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Wednesday, February 29, 2012
United States Vice President and all around “nice guy” Joe Biden made his way through Rhode Island last Thursday. He was in Providence at the Biltmore Hotel for a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Before coming to the Ocean State, he had visited Boston and Manchester, NH, before heading to “Providence, Road Island.” Hopefully his time here has taught whoever writes up his schedules how to spell the state’s name. I wonder if they thought it was an island, too…
And in even more political news, Warwick-raised actor James Woods is getting in on the legislative scene. The Emmy-award winner plans to testify before the Rhode Island House Committee on Judiciary today in support of a bill that would allow doctors to apologize for bad treatment outcomes, but it would forbid those apologies from being used against them in malpractice lawsuits. Woods has a personal connection to the “benevolent gestures bill”- his brother Michael died of a heart attack at Kent Hospital in 2006, and Woods sued the hospital accusing the ER staff of negligence, but settled the lawsuit after a hospital executive apologized and agreed to start an institute in Michael Woods' name. He’s a poker player, an actor, and an activist... is there anything he can’t do?
Okay, enough politics. Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, and lady killer John Mayer just announced a new US tour, his first in two years, and one of the many stops is the Providence Performing Arts Center on April 18. The tour will benefit U.S. war veterans, as Mayer is very passionate about helping those who return from the battlefield reintegrate into civilian life. The tour will lead into the release of his fifth album, Born and Raised, and the first single from the album called “Shadow Days” was just released on Monday to radio. The title track from the album features Graham Nash and David Crosby on vocals, although they probably won’t be coming on tour with Mayer…
Another artist has local tour news as well. Rapper, singer, and producer J. Cole has just announced dates for his upcoming Campus Consciousness/The Sideline Story tour, and guess where the tour is kicking off from? Nowhere else but the University of Rhode Island. He’ll make his stop in Kingston on April 11, and from there move to many other colleges down the Eastern seaboard. Cole’s second album is due out in June, and he is touring with rapper Big K.R.I.T. He was also just nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards, so the chance to see this up-and-coming rapper before he gets even bigger is not one to be missed…
Amidst the beautiful plants and flowers at the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show, some TV celebrities blossomed. Celebrity chef Sara Moulton gave a cooking demonstration on “Three Quick and Easy Recipes for Weeknight Meals” at the Rhode Island Convention Center on Friday afternoon, as part of a series of demonstrations from local chefs and culinary experts participating in the show’s Food and Wine Festival. Moulton is a food editor for Good Morning America, was the executive chef of Gourmet magazine for 20 years, has hosted several shows on the Food Network and PBS, and has written best-selling cookbooks. On the gardening end, Roger Swain, “the man with the red suspenders,” spoke over the weekend about growing food in public. For 15 years Swain hosted The Victory Garden on PBS, the longest running gardening show on television, as well as People, Places, and Plants on HGTV for a short time. With food, flowers, and famous people, what else can you ask for out of a weekend?
Finally, a few reality TV updates. Erica van Pelt, the belter from South Kingstown, has made it to the “top 24” round of American Idol. Mila Hermanovski, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate, was just eliminated from Project Runway: All-Stars (she made it to the final three in her original season 7), for an asymmetrical dress inspired by the flag of Papua New Guinea. And for any aspiring singers out there, your chance is coming this spring. Simon Cowell’s show The X Factor will be holding auditions on May 9 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for its second season, and although currently two of the judges’ spots are vacant, rumors hold that interested parties include Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Fergie, LeAnn Rimes, and Avril Lavigne, so no matter who it is, the experience is sure to be a star-studded one…
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