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Best things to do in RI this week: Jan. 14-21

Scholar and commentator Eddie Glaude Jr. will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday, Jan. 18, during a virtual evening hosted by the Rhode Island School of Design.Eddie Glaude

The only thing cooler than the temp outside is this list, Rhody. Neighbor, you just clicked the link for the hippest happenings in the 401. Get ready to mark your calendar. We’ll focus here on Jan. 14-21. Let’s go.

(The obvious pandemic note: We live in topsy-turvy world where plans change by the second. Make sure to check each site for details and updates before you actually go.)

STAR-GAZING

The best parts of clear, cold nights? The stars. No, not Chris and Liam Hemsworth. I mean heavenly bodies. (Again, no, not the Hemsworths.) I mean those hot fiery objects that are far, far away and out of reach (…OK, I see your confusion here.)

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Bundle up, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, and get ready to navigate the night sky at the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center’s Stargazing Night. The center is a Charlestown gem. Weather permitting, every Friday night, they offer telescopes and free stargazing to any interested eyes. Hang with astronomers and learn which lights are planets, find speckled star clusters, nebulae and more. Dress warm. In fact, you can see how the astronomer’s bundle up here. #StarStruck. Jan. 14 from 7-10 p.m. 61-62 Park Lane. 401-859-1450. Details here. Free.

FIRESIDE ROOFTOP COCKTAILS

Everything about those words sounds good.

Rooftop at the Providence G hosts Fireside Fridays with music, dessert and warm winter cocktails. Cozy up to the fire and enjoy the Providence skyline with a festive treat — perhaps a slice of ricotta & pistachio cake, apple cobbler or chocolate and salted caramel lava cake. Or a festive cocktail — maybe a French Kiss (Grand Marnier, Courvoisier, hot coffee, fresh cream); Dark Chocolate Espresso Martini (double espresso vodka, Godiva dark chocolate liquor, Fresh Press Espresso); or a Less is S’more — salted caramel vodka, Irish cream liquor, hot chocolate, graham cracker, toasted marshmallow. #WinterVibes.

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Indoor seating is also available. And the house menu is stacked. Par for the course: local oysters, fresh crudo, duck & fig flatbread with garlic confit, chicken and waffles, burgers with candied bacon. (Again, yes to all these words.) Winter cocktails offered daily. General fire pit seating available on first-come-first serve basis. Private fire pits can be reserved for 4-6 people by meeting a $75 per person food and beverage minimum. 100 Dorrance St., 401-632-4904. Details and reservations here.

BEER AND TACO PARTY

Join Middletown’s Rejects Beer Co. in celebrating their first birthday. Party with brews, a Diego’s taco cart, a DJ spinning vinyl, raffle and giveaways. According to their instagram, they’ll be cracking into their first barrel-aged beer, with plenty of outdoor space, tents and heaters. #HappyFirstBirthday Jan. 15, 4-8 p.m. 124 Aquidneck Ave. 401-619-8200. Details here.

ART CLASSES

The whole family can take a RISD art class from the safety of home with Family See + Sketch. Recommended for ages 6 and up with a grown-up, the hour-long program “explores art using close examination, discussion, and hands-on making using common household materials. Each session focuses on a different artwork,” according to program info. Jan. 15, 10-11 a.m. Details here.

Hunt’s Photo, with a location in Providence, isn’t just a spot to buy a camera — you can learn how to use it. Hunt’s offers a stocked course catalog — and decent rates compared to college courses — from beginner photography to Adobe Lightroom, from photo nature walks, to online classes. Classes at their Providence location this week include Beginner Photography Jan. 16, ($100); Video Basics ($100.) 571 North Main St. 401-751-5190. Details here.

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CIVIL RIGHTS IN R.I.

A century before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Mahlon Van Horne inspired and enlightened Rhode Islanders as a religious, civil rights, and political leader in the 1800s. Van Horne was pastor of the Union Colored Congregational Church in Newport and would become the first elected person of color to a Rhode Island School Committee in 1872 and state General Assembly in 1885. The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society takes a look at his legacy with a free virtual presentation, “Freedom is Not Enough: The Life and Times of Reverend Mahlon Van Horne.” Attendees will receive a print copy of his sermon, “The Negro in Rhode Island: His Past, Present, and Future.” Jan. 17, 5 p.m. Free. Details here.

MLK EVENING

If you’re looking to listen to a thoughtful talk in lieu of a podcast or show for Martin Luther King Jr., RISD hosts a virtual evening with Eddie Glaude Jr., Tuesday, Jan. 18. Princeton University’s Chair of Department of African American Studies, political commentator on shows like “Meet the Press,” Glaude’s books include the 2020 New York Times bestseller “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own.” Register to receive event link. Details here.

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HUDDLE UP

Cozy up with pals at The Huddle in Newport for an old-school game night Jan 14. Or create art foraged from nature Jan. 15. Or make your own artisan cookies Jan. 20. Sign up for a wine class Jan. 21… I’ll stop there. So what’s this Huddle, you ask? It’s a sweet co-work space in Newport for learning, playing, creating. Show proof of vax, wear a mask — or better yet, both — to take classes on, for instance, mocktails, T-shirt making, or essential oils. #HuddleUp. 42 Spring St. 401-203-5350. Details here.

INDIE-FLIX

When it’s cold outside, there’s just something about cozying up in a real movie theater… especially when said movies aren’t streaming yet. (And there are sooo many good ones out right now.)

Catch Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy Of Macbeth” starting Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. This looks fascinating for so many reasons — a Coen brother on his own? Directing his wife in a Shakespeare adaptation? With Denzel? I’m in. Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m. at Newport’s Jane Pickens Theater. 49 Touro St. 401-846-5474. Details here.

Also at Jane Pickens: The much-hyped “House of Gucci,” starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Al Pacino plays Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m and Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. The 1940s-set “Nightmare Alley” starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe plays Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m. and Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, at The Avon in Providence, the buzzy Paul Thomas Anderson-directed “Licorice Pizza” — with Tom Waits, Sean Penn, Cooper, Maya Rudolph and more — plays daily now through Jan. 20, at 3:35 and 6:20 p.m. “Parallel Mothers,” starring Penelope Cruz, opens Jan. 21. 260 Thayer St. 401-421-3315. Details here. #JustAddPopcorn

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