Friday, August 17, 2007

Saturday Preview (A Full Day in Larryville...and more)

I haven't done a "heads-up" for local entertainment in awhile. I realize that such a post only stimulates limited interest in many of the people who read this blog. I don't know many folks who look here to figure out what they want to do on the weekend. If that was the focus, then I'd probably end up doing a piss-poor job of it. When I have promoted some event, it has usually been on the day of- and thus constituted almost completely useless information. Besides, there are many weekends when I'm simply not that excited by what's on offer. But I sometimes think it would be helpful if there were more disinterested bloggers talking about such options. Finally, I've still been tethered to the trivia site I wrote about yesterday, and I don't have much I want to say otherwise.

First of all... I was struck by the almost absolute lack of anything compelling going on tonight. That's been a fairly rare phenomena around town this past year. The bars will always be there, but there's nothing particularly exceptional about a night out drinking. I'm certain you could find some worthwhile band playing out, but I'm not really up on that scene. So given this empty space on my social calendar, I naturally assumed that there would have been plenty of options for tomorrow (Saturday). Lo and behold, there are a couple of things worth mentioning.

The Mattress Factory has an opening reception tomorrow afternoon with artwork by the son of one of my friends. It's happening between 2 and 4PM on Saturday. The title for the show is called "Good Dharma- Factory 14s". I don't know much about it, but there is some fairly fresh-looking Hindu-style artwork on the invitation (which I can't unfortunately find an online link to). This is only a guess extrapolated from the title itself, but one might think that all the artists in the show are youthful. And it just might have some kind of tie-in to the Warhol, but I can't swear to it. For some reason, I can't find much info on the official website. It's great that the museum has made an effort to engage non-traditional streams of work, but I wish they could make a better effort to promote what they do.

Lawrenceville also offers a full day of enjoyment tomorrow. As if to consolidate their growing reputation as the center of the Pittsburgh arts, neighborhood galleries and boutiques are rolling out a block party. Last year a handful of new art-spots on Hatfield Street decided to hold an event to raise their public profile. I attended and was modestly impressed to see such activity happening on a backstreet block I had lived on for years. Back when I was there it was mostly frequented by junkies and prostitutes, but the area has really turned around. This year they are promising increased participation by businesses from all over the neighborhood, and even live performances (11AM-5PM). There is reason to expect that this will be a steadily growing annual phenomenon. It always feels good to be one of the first to discover something cool. While you're down there, make it a point to stop by at Lawrenceville's newest hot-spot- the Zombo Gallery at 4900 Hatfield Street. Check out the owner's multimedia phantasmagoria to get an idea of what you are in for.

After you are through with those activities, you can stay in the neighborhood and grab a bite or a drink. I recommend Remedy Bar and Restaurant at 5121 Butler Street. Then head westward to the Digging Pitt Galleries (on Butler St and 45th) for their closings of a trio of shows. The tail-end of an exhibition is always a good time to see the artwork in a mellow atmosphere. You don't have to jostle a bunch of scenesters simply to get a good view. Plus nothing lasts forever, and you have to make it a point to appreciate the things that will soon be gone.

You can close your Lawrenceville experience with a stop by La Vie Gallery (36th and Butler Streets). They are having the opening reception (7-11PM) for the second in a three-part series of shows that constitutes Endless Summer. This new segment is titled Midsummer Night. Proprietors Bronwyn Loughren and Thommy Conroy have brought their excellently sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities to the most impressive gallery to open in the city in several years. I have been consistently pleased by the quality of the work they have selected, and their openings have been lively and entertaining. This should be no exception, considering it features work by some of my local favorites: Kathryn Young, Jairan Sadeghi, Valerie Leuth, Mary Mack, and Josh Tonies. If you get a chance, ask Conroy about next Saturday's Hothouse- the preeminent art party (sponsored by the Sprout fund) in the Pittsburgh region. He's the event architect.

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