It started in 1981 as "The Newport Film Society," and by 1983, it had become the area's very first international film festival. Today, the tradition continues under the moniker of Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival. Despite the change in name and audiences' evolving tastes in popcorn, the event's mission remains constant: to showcase features, documentaries, and shorts by independent filmmakers from across the globe. Ranked as one of the top 10 short film festivals and top 10 international film festivals in Chris Gore's The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, RIIFF is also among the few such events recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to qualify short films for Oscar gold.
As the sun begins to dip below the skyline, the Providence River’s surface flares up, tinged with its flickering glow. In the hazy sunset light, a gondola emerges cutting through the still water’s surface, though it’s just as easy to hear as it is to see; as it glides down the river, the boat wafts strains of song from its live accordion accompanist. Led by owner Marcello, La Gondola’s group of gondoliers row with the mission to only furnish passengers with romantic sojourns and to celebrate the riverfront and the city’s Italian ties. Each of his Venice-built gondolas gleams with intricately wrought ornaments and solid brass trim, and at 36 feet, they comfortably hold a gondolier, guests, an accompanying musician, and the occasional hitchhiking tugboat captain.Each gondola trip his company takes gets Marcello’s custom touch, as he tailors every trip to passengers’ desires. “No matter who you are,” he says, “we strive to make you feel like the queen and king of the river.” In agreement with many other residents, Marcello considers Waterplace Park a city hub: “If the park is the heart of the city, the river is the lifeblood,” he says. He hopes the rebirth of the local riverfront parallels a local renaissance for gondoliering as well, which inspired him to plan the inaugural Gondolympics in May.
The NAUI-trained diving instructors at Cuzins Outdoors specialize in turning ocean-shy beginners into full-fledged scuba masters. Students stretch across a wide spectrum of age and experience, training in the program that best suits their individual needs, from introductions to recreational diving to advanced certification courses. In basic classes, pupils learn to submerge in the controlled setting of the Cuzins swimming pool, whereas more experienced divers can team up with an expert teacher to add to their existing skills with specialized training in areas such as ice diving and exploring wrecks. Cuzins Outdoors also rents and sells equipment and gear, even altering wetsuits to mend a busted zipper or add tweed elbow patches.
Guests exercise their bodies and minds at Fore Court Racquet & Fitness Club , where tennis, volleyball, weight-lifting, and other recreational pursuits fight both boredom and inactivity. The blue carpeting of eight indoor courts lies under the tennis arena's vaulted ceiling that echoes the wallops and whacks of each serve, volley, and backhand. During clinics and lessons, beginners learn basic mechanics, court placement, and racket grips, and more advanced players compete in leagues that demand the skill and strategy of playing Risk on trampolines.Fore Court’s 10,000-square foot fitness center invigorates mind and matter ready for a break from prowling the baseline. Each week, 50 group fitness classes whip bodies into shape with Zumba's dance cardio programs, yoga's relaxing postures and poses, and spinning's stationary treks through a music-filled studio. An onsite babysitter frees parents to pursue these activities without having to hire a teenager or a guard baboon to babysit their children.
Now in their 10th year of dueling instruction, U.S. Fencing Association–certified coaches Michael and Anne Olson invite local squires to apprentice under the blade at their 3,500-square-foot sword school. At Blackstone Valley Fencing Academy, students ranked amateur through Arthurian clash in a safe and controlled environment over the course of six weekly classes. Beginning swordspersons are required to take the intro to fencing class, while experienced participants can wield their choice of foil, épée, or slashing saber as they parry and riposte across the academy’s four regulation-length electric-fencing strips. Sessions are divided by age for jousters as young as 7, and you can check the class schedule here. Participants should wear an embroidered gambeson and burnished chain mail, or at least court shoes and comfortable long pants.
•For $40, you get eight weeks of creative dance (ages 4–5) or introduction to ballet (ages 6–7) instruction with one class per week (an $84 value). •For $80, you get eight weeks of ballet 1, 2, or 3 instruction (ages 8–11) or adult ballet with two classes per week (a $180 value). •For $120, you get eight weeks of intermediate or advanced ballet instruction (ages 12+) with three classes per week (a $580 value). Previous training is required for intermediate and advanced ballet levels.
Kidville is a colorful, fun, and educational stomping ground where children can expand their minds, get out their wiggles, and make new, non-imaginary friends. Babies, toddlers, and children under age five will get to attend any three class sessions ($56) that have been carefully designed by early-childhood development specialists. Hundreds of stimulating choices await your munchkin's eager eyes and ears, such as the Little Maestros music course and the energetic Run, Wiggle, Paint, and Giggle class. My Big Messy Art Class lets your children Picasso to their heart's content with paints, chalks, and crayons, leaving your freshly painted hallways and furniture completely art-free. The fit and friendly gym classes, including Big Muscle Playtime and Kidville Gymnasts, allow kids to romp amidst a bevy of colorful and squishy play mats. Classes may vary at each location, so check the schedule for Franklin or Foxborough to confirm offerings. You'll also receive ten passes ($100) to Kidville's state-of-the-art indoor playspace.
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