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What's Happening This Week

Here are seven things going on this week. While the list is in Beta mode, it's still currently invite only. Click here to send friends an invite. And please send feedback, tips and more feedback to


Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture
Watson Institute For International Studies, 111 Thayer Street

There's a tantalizing but frustratingly small exhibit of Arab Comics currently on view at Brown's Watson Institute, located by the food trucks on that tstretch of Thayer Street that runs in both directions. Roughly three dozen panels document covers and single pages representing nine decades of comics across several nations, beginning with Egypt's Al-Awlâd (The Boys) from 1923. In an early issue of the childen's comic Majid, published in Abu Dhabi, a Palestinian refugee explains to her class how her village was massacred by Israeli soldiers. More contemporary comics from Lebanon, like the trilingual magazine Samandal, are geared toward adults, though the representative panels lack any kind of subtlety. There's also a section on western influence in middle eastern comics, featuring a fez-wearing Tintin, a moustachioed Superman, and Mickey Mouse—or Miki—in all manner of ethnic garb.

Tuesday · 7:00PM

Atul Bhalla
Metcalf Auditorium, Chase Center/RISD Museum
20 North Main Street

Atul Bhalla is a Delhi-based multidisciplinary artist known whose work deals almost exclusively with water. Across a variety of media, the artist deals quite actively with the global scarcity of clean water, and his aesthetically attractive work includes submerged sculptures made of cast riverbed sand, installations of oversized disposable water bottles, and self-portraits in which Bhalla slowly submerges himself in the sacred but toxically polluted Yamuna River. He comes to RISD as part of the TC Colley Lecture Series.


Botanica Ceramica
Roger Williams Botanical Center

The National Council on the Ceramic Arts is holding their annual conference in Providence next week, and there are 98—yes, 98—different exhibits listed in their program of ceramics happenings in the area this month. Every college art gallery in the region is involved, but there are also exhibits at more interesting locations like the Culinary Arts Museum, the Audobon Society Educational Center, and United Methodist Church. Wednesday's forecast is cold and very windy, but pretend it's almost spring anyway and head over to the Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park from 11am-4pm for a nine-artist exhibition of large-scale and site-specific sculpture.

Thursday · 7:00PM

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
Marinos Auditorium, Granoff Center
Brown University

The Cinoteca di Bologna hosts a festival each summer celebrating its recent restorations of silent classics to lost masterpieces of Italian cinema, and a small touring version of the fest comes to Brown just in time for Saint Joseph's Day. They're not serving zeppoli—although a famed gelato maker is in town doing tastings—but it seems appropriate to spend an Italian-American feast day watching a thriller about police corruption. Tonight's offering is Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, which won both the Palme d'Or at Cannes and the 1971 Oscar for Best Foreign Film before disappearing almost completely. The film is introduced by a discussion entitled Film, Crime and Politics in Italy, 1968-2014.

Friday · 7:30PM

Other Desert Cities
2nd Story Theatre
28 Market Street, Warren

Troubled writer Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs for Christmas with a new book, an explosive memoir detailing an adolescence framed by the suicide of an older brother. Parents Lyman and Polly are second-tier Reagan acolytes—dad's a Hollywood star turned ambassador while domineering mom picked up etiquette tips from Nancy herself. This zippy living room play never gets too uncomfortable, despite Polly's frequent jabs at her possibly unstable daughter. A younger brother and alcoholic live-in aunt are also on hand to take (and then switch) sides. Jon Robin Baitz's play racked up five Tony nominations in 2011, and the Rhode Island premiere runs through April 12th.

Saturday · 8:00PM

A Night With Melanie
Courthouse Center For The Arts
3481 Kingstown Road, West Kingston

Melanie Safka wrote "Brand New Key" following a twenty-seven day water fast. After downing a cheeseburger and fries, the vegetarian singer-songwriter composed her biggest hit in mere minutes. A vaguely Freudian song about an airhead who's somehow already lost the key to her brand new pair of rollerskates, it sat atop the pop charts for three weeks, until it was dethroned by "American Pie."

In the four decades since, Safka has acquired a minor cult following, with a fanbase that includes Jarvis Cocker, Stephin Merritt, and cabaret performers Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman, who performed a number of Melanie songs as part of their Kiki and Herb act. Melanie heads to West Kingston tonight as part of a strange little tour that also includes stops in Rockport, Mass., and Old Saybrook, CT.

Sunday · 2:00PM

Rear Window
Showcase Cinemas Providence Place

TCM just restored one of Alfred Hitchcock's most beloved films, starring Jimmy Stewart as a wheelchair-bound photographer who spends his days spying on the neighbors across the street. When the wife disappears and the husband starts behaving suspiciously, Stewart suspects murder. An interesting critique of mid-century urban paranoia, the film co-stars Grace Kelly as Stewart's young girlfriend and a pre-Perry Mason Raymond Burr as the suspected killer across the street. It's screening in select theaters for only two days—Lord knows why—and it plays twice each day, at 2pm and 7pm. Just don't plan on pre-movie cocktails; rumor has it that Chatters, the bar inside the movie theater, has disappeared for good.

Copyright © 2015 matthew lawrence, All rights reserved.

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