Denise Perreault reports in this week's Providence Business News on the ongoing battle over whether or not to retain the controversial Rhode Island Film and TV Motion Picture Tax Credit. The Lincster, Governor Chafee, proposed eliminating the film tax credit in his March 8 budget address as part of an effort to close the fiscal 2012 budget shortfall.
In general, I admire and respect the governor — and continue to be a supporter — but I think that you're wrong on this one, Linc. It is quite difficult to quantify the economic activity generated by an ongoing filmmaking operation, but there are a multitude of jobs filled by Vo Dilunduhs (we have some first-rate crew folks here), there's the food (not just restaurants but grocery markets), the lodging, entertainment, all the incidentals that people need when they're camped out somewhere for an extended period of time.
It's my contention that the true economic impact cannot be accurately measured and whatever estimates exist are probably underestimates. There's also the fact that this is the sort of activity that provokes interest among those not directly related to the production ("the fans"); I would not rule out the "buzz factor" as an economic development tool.
The PBN article was pegged to the debut of Body of Proof, the ABC prime time drama that was filmed in the Biggest Little last year; not just in Providence, but Goddard Park, the Warwick Country Club, and a number of private residences across Lil Rhody. The show premieres March 29 at 10 pm.
Sunday's New York Times Arts & Leisure section featured an article on Body of Proof and, just to underscore the "local crew" equation, right there, in the middle of an accompanying photograph was Providence make-up artist extraordinaire, Joe Rossi — who, by the way, has touched up every president since Ronald Reagan who's ventured to the Biggest Little.
"Cool, Cool World" says closing down the film tax credit is short-sighted — and Linc's suggestion deserves closer scrutiny.
ARMENIAN ART EXPLOSION
Maybe your familiarity with Armenian culture begins and ends with La Camelia, the fabulous little restaurant on Waterman Street in East Providence. If so, that's not bad, Anush, but there's a whole lot more going on with one of Vo Dilun's most prominent and creative ethnic groups. A good place to drink in more is Berge Zobian's Gallery Z on Atwells Avenue.
My good friend, Manoog (Michael) Kaprielian, who lives much of the year in Armenia and is, along with Berge, one of the point men for presenting Armenian cultural events in the Biggest Little, has alerted me to the fact that Gallery Z is presenting an impressive collaboration between visual artist Kevork Mourad and the pianist Hayk Arsenyan. It's set for the Music Mansion (88 Manning Street on Providence's East Side) on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. Performances begin promptly at 7:15 pm and (this is important) no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets ($30 and $50) are available and must be purchase or reserved at Gallery Z (259 Atwells Avenue).