Remember the old saying "Nothing but for Providence"? Well it is not (quite) true. Here goes:
Music: Thumbs down to George Cohan ("Yankee Doodle Dandy"). The obvious pick is saxophonist Scott Hamilton. Have you heard of guitarist Les Dudek? There is also trumpeter Bobby Hackett. But is that all?
Literature: I have never found H.P. Lovecraft readable, nor have I tried Spalding Gray. Did you know Cormac McCarthy was born in Providence?
Movie, set in: I don’t like Spielberg’s Amistad, nor have I seen Outside Providence. Safe Men is only OK. Please help me out in the comments. Here is a good general list of best movies set in particular states. And if you are looking for directors, the Farrellys are from Providence.
The bottom line: Rhode Island offers some good names, but thematically they don’t add up to anything very particular. In my mind, I keep coming back to the music festivals.
Tonight I am giving a talk at Brown University, in case you are wondering.