Last May, I wrote a cover story for the Phoenix about newish RISD Museum Director John Smith and his grand challenge: to add some shine to the museum, an underappreciated and underperforming gem.
Smith, an energetic character with a populist touch, laid out an interesting vision for the place. But things move slowly in Museum Land; exhibits are planned months and even years in advance.
In the Spring of 2009, I wrote a profile of RISD President John Maeda a year into his tenure. It was the story of a digital media rock star trying out a new brand of leadership - one that would eschew the traditional emphasis on constructing a gleaming building or department for a focus on connectivity and vision and stoking entrepreneurship.
The Cable Car Cinema and Cafe, Providence's venerable art house, is in a pickle.
The big studios, sadly, are phasing out 35 millimeter prints. And by the end of this year, it will be tough for theaters that haven't made the conversion to digital projection to keep on keeping on.
The 35-year-old Cable Car hasn't yet made the shift.
RISD President John Maeda has been the chief evangelist, for the past couple of years, for an idea known as "STEM to STEAM."
STEM, for the uninitiated, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And it is shorthand, in education reform and public policy circles, for an argument that the country needs to build its capacity in these areas if it's to keep its edge in the global economy.
The Museum of Modern Art has taken some lumps for acquiring video games Pac-Man, Tetris, SimCity, and Myst (Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers, among others, are up next). But RISD President John Maeda, a pioneering digital artist in his own right, defends the move in a new column in Wired magazine. From the piece:
Providence artist Peter Glantz directed this shimmering new Wilco video.
No, I'm not talking about Clint Eastwood's Dada performance at the Republican National Convention last week.
I speak, instead, of a debate scheduled Thursday night that will pit Congressman David Cicilline against his Democratic primary challengers - businessman Anthony Gemma and perennial fringe candidate Chris Young.
I've got a cover story in today's Phoenix on Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty's little-noticed emulation of Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, whose truck-driving, blue-collar authenticity and squishy ideology offers the most compelling model for a GOP resurgence in the northeast.
Call it a Rhode Island-size blockbuster.
Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom - though it won't gross Batman-like returns - continues to blow up the indie circuit. And the film's success here - Kathy Staab of the Jane Pickens Theater in Newport tells me it's her highest-grossing movie in memory - owes something to a local tie: it was filmed in Rhode Island.
RISD President John Maeda has championed a shift from STEM to STEAM, adding "Art" to the "Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM)" drive animating American education and economic development these days.
Maeda's push is, among other things, a bid to recognize the importance of design in our economy (the iPod is as much a triumph of design, after all, as it is a triumph of technology)
We've got a great cover story in this week's Phoenix on Providence's failure to embrace native son H.P. Lovecraft, a horror writer who died in relative obscurity, but has become an international icon and inspiration to the likes of Stephen King.
Why only a gravesite and a little noticed plaque on the Brown campus? Why not a walking trail and a gift shop selling Cthulu thongs? The puacity of local tributes to the man is particularly curious in a city that has gone to such great lengths to market itself as the Creative Capital.
Actually, there's nothing criminal about Matt Jerzyk. Not since he cut off that ponytail, anyway. I was just smooshing together our two main features in this week's Phoenix.
Jerzyk is a (formerly ponytailed) activist-turned-insider: a lefty bomb thrower and shrewd political organizer who now holds a key post in Providence Mayor Angel Taveras' administration.
In February, as you may recall, there was a bit of a flurry over the shooting of a film chronicling then-RISD student Shepard Fairey's breakout performance in 1990: plastering his "Andre the Giant" figure over a Buddy Cianci-for-mayor billboard.
The erection of the billboard left some wondering if, perhaps, Cianci was making an improbable political comeback.