Friday, July 24, 2009

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 7/24-25/09.

We're really smack-dab in the middle of Summer now. Embrace the opportunity to get out and about while the gettin's good. Here are a few ideas for your weekend plans...


Take a trip to Fun Land: The Art of Pinball! The Warhol Museum is hosting a reception (7-10PM, free admission) for the launch of two pinball machines designed and created by local artists Mike Budai and Brian Holderman. The shindig is sponsored by art-collective Unicorn Mountain and the Professional Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA). I've seen these functional art pieces in promo shots, and I'm confident that they'll be absolutely stunning in person. You may have to wait in line a long time to play them, but there will also be twelve more vintage games to stick your quarters in. See what the kids of today are missing.

Guest curator Katherine Talcott has put together the 13th Gestures Show over at the Mattress Factory (1414 Monterey St., 7:30-9:30, $10). Included within is John Riegert's Sublet, a "gallery-within-a-gallery". These exhibitions are always worth seeing, if only to have a look at the individual aesthetic of a single art-world personality. I've seen some I've liked better than others, but they are invariably interesting (and very crowded... so get there early if you want to take some time with the work).

And if you have the time to stroll by Future Tenant starting on Friday, you can see a window installation called Planet Dragulon! by Scott Andrew and Michael McParlane. If you want to know what it's all about, there will be an artist Q & A from 9-10PM.


All you really need to know is that Slim Cessna's Auto Club is playing at the 31st St Pub. Although Cessna himself has called the 'Burgh his home for more than five years, the rest of the band lives in Denver, and so their appearances in town are limited to 1-2 events annually. If you haven't yet had the honor to attend a performance of this Tent Revivalist stream of energy, spirit, and sound- by all means show up around 10PM and prepared to be altered forever. You may not get the chance to be told again.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 7/17-19/09.

Once again I have to apologize for being largely absent here at the blog this summer. Things are hectic, but I'm trying to keep up.

There is A LOT to do around town this weekend, and I'm sure to miss a lot. Here are some highlights:


If you have a functioning heart, you may want to consider stopping by Imagebox (4933 Penn, 7-10:30 PM) for a benefit for artist David Flynn. A pittance of 5 lousy bucks gets you beer, cookies, vegan pasta salad, and the chance to say that you are not wholly without compassion. Apparently Mr. Flynn has lots of hospital bills to pay, and is in desperate need of a replacement used laptop to replace one that was stolen. Bring your checkbook, as you wil have the opportunity to purchase some of his art as well.

The seasonal downtown gallery crawl is also happening Friday starting at 5:30PM. If you really want to find out what most of the folks in the region consider the "Cultural District" of the city, head for the smells and the traffic tie-ups of the Golden Triangle.

Meanwhile, at 8PM there will be hundreds of people walking around like zombies. But unlike every other weekend in the South Side, these will be in even scarier make-up. Celebrate the tradition of local legend Romero and shamble down Carson St. It's high satire, and there's supposed to be some party after the mass hike. Tell the entire drinking population of South Hills I said "Hi", and ensure that they continue to revel on the other side of town.


Here's a shout-out to one of the 'Burgh's most unusual couples- whether considered separately or (most appropriately) together... Phat Mandee and Tommy Amoeba's Traveling Variety Show is jumping off at the New Hazlett Theater at 10:30 PM. I can only guess about the strange and wonderful sights they have for the lucky ones that show up for this event.

Saturday and Sunday

The SPF EXPO, for Pittsburgh's pre-eminent small press festival, is happening this weekend. There are two floors of vendors, workshops, panels, entertainment, and food. It's $5 for a weekend pass. If you just want to walk around aimlessly without participating in any cool stuff, there is no cover. Venture forth to the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at CMU's Purnell Center for the Arts (5000 Penn Avenue). Best of all, you can watch me making a fool out of myself on Sunday afternoon, trying to moderate my first panel. What do I know about "art books"?! Here's the detailed schedule for the Expo.


Head up Polish Hill (to the crossing of Brereton and Dobson Streets) for the 2nd Annual Art What You Got (Noon-8PM). Along with an artist and handicrafter's marketplace, you'll find ethnic grub like kielbasa and pierogies. Plus you can see some local bands, including one of my favorites- Timbeleza, a Brazillian drumming and samba outfit that got me moving one night over at Your Inner Vagabond. The organizers are convinced that they can avoid the hurricane winds that blew tents over at last year's gig. Go find out if they are prescient or merely plagued by hubris.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bob Ziller Blooms Birmingham Bridge

I was surprised early Sunday morning to get a call from my friend Bob Ziller, as virtually everyone I know would expect to hear back from me late in the afternoon rather than actually get me on the phone at that time. For some reason I was awake, and that was fortunate. I don't really enjoy documenting other folks' projects, but for Bob I'm usually willing to see what he's up to. So I pulled myself together and drove down to the Hive to find out what he had in mind. I quickly learned that it involved ladders, and secretly began to regret my decision. But when I found out what we were going to do, I got excited.

Bordering Fitzpatrick Street in the Hill District (a stone's throw from the house where Andy Warhol was born), there is this abandoned building that greets everyone at the end of the Birmingham Bridge. Bob decided to make some neighborhood improvements, and he wanted me along for the ride.

While I helped schlep some stuff back and forth (and manipulate some ridiculously unwieldy ladders), I discovered that Bob was perfectly capable of installing his work himself. That left me free to shoot a series of shots that ended up being pretty fun. Here I've included the before and after shots of the property. I can't imagine anyone would have any serious objection to this particular brand of public art. Bob plans to continue this activity, so please keep a look out for the next entry in the series.

In the meantime make it a point to travel northward over the Birmingham Bridge (from the South Side) sometime soon, because there is no guarantee this is going to last and it is really best experienced in person.


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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pittsburgh Weekend Happenings: 7/3-4/09

The great spectacle of the summer is upon us this weekend, and folks are finalizing their plans. I've asked myself what level of engagement I want with the outside world, and I've decided to make sure all of the signal lights on my car work. That being said, there is enough going on right here in the 'Burgh to compel me to stay close to home... so we'll see.


Do you want to know how the L-Ville got hip? Soul City Tours aims to tell you in their own walking tour of the Design Zone. Check out the upholstery store and the cupcake shop. Find 0ut what they consider a "Turkish Harem". And take a moment to spill a bit of brew for the long lost businesses that helped the neighborhood get where it is today (the Digging Pitt, Culpeppers, Ray's, La Vie, etc.). Make sure your guides show you where the ER Room is. You locals know what I'm talkin' about. The tour gets underway at 1PM. Call (412) 508-2942.

Contrary to my expectations, there IS a scaled-down version of First Friday Unblurred on Penn this month. And there is a handful of "must-sees". ARTica (5110 Penn) has Susan Constance, Michelle Gregio and a host of others. Garfield Artworks has Katie Jarrett, Jesse Best, and Masha Vereshchenko (etc.). And a definite highlight will be Through the Window with Sam Thorp and Carolyn Wenning at Most Wanted Fine Art (5015 Penn). Most of these events occur between 6 and 10PM, but show up at 7PM just to be safe.

Speaking of safe, Shadyside has their art walk Friday as well. I still can't understand why we can't stagger these monthly events instead of indulging in a pissing contest between hoods. WTF? Anyway, the Mendelson Gallery is featuring an opening for work by Ben Matthews & Alberto J. Almarza. There are some great promo images and a write-up at Bittersweet Harvest (a new blog dedicated to emerging artists in Pittsburgh- YAY!!). Also, you must stop in Gallerie Chiz (6-9PM, 5831 Ellsworth St.) for Laura Jean McLaughlin's Schlumpy Funk show. I feel like enough of an authority on the matter to say that she best embodies the virtues and attitudes as described in the manifesto of the same name.

Maybe a dance party is more your style. Brillobox has been bringing the good people Pandemic for several years, and for my money it's the most eclectic and interesting booty shake you'll find in town. Gypsy music, Brazillian Funk, and a whole lot of other stuff that will have you movin' even if you've never heard it before. Check it aht at 9:30.

The Big Butler Fair begins this weekend, and yes, it does have a demolition derby. See the link for details.


Also, the Regatta is going on- but it sucks, so don't feel bad about pretending it's not happening. I blame it for the historical atrocities that happened at the Point during the last couple years. Find someone with a deck on the South Side slopes, and watch the fireworks from there instead. If you really need to see Three Dog Night in 2009, then I really can't help you anyway.

If you must give in to cliché and head to Mt. Washinton, I implore you to take a stroll down Shiloh Street and peep the "Art Marketplace". I don't know who is participating, but at least you'll be shopping local. It runs from Noon to Five (Sunday too), and includes bands.

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