8 things we learned at An Evening with David Sedaris

photo

David Sedaris, humorist and essayist, came to the swanky Providence Performing Arts Center Monday night for a reading of new and past works and a book signing. Sedaris is the author of the bestselling personal essay collections Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and also frequently contributes to The New Yorker magazine and blog. With a stack of books and papers under his arm, Sedaris wandered onto the massive PPAC stage to read, teaching us a few things:

1. Tumors make good turtle food. Sedaris had a benign fatty tumor in his side called a lipoma. He had taken a liking to a particular snapping turtle, which had a growth on his head, near his house in Emerald Isle and came to the conclusion that he had to feed his tumor to the turtle. He went to a doctor who said he could take the tumor out, but could not give him any removed body parts due to Federal law. Sedaris had the tumor removed in the middle of the night by a fan who approached him at a book signing, who explained that while she was not a surgeon officially, she learned it for a year in med school. After his trip to her clinic after the show, Sedaris kept the tumor in his freezer for almost a year, as the turtles were hibernating. But, when springtime rolled around and he returned to Emerald Isle, Sedaris discovered that his favorite snapping turtle had died over the winter. Sedaris somewhat reluctantly fed the tumor to other turtles in the area, and they gobbled it up!

2. Sedaris is a local litter hero. As described in his 2014 essay in The New Yorker, “Stepping Out”, Sedaris loves his FitBit. When he first got it, he loved it so much that he started picking up trash on his long walks, upping his self-imposed litter-patrol shifts to about nine hours a day, around 60,000 steps, and about 20 – 25 miles. Sedaris shared that he once collected garbage for 30 miles in one day, taking him 11.5 hours. Sedaris has collected so much garbage around his village in West Sussex, England that the local council has named a garbage truck after him and he was invited to Buckingham Palace last May to meet Queen Elizabeth II. 

Continue Reading


Concert Knowledge: 7 things I learned at Bo Burnham’s MAKE HAPPY tour

Bo-Burnham

Bo Burnham came to Providence Friday night, for the third stop of his Fall 2015 MAKE HAPPY tour. Burnham is a comedian, musician, and writer. Starting out of YouTube at the age 16, Burnham was the youngest comedian to record a Comedy Central special at the age of 18. He’s recorded two hour-long specials since then – Words, Words, Words in 2010 and what. in 2013. Burnham also wrote and starred in the MTV series Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous, is hilarious on Vine, and wrote a bestselling poetry book, EGGHEAD.

Burnham performed Friday night at the gorgeous VETS auditorium, and he killed it. Here are the 7 things I learned at MAKE HAPPY 2015:

1. WolfCop is a must (?) see

Burnham’s opener, Adam Newman from Comedy Central, gave a hilarious raving review/reenactment of WolfCop, a Sharknado-esque 2014 movie on Netflix that’s fairly self-explanatory (read: werewolf and cop). However, as Newmann animatedly described, this werewolf movie is the only one where the protagonist transforms into a werewolf wiener-first. WolfCop (aka Lou Garou) transforms into a werewolf mid-pee, and the transformation is a progression of approximately “wiener to potato to explosion.” My friend and I started watching it after the show, and it’s definitely, as Newman argued, a must see. The Netflix description: “After being transformed into a werewolf, a boozy cop uses his new powers to tangle with devil worshipers, shape-shifters, and other minions of evil.” I mean…

2. Bo is tall, so very tall (and also very fluid)

Yes, Bo is ridiculously crazy tall in person, a friend you’d definitely want to take apple picking. At 6′ 5″, Bo was easy to see on stage, sporting his signature white T. The man is just a lot of limbs and is also a very animated performer and dancer. His long legs and arms form a whirlwind of Bo, a fluid octopus of comedy, dance, and sound, if you will.

3. Straight white men have a lot of problems

Bo sat down at his piano and prefaced a song with, “I have a lot of problems, and I like to share them with people,” beginning a satirical, self-aware song from the perspective of a straight white man. Bo belted out a drawn out and melodic, “Straiiiightttt whiteeeeeeee mannnnnn” chorus throughout the song, singing, “Can’t you just leave us alone, and also, no, to the things you asked for” to all the gays and the women’s rights activists.

Continue Reading


Concert Knowledge: 8 Things I Learned at Fleetwood Mac

0125_Fleetwood_Mac_New_York

A magical thing happened on Wednesday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but I swear, it was magic.

Fleetwood Mac stopped in Providence as a part of the second string of their “On With The Show” tour, the first time the ~core five~ members of the band have batted for the same team since Christine McVie, the band’s vocalist, keyboardist and accordionist, left in 1998. So it was a pretty big fucking deal.

Realizing that this may be the first and last opportunity I will ever have in my lifetime to get the full Fleetwood Mac experience, I bought tickets on StubHub and forgot about my 100 pages of creative nonfiction reading in order to do some creative nonfiction living. Ha.

Here are the eight things I learned and loved at Fleetwood Mac:

1. They just get it.

The first six songs of the setlist, in order:

The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Dreams
Second Hand News
Rhiannon (during which I decided I might name my child Rhiannon)
Everywhere

Fleetwood Mac came to fool nobody. They gave their loyal audience what is wanted. They played no games, like that time I saw John Mayer at Madison Square Garden and he only played, like, three songs that everyone knew. They didn’t leave anything out, either, including “Seven Wonders,” “Big Love,” “Landslide,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Gypsy,” “Little Lies,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Go Your Own Way,” “World Turning,” “Don’t Stop,” “Silver Springs,” and “Songbird.”

Continue Reading


Spring Weekend might not be the best show in town on April 17th

Talib_Etix_Facebook

Big news in the incoming-concert knowledge world! As part of their “The People’s Champions Tour,” Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique are bringing their duo act to The Met in Pawtucket on the night of April 17th. Does that date sound familiar? Why yes, that is the Friday of Spring Weekend 2015. Now, we don’t know what BCA has in store for that night (yet), but this is the first time in recent memory that Spring Weekend has had to go up against major nearby musical acts. Just Coachella. Fuck Coachella.

Continue Reading


Under the Bridge: What Cheer? Brigade

It wasn’t Bushwick pseudo-grunge or College Hill hipster. There were drums, consistent, heavy, beating, beckoning me in. There was a mosh pit, moving as one monolithic force. There was a bridge, and under it, there was What Cheer? Brigade.

Most Brown students have seen What Cheer?, a staple of Providence’s offbeat culture since 2005, perform before; but most have seen them out of their element, on the Main Green, on Brown’s turf. What Cheer? in their natural habitat—in last night’s case, in a concrete cave below the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier—is a whole other story. A Providence story.

IMG_8985

On the walk to find What Cheer?, we passed The Whiskey Republic, Al Forno and Lola’s, all on South Water street. But that’s College Hill’s Providence–and more specifically, a small subset of College Hill’s Providence. At the end of the street, by the hurricane barrier, that’s Providence, a Providence not even aware of (or that doesn’t care about) the world of Whiskey Wednesdays and swaths of parents shuttling their kids to Al Forno on family weekend.

Last night, What Cheer? closed Pronk, or Providence Honk Festival, an event aimed to “Reclaim the Streets with brass, beats, and feet!” According to their website, Pronk fashions itself as “a heartfelt antidote to mainstream culture…a street intervention like no other, with outfits and misfits from Rhode Island and beyond.” The day began in India Point Park at 2 p.m. and culminated below the bridge with everyone’s favorite 19-piece brass band from Providence.

Continue Reading


Concert Knowledge: 7 things I learned at James Blake

james blake hob

On Tuesday, I experienced one of the best nights of my life. No, I didn’t renounce my vegetarian ways to try a Spicy With for the first time–I saw James Blake in concert at the Boston House of Blues, and it was unreal. Sorry, Camus, but I’ve actually discovered the meaning of life and it’s obviously beautiful British singers with incredible hair and angelic voices. Below are 7 things I learned at the James Blake concert, or as I like to call it, the day James Blake touched my hair, shoulder, and soul.

1. Make friends.

I really had no problem going to this concert alone because I was going to see James Blake in the flesh and that was all that mattered.It was still good, though, to bond with others over our mutual appreciation of Sir James’ perfection [Ed.: pretty sure he’s not a knight…], and just good music in general. I ended up making concert friends simply by remarking how cold it was outside, how annoying those drunk bros behind us were, and how tear-jerking James’ live rendition of “A Case of You” was. (I whispered, “My heart…” and the girl next to me said “Saaaame,” and bam. Insta-buddies). Also, if your new concert friend takes videos or pictures that you were unable to take because you were too busy jamming to those sick beats, you can always ask whether he/she can email them to you later.

Continue Reading