Former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci dies at 74

Buddy Cianci, dead at 74

Two-time former mayor of Providence, Vincent ‘Buddy’ Cianci, died Thursday morning at 74 of colon cancer, according to the Providence Journal. He was rushed to Miriam Hospital due to stomach pains he was experiencing Wednesday night.

Cianci’s legacy is quite muddled; while he is often credited with the economic transformation seen in Providence in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which birthed a commercial boom marked most notably by the Providence Place Mall and Waterfire, he was also removed twice from office on felony charges and faced rape accusations.

Felon or not, Buddy has been a relevant figure in the College Hill community for decades. He’s taken selfies with our staffers, sent in pictures of his breakfast, and dealt with drunk bloggers attending his campaign events. Another fun fact is that he had his own line of pasta sauces, which may not have been terribly profitable but were somehow displayed in the window of a Cartier store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Mayor Jorge Elorza, who defeated Buddy’s mayoral campaign in 2014, has ordered that flags in Providence be flown at half-staff, and said that arrangements are being made to memorialize Cianci.

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Art School(ed): A survey of Providence’s wallpapers

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Our story begins with the Eliza Ward House on the corner of Benefit and George. At night, the perceptive pedestrian might notice a glimpse of something peculiar through the window: a series of panoramic wallpapers in the house Joseph Brown, a founder of Brown University, built and designed the house for his daughter, Eliza Ward, in 1814. Ward had commissioned the woodblock-printed, full color scenes from Dufour & Cie, a French manufacturer of painted wallpapers and fabrics, and they remain to this day (thanks to thorough restorationists). Panoramic scenes transform the Bosphorus Room and the Incas Room into 19th century marvels. While the wallpaper titled “Les Rives du Bosphore” (On the Banks of the Bosporus) is loosely based on palm tree-laden landscapes of Turkey, the panel above the fireplace mantel depicts a pine-treed scene from Maine, reflecting Ward’s personal affinity for the northernmost New England state. The print “Les Incas” portrays an imagined scene of explorer Francisco Pizarro’s first encounters with the Incas. (For a more in-depth explanation of the house’s history and restoration process, check out Houzz’s Room of the Day article on the Eliza Ward House.)

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The types of Providence drivers I encounter when I jaywalk

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I’m just a boy from a town down south, so one thing that I still have not gotten used to about life at Brown is the jaywalking situation. I’m bad at it. I really am. And it stresses me out.

Normally, I always wait until the light turns red and that little glowy guy signals my safety when crossing the street. But, if I’m in a hurry (or am walking with one of you fearless bastards from NYC), I sometimes have to cross the street when there’s the potential for oncoming traffic.

But here’s the thing: sometimes, halfway through crossing, I get cold feet and maybe feel like I should turn around. That’s stupid of me, I know, but I do it. As a result, I almost get hit by cars a lot. And I’ve started to notice some patterns in the types of people who almost run me over. So here they are, in no particular order. [Ed. – please note that there is no verification that any of this is real. We’re not really sure ourselves.]

The Grandma in a prius

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She’s an expert knitter, alright, but she’s also in a hurry. Maybe her book club starts in an hour. Her car is also almost silent, too, so it sneaks up on you. But it has great mileage.

The Otis Spunkemeyer truck

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This cookie empire sends it’s trucks to Providence every once in a while and that’s when things get dangerous. To clarify, I wasn’t almost hit head-on by one of these things. Actually, they keep almost backing over me while I frantically try to pick the lock on the back. One of these days, I’ll get those cookies. If the cookies don’t get me first.

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A Guide to Olneyville: Tortilleria Inc. and Sanchez Mexican Market

Did you know that Providence is one of the few places in the world where you can find rained fish? In 1900, right in Olneyville, perch and pout fell from the sky, accumulating up to a bucket of sky-fallen fish. Many Brown students volunteer in Olneyville, usually through the Swearer Center, but how many of us are not acquainted with the area. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Providence, Olneyville  is full of surprises, from raining fish to delicious hidden restaurants to quaint parks. 

One particular wonderful gem in Olneyville is Tortilleria Inc. a.k.a Sanchez Mexican Market. To get to Sanchez Mexican Market (177 Putnam Street) you can take the RIPTA 92 West. Olneyville is past Federal Hill, officially bordered by Atwells Ave, Route 10 and the Amtrak line, I-95, and Glenbridge Avenue. (See map below, Olneyville is bordered in red). The Atwells and Valley stop is officially the closest stop to the market, although you can request a stop at the RIPTA signs between Atwells and Valley and Atwells and Mt. Pleasant. 

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Fall@Brown: Haunted House Lineup

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Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs, I pride myself on having averaged a good six to eight haunted house visits each Halloween season. Whether it was clowns, skeletons, or the ridiculous cost of admission, I traveled to abandoned asylums, run-down prisons, and revamped cornfields all with the intention of crying like a baby being terrified. Well, October is here, and if you’ve got the haunted house bug, here’s the lineup of Rhode Island haunted houses to remind that there are things scarier than CS:

Fear Town

Seekonk Speedway 1710 Fall River Ave., Seekonk, MA 02771

  • The Gist: Fear Town is an outdoor haunted path located in the woods by Seekonk Speedway that takes you through abandoned buildings and across uneven forest terrain.
  • Distance from Campus: 7.3 miles
  • Cost: $16
  • Estimated Uber Fare: $9-12
  • Horror Tropes Used: The woods, abandoned buildings.
  • Bonus: Fear Town boasts the highest Yelp rating (4.8 stars) in RI and the lowest cost/Uber fare, meaning this one is mostly likely to be your budget’s favorite attraction.

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

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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.

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