Providence PVDfest today!


We adventured into downtown Providence late this afternoon for PVDfest, the city’s second annual international arts festival (last year’s shindig was the Providence International Arts Festival – deemed too big a mouthful). Day was grayish but without any seeming threat of rain, so down we went. Saw the dinosaurs, a herd of just three – after the Jurassic herd in the adverts it seemed pale but they were a hoot, the work of Close-Act Theatre, which hails from the Netherlands. Finally, we found a great corner table at Blake’s with one of those to-die-for windows on the world. Could have hung out all night, protected by plate glass from thunderous music across Mathewson – drums, to which people were dancing. People were dancing all over the place – the mayor had ordered us all to dance. By the time we wandered from Blake’s back to the car, however, the scene was dying down. It was all free to attend, and will wrap up tomorrow.

The photos below are in the order they were taken, except the scene-setters of the dinosaurs up top. The one just below shows a dinosaur backgrounded by the Industrial Trust (“Superman”) Building, which might strike some as wry. Next shot is the articulate rear of what had been the Masonic Temple occupied by the order when it began construction of the Masonic Temple that was unfinished for 75 years before it became the Renaissance in 2007. And the last five photos show the Gaebe Quadrangle of Johnson & Wales. including the East German Embassy (my derisive moniker for Broadcast House, now the JWU library and administration building) facing the quad from the east. Johnson & Wales’s culinary program is one of the reasons Providence’s cuisine scene is so delicious.

Two points for spotting Billy and Victoria.





















About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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4 Responses to Providence PVDfest today!

  1. Julie McCoy says:

    A friend and I spent several hours at Prov Fest yesterday. We enjoyed watching a few performers on the AS220 mini-stage as well as the hilarious Kilted Colin. It’s always good to see people out and about and enjoying themselves. That said, I ask myself when (and why) it became de rigueur at most such events for various, conflicting “musics” to be performed live or transmitted in recorded form at conversation-stopping, mind-boggling volume, nonstop. We found no location at which it was possible to listen to a single musical performance without the jangling intrusion of others. And we found no place to escape the cacophony, even for a moment. Last summer, I took a friend to Colt State Park for a mini-picnic; we left fairly quickly because several large groups of picnickers set up large speakers playing excruciatingly loud amplified music. It was impossible to hear and enjoy the sound of wind, waves, birds, and people enjoying one another’s company in a beautiful setting. Does this level of noise signify festivity to most people? Why is this the standard today?


    • God only knows, Julie, but I am right there with you on this. As you recall, I mentioned that Victoria, Billy and I found a haven at Blake’s from drumming across the street, which from inside sounded merely like distant thunder, rattling the windows. We acctually gave up an outdoor table because of the “music.” I don’t understand this phenomenon at all, but it is everywhere, and everywhere regrettable. I rarely say this but: there oughta be a law.


      • joolzbeth49 says:

        Agreed. When I am queen ….. And I forgot to say how nice your photos are. I only wish that my experience had been as pleasant as these shots make it look!


        • I did not want to rain on the parade but there were information booths all over the place staffed with people who didn’t seem to know much (such as where and when the dinosaurs would be), and didn’t seem interested in helping you find out. No doubt they were volunteers, but a solid organization can jazz up the volunteers so they don’t seem so much like timeservers from someone’s municipal office or their kids. Sorry, but that’s how it seemed.


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