Community News

In the Know on the East Side

From over-bearing trees at Prospect park to Wheeler's new arts center, find out what's going on in the East Side this month


Special Musical Notes for November
PPAC will be offering their usual broad range of fall entertainment this month. But for the genre music lovers among us, two iconic performers will be paying us a visit. On November 15, it’ll be folk legend Bob Dylan, gnarly voice and all. Then on the 30th it’s five-time Grammy-nominated jazz singer-song-writer Diana Krall (trivia note: her husband is Elvis Costello in case you didn’t know). Expect both artists to sell-out, so move quickly if you want seats.

Rabbi Redux
Rhode Island’s longest serving rabbi, Les Gutterman of the East Side’s Temple Beth-el, will be stepping down after 44 years on the pulpit. He announced his official retirement plans during last month’s High Holiday services, which secured him a well-deserved standing ovation (in shul no less). Les has been a pillar of our Providence community, serving on the boards of numerous non-profits, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and deserves whatever accolades and presentations come his way during his yearlong “victory lap” through the seasons. Hope the rabbi has a great year (number 5775 if you’re keeping score). He’s earned it.

On a Clear Day You Can See... Well Sort Of
One of Providence’s signature viewing vistas is Prospect Terrace. Joined by an imposing 15-foot granite Roger Williams, tourists at the site to enjoy the expansive view below, especially during these months of autumnal glory. Slight problem though. The trees have grown so tall it’s increasingly difficult to catch much of a glimpse of the city below. True, when the leaves tumble off, things improve. But might this also be a good time for the city forester to consider organizing an arboreal haircut for trees in this important city landmark? Just sayin’.

Belly Up For a Good Cause
And now for something a little different. Check out Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet on the afternoon of November 2 for something called “A Billion and One Nights.” It’s an event to both raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and celebrate the art of belly dancing. The brainchild of Kanina, a longtime dancer/studio owner in Wickford, it’s also in honor of her late husband who passed away of lung cancer this past March. The festivities will include live bands and the opportunity to sit back and just watch the dancers or join in and participate in some line folk dancing yourself. Organizers note that 100% of the funds raised will go to charity. Contact www.kaninadance. com for more details and ticket info. Dancers fighting Cancers? Has a nice ring to it.

On Black Friday: Buy Something or Buy Nothing

As many of us prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year, the Friday after Thanksgiving, others are preparing to buy... absolutely nothing. The Buy Nothing Winter Coat Exchange will be held on the State House lawn on November 28. This annual event is organized by East Side activist and all around good guy Greg Garritt. It’s very simple in concept. Anyone with a winter coat they’d like to donate, just drives by the Capitol and drops it off. Anyone who needs a coat, can just stop by and get one. In addition to the Providence location, other Rhode Island cities have their own sites as do many of our local YMCA’s. CLICK HERE  for specifics. Meanwhile for the more traditional of you among our readers, please check out our own holiday gift guide in this issue... after you donate a coat of course. And please the advertisers with some love, since they’re the ones who help keep our free paper, free.

Big Dealer at Wheeler
As part of the official opening of its new arts center building during its Alumni Weekend on October 17, Wheeler also unveiled a new name for the facility. The project represents the biggest campus building project in 50 years and includes a 400-seat auditorium, five performing arts classrooms, four practice rooms, a 175-seat black box theatre, a digital photo lab and storage space. Very impressive indeed. The building is a capstone of a campaign to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the school. Its new name will be the Gilder Center for the Arts in recognition of the generous leadership gift by the Gilder Foundation in New York City. Meanwhile the arts center really does look great! Wheeler, take a well-deserved bow for a job well done.