken-hearted,” Vlachos said. They decided to move somewhere new. They had heard nice things about the weather in North Carolina, so they packed up their stuff and moved.

“When we got there it was like a ghost town,” she remembered. But the town opened itself up and revealed a welcoming arts community that has helped them feel at home.

When planning their tour to celebrate 10 years of music making slotting Rhode Island in was an easy choice. Rob’s father lives in the city.

They have played AS220 before and are fond of its DIY ethos. The DIY movement is a large component of what they do. Their tour is self-organized and they are traveling by camper van with their dog.

Looking back on ten years of writing and performing Vlachos finds that the biggest changes are those of perspective.

“You look for ways to entertain yourself,” she said. Tired of playing gigs the same exact way every time they incorporated a theatrical element. Once, they put on a show of Three’s Company inside their performance.

But touring is a major draw when for Vlachos when it comes to going around the country.

“Playing shows is a way to connect with a community that you don’t get when you’re just traveling.”

Beloved Binge will be playing AS220 Thursday August 14. Check out their music at belovedbinge.bandcamp.com.

Desserts On-the-go with a Heart

First came frozen yogurt, then cupcakes. Dessert trends seem to be unfolding faster than I can lose the weight I gained from the last one, but the latest has me thinking that the extra minutes on the elliptical are worth it. The newest addition to the trendy dessert roster is the macaron, and, as I recently discovered, a local RI business is doing it just right.

As a point of clarification, “macarons” are not to be confused with “macaroons.” A “macaroon” is a merengue and coconut based cookie that is often dipped in chocolate, and was more than likely the highlight of your Italian grandmother’s Christmas cookie tray. A “macaron” is merengue and almond based confection that is somewhere between a cookie, a cake and a gift from the gods.

Last week I decided to make a trip to the weekly Movies on the Block off Westminster St. Block in Downtown Providence. My motivation was more than my mother’s being appalled by my never having seen Smokey and the Bandit. I had recently heard it through the internet grape vine that “Macaron Millie sometimes makes an appearance!” I paused. Macaron Millie? I delved further into internet oblivion. Gracie’s on Washington St. has a bakery called Ellie’s, which among its many sugary good offerings, features macarons. Macaron Millie is Ellie’s food cart that serves macarons with a twist that my sweet tooth possessing, food obsessed self found intriguing and craving inducing: macaron ice cream sandwiches.

I arrived at Movies on the Block (which I highly recommend) and was disappointed to see that Millie wasn’t there. My macaron eating dreams were slowly fading until I remembered that, like many portable food entities, Millie probably had a Twitter. I found @MacaronMillie and decided to make a last last-ditch plea.

About halfway through the movie, I looked down at my phone to see that Millie had answered me. “I only have cherry balsamic left,” they Tweeted to me, “but it’s delicious and I’m here!”

photoI went over to the cart-toting bike  and introduced myself to the guy manning the cart as “the girl who begged you to come here via Twitter.” He explained that Millie had just finished a stint at the Concert Under the Elms series at the John Brown House Museum and was not scheduled to be at Movies on the Block this week, but had seen my Tweet and biked over before returning to homebase.

Not only did the service go above and beyond, but the product was delicious. Macarons are notoriously difficult to make, but these were soft, light, tasty, and, of course, filled with homemade ice cream. Cherry balsamic sounded like an odd combination to me, but upon eating it I realized I had been very wrong. The tart balsamic ice cream complemented the sweet/tart cherry macaron very well and I found myself regretting only buying just one.

Jim Almo from Ellie’s explained that the development of Millie came from a love of food-trucks and the Providence community. “We feel part of the idea of a neighborhood, especially in a downtown area, is being able to be out meeting your neighbors, friends, colleagues, and visitors. It made sense to us to be able to get out of the bakery and meet people and try to be a larger part of what makes Providence so special. The idea of Millie is born of that aesthetic.” Jim went onto explain that while Ellie’s serves traditional macarons and other goodies, only Millie serves macarons with an ice cream filling. The flavors are constantly changing so there is always something new to try. Some of their past flavors have included strawberry and sherry shortcake, rainbow sherbet, and pistachio raspberry.

Follow Millie’s movements on Twitter @MacaronMillie, or visit her stationary counterpart at 194 Washington St. in Providence.

Downtown Goes Derby

For the first time since 2009, the wheels of Providence Roller Derby will once again be rolling on The Providence Rink at the Bank of America City Center. On August 23, the second game of the home season will be played between The Old Money Honeys and The Mob Squad. Then the Honeys will take on The Sakonnet River Roller Rats on September 13.

Going from indoor to outdoor skating rinks is a complete change of atmosphere and environment for fans and for the skaters.

“The surface is actually great for skating, with the only drawback being that it requires slightly more push to go faster,” said Rhoda Perdition of the Old Money Honeys. “There is exactly no give to it, though, so when we fall, we fall hard!”

Even changing to the outdoor rink requires a complete change of equipment and additional attire.

“The crappiest wheels possible, because the concrete eats them up like an industrial grinder. It also works great for removing skin from our bodies, so we tend to wear more spandex than usual,” said Rhoda.

However, the tough roller derby girls overcome those challenges with the help from the fans new and old.

“The energy at an outdoor bout is completely different and better. There’s just something about outdoor sports that gets the crowd more involved,” said Sis Boom Bonnie of the Sakonnet River Roller Rats. “I’ve bouted in roller skating rinks, arenas and warehouses, but the Bank of America Center is by far my favorite place to play derby. Because it’s located in the heart of Providence, there is a real sense of community at BOA bouts. It’s also a time for passersby to discover roller derby for the first time and that’s always exciting.”

Tickets for both events are available at: providencerollerderby.ticketleap.com

Kongos made Providence dance with their African inspired upbeat alternative rock

By: Josh Estrella

There are a few bands that stand out when you hear them– bands you know are going to make it big–and Kongos are definitely one of them. Last Friday all those gathered in Waterplace Park for the fifth installment of WBRU’s Summer Concert Series had the opportunity to hear their unique African inspired sound live for free. Judging by all of the singing and dancing in the area, the crowd loved them. The night started off with WBRU 2012 and 2013 Rock Hunt semifinalists and rising local band, Satellites Fall, who got the large crowd moving from the start. Although they are not as well known as Kongos, they were able to keep the crowd jumping around to their music and clearly made some new fans along the way.


Next up was the headliner, Kongos. Kongos are based out of Phoenix, Arizona but first gained popularity in South Africa where the four brothers and bandmates, Dylan, Daniel, Jesse and Johnny grew up. Their first album, Lunatic, showcases a new kind of upbeat alternative rock music that just makes you want to hear more. If you haven’t heard them yet, their hit songs “Come With Me Now” and “I’m Only Joking” epitomize what their catchy sound is all about and show why they have been rising up the charts. After becoming popular in South Africa, Kongos re-released their album in the US in 2013 where it is gaining popularity just as fast.

When the Kongos hit the stage the crowd went crazy. The lucky people in the front rushed to the stage while everyone else in the crowded park stood up and fought to get a glimpse of the band. They played through the entirety of Lunatic, giving off a vibe that made the crowd move with their blend of different rock elements, hints of African rhythms and even an accordion. The Kongos knew how to work the crowd, getting all of Waterplace Park into their music quickly. Towards the end of the set the band heightened the excitement of the crowd with an interesting rendition of “Come Together” by the Beatles which even had some rapping. Finally after putting on one of the longest sets of this Summer Concert Series, the Kongos gave the crowd what they came for and finished the night off with their hit single “Come With Me Now” getting the crowd to sing with them.

This upcoming Friday, August 1, the WBRU 2014 Summer Concert Series will be coming to a close with the last two bands, Sleeper Agent, who once played at Coachella and appeared on Jimmy Fallon, and local Experimental Americana Roots rock band, The ‘Mericans. Make sure you stop by Waterplace Park early for the last free concert of the summer.

Friday, August 1 at Waterplace Park, WBRU hosts its last free concert of the summer @ 7pm.

Brown Playwrights Rep Brings Plays on a Journey

By: Khrysta Ryan & Melanie Rainoneplaywrights

The Brown Playwrights Rep offers playwrights a unique opportunity to perfect their work in the rehearsal room and on the stage. Now in its 10th year, the Playwright’s Rep has allowed three playwrights to explore their work’s potential. A playwright brings an unfinished piece of work and is able to watch it come to life with a cast and make changes collaboratively throughout the rehearsal process. See Bat Fly, Indian Summer, and The Droll have each gone before an audience at the Leed’s Theater so that the playwright may continue to prepare the piece for an eventual premiere.

“The spirit of Playwrights Rep is asking a playwright what they need as they’re writing a play and letting them use the rehearsal room as a part of the creative process,” said Kenneth Prestininzi, the director of Indian Summer. “In collaboration with the author, director and creative team, the writing process gets completed with the ensemble,” he explained of the innovative environment. Gregory S. Moss, playwright of Indian Summer, went on to say that with each member of the ensemble working together so closely, the process is more intimate than a regular professional theater company. He emphasized that the relationship and intimacy that is formed by having the playwright present in the room makes the creative process feel less like a job. Prestininzi added, “There’s an insight that actors and directors have that often a playwright can’t see … you need other peoples’ perspectives to open it up.”

For Moss, the Brown Playwrights Rep is the perfect place for his newest piece of work to develop. Indian Summer is a love story that takes place in Rhode Island. “I wrote it a little for this venue — its about the local culture of Rhode Island,” he expressed. This is Moss’ second time bringing a piece of work to the Rep. He went onto explain that because of his presence in the rehearsal room, “The work being done here is something [playwrights] can’t get elsewhere.” He explains that this is at the root of the Playwrights Rep. “What does this script bring out in us that we can show Greg? What can we bring out in the script that he can’t see?” Prestininzi described.

The format of the Rep allows the playwrights to take risks they may not have otherwise taken. Rather than writing a play and imagining an audience for two years, the playwright can write at his or her whim, knowing that their work will be seen in front of six different audiences. Playwrights come to the Rep with specific goals for their play. As someone who had been through the process before, Moss knew that he could achieve the goals he had for his play in a safe environment.The play was originally 250 pages, but has been shortened significantly because by seeing his piece come to life in the rehearsal room, Moss was able to determine which parts weren’t necessary to the story. “You figure out what you can lose, things that are implied, things that actors can do without language and then also where you need to put in more information,” Moss explained.

The process is equally invigorating for the actors as it is for the playwright. The cast of each work is able to watch their characters evolve during the entire process. Playwrights Rep uses a wide variety of actors, including the Brown Trinity MFA, local Providence actors, retired professors returning to the stage as well as recent Brown graduates.

“Even though something is no longer in the play, I know that it is a part of the character’s journey,” expressed Max Wolkowitz, who plays Daniel in Indian Summer. On having the playwright there in the rehearsal room, See Bat Fly actress Olivia Khoshatefeh stated, “This is what makes this process so unique; its incredibly collaborative. And from an actor’s point of view, it’s nice to have the playwright in the room. When something is unclear we can just ask, ‘What does this mean?’ Which is super helpful and an incredible luxury.”

“The audience is the final part of the company; they are part of the developmental process,” Prestininzi elaborated. “That sounds a little like marketing [laughs] but its true! The engagement and energy in the room the first time this play is being shown in front of other human beings is incredibly important and informative to us.” The works have been adapted after each of their six showings based not only on the opinion of the cast and crew, but on the audience’s reception. According to Prestininzi, “We’re not making theater for ourselves, it’s about this public square and this exchange with the audience.”

See each piece in its seventh performance and final form August 2 at the Leeds Theatre. See Bat Fly, Indian Summer, and The Droll will be marathoned to close out the Playwrights Rep. The marathon audience will be the final piece of the editing process and tickets are on sale now.

Fluxus Cock Fight

rosecockfight3It’s hard to describe just what’s going on when a Fluxus event takes place. We explored it in more depth with Shey Rivera, the organizer and instigator of this series of surreal experiences.

At the Cock Fight edition, for example, there was the meditative, “What am I doing here,” experience of watching a woman in a bird mask cannibalistically baste chicken parts. Lots of chicken parts. But there was also the part where the audience participated in a pool-noodle-light-sabre battle royale, offsetting the energy of the evening in the polar opposite direction. Other highlights included amusing short films starring tiny, stop motion mice, and a woman trapped inside an endless sweater (that’s the best I can do to describe this fascinating, faceless, garment-transformation dance).

Fluxus will be off for the summer, but who knows when it might be back, or in what form. Here’s a picture from the cock fight. Can you spot the chicken?cockfight1

Motif TV | Top 5 Things to do this weekend | July 31 – August 3

Making the Stage: Local open mic picks up

There is a stage in Providence looking for performers. Join the PVD Hoot for a chance to perform or sit in the audience for an opportunity to cheer on local musicians of all types.

The PVD Hoot is an open mic that makes its home at Anchor, a work-exhibition space on Rice Street in Providence.

Started by Josh Aromin and Sarah Mead in October of last year, the Hoot has embarked on a year-long venture to bring a performance space for all to the city. The performance stage has gone walkabout in an effort to become more of a “mobile mic” bringing the stage to the people who want to perform on it, and to audiences in the heart of downtown. The Hoot is using Grant’s Block to get outside, but this past Sunday, the rain moved them inside to the Providence Polaroid Project (the old Craftland location), across the street.

This collaboration between the PVD Hoot and Providence Polaroid is the only the first of many, or so hope Hoot co-founders Aromin and Mead.

“People keeping saying, ‘we need to work together,’” said Aromin. They have been looking to work with more of the projects that are part of Popup Providence initiative.

A rainy Sunday didn’t see the turn out that the Hoot usually gets. Only four people performed, two of whom are involved with the Hoot, including Aromin. When the stage is set at The Anchor, between 30 and 40 people usually show up. When the performance has been hosted at Grant’s Block they’ve drawn crowds of up to 100 people.

“We got rubberneckers,” Mead said with a smile.

The Hoot started when Aromin’s cousin, Armand Aromin, a violin-maker, moved his workspace into the Anchor. The Anchor provides free performance and exhibition space to its residents. Armand asked Josh for ideas of events to host.

“I said, ‘An open mic would be great,’” Aromin recounted. Cafes and restaurants often will host open mics, but inviting people in to perform or to watch people perform does not necessarily turn a profit, and the open mic remains secondary to the goal of establishment, namely selling food and beverages.

Aromin wanted to re-create the vibe that the erstwhile Tazza Cafe had at their open mics.

When they’re at home at The Anchor, they serve free beer and coffee, donated by Narragansett brewery, and New Harvest, respectively.

“We wanted to be an open mic that just happens to have free coffee and beer,” Aromin explained.

When Aromin was set to make the open mic happen, he invited friend and co-worker Mead to help him put it on. Mead has a degree in marketing, and had experience putting on events.

“Sarah had never done an open mic before,” Aromin laughed.

But Mead took on the planning and they’ve been successfully drawing a crowd since.

“Once you’ve done the first event, you figure out what to do. Every time we do it it’s tiring, but definitely worth it,” Mead said.

Sunday’s Hoot was also a send off party, because Mead is moving back to her home state, Connecticut. Aromin sang her a song he wrote, I hope when you pass through Providence it still feels like home.

One goal of the Hoot is to expand the project to other cities, so Mead’s move signals a future for the Hoot outside Providence. Until then, the Hoot will be continuing at The Anchor until this October.

Aromin recited the Hoot’s unofficial motto, “Our stage is your stage. I don’t care what your talent level is.”

For more information visit their website at http://pvdhoot.com

You can head out (and perform) 2PM performances at Grant’s block, 5PM at The Anchor:
Aug. 10 – Grant’s Block
Aug. 20 – The Anchor
Aug. 24 – Grant’s Block
Sep. 7 – Grant’s Block
Sep. 17 – The Anchor
Sep. 28 – Grant’s Block

Motif TV: TOP 5 Things to do this weekend July 24 – 27