Best things to do in Rhode Island: Feb. 9-16
This week: Comedy night, foodie stroll through Newport, celebrate Bob Marley, Black Film Festival screening, and more! By Brittany Bowker Globe Staff,


Professor Rel Dowdell, left, will answer questions and talk about his process in making the film, “Dr. Ira Reid: Haverford College’s Unsung Scholar Activist.” Featured prominently in the documentary is Cornel West, right.COURTESY RHODE ISLAND BLACK FILM FESTIVAL


There’s a celebratory flair in the air this week, with the Super Bowl on Sunday, Mardi Gras on Tuesday, and Valentine’s Day on Wednesday. In Rhode Island, there’s tons going on too, whether you’re in Providence looking to see a free film screening, or in Newport hoping to try some winter bites from local restaurants.

Here’s a sampling of Ocean State activities to fill in your week:


Paintbrush in one hand, glass of wine in the other. This Friday night activity comes with all of the supplies for guests to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces on 16×20 canvas. It also comes with two complimentary beverages (beer, wine, or soda). The week’s theme, “Enchanted Path,” looks moody and brooding, and perfect for February. Head to Paint and Vino at 150 Main St. in Pawtucket, 7 to 9:30 p.m. $35. Visit the studio website for more details.


Newport Playhouse presents a comedy show on Friday, Comedy with Dawn Tyler & Friends. The night’s headliner is Casey McNeal, who hails from Boston. The lineup also features Caren Lioce, with openers Robbie Cavaco and John Imperatore. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.$25. 102 Connell Highway. More details are on the theater’s website.


The Amica Rush Hour Series features conductor José Luis Gómez and Garrick Ohlsson on piano. The Friday performance starts at 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1 Ave of the Arts, Providence. More information is on the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School website.


This winter stroll offers a mile of guided walking through Newport’s historic Thames Street. Guests can learn about the city’s history while trying bites from three restaurants. Guests will get a three-course meal with selected wine pairings. This happens every Friday and Saturday evening through the end of March, beginning at 6 p.m. at O’Brien’s Pub at 501 Thames St. Reserve tickets in advance: $88 for adults, $55 for children. Details here.



Coventry’s Washington Oak Elementary School is hosting a family winter festival on Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. There will be games, activities, hot chocolate and cookies, raffles, and more. The festival costs $10 per family. 801 Read School House Road. Details here.


The Rhode Island Black Film Festival presents a special screening and discussion of an HBCU filmmaker’s story of one of the first Black scholars at a white institution, “Dr. Ira Reid: Haverford College’s Unsung Scholar Activist.” The Saturday screening is at 2 p.m. at the Rhode Island Historical Society’s Aldrich House, 110 Benevolent St., Providence. Details here.


Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is on stage at the Providence Performing Arts Center all weekend. Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas plays the role of Atticus Finch in the “To Kill A Mockingbird” National Tour. The show is on Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and on Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets from $59. 220 Weybosset St., Providence. More information on the PPAC website.


This monthlong series of events is meant to spark dialogue between Cabo Verdean and Cabo Verdean American scholars, activists, and sound artists. Called “Kriolu Voices Sounding: Cabo Verdean/American Music and Politics in Rhode Island,” the free series was organized by a Brown University PhD student. The Saturday session features Carlos (“Calu di Guida”) Moreno and Abel Djassi Amado, at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown, 154 Angell St., Providence. Tickets can be reserved online.


St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center in Woonsocket is hosting a Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., organized by Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts. Dinner is served from 6 to 8 p.m., and there will be live music by the Squeezebox Stompers. 84 Cumberland St. Tickets are $35, and should be purchased ahead of time.


A movie based on the life of reggae icon Bob Marley premieres in theaters on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. “Bob Marley: One Love” follows the singer’s rise to fame up to his death in 1981. The film stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, James Norton, and Lashana Lynch. Specialty “One Love” cocktails will be served at the Showcase Cinemas location in Warwick, 1200 Quaker Lane. Details here.


February is Rare Disease Month, and a new art exhibition in the atrium at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School puts a face to the names of rare diseases. The exhibit features 17 portraits of children, and are meant to remind students, faculty, staff, and visitors to look at patients beyond their diagnosis. The exhibit is open to the public weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 222 Richmond St., Providence. Details here.


LET THERE BE LIGHT: Keep your eyes peeled in downtown PVD for the Lumina light festival — a free public art and light installation consisting of 25 prisms, each about 6.5-feet and 700 pounds, according to a Globe RI story. The prisms “emit iridescent colors while sounds of soft bell tones ring out,” according to the story. See them in downtown Providence from BankNewport City Center to the 195 District Park via Dorrance Street through Feb. 20.

ICE BUMPER CARS AND SKATING: A winter Rhody tradition: Grab your crew, and head to PVD’s BankNewport City Center rink. Bumper cars, from $13 per ride per person. Skating $9; seniors and kids 12 and under, $6. Skate rental $8.41. Check online for weather notifications, register online. 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. Details here.

ZOO CREW: Beat the winter blues by hanging with the crew at the zoo. Roger Williams Park Zoo offers half-off admission now through Feb. 28. You can’t not smile when hanging with Keweng the tree kangaroo, or mom-and-son sloths Fiona and lil’ Jeffrey. Providence residents admitted free to the zoo the first Saturday of each month. (If you have a Rhody library card, you might also be eligible for a discount.) Discount applied at checkout. 1000 Elmwood Ave. See here for all details.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at Follow her @brittbowker and also on Instagram @brittbowker.



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