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Buying Small Becomes Big

Surely you’ve heard that there’s a new kind of flash mob in town—one that you don’t need hand-eye coordination for. Cash mobs, simply put, mob local stores with cash. Participants gather together at an announced location and collectively go to a small, independently owned business (that is unknown to the group or the business until it’s time to head there) and spend $20 each, all at the same time, on the same day. While $20 may not seem significant on its own, when you have a group from 20 to upwards of 50, it could make an instantaneous impact on that shop’s sales (while certainly brightening their day).

Cash mobs have sprouted up worldwide since the first of its kind last August and Rhode Island has excitedly jumped on board this year, already having hosted two. The first, organized by Wakefield’s Waves of Creation owner, Laura Winward, mobbed Jennifer’s Chocolates (with 50 people) and the second, organized by non-profit organization Let’s Buy Local (Central RI) founders Dr. Tim Hudyncia and Lea Kneply, mobbed Warwick’s Anything Goes (with 30 people). “I read an article from the Wall Street Journal about cash mobs and immediately thought, ‘Why aren’t these happening everywhere, every day?’” Laura told me. “I thought it was a great way to remind people that it is up to each and every one of us to keep our local, independent businesses alive.”

Laura goes on to say that the underlying goal of cash mobs is to make people rethink their buying habits. She says that people may be unaware of the strong economical ripple effect that buying locally has—75% of the dollar stays in town in the form of taxes, rent, purchases at other local businesses, and donations to local events and charities, which, in turn, keeps things like property taxes from going up and schools from closing. She also mentions that part of the goal is to encourage people to stick around the …   More

Small Mistake, Big Fuss

By now you’ve no doubt heard about the East Side dustup between Councilman Sam Zurier and residents/constituents Dee Dee and Dr. Gary Witman. (Full disclosure: Zurier is a former education columnist for us.) In case you’ve missed it, a quick review of the facts: Dee Dee sought out the assistance of her councilman, freshman Democrat Sam Zurier, to get the sidewalk in front of her home repaired. Her husband Gary, a prominent physician, was rendered quadriplegic in a freak swimming accident and is wheelchair bound, making the damaged sidewalk an impassable obstacle for him. Zurier rallied to have the repairs done, with the expectation that the Witmans would oblige with a campaign contribution. When that contribution never materialized, Zurier sent the couple a letter expressing his disappointment. Later, the whole affair winds up splashed on the front page of the Sunday Projo and a mini-controversy ensues, with Witman eventually going on Buddy Cianci’s radio show to call for the councilman’s resignation. (A bit of a disingenuous move, since, as Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay points out in an excellent editorial, Witman herself is no stranger to the quid pro quo world of Rhode Island political fundraising.)

In short, a rookie councilman made a rookie mistake. In the process, a city service was rendered to a resident who really needed it and no palms wound up being greased to get it. The real shame here isn’t Zurier’s admittedly boneheaded letter, but that this story has managed to find such legs. The time and energy invested in sustaining this tempest in a teacup seems like a waste, particularly when considering the people involved. Zurier is one of the smartest and most thoughtful members of City Council, a Yale grad and a Rhodes Scholar in a political body that has more often been populated with wardheeling hucksters. Witman is a reliable and active supporter of the Democratic Party. The Projo reporters who broke …   More

An Hour in the Life Of... Billy Wood

Who: William “Billy” Wood Jr.

What: Body Piercer Extraordinaire

When: 5pm, Tuesday February 14

Where: Rockstar Body Piercing, Thayer Street, Providence

Why: Because piercing my face on Valentine’s Day just felt right this year

Billy came strolling up to me, cane in hand, smile on face. Although he is often in excruciating pain after badly shattering his foot last year, the average customer – myself included – would never know. Billy is happy, upbeat and professional. (He’s also lucky to have a young woman working the front desk who is happy to babysit his cane while he consults with old ladies like me.)

Did I want a lip ring or a nose ring? I wasn’t sure. After talking pros and cons with Billy, I settled on a small, delicate hoop to be placed in my nose. Mouth piercings can irritate the teeth and gums, and kissing is a no-no during the first few weeks after the procedure. Because of this, I thought it best to not cause further damage to my already receding gum tissue and presently defunct love life. Plus with proper care, noses heal relatively easily, or so I’ve been told. A big part of Billy’s job is helping clients make these types of decisions. And he does it with ease.

Choosing my silver-toned hoop was easy. Rockstar carries only implant grade jewelry. (Most of the so-called “surgical grade” pieces carried by less competent shops can cause major irritation.) As Billy prepared the autoclave sterilizer, I snuck a peek at his ears. The sparkling pink jewels plugging up the bulk of his inner ear cartilage sort of made me cringe. They are massive indeed.

“These are called conch piercings,” he told me, as he transferred some gentian violet from an eyedropper into a small paper cup. (This purple topical dye is what piercers use to mark the spot of needle insertion.) My novice eye would guess the plugs to be one-half-inch in diameter… at the least. …   More

Meet Moby, the ArtMobile

Federal Hill's Gallery Z hits the road tomorrow in its brand new ArtMobile, Moby. The mobile gallery is an effort to bring art to public spaces and neighborhoods where it might not always be accessible. A Christening ceremony will launch the effort Thursday, February 16 at 6pm in the parking lot of Scialo Bros. bakery next door. It marks the occasion of Gallery Z's 111th exhibit in 11 years, and Moby was partially funded by the generosity of 111 Kickstarter campaign donors. Gallery Z Director Berge Zobian promises to use the ArtMobile to bring visual and performance arts, film projections and art installations to places like libraries, schools, college campuses, churches, nursing homes and more. If you miss out on the Christening, keep an eye out for Moby in your neighborhood soon.   More

We Love Libraries

We were proud to support the Providence Community Library through the money raised at our annual 10 to Watch Party. With the help of the community we were able to donate $3000 to neighborhood libraries. Thanks to everyone involved!   More

Representative Steve King Speaks Out

Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa spoke at Thursday's Conservative Political Action Conference and stirred the crowd with his fiery truth telling. Finally, someone had the courage and conviction to speak out against the communist menace of energy efficient lightbulbs. For too long these tiny flickers of anti-Americanism have been allowed to spark throughout our land, lighting the way for pinko commies, secret Muslims, tax-and-spend Democrats, liberal Nazis, vegetarians and other terrorist groups to wash away our God-given liberties using the slow, corrosive trickle of nanny state tyranny from their low-flow showerheards "I want my liberty back," King bravely declared.

According to

King compared the Capitol Hill janitors who replaced the lightbulbs in his office with lower-energy bulbs to the East German communist secret police, describing them as "Nancy [Pelosi]'s Stasi troops," and complained of a water-saving showerhead in his shower.

It's about time someone spoke out on this peril to our liberty. Liberals argue that energy efficient lightbulbs like LED (Light Emitting Diode, or as I like to call it, Liberty Eroding Disaster) and CFL (Compact Flourescent Light, or more accurately, Commie Friggin' Losers) save money over time as compared to traditional incandescent bulbs (the mom, baseball and apple pie of home illumination) and are better for the environment. They've even gone so far as to mandate that incandescents (the same kind our Founding Fathers would have used) be 30% more efficient starting this year. This amounts to nothing less than a full-on War on Liberty, threatening not just our desk lamps, but our entire way of life. We wouldn't stand for it if Hitler said he just needed to conquer 30% of Europe would we? What if Obama bin President dictated that 30% of America be governed by Shariah Law? What if his fascist health care plan called for 30% of our senior citizens to be summarily executed by doctors?

Of course, Nancy …   More

Pink is the New Black

My mom is a breast cancer survivor.

I’ll never forget how I felt after she told my sister and me the news during my junior year of college. It was like our world had been knocked off its feet, because, you know, she was my MOM. She wasn’t supposed to get sick. These things weren’t supposed to happen to her. She needed to be around forever so that she could help me pick out the most perfect wedding dress or gently wrap her arms around my beautiful newborn baby or slap me (hard) after wasting two years of my life watching Jersey Shore.

I needed her. Any inclination of an alternative option simply wasn’t acceptable.

Luckily, she caught the cancer in its earliest stages and was able to treat it accordingly, which put her into remission pretty quickly and into full recovery. I completely realize that she was one of the lucky ones.

It was around that time that I started to pay attention to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Obviously, when your mother has cancer, you worry about the repercussions on your own genetic makeup, as her daughter. You then worry about the genetic makeup of your three daughters—her granddaughters—and where they fall into the defunct equation of flawless genes. You want to know your fate one day and then you want to run as far away as possible from it the next. But whichever path you take, you just want to figure out how to stop it from happening all together. Forever.

So, my family became pink. Well, maybe I became pink. And maybe that’s because while I bought into the united front against breast cancer, I also liked to shop. Let’s face it; at first, buying “pink” was a genius-marketing plan. I’ll admit that I am a marketer’s dream. I stocked up and hoped that every dollar I spent made some sort of impact for the Cure.

My mother didn’t. Throughout the years since her recovery, she felt that the organization was becoming too big. She was skeptical …   More

Being Single in Providence

Last night was our Super Singles Party at Fete, our annual event in celebration of our Most Eligible Bachelors and Bachelorettes issue. We took the opportunity to survey unattached attendees on their experiences of being single in Providence. Here are the results. We've love to have your answers/feedback in the comment section below.

1. I have been single for…

45% One to six months.

35% A year or more.

10% Less than a month.

10% Six months to a year.

2. I am single because…

50% I’m too picky for my own good.

20% I’m not ready for a serious relationship.

15% I LOVE being single!

15% I have no idea. Being single sucks!

3. The best way to meet singles in Providence is…

40% Social events (parties, fundraisers, etc.).

40% It seems impossible here.

15% Going to bars (get em while they’re drunk)!

5% Online dating.

4. Sum up the PVD dating scene in one word…

50% Incestual

35% Mediocre

10% Non-existant

5% Ripe for the picking! (Oops, that was four.)

5. What is it like to be single in Providence?

“Both horrible and awesome.” “Too many guys, not enough girls.” “It’s what you make of it.” “It’s a great city to be in and there’s lots to do. I just wish I had someone to do it with.” “It’s better than being single in New Hampshire.”   More

Providence to Host Hot Hockey-on-Hockey Action in 2013

The American Hockey League, the NHL minor league in which the Providence Bruins play, announced today that its All-Star Classic will return to Providence in 2013. This will be the third time the event has been held in Providnece; the first dates all the way back to 1956 at the old Rhode Island Auditorium. The event returned to our city at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in 1995 for the first AHL All-Star Game of the modern era. From January 25-28, the Dunk will host a variety of hot hockey action, kicking off with a P-Bruins home game on Friday, the 25th. The Providence Bruins Youth Hockey Festival will follow on Saturday. The All-Star Skills Competition and Hall of Fame Induction happen on Sunday, and finally, Monday brings the All-Star game itself. The weekend festivities are sure to bring a boost to Downtown in a typically slow month, and the AHL looks "forward to showcasing our brightest stars to capacity crowds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and to an international television audience" -- possibly on "The Ocho"?   More

An Hour In the Life Of... Mike Brousseau

Who: Michael “Mikey B” Brousseau

What: Tattoo artist (self-proclaimed “tattyjammer”)

When: 12pm, Sunday January 8

Where: Federal Hill Tattoo, Atwells Avenue, Providence

Why: He’s a nice guy who’s incredibly talented… and hysterical.

Mike with friend and client, Shoshanah

“The best tattoo I’ve done this week? It’s a toss up,” says Mike, looking up from his light box, pencil in hand. He reaches for a wooden box. “Want to see both?” Of course I do. As he fishes around inside the box – which is chock-full of used transfer paper – I realize the enormity of what I’m seeing. Mike, who has been working at Federal Hill Tattoo for eight years now (and works 50 hours per week), has kept every tattoo sketch he’s ever created. Yes, he’s had to empty that box… several times over.

He hands me a piece of paper. On it is a large cartoon bull, sporting an oversized septum ring and holding a plate of cake in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. The bull sits inside a semi-demolished building, the roof resting atop the animal’s head like a tiny, little hat. A sign that reads “china shop” lies on the ground off to the side. “I drew this one for a chef who everyone refers to as a bull in a china shop,” says Mike with a smile. While some tattoos (such as this one) are fun, others carry a much more somber tone. In fact, his other favorite piece was a tribute he designed for a man whose brother had recently passed away.

Mike resumes what he’d been working on; he’s drawing up a design for his friend Shoshanah who has decided to honor the birth of her only son with a tattoo of his name. While the clothing store owner had a general idea of what she wanted, Mike had to offer quite a bit of guidance. “I like the idea of a bird,” she said, simply. “Okay,” Mike replied, “and where …   More

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