A Trio of Libraries: Providence’s Public Library, Community Library and the Athenaeum

The Providence Athenaeum children's section has a cozy reading area filled with children's books.

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.  The Providence Public Library consists of the Central Library at 150 Empire Street in downtown Providence.  But since July 2009 due to fiscal problems, the other nine city branches (Rochambeau, Fox Point, etc.) have been overseen by a nonprofit organization called the Providence Community Library.  As unusual as this sounds, the two remain linked, so that one can take a book out of the Rochambeau branch with a Providence Public library card.

There’s also the Providence Athenaeum, an independent membership library housed in an 1838 Greek Revival building in College Hill, which shouldn’t be overlooked.  Although there’s an annual membership fee, you gain access to events, borrowing privileges from their collection and RISD’s, and the knowledge that you’re supporting a historic piece of the community.  If membership fee seems too steep, no matter — the library is open to the public and encourages visitors.

With all this variety comes one challenge — keeping track of events.  So if you happen to be looking for a children’s story time, for example, be sure to check the Cradles to Crayons series held at both the main and other branches, as well as the the Athenaeum’s story hours.

Providence Athenaeum
251 Benefit Street
Providence, RI

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI

Providence Community Library
See a list of branches.

Photo Journal: Saving the Rhode Island Film Tax Credit

Dozens of filmmakers, actors, and other industry professionals gathered at the Rhode Island State House to protest the elimination of the film tax credit from the state budget. Actor James Woods who grew up in RI was one of many who spoke in favor of the tax credit; he hopes to film An American Girl here in Rhode Island.

Actor James Woods and others wait their turn to speak.

Michael Corrente, James Woods and Steven Feinberg spoke out in favor of the tax credit.

Without enough seats in the room, people overflowed into the hallway and watched on monitors.

House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino listens to industry representatives.

For more information, visit the Facebook group Save the RI Film Tax Credit.

Related Stories:
RI film tax credit gains star supportThe Providence Journal
Lawmakers consider future of film tax credit – NBC 10 News

Cable Car Cinema: Academy Award Nominated Live Action Shorts

"The New Tenants" is one of the short live action films nominated for an Academy Award.

There are quite a few things to love about the Cable Car Cinema — all-you-can-eat popcorn, several large cushy chairs for two, and a theatre small enough to share a more intimate movie experience. But perhaps the best reason is for its lack of Hollywood fare in favor of the sometimes weird and wonderful world of independent film.

This weekend, I stopped in for a packed screening of the Academy Award nominated short live action films presented by Shorts International. These shorts created without the muscle of Hollywood portray stories not often found on the big screen and offer an oft unseen side of the Academy Awards. And this year, one of the films The New Tenants, was co-produced by Cumberland, RI native Erika Hampson.

You can get free popcorn refills at the quaint candy counter at Cable Car Cinema.

Cable Car Cinema
204 South Main Street
Providence, RI

Shorts International
(list of screenings worldwide)

2009 Live Action Shorts Nominees for the Academy Awards
The Door Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
Instead of Abracadabra Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
Kavi Gregg Helvey
Miracle Fish Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
The New Tenants Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Complete list of Oscar nominees at www.oscars.org

Luxe Burger Bar

An "All American Burger" from Luxe Burger Bar.

After seeing Food Inc., I didn’t think I’d ever eat a hamburger again. Apparently, I was wrong.

Last night, we headed to Luxe Burger Bar in downtown Providence for dinner.  Since there was a 20 minute wait for a table and we were in a rush, we opted for the bar.

Oh big deal, you say, what’s another hamburger?  But I  have to give a nod to Luxe Burger Bar not only because of their flavorful, juicy Kobe beef burger with hand-cut Idaho potato fries, but also because of the way you order it.   Each diner gets a sheet featuring nine steps to custom build a burger.  You choose the meat (turkey, Gold label beef, Kobe beef, vegetarian, etc.), the toppings (caramelized onions, lettuce, etc.), the cheese, the sauce, the bun (sesame, plain, whole wheat), and the sides.  And voilà, you get exactly what you wanted without taking 10 minutes to order. 

No wonder as we rushed out to catch Avatar (blush), the number of people waiting had since doubled.

Luxe Burger Bar
5 Memorial Boulevard
Providence, RI

2nd Story Theatre: Comic Potential

Paula Faber, Kevin Broccoli, Vince Petronio, and Laura Sorensen in Comic Potential. Photo by Rich Dionne.

I adore theatre. Granted, I’ve seen a few shows that I didn’t like (such as Smokey Joe’s Cafe which I had the misfortune of seeing on Broadway). But in general, I love theatres large and small and shows drama, comedy or musical.

The 2nd Story Theatre where I saw Comic Potential last night seems an especially great find. It’s an intimate theatre (not a bad seat in the house) with simple sets and great plays emphasizing writing and acting. It reminded me of the Lyric Stage, my favorite theatre in Boston. They even have a café downstairs serving salad, pannini, and soup. It looked charming, but Geoff couldn’t resist delicious fish tacos at Beebop Burrito next door.

The play — a mix of theatre of the absurd and futuristic allegory — had attracted a full house, which gives me faith that theatre is not dead, after all. Although I was a bit alarmed by the average age of the audience (definitely AARP status). C’mon kids (by which I mean those aged 25-45)! Go to the theatre! Avatar can’t be that good, can it?

2nd Story Theatre
28 Market Street
Warren, RI
Current play: Comic Potential (now through February 21)
Upcoming plays: The Voysey Inheritance (March 12-April 11) and The Underpants (April 30-May 30)

Bebop Burrito
40 Market Street
Warren, RI

Children and the Cinema: Watching and Making Local Films

Check out my article on KidoInfo Children and the Cinema: Watching and Making Local Films, which features film festivals and filmmaking workshops for children. And buy your tickets for the first-ever Providence Children’s Film Festival coming to RI next week. They have put together an impressive line-up, including the New England premiere of the Oscar-nominated film The Secret of Kells.

Providence Children’s Film Festival
February 12-15, 2010

The Secret of Kells