McPhail’s Hosts Harry Potter Trivia
by: Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff
Swish and flick! Just like some of the most beloved wizards, Providence College’s Board of Programmers (BOP) was able to perform some serious magic this week. On Tuesday, October 28 in McPhail’s, BOP transported PC students into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. McPhail’s was transformed with a Hogwarts-esque atmosphere. There were signs pointing to familiar wizarding destinations, as well as candles and golden snitches hanging from the ceiling. There was a hand-painted Quidditch pitch (in Muggle terms we know it as corn-hole), and at the front by the stage there was a long table cloaked in a black table cloth, full of great food and exciting prizes.
It held cauldrons of candy and plastic glasses filled to the brim with Hershey’s Kisses and Tootsie Rolls. There were vividly multicolored cupcakes adorned with symbols every Potterhead knows and loves, such as the Deathly Hallows, Harry’s glasses, lightning bolts, and snitches. There was even homemade butterbeer. BOP put the Hogwarts house-elves to shame with the feast they provided for PC students.
But BOP did more than just transport PC to the wizarding world: they also provided everyone who attended with the true Harry Potter experience. Trivia Night was more than a simple game—it was a quest. People were able to self-sort into teams and come up with team names to take on the trivia adventure. And it was a challenge for even the most devoted of Potterheads.
Annie Archard ’20, an organizer of the event, was thrilled with the turnout. She said that planning began months ago, and a lot of the details were finalized in the proceeding month. Archard, who says she is a huge Harry Potter fan and was responsible for the trivia questions, shared: “I did a combination of questions I found online with questions I made up myself that I thought would be a mix of medium and hard questions for all the die-hard fans.”
The competition between the groups was intense, but respectful. The questions were able to stump even the most devoted fans of J.K. Rowling’s books. Practically every round was met with multiple teams perfectly scoring, which led to at least one or two tie-breaker questions. And through all the fun, the love for Harry Potter was present in the atmosphere. Multiple students dressed the part, adorned with long black Hogwarts cloaks, Gryffindor ties, and black circle glasses. The most devoted fans even had stick on lightning-shaped scars.
Altogether, BOP was able to bring some of the most beloved literature and fantasy to PC. They created a wonderfully colorful and exciting event that kept people on their toes.
Oktoberfest: A Taste of the Abroad Experience
BOP Brings German Tradition to Providence College
by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff
McPhail’s was a vortex, pulling bystanders from Slavin into another world this past Friday, October 18, eager to enjoy the revelry and entertainment of this year’s Oktoberfest. The tables were covered in Bavarian blue and white-checkered table cloths. There were pretzel balloons scattered on table corners and on the edges of bar stools. There were decorations of traditional German houses and streets and plenty of delicious food. There was an assortment of pretzel bite flavors, and savory sausage, pepper, and onion combinations. The entire event was, to say the least, delicious.
Oktoberfest has a long history at Providence College, but it goes back centuries in Germany. It began in Munich in 1810, before Germany was a united country. It was an event where all members of Bavarian society, the group in Southern Germany at the time, near Munich could gather to celebrate the marriage of the crowned Prince Ludwig I to Princess Theresa.
It was a grand celebration held in a beautiful meadow, which is how the open area and tent style of Oktoberfest developed. Eventually that field became known as Therese’s meadow. The first few years saw horse racing as one of the major traditions of Oktoberfest. Through the complex and twisting history of Germany, Oktoberfest has transformed and grown into a two week long celebration in Munich with different traditions bringing together Germans, and attracting many tourists.
One staple associated with Oktoberfest is, of course, the beer. The highlight of Oktoberfest at PC was the festive beer tasting for those 21+.
Situated in front of the stage was a representative of Horizon Beverage Group (the distributor of McPhail’s), who was in charge of providing generous pours for those interested in experiencing the hallmark of Oktoberfest. For beer lovers, the tasting consisted of beers ranging from lighter lagers to darker brews, with some sweet flavors such as lemon citrus and pomegranate. Some of the name brands included German titles such as St. Pauli Girl, as well as others more locally known, such as Samuel Adams. Along with the tasting, BOP manned a t-shirt sale at the event; each shirt was navy blue and sported a cartoon pretzel, and credited the collaboration of BOP and McPhail’s for making the night possible.
BOP members Kevin Michels ’21 and Maria Johnsen ‘20 were thrilled with the turnout. When asked about the event’s success, Michels replied, “We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and the fact that so many people stayed for a while. There were superb vibes all around.” Planning for the event, they said, began months ago. They worked excitedly to plan the catering, decorations, and more in order to create an amazing night. Overall, the exuberant event provided PC not only with a night of fun, but also a taste for Oktoberfest’s beautiful traditions.
BOP and McPhail’s continue to anually immerse the College in these traditions. McPhail’s was packed last Friday night with friendship, culture, entertainment, and great food. McPhail’s also will be selling the beers from the tasting for a limited time. If you are 21+, you can go to McPhail’s to try these new Oktoberfest flavors and more fall specials.
“Permission to Speak”
Comedian Paul Mecurio ‘82 Jokes & Connects with PC Community
by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff
“What was I doing, Judy?” Paul Mecurio ’82 asked again and again the night of Friday, October 4. Mecurio shared his life story and some jokes with the members of his alma mater as one of the first events that kicked-off Providence College 2019 Homecoming Weekend. Known for his appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, HBO, and Comedy Central, as well as his Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the alumnus had the audience in stitches.
Mecurio’s stand-up is unique in style: instead of focusing simply on the skits he prepared, he made a large portion of the night interactive. He picked unsuspecting people in the audience to participate in his show and supply material for his jokes. Mecurio chatted everyone up, making fun of one man’s face, another’s jacket, and snapping photos of audience members. Judy, an audience member with her husband at PC for Homecoming Weekend, was one of many who were called out during his show. He even managed to use his humor to convince an audience member to give him a free office chair. Mecurio’s dynamic wit and flare for comedy manifested in his desire to connect with the audience.
For every joke about an audience member, Mecurio was able to relate it back to the complexity of life and his own intriguing story. Mecurio’s skits revealed that he grew up in Providence—he teased many Yankees fans—and that his parents own a furniture store in North Providence, which is still run by his mother. He met his wife, Carol, his senior year of high school, and they have a son. He went to PC as an accounting major and graduated in 1982. Mecurio then proceeded to go to law school. Afterwards, he wound up working as a corporate lawyer on Wall Street. So how did he become a comedian?
Mecurio’s outlet while working on Wall Street was to write jokes down, and one day he started selling them to Jay Leno. When describing the moment he realized he wanted to make a change, Mecurio said, “This joke grabbed me…this box that I seemed to have been watching my whole life filled of people’s voices…suddenly it was filled with my voice.”
His act also included his written skits. He poked fun at corporate lawyers who, as Mecurio put it, “practically kill kittens…[but] would outsource the job.” Mecurio shared a story where one of his first shows involved a bar fight among members of the audience and ended with a fellow Wall Street lawyer’s comment that gave him the punch line: “I know how to get blood out of a Brooks Brothers shirt.”
Currently, Mecurio has a hot new act on Broadway that is going on the road—“Permission to Speak with Paul Mecurio.” In an interview after the Homecoming show, Mecurio revealed that when writing new material, he tries to avoid the traditional; instead, he opts for making connections. Mecurio mentioned that “There’s a method to the madness….art can transport you, make you look at things differently. And stand-up, if you’re doing it right, can be art. We need to connect more.” Through wit, humor, and great conversation, Paul Mecurio was able to do all of that for the audience in Mullaney Gym.
The ISB: A Hidden Gem in PVD
Locally-Inspired Art at Sister RISD Gallery
by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff
For any art lover, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in downtown Providence is a great way to spend an afternoon. But if one were to step outside of the museum’s front door, cross the street, and head to the right, there is another RISD gallery on Canal Walk. The Illustrations Studies Building (ISB), though not as well known as the RISD Museum, also holds a gallery that is open to the public.
Through the front door of the ISB is an entry room. There are bulletin boards sponsoring flyers for different illustration classes being held at RISD. Walk down the hallway to the right, past the woodshop class, and to the very end of the building, and one will come to the glass doors of the ISB Gallery. The gallery itself is simple: scratched wood flooring with studio lighting and small display cases in its center, directing the flow of traffic from the door and back around.
The ISB Gallery is open every week, Wednesday to Saturday, 12-5 p.m. According to Kylei Ghvell, an employee at the gallery, there are multiple exhibitions every year. In fact, towards the end of the year, there is fairly quick change over, sometimes with the opportunity to see a new gallery every week.
Currently, the ISB Gallery is in the middle of exhibiting the work of two of RISD’s illustration alumni. Chris and Soojin Buzelli graduated RISD Illustration in ’95 and ’96, respectively. Soon after graduating, the two married and have been collaborating together ever since. This exhibit is titled Art Direction and Illustration: The Creative Marriage of Words and Images. The exhibit opened Aug. 17 and will run until Oct. 19 of this year.
The gallery itself shows how the abstract classical can be brought into the modern physical world. Chris Buzelli’s pieces are illustrations done to accompany articles in publications such as The New York Times, Penguin Random House, and more. His illustrations are vivid color explosions with hints of classical satire to represent the modern content in the articles with which his work typically pairs.
Some of the paintings present at the ISB include “Drawn Together,” “Sia,” and “Pigeon Pop (America).” Specifically, the piece “Drawn Together” is a heartwarming illustration; it depicts moths flocking over the Providence skyline during Water Fire, and can bring out the memories of every Providence College student’s first Water Fire experience. RISD is also hosting a talk with both Soojin and Chris Buzelli on illustration and artwork on Thursday, October 10 which will be open to the public. All information is listed online at the RISD Illustration homepage. So, if you are free for an afternoon, branch out, try something new—this colorful gallery is waiting to wow you.
Live From Providence: It’s Six Gents!
The crowd was buzzing with anticipation, waiting to be let in. They had been asked to be quiet multiple times, and yet could not contain their excitement. So, by the time a crew member opened the theater doors, it was a mad rush to get inside. Much like a breakage in a dam, the crowd rushed into the theater, still unable to tame its eagerness. Whooping and yelling, people took their seats. “Hey, I am over here,” and “saved you a seat,” rang out.
Now—to set the stage. The black stage floor had two chairs, and behind it, a blue velvet curtain. Was it a comedy club in downtown Providence or a student production at Providence College? Two Gents strolled out. They took the stage to cheering and waving audience members. Then, the crowd was finally quiet.
The opening skit was hilarious and set the tone for the entire evening. It concluded when a Gent shouted, “AND LIVE FROM PROVIDENCE COLLEGE, IT’S SIX GENTS!”
It was 11 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24 when the semester’s first performance of Six Gents was held in the Angell Blackfriars Theater at Smith Center for the Arts. The skits were not only funny, but were in many ways relatable. The Six Gents satirized professors’ quirks, the disturbing stench behind Raymond Dining Hall, and apps that are well-known and used by many PC students. The Six Gents kept each sketch fresh with their ball activity. During transitions and brief set-up, a lime colored inflatable beach ball with joke prompts written all over it was tossed between the cast, sending the audience into laughter from the ensuing one-liners.
The Vice President of the group, Thomas Edwards ’20, has been with the club since his freshman year. He explained that the cast had been preparing for the show since the first weekend back this semester. Edwards also described the process for creating Six Gents skits as very collaborative, with members meeting to pitch and run ideas with the advice and comments of their fellow club members.
When asked where the club is headed this year, Edwards replied, “We hope to bring lots of laughs to people for free! We also are excited to welcome in our new Gents and watch the club grow.”
The group held auditions this past Saturday, September 28. The organization provides PC students with a comedy club night in the comfort of our own music hall. The Six Gents are a group of hilarious comedians and talented actors who have become a staple for PC. The expectant crowd was far from disappointed at the night’s conclusion, and many are counting down until the group’s next show. Keep an eye out, you will not want to miss it!