Last Thursday, I went to the Roots Cafe on Westminster Street in Providence to check out a free show that Scott Murawski announced on Twitter that day (though apparently, it was known before then). Roots Cafe has only been open for a month or two, so I got double the excitement in seeing a new bar/restaurant/venue in town and also checking out some live music. Continue reading Jazz Jam at Roots Cafe
Here’s an interview with former Providence mayor, now congressman, David Cicilline on the financial problems the city faces. Scott MacKay from WRNI asks the tough questions while Cicilline gives the easy answers. He literally avoids every question he’s asked and pushes the blame elsewhere. Don’t let the title fool you. I think he said that once, but never truly accepts responsibility.
I have posted previously about why people should not vote for David Cicilline to represent Rhode Island in Congress. In summary, the man is a liar, and the worst kind of self-serving politician as well. For the record, I am a registered Democrat in Rhode Island. I voted to elect Cicilline back into the mayor’s office in 2006. I want to like him, but his secrecy in the mayor’s office and now this in the Phoenix’s Not for Nothing blog. Continue reading The Plot Thickens in Providence
If you haven’t heard, the city of Providence is in some serious financial trouble right now. The previous mayor, David Cicilline, left the city with a serious deficit (somehow he managed to get elected to Congress). As has been all over the news, our current mayor, Angel Taveras, has sent all of the city’s public school teacher termination notices. If it sounds like a drastic measure, it was. Four to six schools will also likely be closing, among other means to cut costs and increase revenue. I want to explain my thoughts as to what can, and should, be done in the city to help raise revenue without overly taxing the residents (which is likely going to happen). Continue reading Providence’s Financial Woes
Think twice. He’s a liar. And this is not related to his problems with the fire department.
While I don’t see eye-to-eye with him on many issues, I’m going to be voting for David Segal in the democratic primary for Patrick Kennedy’s former seat in Congress. We need more people who are less of the same. Cicilline is just more of the same. David Segal is not. I will be happy once Cicilline is out of city hall. I’ll be even happier to see him lose this election. He has not done the work of the people. He has done the work of his friends and people who write checks. We do not need more of that in Washington.
I’m about to start a music-filled summer tomorrow night. Lots of great bands coming to Providence in the next few months, along with the highly anticipated Phish summer tour. Here are the shows I plan on attending. Look for reviews to follow.
Friday, May 14 (tomorrow) – Railroad Earth at Lupo’s
Friday, May 21 – Blues Traveler at Lupo’s
Thursday, June 17 – Phish at The Meadows (aka Comcast Theatre) in Hartford
Friday, June 18 – Phish at The Meadows (aka Comcast Theatre) in Hartford
Tuesday, June 22 – Phish at Great Woods (aka Tweeter Center, aka Comcast Center) in Mansfield, MA
Wednesday, August 18 – Phish at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY
Friday, September 24 – They Might Be Giants at Lupo’s
Here are some other shows in Providence, I’m considering hitting up. I might just need some convincing.
Friday, June 4 – The New Deal at Lupo’s
Friday, June 11 – Max Creek at Lupo’s
Tuesday, July 6 – The Flaming Lips at Lupo’s
Finally, here are some shows I won’t be able to make, but wish I could.
Sunday, May 23 – Peter Wolf at Lupo’s
Wednesday, May 26 – Dark Star Orchestra at Lupo’s (rescheduled from April 1)
Friday, June 25 – Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa at Lupo’s (I’ll be ragin’ in Seattle with @FunkCaptMax)
I went to the GIBF this year for both sessions. While there seemed to be fewer booths at this one compared to the one last year (note: I did not go to the one in the spring), the quality of the breweries seemed to be a bit better. We had more smaller breweries present than in past years, though we also had some that weren’t present, most notably Smuttynose. I can’t help but wonder if their presence at Beervana had anything to do with them not coming to the GIBF. It’s probably a combination of that and the economy, considering the GIBF not only makes the breweries pay for a table but also donate the beer and their time. This is something that should not be done if you ever want to start a beer festival. Beervana, on the other hand, bought all the beer and simply requested that a brewer or brewery rep staff the tables. The breweries prefer this approach because they only have to donate their time. It also allows the festival organizers to hand pick the beers they are pouring at the festival.
Last year, I had only attended the afternoon session, which tends to be the quieter of the two sessions with more people who are really into the beer as opposed to people looking to pay $36 for an all you can drink party. I had heard some horror stories of the second session in the past. This time it seemed to be a bit more mellow. While there were a lot more people than the first session, and it was definitely crazier than the first session, there wasn’t a whole lot of screaming and chanting that I had expected. From an attendee’s standpoint, it seemed to go pretty smoothly, though they had a harder time forcing people out than we did at Beervana.
Some of my favorite brewery stops were Mayflower, Offshore, Gardner’s Ale House, Watch City Brewing, Blackstone Valley Brewing Supplies, and Ithaca. They all had a great selection of beer. Even the other breweries brought some unexpected beers. Victory, for example, had Wild Devil, Golden Monkey, Baltic Thunder, and Hop Wallop (in addition to Prima Pils). I was surprised they brought so many of their bigger beers. I would have expected Prima Pils and Hop Devil. I was surprised to see that Mayflower signed up for this as well. They hadn’t been there in the past. They even brought some of their Thanksgiving Ale with them, which was quite excellent. Even Providence’s own Trinity Brewhouse had four different whiskey barrel aged beers. So even though Heineken, Corona, and Presidente were all present, the quality of beer from the other breweries was much better than last year. Dogfish Head, whom I had heard would not be coming, ended up having a table (though without their RI rep). It was expected that they would only have 60 Minute IPA and a seasonal. They actually had 90 Minute IPA, Chicory Stout, Raison d’Etre, and Indian Brown Ale. While these aren’t their top offerings, they aren’t the usual suspects either.
All in all, it was a good fest. The layout was better, spacing the rows out a bit more, allowing for easier movement around the floor. They put the stage in the far corner this time rather than at the end of one of the rows of booths. This kept it a bit quieter, though they probably should have lowered the volume of the band and raised the volume for the award ceremony. Aside from that, it was great. I still don’t think it’s worth my money for admission, but if you want a decent introduction to some craft beer available in southern New England, it’s a pretty good place to familiarize yourself with it.
My current state representative, Joanne Giannini, has helped out our neighborhood greatly. She works with a neighborhood group with which I work (and also run their website). However, she has recently gone crazy with the fight against indoor prostitution. She has sponsored a bill to band indoor prostitution in Rhode Island, where it is currently legal only through a loophole. She wants the police to be able to arrest prostitutes and throw them in jail.
I don’t support prostitution. I don’t see a reason why anyone would want to pay for sex. However, I do support the right for people to pay for sex and for people to sell their bodies for sex. I understand that some people are forced into the business, some even brought here from overseas for the sole purpose of being used as prostitutes. I don’t support that. I don’t see a problem with people who are willingly doing this to continue to do so.
What the RI General Assembly should be doing is legitimizing the sex industry. Regulate where brothels are allowed through zoning laws. This will prevent them from opening in residential neighborhoods. Regulate the business with random visits by social workers and health inspectors. This will keep the business clean and allow the employees to come forward to someone other than a cop if they are being forced into prostitution.
Most of the prostitutes in Rhode Island are doing it because they need the money. They are supporting their families. In a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, it is horrifying to think that the General Assembly is so heartless to force hundreds more people into unemployment. And not only will they be forcing them into unemployment, they will be forcing them into a life of crime. Putting these people in jail will cost our state and communities more than leaving the law as it stands. However, if we regulate and tax the sex industry, we will be putting money in the state’s coffers… money that the state desperately needs.
Shame on your Rep Giannini. Shame on all the members of our General Assembly who are buying the garbage spewed by the likes of Donna Hughes, the URI Women’s Studies professor who has made the sex industry her #1 enemy. I will be voting against Rep Giannini (and possibly Senator Maryellen Goodwin, if she also votes in favor of this) in the next election, not because she has been a horrible representative, but because she is putting her own personal moral beliefs before the needs of the state, including the needs of my community.
I came across this great petition to show support for putting an end to seniority-based teacher assignment and hiring as well as “bumping” in Providence Public Schools. If you’re not familiar with bumping, it’s basically that if an employee (in this case a teacher) gets laid off and they have a certain number of years under their belt (regardless of their qualifications or the quality of their teaching), they can bump a junior employee (again, in this case a teacher) from the position, transferring the lay off to that teacher. Again, this does not take performance, qualifications, or the quality of their work into consideration. It is purely seniority based. The unions love this, the residents don’t. Seniority, especially in the case of teachers, does not coincide in the least bit with quality. In fact, in many cases, seniority means dead weight and getting paid a whole lot more. Should we be paying extra for lower quality teachers simply because they have been teaching the longest? Experience only goes so far. Twenty years experience teaching is not twice as good as 10 years if you’ve been teaching the same subject.
If you live in Providence, you should support this petition. The Rhode Island Education Commissioner signed an order to put an end to this practice and force school districts to hire and promote based on interviews and actual performance rather than seniority. The Providence Teachers Union, disgustingly, filed a lawsuit to overturn this order.
Makers, crafters, geeks, techies, artists, and pretty much everyone else… Maker Faire, held by MAKE Magazine, will be held in Providence this September! It’s very exciting news as something that has traditionally taken place in California (I think there were a couple in Texas as well). It’s great to bring an event held in such high regard to the east coast, and to Providence no less. Being a city of makers, this is the perfect location for this event.
The dates for the festival are September 12-19 with a special kickoff at the Rocktucket Block Party in Pawtucket on September 6.
Check the links for all the details. I’ll be attending most of the events (I’m not a maker, but I am a geek and find this stuff to be pretty cool). The best part is, aside from the fundraiser on September 12, it’s all free and open to the public.