Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Event announcement ~ TweetHop in Pawtuxet Village, April 28, 2011


Join Us For The First Ever TweetHop in Beautiful Pawtuxet Village!
Is it an Easter Egg Hunt?

Is it a Sock Hop?
No way!

This is a fun networking event showcasing beautiful Pawtuxet Village and all the wonderful local businesses there!
Join your friends, bring your family, and come stroll along historic Pawtuxet Village!
Be sure to bring your camera to capture the Village's Scenic Beauty!
Stop in to all the open businesses, have something to drink, taste their great foods and shop local!
Participate in a Village Wide Raffle at the end of the evening!

The Stroll will start and end at Little Falls Bakery Cafe where you will sign in to get your Business Listing Card.
As you stop in each business, be sure to get the card stamped to validate your visit!
You must stop in at least 5 businesses to participate in the Raffle at the end of the evening!
At 8:30, we will all meet back at Little Falls Cafe, where you can turn in your stamped business cards for a chance to draw a poker hand - high hand wins the Raffle!

Participating Eateries Include:
O'Rourke's Bar and Grille
Powers Pub
Basta Italian Restaurante
Water's Edge
Little Falls Bakery & Cafe

Participating Retail Stores Include:
RiversEdge Flowers & Gifts
Twice Told Tales
Village Antiques
Innisfree Bodyworks

Continue to check back as we add more Eateries and Businesses to the Event!
Libations will be holding a Wine & Cheese Tasting Event!
Innisfree is going to offer chair/foot massages!
Eateries and Retail Stores Are All Planning Specials for this event!

Parking: Visitors to the Village can park at Aspray Boat House Parking lot the night of the event. The Village is just a short stroll from here!

This Event is Free to All!
Be sure to use the HashTag #TweetHop 

Make sure you bring your event tickets as we will be signing you in electronically!
This event is Hosted by:
Erika Smith (@iHeartRhody)
Kathie Manchester (@carloverkat)
Friends of Pawtuxet Village

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sights ~ Rhode Island State House, Providence

Rhode Island State House
1 Capitol Hill
Providence, Rhode Island

Rhode Island State House
It was overcast for our visit

Bear and I were a bit embarrassed to admit that we've lived in Rhode Island for about two and a half years now, and we hadn't made the trip to the State House. Finally after much procrastination, we decided to go.

Wikipedia tells us the architectural style is neo-classical, which appears to be a very popular style for government buildings in the decades around the turn of the 20th century.

The architects were McKim, Mead and White, who also designed Newport mansions Isaac Bell House and  Rosecliffe, the Newport Casino, and Brown's Faunce House in Rhode Island alone. They were very active in New York and New England particularly, but built all over the United States, notably renovating the East and West wings of the White House in 1903. The State House was built between 1895 and 1904.

The building is actually the seventh Rhode Island State House, and the second built in Providence. It's made of 327,000 feet of white Georgia marble as well as brick and iron floor beams. The dome is the fourth largest self-supporting marble dome in the world.

Rhode Island State House
the dome on a clearer day
Atop the dome is the Independent Man, also known as "Hope," who watches out over the city with an anchor at his side (symbol of hope, the state motto) and a spear in his hand.

Rhode Island State House: the Independent Man
The Independent Man

Inside is equally impressive. You enter from the North (Smith Street) side of the building, and immediately past the metal detectors, two cannon flank the entry. On your right is a cannon from Bull Run, but the real story is on your left, with the Gettysburg cannon.

photo: Rhode Island State House tour
The cannon was being loaded during Pickett's charge, but was hit by Confederate shells before it could be fired. The two cannoniers were killed, and when their replacements tried to finish loading the charge, the damaged muzzle trapped the ball, despite attempts to force it in by hitting it with an axe. The heat of the gun fused the ball in place and it's been that way ever since. After being displayed in Washington, DC for a few years, it returned to Rhode Island in 1874, and moved into the State House in 1904. It stayed on display until 1962 (99 years!), when someone realized that the charge was still live. The gunpowder was removed and the cannon remains on display.

Gettysburg Cannon
close-up of muzzle

Just beyond the entry and up the stairs is the rotunda, under that self-supporting dome. None of my photos did it justice,

photo: Rhode Island State House tour
There are four seals on the support columns for the rotunda: Educatio, Justitia, Litera and Commercium - Education, Justice, Literature and Books, and Commerce.

In the center of the rotunda floor is an inlaid State Seal. Usually it's roped off to prevent people walking on it, but when we were there, it was covered by a red carpet.

Here's a picture of what it looks like uncovered:

Rhode Island State Seal, Providence, United States
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: Little Rhody

Up the stairs from the rotunda is where the action is. The House of Representatives, Senate and State Library all reside on the second floor, as well as lots of offices and artwork.

Bear and I were awed by the library. It mostly houses state and federal lawbooks, and is the repository for state publications, so it wasn't so much the contents that wowed us. It was the amazing architecture. Three stories high with spiral staircases going up to narrow wooden walkways, it's a beautiful room. Replicas of printer's seals from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries border the ceiling's skylight. You could practically smell the cigar smoke of lawyers long-past as they scoured their books for precedents. Of course Bear scurried right to the third tier. I stayed firmly on the ground, envying her youthful bravery. She was thrilled to find books that were hundreds of years old in the stacks.

Outside the library were four bronze books that caught our attention. They're the Rhode Island Honor Roll: the names of people who served in World War II.

Honor Roll

The House Chamber is in the West Wing of the State House. It's decked in red with oak desks and tapestries commissioned for the 1904 dedication ceremony.
House chamber

Facing the House chamber in the East Wing is the Senate chamber. It's colored green, with mahogany desks. Over the rostrum are the state seals of the thirteen original colonies, with Rhode Island's seal in the center.

Senate chamber

archway detail

Just outside the Senate chamber in a steel, fireproof box with warnings about flash photography is the Royal Charter of 1663, guaranteeing Rhode Islanders the freedom of religion that was lacking in the other colonies.
the Charter

Opposite the library and between the two Chambers is the State Room. Basically, it's the Governor's waiting room, and is also used for press conferences, receptions and bill signings.
Governor's reception room

Again, my photography couldn't do it justice, so I'm including one from the RI State House web site:

Bear just goggled over the size, scope and high elegance decor of the room. She was so careful with her signature when she signed the guest book, and so respectful of the artwork.

The State House is filled with historical artworks, statuary and paintings. I'll have to do a whole separate post on them. Although our visit was brief - about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, we really enjoyed it and could see dedicating more time on another visit sometime soon.

My only complaint about the State House is that it's only open during government business hours, which makes it hard to visit if you're not willing to take time off from work and/or school. And I hope they uncover the state seal in the rotunda floor.

Bear and I were both undeniably impressed by the outside and inside of the capitol building. For her, it was the best capitol building she'd ever seen. I have to admit that I was more impressed with Pennsylvania's capitol building, but I rank this a near second.

Friday, March 25, 2011

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

Scene on the street
Scene on the street by jpsphoto

Fireplace in old Library
Fireplace in old Library by alamodestuff

Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, Rhode Island
Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, Rhode Island by nelights

Providence River Arch Bridge
Providence River Arch Bridge by BlueisCoool

I'm Not Moving
I'm Not Moving by MattJohnston401

IMG_2673 by kobrienjewelry

Narragansett Coast Guard House
Narragansett Coast Guard House by DaveAmasPics

Friday, March 18, 2011

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr Group

Marble House, Newport, RI
Marble House, Newport, RI by nelights

TJ by SteelToad

Inside Constantino's Venda Ravioli
Inside Constantino's Venda Ravioli by martha_jean

George R Downe House 1862-66
George R Downe House 1862-66 by robtm2010

IMG_2512 by kobrienjewelry

Tug Boats Providence R.I.
Tug Boats Providence R.I. by BlueisCoool

Gen Ambrose Burnside equestrian statue
Gen Ambrose Burnside equestrian statue by boliyou

Horseshoe Falls in Shannock, Rhode Island
Horseshoe Falls in Shannock, Rhode Island by MyDay247

The gate
The gate by alamodestuff

Old Stone Bank
Old Stone Bank by DaveAmasPics

Shining Sea
Shining Sea by dsbrennan

Track 2
Track 2 by MattJohnston401

First Unitarian Church
First Unitarian Church by Ken Zirkel

Providence Skyline
Providence Skyline by mike_dooley

Cutback carve!
Cutback carve! by robert.rinkel

DSC_3001-44 by Wilks2010

Snow Covered Bench
Snow Covered Bench by Dave Aldrich

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Art scene ~ Trinity Repertory Company's The Crucible

Trinity Repertory Company
201 Washington St
Providence, Rhode Island
(401) 751-5500

Arthur Miller's The Crucible is one of my favorite plays, and Bear loves it, too. So when we found out that Trinity Rep was doing a production, we decided that we had to go see it.

I was worried about the prices, but discovered that Trinity offers bench seats for some of the shows. Ours were a very reasonable $12 each. A word to the uninducted: Bench seats are not comfortable. Bring a cushion or one of those tailgate chairs with a back on it. And maybe a footrest, since the bench was too high for me to put my feet on the floor. But the view in the Chace Theater is perfectly fine, and we were able to see everything. They're definitely not nosebleed seats.

It was our first time visiting Trinity Rep, although I've seen and been impressed by the building for quite some time.

Trinity Repertory Company

According to Trinity Rep's site, the building was originally called the Emery Majestic Theater and opened as a vaudeville showcase in 1917. The name was changed soon after to the Shubert Majestic Theater, and was very popular in the first decades of the 20th century, eventually making the conversion to a movie theater in the 30's. After the rise of television in the 40's, the Theater's fortunes took a downturn.

In the 1970's Trinity Repertory Company moved from Trinity Baptist Church in Providence into the old Emery/Shubert. They gutted the interior and created two separate theaters, but they also restored the original 1917 stained glass skylight above the lobby.

Restored 1917 skylight
restored skylight (interior shots taken with my phone, sorry)
The interior general call areas recall the grandeur of the original Majestic.

Exit with stained glass


Everyone we interacted with from the staff was friendly and positive. There was no artsy snobbery or sense of exclusivity. Despite the elegance of the building, the dress ranged from very casual to Parisian arthouse. It's definitely accessible, and not just for "theater people."

The Play:

The Crucible is an adaptation of the events of the Salem Witch hunts. Much of it has a basis in history, but there were definitely changes in characters and events. It's also an allegory for the McCarthy/HUAC hearings of the 1950s.

When we checked out the playbill, Bear and I were both surprised to see that two of the key accusers - teenage girls - were being played by men. I was dubious. We also saw that most of the actors played more than one character. I was intrigued.

In most cases, it worked. John Tracey played 12-year-old Betty Parris, and he worked it. Likewise Terrell Donell Sledge was just fine as Mercy Lewis (age 17). The actors playing multiple roles pulled it off well, with one exception:  the actor playing one of the main characters - Abigail Williams - later played a minor speaking role, and it was distracting.

Stephen Thorne, who played John Proctor, was a powerhouse. He dominated the stage and owned his role.

Another standout for me was Anne Scurria, who played one of the "afflicted girls" (Ann Putnam) and two of the accused. Her Francis Nurse nearly broke my heart.

Olivia D'Ambrosio played Abigail Williams, and really channeled her inner Winona Ryder. If you like the movie interpretation of the play, you'll enjoy her. Bear found her to be the weak link in an otherwise strong cast.

The staging was minimal, but it was enough to set the scenes. One adaptation that I really enjoyed was having the cast identify their characters and their place in history, as well as the play's departures from history, before each act. Afterward there was a discussion of the play.

Bear and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Trinity Rep. We'll definitely go again when we can.

You can get other reviews of Trinity Repertory Company at UpTake