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Summer Arts Preview: An A-Z Guide

A complete guide to the season’s best theater, music, art and culture

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So you forgot to reapply your SPF at the beach last weekend and now your blistered skin is begging for reprieve from the sun. Worry not - our creative capital is brimming with cultural activities and events to keep you pleasantly occupied while your complexion transforms itself back from lobster to a more natural hue. Read on to discover the best of the season’s theatre, music, art and more.

A is for Art Bus.
On the third Thursday in June, July and August, hop aboard the art bus to visit 26 galleries and museums throughout the city as part of Gallery Night Providence. Guided tours begin at 5:20pm and leave every 20 minutes through 7pm. Many participating locations offer wine, cheese and music. Free. One Regency Plaza, Providence.

B is for Beer and Live Music.
Kennedy Plaza welcomes you back to its wildly popular Burnside Park Music Series and Beer Garden, taking place every Thursday between July 11 and September 5. Kick off your work shoes and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the shady grass. It’s the best of sum- mer in the city. Free. 4:30pm. 2 Kennedy Plaza. 331-5544.

C is for Congas and Cellos (and Bears, Oh My!).
Got an ear for music but can’t tell a flute from your elbow? Bring the family to Blackstone Park on June 21 for the Playful Providence Kick-Off: RI Philharmonic in the Park: Learn about Musical Instruments event. Free. 11am-3pm. River Road opposite the Narragansett Boat Club, Providence.

D is for Drama.
Pure Drama. Celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep Summer Theatre program with three new plays produced in rep: Indian Summer by Greg Moss, See Bat Fly by Kathryn Walat and The Droll by Meg Miroshnik. $5-$12. Wed-Sat July 9-August 2. 8pm. Leeds Theatre, 83 Waterman Street, Providence. 863-2838.


E is for Egyptian Mummies and Circus Tricks.
The RISD Museum’s recently renovated sixth-floor galleries reopen mid-June; see familiar favorites like the mummy Nesmin and the giant Japanese Buddah. August 21 brings Design the Night: It’s a Circus, an evening of live performances by a variety of artists (plus much more). Free. 224 Benefit Street, Providence. 454-6506.

F is for Feel the Romance.
Grab the hand of your special someone and stroll down the hill together on a WaterFire evening. There’s nothing more romantic than taking a dance lesson together at the WaterFire Ballroom. Waltz under the stars on a polished black dance floor that hovers just above the cobblestones. Free. Westminster at Weybosset.

G is for Girl Power!
Head to AS220 on June 28 for the Womanimation! 2014 Film Festival showcasing animated films by women. In addition to screenings, there will be guest performances by Rachel Rosenkrantz performing on bass with animated projection along with DJ Madame B spinning tunes. $10. 5pm, 7pm & 9pm. 115 Empire Street. 831-3663.

H is for Haute Fashion.
Don’t miss the East Side’s most unusual fashion show. The 2nd Annual Crosswalk Catwalk takes place June 21 on Thayer Street. Models wearing garments made by local designers will march up and down the side- walks from Second Time Around to Starbucks, pausing on corners to smile for the flashing bulbs. Free. 2pm. 297-9997.

I is for Inspired Local Art.
Although Brown students are home for summer, the school’s David Winton Bell Gallery is busness as usual. Check out its Going Nowhere: Alumni Artists in Providence from June 6 to July 7. The exhibition features six Brown alum who live and work in Providence. 64 College Street, Providence. 863-2932.

J is for Jams on the Boulevard.
Warm summer evenings bring The Blackstone Boulevard Summer Concert Series Project. The community is invited to gather around the boulevard’s trolley shelter on select weekday evenings to enjoy live music from various genres. Feel free to bring a snack or purchase food from roadside vendors. Go online for details. Free.

K is for Kiddie Band.
Brooklyn’s hippest indie band for children, Rolie Polie Guacamole, plays a family-friendly concert on June 29 in the garden of the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum. Their high-energy music will get little legs dancing happily. Be sure to bring a blanket and a picnic basket! Free. 3pm. 199 Hope Street, Providence. 453-0688.

L is for Little Picassos.
Stoke creative fires by bringing your brood to Kennedy Plaza every Thursday morning between July 11 and August 22 for Thursdays on the Plaza. Children will enjoy Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park featuring wonderful literary experiences plus hands-on art projects and activities. Free. 10:30am-12:30pm. 2 Kennedy Plaza. 331-5544.

M is for Master of Ceremonies.
June 1-7: The Wilbury Theatre presents Cabaret from June 1-7. This legendary musical, set in Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub, blends the carefree abandon of a seedy cabaret with the real tension of Germany’s Nazi rise in 1931. $20-$25. 393 Broad Street, Providence. 400-7100.

N is for Nowhere Man.
The Providence Performing Arts Center presents Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles on June 18. The live multi-media spectacular will take audience members on a musical journey that celebrates one of the world’s most beloved bands. Come prepared to sing along to classics like “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.” $25-$65. 220 Weybosset Street, Providence. 421-2787.

O is for Operatic Bliss.
This summer Opera Providence presents two full-length productions. First up on July 18 & 20 is La Traviata by Verdi followed by The Mikado on August 8-10. Both operas will take place at the historic Columbus Theatre. Reservations are required so be sure to call in advance. 270 Broadway, Providence. 331-6060.

P is for Poetry and Prose
On June 2 Slater Mill presents Rhapsody on a Windy Night, a mélange of poetry readings from T.S. Eliot, Baudelaire and more with live chamber music of Debussy and Faure. The rustic, intimate atmosphere of the historic mill is the perfect backdrop for this creative endeavor. $5-$25. 67 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket. 725-8638.

Q is for Que Sera, Sera.
Make the best of whatever the day brings with Brown Street Park’s 7th Annual Summer Concert Series with local musicians and food truck fare. Catch an outdoor concert on July 16, July 30, August 13 or August 27. Performers will soon be revealed so keep your eyes peeled. Free. 5:30-7:30pm. Brown Street at Creighton.

R is for Rooftop Soiree.
Enjoy hot weather and haute fashion? Then don’t miss StyleWeek Swim, an upscale rooftop fashion show showcasing some of 2014’s best swimwear designers. Enjoy brunch, cocktails shopping and more from noon to 8pm. The fun goes down on June 8 at the Providence G’s gorgeous roof terrace. 98 Dorrance Street, Providence.

S is for Saucy Salsa.
On June 14, Fete and Mambo Pa Ti present The Saturday Night Special with live salsa music by Puerto Rico-born Hector Tricoche. Partake in a salsa lesson from 9-10pm and then watch performances by top area dance companies. DJ Rob Suave will be spinning in the ballroom. 9pm-2am. 103 Dike Street, Providence. 383- 1112.

T is for Take an Art Class.
Hamilton House offers two Art Classes this summer in which seniors can take their creativity outdoors. Sketch the landscape at “Landscape Drawing,” which runs Tuesdays from July 8-29 or try your hand at “Painting En Plein Air” (in open air), which runs Fridays from July 11-August 1. 276 Angell Street, Providence. 831-1800.

U is for Under the Elms.
The RI Historical Society has planned a wonderful lineup for its 2014 Concerts Under the Elms series, from patriotic pops to traditional Latin jazz. All concerts take place on the treed lawn of the John Brown House Museum. Go online for a complete schedule of per- formances. $10. 6:30pm. 52 Power Street, Providence. 331-8575.

V is for Veggies With a Side of Artisan Crafts.
Lippitt Park plays host to the Providence Artisans Market each Saturday through the end of summer. Browse the latest in original paintings, ceramics, jewelry, glass, clothing and mixed media then sock up on produce at the concurrent Hope Street Farmer’s Market. Free. 10am-2pm. 1015 Hope Street, Providence.

W is for Wherefore Art Thou?
Head down to the Roger Williams National Memorial (aka the Visitor’s Center) and let TRIST wow you with a production of Henry the Fourth, Part One, part of its annual Shakespeare in the Park series. The outdoor play will take place Thursday through Sunday evenings from June 5-15. Free. 8pm. 284 North Main Street. 331-6118.

X is for Xylophones (and Fireworks, Too)!
Providence’s Fourth of July tradition returns: The BankRI Independence Day Celebration kicks off at India Point Park with a performance by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Pops, conducted by Francisco Noya. The celebration comes to a colorful end with a fireworks display set to music. Free. 7:30pm concert; 9:15pm fireworks. India Street, Providence.

Y is for Yes, My Name is Art Vandalay.
Indulge your fantasy of being an architect by participating in the Providence Preservation Society’s annual Festival of Historic Houses June 13-15. Sip cocktails on Friday night at the Joseph Cooke House on Hope Street then tour 10 gorgeous homes on Cooke, Manning and Hope Streets. $125 Friday; $35-$40 Saturday and Sunday.

Z is for Zoobilee Jamboree.
Support the Roger Williams Park Zoo by attending Zoobilee! Feast with the Beasts, an adults-only evening. Visit the zoo at night while enjoying food, drink, live music, dancing and more on June 28. Tickets (which are tax deductible!) must be purchased in advance. $100 member; $125 non-member. 7-11pm. 1000 Elmwood Av- enue, Providence. 785-3510.