Live arts, lively discussion

Polls, Curators, News, Members

HERE AT ARTSMASH, artists and enthusiasts meet up, discuss and sort through Rhode Island's teeming arts scene.

We love puppetry:

ABOVE: Opened March 30, 2013 and staying at UConn's Ballard Museum of Puppetry through the summer, the exhibit Strings, Rods, and Robots: Recent Acquisitions features a smattering of puppets from diverse world traditions: "objects ranging from Vietnamese water puppets, Persian ritual rod puppets, and Javanese shadow puppets..." Curated by UConn graduate student, Lindsay Simon. This sounds like a don't miss for puppet fans. Visit the Ballard website for details.

AT BALLARD MUSEUM (UConn): *Shadow puppet exhibit from Pauline Benton collection  through Dec 16, 2012.
*May 9: Heather Henson's short puppet films, Puppet Dreams 5. (Below)

By Artsmash's Bob Dilworth:

NEWS: Comparing candidates on the arts. Artsmash RI curator Marianne Messina questions two gov. candidates on the arts. : Check out the videos.

Frank Caprio


From an Artsmash Meetup: Ballard Museum of Puppetry



JOAN OF ARC: Interview

Drone Machine made for Joan of Arc



Meet the Artsmash team:

Art Curator: Bob Dilworth is Chair of URI's Art Department with an acclaimed career in large format acrylics. Dilworth's series of artist reviews, interviews, discussions and meet-ups started with this piece on Rhode Island painter Brian O'Malley.

General Arts Critic: A long-time dance and theater critic for a major alt newsweekly, NEA Arts Journalism Fellow Marianne Messina also likes to discover new things. Where there's quirky, there'll be Messina.

IMC's Dubois and Reynolds

May 25: Artsmash will be following this Romanian competition as it happens:
Romania's Sibiu International Ballet Competition has chosen two dancers from Newport's Island Moving Co. from an international field that was boiled down to 35 competitors. Perhaps the spirit of Vlad took notice when the two dancers Kristy Reynolds and David DuBois, danced "Dracula" at the Belcourt Castle this past season. In the third of 3 rounds, the pair will perform their dramatic seduction pas de deux from Dracula, choreographed by Miki Ohlsen. Dubois' comment, “How appropriate to be performing a section of Miki’s fabulous 'Dracula' in a theatre in Transylvania.” Artsmash plans to publish updates sent from Romania by coach and IMC general manager, Gregg Saulnier.

News, May 5:
"We need [the arts] so that Rhode Island Doesn't Fall apart."

Amber Johnson at House Finance Committee Hearing on arts funding.
AUDIO: Hear NEA Champ Amber Johnson recite Shakespeare.


ArtsmashRI helps vet Governor Candidates: ArtsmashRI is representing the arts at a series of meetings with gubernatorial candidates. Sponsored by RI Future and Progressive Democrats, the first meet was Tuesday, April 6, 2010 with Patrick Lynch. Artsmash asked Mr. Lynch to detail his values, commitment, and creative ideas for the arts sector. Next meet will be with Lincoln Chafee. Reports and video links upcoming.


ARTSMASH WAS THERE! Our Indiefest video:.

Summer 2010

Burnside Park
Artists Flood Damage: Artists, if your studio or art works got damaged in the recent RI flooding, you may be eligible for relief through the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, CERF. Two requirements for anyone wanting to be considered: 1. You have earned 50% or your income from your art and 2. You have spent 50% of your time on your art (or craft). For more details, see: CERF.

ArtsmashRI at Arts Advocacy Day Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts rallied arts advocates for a show of support for the arts at the State House, Tuesday March 16. After brief but rousing addresses from Lt. Governor Elizabeth Richardson and RISD president John Maeda, a group of about 60 – 70 arts advocates dispersed to the chambers to meet with representatives and senators and to voice concern for arts funding.







April 12, 2016

Marianne Messina's HuffPost Review of Kid Koala's Nufonia Must Fall references the Routledge text below. Nufonia was at MassArt in February - if it comes to RI, it's a must see.

October 18, 2014

Puppets lead double lives, often controlling the things that seem to control them.” – Forward to The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (currently hard copy but forthcoming in paperback).

I popped into UStream for the Ballard Fall Puppet Forum Series at UConn, October 9, to hear the contributing editors introduce and read from this exciting Routledge Companion to Puppetry. The chance to hear about the book, billed as a “groundbreaking anthology,” was irresistible, even from my perch in Nashville, TN. Read More.

Sept. 2014:

The play Methacular is currently in Chicago at The Theatre Wit through Sept. 26. This play by Steven Strafford had a previous off-off Broadway run about two years ago. Somewhat auto-biographical, the stories feature the sour grapes and empowerment meth addiction afforded a gay performer facing Chorus Line odds and rejections. Thankfully a comedic take, the play has received such mixed reviews. The one consistency is that the show is blatantly honest, sparing no gory details. But then: Too glib? Too many missing revelations? There's much room for plays about maintaining drugs and careers in America. Does Strafford have to do it all? This reviewer may have to find a way to take in Methacular - perhaps it will come to Providence. Related Blog.

March 2014:

(Right > >)

The latest from Prima Mater, a sculpted series by French sculptor and former Rhode Islander Agnes Novak. in 2010 Novak moved to France, where she sculpts and continues to support Yorick's puppet theater.

RECENT REPORT: Cirque du Soleil's Quidam 

Recent Report: Nashville International Puppetry Festival
(It's not RI, but it's puppets)

(Left) "Silent Poems" a show by Kawasemi-Za, a Japanese troupe of hybrid puppetry, mixing rod and marionette puppetry.
French troupe Velo Theatre brings ideas from the audience into their "object theater" perform "And Then he Ate Me" and "There's a Rabbit on the Moon."> >

Beijing Opera trained, these veterans of China's Puppet Art Troupe perform "Images of China," based on Chinese traditional tales.

#1 Mixed Media at Newport Art Museum
Artist and Artsmash Member Jemison Faust
Bromfield Gallery, June 5 - 29, 2013

Newport artist Jemison Faust has won first place in the mixed media category at the Newport Art Museum's 2013 juried exhibition. Her work stems from the chaotic basements, offices, and attics full of accumulated and abandoned belongings, sights she encounters as a personal organizer. The winning piece is on display at the museum through May 19, 2013. Faust also has a show at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, June 5 - 29, with some of her latest work from "The Before Part of What I Do." 

Check the Boston Globe Review.

The exhibit includes Faust's recent foray into the world of sculpture. Like her mixed media work, the sculptures are inspired by her profession as a personal organizer. "So much of the organizing business involves small, weird piles of unidentifiable objects," says Faust. She is inspired not just by the objects but by the reaction or relationship people have to these unrecognizable, discarded objects. "Clients also say funny things to me," Faust recounts, "like 'I’m not going to touch it.  You touch it!'” According to Faust, the Bromfield exhibit will include 10 of these sculptures set for viewing under plexiglass boxes. You can view images of Faust's work, including the sculptures, on her website.

October "must see" - Saturday, October 27, 2012:

Providence Mandolin Orchestra

They will be hosting award-winning German mandolin orchestra, The Saarlandisches Zupforchester, at Rhode Island Philharminc Music School in East Providence, 8 p.m. More about this mandolin orchestra concert.


REVIEW: Gamm Theatre's 1984

April 26 - May 27, 2012, the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket performed 1984, based on George Orwell's novel and an adapted script by Nick Lane. The Gamm had the honor of mounting the first American production of the script, directed by Tony Estrella.

The bleak intensity of previous film versions of the book was a natural match for the Gamm, and Estrella delivered, with stark video projections (eyecam zoomed on eyeball) and intense actors like Casey Seymour Kim.




The 1984 hero Winston (Jim O'Brien - same surname as the actor in the 1956 film version, Edmond O'Brien) is a man who questions his black-and-white world. It's a totalitarian world controlled by sloganism, groupthink and fear. In brief, Winston is imprisoned for having illicit trysts and tortured for questioning the party line. 1984 documents the ways language can manipulate and be manipulated. And this production supported that connection by providing audiences with a glossary of terms, some of them now part of our vernacular such as Doublespeak and Thought Police.

Standing on chairs to shout slogans, the Greek chorus of indoctrinated masses is a memorable part of this production. The torture scene, which worked so well in films, was interminable on stage, to little effect. Those unfamiliar with 1984 may well have found this production riveting. But for fans and students of film and text versions, this production probably didn't fully wake-slap us with today's realities. I guess I was hoping for today's futuristic Big Brother, like maybe someone who would come in as alerts on subcutaneous software and produce a stage full of citizens tapping themselves as if they had Turette's -- or maybe chiggers. Still, 1984 was a brave and worthy undertaking executed with the Gamm's usual competence.

Featured member: Providence based artist Josh Baptistahas recently been seen at Boston's Space242 and has an upcoming show in Cambridge; see events.

Check out his portfolio. 

Or leave a comment at his Artsmash profile.




Left: Amanda Ruggiero in the Gamm Theatre's production of Mauritius. This tight drama of half sisters attempting to settle both an estate and the past is splashed with suspense as well as humor. October 21 - November 21 at the Gamm.

Fusionworks Fall Dance Concert at RIC, November 19-20 at 8 p.m.



ARTIST INTERVIEW:Meet Jesse Reno an artist now showing at Montanaro Gallery's cutting edge art exhibit. This painting (left) is called "Measuring and Collecting."


NEW VIDEO: Montanaro Opening titled after Reno's work, "Measuring + Collecting," July 17. If you missed the opening, check it out.


PHOTO REVIEW:Also, images and a brief review from the event.


The gallery will be open for public viewing Fri-Sat, July 23-4, from 6 - 8 pm. Then it's "by appt. only," through August 7. For more info visit their site.

ARTIST VIDEO: Below. Catch Reno's infectious art devotion:
"If there's not even a concept -- it's like all random lines and colors and then you just come to it -- it's like, to me it's just pure, like, you don't even know what you're doing."


A taste of "2 Sculptors," a show opening September 15 at the Dorrance Hamilton Gallery, Salve Regina.

Splitshot by Bill Martin


Mark Carter in Jeremiah's Choice





Ken Benoit, Bethany Bobola in Can Can't


(l) Ben Hogan (AKA Arson), Poi artist, spinner, fire eater and Artsmash member at Indie Fest. (r) spinner Paul Leonard (AKA Sent).


Check back for Hogan's upcoming shows.



CLICK FOR MORE CLOSE-UPS:Check back for video and other pics from the fest. (Feel free to leave a comment .)


Next Art Wall event, 3rd week in August at Everyman Bistro. Check back for details.

Amaranth Dance Company (below)

Photo Credit: Doug Roark

REVIEW: Great Friends dance festival finale included new choreography and 4 dance companies. Quite a full plate. Our review is in two parts. PART 1.

Island Moving Company

UPCOMING VIDEO: Dan Butterworth Marionettes RISD, Metcalf Auditorium Sunday, July 25 While yes, we're officially over puppet season, we could not miss this performance at RISD of Dan Butterworth's puppet work. If you look at the the workmanship -- and Butterworth makes all his own puppets -- you will see why he was part of the RI Art League exhibit entitled "The Art of Excellence." We were there taking images for y'all!


LATEST REVIEW: In The Late Christopher Bean, a vintage comedy by Sidney Howard, a family shows their true colors when art hustlers come for their heirlooms. At 2nd Story Theatre, playing through Sunday August 1. CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW


Witness the future of dance in RI with these young hopefuls auditioning for Herci Marsden and State Ballet, now in its 51st year.


ARTSBASH ! Moved to August -- Click here and help us make it good.


Last week FREE BAR PLAYS were set in bars around town. This one comes to you from from the Trinity Brew House basement. The atmosphere was dark, busy, noisy, and the plays used it all as part of the drama. Check out our BARPLAY VIDEO snippet of one boy-meets-girl-in-a-bar story.



Check out the Rhode Island Wind Ensemble. They performed an open air concert at Garden City Gazebo, Cranston (Friday, June 25, 2010). Here's how it went.


Photos: Richard Termine

UPDATING REPORT: We ended puppet season with a bang, at the O'Neill Puppetry Conference. We met puppetmasters from as far as Germany and we met many of the puppet folk behind Sesame Street. Check our ongoing report.



Photo: Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

LATEST REVIEW: Belle of Amherst

(Left) Christin Goff as Emily Dickinson in 2nd Story Theatre's Belle of Amherst (thru June 27).

Director Pat Hegnauer

Alex Katz compared the work of artist Janet Alling (above) to the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Meet us for a gallery tour with the artist at Newport Art Museum.

IF you got to see both Alling's work and Goff's Emily Dickinson at 2nd Story Theatre, tell us what you think. Does Goff's portrayal of Dickinson illuminate Katz's comment in any way?


(above) Artsmash has been checking out the Gamm Theatre's Summer Intro to Acting course with Steve Kidd. Kidd is a dynamic coach and this summer's group of "beginners" are doing exciting work. A full house of guests watched the finished scenes at the Gamm Tuesday night (6/15). VIDEO coming soon.

COMPETITION:(below) If you've been following our reports on Newport Dancers David Dubois and Kristy Reynolds, competing in Romania, the sun has set on their adventure. Though they were cut in the first round, Kristy said some interesting things in her blog -- (perhaps an Artsmash followup). Click image for blog:



RISD Collection 2010. New Images are up in our fashion pictorial Report from the Runway Despite this "She Devil" outfit by underclassman Eric Dinges, and a few select costume designs you'll see in our pictorial, this year's senior fashions were eminently more wearable than in some bygone years.

Steve Jobe's Opera, Joan of Arc
  • PREVIEW: Interview with Jobe
  • REVIEW: "Sometimes intense drama is a soft, dread inhale of a thing, like a heaving tidal wave seen from shore, far off in the distance. At Cumberland's Blackstone River Theater, the recent presentation of Joan of Arc gives us that kind of drama." Click for full review.


Check out our imagesfrom the Artsmash tour of BIMP, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, at UConn.


RIGHT: Haines puppet version of Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol



Here's the sneak preview of the RISD Collection 2010 with report from the preliminary judging.Though the final fashion show is over, here's some of the early commentary and controversy.



RISD Collection 2010 -- Look for our review of the Runway show, May 22

(Check out the Newport Mercury story on Collection 2010.)




Estrella (Jan), O'Brien (Max)

REVIEW: GAMM THEATRE Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n Roll(through May 30, 2010)


".... Part of the production's strength is in the staging. They've ripped out "back stage" and converted that space to in-the-round seating. And the audience surrounds and sits in on the action."

RECENT REVIEW: Fusionworks "Locally Grown" "In a large theater with a remote stage, Pascal Rioult's Wein (1995), inspired by Vienna during the inter-World War period, is a daze of circular patterns. But when viewed only feet from the dancers -- from their facial expressions, glistening body heat and deep, audible breathing – Wein's brutal intensity hits you between the eyes...."

"Finning," Photo: Allyson Riegstad




LEAVE COMMENT: If you sawTheatre Sans Fils at Zeiterion, what did you think of their version of THE HOBBIT?




We saw the brief puppet film Harker, based on the old German Expressionist Nosferatu, and attended the puppet workshop. To the left, some of the puppet heads from the film, created by Scott Shoemaker.



  • Review/feature on the film




REVIEW: Heather Henson's "Handmade Puppet Dreams, Volume IV."


Right: The puppet character Nani, from Sam K. Hale's film Yamasong, which premiered at the Volume IV, Monday April 19, 2010.


(Click image for film trailer.)


Companion program: Harker, puppet vampire film, May 2 (see above).

Photo: Rebecca Patterson

" of Chekhov can put you to sleep in minutes and send you home wondering if his comedies are tragedies misnamed. But director Michael Perlman views Chekhov's shark pool of existential questions from above a surface scintillating with humor..."



A Trinity/Brown production
playing at Pell Chafee through April 30

VIDEO: Festival Ballet Rehearsing Cinderella. (Production runs Apr. 30-May2)

Aurea: Charles Sherba, Nigel Gore, Consuelo Sherba, Chris Turner

RECENT REVIEW: "RILKE, PART 1." A fascinating Apr. 12 concert at Brown by Aurea ensemble. Based on R.M. Rilke's poems and other writings. Aurea presented "Part 2," April 18.
VIDEO: FUSIONWORKS Rehearsal footage as the dance company prepares for their upcoming "Locally Grown" show, May 1, 2, 8, 2010.

ART OPENING: Newport Art Museum


REPORT from the Newport Art Museum Friday, April 9, the opening of "There and Not There: Rust Portraits by Esther Solondz." Visit Solondz' web site for video of her fascinating process. You'll also gain some insights into Solondz' work in the preview article ("Rust in Peace") in Newport Mercury by ArtsmashRI curator Marianne Messina.

Pictured at right: "Louis Riel" rust portrait by Esther Solondz.



While presenting Pippi, Festival Balletwas already working on Cinderella (left). Get an insider's view in our interview/video preview.



"...As actors in canine masks growl and "ruff" at the audience, they give us a palpable sense that their humanity is hidden or stifled behind their animal drives..."


Artsmash saw Complexions Conetmporary Ballet
New Bedford, April 16. REVIEW HERE

REVIEW: Dracula


Artsmash goes to Newport, Belcourt Castle, to film and review Island Moving Company's Dracula. Here's a tasty image. (Shows run Mar. 25-28.)

RECENT REVIEWS (week of Mar. 15):
  • REVIEW: Harriet Jacobs, Perishable Theater
  • REVIEW: Glass Menagerie, The Gamm Theatre


(Right) Diana Buirski as Laura, Wendy Overly as Amanda
in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at the Gamm


Festival Ballet Providence: Pippi Here's a VIDEO PREVIEWof this popular family ballet.

[(l-r) Alexander Akulov, Ashley Andries, Lauren Kennedy]




REVIEW: Dead Man's Cell Phone at Trinity Rep (thru Mar. 28)


Image: Janice Duclos plays a woman compelled to answer a ringing, abandoned cell phone... "The play flits like a butterfly over token lines about souls and the romantic idea of connecting via secret code from the afterlife. But it never lands anywhere..." READ FULL REVIEW


Church (Edward), Nicastro (Gaveston)

Rhode Island College mounts a bold Edward II,


Christopher Marlowe's 16th century history play


Directed by Frank Toti.



Starring Jeff Church, Joseph Nicastro and Kristina Drager.


"...A couple enters: Kristina D'Onofrio lifted by and hugging into Roger Fonnegra. And then D'Onofrio spills onto the floor in what seems like a disgorgement of impulses. Her moves describe a pushing out from and a cocooning into the relationship..." (Festival Ballet -- read full review)




It's an evening of Black Storytelling, hip-hop and love stories at Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House. VIDEO HERE



"...At Trinity Rep, the actors can obviously handle Shakespearean language on auto-pilot, giving them leave to add spice. As the bawdy, drunken Sir Toby, Fred Sullivan adds physicality and notches up the nose-thumb as the kinsman who won't go away. Annie Worden's Olivia pursues Cesario with a randy coquettishness, once her wardrobe evolves from widow's black to saucy red velvet and satin (elegance by costume designer William Lane). Joe Wilson, Jr., tinges the lovelorn Orsino with melodrama. And Brian McEleney (both acting and directing) has perfected Malvolio -- pinched face, upright posture and faux voce blueblood. ..." READ FULL REVIEW.

[Cherie Corinne Rice, Annie Worden]



REVIEW: Elemental Theatre's Father, Son and Go.go

...Humorous and engaging, all the plays feature particularly convincing acting. Kelley Seigh gives a well-grounded performance as Molly, the woman in RedPop who is not sure she wants to have her baby. Seigh pulls off one scene with incredible timing as she carries on two conversations at once, letting lines with double entendre fall ambiguously between the two men talking at her. This play also features a fun fight scene and some death throes verite by Platt.... READ FULL REVIEW

[Seigh, Platt in RedPop]


Casey Seymour Kim as "the Woman"


When I dropped by to check out a rehearsal of Elemental Theatre Collaborative's upcoming new-play trilogy titled The Father, the Son and the Holy Go.Go, I must have watched the punch line of George Brandt's The Cabin at least six times...




The Gamm Theatre production of Sarah Kane's play 4:48 Psychosis makes clinical depression an in-your-face affair. In a tensile, mercurial performance by Casey Seymour Kim, "the Woman" in 4:48 Psychosis wakes every day at this same early morning hour in a state of dysphoria. Choices by both the production and the playwright have hurled this 4:48 state of mind at us like a weapon. In one of her early morning torments, the Woman repeats an army of word-strings while at the same time trying to pound them out of her head. On a distant screen against the back wall, we watch as the words are typed out, "dab, flash, slash…"

Watching this play, I think we come to realize that like the Woman's linguistic sausage of loosely associated word strings, mental illness isn't something you "figure out." And the play seems to be less about fostering our understanding than questioning how we deal with it. How do we deal with it, as a culture, as individuals? If you saw the production, did you find yourself asking, what would I say or do for this person?According to the Woman, the Doctor (Tom Gleadow) falls short because of his need to "cover his ass." Asking him to drop his shields, the character asks a lot of her doctor. And breaking the fourth wall, Kim asks the same of her audience. As she addresses audience members, she breaks in on our observational distance and brings many questions to mind: Will we block this out? Do we feel the need for a shield? For anyone who feels society should embrace those with mental illness, these are important questions. Feel free to share your responses.


  • Read our Un-Review of the Unfinished Destefano on the Air,


    A Perishable Theater Residency Project


  • Perishable's bi-monthly Blood from a Turnip:

Mime and commedia dell'arte performer Ian Thal (above) enacted the hilarious story of hungry Harlequin visiting Heaven and Hell in search of food, at Perishable Theater's bi-monthly late night of adult puppetry. (Friday, January 15)

READ OUR REVIEW of 4:48 Psychosis, at the Gamm Theatre thru Feb. 7, 2010.


REVIEW: Exhibit Opening at Renovated Warwick Art Museum

Being back at the Warwick Art Museum for an opening of "Hues and Views," a two-person exhibition, was much like seeing an old friend after many years of absence… Greatly influenced by works by Wayne Thiebaud, Pierre Bonnard, and Antonio Lopez Garcia, the first artist on display (now through January 30) sees her paintings as a way of telling her story. Margaret Owen's pieces are small, no more than ten inches in height or width, but rich, succulent cakes, oranges, apples, and pomegranates convey a captivating tale of social easiness and charm. She asked herself many times, “Why paint oranges over and over?”... Read Full Review of "Hues and Views"

Margaret Owen art

FILM REVIEW: AVATAR Because Avatar is an important film on many levels, let's first dispense with the obvious: Avatar has fun 3-D graphics, lots of war action, decided but elementary politics, a solid but unexceptional story and a soupcon of two-dimensionality within the character roster… For both practical and thematic reasons, the artistry of Avatar cannot easily be separated from its 3-D component. Sitting there in your glasses, you are literally seeing the world through different eyes. And the 3-D lets you literally "see beyond the surface." This is as apt as it gets. What Cameron has done here is to point all metaphors, references, techniques and plot twists, laser-like, to the film's pivotal phrase: "I see you." READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE




REVIEW: The Final Show in the Black Repertory's Afrosonic Music Series

So how did the Black Repertory mashup between PBS' Low Water and BET's Chachi Carvalho go? Sort of like a wedding party – slow and smooth for the good meal, then breaking loose for the family fiesta. Short by a guitarist, Low Water was a three-piece surrounded by stage; Carvalho's nine-piece Eleventh Island Band was a stage takeover, crowding the stage with horn section, keys, drum kit, conga drums, guitar, bass, and DJ tables. And every instrument was going full tilt. Low Water comes on like a cottage by the lake, phased-guitar dreamy, horse-clop groovy, and Carvalho comes in like urban train wreck...

Chachi Carvalho, Artwork: Mario A.


[from Low Water's latest video, "GO"]



PMO REVIEW: "If you missed the Providence Mandolin Orchestra concert (Saturday, 12/11/09) at Goff Hall in Rehoboth, you missed a local treasure. The internationally appreciated PMO is a unique musical ear-opener.

And Goff Memorial Hall is quite a place to hear a mandolin orchestra. After songs end, a little tail of resonance wags in the air -- an ideal effect for a powerful musical piece called "Lament for Kosovo." At song's end, conductor Mark Davis remains frozen in the fetal self-hug of his final cut-off while the musical residue evaporates, and the audience remains silent, as if stunned…" READ REVIEW; WATCH VIDEO


INTERROBANG?!: In the folding chair comfort of Ada books, a tiny but funky second-hand book store at 717 Westminster in Providence, a group of editors held a fun (free wine and hard cider) event. To introduce the second issue of Rhode Island’s indie arts magazine Interrobang?!, poets read their poetry and editors read short stories from the Lulu-printed magazine.


Aspiring to attract a national, discriminating audience with “experimental” tastes Interrobang?! can be found both online ( and, thanks to on-demand printing, offline. [READ REVIEW]

“Rage” by Jim Fuess
Artist showcased in Interrobang?! #2


(Jemison Faust 2004)


Newport artist Jemison Faust has taken a whole new direction in her latest mixed media work. Our Arts curator, Bob Dilworth, says Faust is taking risks and doing so with striking results. View images of then and now (link right) and read the review (link below).

Click here to view Faust, THEN and NOW


The Gamm production joins some of the finest in creating the sense that within the walls of Romeo and Juliet we are free to experience, or remember, love, in all its “blush,” as more powerful than hate. It’s the love scenes (and Amanda Ruggiero’s delightful Juliet), not the fight scenes, that linger. (That's if you can set aside a chilling scene in which Juliet's father -- Tom Gleadow, invoking the entire tonnage of gender-role history -- threatens to disown her.)... Is the appeal of Romeo and Juliet mostly about “oh to be young and in love”? Or is there some more serious statement about love? If you saw the show at the Gamm, how did the Gamm approach this issue? JOIN THE DISCUSSION

In a special Thursday performance of Fusionworks’ fall concert, each of the five dances had standout qualities, from the exuberant color and music of “Buenos Dias” to the searing images of “Finning” a premiere by FusionWorks artistic director Deborah Meunier. We also saw Fusionworks director Stephanie Stanford Shaw's “Freedom in the Box.” Set to a spacious piano score with costumes of earthy brown and camo green, Shaw's piece explores ways of reconciling or living with the entrapments caused by a bad decision. It seems the box, or acceptance of the box, calls for grounding. The moves of the six dancers are well-planted -- flat, odd angled feet supporting deep lunges. In an interesting duality between upper and lower body, the grounded frame supports arms and torsos reaching forward and skyward. Balance demands strength.

[Dancer Karen Swiatocha]

Of note, the company took on the intriguing work, “Wein,” or Vienna, by modern dance innovator Pascal Rioult. Rioult’s piece is a tumble of moves evolving from a simple circular parade. As Meunier has pointed out (between dances in the “Unwrapped” program), the dance’s constant movement in circles evokes Vienna’s architecture -- curved streets, circular parks and semi-circle palaces. Maintaining those circular patterns -- which like buildings on Viennese streets form circles along circles -- is a strenuous dance process, according to Meunier. “We spent two days working only on the circles.”




If you saw Cirque Mechanics when they came to Providence,RESPOND HERE.

by Bob Dilworth
Check out some artists' responses to this discussion!
Brian O’Malley is an ingenious painter with subtle power and punch, who pushes the image right to the border of full realization. He uses his own images and those excavated from newspaper and magazine headlines as a way to set up ideas for narratives, using them to build structure, develop topic, create mood, and tell his story, allowing the element of chance to take its course. “The Delirium Waltz” shows this. [Continued Here]


[Photo: Alexa Kosmider]
"...Sometimes during one play or the other, a hand reaches down onto the stage to lift out a set piece, or reaches out to make the rod-butterfly flit beyond the stage.. Petran relates that people often approach him after the show and say 'We saw your hands.' But Petran deliberately lets his or Novak's hands be part of the show. 'On purpose I show our hands; I like to expose it because once you expose it, that's a contract. It's a deal, and then things can happen'..." [ Check out the article.]


Sitting in the woods at midday, the noon light weaving through the leaves, I thought how my experience was so unlike a Robert Frost line, spoken from outside the woods looking in: "the woods are lovely dark and deep." From inside, the woods seemed brightly enveloping. It's all in perspective. I tell this tale because Oroboros, a 5-minute film by Peter A. Bussigel, uses a similar exercise in perspective to explore "deepness." [Read More]


Digital musician Freida Abtan (photo: L'Etoile Magazine)

"Without the familiar melody present in, say, loud rockmusic, digital music makes you notice how sounds pull, grate, thump, warm and alarm the entire body, not just the ears. And so the best digital presentations offer revelations. At Tazza Caffe, downtown Providence..." [Read More]

Visit the First Works schedule, check out something you like, and start a discussion.

Blog Posts

UConn introduces a New Puppetry Anthology

Thursday, October 9, 2014

“Puppets lead double lives, often controlling the things that seem to control them.” – Forward to The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (currently hard copy…

Posted by Marianne Messina on October 21, 2014 at 0:18


I may reserve this space for reviewing Methacular - if I can get to Chicago. But here's my front page blurb:

The play Methacular is currently in Chicago at The Theatre Wit through Sept. 26. This play by Steven Strafford had an off-off Broadway run two years ago.…


Posted by Marianne Messina on September 18, 2014 at 13:00

A Merry Murder Mystery - December 28, 2013

7-8:30pm - Newport Art Museum, Griswold House

Celebrate with Newport's society members in a festive evening of music, games, gift-giving, and endless holiday fun set in the late Victorian age. When the merry-making ends and the murdering begins, you will question the suspects, search the house for clues, and attempt to solve the crime!

Adults $30, Seniors & Active Military $25, Students $15. Call 401-848-8200 for Museum member…


Posted by Gayle Hargreaves on November 23, 2013 at 21:34

The Dickens Christmas Feast - December 13, 2013

7-10pm - Newport Art Museum, Griswold House - repeated December 14, 2013

An interactive evening of fine food, beautiful costumes, song, dance, storytelling, and plenty of Christmas cheer. Dinner theatre performed by Marley Bridges Theatre Company.

$115-$140 per person - Festive Dress

Tickets & information:…


Posted by Gayle Hargreaves on November 23, 2013 at 21:00


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