Who: Karen Bentley
What: Owner, Karen Bentley Tarot
When: 6pm, Wednesday August 22
Where: Cactus Grille, 800 Allens Ave., Providence
Why: I’m a sucker for all things mystical
Karen Bentley Tarot is a one-woman show. The self-proclaimed “tarotpreneur” makes a living by reading tarot cards. Similar to the standard 52-card deck, a tarot deck features four suits; in place of a spade or a club, however, you might find a cup or a sword. Magicians, emperors and fools run rampant. Oh, and you should probably watch out for that pesky devil card.
I spot Karen in the back room of Cactus Grille. She’s draping a table with a swatch of wispy leopard fabric in preparation for her monthly Manicures and Margaritas event, featuring $10 tarot card readings, $6 express manis and $5 drink specials. As my late grandmother practiced tarot, my interest in the esoteric runs deep. I park it beside Karen in the circular red booth.
She’s a beautiful lady, with eyes that smile even when her lips stay unmoving. “I’m an ethical reader,” Karen explains after I recite a few of the past tarot-based predictions that never quite materialized. I was supposed to meet my future husband last September! “I don’t ‘cast the mark,’ she says. “That’s usually bad news for people that approach the tarot with misguided expectations.”
I shuffle the deck, concentrating – as instructed – on the topic I craved insight on: romance. “At these events I do a seven-card horseshoe spread,” she explains. Satisfied after a minute of shifting the cards back and forth, I randomly choose seven and hand them over. She arranges them neatly. “The cards tell a story,” she says, “and they must be read in conjunction with the others.”
The 78-card tarot deck can be broken up into two parts: major arcana (22 cards without suits) and minor arcana (56 cards containing the …
With Halloween looming, Providence will again be celebrating one of its own creators of horror during the annual H.P. Lovecraft Walking Tour and film series. The tour, hosted by the Rhode Island Historical Society in conjunction with the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, will highlight the famous horror and fantasy author's “Providence stories,” written between 1924 and 1935. The tour will cover the site of his former home, as well as numerous locations around the city mentioned in pieces such as The Haunter of the Dark, The Shunned House, and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
The tour begins at 1pm on Sunday, October 28 , departing from the John Brown House at 52 Power Street, and will last for 90 minutes. Tickets cost $18 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling the RIIFF offices at 401-861-4455 or online. Those who attend will be treated to two premiere films inspired by the writing of Lovecraft: Shadow of the Unnamable and The Thing on the Doorstep, immediately following the tour at 2:30. The screenings will be held at the Providence Public Library Theatre, 150 Empire Street. Tickets for the film screening only will be available to the public at the door.
“What do you do that no one else does?”
Food writer/TV personality Anthony Bourdain spoke at Johnson & Wales a couple years back, and that was his response when an eager young culinary student asked if and when he would be taping an episode of his foodie travelogue, No Reservations, in Providence. She had no good answer, and he dismissed her with a simple, “Maybe in season 14.”
Season 9, which is to be the final installment, is airing now. Still no episode in Providence.
It was a fair point on Bourdain’s part. The centerpiece of this month's print issue is our annual look at the local food scene, and this year, instead of telling you what we think of it, we’re letting chefs tell you, in their own words. This is because we thought you would be interested in what they have to say, but also because we’re interested too. We want to know where and what they like to eat and, perhaps more importantly, we want their perspective on the state of food and dining in Providence. We’re hoping that they can start to formulate an answer to Mr. Bourdain’s question.
It’s not as if we need to invent some radically new kind of dining in order to be worthy of a TV show – other food shows, including Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Man v. Food, have visited – but rather, if Providence is truly going to fulfill its potential as a national dining destination, we need to start to construct our own narrative. New Orleans has its Cajun and Creole cuisines. Memphis is a BBQ town. Chicago has established itself as one of America’s most forward-thinking food cities. Portland, Oregon, one of Providence’s closest analogues, has made a name for itself as a farm-to-table Mecca.
So what do we do that no one else does?
Providence, as a dining destination, is currently in that odd position of being both underrated and overrated at the same time. Sure, we get some national accolades – we …
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Core: Center of Real Energy in Providence is taking part in Shape magazine’s nationwide Party for Pink campaign in support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). During the week of October 15, Core is offering six classes for the cause at its two East Side locations (469 Angell Street, 2nd floor and 208 Governor Street). Bring a $20 (or more) donation to class and all proceeds will go directly to BCRF. Contact Core for specific class times and locations, as some require advance sign-up due to space availability: 273-CORE.
With its new, larger location on North Main Street, Rhode Runner has a community room in which they host exercise classes for the public. The newest offering is Bootcamp each Saturday morning at 8am. The class is run by the folks at Providence Bootcamp and the cost is $10. Space is limited, so reserve a spot ahead of time by contacting Rhode Runnner by phone 831-6346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn’s New Crop
We always expect the end of summer/ beginning of fall to bring us a bounty from our farms and gardens, but this year the restaurant scene is also providing quite a harvest.
Ama’s, the little shoebox of a restaurant across from the Avery in Luongo Square, abruptly closed over the summer. In its place we have north (3 Luongo Sq.), which brings the considerable talents of Chef James Mark to bear. He was formerly of Nicks on Broadway, but also worked at the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko in New York City. The opening menu looks impressive and ambitious, freely mixing regional, Latin and Asian influences into things like a Green Curry Lobster Roll or Pork and Clams with coconut milk and fermented shrimp. Check foodbynorth.tumblr.com for updates.
In other “tiny West Side restaurants with one-word names” news, Kitchen is open at 92 Carpenter Street, across from the Public Safety Complex. The recently renovated storefront will be serving breakfast from 7:30am-1pm, Tuesday through Friday, and 7:30am- 4pm on weekends.
Bayal Buffet (50 Ann Mary St., Pawtucket – in the former Shaw’s plaza), offers dishes from around Africa and the Mediterranean, but primarily focused on the cuisine of Senegal. We haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but based on previous experiences with Senegalese food, we expect a lot of rich, well-spiced curry-type dishes, heavy on fish, and bearing the distinct influence of French cookery.
Pawtuxet Village got a welcome addition in the form of the Elephant Room (2170 Broad St., Cranston), a teahouse and creperie. The focus is primarily on serving loose leaf teas from around the world, but there is also coffee, wheatgrass shots and “daily specialty waters.” Those looking for a bite to eat can choose from pastries, salads and crepes both sweet and savory.
The old Mile and a Quarter House at 375 South Main Street has been sadly empty since the beloved Barnsider’s …
Councilman Yurdin Calls for Traffic Safety Improvements
Councilman Seth Yurdin, in an August 29th letter to Michael P. Lewis, director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), has called for safety improvements to the Wickenden/Benefit interchange as the I-195 relocation project continues. As noted in Yurdin’s letter, “The problems most often cited (by residents) include excessive speeding from highway exit ramps; pedestrian access; and safety and congestion.”
The Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) is also aware of numerous complaints from residents, including reports of a downed portion of the RIDOT temporary fence that separates the South Main exit ramp from a nearby sidewalk and the Holy Rosary Church. Lt. John Ryan reported to FPNA that no accident report had been filed on the recent incident, but it appeared likely that an automobile had left the road and run over several fence posts before leaving the scene.
Councilman Yurdin is advocating for improvements to the area that would include pedestrian accessibility, increased signage advising motorists that they are entering a residential neighborhood, and increased enforcement of traffic laws and speeding. FPNA looks forward to increased dialogue on this subject in the future that would include long-term goals for a safer configuration for this area, including a revisiting of plans for Pike Street and the continuation of that abandoned part of the street.
In 2012, the RI General Assembly passed legislation (2012-S 2131, 2012-H 7352), which establishes that “it shall be the policy of the state to consider people of all ages and abilities and all appropriate forms of transportation when planning roadway projects.”
The legislation states: “When the state of Rhode Island constructs or modifies roads and highways, the relevant department must consider complete street design features that facilitate safe travel by all users that expands upon …
Close to 40 people, adults and children from southern Rhode Island and Providence, joined biologist Jeanine Silversmith of RI Families in Nature and several Blackstone Parks Conservancy members to explore the trails in the Conservation District on Playful Providence weekend, September 8th. “I never knew this was here!” exclaimed several people new to the park overlooking the Seekonk River.
The volunteer guides pointed to bittersweet vines winding around trees and slowly squeezing them. Bright orange Jewelweed by York Pond intrigued the children, who balanced on the logs lining the trails.
The Blackstone Parks Conservancy and the Appalachian Mountain Club have been working on the mostly steep trails for many years. Recently a new group, Friends of Blackstone Woods, have started spreading wood chips and working on water bars in an effort to help slow the erosion that is a major challenge in the Park.
If you like to work outdoors, please join us on our next trail day, October 27th. Visit blackstoneparksconservancy.org for further details.
Recycling can be daunting. While you might fully commit to going green, if your neighbors aren’t doing anything to contribute, it can feel like a wasted effort. Mayor Taveras wants to show us that if we all recycle, we can see some tangible benefits – BBQ benefits, to be precise, and to do it he launched the Neighbhorhood Recycling Challenge. The Providence neighborhood that increases its recycling rate the most between now and September 7 will win a community barbecue with the mayor. Taveras will also bestow upon the victorious district five new trees – a green reward for the greenest community.
Mayor Taveras says that increased recycling saves the city money – as much as $250,000 if residents commit to the task – and those are funds that the city desperately needs. So if BBQ wings, trees or a cleaner environment are not your thing, maybe the promise of keeping property taxes down for another year will be enough to ensure your participation.
Time magazine correspondent Michael Grunwald is the author of The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, a new book that examines the president’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the stimulus package. In an insightful interview with Slate.com, he discusses the difference between the White House’s nuanced, deliberative attempts to promote the bill to the American public, and the Republican response: “The Republican message was much simpler: No.”
Later, he talks about the current Republican nominee’s approach: “There’s a reason most of Romney’s ads feature the stimulus... He’s running against the idea that government can produce positive change.”
This is a nice illustration of the pervasive sickness infecting the conservative movement, or at least what passes for it these days. As many of the ideas of Reagan Era conservatism have been absorbed into the mainstream, as ideological purity has taken precedence over bipartisan pragmatism, as the extremes of the American right have gained more traction, dragging the center toward them, conservatism has taken on a distinctly nihilistic edge. This manifested in various ways throughout the Republican primaries: the dunderheaded, bumper sticker bravado of Rick Perry; the boldly intellectual yet cravenly opportunistic bluster of Newt Gingrich; the frothing radicalism of Michele Bachmann; the appealing vapidity and corporate festishism of Herman Cain – all are symptoms of a disease that corrodes the party’s very soul. And, of course, so too is the resulting candidacy of Mitt Romney, a campaign that has from the beginning attempted to sell its very emptiness as vision. This shape-shifting, weak-kneed, disingenuous, philosophically bereft cipher has taken pains to avoid specifics or sticky definitions. In fact, there is only one thing he has been willing to be, one identity he has been willing to fully inhabit at all times …
The local nonprofit Project Undercover, which provides things like socks, underwear and diapers to needy children, is going to have a good day on Tuesday, September 18. How do we know? Because on that day all three Rhode Island Whole Foods locations (601 North Main St., 261 Waterman St. and 151 Sockanosset Crossroad, Cranston) will donate 5% of the day’s sales to benefit the charity. It's a great opportunity to support a great cause while buying things you already need anyway.