What's Happening This Week
I generally try not to go overboard pushing personal things on this list, but I’ve got two coming up this week. I'm reading an essay thing on Sunday – scroll down for info – but the big news is that on Thursday I’m being honored by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for my work on Not About The Buildings. It’s a much fancier event than I’m used to promoting here, but tickets are available and of course it would be lovely to see and/or meet you. Plus you can totally hear Lorna Simpson lecture at Brown before heading over to the celebration, which runs from 6-9PM at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center in Pawtucket, across from Slater Mill.
Monday - 9:00PM
Aurora, 276 Westminster Street
I admit that I haven’t really followed the career trajectory of former Dirty Projectors singer Angel Deradoorian, but back in August she released The Expanding Flower Planet, her first solo album. Deradoorian's formal vocal approach still sounds very studied, which can be a great thing or an awful thing, depending on your mood that day, but the affectations are nicely balanced by unpredictable yet minimal instrumentation. The show is free, and also features Providence duo Houseboy as well as the appealing drone of instrumental Brooklyn band Blood Moon.
Tuesday - 2:30PM
McCormack Theater, 70 Brown Street [enter on Fones Alley]
Ten years ago there was a grand-ish canyon in literature, with angry sci-fi/fantasy lovers on one side and fussy “literary fiction” types on the other, each holding up Kelly Link and a handful of writers as examples of “good” speculative fiction. I have no idea whether people still use the word slipstream to define this in-betweenish genre of not-exactly-fantasy, and I have no idea whether people still get indignant about this seemingly arbitrary designation. For that matter, I have no idea why Kelly Link waited ten years to release her latest story collection, Get In Trouble. Maybe those questions will be answered at her talk at Brown, assuming you are someone who can attend a reading at 2:30pm on a Tuesday.
Martin Boyce: When Now Is Night
RISD Museum, 20 North Main Street
This week an inauguration ceremony will mark Rosanne Somerson's new presidency at RISD, and the Museum is celebrating with free admission all week. It's worth checking out the new Martin Boyce show; the Turner Prize-winning Scottish artist has a lifelong preoccupation with film noir and the visual legacy of the United States after World War II. Mobiles constructed from broken Arne Jacobsen chairs, a sculpture inspired by the work of Hollywood title designer Saul Bass, and a spider web of fluorescent lighting remind viewers that mid-century modernism arrived hand-in-hand with unprecedented political paranoia.
Thursday - 4:00PM
List Art Center, Room 110
64 College Street
Lorna Simpson comes to town as part of Brown’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series. A contemporary photographer who first came to prominence in the mid-1980s, Simpson's best known for large-scale works about the black female body. Known largely for photographs that incorporate isolated pieces of text, Simpson in 1993 became the first African-American woman to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. More recently, her practice has expanded to include video, like the relatively recent Chess (2013), a three-channel installation in which Simpson herself portrays both male and female chess players.
Friday - 3:00PM
Mao Meets Muddy
Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street
Raised in East Providence, internationally recognized artist Tony Ramos has never shown his work locally, although that’s changing with a three-day retrospective organized by Brown’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. After serving time for draft dodging, Ramos began using video to critique mass media strategies and biases in the late seventies. He documented independence movements in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, and with Mao Meets Muddy he traveled to China shortly before the Tienanmen Square massacre.
Saturday - 7:00PM (or so)
Rustic Tri Vue Drive-In
1195 Eddie Dowling Highway [Route 146], North Smithfield
$27 per carload
There's no shortage of Halloween happenings this weekend, from the release of another Lovecraft-themed beer to something called the Seekonk Speedway Pumpkin Smash. But the most appealing autumnal event is a late-season Tim Burton drive-in double feature. Michael Keaton plays the demon con artist in Beetlejuice, but really the movie’s about a disaffected teenager (Winona Ryder) who bonds with a recently drowned couple played by Barbara Hershey and Young Handsome Alec Baldwin. Catherine O'Hara and Michael McKean play the girl's Gothic, bougie parents. The gates open at 6 and the movie starts once it's suitably dark.
Sunday - 8:00PM
Aurora, 276 Westminster Street
$1-$10 [sliding scale]
Jaime Lowe was nice enough to invite me to read during the second edition of Story Laboratory, a monthly event at Aurora which this month is subtitled Truth Bomb!: Game-Changing Words of Advice. Other readers include Chrissy Wolpert, Mary-Kim Arnold, Guy Benoit, J.R. Uretsky, Cynthia Reed, Matthew Lawrence, and Seth McCombs. It’s hosted by Jack Prime, and afterwards there’s music from DJ La Rochelle.
Monday - 2:00PM
With the long weekend coming, I thought it was worth mentioning now that PRONK! is once again returning for its annual festival of brass street bands from all over the place. This year there are twenty bands, including folks from as far west as Olympia, Washington, and as far east as Paris, France. The daytime portion of PRONK! happens in Kennedy Plaza this year, and then at 5:30 everyone will parade down to the Hurricane Barrier for the evening portion of the fest. Just remember: it’s very specifically not a Columbus Day parade.