Seen: Funk Legend George Clinton + More

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


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The prime minister of the House of Parliament: George Clinton.

One of the most influential artists in funk and hip-hop music performed in Providence on Friday night. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton and his band Parliament Funkadelic played at Lupo’s and showed that even at age 70 he still knows how to throw a wild funky party. The band was tight, a muscular man with white fluffy pants danced around, people dressed in alien costumes showed up on stage, and there was even a skeleton smoking something that didn’t look like a cigarette. Clinton has produced albums for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bootsy Collins, and others, and P Funk’s music has been sampled by countless hip-hop artists. If you were at the concert, feel lucky you got to be involved in a piece of musical history… 

It was a regular Rhode Island love fest on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? last week, when Coventry man Jeremy Blais walked away with from the hot seat with a cool $250,000. Blais, a Bishop Hendricken and University of Rhode Island graduate, is the son of former state Senator Leo Blais. He currently works as a pharmacist at CVS and plans to spend his winnings on a new car, paying off school loans and bills from his new house, and investments. It must have been nice for show host Meredith Vieira, who grew up in East Providence, to be sitting across from someone from her home state…. 

Anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of driving in Providence knows the pains of parking in the capital city. Now, there is a whole TV show devoted to it. Parking Wars: Providence just premiered at 9 on A & E last Saturday night, and it follows nine members of the ticketing crew as they ticket, “boot,” and tow cars. Most of the crew have lived in Providence their whole lives, and while no one likes to get a parking ticket, it’s interesting to get a different look at these people who are simply doing their jobs. Plus, sometimes the reactions of the people getting ticketed are pretty fun to watch… 

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He might owe it all to RIer Brian Selznick on Oscar night: Martin Scorsese. Photo: David Shankbone.

Last week, American Idol gave some very good news to one Rhode Islander and bad news to another. Mobile DJ and wedding singer Erica Van Pelt of South Kingstown earned a “golden ticket” to Hollywood out of the over 300 contestants to came to Los Angeles. Unfortunately Jenni Schick, formerly of North Kingstown, did not make it through, along with actor Jim Carrey’s daughter Jane. But she still comes away from the experience with a kiss from Steven Tyler, so at least she has something to be thankful for... 

And in other reality show news, Rachel Truehart was just eliminated from season 16 of ABC's The Bachelor on Monday night. The Roger Williams University graduate who works as a fashion sales representative made it to episode seven, where she went on a group date swimming with sharks with the bachelor, Ben Flajnik. Unfortunately her aquatic antics failed to impress, and she didn't earn a rose from him at the rose ceremony, sending her home to Southampton, MA. Oh well, maybe we'll see her again on the next season of The Bachelor Pad...

Viola Davis is just all over the media these days! It was recently announced that the Central Falls actress will appear on Oprah’s day-after-the-Oscars special on her new network OWN. She will be interviewed along with The Help co-star Octavia Spencer and Moneyball’s Jonah Hill, and hopefully will have a shiny Academy Award to show off. Plus, on Monday The Hollywood Reporter posted the results of a Q&A session with the actress, one of only two that she is allowed to do post-nomination. She spoke about growing up as part of the only black family in Central Falls in the 1960s and the hardships she faced because of it, why she became an actress, and how she wants to be seen in the future as an actress of the same caliber of Glenn Close and Meryl Streep. And with the way her career has been going lately, that doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched dream…

And speaking of the Oscars, did you know that man whose creation inspired Martin Scorsese’s 11 Oscar-nominated Hugo went to school in Rhode Island? Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of Caldecott award-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which Scorsese adapted for his film starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, and others. Selznick attended the Rhode Island School of Design, and at the same time studied set design at Brown University. Selznick told British paper The Guardian that Scorsese's movie was extremely close to and respectful of the original book, and with the success of Hugo, we may see a film version of his new book Wonderstruck before too long…

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