There are cities — legitimate cities, cities you’ve heard of — that do not have within their borders the range and diversity of shops that you’ll find on Providence’s Wickenden Street.
Spend an evening talking with Brian Chippendale and you’ll hear a lot of self-deprecating laughter, repeated invocations of the word “fun,” and quite a few conversational tangents (from a brief history of his studio space’s square footage to the comparative merits of the current Captain America and Green Lantern comic books).
In an age when local bookshops are disappearing, a group of independent bookstores in Providence are flourishing thanks to the commitment of a unique set of booksellers and a vibrant literary community to keep the box stores and the online giants at bay.
A modified version of this article first appeared in Rue Morgue magazine.
Since horror is so much about the unknown, it’s fitting that Rhode Island’s greatest horror writer isn’t well known outside of genre circles. But Providence grew from its ocean-salted soil a horror titan. Providence was the home of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
In a third-story studio on the east side of Providence, in a neighborhood that he describes as looking like “the quiet Midwestern suburb” of his childhood, author Chris Van Allsburg conjures the magical stories that have made him famous worldwide.
Van Allsburg’s books, which include the made-into-movie bestsellers Jumanji and The Polar Express, often pivot on the idea that magic surrounds us, sometimes capriciously revealing itself, other times revealed only to those capable of seeing it.
In September 2009, Mayor Cicilline stood alongside leaders of the Latino community in South Providence to unveil the Creative Capital's newest display of public art and to launch a unified showcase of artistic events as part of the national observation of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Tim Norton still remembers the first time he learned of vintage baseball. It was the winter of 1998, and he read a newspaper article about a team from Old Bethpage, NY, that played under 1880s rules, using the uniforms and equipment of the period.
"I saw that and was transported," says the novelist and University of Rhode Island creative writing instructor. "I knew that I had to start a team here."
A day in Providence's Armory district may well start with a vigorous walk around the Dexter Training Ground, joining the early risers and their four-legged friends in the park in the shadow of the Cranston Street Armory.
Since 2006, Karen Beebe has owned and operated Queen of Hearts, a clothing and design boutique in downtown Providence located at 186 Union St. The store features handmade, one-of-a-kind designs from local artists and designers.
1. What prompted you to start Queen of Hearts?
I don't generally describe drinks in terms of hints of this or notes of that.
But sampling a Baltic Porter in a downtown Providence basement, the first thing I think is "this lights up your mouth." It provides a pleasant tingling, as if my mouth had fallen asleep and blood is returning to it.
That liveliness comes from a liberal dose of star anise and aging the beer in bourbon barrels, Sean Larkin, brewmaster at Trinity Brewhouse (186 Fountain St; 401-453-2337), tells me as we stand surrounded by 3,600 gallons of beer.