Alums who do cool things: WaterFire founder Barnaby Evans ’75

WaterFire001

WaterFire is often cited as one of Providence’s premier attractions and an event which every Brown student should experience at least once in his or her time here. It’s no coincidence, then, that WaterFire founder and Executive Artistic Director Barnaby Evans ’75 attended Brown, back when the New Curriculum was still new and Providence was an entirely different city. He spoke with us about his influences, his goals, and how WaterFire and the multi-disciplinary, international nature of Providence are influencing projects across the globe.

BlogDH: What drew you to Brown?

Evans: Absolutely the New Curriculum. I was fascinated that a university was going to affirmatively talk about the importance of cross-disciplinary scholarship and engagement, and I think that we’ve made such great advances in many fields… but there’s a tremendous amount to be learned about the dialogue and the areas between fields. And that’s what I liked about Brown; that Brown wasn’t accidentally going to engage that. It was going to go head-on and say ‘this is important.’ You saw that in a lot of different things, like the way the medical program is set up.

BlogDH: Was there anything particularly formative about your time at Brown that you think helped influence your development of WaterFire?

Evans: I think Brown opened a whole series of universes to me in a very graceful way, and caused me to realize the complexity and interdependence of many of these departments, so that I was comfortable engaging in different dialogues of different disciplines in a way that I don’t think I otherwise would have been. And there’s a great balance at Brown, I’ve found, between the dialogue of making a decision, the rigorousness of the scholarship, and also the engagement to make a difference and make a positive change. You’ve got to have all those things balanced together, and I think Brown does that and, more specifically, the student who chooses to come to Brown does that. Of equal importance is what I learned from my fellow students as what I learned from my professors at the institution. There’s a collegiality and a professionalism at all levels that I think exemplifies liberal education, and I think Brown should be very proud of that.

Continue Reading


Art School(ed): Finding Vivian Maier this week at the Cable Car Cinema

Perhaps you are well acquainted with Blog’s column, This Week at the Avon. Meet the Avon’s sulky, redheaded step-sister hip, closer-to-sea-level competitor, the Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. Cable Car, located on seabreezy South Main Street, has recently been deemed “Best Art House Cinema in New England” by Yankee Magazine. This week, Cable Car has extended their screening of the new, much-anticipated documentary Finding Vivian Maier through Thursday. This film seeks to unveil the mysterious nanny who also happened to be one of the most prolific street photographers of the 20th century. She created work on par with Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, and Robert Frank, but her fruits of her Rolleiflex were unknown to the world until 2007.

MV5BMTcyODk4NzU5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE4OTk2MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

A 26-year-old real estate agent and director of the film, John Maloof, discovered Maier’s work at a storage auction in Chicago while looking for images of the Windy City to include in a book he was co-authoring at the time. Maier had stashed her work away in boxes, and 100,000 negatives and undeveloped rolls of film had remained unseen until Maloof stumbled upon them. The art world and the general public feel immense gratitude towards Maloof because he made Maier’s work known, but, as the film progresses, the problematic nature of Maloof’s nearly tyrannical possession of the work bubbles to the surface. Maloof had no personal connection to Maier before he bid on a trunk of her negatives for $300, but now he is producing (and profiting from) posthumous prints of her work, and receiving international attention because of Maier’s eccentric story. At times, Finding Vivian Maier comes across as a thinly veiled promotional piece for John Maloof, and it makes the viewer wonder what this film could have been if it had been directed by a third party documentarian.

Continue Reading


Introducing: The Dean Hotel

      Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.26.23 AM

After much anticipation, The Dean Hotel officially opened in downtown Providence on April 3rd with one of the hipper after-parties Fountain Street has ever seen (there was a large, yellow snake involved). In the past few months, The Dean has caught the attention of The New York Times and T Magazine, but now the time has come for the student body to reap the benefits of this local commodity. Why should you check out The Dean Hotel? How is it going to reshape the way you experience Providence as a college town? The Dean has everything the young collegian’s heart could possibly desire. We love The Dean. Let us count the ways.

R_WxSof2teXE-kNETByLJqFR4tqHZ35s8KWIKybzV_0

1. The Dean is a hotel that is inspired by, well, us. The hotel has been carefully curated to exude an eggheaded vibe and the interior design achieves the perfect blend of Ivy League traditionalism and RISD-esque crafty eccentricity. The art, furniture, and objects that adorn the Dean warrant their own Art School(ed) post. The hotel’s website encourages Providence visitors to “come sleep with The Dean.” (How did they know about our crush on KBerge?!?) In reality, few of us will ever leave the twin XLs in our dorm rooms for The Dean’s bunkbeds, but the new hotel provides a viable option for visiting parents, and it outshines all of the other temporary lodging options in the city. The Dean follows in the footsteps of experiential New York hotels like the Ace Hotel and the Standard and brings a taste of that concrete jungle to the streets of downtown Providence, with its own New England twist.

Continue Reading


A Cool Thing You Probably Missed: Many, many flash mobs

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 4.17.14 PM

Today is not only the first day of spring, but also International Day of Happiness. What a lovely holiday. Does this involve people giving each other hugs, back rubs, and chocolates on the Main Green? Nah, too muddy for that. International Day of Happiness is actually a UN-sponsored initiative arguing that “‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.” And, as with seemingly everything these days, Pharrell is in on the act. He has lent his hit song “Happy” to the campaign (no word on his Arby’s hat).

In Providence, a group of dancers went around the city to perform a series of flash mobs to Pharrell’s song. There was even one outside Wilson at 1 p.m. and by the Starbucks on Thayer half an hour later! Check for a list of every place the group went today after the jump, via the ProJo:

Continue Reading


Useless Rankings: Providence has the second best downtown ever

151STOCKLIV016

…And by ever, I mean in the United States in 2014 according to Livability.com. Yep, PVD beat out urban luminaries such as Indianapolis, Eugene, and Provo. (You couldn’t find 10 downtowns better than Provo?) Only Fort Worth, Texas beat out Providence. Livability didn’t just make this up; they had some impressive statistics on their side:

  • The public library was recently redone.
  • Half the office space in Rhode Island is in downtown Providence.
  • The city’s median age is 28.
  • The city’s workers only have to commute an average of 16 minutes to work.
  • We have WaterFire.

Also, the above picture is clearly a fabrication. It seems to imply that the trees will at some point sprout leaves and that it at some point will be warm enough to walk around in short sleeves. Lies.

Image via.


1459147_10152065267972603_2122829255_n

Rhode Island once again has a Christmas tree

1459147_10152065267972603_2122829255_n

‘Tis the season for overly dramatic and arboreal scuffles.

In response to last year’s flak regarding renaming the 17-foot evergreen in the State House a “Holiday Tree,” Rhode Island’s Governor Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 has restored the Christmas tree title in a statement issued on Monday.

Rhode Island of all places is a peculiar site for a debate over public religious tokens, considering the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 was the first legal document in the world that completely decoupled church and state in favor of toleration, according to historian J. Stanley Lemons.

However, unsurprisingly, much of the hubbub last year surrounding the name “Holiday Tree” came from none other than Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly. In classic Factor fashion, he sent Jesse Watters up to Providence to ask Brown students for their take on the issue. Watters aired a segment portraying Brown students as the only population in the state that preferred the holiday tree over a Christmas tree, saying that all people he spoke to in Providence preferred the traditional name “except if you go to Brown University.” Continue Reading