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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: June 2-9

The season's first full lighting of WaterFire is Saturday, June 3, in Providence. Fun kicks off at 6:30 p.m., with the lighting set to begin at 8:15 p.m.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

What a week. “Succession” is over. The Celtics lost. Smoke invaded PVD. The internet turned its back on Taylor Swift.

Friends, in this topsy-turvy world, I come bearing good news: from free donuts to our first full WaterFire. Let’s ride.


Beep beep! This is not a drill, people. June 2 is National Donut Day and Dunkin’ is giving away free donuts with a drink purchase. I repeat: Free donut. This being New England, 99 percent of us were going for iced coffee that day anyway. (Ben Affleck will get, like, five free donuts.)

Knead Doughnuts celebrates by “running a few specials” and bringing back fan faves: S’mores Donut — toasted house-made fluff, on a graham cracker old-fashioned — and a Birthday Cake Crumble — brioche, vanilla buttercream, topped with birthday cake crumbles. They suggest pre-ordering to reserve. Or just celebrate the day on your own by hitting up other sweet spots. (Note that, as they announced last month, PVDonuts soon moves from Ives to Wickenden.)



Ukraine’s polo team arrives in Newport on a Global Goodwill Tour. On June 2, catch a benefit premiere of “Polo Passport” at the Jane Pickens Theater — ticket sales benefit humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine, according to Newport Polo. The $35 movie ticket includes 2 polo admission tickets and complimentary reception cocktail, according to billing. Post-screening, it’s meet-and-greet reception at The Vanderbilt for cocktails from 7-9 p.m. to meet filmmakers and the Ukraine polo team, according to the theater. RSVP here. On June 3, the Ukraine vs. USA match begins at 5 p.m. Tickets from $20. 250 Linden Lane, Portsmouth. Details here.


Newport celebrates the opening of the Newport Pride Center June 9, 4-8 p.m. at 42 Spring St., formerly The Huddle. According to their announcement, from workshops and panel-discussions to cultural events and showcases, their mission is to “support and work with the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the Newport area, to advocate for equality and more inclusive policies and safe, welcoming spaces; provide resources and education to expand community understanding and support for diverse LGBTQ+ identities and history.”


Upcoming Pride Month events in Newport include: an Intersex Pride Progress Flag Raising at City Hall June 2 at 5 p.m., and the opening of “Pride: In Retrospect” exhibit at the Newport Art Museum June 2. Learn more about the center and events here.


I’m a passionate book lover and Ocean Stater. Rhody has so many talented authors and bookstores that I’ve started a little subsection of this column, “Rhode Reads.” If you’re a local author or a bookstore hosting a local signing, hit me up and you might get featured. In this week’s Rhody Reading News …

Catch flight attendant-turned-bestselling thriller writer T.J. Newman at Books on the Square on June 2. Her debut “Falling” — now headed to screen — was unputdownable. “Drowning” is the same level of gripping fun 7 p.m. 471 Angell St., Providence. Details here.

The inaugural Newport Rare Book Fair runs June 2-4 with exhibitors from around the country at the Newport Congregational Church. June 2 is a preview night party from 4-7 p.m. with wine, beer, cocktails and canapes. $75. June 3 (11 a.m.- 6 p.m.) and June 4 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) are free admission. It’s time to treasure-hunt, fellow booklovers. 73 Pelham St. Details here.


This one’s worth the ferry ride: Block Island’s Island Free Library hosts award-winning author / 2020 MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson on June 3. The author of “Red at the Bone”, “The Day You Begin”, and others, Woodson is education artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center. All kids should experience this. When I interviewed Harvard book-fluencer/founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks Marley Dias, she told me Woodson’s acclaimed “Brown Girl Dreaming” sparked her mission: “When I read it, I was like, ‘Wow, this needs to be everywhere.’ We cannot afford to have stories that only portray one type of experience … The education I received from that book is so valuable to who I am as a person.” I’m thrilled that Woodson will host a storytime (with dancing) at 10:30 a.m., and a reception with reading, Q&A and signing at 4 p.m. Both are free. Go. 9 Dodge St. Details here.


Opera superstar Renée Fleming will lead a free “Music and the Mind” program on the arts as they relate to health and the brain, at Brown University’s Martinos Auditorium. June 2, 6:30 p.m. 154 Angell St., Providence. Details here.

Fleming will headline the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra’s Gala Concert, with Leonard Slatkin conducting. She will perform Richard Strauss’s “Four Last Songs,” music from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” music from Leoncavallo’s “La Bohème” and more, including a performance with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and students from Victoria’s Dream Project, a free string instruction program for Pawtucket third- through fifth-graders. 5 p.m. at The VETS. 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. Details here.



You know you grew up in Rhody in the early 1990s when you still hear the old Rocky Point jingle just by reading those words… ah, memories. And hey, more good times to come: Some 20 food and dessert trucks offer treats at Rocky Point State Park June 3, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. BYO chair or blanket to soak up the sun and live music. Free, pay for what you eat. 1 Rocky Point Ave., Warwick. Details here.


Love Wins Coastal, a community organization, host its 3rd Annual Pride Block Party in Little Compton June 3 from 1-4 p.m. Think music, food, crafts, info tables, vendors, raffle, family-friendly activities and more. Add to a community paper “chain of positivity,” snap away in the selfie station, paint a rock to take home, decorate cupcakes, etc. At the Town Commons, Commons Street. Info here.


O ancient waters! This tradition dates back to our cave days, when Rhode Islanders signified the start of summer by drinking coffee milk by firelight, igniting pyres to praise our Giant Clamcake in the sky... I think. Either way, we’ve got a full WaterFire June 3. I won’t insult your Rhode Islandness by describing it — you know the vibe — but a few details:


The lighting is at 8:15 p.m., with fun kicking off at 6:30 p.m. It’s a food fair on Washington Street, Canal Walk, and College Street, including Kettle Korn Express, Pita Pocket, Saugys, Del’s Lemonade, Spanglish, Caribbean Delights, Vegan Suga and more.

New: Trinity Brewhouse has two locations this season: brews on the corner of Steeple and Canal, wine on the corner of Canal and Washington.

Shop local artists and makers starting at 6:30 p.m. at the WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza at Washington and Steeple streets.

At 8 p.m., Funkademic takes the Steeple Street Music Stage. Details here.


Another sign of summer in Rhody: When Providence Flea moves outdoors. The season kicks off June 4. You never know what you’ll find at the Flea, but expect some 70 artists, artisans, indie makers, small-batch bakers, community nonprofits, food trucks and musicians. Free. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. every Sunday now through Sept. 24. 275 South Water St., Providence. Details here.


Ride under a full moon with Bike Newport. They host a free 15-mile moonlight bike ride on the full moon of each month. June 3 is the “Strawberry Moon.” 7:45 p.m. They recommend arriving 20-30 minutes before. Free. 18+. Equality Park Place, Broadway, Newport. Details here.


Hep cats, beeline to Bristol where PVD native/jazz artist Alexus Lee takes stage June 4. The Berklee College alum and 2022 Rhode Island Music Award nominee for Best Vocalist performs a summery afternoon outdoor show at Linden Place mansion. BYO blankets and chairs. 2-4 p.m. $20. 500 Hope St. Get a sense of the vibe here. Details here. Learn more about the artist here.


Roll out the red carpet: It’s time for the Ocean State Star Awards. PPAC hosts their first Ocean State Star Awards for Rhody high schools (and Massachusetts schools within a 20-mile radius of PPAC) in this Tony Awards-inspired showcase June 4 at 7 p.m.

The showcase honors “schools and students for artistic excellence in musical theatre” and serves as “a tribute to the enthusiasm, dedication, and accomplishments of Rhode Island’s high school musical theatre programs.” Participants might win awards, scholarships, and perform on the PPAC stage. As the daughter of two teachers, I love this idea. Go get ‘em, Ocean State stars. From $27. 220 Weybosset St., Providence. Details here.


Well, an afternoon. Grammy-winning baritone Will Liverman — who will soon star as Malcolm X in the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” — makes his Rhode Island debut with Rhode Island College Artist-In-Residence pianist Judith Lynn Stillman in a free concert June 4 at 3 p.m. “Art Song to Aria” features the world premiere of a song cycle by Stillman, according to billing. Free, must pre-register here. The John Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, Sapinsley Hall, 600 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence.


Billy Joel fans, it’s your night. Rock PPAC June 9 with “Celebrating Billy Joel: America’s Piano Man.” While the show will not, in fact, be 9 o’clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd may shuffle in. Multi-instrumentalists including Rob Stringer and Alex Dee play hits you know by heart, from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and “New York State of Mind” to “Uptown Girl” and, by god, “Piano Man.” From $13. 8 p.m. 220 Weybosset St., Providence. Details here.

Lauren Daley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.