Another opening that has previously gone unheralded in these pages is Providence Coal Fired Pizza, which arrived downtown earlier this summer. Its custom built oven is fired with Pennsylvania coal, making it unique among other pizzerias in this state. The result is a crust with that perfect balance of crispy outside and chewy inside, and the menu offers a variety of simple, but well-chosen options. There are the classics like Margherita and Tomato and Mozzarella, and fancier choices like the Clam (rosemary, pancetta, clams, fingerling potatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano) and the Conrad (roasted onion and peppers, sausage, rosemary, mozzarella and Pecorino). The Baby Bella, topped with oyster mushrooms, truffle oil, mozzarella and ricotta, is a textural marvel, with the gooey melted cheese playing off the meatiness of the mushrooms and the crispy crust underneath. The oven is also put to good use on starters like the Coal Fired Wings with sea salt, rosemary and roasted onions. The spacious, comfortable restaurant also has a full bar and is open seven nights a week, as well as lunch on weekdays. It’s a welcome addition to downtown.
One of our former "10 to Watch" honorees and a former "Most Eligible Singles" cover girl respectively, performers Kristen Minsky and Miss Wensday are heading out on tour. Their adventures in vintage jazz will take them from Providence, through Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, DC, North Carolina and back home, picking up cleverly stashed-away members of their band, The Cotillions, along the way. Of course, with the price of gas these days, it can be tough for a gal to make a living. That's why they've started a Kickstarter campaign to get their show on the road. In exchange for a little travel budget, they're offering everything from autographed prints to show tickets to command performances. We love to see PVD performers going out to conquer the world (or at least the mid-Atlantic), so check them out before the deadline on August 31.
We need a few amateur photographers to be our eyes on the street looking for style. Snap an Instagram shot of a fashionable person, clothing item, shoe, accessory, scene, etc. and post it to our Facebook wall. Some of our favorites will wind up on the cover of our September "Street Style" issue. And our absolute favorite will win a profile in our monthly style column, "The Look."
Writers are an odd lot. They choose to spend their time in solitary pursuit, forever erasing and deleting, cursing themselves at regular intervals. Blame it on writer’s block or lack of talent, but occasionally a writer just gets... stuck. If you can relate (who can’t?), you’ll be relieved to learn of Frequency Providence, a community of writers who band together to help each other grow creatively.
The arts group offers a range of writing workshops, volunteer assignments (such as editing non-fiction publications) and events so that participants can network, engage and learn. If you’ve been shy to share your writing thus far, now’s the time – get feedback from your peers or from the instructors, all of whom have many years of experience under their belts. It’s a supportive environment that can only help your creativity flourish.
Recently, I was taking a class up in Boston that required me to spend a bit of time every Monday night in the North End. What struck me every time was not so much the wealth of great Italian food available on Hanover Street – surely Providence can give Boston a run for its money in that department, at least on quality, if not quantity – but rather how busy the streets and businesses are. On a Monday night. Sadly, there isn’t anywhere in our fair city that can boast that kind of volume that early in the week – and that was just one of many busy streets in Boston.
That contrast got me to thinking about Providence’s density problem. Simply put, there just aren’t enough people in this city. We now live in the third largest city in New England, with just about 178,000 people in Providence proper, where not too long ago we were second only to Boston. Now Worcester has a higher population. While some of you may be thinking, That’s exactly why I live in Providence: because it’s not overcrowded, I would counter that cities are supposed to be crowded. If you want room to breathe and stretch out, move to the suburbs. Cities thrive on a bustling, dense ecosystem of businesses, commercial thoroughfares, residents, visitors and workers that is surprisingly delicate. The very things that make cities such interesting, exciting places to be – whether theaters, restaurants, the arts, festivals, parks – can’t survive without enough people around to patronize them. And as with any other business, the rates of return and response are pretty low: if you want to get 10,000 people to attend a festival, you need to be drawing from a population of several hundred thousand. With developers and city leaders clamoring for more housing Downtown, stocks of unsold condos around the city, and the increasing number of boarded up houses on the West End and South Side, the city could easily support a population of 225,000, …
Get your om on outside for a great cause. Body Kneads Yoga in Cranston is offering free Yoga on the square classes each Sunday in August from 4-5pm at the Gazebo in Garden City. There is no cost to participate, though donations to Big Sisters of RI are welcomed. All attendees who donate will receive a goodie bag from the series sponsor, Whole Foods Market. No pre-registration necessary; just drop by with your mat.
Keep your summer workout mojo going throughout August – it’s still bikini season, after all. Each Thursday morning in August at 7am, work out with Josh Bird of CrossFit Providence, who will be leading a complimentary CrossFit-inspired Boot Camp class. The class will meet at the Lululemon Athletica’s Wayland Square showroom, at 145 Wayland Avenue in Providence. Participants will then run to Brown Street Park to get the workout started. This free community class is a great way to try something new or to supplement an already intense workout schedule.
August 15 would have been culinary legend Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and in honor of that centenary her longtime publisher Alfred A. Knopf has organized Julia Child Restaurant Week.
From August 7-15, 100 restaurants around the country will participate by with special menus inspired by the woman who taught so many Americans how to cook. Among those 100 is our own Al Forno; proprietors George Germon and Johanne Killeen were personal friends of Child, and contributed recipes to two of her cookbooks. The a la carte menu will include two starters, two entrees, two desserts and a cocktail. Highlights include George’s Silky Peppers with Burrata, Osso Bucco with Orange and Lemon, and a Triple Citrus Tart.
Check out jc100.tumblr.com for info on the 100th birthday festivities.
While making an effort to keep cool this summer, you can support a good cause too. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is a charity committed to finding a cure as well as making a difference for children with cancer everywhere. The foundation also funds nursing grants in an effort to improve the quality of life and care of children who are living with cancer.
Old Navy in the Providence Place Mall will be hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand next week, starting this Saturday July 21st until next Saturday July 28th. During regular mall hours you can stop in to Old Navy, located off of Francis Street, and grab a refreshing cup of lemonade from Alex's stand. Good lemonade for a good cause, why not?
Who: Joseph Skorupa
What: Artist & Founder of Owls to Athens
When: 1pm, Friday June 22
Where: His studio, Harris Ave, Providence
Why: The man is a modern day visionary
It’s a smoldering hot day in June, and I’m following Joe down a familiar hallway. I’d taken the same path through that same mill building hall back in December, when I’d come to talk with another Joe — Pretty Snake designer Joseph Aaron Segal. It was much colder then. “I just finished putting the air conditioner in a few minutes ago,” he says, looking back at me. Thank the Lord, I think.
Supporting himself entirely through his art, Joe is heavily involved with helping to grow the network of creative minds here in Providence. “My main priorities are to provide opportunities for emerging artists so that they won’t have to move elsewhere to make a living, and to establish a tight knit arts community in the city,” he says with a modest smile. “We need a pack of wolves around here.”
Easily, he’s leading the pack: Joe founded Owls to Athens with his friend Michael Spillane so that street and contemporary artists can share ideas and help each other grow. On May 17, Owls to Athens held a group art exhibition titled Spring Night Riot at E&O Tap. Art was hung, a DJ spun tunes, friends grilled food out back. It’s casual events such as this that make art accessible to those who may not normally seek out more formal gallery experiences. Joe gets it.
“Owls to Athens comes from an old expression used to denote a useless action – carrying owls to Athens. It’s a reminder to not take yourself too seriously,” Joe explains. “Obviously, I’m extremely passionate about what I do, but still you can’t take yourself too seriously – especially in the art world.” I glance again at his collection of work strewn about the studio; indeed his passion is …