Showing posts from March, 2016

Much ado about logos or, blogs as bully pulpits

There it is. The logo that launched a thousand negative social media comments, and a few positive ones. It's the new design for the state's Tourism and Commerce Corporation. That is, it's meant to do two things: attract tourists and new business.

The tourism video landed many more positive responses, but was pulled from YouTube when it was discovered that one of the scenes was filmed in Iceland. That was cause for further online outrage.

Other than the tagline: "Cooler & Warmer," the biggest cause of agita was that the $5-million dollar project went to an out-of-state firm. The logo itself was designed by Milton Glaser, of "I ♥ NY" fame. Having grown up in New York when the campaign was launched, it was almost second nature for me to call this blog "I {heart} Rhody," adding the brackets to symbolize a hug.

I know everyone's holding their breath, waiting for my opinion, so here goes:

I {heart} Rhody. For so many re…

Makers ~ Steve Mardo ~ Warwick

Artist’s name: Steve Mardo
Shop name:

1. Tell us about your work
I draw quirky illustrations for comics and magazines. I work in traditional ink on paper and then transfer the line art into Photoshop and digitally color the piece from there. I also work in traditional charcoal, acrylic, oil and watercolor if the job calls for it.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
No nothing too cryptic.

In my experience it was quite simple, brand me and my art.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
As a kid I always loved drawing. I originally wanted to be an animator when I was very young. My mom bought me an animation starter set one year and I realized how hard and kind of boring it was. Then a few years later I fell face first into comics. I was infatuate…

Theater ~ Narragansett Valkyrie at CTC ~ Wakefield

Date 3/28/16                            For Immediate Release

WAKEFIELD – The Contemporary Theater Company is known for its diverse offerings – this year features everything from The Fantasticks to Macbeth to a full-length improvised farce. This spring they go very “contemporary” with a new play by playwright-in-residence Andy Hoover, Narragansett Valkyrie.

Narragansett Valkyrie follows the only all-female team in a world-wide video gaming competition through joys and betrayals.

“The setting of a video game competition makes the play definitively modern,” says Production Manager Maggie Cady, “but the themes and questions it’s dealing with are age-old: what are we willing to do for money, power, and prestige? Will we give up friendships, our way of life, our core values?”

The cast includes many local actors and CTC regulars, including Ashley Macamaux, Maggie Papa, Christine Cauchon, Rebecca Magnotta, Charlie Santos, Brendan Kelley, and Riley Cash. The production is directed by Sami Avig…

Events ~ Food, Faith and Fellowship in Colonial New England ~ April 7 ~ Newport

Food, Faith and Fellowship in Colonial New EnglandA “Newport Eats” program with Lori Stokes, Ph.D. on April 7th
Newport, RI – What did breaking bread mean to the Puritan settlers of New England? The Newport Historical Society will host Lori Stokes, Ph.D. for a talk on April 7, 2016 at 5:30pm to answer this question during Food, Faith and Fellowship in Colonial New England as part of the Newport Eats history of food initiative.
The earliest English settlers believed that even the humblest of meals had symbolic meaning and spiritual power. Lori Stokes will explore what food and dining meant to Puritan forebears and offer a better understanding of their definition of community. She will review their practical cooking techniques, some of which persisted in New England for hundreds of years (anyone grow up eating boiled vegetables?), while others persist in new forms—for example, the Puritans were early advocates of eating mindfully. From the spirituality of food to the brass-tacks of cooki…

Events ~ Makers Event ~ June 25, 2016 ~ Cranston

Makers' Event
Park Theater
Rolfe Square
Cranston, Rhode Island

Dining ~ Momo ~ Providence

100 Washington St.
Providence, Rhode Island

It was pouring rain and I had an hour to kill before the theater. I was debating my options when I walked right by Momo. It's open!

I'd seen the shop when it was still under construction, and was looking forward to trying it. Pre-theater was the perfect opportunity.

The inside is clean, minimalist and funky. There was exactly one two-seater table. The owner promises that more are on their way.

But you don't want to sit down while you wait for this street food. The assembly is an art form: artfully arranged and presented like a small bouquet.

My Angus Short Rib crepe (below) was full of crisp, super-fresh vegetables and smoky chipotle.

For research (just research, of course) I had to try one of the dessert crepes. The Chocolate Nut Party is filled with chocolate ice cream, almonds, pistachio, chocolate sauce, whipped yogurt, chocolate custard cream, and chocolates. And those little chocolates? Bliss.

This is our new place for…

Artists ~ Elaine Duchame ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Elaine Duchame
Shop name: dorothy barker design

1. Tell us about your work
I have a card line that that covers all occasions but focuses on cards to send people going through cancer treatment and thank you cards for those being treated to send to their supporters, loved ones and teams.

My work is whimsical, positive, colorful and happy. As well working on my cards, I draw, paint, hook rugs, paint floor cloths and do commissioned portraits of people and animals.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
I have a Scottish Terrier named Dorothy Parker. Like her namesake she is pithy, independent and full of life. I named my business after her, changing the Parker to Barker, because of the great joy she brings into my life and I hope to reflect that in my work.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?

The search continues...

My sister is the family genealogist. Through her intrepid research, she's traced one branch of our family history back to the 800s in Denmark.

She contacted me excitedly when she learned that our 10th great-grandfather, William Sabin (1609-1687), is buried in what is now Warren, Rhode Island. See, Bristol County, Rhode Island was once part of Massachusetts, but was ceded to Rhode Island in 1693.

Following through to find-a-grave, it appears that he's buried in Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Warren #3 (Kickemuit).

This past weekend, Megan, Bear and I went to visit Kickemuit Cemetery to see if we could locate the grave of our great x 10 grandfather.

There are only about 400 graves in Kickemuit, but if Will Sabin is there, we didn't find him.

It was still a nice stroll through a historic cemetery, appreciating the history and traditional taphs from the era.

One notable Rhode Islander in this cemetery is the last Colonial Governor, Josias Lyndon.

Looking further into the Sab…

Events ~ Ignite South County ~ Wakefield

WAKEFIELD – Need some inspiration? The Contemporary Theater Company is hosting Ignite South County on March 26 at 7 pm to provide a boost of motivation to make a difference in the community.
Ignite features five minute talks with auto-advancing slides at events held throughout the world. In the style of TED Talks, Ignite features speakers discussing a topic that they are passionate about, all working to live up to the tagline – “Enlighten us, but make it quick.”
“These presentations are phenomenal each year,” says Communications Director Maggie Cady. “Locals share their expertise and give the audiences a whole new perspective on our community.”
This year’s presenters and topics include Michael Cooley: "Rock Bottom -- From the Streets to Success,” Julianna Ricci: "Why Saying Yes to You Matters -- And How to Do It,” Ricardo Pitt-Wiley: "The Theater and New Media Literacy," Jenna Morton-Aiken: "If Twitter Ran Archives," Ian Lester: "The Beauty and Chal…

Sights ~ The First Baptist Church in America ~ Providence

First Baptist Church in America
75 North Main St.
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 454-3418

I'm not sure why it took Bear and me six years after moving to Providence to finally tour the First Baptist Church. It's not hard to find, or exclusive. It's an integral part of the history of the city. Or maybe that's why. It has that "always been there, always will be" vibe of the Big White Church in many New England towns.

Though it's not the case at all. This is the third building constructed for the church (and mind your words: around here "the church" refers to the people. The building is called a Meeting House).

It all started with Rhode Island's founder, Roger Williams. Once he had settled in what is now Providence, he and 11 like-minded friends met together in his home. This was in 1638. The church has existed and held services since. Mostly without Roger who, true to character, went his own way a year later.

The congregation grew too large to…

Rhody Blogger ~ Leah DeCesare

Blogger’s name: Leah DeCesare
Blog name:Mother’s Circle
Twitter: @leahdecesare

1. Tell us about your blog.
Mother’s Circle is a positive high five site for moms (and dads, I even hear from grandparents) who are looking for encouragement, and new perspectives and ideas on parenting. I include posts packed with practical information as well as personal reflections and lighthearted, feel good posts.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your blog?
I love symbolism and the image of a circle is so beautiful to me. It’s an embrace, a connection through generations and across cultures, it’s a community and a link among mothers and women. I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the name:

3. How did you get started?
It’s kind of funny, back in 2010 when blogging was becoming a buzz word, I was…

Artists ~ Kat Klockow ~ East Greenwich

Artist’s name: Kat Klockow
Shop name: Klockow Comics Studio
Website: and
Twitter: @jinxedcomic
Other: DeviantArt:

1. Tell us about your work:
Hello! I’m Kat Klockow, and I draw comics! I have been actively writing and drawing indie graphic novels for 10 years now, and started after returning home from studying abroad in Japan. My most recent work is a fantasy-adventure series titled Jinxed! It is about a white mage who becomes possessed by an ancient queen of demons, and together they must fight to save their world!

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
Haha, there is, but it isn’t a long one. It’s just my last name, but a fairly uncommon last name at that! For the interested, Klockow is pronounced “cloak-oh.”

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?

Artists ~ Paul Davis

Artist’s name: Paul Davis
Shop name: Rhode Trip Photography
Facebook: www.facebook/

1. Tell us about your work.
My photography is like a fine art time machine. A combination of collecting, Rhode Island, and photography done with real film and a mechanical camera. I've combined my 25 year collection of Rhode Island memorabilia with film photography. All of my work is made by hand one at a time in a traditional darkroom or in my studio.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
Rhode Trip Photography is a play on the word "Road" giving it a Rhode Island twist and often times people take a trip down memory lane when they see my work.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I've known this is what I wanted to do my whole life. My whole family is creative. I would die in an office environment. But this particular twist on my art took many dec…

Performing arts ~ Titus Andronicus ~ Burbage Theatre Company ~ Providence

Burbage Theatre Company
resident theatre company of Aurora
276 Westminster St.
Providence, Rhode Island

I saw Titus Andronicus at Aurora last week. It was my first experience with Burbage Theatre Company, and with the play.

It turns out Titus Andronicus one of Shakespeare's least popular plays. It's brutally violent, which was all the rage at the time it was written, but that type of violence fell out of favor not long after. As Jeff Church, Burbage's artistic director explained, it was Shakespeare's "Tarantino phase."

Burbage didn't tone down or "nice up" the violence. The front row seats were provided with trash bag aprons. They're in the 'splatter zone.'

Titus Andronicus centers on hate. As Titus returns to Rome, victorious in a ten-year campaign against the Goths, and bringing their queen and three of her sons as hostages, he learns Caesar has died. Titus turns down the job when it's offered, and sacrifices one of the captive q…

Artists ~ Carley Eisenberg ~ Cranston

Artist’s name: Carley Eisenberg
Shop name: Iron Mountain Forge & Furniture

1. Tell us about your work
My work is a fusion of wood and forged steel, in the form of anything from sculpture to furniture.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
My last name, Eisenberg, is German and actually means Iron Mountain.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
After getting my MFA at RISD, I went and worked for 2 different companies for design and steel fabrication, and realized that I felt stifled and needed to work for myself. After being chosen for Ellen's Design Challenge, I knew I had what it took to make it on my own.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I am mostly inspired from nature and fairytales.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
I love making tables, because I can get as creative as I want with…