30 on 30

30 local luminaries look back on 30 years of the New Paper and the Providence Phoenix
By PROVIDENCE PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 24, 2008

Estrella_3INSIDE.jpg

Tony Estrella

WHAT DO YOU DO, AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU DONE IT? Artistic director of the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket. Actor, theatre director, 13 years
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN RHODE ISLAND? But for seven months in NYC, all of my 37 years.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 30 YEARS AGO? Learning to read with Dick and Jane and Sister Pius at St. Edward’s in Pawtucket. “See Tony run as far away from the church as possi-ble.”
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BE DOING 30 YEARS FROM NOW? At least, walking upright. At best, playing King Lear.
IF YOU HAD A VANITY PLATE, WHAT WOULD IT SAY? Vanity plates are for “DOOSHBG”s.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Being directed in a film by Martin Scorsese [The Departed].
FAVORITE THING ABOUT RHODE ISLAND? My family and friends and the dense cultural life.
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT RHODE ISLAND? The fact that we consistently elect Republican governors.
COFFEE MILK OR DEL’S? Both, but not at once.
ANY ANECDOTES INVOLVING THE NEWPAPER OR PROVIDENCE PHOENIX? Well, getting referred to recently as a “ramrod” in a recent Phillipe and Jorge column was, I thought, something to be proud of.
FAVORITE LOCAL DISH? Caserta pizza or the Nachos at Trinity Brewhouse or, to be a bit more upscale, the Five-Cheese Pasta at Al Forno.
IF YOU DIDN’T LIVE HERE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE? London, or anywhere in Europe but I’ll wait at least until Election day.
FAVORITE FORMER PAWSOX PLAYER? Rich Gedman, because of his goofy glasses and that my friend Tom is convinced he is the source of all evil in the universe.
WHAT BAR/RESTAURANT/LANDMARK/PERSONALITY THAT HAS CEASED TO EXIST IN THE LAST 30 YEARS DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Rocky Point, but with some misgivings, as I spent one of the worst summers of my life operating the Enterprise and dodging vomit for minimum wage.
PHILLIPE OR JORGE? Sore subject. They used to make me clean their pool in a neon green Speedo . . .
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I’VE NEVER BEEN TO . . . My sister’s house in Johnston.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL FOR A MOMENT OR TWO? Sakonnet Vineyard is very nice.
YOUR MOST MEMORABLE [OR HALF-FORGOTTEN] NIGHT OUT IN THE LAST 30 YEARS? A surprise birthday party several years ago at the Wild Colonial that was genuinely surprising, lovely, and humbling.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PORTRAYAL OF RHODE ISLAND ON TELEVISION, IN A MOVIE, OR IN A BOOK? There’s this scene from the pilot episode of Brotherhood on Showtime where an extraordinarily handsome and obviously highly intelligent young man working the counter of the New York System in Olneyville discovers a customer is trying to pass counterfeit $50 bills . . . It used to happen to me all the time when I worked at Cumberland Farms in Greenville.
WHAT’S ON YOUR WIENERS? I gave them up at 15 after too many “three for a buck” weekends at the Smithfield A&W. I wanted to be able to answer your “what are you going to be doing in 30 years” question with at least a fair chance there could be other than “ashes on somebody’s mantle.”
IF YOU COULD HAVE THREE RHODE ISLANDERS [LIVING OR NOT] OVER FOR DINNER, WHO WOULD THEY BE? Thomas Dorr, Cormac McCarthy (he was born here), and Claiborne Pell, to thank him for the college $$$ and the NEA.
ASK YOURSELF A QUESTION AND ANSWER IT. “Is the State House a hopeless sinkhole of graft, fraud, and corruption?” No. I’d like to think it’s not hopeless.

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