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Cicilline No Drag at Follies (posted March 1, 2003)

Providence Mayor David Cicilline proved to be no drag at the 30th annual "Follies" satire organized by the Providence Newspaper Guild. Appearing as the mystery guest at the end of the performance, he strolled on-stage wearing an extravagant white fox coat, but reassured the audience that the coat was made of "free range foxes who died a natural death".

The Follies is an annual event that pokes fun at Rhode Island politicians and gives the mystery guest a chance to make fun of himself and sometimes others. Cicilline earned rave reviews by presenting a skit that caricatured himself as a openly-gay mayor. Flanked by Enrique and Lars, two shirtless, young male "domestic advisors", Cicilline laid out his agenda for change in Providence. His initial impression about City Hall was how dreay the offices were. To improve the personal surroundings, he suggested a number of new features that would brighten the office decor. Noting that the mayor's office had a past problem of "stains," his assistants produced a new crispy, white linen that had "no stains" on it. And showing his keen decorating sense, he showed how to use centerpieces and a candelabra to decorate table tops.

As mayor, one of his first acts had been removing the bar from the mayor's office. Noting that he himself preferred to serve tea rather than alcohol, he said that it now was possible in the mayor's office "to have tea with the queen." Cicilline noticed that some city employees brought their lunch into their offices in a paper bag, but said "I get uncomfortable about people bringing bags into City Hall."

Preceding Cicilline was a nightful of entertaining jokes and songs about leading state officials. Emcee Scott MacKay of the Providence Journal joked that in the Cicilline administration, there are "30 people who can teach at the Harvard Kennedy School, but not one person who can fill a pothole." He added that when Cianci was mayor, the streets at least got plowed on the day that it snowed.

Governor Don Carcieri came in for his share of ribbing. Noting that Carcieri had spent a week vacationing in Florida, MacKay named him "Boca Raton Don" and said going on vacation a month after he had been inauguarated made him "the perfect state employee."

Mackay pointed out that new Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey was a "Jesus freak" and said Laffey was "the only person who spent more time on his knees than Wendy Collins", a young woman said to have a sexual relationship with past House Speaker John Harwood.

Several old standbys came in for their share of ridicule. The song, "Say It With Conviction" (sung to the tune of "Hello Dolly") warned "Forget about that toupee, Buddy, Buddy's jacket had stains after all. Yes, Buddy's jacket had stains after all." And the number, "Johnny, she hard-ly knew ye" (sung to the music of "Leader of the Pack"), had a Wendy Collins character sing "Radio talk shows ripped us with glee. At work they all stop and frown, I should have asked more than 70 thou. I'll never forget him, Speaker of the House." A man dressed to look like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Myrth York sang to the tune of "I Feel Pretty", "Negativity hurt my last campaign, I said Carcieri killed kids. It was pretty bad. It was pretty sad. It was pretty mad. He was pretty pissed. I feel awful, awful-awful."

Each year, the Newspaper Guild recognizes a distinguished person with the John Kiffney award and this year, the honor went to WPRI-TV reporter Jack White. The winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1973, White represents "the best of modern journalism" according to the program citation. He is very professional and committed to informing the public on a wide range of issues.

Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services