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Nico Muhly, wunderkind, comes home

High Note
It would be nearly impossible to summarize everything Nico Muhly has accomplished since graduating high school in Providence in 1999 — though, certainly, plenty have tried.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  September 26, 2012


Where to find the real Rhode Island

Hit the road
It was the first semester of my freshman year and I had passed out in a bathroom in my friend's dorm.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  September 26, 2012


Preppies and mozzarella sticks: polo comes to URI

It's a beautiful day for polo at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. The sky is clear. The sun is bright. The grass is green and fragrant.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  September 19, 2012


‘Uncle Jimmy’ and Miss USA do Cranston

"We've had a few people pass out. We've had a few people jump off the front of the stage because the lights are so bright . . . We've had a few wardrobe malfunctions," Jim Donovan says.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  September 13, 2012


RISD carves up history’s silent witnesses

Wood Shop
Dale Broholm was touring the Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg a few years ago when his friend, a former historian with the National Parks Service, described a landscape project that involved clearing trees.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  September 05, 2012


Patrick Conley’s fiery turn as historian laureate

Man About Town
Patrick Conley stands in a hallway lined with framed New York Times and Providence Journal articles about his campaign to lure high-end businesses to Providence's industrial waterfront.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  August 29, 2012


StumpChair takes to the streets

Arts and Crafts
StumpChair — the street-art superhero who whimsically glues the tops of wooden chairs to tree stumps — won't tell me his real name.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  August 22, 2012


The local cagefighting scene takes off

"You cannot eye poke. You cannot gouge. You cannot strike to the groin. You cannot knee to the head of a downed opponent."
By: PHILIP EIL  |  August 08, 2012


Images of a highway departed

Picture Show.
There's a lot of talk these days about the 40-acre footprint in the center of Providence left by the old Route 195.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  August 01, 2012


Fiction for the digital age

Matthew Derby and Max Winter will have some explaining to do before their reading at the Dirt Palace August 9.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  August 01, 2012


Summer Sizzle comes to Foster

"They come wearing "My Barn, My Rules" T-shirts and cowboy boots.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  July 25, 2012


At Providence Provision, lentil soup and clever ideas

"How many of you like plants?" Kate Venturini shouts. "Fruits and berries?"
By: PHILIP EIL  |  July 18, 2012


With soda under siege, Yacht Club

If soda were a person, it would need a publicist. Those sweet, sugary bubbles — once the image of wholesome Americana — have lately been blamed for rotting teeth, obesity, even teenage aggression.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  June 20, 2012


Mothers News tackles cheesecake and Left-Handers Day

This Just In
"No offense, but you guys are no competition," Jacob Berendes tells me.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  June 06, 2012


In DeSilva’s mystery Cliff Walk, fact and fiction blur

True Crime
There is a moment in Bruce DeSilva's new book, Cliff Walk , when the novel's hero — a wisecracking, coffee-swilling investigative reporter named Liam Mulligan — flops on his mattress to read a book by former Tampa Tribune reporter Ace Atkins. "Crime novels were his parachute out of the newspaper business," Mulligan says. "If only I had that kind of talent."
By: PHILIP EIL  |  May 30, 2012


A spoon-bending mentalist takes on the Gaspee affair

History Dept.
Plaques and parades are nice, but the real story of the HMS Gaspee — the British customs schooner looted and burned off the coast of Rhode Island in the run-up to the Revolutionary War — is not rated "G."
By: PHILIP EIL  |  May 23, 2012



Film Dept.
A black Lincoln Town Car drives through the darkened streets of Providence.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  May 16, 2012


When the hipster label hurts

Religious Studies
Don't call it a "cool church," pastor Andrew Mook says.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  May 09, 2012


The launch of PVD Pudding Pops

Valeria Khislavsky woke up in the middle of the night last summer with an idea: she was going to sell pudding. It was a mysterious vision, she says. She didn't have any particular attachment to pudding as a child; she isn't obsessed with pudding pop pitchman Bill Cosby. But it was, in a way, perfectly logical.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  May 15, 2012


Are Rhode Islanders finally ready to recognize Providence-born H.P. Lovecraft's legacy as a horror writing hero?

Loving embrace?
Brett Rutherford was walking down College Street on an overcast day in the late 1990s when a car with Oregon license plates pulled up next to him.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  April 25, 2012


Concert tickets: how the public got scalped

As the founder of, the author of The Phishing Manual: Compendium to the Music of Phish (1996), and an editor of Relix magazine, Dean Budnick knows how live music works.
By: PHILIP EIL  |  April 18, 2012

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