Drunk/Sober/High: Pizza and Politics with Buddy Cianci

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The man himself.

Getting to Ale House

Drunk: I decided to bring my illicit substances to pregame the event with High because it felt too lame to drink by myself. High showed me this game where you can be a goat and roam around the Goativerse. I made fun of him for five minutes, but he convinced me to pay $5 and download the app for myself. By the time it downloaded, I wasn’t completely on my game and it took me ten minutes to figure out that the reason that I wasn’t moving forward was because I was continuously hitting the “collapse” button that made my goat fall to the floor. Walking over to the event, I pretended that High was the goat in the game and kept hitting them so that they would “ba” on command. We arrived 40 minutes late.

Sober: At exactly 7:25, I put my Portuguese textbook away, and left Faunce in a hurry. I only had to walk two blocks, but I wanted to make sure I got to Ale House early enough to secure a seat, and more importantly, to get some pizza. My studies in the two hours prior had deterred my attention away from eating for the first time that day, and I was banking on Buddy’s “get together” for some much needed sustenance. By the time I got to the front doors, I was still two minutes early and decided to text Drunk. I knew it was a long shot, but I wanted to see if they were on their way to know whether or not waiting outside would have been worth it. The only salvageable information from Drunk’s response told me that they were running late because High couldn’t stop playing some “goat game.” I waited outside for another three minutes, but my cravings got the best of me.

High: There’s a great new game called Goat Simulator. Whatever you’re doing, especially if it’s getting ready to go to a Buddy Cianci campaign event, get Goat Simulator.

Ale House Pre-Buddy

Drunk: I arrived to the Ale House with one mission and one mission only: to convince everyone that Goat Simulator was all that they were missing in their lives…until someone from the Cianci campaign gave me a free t-shirt and then I felt my sense of purpose was getting High a t-shirt as well. Wow, I am such a good friend. I found a lady with a t-shirt and told her why High really, really, really needed a t-shirt. After a 2 minute explanation, she weirdly told me that she was just there for the event and that she didn’t know where I could get a t-shirt. My t-shirt did a really great job collecting my pizza sauce. I really wanted to ask someone if the sauce on the pizza was made by Buddy.

Buddy's aforementioned marinara sauce.

Buddy’s aforementioned marinara sauce.

Sober: Upon arrival, the Ale House looked like it would on any other non-forty-cent-wing-night night, an attractive ambiance half-full with people and their murmurings. But after a scan of the tables and a cursory glance at the reserved booth in the back, I realized two things were missing: Buddy and the pizza. In the crowd of journalists, activists, and students, I was able to pick out a few familiar faces. A waitress approached us immediately to tell us drinks were on the Buddy campaign. As tempting an offer as it was, I had to maintain my journalistic integrity for this post and stay sober. Turning down free Dogfish isn’t easy. About 25 minutes into the event, the pizza arrived from upstairs, but this wasn’t just any pizza. It was that artisan kind with whole tomato slices instead of sauce, with meat balls, mac and cheese and wings all on the side. The person behind me in the food line said, “Wow, this is some Tammany Hall shit,” and looking back on it now, I could not have agreed more. I was hungry and they were feeding me. I was instantly, however momentarily, a firm believer in the capability of the Cianci campaign. They had successfully bought my support. Within 3 minutes, the food was gone and Drunk and High were still nowhere to be found.

High: There wasn’t any food when we got there. I mean, what kind of lowkey bar-hosted campaign event runs out of food? They eventually brought some more to the table we were sitting at; I grabbed five pieces of pizza (they were small, I swear), including the last one, and relocated to the bar.

Buddy has arrived

Drunk: I really wanted to ask Buddy if he had played Goat Simulator. I was advised not to do so, so I didn’t.  I met a bunch of people from Providence (or paid actors) who were staunch Buddy supporters and wanted me to drink the Kool-Aid. I told them I couldn’t do that because I was drunk…just kidding I didn’t do that. But I was drunk. I learned from Buddy’s speech that being convicted of assault and calling yourself a social worker are not mutually exclusive. All in all, he did seem like a guy who can get shit done (legally or not is Greek to me).

Sober: Drunk and High showed up about 35 minutes in and were still fixated on that goat app. Drunk was visibly the drunkest person there, which is an admirable feat at an open bar. Two minutes later there was a soft applause and in came the man of the hour. A swarm of students and reporters surrounded Buddy to take pictures. Two men, who I wanted to call “bodyguards,” or maybe “henchmen,” were politely keeping the crowd at bay. As friendly as they were, they looked like Pauly D and someone from Goodfellas had babies and gave them a double dose of whatever Barry Bonds was taking. While they seemed concerned with the crowd, Buddy was cool as a cucumber. He looked like a father coming home from a long work day to a happy, loving family. Amid the cacophony of questions and conversations, he stopped to have a chat with every single person he passed, and took his time with each and every one as if there was nowhere else in the world to be. I fought through the crowd of students, campaign staff members, and waitresses offering me more free drinks to get in the line of greeters. Finally, he approached with a big smile, a warm handshake and a faint smell of rich mahogany and Marlboros.

He was so quick to start a conversation that I couldn’t ask him a single one of the questions I’d prepared. Instead, he interviewed me. “We’ve met before, right?” he said. “You look way too familiar.” He proceeded to ask me about my studies and where I was from. When I told him I was an International Relations concentrator, he told me all about all the various graduate school options I should consider. Our conversation ended with a priceless, dimly lit selfie (which was the third and final box on my “selfies with mayoral candidates” checklist–more to come on that later).

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Hell yes.

I sat back down with Drunk and High, and I was lovestruck. This guy got to me. We were approached multiple times by campaign staff encouraging us to register to vote and casually dropping details about how great a guy Buddy was. It seemed genuine, but eerily orchestrated, almost like half the people who were there were on the payroll.

A big, overly friendly guy in a suit came over to us with the same old hype about “Buddy’s gonna change the city.” At first, we were uninterested, but it turned out this guy was former Mayor Paolino. He told us that Buddy was the only candidate who “has the balls to go get things done and make things happen in this city.” He also told us that even though he and Buddy were once political enemies, he knows that he’s now the best person for the job.

I asked him about Buddy’s criminal history, to which he replied: “He beat up his wife’s lover. Can you blame him?”

After an hour of schmoozing and boozing, Buddy finally took to the mic and made a quick speech. In summary, his main goals for the city are to provide safety, good education, affordable housing, jobs, and diverse culture to the people of Providence. At the end of the speech, a “Buddy! Buddy!” chant ensued thanks to Mr. Paolino’s prompting.

High: Mr. Paolino made us start a “Buddy! Buddy” chant. He was really mad that I wasn’t willing to be the first person to do it. Honestly, I’m not sure how I was managing to hold a conversation, much less start chants. Thankfully, a friend of ours stepped in, and I piggybacked. It wasn’t that successful, though. Maybe lasted for ten seconds.

The food was good. The beer was good, when we finally got it. I leveled up a few times in Goat Simulator. I never got to talk to Buddy. More accurately, I never tried to talk to Buddy. The lowlight of the night was when Drunk received a free Buddy for Mayor t-shirt for saying she was registered in Providence but the lady giving out the shirts would not believe that I, too, was registered in Providence (and I’m not, but that was some unfair assumption-making). Drunk vowed to get me a shirt and wandered off, never to be seen again.

Ale House Post-Buddy

Drunk: Thank the lord that we had a BlogDH bonding event after the pizza party or I would have spent the rest of the night drunkenly playing Goat Simulator. You know how they say pics or it didn’t happen? Well I guess the whole pizza party didn’t happen because I forgot to take a picture with Buddy. I’ll always have Paris my t-shirt.

Sober: After Buddy left, the job was over, so High and I went to go get our first free beer. We were wondering why and how Paolino became such an prominent Cianci advocate, and thanks to a very convenient, very reliable source we got an answer. It turns out that when Buddy first went to jail, he and Paolino were still enemies. After some time, Paolino started to feel bad for Buddy and stopped by the jail frequently to visit. They became friends, and when Buddy was released and had nowhere to go, Paolino helped him get the radio show gig. High and I finished our drinks and left.

High: What a cute story, huh? Almost makes you want to support the guy who was in jail for most of the story, right? Classic Buddy! By the way, I was shocked that they let us have our first beer so late, after Buddy left. Some people must have had about twelve “first beers.”

Thoughts

Drunk: The pizza tasted like matzah. I’m glad it is Yom Kippur so I can now repent for going trashed at an event full of political junkies and old people. I hope more people start playing Goat Simulator so that it will become more acceptable to headbutt in public, but that might be as naïve as thinking that there are any politicians who aren’t corrupt.

Sober: If I learned anything that night, it’s that Buddy Cianci is a world class politician. That event was absolutely genius. I was hypnotized, and to some extent still am. Buddy does have a sketchy history and the event last night felt strangely casual, as pleasant as it was. Be that as it may, the guy has done a lot of great things for the city, and definitely knows how to garner support.

High: I agree with Sober, that man knows how to run a political campaign. I don’t know if he knows how to run a city, other than to throw money under the table to a lot of people, but maybe that is how you run a city. How should I know? He has my hypothetical I-don’t-vote-in-Rhode-Island vote.

Images via Zach Fredericks ’17, via, via Arely Diaz ’17.

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2 Comments

  1. R. Mfasordermang

    Fuck Buddy Cianci.

    He may be a corrupt piece of shit, but he’s our corrupt piece of shit.

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