Imagine Gift Store: Candy, Chotchkes, and Games

One of the several candy aisles at Imagine Gift Store.

It’s always a bit sad to see a theatre converted into some other use, although when that happens,  I am in favor of it becoming a extra-large candy store. Imagine Gift Store, located in the restored Lyric Theatre in Warren, RI, can probably satisfy whatever sweet craving you’ve got — including candy cigarettes.

Madonna in your cup.

Here, you might also stock up on your chotchkes, such as the iPlunge (a mini plunger to use as an iPhone/iTouch stand) or a mug in which the Madonna materializes from a remaining coffee stain (my mother-in-law bought this).

We also left with Bananagrams, a word game created here in Rhode Island, which as it turns out, may be as addictive as candy.

Like Scrabble, Bananagrams enables you to build and connect words, however, the board isn’t fixed so you can change and move words as you see fit. Even better, there’s no taking turns, which means I don’t have to wait a half hour while Geoff patiently contrives a way of using all of his letters. And although this isn’t a win-win situation, it means I win more of the time, which is just fine with me.

Bananagrams, a word game created in Rhode Island.

Imagine Gift Store
5 Miller Street
Warren, RI


RISD Museum: Tours for Tots

Madeline creates her own art during the RISD Museum's Tours for Tots.

Someone recently asked Madeline what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“Well,” she replied. “I’m already getting started. I’m an artist.”

So apparently in support of her current career, we visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum yesterday during their Tours for Tots. The hour-long program, which continues Thursdays in June, offers children ages 3-5 an interactive tour of one of the museum’s exhibits, along with a chance to create their own art. Yesterday’s tour brought us to the wooden Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, which sits 9-feet tall in its own dimly lit gallery. The children learned the story of Siddhartha, as they discovered how to sit and think like Buddha. We then moved to an open room where the kids spread out on the floor and created their own crayon drawings inspired by the story. The event ended with all of the new ‘artwork’ on display for everyone to admire.

A still from Schnitt's "Once Upon a Time"

Each week brings a different tour, so you can attend more than once. And while you’re there, you can get your fix of Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and other masterpieces, along with some less traditional art like Sarah Sze’s notepad cut into a tiny and intricate fire escape or Corinna Schnitt’s video loop Once Upon a Time, which shows what happens in an unsupervised room full of chickens, cats, birds, fish, bunnies and a goat. Who says art museums are for adults?

RISD Museum
Tours for Tots

Thursdays June 2, 9, 16, 23 at 2 pm – 2:45 pm
(meets in the Chace Lobby, free with museum admission) (also see family programs)

Sarah Sze
artist website | exhibit info

Corinna Schnitt
artist website | exhibit info

Ten Most Endangered Properties

The Columbus Theatre makes the list of the one of the most endangered properties in Providence this year. Trigphotography image taken by Frank C. Grace.

The exact month we moved to Providence (August 2009), the Columbus Theatre on Broadway was ordered closed by city inspectors. Apparently the theatre was overdue for fire code upgrades that would cost over $100,000, which owner Jon Berberian couldn’t afford. As one of the few independent theatres in the city, they had hosted the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Picture Start Film Series. Ever since its closing, the theatre has sat dark with an “opening soon” sign hanging outside.

This past week, the Providence Preservation Society released its annual “Ten Most Endangered Properties” list and included the Columbus Theatre. The purpose of the list is to generate a priority list of historic structures in jeopardy and to work with property owners, developers and other interested parties to effect a positive change in the building’s status. Some of the properties featured on past lists have been saved, such as The Foundry, now the apartment building The Promenade, or the Shepard Building, now home to URI’s Providence campus.

The Providence Preservation Society welcomes members and accepts donations to support their preservation advocacy work. Let’s hope this is the year for these buildings to be revitalized. I can’t wait to start shopping in The Arcade on Westminister Street…

Providence Preservation Society
21 Meeting Street
Providence, RI

Portuguese Sweet Bread at Silver Star Bakery

Portuguese sweetbread from Silver Star Bakery.

After a disappointing brunch at the English Muffin in Johnston, I decided to console myself with breakfast for dinner. What I craved was the challah french toast from the Waverly Diner in New York City. Since I didn’t know where to get such a thing in Rhode Island, I decided to make it myself. So, on our way home from breakfast, I stopped at Seven Stars Bakery for some challah. But, as it turns out, they only bake it on Fridays. I guess in Providence (or at Seven Stars, at least), challah is reserved for Shabbat — not so in New York.

As it turns out, Portuguese sweet bread makes some wonderful french toast.

So instead, I bought a loaf of the Portuguese sweet bread from Silver Star Bakery — which as its name implies is slightly sweet. There are many renditions of the egg bread, all of which I love — the French brioche, the Jewish challah, the Italian Easter Bread (with anise), and now, the Portuguese sweet bread.

Of course, Silver Star Bakery sells quite a bit of other tasty treats besides sweet bread including cavacas (a sweet, iced version of the popover) and nata (a custard in a pastry shell). So even if it’s something other than challah French toast you’re after, it’s worth a visit.

Silver Star Bakery
150 Ives Street
Providence, RI