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Seven things that are happening this week.
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What's Happening This Week

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Monday

Dope
Check Showtimes

Recent teen comedies play it safe, calculating a PG-13 rating to maximize audience volume. Dope is a little braver than that; the MPAA gave it an R "for languge, drug content, sexuality/nudity, and some violence - all involving teens." Shameik Moore is great as Malcolm, a geek with Harvard ambitions who inadvertently acquires a backpack full of MDMA. Malcolm's reputation is squeaky clean: when he sets off the metal detector at his Inglewood high school, the security guard assumes the machine is broken. Dope has a pretty weighty message about how we perceive young black men, but smartly mixes the message in with barf, sex jokes, and the naked body of Victoria's Secret model Chanel Iman.

Tuesday - 5:30PM

Creative Research Fellow Program with Micah Salkind
Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street


It's your last chance to see Providence Public Library's spring exhibition From Pop to Punk: Highlights of 20th century Popular Music in Providence. Wrapping up three months of local musical programming is Micah Salkind, the library's inaugural Creative Research Fellow, with a presentation on the library's printed collection of Civil War Ballads. Specifically, Salkind plans to focus on "John Brown's Body," the ode to the abolitionist who was hanged in Virginia in 1859. (He's not to be confused with that other John Brown, the slave trader who lived on Benefit Street.)

Wednesday - 8:00PM

Spy
Check Listings

Spy was the #2 movie in the country last weekend, but I counted fewer than a dozen people in the theater because apparently there's this new paleontology documentary that's sweeping the nation. Spy director Paul Feig rehashes some motifs from his own Bridesmaids (cameos by outré pop stars, law enforcement officials with unexplained European accents, Melissa McCarthy) but livens things up with a story about a CIA agent who saves herself from the rodent-infested depths of the CIA basement to hunt down a Bulgarian (Rose Byrne) with a nuclear bomb. Allison Janney and Jason Statham are awesome as the most extreme versions of the characters they always play.

Thursday

Fine Artists of the Jewelry District
ArtProv, 150 Chestnut Street, 3rd Floor

The latest show at ArtProv features seven locals who all live within a stone's throw of the gallery. It's a pretty random assortment of people working in a pretty random assortment of styles, roughly half of which are interesting. On the bright side are Allison Paschke's resin cubes and rectangular hangings, as well as the large abstract works of Cesare DeCredico (whose work is intermixed with that of his late father Alfred). Against my better judgment I also have to confess that I like Patricia Hansen's precious cat paintings.

Friday - 9:00PM

Medusah Black & Flizz
Aurora, 276 Westminster Street
$6

According to recent reports, American women make about 82 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts make. The gap is noticeable in workplaces ranging from the operating room to the retail sales floor. If hip-hop were a 9-to-5 job, I shudder to think what the divide would be. But that hasn't stopped Medusah Black, the Providence emcee named for her expansive curly hair. Her talent is clear, as she demonstrates on 2013's Soular System, and now she's teaming up with rapper Flizz as part of the Project 401 Summer Series Kickoff.

Saturday - 8:00PM

Royal Thunder
The Parlour, 1119 North Main Street
$10 / $12

Royal Thunder are signed to metal label Relapse, but the most interesting songs on their Crooked Doors album aren't so easy to categorize. Maybe that's why the band use the unfashionable phrase "hard rock" to describe themselves. They're a little bit bluesy, occasionally psychedelic (there's a six-minute song called "Hold On, Karma") and generally over-the-top, like on the epic piano ballad "The Bear II." It's a very personal album, chronicling singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz's real-life escape from a cult ("Floor") and her romantic split with guitarist Josh Hunter. It's kind of their Rumours, in a way.

Sunday - 6:00PM

Natalie Harnett
The Contemporary Theatre
327 Main Street, Wakefield

 

Last July, the Providence Journal declared Natallie Harnett's The Hollow Ground "the best novel of the year so far." Harnett's debut deals with grief in 1960's Pennsylvania coal mining towns, where fires rage underground and family catastrophes simmer in the open air. (The fires were real, and still rage on today.) Brigid Howley, the book's eleven-year old narrator, has been compared in reviews to Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird and Francie from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, watching sadly as the adults around her hurt one another.
 
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