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Family Fun

Lippitt Mansion Plans a Vampire Spooktacular

The historic Governor Henry Lippitt Mansion at the corner Hope and Angell Streets will hold its fourth annual Vampire Spooktacular this month. Everyone is invited to dress up in costumes and enjoy food, drink and special Halloween Vampire performances that kids of all ages can, uh, sink their teeth into. The event will be held on October 25 from 8-11pm. The Lippitt Mansion seems like the perfect haunt for this kind of event, so enjoy. For specifics, visit their website.

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East of Elmgrove

Play Ball

I went to a lot of ballparks over the summer. We took a trip to the Midwest to visit family and decided to squeeze in as many games in the Bigs as we could along the way. Our seats were pretty good, especially the ones at Camden Yards in Baltimore, where the Sox played the Orioles. It was a thrill to see David Ortiz hit a homer. I stood up and yelped in a very undignified way. It was boiling hot, so I turned the sleeves of my black T-shirt into a tank top. A lot of other people did the same thing; it’s dress-down day every day in a ballpark.

Baseball came to me late in life. I played softball in middle school and then there was a big gap until I went to a Red Sox game at Fenway when I was in my 30s. My companions were three friends, all guys familiar with the sport. They knew what a walk-off home run was; I did not. I was bored and couldn’t wait for the game to end. The only thing I remember is that one of the guys was a vegetarian who called his body a temple. He was eating a bag of greasy chips. I thought, “Why is a vegetarian eating a bag of greasy chips?’’

Fast forward many years and I am married with two boys who know the difference between a change-up and a knuckle ball and can even throw the pitches with some authority. In no time, baseball gear has become as common in our house as Legos and toy fire trucks. Little league, fall ball and AAU dominate our evenings and weekends. Our one television is tuned to MLB games and the chatter of sportscasters 24/7. I am learning something about the game; I am learning to love it.

My husband arranged our trip. He reserved the airline tickets, booked the hotel rooms and, with my older son, Peder, bought the baseball tickets. This is something they like to do together. You can see what a ballpark looks like online now, so it’s easy to pick out seats. It always takes the two of them a long time to decide, sometimes days. The father-son bonding is at its peak. I don’t get involved, although I do get …   More

Food News

Autumn Brings New Chills

With the warm weather of summer now fading into October’s sweater weather, the East Side sees the appearance of two new ice cream shops. Over on Thayer, in the corner store once occupied by Symposium Books, is the East Side’s relocated Ben & Jerry’s (224 Thayer). At the time of writing, the store expects to open on October 1, though hints at a possible later opening on October 15.

A few streets away, on Wickenden, Sweet Berry Frozen Yogurt joins the growing number of ice cream/gelato shops now stationed on the small street. Located next to Amy’s Cafe and across from Coffee Exchange, this little shop is sure to see a ton of foot traffic directed its way, even with the winter nip nestling comfortably into the air.

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The How-to's of Consignment

So, you’ve got stuff to consign? You’ve got options. While some shops buy entirely from private collectors, estate sales or wholesalers (Hall’s on Broadway is one of these shops, as is Foreign Affair), others buy resale outright or offer consignment routes.

At hope returns, customers can come into the store with their items, fill out paperwork and leave the merchandise for one week. After that week, the customer returns and is given a percentage of the resale value. Any items that were not bought within the seven days are returned to the consignor or are donated in-store to the Rhode Island Foster Parent’s Association.

Ana-Lia’s offers a 90-day consignment cycle (which then can be rolled over to one more 90-day cycle), after which items are returned to the consignor or donated to a local charity. Ana-Lia’s and the consignor split the proceeds.

At Blackbird’s, make an appointment before bringing in your gently loved items (they are usually booked three weeks out). The merchandise will stay in-store for 60 days, taking gradual markdowns, and remaining items are returned to the consignor.

Glitz offers a no-appointment-necessary consignment method. Simply bring your merchandise into the store and give it a second chance.

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Charity

A Rhode Island Non-Profit That's Music to Our Ears

The Victoria Alviti Music Foundation is on a mission to keep music alive in schools across the nation. Sharon Alviti started the Rhode Island-based nonprofit in memory of her daughter Victoria. Victoria had a passion for music, which she shared as a professional DJ, booking performances around the world. At 22, Victoria was involved in a tragic car accident in Malibu. Before she passed she shared with her mother her dream to start an oranization that kept music in schools.

Today, her mother and their foundation are doing just that. The foundation offers a 12-week program to participating schools. All students receive a recorder, a lesson book and basic music literacy instruction. Additionally, participating music teachers receive professional development. The students spend those 12 weeks learning music provided specifically for them by Carnegie Hall. All of their hard work culminates in a grand concert in which students get to play side by side with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.

In its short existence, the foundation has had great success with the program, reaching 7,000 students last year and 10,000 this year. Sharon hopes to reach 14,000 next year and the sky’s the limit from there. It cost about $18 per student for the program. The foundation relies heavily on local donations and fundraising events to cover these costs.

Want to help the cause? Attend their 3rd Annual Jazz on the Green fundraiser at Alpine Country Club on September 22. The event includes a Tuscan buffet, raffle prizes and a silent auction. Guests will also enjoy live performances by Mike Renzi and friends. September 22 at 3:30pm. Alpine Country Club, 251 Pippin Orchard Rd., Cranston. $40. For more information email the organization.   More

Food

Gourmet Ramen: Not an Oxymoron

College students understand the limitless possibilities of store-bought, just-add-water ramen. You can cook it as directed, eat it dry with peanut butter (a personal favorite) or even add veggies to create an illusion of nutritional benefits. But if you’re running out of ideas on how to prepare the noodles, or simply want to eat ramen the way it’s supposed to taste, Ken’s Ramen (51 Washington St, Unit D) welcomes you to enjoy their professionally crafted ramen dishes. Their paitan (whole chicken broth) is “simmered for over 30 hours for maximum richness and savoriness” - something no salt packet could ever recreate – and combined with “customized thin hakata ramen noodles.” Call for hours of operation.

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Events

A Hilarious Night at AS220

While cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago continue basking in their comedy glory, Providence maintains an uneasy state of comedy caught somewhere between floundering and underappreciated. But with the help of AS220, local comedian Randy Bush seeks to push PVD into the national spotlight, by creating a monthly comedy series known as Lulz!

“I was asked by AS220 to do [a comedy series] because I performed at Foo Fest last year and there was much success with the little 40-minute set I curated,” says Bush. In addition to performing at Foo Fest, Bush’s relationship with AS220 extends to “opening for bands, doing storytelling nights and variety shows.” Quite simply, Bush brings the comedy while AS220 brings the opportunity, and together they form an entertainment powerhouse ready to raise PVD’s comedic standards.

“I hope to achieve a true alternative comedy scene here in Providence,” says Bush, arguing that the city pales in comparison to the aforementioned big three (LA, NYC, Chicago). “Also I love the whole legacy that comedians like Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Louis CK and (even) Sarah Silverman have given us. Providence is interesting enough to also have [an alternative] scene but no one is really doing it. That’s where I hope to change that.”

Currently the monthly series features local comedians coming from Providence and Boston, so as to showcase the talent tied to the region. With time, though, Bush seeks to expand the bubble to include “more people from all over the country,” even some “internet famous comedians as well.” Bush jokingly adds, “Because I’m hosting, and I’m obsessed with internet and nerd culture, there will be lots of that.”

True to his alternative focus, though, Bush, an openly gay comedian, wants to tilt the monthly series away from the mainstream comedy tendency to be “so ‘bro’ heavy,” …   More

Fashion Event

A Vogue Night in Providence

If you’re a fashionista, get ready to explore new styles. Tziporah Salamon, a New York fashion icon, will be making her way to the RISD auditorium on October 3 (7-9pm) for a special presentation full of fashion-fun . Hosted by Wayland Square’s Clad in boutique, Ms. Salamon’s “The Fabric of My Life: A Sartorial Autobiography” will touch upon her life history and reveal stories of all kinds. You will learn about her birth to Holocaust survivors, and even about current successes like her appearance in Australian Vogue. What’s unique is that every story will be expressed through style and wardrobe, where Tziporah will be using her extraordinary, vintage pieces to inspire her audience. If the presentation isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger for all things vogue, you can visit Clad in boutique the following afternoon (1-3pm) to get up close and personal with Tziporah. Here she will show attendees the steps in making an unforgettable, self-expressing outfit that will surely turn heads. And to top it off, you can enter to win your own studio portrait and a $200 Clad in gift card if you show up in your inspired attire. $25 event donation optional. RISD: 7 Canal Walk, Providence River Greenway, Providence. Clad in boutique: 32 Friendship St., Westerly.   More

Events

A New Way to Apartment Shop Downtown

This September will be the official mark the onslaught of autumn; with leaves and student bodies falling back to Providence. With these new changes, prospective Providence residents in the form of opportunistic professionals and those emigrating from nearby states on business ventures follow. In the wake of these droves, the Downtown Providence Living Tour offers those eager to join the mini-metropolis we love so dearly a tour of available luxury apartments, condos and microlofts in just one day's time. On September 21st, from 11am to 5pm, the tour will bring patrons by the 903, Arcade Providence, AS220, Avalon at Center Place, Regency Plaza, The Promenade, Providence G, The Residences, Waterplace and Westminister Lofts while stopping by shops boutiques and everything in between! The path may be traveled by complimentary shuttle service, bike or foot and guests are encouraged to go by their own pace in order to get the most authentic experience of what it means to embrace downtown living. All guests must visit AS220 at 115 Empire St. in order to register before they can begin the tour. Purchase your ticket in advance online.   More

Food

A Food Truck on a Mission

If you can’t get to the food, than the food will come to you. While this is the mentality of most food trucks, it is the spirit of giving that will separate Food4Good’s food truck apart. The plan is simple really. Besides just providing a delicious array of options like flavored wings to the people of Providence, this food truck will really be a cover for an even cleverer model – a mobile soup kitchen. For every $5 spent from the food truck, Food4Good can provide two meals for those in need. According to Food4Good, “nearly 14% of Rhode Islanders have cut meal sizes, skipped meals or run out of food.” Food4Good food truck can translate one quick bite into a meal for those with a little less change to spare, making it quite a worthy cause. Conducting a fundraiser on the site Food Start, this non-profit organization is open to donations until November 1, and is already gaining momentum. To support this endeavor, visit their website.

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Food

One Last Bite of Summer

The eternal rivalry between the macaroon and macaron hit the streets of Providence last month, as Ellie’s Bakery rolled out its Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Food Cart. Although the buttercream-filled delight of a macaron needs no more reasons to outshine its extra-O pastry cousin, Ellie’s somehow managed to improve the treat by turning it into an ice cream sandwich.

“Flavors change seasonally,” says Melissa Denmark, pastry chef for Ellie’s, “and some of the ones we’ve showcased are espresso, pistachio, chocolate and cherry, and even a lemon basil.” While lemon basil-flavored ice cream may seem adventurous, Denmark assures the “dried basil is incorporated into the cookie, so the cookie is basil and the ice cream is lemon.”

Anyone interested in showing their support for Team Macaron can find the new food cart outside Ellie’s or driving around downtown while the nice weather holds out from 12-5pm, Monday to Saturday, or at Thursday’s Movies on the Block from 8-10pm. Small ice cream sandwiches go for $2 while the extra large are $6. It might be September, but you can still savor one last, gourmet bite of summer. 61 Washington Street. 228-8118. 

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Malcontent

Finding the Right Spot

I can always tell when the person I’m making plans to meet Downtown doesn't live in Providence, and probably doesn’t spend much time here. The telltale question of a non-city person is this: “Where should I park?”

Not only does this tell me that the person is unfamiliar with the geography of our rendezvous point, and therefore any parking options in the vicinity, but it also betrays a lack of understanding of how parking in a city works. Does this person think I can direct them to a specific spot? Do they think that I have a selection of parking spots on reserve? Are they under the impression that I can predict which spaces will be available at any given point in the day? If you’ve ever tried to park... well, really anywhere ever, then you should recognize that the question “Where should I park?” is fairly open-ended and difficult to answer. On the street. Wherever you can find a spot. Look for a place where there isn’t already a car – park there. Those are really the only answers I can come up with for that question.

I say this not to mock those who are inexperienced with navigating our city streets, but rather to dispel a common misconception about Providence: namely, that it has a parking problem. Providence doesn’t really have a parking problem – or at least not the one you think. (More on that later.)

The “parking problem,” as people often gripe, is that it is difficult – nigh, impossible – to find a place to park Downtown. In fact, it’s what prevents people from coming Downtown more often – or so the common wisdom goes.

Downtown Providence encompasses an area of 0.51 square miles. Within that, there are 1,500 on-street spaces, and an additional 15,000 in lots and garages. That’s roughly one parking spot per every 917 square feet. Now granted, if you’re averse to walking almost 2/10 of a mile from your car to your destination, that might pose a predicament, but for most of the rest of us blessed with two …   More

Events

The Block Party of the Season

Even though Labor Day is over, it’s still technically summer – so why not squeeze in one last bash to close out the season? Narragansett Beer’s Neighbor Day Block Party returns to the West Side for a day of music, food, cool shopping, great prizes and, of course, beer. Local restaurants and food trucks like Julians and Championship Melt will be providing the food, while bands like Atlantic Thrills and Torn Shorts take the stage. Plus, the Rock N Roll Yard Sale will be peddling its wares. All proceeds benefit the WBNA, so be sure to stop by, neighbor, and have a ‘Gansett. Sept 7. Free. Noon-6pm. Luongo Square. 

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Theater

Freedom Theater Comes to Brown University

Freedom Theatre is an independent cultural center in a Palestinian refugee camp, currently touring four US states to perform a powerful play. The theater will present The Island, a play set in a South African prison during Apartheid, at Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Arts. It’s a tale of two prisoners sharing a cell, engaging in hard labor during the day and rehearsing for a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone at night It is based on a true story. Sept. 11 at 7pm. 154 Angell St. 

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Charity

Learn About Sustainability at this Delicious Event

The Southside Community Land Trust manages a wide range of urban agricultural programs from beekeeping classes to a profitable city farm. It’s mission is to encourage a community that grows its own healthy food. At the annual Harvesting Hope Fundraiser local chefs and gardeners whip up a delicious meal to be served on the grounds of the Steel Yard. They say sustainability is key to our future; come taste and learn why that is. Sept. 25 from 6-8pm. The Steel Yard, 27 Sims Avenue.

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Running Event

The Rock and Roll Half Marathon Comes to Providence

Run, run as fast as you can; the Rock and Roll Half Marathon is about to take over the streets of downtown once again. Choose from a half marathon, a two-person relay or a mini marathon (also known as a 5k). Atlas Genius is set to headline the race, taking the stage for a post-race concert. Runners can also cool off with a well-deserved brew at the beer garden. Registration fees range from $40 for the mini to $105 for the half to $125 for the relay. Sept. 29 at 7am. Beginning at Gaspee Street and ending at Francis Street.

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Directory of Local Consignment Shops

A Bee’s Buzz: A marketplace of creative goods all under one roof, A Bee’s Buzz offers crafts and antiques of all kinds. With a diverse group of vendors, you are sure to find gifts and décor for all occasions. 114 Danielson Pike, Foster. 647-4483.

Alfred’s Consignments: As a local consigner with two locations, Alfred’s sells antiques of all sorts – art, furniture, dishes and the like – but makes sure they are in pristine condition. Here you won’t have to wipe off dust to look at detail. 331 Hope Street, Bristol. 253-3465; 18 Maple Road, Warren. 245-3101.

Circa Vintage Wear: Carrying racks of vintage clothing and reminiscent jewelry dating back to the 1900s, Circa offers items for sale or rent for all occasions. Whether you are looking for a costume or an addition to your wardrobe, Circa offers you (and even their celebrity clients) items that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. 73 Cove Street, New Bedford, MA. 508-997-9390. 

Into The Wardrobe: In business for a decade, this consignment shop isn’t your typical resale store. Not only does this fashionable boutique hold local items from Rhode Island, but with its wide span of connections, it is constantly shelving items from around the country. 17 Brook Street. 427-1147.

NAVA: An acronym for “new and vintage apparel,” NAVA offers just that. Whether you are interested in old-fashioned goods or you prefer a more modernized style, this location has items that are both fashionable and affordable. 281 Thayer Street. 453-6282.

Rhode Island Antiques Mall: No matter what you’re looking for, this antique-focused mall likely has it. With over 20,000 square feet of mini-shops holding items from 200 dealers, expect to find a variety of antique items from art to home décor. 345 Fountain Street, Pawtucket. 475-3400.

Rocket to Mars: This vintage boutique carries unique antiques of all kinds, dating from the roaring ‘20s to the disco-themed ‘70s. Here you will find a variety of …   More

Food

New Sweet Treats on Wickenden

Some may decry this unfounded, but whatever the opinion may be, in my house, ice cream and gelato are year-round celebratory desserts. With the opening of Dolce Gelateria (270 Wickenden St.) in early May, city-dwellers can now enjoy some homemade ice cream and gelato all year long, with flavors like sea salt caramel cannoli gelato and ice cream favor- ite, death by chocolate. Here’s a little tip: log on to Twitter and check out their page (@Dolce_Gelateria). You might just catch a rainy day deal of ice cream/gelato freebies or a discounted day pass for students and military members. What’s more exciting than the words “free” and “gelato” in the same sentence? Open Mon-Thurs 12- 10pm; Fri-Sat 12-11pm.   More

Music

Glamour Magazine Hits the Local Music Scene

Fancy a soirée with live music and a dash of glamour? FUZE Iced Tea and Glamour Magazine have teamed up with style blogger Melanie Patterson of RadicalDarling.com to host a special one-night event: Glamour Live Providence! (All devout Glamour Magazine readers are encouraged, nay, ordered to attend!) But this event is not just for those fashionistas who worship style tips and love a good excuse to get dressed up for a party (guilty as charged). If you love local music and free food as much as I do, then this event will definitely satisfy your cravings – gastrointestinal or otherwise. Local band Dylan Sevey and the Gentlemen will be performing alongside DJ Abby Duran. While you're jamming out, be sure to enjoy some complimentary LA style Mexican cuisine from  Mijos Taco Truck. If that's not cool enough, the event is free! But, before you take a trip down to The Spot Underground make sure you RSVP to glamourliveRI@condenast.com. Join me this Wednesday, August 14th from 7-9pm and be sure to indugle in whatever (this is an 18+ event.) See you there!   More

Community News

Hope Street Businesses Make it Through Construction

Now that the paving of the street is completed, Hope Street merchants and their neighbors are finally regaining full use of their turf. So the obvious question is how did the most recent three-plus month dislocation impact businesses on the street? The answer was more positive than we expected.

Lynn Williams, owner of the popular Seven Stars Bakery, is perhaps the best place to start. “I just ran my figures over the period, and I guess I’d say I’m off about 10% over the period,” she reports. “But that said, the street work had to be done and I see it as part of my civic responsibility, though I’m certainly glad it’s over.” She also echoes what seems to be an almost unanimous sentiment among the merchants in praise of the professionalism of the Narragansett Bay Commission. “There were problems of course, but no surprises. They communicated well with us.”

Asher Schofield of Frog and Toad, and president of the Hope Street Merchant’s Association, confirmed this assessment of the NBC. “They got ahead of the process and met with us to ensure a minimum amount of confusion. They certainly sought our input on the wording and the positioning of signs along the street. It was quite different than when National Grid just appeared on our streets ready to start digging during our important holiday season without so much as a warning. I’d give them an F minus.

But meanwhile, our group saw this project as an opportunity to improve our neighborhood. We hired a designer to sketch out some possible changes that could be implemented before the NBC left the street, and they were certainly receptive to many of our suggestions. The improvements ended up not costing the taxpayers anything and were implemented without stress to the city.”

In terms of business, Frog and Toad actually did just fine during the roadwork. “If this project were in a totally car dependent location like Seekonk it …   More

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