Ring in 2010 with Bright Night event in Providence
see full article online with photos!
By Linda Murphy
Special to The Herald News
Posted Dec 24, 2009 @ 04:06 PM
The lights may have gone out for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Fall River, but the party’s still on in Providence, though its Bright Night celebration almost faced the same fate.
Saved in part by a private anonymous donor, the Bright Night festivities will be illuminated by the ever-popular Waterfire, rather than fireworks, and will feature the magical mayhem of David Garrity’s IllusionQuest for three separate shows at the R.I. Convention Center. “He’ll make your jaw drop in awe,” said Bright Night Festival Director Adam Gertsacov. “Bring an extra pair of socks because he’ll knock your socks off.”
The finale of his show features Garrity escaping from a chained table before 32 steel spikes descend from above the table. Garrity, a master illusionist whose show started at Six Flags New England, has performed the family-friendly magical act all over the United States as well as Finland and Sweden. He’s scheduled for three shows, 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and because Bright Night organizers are guaranteeing admission to one of the 3,000-seat shows they’re selling only 9,000 Bright Night wristbands, good for free entrance into all festival events.
Some of the events start at noon, including half-price skating at the Bank of America Skating Center in Kennedy Plaza and Gertsacov, a professional clown, P.T. Barnum impersonator and flea circus impresario will lead off the evening opening ceremony at 5 p.m. at the skating center. More than 50 different acts with more than 160 performers are planned at venues throughout the city including the Big Nazo Puppets, who will stage two all ages rock and roll puppet creature extravaganzas at The Roxy Nightclub, 79 Washington St. at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Multiple shows from mentalist Rory Raven, sword-swallower Matt the Knife and spooky storyteller Mark Binder are on tap at AS220 Café, 95 Empire St. The Beneficent Sanctuary, 300 Weybosset St. will host jazz with Greg Abate, The Knuf Said jazz quartet and the acoustic Celtic sounds of Fishin’ With Finnegan.
The Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South St. will open at noon and will feature alternating performances by Sparky’s Puppets and Take Two Tandem Tellers: Anne-Marie Forer and Cindy Killavey through 5 p.m.
The R.I. Children’s Chorus, the Ocean State Children’s Chorus and the feminist WomanSpiritRising chorus will perform at Grace Church, 175 Mathewson St., where a candlelight service is slated at 11 p.m.
This year the festival lost all of its funding from its primary sponsor, the city of Providence but organizers have managed to raise funds through individual and business donations. Gertsacov said addition contributions are still needed to ensure payment to this year’s performers. “A lot of people are stepping up and saying, ‘how can we help’,” he said. “Businesses are giving more and the artists are giving more – that’s really exciting to see. The community has made this happen.” Funds continue to be raised through its 2010 campaign, in which they ask people to tell 10 friends to donate $20.
This isn’t the first time the Bright Night group followed the old show biz mantra, “the show must go on.” In 2003 a group of artists took over the annual New Year’s Eve event and refashioned it as Bright Night when a lack of funding threatened to cancel Providence’s First Night. “It worked out better than expected that year; we were able to pay every artist,” said Gertsacov.
To make a donation or for the full lineup of performers and venues, see the festival website at www.brightnight.org.
Wristbands purchased before Dec. 25 cost $10 after that date they sell for $15 each or 4 for $50. Choice of showtime to Garrity’s act must be made at the time of purchase.
To purchase a wristband online see www.ArtTixRI.com or call 401-621-6123. Tickets can be purchased in person at the following sites: ArtTixRI Ticket Booth 155 Westminster Street, all 16 Bank Rhode Island locations, East Side Marketplace, 165 Pitman St., Providence, OOP! Retail gift store, 220 Westminster St., Providence.