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Author Archive | David Rocha

LibertyFest!!! – 2009

To learn about the 2012 LibertyFest, visit the Facebook event page.

Crowd at LibertyFest

The July 4th weekend comes upon us once again, and like many other traditions of our day, Smith Hill will be host to the grandest neighborhood party in all the land, the 10th annual LibertyFest!

This annual event hits it’s decade mark this year, and will be located in a new location, West Park Street. With 22 bands going from noon on to the late evening (10 – 11ish), you get to catch the full spectrum of Providence’s music scene, and even some friendly visitors from across the northeast. Having brought memorable performances in the past from such bands as Mahi Mahi, Deer Tick, What Cheer? Brigade, and other high-caliber locals, this year’s line-up seems fit to carry the torch in superb fashion, and has three stages on which to do it. Red Hat Records has taken the task of arranging the bill this year, and has succeeded fantastically in assuring the cream of the crop from nearly every genre. There will also be activities for children ( and the young at heart ) as well, so this is an awesome event for families.

Beer will be all local, and is being provided by Narragansett Brewing Company, Block Island Blonde, and Basement Brew. The volume has always seemed enough, but this years reserves seem to be of an astounding quantity. Oh yeah, did I mention this is all free?

Food will be potluck, so feel free to contribute your own specialties, or mooch off of others as you wish. It’s a karma payment plan sort of thing. The roasting an entire goat over an open fire will carry on this year as well, a tradition that has almost become a symbol of the event, or at least a commonly told detail in many stories.

The line-up of acts is as follows, in no particular order:

  • White Mice
  • The Butcherings
  • The Viennagram
  • Llove
  • The Warmingtons
  • Blizzard of ’78
  • Brownbird Rudy Relic
  • Midnight Mongo Sound System
  • Slave
  • Valu-Pak
  • Orb Mellon
  • Triangle Forest, GlassAndSteel, Pet Set, Chris Rosenquest, Vibe Police, Caroline Hecht, Chris Hansen, Industrial Sonic Echo, Brokedown Serenade, The Atlantic Thrills, and The DEM.

If you’ve never been to LibertyFest, it’s a must that you attend at some point in your life. Living in Providence, I’m sure we’ve all come to learn that outdoor music in the summer is quite possibly one of the best things about this city, and this is one of it’s premier examples.

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Video

Worth A Watch: James Howard Kunstler

For any that are not familiar with TED, it is a gathering of relevant minds with the purpose of sharing their thoughts on whatever it is that they specialize in. The speakers have ranged from Michelle Obama to John Maeda to this guy, James Howard Kunstler. While this talk does date back to 2004, I felt that it’s points remain very valid and very similar to the views shared by many of us, althought the delivery may be a little strong for some. Warning: Contains some profanity.

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Our Transportation Secretary wants you out of your car!

Lone Shopping Cart in the Parking Lot at the Burlington County Mall

Empty parking lot photo by sameold2008 from Flickr

Ray LaHood, Transportation Secretary for the new Obama administration, has recently been quoted as wanting to “coerce people out of their cars.”

Good news? Bad news?

For many of the readers of this blog, this change in federal attitude towards how people live and get around is a welcome breath of fresh air. I personally agree that the United States has long needed a shift in priorities in terms of our lifestyle, ditching the car for most of our transportation needs. There seems to be, however, a qualm amongst many (and not only conservatives) with the federal government forcing it’s hand into how our communities are built and connected (see CNSNews article link below). I can personally understand this stance as well, seeing how the policies that will push zoning laws to create denser neighborhoods DOES infringe on our original founding beliefs of property rights.

What I believe the disconnect in the arguments to be though, is that many have forgotten that these rights have been infringed on for the entirety of the lives of anybody reading this, and the uphill zoning law battles of many pushing for greater densification in the recent past serves as evidence of this. The 180 that the federal government is trying to currently pull, is of it’s very own previous stances, both times forced with disregard to property rights. Post World War II decentralization was subsidized through tax breaks for industries leaving the city, insured mortgages on suburban homes, a transportation infrastructure focus on highways, and President Eisenhower essentially telling the nation that decentralization was proper damage control against a potential nuclear attack.

Okay, so why do I bring all of this up?

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Providence ranked #1….

dscn4556in Forbes’ list of U.S. cities where it’s hardest to get by. Ummm, hooray?

Apparently, using criteria including; unemployment rate, median income, and cost of living, Providence finds itself at the top of this list. I would obviously have to agree, if we’re to go by such strict and narrow indicators, but Forbes puts out lists of whatnot more often than I put out the trash, so I doubt that they put in the extra effort to send somebody to actually scope the place out and test the real-world implications of their data. That being said, I think their opening line about not finding many smiles in Providence is naive, at best. I’m sure we’re getting it worse than most these days, but it doesn’t seem to me that folks have lost hope here. Does anybody agree? Read more at Forbes.com

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Holden Street Gallery’s first show of 2009

carriagehouseChristian and Krystyna Caldarone, two indispensible characters in Smith Hill’s art community are having their first show of the 2009 season at the Holden Street Gallery. From 6pm-9pm tonight and tomorrow night, catch “Back to Nature: Water-soluble Oil Paintings by David Everett,” with live music tomorrow night.

97 Holden Street, Smith Hill, Providence.

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Video

U.S. Conference of Mayors in Providence

It may or may not be news to you that the 77th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors will be taking place in Providence this year, and it seems that Mr. Cicilline has created (well, paid somebody else to create) this spiffy little video to give a taste of what the visiting mayors can expect here. I think the emphasis on the local arts community is kind of flattering, but I might be a little biased. To be honest, a mention of our astounding geeks would have been nice. Anyway, enjoy! You can find more on the conference at: http://www.usmayors.org/

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Replacement for the Russian Sub?

Reading Jef’s post below about the U.S.S. Saratoga reminded me of a piece that I had (somewhat) recently read in the Wall Street Journal and had been meaning to post about.

The Navy has apparently been looking to find a home for one of it’s top-secret vessels called the “Sea Shadow,” a totally stealth, sea-faring hunk of American badass.

sea_shadow_16

This sexy piece of war-toy engineering is being eyed by none other than Frank Lennon, the owner of the russian sub that was once on display in our fine waters. Although it seems like a slim possibility that we’ll be seeing this in the river anytime soon (if ever). It’s a wonderful fantasy, and worth reading more about. 

Read more about it at The Wall Street Journal.

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The Psychological Necessity of Urban Parks

A little bee sent an article from The Boston Globe my way. Apparently recent studies have found that the population density of a city is directly related to it’s innovative capacity (which would explain Providence’s music, art, and tech scenes), but the same hussle and bustle of city living that brings us these intellectual prizes also seems to put a strain on the prefrontal cortex. This leads to a loss in the ability to maintain directed attention, and is also responsible for weaknesses in self-control (indulging in bad food, etc.).

BUT ALAS, A CURE!

It seems that urban parks that contain a diverse collection of vegetation are extremely calming to the prefrontal cortex, and bring a sense of calm and balance to the frenzied city mind. This proves, once again, the great importance of urban parks in our lives. They are not only nice places to have a picnic, fly a kite, or meditate. They play a vital role in our cognitive abilities, and in our psychological well-being. This further illustrates how a proper balance between greater population density and more abundant green spaces is the recipe for a healthier and more innovative society.

Read the article at: Boston.com

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Providence vs. The Economic Crisis

For groups such as our own, the usual desire is to focus on a specific set of topics, in a specific area, so as to achieve a specific goal. We aim to be optimistic with our expectations, positive with our critiques, and to avoid sounding overly negative about anything, so as to keep dialogue as open as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes there are factors that enter the equation that would never normally have to be considered. I personally believe that to say that these are such times would be a grave understatement, so I’d like to open a dialogue concerning the balance between our goals, and realistic expectations in the current global situation.

In light of this past week’s news of the bailout of Citigroup, which is truly a giant in the financial world, we must consider the possibility of an absolute meltdown of international banking and the trickle-down effects that this total seizure of liquidity entails. With such dire prospects properly understood, we must look to the solutions that ultimately make up the core goal of groups such as GC:PVD: true sustainability and independence.

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