Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Events: 8/29-31/08.

With Rick over at Pittsburgh Art and Gallery Blog following his bliss in the great outdoors (and therefore on official hiatus until the end of September), I'm sure to miss out on a few of the wonderful art events happening around the 'Burgh this weekend. But I do know of several things worth attending, and if I have any sort of energy by tomorrow I should be able to get out to enjoy them.


If you have been meaning to check out the La Vie Gallery in Lawrenceville (3609 Butler Street), but have never made it a priority- tomorrow night (7-10PM) is your last chance... forever! That's right kids, yet another great gallery has come to its unfortunate end. Thommy Conroy and Bronwyn Loughren have made a mark on the local scene that will leave its afterimage for years. Somehow they have been able to corral some of the best young artists in town, and show their best work consistently, month-after-month. The receptions have been well attended and elegantly provisioned, and the prices have always been affordable. Often the best art venues come and go quickly in this town, and leave folks reminiscing about them for a long time afterwards. Don't you want to say that you were there?

Fortunately this weekend isn't just about "farewells". It appears that Syracuse's loss is our gain. Maverick art curator Astria Suparak has hit town. She's rolling out her first locally-curated show at the Regina Miller Gallery at CMU. The NYC Pratt-institute grad has made a lot of waves over the last few years (read Bill O'Driscoll's City Paper profile of her here). Anyway, for her inaugural exhibition she has chosen to bring us Julie Christensen's Your Town, Inc. It will include 80 photos from an upcoming book documenting the reuse of properties once housing "Big Box" stores. While you can officially see the work on Friday during normal gallery hours (12-6PM), the big reception (apparently a "Hometown BBQ") isn't until September 19th.

If you are downtown, you can stop by Future Tenant for an installation by "street artist" Danny Devine. Ain't too Proud to Beg will have a "Kickass opening with food, drinks, movies, art for sale & more" from 6-9pm (or so the website says).


I'm really not in the business of making music suggestions, but I'm going to make an exception for this weekend. David Berman's Silver Jews are making their very first appearance (ever) in Pittsburgh, at the William Pitt Union Assembly Hall at 8PM. Berman is a poet and songwriter who attended college with former Pavement front-man Stephen Malkmus. For awhile he enlisted his more famous friend to play in his band. Together they made American Water, which I consider one of the best and most literate rock albums ever. For years you couldn't see the Silver Jews live because Berman's social anxiety wouldn't allow him to perform on-stage. But a few years ago he met the love of his life, and has since experienced a vivid resurgence. Don't miss this performance.


I know that I've already mentioned the Zombo events that are happening this weekend. Still I feel that they are worth another mention. "Lucky the Painproof Man" will be at the Gallery on 49th and Hatfield on Saturday from 6-9PM. He's actually looking to sell off some of his memorabilia this time around. And on Monday (September 1st) you can celebrate Labor Day at Arsenal Lanes. Art Goes Bowling is having its closing party from 6-11PM. Local band The Whips will be making their debut. If you can't make it, have a look here to see what you are missing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Naming Rights

The ideas presented here are loosely organized, to say the least. Consider them reference points to ideas about place names and their connection to history, regional trauma, and Pittsburgh's public identity.

UPMC became the largest employer in the greater Pittsburgh region. With such a large economic footprint comes the right to buy naming rights, and UPMC went for the tower that historically represents economic power in Pittsburgh: the former US Steel Building.

Steel's symbology, steel's branding of the region. So common & familiar, we tune them out, these symbols, place-names, and people connected to a lost industry. I wonder, are they just names to the college kids streaming to CMU and Pitt from out of state this fall?

The Carnegie Library system. Fricke Park. Place-names resonant with the past direct traffic all over the city. The Hot Metal Bridge was once part of the steelmaking process itself.

Do I really need to reiterate this obviousness?

Those familiar place names may be integrated into our inner maps of Pittsburgh, but there is a necessary silence between past and present.

There's long slow loss of the steel industry, there's the population's attrition. The silence a friend of mine refers to as 'the puffy silence', the holding patterns she sees amongst men and women in their 40's and older on the bus, at her job.

The community-endured pain of family after family split by economic opportunity elsewhere, of grandparents stuck in devalued houses while the grandkids grow up in Oregon or Chicago.

Under those place names I see the long slow bruising that the region walked through during the ongoing 'layoff & rehire' patterns engaged in by US Steel and other companies. Millworkers waiting for rehire phone calls that never came.

Men and women in their fifties and sixties have whispered to me what they think needs to be said: the details of exactly how the steel industry beat the shit out of this town as it left. They say, "Nobody will come out and say it."

This industry so totally cleaved to in public symbols, in cult of personality, in cult of masculinity. It was an industry built on the bodies of the workers -- and now, UPMC makes its money "caring for" those bodies, the eldest of that generation of workers in this, one of the oldest communities in America.

People think that hospitals are a place to go to get well. They forget that it is also the place to go when one is preparing for death. Why do you think UPMC is so successful? We are an old, old county. And the eldest among us, many of them worked for US Steel. Now they go to the hospital for the last leg of their journey, and say goodbye to their (visiting) families from UPMC hospital beds.

Their bodies built the old industry, the one we lost. Their bodies build the new industry. It is oddly appropriate, isn't it, that we have the UPMC Tower.

Disconnect. Reconnect. What else won't be talked about?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Salon Des Refuses @ Mendelson Gallery

Steve Mendelson is giving a number of works rejected from this years Associated Artists Of Pittsburgh another shot with a provocatively named show called Salon Des Refuses. The title evokes a legendary show in 1863 of all the works turned down by the Paris Salon which included a who's who of future impressionist masters like Manet, Degas and Renoir. The show will include 20 works from artists like Robert Villamagna, Mark Panza, Laura Marins and Ben Matthews.

Here's Kurt Shaw's review.

The Rise Of The Rest-- The Art World Turned Upside Down

If you watched any Olympic coverage, you got a nice visual display of the awesome transformation of Asia.This is not just a one city illusion, looked at by the numbers, Asia's rising trade surpluses, huge savings rates and currency surpluses demonstrate a vast potential spending power, most of which has yet to be unleashed. China for example has gone to great lengths to keep it's currency far lower than the market would, depressing it's citizens spending power.

The other thing that came across was the almost violent pride, that has developed in in China and it's similar in India-- which is starting to be seen in the exploding interest in Asian art.

I wonder about the place American Art, now plays in art history and the art market. In the post war world, we were the sun, everything seemed to revolve around us, especially the art market. The message in art history books was that all the paths of history lead to us, which was funny since a lot of the modernist movement, came from artists inspired by non western art.

Here's a story in The Washington Post about the same trend in India.

"The world art market first took fleeting notice of modern Indian art in the 1990s. A critical appreciation emerged only in the past six to seven years. In February, Sotheby's sold about half a dozen Indian contemporaries along with works by Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon.

Analysts say the enthusiasm coincides with the world's growing attention to Asia.

"There is a new de-centeredness that has come into play in the art world. And it coincides with the so-called rise of the rest, which means vocalization of positions and perspectives that differ from the Western position," said Gayatri Sinha, an art critic."

Interesting to see how this plays out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Art Bloggers Wanted

Pittsburgh's art scene is really to big for this blog to cover right now and I need to spend more time making art. We are looking for more people will and eager to document regional shows, music events and theater and talk about life and culture in the region. If you think you can post at least once a week on average and have something to say about the scene here(beyond just that you are the world's best artist)-- please contact us and perhaps send us a link to your current blog and writing. Single guest posts might also be considered but the focus is to have a steady base of contributors.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Events: 8/22-23/08.

Sorry that I'm getting a bit of a late start on this one. I just got back from my very first trip to Buffalo, which had a lot more going on than one might expect. I'll post a bit about that during the next few days on Serendipity. Meanwhile, back home in the jewel of the Rust Belt, I'm gearing up for a couple of can't-miss art events this weekend.


Yes, indeed. This is the very first art exhibition I will have ever attended at a bowling alley. Simultaneously this will also be the first time I have ever shown one of my own works at a bowling alley. On Friday night, between 6 and 9PM, you can witness the "First Showing" of Art Goes Bowling at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville. Curator and gadfly Zombo asked 100 artists to transform 100 beat-up bowling pins, and the results will be displayed to the musical accompaniment of "The Whips". This will be the group's debut performance, and Zombo claims they sound like the Velvet Underground meets the Cramps. That actually sounds enticing.

I don't know what the others have done to their pins, but I promise that my creation will be one of the most low-rent spectacles available for viewing (and for sale- all pins are $25 each). Truth be told, I have seen a couple of pieces by Eric Luden... very nice indeed! I got a glimpse of them (and a few more) at Lucky, the Painproof Man's performance last weekend. If you weren't there for it, you really missed out. It turns out that Lucky has spent time with The Coney Island Circus Sideshow, and the experience is evident in the rapport he develops with his audience. He had the free funnel cakes and popcorn he gave out earlier churning in bystander stomachs. He's reprising his schtick on August 30th, at 6PM at the Zombo Gallery.


Have you gotten your tickets to Pittsburgh's annual premiere art party? The Sprout Fund's Hothouse has steadily earned the reputation as one of the best events of the year. This installment brings a full bill of entertainment. Musical acts include Ben Opie's "The Braxton Project", River City 6 brass band, J. Malls, Lucid Music, Harangue, Hands Down, Assembly, Joy Ike, the Grackles, Keeb $, Pandemic and DJ Selecta. There's also a vaudeville carnival production by the Zafira Dance Company... and lots of great food and drinks provided by local establishments like brillobox, Double Wide Grill, Dozen, East End Food Co-op, Enrico Biscotti, The Pennsylvania Brewing Co., big Catering, etc.

But you don't go to Hothouse for the refreshments. The reason for the Sprout Fund's existence is its support of many local entities that work to make our city a better place. Hothouse showcases all of the stuff that the organization has helped to fund over the year. This includes such a diverse range of products and activities that I hesitate to even choose highlights. Suffice it to say, the following featured displays are personal priorities for me this Saturday night: Fe Gallery's preview for In the Making: 250 Years, 250 Artists, the Dr. Sketchy drawing session, the unveiling for the models of the Industrial Arts Co-op sculpture, the life-sized issue of The Original, Unsmoke System's multimedia show, large-scale Gigapan prints of previous Sprout Fund public art, and the sustainability games of Creative Reuse.

Don't forget that Hothouse is a fundraiser. General Admission is $50 at the door (which admits you from 9PM-Midnight). But if you have some extra cash ($150), you can also attend the VIP reception that runs from 7-9PM. And there's a silent auction offering up objects donated by the likes of Bricolage, the Carnegie Museum of Art, City Theater, Dance Alloy, Encyclopedia Destructica, Quantum Theater, WYEP 91.3, and artists like Mike Budai, David Montano, Josh Tonies and yours truly. The location for this year's Hothouse is the upper floors of The Union Trust Building at 501 Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Well Earned Stroke Fest

For it's 250Th anniversary, I guess the Heinz History Center produced this endless but true compilation of things done in Pittsburgh first.

I think there is at least one stretch with claim to have been the birthplace of the ironclad warship.

"The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in 1859;[2] she prompted the British Royal Navy to start building ironclads. After the first clashes of ironclads took place during the American Civil War, it became clear that the ironclad had replaced the unarmored line-of-battle ship as the most powerful warship afloat.[3]"

Still, Pittsburgh had the first major integrated steel mill, was the birthplace of the Aluminum industry and innovations like the railroad air brake. Pittsburghers also began the modern oil industry; the national library system was started here as well as the nuclear power industry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Is Chapter 9 Bankruptcy?

One of the big fears in the markets right now is the very real risk of a number of municipal bond defaults. Sadly, few stories on the subject fail to mention Pittsburgh which offers a menu of at risk debt, from the Transit Authority, Sports and Exhibition Authority or from the city itself. Null Space has followed this depressing subject. The city has a staggering pension shortfall of close to or over a billion dollars. (the city insists it's only 899 million short.)

One thing one learns is that under the law, governments really never have to pay their bills.

"Section 904 limits the power of the bankruptcy court to "interfere with – (1) any of the political or governmental powers of the debtor; (2) any of the property or revenues of the debtor; or (3) the debtor's use or enjoyment of any income-producing property" unless the debtor consents or the plan so provides. The provision makes it clear that the debtor's day-to-day activities are not subject to court approval and that the debtor may borrow money without court authority. In addition, the court cannot appoint a trustee (except for limited purposes specified in 11 U.S.C. § 926(a)) and cannot convert the case to a liquidation proceeding.

The court also cannot interfere with the operations of the debtor or with the debtor's use of its property and revenues. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that in a chapter 9 case, there is no property of the estate and thus no estate to administer. 11 U.S.C. § 902(1). Moreover, a chapter 9 debtor may employ professionals without court approval, and the only court review of fees is in the context of plan confirmation, when the court determines the reasonableness of the fees."

Chances are that we will all learn about the subject.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yiddish, The Amazing Life Of A Dying Language

Today's Post had a nice story on a survey of migration of Yiddish words into English. Yiddish is a strange creature--itself a hybrid language of mostly German and Hebrew. It's also rapidly dying as a primary spoken language. But it's unique expressive qualities are causing more and more words and phrases to be used widely.

"The study aims to determine who uses Yiddish and Hebrew words and how, as well as other distinctive hallmarks of Jewish speech such as phrasing and pronunciation.

The researchers sent out their queries about a month ago, hoping for 2,000 responses. They wound up with more than 41,000 and have started analyzing the data earlier than expected. (For more information on the survey and to contact the researchers, go to"

We need this study like a hole in the head.

Swimming Cities Of Switchback Sea

I found this video about Swoon's Hudson River floating art town.

Swoon Project Floats Down The Hudson River

The internationally known street artist known as Swoon and a group of collaborators, from musicians to writers has built another floating art project. In 2006 and 2007, their floating art city called the Miss Rockaway Armada made it's way down the Mississippi. A new project called Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea involving seven vessels built in Troy NY is making it's way down the Hudson to NY giving performances along the way. It's final landfall will be at the Deitch Studios in Long Island City, Queens, where it will stay during Swoon's NY solo.

"Dark Dark Dark provides a live score, including a work sea shanty. A film crew is following the band for “Flood,” a fictional piece that features the musicians as main characters on the Switchback Sea. The film is another example of how these artists, who come from the Bay Area, Minneapolis, Troy and Brooklyn, have created a kind of expanding collective in which one work grows and morphs into the next."

The Times story says the group resists being called hippies, but the project hearkens back to the free form collective actions and idealism of that era.

This video is about the Miss Rockaway Armada project.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What to do with that porn when you're done using it.

A male friend of mine admitted recently that he'd quit using porn. But, when he quit, he was a little stymied. He didn't want to just throw out his expensive and, in his opinion, high quality collection of porn.

I asked him what he did with it. He said, "I put it in a slot."

I said, "What?"

He said, "I put it in a slot. The DVD return slot at Dreaming Ant."

(long pause, during which I look at him sideways)

He said, "Of course I did this at one in the morning, because I didn't want them to know who gave them the porn."

A few days later I was visiting Crazy Mocha, the coffee shop that Dreaming Ant is attached to. I thought about my friend sneaking down Taylor street in the dark, looking over his shoulder, humming the theme to 'Mission Impossible' as he slipped his stash into the return slot one precious piece at a time. 

I asked the guy working at the Ant if he'd ever found porn in the return drop when he'd opened.

"Sure," he said. "I've come in to open the store and pulled the drawer open and, Woah, what's this?"

He went on. "Its awesome, because its pretty odd, some of it. Special stuff. Not stuff we research or try to buy really, but stuff that fits with what we rent. So its like these people did a ton of research for us and gave us the best stuff of their niche fetishes."

"Yeah," he says, "its too bad we don't know who to thank. I have my ideas, of course, but you never know."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Events: 8/15-16/08.

Argh... summer is almost over (for me) and it will be time to get my ass back to work. This is a truly upsetting annual condition for which I somehow have difficulty eliciting sympathy. Nonetheless things have entered high gear as I try to make the most out of my last few days of unfettered free time. When I take stock of what I achieved during the last couple months, I only give myself a partially satisfactory grade. I've participated in some group shows (keep an eye out for information regarding an exhibition of bowling pins at Arsenal Lanes next Friday) and kept up this blog. I've also gotten a jump on restocking my catalog of show-worthy photos. But I'm way behind of where I wanted to be in my creation of drawings for my solo at Zombo in December.

Enough about me, right? What is there to do this weekend? Well, while we're on the subject of Zombo Gallery (4900 Hatfield Street in Lawrenceville), you absolutely must stop by there tomorrow night. From 6PM until around 11PM, Lucky Swartz ("The Painproof Man") will be presenting Dr. Josef Furdek's Cabinet of Curiosities. If Mikey D. is to be trusted, this guy is absolutely obsessed with the now defunct world of the carnival sideshow. Obviously that's something that gets my attention, as I share his interests. Curating Carnivalesque at the Digging Pitt a couple of summers ago was a personal highlight. I even got my buddies Phat Mandee and Andrew the Impaled to perform.

But it looks like Lucky has a full bill of fun planned. He's advertising a purported Chupacabra, conjoined fetuses, Bigfoot's toe (which is especially timely, don't you think?), crystal skulls, shrunken heads, and even "the mummy of a demon boy". If he even delivers on half of this, it will be a crazy success. Plus there will be live performances and carnival games. Apparently Lucky laments the great old show days. In his own words:

"There was something magical about the American Sideshow, something that made the people want to spend a dime for the chance to see something out of the ordinary, when a dime was worth something. This work is pure Fluxist. It lies not within the physical manifestation of the sideshow itself, but rather the experience that the viewer takes away with them, and the story they tell others of what they've seen. Professor Josef's Cabinet of Curiosities is a chance for people to experience something that will soon disappear from existence."

Well said. Ladies and gentlemen, don't act like a pack of rubes. Get out your piggy bank, extract a shiny dime, and come see the wonders. This is indeed a vanished art.

Once you've gotten an eyeful over on Hatfield, you can take a ride up to The Wizard of Oddities at 4314 Butler Street. Lauren Toohey is offering a candlelight reception featuring her paintings. If you haven't visited this gallery yet, I recommend you check it out. It's one of the "swinging-est" venues in town. The neon naked lady in the front window ain't no sham. The proprietors are truly committed to bringing you a unique take on the art world. Meanwhile Toohey is a young up-and-comer who's been working overtime to get some exposure for her work. Make sure to give her a bit of reinforcement for all her efforts.

Saturday brings us the "Grand Opening" (from 6:30-10PM) of the Park Place Arts Center at 207 Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg. This is not to be confused with the same spot's "Inaugural Opening" that happened earlier this month. At this event, installation art by East Ridge Arts Revival members Engines, Truce Canyon, Darrell Kinsel, Snake Money and John White will be featured. There are also some bands, and the admission fee is a mere $5. It's always exciting to see the efforts of arts organizations assisting in the revitalization of 'neighborhoods-in-transition'. If you make an effort now you can catch the vibe before the yuppies follow.

And if you haven't gotten your fill of urban redevelopment, you could also take a short ride over to Braddock for Unsmoke Systems "The Still Image/Moving Pictures Festival". These guys have paired up artists working in both video and static arts, and the results will be revealed between 7 and 10PM. More information can be found HERE.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Taking photographs at museums

Museums have consistently disallowed photography on their premises by the general public. Some art galleries do too. (Borelli Edwards in Pittsburgh is one of them.) I have found that, for the most part, public institutions welcome inquires for press passes from bloggers. The Carnegie Museum and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will allow bloggers press passes. All of the non-profit galleries downtown allow photography even witout a press pass; I have posted images from SPACE and Future Tenant. But Thomas Hawk, of San Francisco, ran into a very specific problem at SFMOMA --
After purchasing my family membership and visiting the museum today I was forcibly thrown out of the museum by two museum security guards at the direction of the Director of Visitor Relations Simon Blint.

My crime? Taking a photograph from the second floor stairs in the SFMOMA's atrium (an area where the SF MOMA's own website explicitly says photography is allowed). Read the post

Now, even the Carnegie won't allow photographs without a press pass. But if the institution has publicized a policy of opening their facility to photography by the general public, they should make absolutely sure that EVERYONE on staff gets the memo. I don't know what I would have done in Mr. Hawk's situation. But really, the threat of ejecting somebody physically from the facility would have been intimidating.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Events 8/8-9/08.

As one might expect, the middle of August is a dead period for openings in the Pittsburgh arts scene. But with just a bit of digging, and help from local media sites like Pittsburgh Art and Gallery Info and, you can usually find something to do around town. I did find a few things that sound like they'd be worth checking out, so bear with me as I make some personal recommendations for your weekend.


Downtown at the Three Rivers Art Gallery (937 Liberty Avenue) there is an opening (5-9PM) for "Interior Spaces", featuring work by Aasta Deth. There is also an MFA exhibition for Kati Fishbein, entitled "Miss-Handled". This is one of those spaces that doesn't go out of its way to promote events, and so it's been a bit difficult to find specific information about these shows. (Both of these artists do seem to have connections to Indiana University of PA). It should be noted that often such venues merely offer space for artists and curators to do their own things, and the responsibilities for promotion are passed along. I'm not sure whether or not that's the case here. Ultimately we should be thankful that there are so many organizations willing to work to provide opportunities for public exposure.

On the other side of the art world, the Sunroom Gallery is getting ready to kick off their grand opening. It's located "across from the James Gallery" over on the West End (apparently somewhere on South Main Street). This is Pittsburgh photographer and painter Tom Jefferson's new venue, after making his break from John Ross' Meter Room. The aforementioned Pittsburgh Art and Gallery Info is reporting that the work of Jefferson, Ian Green and Michelle Gregio will be included in the show, and will be accompanied by TJ's band, The Major Toms. Unfortunately specific information about hours is still unavailable.

Also on Friday night comes an appearance by Bob Log III down at the 31st Street Pub (10PM, $12 at the door). I've never seen Log perform, but he is said to play an f'd up and distorted version of the Blues, and he wears a motorcycle helmet on-stage. Needless to say he's come highly recommended.


Moxie Dada (1416 Arch Street in the North Side) is rolling out yet another solo by photographer Corey LaChat. He's been known locally for years for showing a series of fuzzed-out and impressionistic macro enlargements of old fashioned toys. This time around he's showing astronaut-themed shots. Perhaps the best reason to attend this reception (which runs from 7-10PM) is for his musical performance on the theremin. It should be an utterly surreal experience.

And speaking of unreality... did you know that it would have been Andy Warhol's 80th birthday yesterday, if not for his mysterious death? Well, the Warhol Museum is certainly aware of that. That's why they are offering admission for 80 cents this Saturday afternoon. They'll be screening some episodes from his 1983 TV show, and (yes) they will be handing out cupcakes. That ought to be the kicker that packs the place. Anyway it's a good chance to see what you missed at the cramped Associated Artists of Pittsburgh annual last weekend.

If plain old drinking is more your speed, you might want to stumble down to the Brew Festival at the Millvale Riverfront Park Pavilion. The borough is still recovering from 2004's Hurricane Ivan, which devastated it with flood waters. They are running two sessions (from 1-4 and 5-8 PM) and you get entertainment, beer and food for the price of $35. Proceeds go to Millvale Borough Development Corporation and Millvale MainStreet- two organizations devoted to the long-term health of the neighborhood. Before you go, you can make the trip "art-related" by stopping in to say "Hi" to Mark over at Panza Frame and Gallery on Sedgwick Street. Sid Kweller's show is coming down this Sunday, and is worth seeing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Drink & Draw with Olga

Tuesday July 29 at brillobox drink & draw. Olga was, of course, wonderful! don't take my word for it, just check out the slideshow! Images are courtesy of Carmela Aliffi. Thank you, Carmela! you saved my butt; since I had, yet again, forgotten my camera.

door prizes!

Special Announcement!!

drink & draw will be held only on the last Tuesday of each month. Our next session --

August 26 - Christine

Drink and Draw --
is an open studio live model drawing session that meets every other Tuesday on the second floor of brillobox, located at 4104 penn ave, pittsburgh, pa. This session is relaxed, surprising, and inspiring. amazing models dressed in various themes, old timey music, great company, and decor. All mediums, except oils, welcome. (Sorry! No photography!)

Check Drink and Draw’s MySite for more information or sign up for updates.

Monday, August 04, 2008


People tell me stories. Let me rephrase that: Complete strangers will tell me their traumas within five minutes of meeting me. Then we'll never see each other again, or if we do, I pretend to have forgotten the story.

It makes sense, if you think about it. I mean, you don't want to tell your close friends and family the worst stuff. You'll be asked about it later. It will make its way back into your life. How are you supposed to feel about these things, anyway?

A young man in his mid-twenties who works for an accounting firm downtown had the worst weekend of his life recently. He invited a friend who is finishing up grad school in another city to come for the weekend, for an early graduation present.

They ended up in the Strip district on Friday night. As they left a bar at 2 am they realized their pockets had been picked. Since their phones had been stolen along with essentials, they had the doorman call the cops for them.
To file a police report.

The cop who turned up to take down the mundanes of the theft, he didn't take these two young men very seriously. Consider the frat-ish bar, the long cargo pants shorts, the polo shirts. In the Strip.

The kid from out of town called the cop on his attitude. After the cop tazed him, the cop cuffed him and put him in jail.

The guy telling me the story, his hands would just shake every few minutes. Clean-shaven with pressure of the story in his face. If I hadn't invited him he wouldn't be sitting in jail today. God will he be able to get out and go finish this one assignment he has left to do, its due Monday. I don't know how to get him out of jail. This is the worst weekend of my life. This is the worst weekend of HIS life.

A few minutes after he left my company, his powerlessness still lingering, I thought about the Wisconsin cop who stalked me for a year. Officer Elliott pulled me over at least once a week just to say 'hi' until I collected a thick stack of paper warnings. Only after I gave those to the judge I served gin gimlets to every Tuesday night did Officer Elliott back off. The judge told me later he'd made a few calls.

I thought about the intersections of race and gender and power and the police. I thought about how this young man had bumped into a reality that many other "others" are much more familar with.

I realized that I didn't know that there are white-shoe accounting firms in downtown Pittsburgh.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

AAP's 98th Annual @Andy Warhol Museum

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh opened the most recent edition of their Annual exhibit last night.The exhibit, which has been placed in major museum venues in Pittsburgh for ninety-eight years, is showing at the Andy Warhol Museum. Last night's opening featured a performance by none other than Tinsel Garland, who began the performance in this glitzy number -


... and ended in this wonderful pierogie-embellished babydoll --


Of course, the main action was upstairs on the sixth floor, where the exhibit is displayed. Honestly, the show was cramped. I know that survey shows can present a challenge for installers and this one must have been tough to hang. There were tons of people, but I got there fairly early and managed to get a few decent images of the work on display. Following are a few favorites.


David Watts

I liked this very exuberant work by Mr. Watts. I am sorry that I can't offer a title; I looked for a label but must have missed it last night. This piece seems like a cross between a totem and a robot, or maybe a transformer! Anyway, just a very fun work. I also want to congratulate Mr. Watts on his award.


Elizabeth C. DeVita - Shift (Baby blanket relief in plexi)

This work struck me because I thought it beautiful. I am drawn to intricate work. This one sets up a dichotomy for me, with its clean and formal beauty coupled with the frayed edges. It brings to mind the soft scraps saved from a long ago childhood.


Jean McClung - Alleanza #1

This very small offering by Jean McClung is a stunner. She brings a different subtext to her subject matter with the illumination. The graffiti that she chooses seems to be destructing in the light. At times, the quality of illumination serves to accentuate the ephemeral quality of these urban mark makers. It seems another dichotomy, to preserve the transitory in this fashion.


Lauren Etling - Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown

Okay, if nervous breakdowns are fun, then I guess the title makes sense...
Enough Susan! I really like this work. But, since I am an egocentric viewer, I absolutely refuse to see this as a narrative about some mental disaster. I am sure that some of the things that I enjoy about the piece, like it's tension, the rhythms of nodules in the network, can be interpreted to support the title. But honestly, it seems so improbably balanced and I just get this sense of the whimsical. There ya go. Self centered, opinionated commentary. Whadaya want for nuthin'? Rubber biscuits maybe?


Jacqueline Will - Rose Theory #2

This one, because I found the patterning intriguing. Also, the red! Nicely complex pigment -

That's all folks. If you want to catch the exhibit --

AAP's 98th Annual
Aug 1 - Sept 14
Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212-5890
Telephone: 412.237.8300