Extracurricular Culture Promotes Community at PC
by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
Going down the stairs of Slavin to Dunkin’, you will come across several signs promoting upcoming events from a variety of clubs like the Board of Programmers (BOP), Portuguese Alliance of Lusophone Speakers (PALS), Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), and Campus Ministry, to name a few. The idea of free food or gift cards will definitely stop some in their tracks, as it means less money spent on Thayer Street or a break from Raymond Dining Hall. An event based around culture, music, or art will still attract our attention if it interests us. These elements may be overlooked by some and their importance may not be noticed at first glance, but they have a huge impact.
Extracurriculars help some students find themselves and their friend group on campus; they offer a chance to explore all interests through creative mediums. For example, Amanda Gaccione ’20, president of BOP, said, “We constantly use the arts and music in all their forms to allow students to express themselves in different outlets or to enjoy something new that they have never tried, like pottery or musical theater.”
The arts can serve as tools of expression for all students, whether one plans the event or attends and enjoys the activities to the fullest. These clubs make a point to provide students with a chance to enjoy themselves and take a break from their classwork and hectic schedules.
They can also build awareness and community between different cultures. Alexa Jerome ’20, president of PALS and member of the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA), says, “Our clubs work to preserve culture and expose the student body to cultures they would otherwise not encounter.” Extracurriculars are a huge component of students’ lives here at Providence College, as people gravitate towards their interests or what catches their attention.
Clubs give us a chance to all come together. As Jerome mentioned, “Students from all walks of life come out for events regardless of their own family’s origins. Every event brings a diverse crowd that comes to celebrate the cultures of their peers.” Students come to these events open-minded and excited to see what each one brings. They are given the chance to grow in their understanding of each another as individuals and as part of a community.
Laura Arango ’20, president of OLAS, said, “We take into consideration food, music, and culture in every event we plan to stay true to our mission to provide an inclusive and authentic Latinx environment for our members.” These elements allow students to have a sense of home when their real one may be far away.
Arango further commented on an event called LatinXPO that not only built a sense of community for the members of the club, but also extended it to everyone else in the PC community. “LatinXPO gave our members the opportunity to reflect, speak, and create art through photography that is reminiscent of their culture and homeland. It also allowed our members to share their stories if they wanted to with the rest of the community.”
Club use of food, art, music, and culture promotes a sense of community both among club members and the rest of PC. They allow us to know that although we may all be different in backgrounds and interests; we are still open to learning more about one another and having fun in the process.
Providence Community to Celebrate French Films
Brown University to Host Immersive Experience for Local Film Lovers
by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
People enjoy films that connect them, whether it is through topics like searching for identity and navigating daily issues, or providing an escape through works filled with quirky characters and overactive imaginations. Regardless if it is in another language, the impact of the message can be just as profound and moving as you gain knowledge about another culture and, sometimes, yourself as well.
Taking place from Feb. 28 to March 5, the Providence French Film Festival will be showcasing francophone films at the Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center of the Arts at Brown University. This will be the festival’s second year held at this center; prior to 2019, it took place at Cable Car Cinema until its closing in 2018.
This will be the first year for Regina Longo as the new artistic director of the event. She is excited to have the city of Providence see what this festival has to offer. She said, “We want to reach out to different groups and bring the city into our campus; this is not just a Brown or RISD event. It is more of a community event as it has something for everyone.”
The films shown at the festival are pieces that touch upon the diversity of voices that compose French culture or, as Longo stated in how she selected the movies, “I wanted to try to reflect the changes in France and the world, highlight the many faces that make up French and francophone culture.”
Africa Mia, directed by Richard Minier and Édouard Salier, explores the lives of 10 young, talented musicians from Mali who were invited to Cuba by Fidel Castro. They formed a popular band called “Las Maravillas de Mali,” and invented Afro-Cuban music. The documentary goes between the past and present, highlighting what happened to the members after they left Cuba.
The film Zombi Child by Bertrand Bonello is a horror, science fiction, and fantasy piece that takes place in a French all-female private high school. A group of girls invite a Haitian girl into their circle, but she must share a secret to be accepted. From there, things take a dark turn as the film explores issues young women deal with, from identity to relationships.
Another film highlighting women’s issues is by Stéphane Demoustier, titled The Girl with a Bracelet or La fille au bracelet. The courtroom drama follows an 18-year-old girl accused of murdering her friend over a slut-shaming post made about her. She is forced to wear a tracking bracelet while under house arrest. Longo recommended this film, saying, “I think this film does a good job of showing the issues women deal with in the age of social media. The acting is phenomenal and does a great job of not passing any judgment.” This film was adapted from an Argentinian film of the same name in 2018 and made waves throughout the festival circuit.
These are only a few of the many films that will be showcased; attendees will find a range of genres and themes that will appeal to all audiences. The opening night of the Providence French Film Festival is Feb. 28 and offers a glimpse into French culture and its nuances through a showing of a short film exclusively for that night. The trailers for the films that will premiere in Rhode Island are posted on the event’s website.
It will be a lovely Friday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with complimentary French food and drinks, as audience members get acquainted with French cinema and meet the people involved with the festival. The party is open to all and completely free. Tickets will be on sale at the party for the showings on Feb. 29 to March 5, and can be purchased online as well.
Halsey’s Third Album, Manic
The Vibrant Journey of A Lost Soul
by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
On Jan. 17, Halsey released her third studio album titled Manic, after almost three years since her last album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.
During that time, Halsey collaborated with artists like Benny Blanco and Khalid for “Eastside” in July of 2018 and BTS for “Boy With Luv” in April of 2019. Also, she released a few singles that illustrated the direction her third album would be going in, such as “Without Me” in October 2018 and “Graveyard” in September 2019.
However, these singles could not encompass the beautiful mess awaiting fans on Manic’s release date. Fans were given a closer and more intimate look into her mind and all the facets of Ashley, the benchmark of Halsey and her manic side.
She emphasized in the intro to her Spotify playlist for Manic, “Halsey Presents Manic” that, “There is an ancient saying that you have three faces. The first one you broadcast to the world, the second one you show to those closest to you, and the last one you never show anyone.”
The album is an exploration of this manic side of her that is all over the place, or as Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone described, “a raw autobiographical portrait of the artist as a young mess, craving her share of love and tenderness in a hostile world.” This is not a story concept like Badlands or a cinematic feel like Hopeless Fountain Kingdom which was inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. It is Ashley’s story.
The album is a mix of different styles from soft, melancholic pop to country and rock to Korean rap. At first, it is confusing and very messy, which is why listening to just one or two songs from the album would not do it justice. This album must be heard in its entirety to follow her journey in navigating who she is and her place in the world.
From the first song of the album, “Ashley,” you see her trying to put herself first and questioning how she got in this situation to begin with. She inserts an audio clip towards the end from Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Kate Winslet’s character, Clementine, states, “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or / I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive” and she declares she is a woman “who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind / Don’t assign me yours.”
Then listeners get to a song like “3am” where she talks about being alone and struggling to find peace with herself, so she turns to other people to make herself feel better. She ends the album with a more positive tone in “929” where she summarizes what her 25 years of life have been like. As Stephen Daw wrote in Billboard, “Through all the pain and strife of Manic, Halsey’s ultimate realization is that she’s still a lost soul–but at least she has the pieces of a roadmap to guide her forward.”
Through this album, fans are given a more nuanced look into an artist they admire and love. Life is messy; to search for who you are is not easy and Ashley Frangipane, or “Halsey,” illustrates that like her fans, she too is still figuring out her life, and what to make of it.
New Trend for 2020: Consumers Control the Fashion
Dress to Suppress Climate Change and Make a Difference
by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
Thanks to teenager Greta Thurnberg, climate change and sustainability were at the forefront of our minds throughout 2019. Thunberg stood up to global leaders and illustrated how the earth reflected the impact of our careless actions. She brought new life to this topic.
Last year saw beautiful regions and animals come face-to-face with flames due to wildfires in areas like California and Australia. Australia has been dealing with bushfires since late October, and it has continued into the new year with about 15.6 million acres burned across the nation.
Now, how does this relate to fashion? The fashion industry with all its glitz and glamour has played a huge role in creating pollution. In an article for Business Insider by Morgan McFall-Johnsen, she reported, “The fashion industry produces 10 percent of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.”
We live in a period where fast fashion dictates the industry. Huge retail chains are rapidly creating cheap clothing to meet the latest trends and demands of their target markets. Emily Farra wrote in a recent Vogue article, “An estimated 50 million tons of clothing is discarded every year, and most of it will not biodegrade in a landfill.”
Instagram is a culprit promoting this wasteful culture. We often encounter influencers who post photos of their #OOTD and it always features new clothing—rarely do they ever repeat a look. FashionNova’s founder, Richard Saghian stated in an interview, “They need to buy a lot of different styles and probably only wear them a couple times so their Instagram feeds can stay fresh.”
In 2020, the fashion industry will have to be more transparent and active in how they create their products. Consumers, like us college students, have the power to encourage change by gradually putting more thought into what we purchase. Going to Savers and using apps like Poshmark are great for giving a second life to vintage clothing. Besides thrifting, there are rental services like Rent the Runway where customers can rent clothing for a few days and then return it, eliminating the worry of posting in the same outfit twice. Or purchasing clothing from eco-conscious brands like Everlane and Reformation give a behind the scenes into how and where their clothing is made. Plus, we can make the effort to use recycled or environmentally safe materials.
It is not easy and it is not all on us to make the change. Retail companies and fashion brands must also participate as they are the ones creating the clothing, but it helps when the consumers stand up and voice their opinions. Go out there and learn a bit about what you are wearing because when you begin to look at the details in its creation, you become more conscious of how much that sweater or that denim truly affects the planet.
The Prime Time for Sweater Weather
Exploring Fashion Trends During the Winter Season
by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
From dressing up in warm, chunky sweaters and jeans for family photos, to burrowing in oversized sweatshirts and leggings to watch Hallmark films, to upcoming ugly holiday sweater parties and late nights cramming for finals, sweater weather is having its moment in the spotlight.
The months of November and December are a time of extreme stress for students as professors are piling on last minute projects and assignments while our minds are off thinking of warm nights at home by the fire with family or a special someone. At this time, people tend to be more subtle with their style. They can be seen sporting sweaters more than anything else because it is comfortable and easy.
In an article by Alyssa Tria for Yahoo Style, Caroline Maguire, the Shopbop Fashion Director, stated, “Sweaters are the ultimate layering piece.” She went on to say, “Sweaters are perfect for pairing over dresses and can even be worn under denim jackets and blazers.” There is no shortage of how one can adapt a sweater to their wardrobe and its one of the comfiest items in a closest.
In the upcoming week, students will be bombarded with finals and the desire to put effort into daily looks will begin to wane as they spend more time hitting the books and less time caring about anything else. However, you can trust your knitwear to at least give you a cute, messy look. Land’s End wrote in an article to promote their sweaters, “You don’t have to consider how to wear it, what to wear it with, or whether it will look right. There’s a sweater for everything.”
For the holidays, sweaters are a way to look fashionable without a lot of work. Everyone on Instagram looks great during this season as they sport knits ranging from colorful autumn colors to quirky, vintage looks paired with jeans. Family photos and selfies look thousands of times better as it also makes people look cozy and cute. For example, the internet had a meltdown over Chris Evans wearing a white sweater for his new film, Knives Out, and Huffington Post reported that #ChrisEvans was trending on Twitter as people tweeted how great the actor looked. This may be an extreme case, but nevertheless it is an example of how knitwear adds a cozier and more adorable vibe to the wearer.
So, bask in the chunky knits as the temperatures drop, because holiday seasons are made for sweaters. Whether you dress them up with khakis and skirts or down with jeans and leggings, you will still be stealing looks. Sweater weather is here and everyone is welcome.
Motherland Fashion Show Preview
Where Fashion Bridges the City of Providence with the PC Community
by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
They marched onto the basketball floor of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where they captivated the audience with their dance performance. The women were clothed in denim shorts, black t-shirts with the Motherland logo, and red berets. The men sported light-wash denim jeans, white long-sleeve shirts, or black short-sleeve shirts with a denim jacket or vest, finished off with a yellow printed bandana. Their electrifying performance set the Late Night Madness crowd ablaze, their music and energy reverberating throughout the arena.
This upcoming Saturday, November 23, at 7 p.m. in ’64 Hall, Providence College students will be able to feel that vibe once again, but through Motherland Dance Group’s annual fashion show. No other club does a showcase quite like this one, as Motherland brings together the city of Providence and PC’s community through fashion and music. Fenda Konte ’20, president of Motherland, said, “They always talk about popping the PC bubble…that is what we want to do. I think my biggest thing was getting local artists and we did that with the artists, the performers, and singers.”
With this upcoming show, students will see why Providence is called “the creative capital” as they meet talents from Providence as well as from their very own campus. Konte mentioned some of the featured designers, saying, “We have a Providence designer, World Dreams, he makes the most dope Providence sweatshirts and t-shirts.” The event will also feature a designer from Boston called Jefe and another group of designers called Dose of OSA. The best part is that we will also see a familiar face amongst these designers which Konte revealed as “The most exciting one—there is actually a designer from PC, her name is Kari Perez [’22]. She is a designer; her scene is very Latinx.”
However, it does not stop there. The fashion show will showcase performances highlighting the vibe and fun energy of the group. Motherland will have Israel Wusu, a popular artist from Providence, and PC’s own Acklynn Byamugisha ’20, showcasing their songs. Then, there will be a performance showcasing headwraps as music by artists like Beyoncé plays. This part relates to the theme of the show which is to showcase “all the shades of our Motherland.”
Motherland never ceases to amaze the students of PC with their vibrant dances and events that illustrate their beautiful cultures and creativity. Konte and her exec team are constantly coming up with ideas that are “bigger and better.” Talking to Konte and seeing her excitement about the show—but most of all, for the people she works with, from her exec team, to the student models—she highlights the passion that this club has for its work.
She spoke of her team, saying, “It’s all women, it’s like seven of us. It’s a big exec team, but full of strong, beautiful women. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate them.” This is palpable through how close-knit, in-sync, and dynamic the group is with each other and their craft.
Konte said it best: “Take a step out of your comfort zone of PC and get to know the rest of the community and the beautiful things that it has to offer.” So, do not miss Motherland’s upcoming fashion show. It will give you the opportunity to encounter perspectives and styles different from your own.
Providence College Welcomes Poet Martín Espada
Giving Life to Latinx Stories of Loss and Immigration
by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
A tall man wearing a loose, casual suit walked in front of the audience. His gentle face looked over the crowd, anxiously waiting for him to speak. He began to let the words flow. The poems he recited began to take a life of their own, captivating everyone’s attention.
Martín Espada was the featured speaker at the fourth annual Jane Lunin Perel Poetry and Fiction Series. He spoke in one of the lecture rooms of the Ruane Center for Humanities, which was overflowed with Providence College students, professors, and alumni who sought to see and listen to him.
The poet, essayist, translator, attorney, and professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst uses his experiences to enrich his writing. Jane Lunin, professor emeritus who created this series, spoke highly of Espada and how he inspired her in her work at Providence College. Meanwhile, Espada swayed slightly, appearing rather sheepish to accept her praise.
It is inspiring to read and hear his poetry out loud, as Espada gives a voice to all those who are often shunned by society, like immigrants, the poor, and many more. Before each reading, he gave a small introduction about what inspired his pieces, which allowed the audience to gain context and a closer look into Espada’s character.
The Latinx experience and immigration are common topics he emphasizes in his writing. He wrote a poem titled “Floaters,” which focuses on the drowning of a father and 23-month old daughter in late June near the border in Rio Grande.
This poem was based on a Facebook group chat between a few members of Border Patrol who believed the photos were fake. A few lines that leave a mark are; “And the dead have names, a feast day parade of names” and “Say Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramíerez. Say Angie Valeria Martínez Ávalos. See how they rise off the tongue, the calling of bird to bird somewhere.”
Espada explores the lives of the father and daughter to illustrate the ignorance of the members of the chat in choosing to call them “floaters,” a term used for people who attempt to cross but drown in the Rio Grande. The poem captures a powerful variety of emotions through beautiful language, as Espada highlights how these members avoid giving the migrants identities. These members choose to reduce the migrants to only be “floaters” when they are people who had families and jobs before deciding to risk coming to the U.S.
He closed the evening with a reading that many related to titled “Letter to My Father.” Espada’s dad has been particularly influential in his life and has been the subject of a number of his poems.
After reading “Letter to My Father,” a student in the audience asked how one tackles such tough subjects in regards to losing a love one. Espada told her, “Don’t write, type. Trust those instincts. Trust those hands.” He continued, “Your writing will console others. It may not console you but others and that’s extraordinary.” There is a beauty in helping others when you yourself are still struggling, something to be said of extending a branch of empathy and recognizing that we all go through similar experiences.
Espada brought a humble but powerful presence to the Ruane Center for the Humanities and connected everyone to the worlds of the people he writes about. He made people listen and open their worlds to other experiences.
Celebrating Life Beyond Death
OLAS and BOP Celebrate Día de Los Muertos
by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
Día de los Muertos is often misunderstood to be a Mexican celebration of Halloween. However, this celebration, which is popular in Mexico but can be celebrated in other Latin cultures, is a time of celebrating the afterlife and being part of a community.
Providence College’s Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and Board of Programmers (BOP) teamed up to bring this holiday to campus in order to highlight its inclusive nature and bring everyone together.
Laura Arango ’20, president of OLAS and an organizer of the event, said, “Usually this is a Mexican holiday, but we wanted it to be encompassing for all cultures where they could do something.
“We scaled it up from last year as this freshman class has more Latinx students than prior years and we wanted to make them feel part of the community.” This was captured in the way the two clubs decorated the lounge of Moore Hall with flags representing different cultures, and in the wooden skulls that students painted at the event.
Keeping with this festive spirit of Día de los Muertos, Fiona Hoang ’22, a member of BOP and another organizer, said that they consulted Dr. Mintzi Martinez-Rivera, assistant professor of sociology, who told them, “Do something that’s true to you. Día de los Muertos is all about what’s true to you.”
They looked into ways to engage students and what would allow them to express their cultures. Arango spoke of the result: “Creativity brings everyone together, bright colors and painting wooden skulls allow people to add their culture and expression into this holiday.” Students were able to put a piece of themselves into their design and celebrate lost loved ones.
During the event, Dr. Martinez-Rivera, the only anthropologist at PC, gave a short speech highlighting the history and significance of Día de los Muertos. She stated, “Day of the Dead, a mixture of practices and traditions, celebrates death as a continuation of life; it’s another state of being.” Life is not seen as the finale of our existence but rather a part of the journey of existence.
Día de los Muertos may span a few days and may be primarily connected to Latin American cultures, but in its entirety, it is a time of celebrating one’s ancestors and their lives. At PC, this event took on an additional meaning by being a way to bring students and faculty together and showcase the variety of backgrounds, while reflecting on lost loved ones. Everyone belonged; life was celebrated through Dr. Martinez-Rivera’s speech about the holiday, and through people talking amongst friends and fellow students. It was a beautiful scene to see the Friar Family come together to celebrate this holiday, and seeing each individual make it their own.
Active Minds’ Semicolon Project
by: Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
There are moments when you are walking around campus in a sea of students and listening to their conversations or too loud music, but feel completely alone and isolated. Your vision and mind do not connect at that moment, but rather, you are swept away in a current of racing thoughts that feel as though they are physically hurting you. It is scary because it seems like no one understands what you are feeling in that instance, but we all have gone through those periods where our mind is not our best friend.
This past week, Providence College Active Minds dedicated itself to the Semicolon Project. The concept resonates with co-president of Active Minds Alexa Howell ’20; she even has the symbol tattooed on her wrist. When she found a note on her phone from freshman year that had gone untouched since then, it reminded her of her goal to do this “semicolon takeover” since she became involved with Active Minds her spring semester of freshman year.
Howell explained what this concept is all about, saying, “The whole idea of the semicolon is how it is used in a sentence; you write your sentence, and then you want to add more without stopping it. It is a metaphor for life.You have gone so far in your life and you wanted to end it, but you didn’t. You kept pushing through with what you were dealing with in those hard times.”
She decided to close the event with an activity called Make Your Own Semicolon, where people could paint semicolons as they listen to music, be immersed in their artwork, and have fun. Emily Tolbert ‘20, co-president of PC Active Minds, said of the event, “With this, I think it is really special, too, because it has such a strong message of hope and resilience and then people get to take it home with them as well.” Active Minds uses creativity, self-expression, and relaxation through art to provide an outlet for their Friar family.
This activity, along with the 80 different posters hung around campus that feature images and quotes emphasizing that “everyone in Friartown is behind you,” beautifully captures how these small things can mean the world to people, especially when we do not know what others are going through. We walk by one another every day but rarely imagine what is going on in someone else’s life. Tolbert mentioned, “Everyone is going to go through a time where they feel like giving up, where they feel like they are going through a struggle that they feel alone in or that they can’t share with others.” This activity and club encourages us to be open and truly embrace the concept of the Friar family. As Howell said, “Just like everyone has physical health, everyone has mental health.”
Through the Semicolon Project, PC Active Minds spread the word about mental health, helping to normalize discussions about mental well-being on campus. This project allowed the student organization to further fulfill its mission to decrease the negative stigma around mental illness. As one of the last events in October, Mental Health Awareness Month, the Semicolon Project drove home a memorable message.
Acoustic Java Coffee Shop
Coffee as an Art Form in the Creative Capital
by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff
The variety of cafés in Providence ranges from industrial spots with rustic decor, brick walls, and shelves filled with books, to those with white marble accents that scream Instagram vibes. Indeed, there appears to be no shortage. Yet, Acoustic Java popped up about a month ago onto the scene with an eclectic feel bringing coffee, music, and films together. It has brought a down-to-earth, artsy flair to the mix as it focuses on the artistic side of life with a cup of coffee in hand.
The very name encompasses what the coffee scene was missing in Providence. David Fullerton, owner and CEO of Acoustic Java, describes the backstory of the name. “Behind the name is the underlying belief that great coffee is like great music, in that both are works of art. Our motto is, ‘As music tames the savage beast, coffee civilizes man unkind,’” he says.
The creative capital has a special place in Fullerton’s heart, as he spoke about how he decided on Providence for the third Acoustic Java. He already runs two successful cafes under the same name near Worcester, Massachusetts. He said, “When I first came to Providence in 1999, I fell in love with its rich history and unique brand of civic humanism.” When he learned of the closing of Cable Car Cinema, he thought back to his own memories. “I still remember having been deeply moved by the experience of seeing Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, a movie based on an Inuit legend there when my wife and I were still dating,” says Fullerton. Using his memories as fuel and his belief in the “coffeehouse experience,” he created something special.
The quaint café feels like it is taken from a novel, with quotes scattered throughout the seating area and one wall decorated with shelves of books you can purchase. The soft tunes flowing out of the sound systems and friendliness of the baristas make you feel welcomed into the space rather than rushed to finish your beverage and move on with your day. Fullerton and his team are dedicated “to the historic traditions of the coffeehouse as a third space and see the creation of welcoming environments as being central to our mission.” That is what sets Acoustic Java apart—they recognize the amount of time people want to spend in a coffee shop doing work and invite you to come and enjoy yourself without feeling self-conscious.
Stop by the Acoustic Java for classic tunes and their “awesome art house and first run independent movies” during the evenings and weekends. The ticket price for students is $8, which can be purchased on the website or in the café. If you visit during the day, take advantage of the “free movie café” where you can stream the movie for free through your phone and listen from your earbuds as you do work or chat with friends. Come by for a cup of their sustainably roasted coffee and pastries from local bakeries like Seven Stars Bakery and Providence Bagel.