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The Malcontent

The Biggest Loser

After being overweight for the vast majority of my nearly 32 years, I recently began a diet and exercise program. It’s the first time in my life I have consciously and successfully lost weight, but it’s been long overdue. Being overweight is detrimental at any age, but now in my early 30s, I realize that with each passing year it becomes a little more difficult to lose the pounds and a little more harmful to keep them on. As of this writing I can proudly say that I’m down more than 20 pounds, and have enthusiastically taken up running and bicycling as hobbies to replace my old pastimes of drinking in bars and drinking in other bars.

So what finally brought about the change? First and foremost, I’ve had some powerful personal inspiration to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude, but there are other reasons as well. Health consciousness (I’ve struggled with high cholesterol), and a desire to look and feel better have all played a part. Those concerns have always been there, but prior to this they were never motivation enough to get my ass on a treadmill. I needed to make a profound mental shift in order to really commit to weight loss, and I eventually found my reason to do so: the opportunity to judge people.

As you might imagine, I’m in the habit of passing judgment. I’d like to think, however, that I take a more enlightened, humanistic approach to being an overly critical prick: I don’t judge people for what they are, I judge them for what they choose. And regardless of what that relative going for a second piece of birthday cake at a family party, or that coworker who thinks soda is an appropriate substitute for water, or that person spilling over into your seat on the airplane may say, being overweight is a choice. Every day I was overweight was a day in which I chose not to do something about it.

Now that I’ve made the choice to eat less and exercise more, it’s opened up a whole new world of …   More

Reality TV is Looking for a Few Good Men - In RI

The staff in our office has always been largely female (roughly a 3:1 ratio) and while that has mostly been for the good, we always knew it might come back to haunt us one day. That day has come. Shine America, the production company behind critically acclaimed scripted shows (The Office, Ugly Betty), reality TV hits (The Biggest Loser, Nashville Star) and, well, other things (MTV's Date My Mom, that short-lived American Gladiators reboot), is now looking to the biggest little for its latest reality TV inspiration. They're currently seeking male business owners for what is sure to be the thinking guido's answer to Jersey Shore: the soon-to-be-a-pop-culture-phenomenon Rhode Island Boys. According to the casting call, Shine America "has a fascination with Rhode Island's small businesses," and they're looking for male-owned businesses with predominantly male employees — which means our moment in the harsh, unflattering spotlight of reality TV will have to wait. However, we promise the fine folks at Shine America that if they'll reconsider maybe doing Rhode Island Boys and Girls, we'll deliver all the cussing, petty infighting, drunken tantrums, on-camera meltdowns and delusions of self-importance they could ever possibly hope for. In the meantime, if you think your business fits the bill, contact LDI Casting for more details.   More

We Were There: Pure Fabulocity

Yes, Fabulocity is the name of a local high-end consignment store chock-full of super stylish finds, but it's also a word I'd use to describe the way I felt while purchasing an Oscar De La Renta jacket for just $60. We enjoyed letting owner (and talented jewelry designer) Lisa Baillargeon pick out the perfect pieces for us, as well as giving us some great styling tips on how to rock that hot vintage frock. A shop owner and stylist in one? I'm hopping on that train to cute town, for sure.

From Hale Bob peacock pattern shawls (fellow PM staffer Erin was all over the pink one) to sexy Halston dresses, we found great pieces that would work for both the employee lounge and the cocktail lounge. Be sure to bring your favorite bottle of wine to your own personal shopping session: the vintage Louis Vuitton bags and Trina Turk dresses seem to call your name louder with each sip. Call Lisa at 231-5900 to set up your appointment.   More

An Hour in the Life... of Juan Deuce

Who: Rich Abbruzzese (aka Juan Deuce)

What: Rhyme slayer and controller of the mic

When: 9:20pm, Tuesday, April 24

Where: The Met, 1007 Main Street, Pawtucket

Why: He lives at 1 Happy Place… in his mind, at least.''

When Juan Deuce opened up for GZA at Firehouse 13 on March 24, a crowd of fired-up fans waved cardboard caricature masks of his likeness in the air. With his flat-brimmed black hat, thick eyebrows and wide smile, the masks were unmistakably him. “The masks at the last show went over really well,” he says, sipping a bottled water and watching the room fill. It’s an hour to show time.

Juan Deuce, left, stands with DJ Emoh Betta

Tonight the MC is opening for Schoolboy Q. As he waits, various people come up to give a handshake and a well-wish. He’s appreciative of the support. “The fan base is very loyal and growing by the day,” he says. “I’m doing what I aspired to do, only on a smaller scale. The more I continue to work hard, the larger the scale will become.” He smiles. “The goal is to become the Dos Equis Man.”

He’s taller than he appears to be in his videos and up on stage. And with his hood pulled up and strapped with a black backpack full of essentials – such as EPs and white towels – he appears younger, too. I ask about the origins of his stage name. “[It's] a street name that Redman would shout out on his albums,” he says. “I flipped it a little bit.” Indeed, he’s created his own unique persona.

Juan Deuce doesn’t drink or smoke prior to a performance. He’s someone who takes his craft seriously, which can be a rarity in the ego-driven world of artists who let the game get the best of them. The minutes tick by; finally, it’s showtime. He’s joined on stage by Falside, a local producer and beatsmith, and DJ Emoh Betta, who’s been manipulating vinyl since 1998.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by attending hundreds of shows over the years, it’s that hip-hop fans can …   More

We Were There: United Way Young Leaders Circle at the Gamm Theatre

This morning at 8am sharp I walked into lobby of the Gamm Theatre to find an interesting mix of people chatting, smiling, drinking coffee and eating breakfast pastries. I pushed them all out of my way and ran straight for the coffee urn. After a bit of networking and socializing, we moved into the theatre where we filled the seats in preparation for a panel discussion, for which the topic was “Being Creative and Thinking Outside the Box.”

The panel consisted of Tony Estrella (Artistic Director of the Gamm), Jason Yoon (Executive Director of New Urban Arts) and Bronwyn Dannenfelser (Director of Development for WaterFire). The discussion was facilitated by Mary-Kim Arnold, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. There was so much brain power up on that stage that I sat in the second row to avoid injury in case the set exploded.

Art is a vital part of creating a healthy neighborhood in which people will want to live, but Bronwyn spoke the truth: “We need boots on the ground.” Volunteer at a Waterfire; catch 1984 at the Gamm; donate supplies to after-school arts programs that are helping our teens get prepared for college. The ever-articulate Tony borrowed from an Oppenheim poem — “Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses!”

United Way of Rhode Island’s Young Leaders Circle (YLC) invites all forward-thinking individuals to learn from and connect with government, business and nonprofit leaders. Recent guest speakers include Mayor Angel Taveras and PC Friars coach Ed Cooley. Discussion topics range in discipline and have tackled such subject matter as “Five Rules for Achieving Greater Work-Life Balance” and “Empowering Others to Lead.”

To learn more about upcoming YLC events, check out their website.   More

Shape Up on the Boulevard

This Sunday, after you've given most of your Saturday over to margaritas and mint juleps, make up for it by getting out on the Boulevard to promote healthy lifestyles. Shape Up RI and the India Association of RI are hosting their annual 5k walk/run on Blackstone Boulevard on May 6 at 1pm. The event goes off rain or shine, so gather at Lippitt Park, where Blackstone meets Hope Street, to register. The first 100 people to do so will receive free Shape Up RI pedometers. There will also be fresh fruit, healthy snacks and, of course, plenty of water. Check Shape Up RI's website for more info.   More

We Were There: Riverzedge Arts Project

Woonsock-it-to-me, RiverzEdge Arts Project! I had the pleasure of receiving a guided tour of the Woonsocket-based nonprofit's studio, which is bustling with creative, happy energy. The RiverzEdge Arts Project is is a social enterprise that provides talented, underserved teens with hands-on work experience in graphic design, digital photography, screen-printing and visual arts. They are doing good things for the community and creating compelling artwork in the process — no wonder why everyone at the studio is in a good mood. I got the chance to watch the artists screen-printing on installation pieces involving the history of the Blackstone Valley, as well as watching the process of t-shirts being screen-printed by hand. And for somebody who collects t-shirts with ferocious great white sharks on them, I was beyond pleased to find out that they do custom orders.   More

All Hail the Queen

Reality television is so much better when you have someone local to root for. You've seen Sabrina Blaze's sequined fabulousness downtown at the Dark Lady (where she hosts Tuesday night karaoke) and performing in her one-woman cabaret act at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck (which is returning this summer for another season). Now you'll be able to see her on RuPaul's Drag Race — that is, if you vote her on the show. One vote per person per day. Let's show her some PVD love. Click here to vote.   More

We Were There: PVD Lady Project

As any successful businessperson will tell you, networking will get you everywhere. PVD Lady Project founders Julie Sygiel (of lingerie company Sexy Period), Folu Akinkuotu and Sierra Barter (of event design company Clementine Lime) envisioned an “old boy’s club” for women, where the city’s driven divas could come together to share ideas and connect with like-minded ladies over a glass of champagne.

Boutique owner and fashion designer Karen Beebe

The project’s second event took place on April 26 at Bravo Brasserie and featured three-minute talks by three amazing women, followed by a Q&A session. First up was the ever-stylish Karen Beebe, fashion designer and owner of Downcity’s Queen of Hearts and Modern Love. Next in line was Martha Sheridan, who – in addition to knowing how to rock a “fierce” polka-dotted blazer – is the president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. Last, but not least, was Hannah Mellion, food system activator at Farm Fresh RI.

Karen Beebe and Hannah Mellion

The take-away message was clear: work hard, earn your stripes, make good connections and never burn your bridges. The evening was capped off by a musical performance by the Sugar Honey Iced Tea. All ticket proceeds were donated to the Sojourner House.   More

We Were There: Cocktails and Cupcakes

If you haven’t heard of her, you soon will. One of the hottest photographers on the scene is Corey Grayhorse, who in addition to shooting for us, captures not so everyday people in studio and on location, in her signature fantastical style. Last night she hosted Cocktails and Cupcakes, an event in which Grayhorse aficionados could enjoy being painted by makeup artists Jessica Berndt and Kate Richard, styled by Lizzy Colley and photographed by Ms. Grayhorse herself. The makeup was wild, the jewelry was large… The Cupcakerie’s cupcakes were delish. And yes, the cocktails were flowing freely.   More

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