Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Improved Blog Links

I'm finally getting around to sorting through the mess of blog links and creating a more comprehensive and rational list of Pittsburgh arts venues, exhibition spaces and other stuff of interest here.

It's a work in progress with many links still not up or in the wrong place.

At this point, with the current blog design, I haven't figured out a way to break things down by category well which will likely mean that Pittsburgh regional arts venues will be listed as such while Ohio, West Virginia and other non regional attractions and links will be dropped in the "Blogs Category".

This fits well with the overall theme of Chaos around here. Still not sure how to sort the Pittsburgh blogs and media links.

One other note. Yes, there are venues and small galleries which I think just don't make the cut in terms of basic quality.

I also want to say to those people from out of town checking out these links, that a good number galleries here are better and more interesting than their schlocky websites suggest. Gallerie Chiz shows some nice work! Thankfully, the bulk of interesting Pittsburgh venues at least finally have a website,(Thank You Fe Gallery!!)When I started my gallery, I was shocked at how hard it was to tell people out of town what was going on here. The improvements in websites, blogs and other online guides is impressive and indicates a significant cultural shift towards openness.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the mobile high craft vending machines have arrived

Glad I walked to work a little early this morning. Shadyside hosts the sea of small tents this weekend. People were setting up just before 8. I walked to the end of Walnut street and back to get a peek.

Many overheard vendo-craftspeople discussed the down economy. A man screwing in table legs talking about what sales were like in Texas. A small fleet of birds carved from posts. Deep white canvas closets filled with paintings each styled closely to the next, some a bit oversaturated, some with the straight-from-the-tube pigments, each booth filled with multiples of the same painting.

Whenever someone refers to something like this as an arts festival, I throw up in my mouth a little. Strong words, I know. But. This is high craft.

Please remember: high craft objects should be celebrated for the skill and labor with which they are produced.

I do not have the will to replicate items so similar to each other as to create my "brand" and market it in this particular way. I am an artist. Meaning is sewn into the decisions used to make manifest the concepts underlying the art object.

I am so going there, I am already there. Artists trade in meaning. They make useless objects (if they make objects at all), things or not-things or experiences that serve primarily to inspire thought.

If an object fits into that label "decorative art", it is high craft. "Decorative art" has, by definition, a function other than being a repository for meaning. It is adornment for your house, jewelry for your interiors. It is like buying books to display because they make you look smart. "Decorative art high craft" makes you look tasteful.

The best art you can't buy, because it exists in the gift economy. The gift economy: the work of art provides an experience that at best cannot be priced, for it transforms (or offers the perceiver the entry point to transforming) the mind of the perceiver. This change or experience cannot be priced.

While artists do concern themselves with finances, and market issues, we do so not in the "art fair" way. The high craft painter shows fifteen paintings of poppies. They are tastefully sized, each slightly oversaturated, each with the same line quality, hung inside the hut. When a booth visitor asks the high craft painter to make one 'custom' that will fit into the window-niche on the second floor, this artisan makes the painting. The high craft painter is a craftsman.

Hey, there's a place for both of us. But would you please keep your high craft hands off my job title please? For the sake of clarity? The decorative arts are incredibly important in our culture. But to spackle the same label ~ artist ~ on the guy cutting and assembling metal into beautiful flowers ~ as Sol Lewitt, whose art exists in the ephemera of directions ~ ~ ~

Comparing automobiles and french doors. Two totally different classes of activities for two totally different areas of life. No, these activities are not in a hierarchical relationship. Why call a bottle of Champagne Pinot Noir?

If you are headed into Shadyside this weekend, forget about parking anywhere close. Also bring an umbrella. It's been raining all day.

Hollywood Is Burning Screenplay Competition

In the interest of promoting Pittsburgh's small but thriving little film industry, I present this Screenplay contest which I found out about from Open Thread.


This is a tough business. It's nearly impossible to break in, and once you do, it's nearly impossible to do anything of quality. Welcome to the entertainment industry!

One of the toughest things to do is to get anyone in any position of power to read your screenplay. Producers usually have stacks of screenplays sitting on their desks at any given time and usually they only read the first few pages (if they're actually reading the things themselves) before making up their minds whether they'll keep reading or move onto the next one on the stack.

HOWEVER, producers will generally pay more attention to scripts that have won some sort of award. This industry loves winners, and they don't usually differentiate between small and large competitions, as long as the words "Winner of the [insert name here] Competition" appear somewhere in the cover letter.

That's where Hollywood is Burning would like to help you.

Founded by Happy Cloud Pictures producers Mike Watt, Charlie Fleming and Amy Lynn Best, Hollywood is Burning likes to champion the indie filmmaker and the struggling screenwriter. The purpose of this competition is to find the best unproduced scripts out there and give out a couple of awards that might help get your foot in the door later on. Do we guarantee it will help? Of course not, but again, the word "Winner" never hurt anyone.

The Hollywood is Burning Horror Screenplay Competition will award:

* A Grand Prize of $250 plus a "Winner" certificate to the author of the best horror screenplay.

* A Second Prize of $50 plus a "2nd Place" certificate to the author of the first runner up.

* AND to give your entry fee a little extra value you can choose to receive a one-page critique of your film written up by screenwriter and producer Mike Watt (writer of the Sci-Fi Channel film "Dead Men Walking", the Happy Cloud Pictures productions "The Resurrection Game", "Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut", "A Feast of Flesh", editor of Sirens of Cinema Magazine and contributor to numerous publications including Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Cinefantastique and Film Threat Magazine)

Again, Hollywood is Burning offers no guarantees - few things in life are sure things - but by entering our competition, you'll be taking your work to the next level and perhaps taking that next step in your career.


Deadline and Fees:

$25 until October 1

$35 until November 30 - this is the super-late procrastinator's deadline. NO SCREENPLAYS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER November 30.

More info here

Associated Artists Of Pittsburgh Ninety-Ninth Annual : First Thoughts

I got to the opening of The big AAP show at the Carnegie, and thought I'd put down a few impressions. Although the Carnegie gave me a yearly press pass, I took no notes yet and don't intend to try to get permission to penetrate the museum's no photography policy.

Hanging, as usual was well done and the show occupied a major chunk of first class gallery space.

The curator, Doryun Chung had no prior experience with Pittsburgh at all and put together a show with a decent number of true lows (really bad work) as well as many extreme highs. Dry conceptual work was rarer than ever. Color, humor and very accessible personal expression were the common theme.

Wonderful to see Deanna Mance get her moment in the sun with two stunning big drawings and a major purchase award! Vanessa German's moving, mysterious doll totem also got an award.

More thoughts to come.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another "Visionary Artist" Film Star

There's a little mini fad of films about visionary or non main stream artist's out now.

This one is an inside look made by the artist's son at what it's like to live with Isaiah Zagar, who has made his life an art project in Philly.

From The NY Times

“In a Dream,” which pieces together everything from home movies to animation derived from Mr. Zagar’s sketches, is anything but hagiography. Though Jeremiah, 28, clearly adores his mother, Julia, the light he shines on his father can be harsh and unflattering. “My dad has a well of insanity that’s usually expressed in his work,” Jeremiah said recently over a plate of potato pancakes at a South Philadelphia delicatessen.

“There are people who see ‘In a Dream’ and think he’s a monster,” he added. “As much as I love him, it’s very easy to see him that way.”

For all his talk about the revelatory nature of existence, Isaiah is at bottom a solipsist for whom everyone else matters only as they affect him. During one pivotal scene of the film, as Jeremiah’s older brother, Ezekiel, struggles with a painkiller addiction, Isaiah says serenely, “No matter what happens to Zeke, he’s part of my art world.”

The only person able to distract Isaiah from himself is Julia, his muse, provider and wife of four decades. “He’s kind of a rare flower,” she says of him early in the movie. “A thistle maybe.”

Casting Call @ Ross Park Mall For Love And Other Drugs

One area starting to see some green shoots is Pittsburgh's film and TV business with at least 4 and perhaps five major pictures scheduled to be shot here in the next few months.


“Love and Other Drugs”, directed by Edward Zwick will be filming in the Pittsburgh area starting in mid-September until early December of this year.

We will be looking for people between the ages of 15 and 75 to work as extras, stand-ins, photo-doubles, and silent bits. The pay rate will vary depending upon what you are cast as.

A stand-in is a full-time position, and to be considered you must be available everyday for 12 hours and have reliable transportation. Everyone else should be prepared to work at least one full day or several days in a row.

An open casting call will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 29th at Ross Park Mall in Ross.

Or you can do your profile online or send a package to Mosser Casting. All details here.

So What's this awesome film about?

"A salesman competes in the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals to hawk a male performance enhancement drug. Based on Jamie Reidy's memoir "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman."

This is great, I must see this movie!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

September Regional Arts Round-Up

A few of the shows coming up in September in the region. A distinct Sixties theme comes accross. Looks like a good time to see important works by Chuck Close, Dan Flavin, Robert Smithson and Jasper Johns in Ohio.The Astronomy related show @ Oberlin and the Graphite drawing show @ The Palmer also look very worthwhile.


Museum Of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA)

Hugging and Wrestling : Contemporary Israeli Photography and Video
On view September 12th, 2009 through January 10th, 2010

"In Hugging and Wrestling, a vivid portrait of Israel emerges through the perspectives of nine artists who respond to the complex shifting realities of the country today. The images are both beautiful and powerful, some deeply personal, others more philosophical, some political. With distinct points of view, the artists portray a land rich in history, and the convergence of multiple cultures, beliefs, and ways of life. But while the artists embrace Israel, they wrestle with political discord, religious divisions, and social inequities. They search for personal and collective identity in a vibrant, evolving, contemporary culture, while wrestling with the vulnerabilities of a country with contested territories where conflict is imminent and ever present."

The Sculpture Center

The Sculpture of David E. Davis: Celebrating the 20 Year Legacy


"In celebration of its 20th anniversary, The Sculpture Center is honoring its founder, the Cleveland artist David E. Davis, with a comprehensive exhibition of his smaller sculpture."

Cleveland Institute Of Art

The 2009 Faculty Exhibition will run from September 3 – October 10 in the Reinberger Galleries located in The Cleveland Institute of Art. The Galleries are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Galleries are closed Sundays and Mondays.

"A tradition that spans over eight decades, the Faculty Exhibition is a celebration
of art and its makers and an opportunity for the public to view new, original and innovative works by world-class artists and designers in Northeast Ohio. The faculty at The Cleveland Institute of Art is renowned for their influential work in the studio arts, digital arts, design and film."

Spaces Gallery

Jiří Surůvka

"Hailing from Ostrava in the Czech Republic, Jiří Surůvka joins SPACES for eight weeks as the 27th artist-in-residence to create new work in Northeast Ohio. Working amidst a post-industrial and post-socialist landscape, the artist creates sculpture, painting, and performance that offer irony, humor and an aggressive look at issues facing his community and the world at large."

Cleveland State University

Toplu: Landscapes of New Turkish Suburbia
August 28 – October 10, 2009
Opening Reception: August 28 for 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Gallery Talk with artists: August 28 at 4:00 pm

This is an exhibition of CSU Assistant Professor Mark Slankard's photographs of new residential developments on the outskirts of the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul.


Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin College)

Starry Dome: Astronomy in Art and the Imagination

Four hundred years after Galileo Galilei became the first astronomer to look through a telescope, this exhibition uses early lunar maps, star charts, and groundbreaking treatises by scientists such as Galileo, Johannes Kepler, and Sir Isaac Newton to examine the necessity of close observation and illustration in the development of astronomy. The works on view, drawn entirely from the Allen Memorial Art Museum
and the Oberlin College Library, equally explore the allure of the sky across diverse times and cultures, from the omnipresent full moon in Japanese prints to the imaginative, personalized cosmologies of modern and contemporary artists such as Joseph Cornell, Ansel Adams, James Rosenquist, and Vija Celmins.


Akron Art Museum

Rethinking Art:
Objects and Ideas from the 1960s and 70s
June 6, 2009 - October 4, 2009

"Rethinking Art presents such radical actions as Robert Smithson’s burial of an abandoned woodshed on the Kent State University campus and Christo’s wrapping of walkways in a Kansas City park. Dan Flavin’s store-bought fluorescent light tubes and Joseph Kosuth’s photostats of dictionary definitions of the words “black” and “white” urge us to reconsider familiar objects and meanings. The artists in Rethinking Art offer a new perspective on our environment, changing the way we look at our every day surroundings"

Also @ The Akron

Familiar Faces: Chuck Close in Ohio Collections
September 5, 2009 - January 3, 2010

"This is the first time the artist’s works in Ohio public collections can be seen together. They have been sent from all corners of the state—from the Cleveland Museum of Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Butler Institute of American Art and Akron Art Museum in Northeast Ohio to the Toledo Museum of Art in the west and Wexner Center for the Arts, Wright State University Galleries and Cincinnati Art Museum in the south. These public holdings will be joined by rarely seen pieces from private collections around the state."


The Butler Institute Of American Art

Jasper Johns: Works on Paper 1994-2007

Presented in conjunction with Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, this exhibition offers recent works on paper by America's master of the avant garde. An exhibition catalogue accompanies this show.


Erie Art Museum

Takezasa-Do, The Ancient Art of Woodblock Printing

Annex Gallery
July 10 through September 26, 2009

"The printmaking studio of Kenji Takenaka, in the beautiful ancient city of Kyoto, is known as Takezasa-Do. The fifth generation of a family of master printers, Kenji has been a mentor to a variety of artists, including Bill Mathie, professor of art at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Mathie met Takenaka in 2005, during a trip to Japan where he explored traditional Japanese printmaking. With the support of the Japan Foundation, Takenaka and four others visited Edinboro in 2006, and presented an intensive workshop in traditional watercolor woodblock printing. Takenaka, his apprentice Yuko Harada, Tuula Moilanen who taught drawing and painting at his shop, and Mathie will present their work in this ancient and beautiful medium as the final show in the Annex Gallery (which will be converted to another education studio as part of the Museum’s expansion project)."


Westmoreland Museum Of American Art

Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Sunday June 14, 2009 - Sunday September 06, 2009

"This exhibition examines the complex and heterogeneous nature of American art in the mid-twentieth century. Featuring thirty-one of the most celebrated artists who came to maturity in the 1950s, the exhibition traces the history of this epochal period through forty-three key paintings and sculpture selected from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection"


Four Perspectives on Fifty Years
Sunday September 27, 2009 - Sunday January 03, 2010

"A collaborative exhibition curated by friends of the museum—an artist, collector, art critic, and patron—all taken from the Museum's permanent collection. This exhibition will offer the unique perspectives of each of the guest curators while bringing together works from the collection that are seldom seen together. The guest curators: Adrienne Heinrich (artist), Marty O'Brien (collector); Graham Shearing (art critic); and Anne Robertshaw (patron)."


Juniata College Museum Of Art

WPA Graphic Works : From the Amity Art Foundation Collection

"During the eight years of the Federal Art Project’s existence, over 5,000 artists, some of whom are featured in this exhibition, produced thousands of paintings, photographs, sculptures, public murals and prints. WPA Graphic Works: From the Amity Art Foundation Collection is part of the personal collection of John A. Stewart, founder and director of the Amity Art Foundation in Woodbridge, Connecticut."

State College

Palmer Museum Of Art (Penn State)

Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite
September 15–November 29, 2009

"Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite features more than forty contemporary works of art by sixteen international artists who utilize the physical nature and characteristics of graphite and pencils as content in their two- and three-dimensional work. The pencil is one of the essential tools in foundation drawing classes and is perhaps the most familiar of all tools to students taking their first steps at making art. For many, the pencil and the graphite it holds symbolize the essence of the creative act of drawing"

Literary Pittsburgh: Readings Galore This Weekend

The next few days are packed with great readings: I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Saturday afternoon, August 29th, 1:30pm: Autumn House at the Pump House. Pittsburgh’s own Autumn House Press will host one novelist and one poet at the historic
Pump House in Homestead: There’s a nice review of John Hoerr’s novel Monogahela Dusk in the City Paper this week; Hoerr is actually a long-time labor journalist, and this is his first work of fiction. I’m a big fan of Robert Gibb’s poetry, especially his Homestead Trilogy. Gibb will read at the Pump House from a new Autumn House volume of his work, What the Heart Can Bear: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1979-1993.

Saturday night, August 29th: East End avant-garde publisher Six Gallery Press is holding their periodic Showcase (this one is called Hot August Night) with 14 readers from the Pittsburgh poetry underground. Digging Pitt blogger, videographer extraordinaire, talented poet, and charismatic reader Jessica Fenlon (pictured) will read from her new book of poetry, Spiritual Side Effects. Guest author Kevin Finn will read from his new chapbook, Exit Wounds (Ohio: Amsterdam Press), Six Galllery poet Michael S. Begnal is visiting from North Carolina, and all will share the stage with many other local talents: Renee Alberts, Nikki Allen, Jerome Crooks, Davka, Che Elias, Bill Hughes, Jonathan Loucks, Alexi Morrissey, Scott Silsbe, Ed Steck, Billie Steigerwald, Matt Wellins, and Don Wentworth of Lilliput Review fame. Local rock stars Colin Baxter and Julie Sokolow will provide the musical entertainment. ModernFormations at 4919 Penn Avenue, $5 at the door, 8:00pm, BYOB.

Late-night on August 29th (hey, you could make it to all 3 of Saturday's readings if you wanted to): KINETIX! (formerly Poetry…Yes!) is a new late-night poetry series that happens once a month and runs from 11:00pm-1:00am in the theater lobby at The New Hazlett Theater on the Northside. Featured Pittsburgh poets are followed by an Open Mic. $5 door charge; doors open at 10:30pm. (N.b.: the last 54C bus leaves Allegheny Center at 1:12 AM.)

Sunday August 30th at 2:00pm: The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main library in Oakland) holds its weekly Sunday Poetry and Reading Series, featuring Chuck Lanigan’s presentation of fiction and oral history: To Be of Use: Stories of Labor and Identity in Southwestern PA. Free.

Sunday night, August 30th: The fabulous Typewriter Girls Cabaret will feature the fabulous Gist Street hosts as readers: poet Nancy Krygowski and fictionist Sherrie Flick with her new novel, Reconsidering Happiness. Poet Sandra Beasley, musician Steve Pellegrino, burlesque act The Bridge City Bombshells, and much more will round out the show. Howler’s Café in Bloomfield. Doors at 7:00pm, show at 8:00pm, $5.00 cover. See more info here.

Tuesday evening, September 1st: Outrageous blogger Maddox will be in town signing his book of “fratire,” called The Alphabet of Manliness. 6:00pm at Borders Eastside on Centre Avenue near Highland (aka Penn Circle South).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

High speed, intercity rail

I love to travel by train. Lots of leg room, a place to plug in my laptop, ease of travel. Train stations are always in downtown metropolitan areas. This is absolutely perfect for me since going city-to-city makes up all my travel. Pittsburgh could use some more travel options, though. It wold be nice to be able to get to NYC, Philadelphia and Washington a little more quickly to see exhibits, shows and all that great stuff. Luckily, there are other folks that are thinking the same way --
PennDOT submitted the following as candidate projects for potential formal application later:

* Keystone East Corridor Harrisburg to Philadelphia — funding would include track, signal, power and catenary upgrades, grade crossing removal and station improvements or replacements.
* Scranton to New York Rail Passenger Rail Service Program Phase 1 — funding for part of a proposed restored 133-mile passenger rail corridor between Northeastern Pennsylvania and Hoboken, N.J., with connections to Penn Station in Manhattan.
* Pittsburgh High-Speed Magnetic Levitation Project Phase 1 — funding to design and construct the first segment (Pittsburgh International Airport to Downtown Pittsburgh) of a Maglev, or magnetic levitation, line between the airport and Monroeville/Greensburg.
* Keystone West Harrisburg to Pittsburgh High-Speed Rail Feasibility and Business Plan Study — funding for a feasibility study of enhanced intercity passenger rail service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. One Amtrak train a day in each direction now serves this corridor.

I don't know definitively what was approved for this proposal. However, from the sound of it, input is being sought --
The plan will enable PennDOT to implement a more efficient and effective approach to intercity rail transportation within the Commonwealth. Specifically, consideration will be given to more frequent and timely passenger rail service and increased use of the freight rail system for goods movement. In addition, this plan will also aid in prioritizing rail projects throughout the state by identifying those that will provide the most benefit for the limited funding available. Prioritization will take into account multiple factors. These factors include, but are not limited to; the availability of funding, the ability of the project/improvement to facilitate economic growth, and the minimization of impacts to the environment.

Here's the important part --
A public meeting to review the Draft Intercity Passenger and Freight Rail Plan has been scheduled. The plan will enable PennDOT to implement a more efficient and effective approach to intercity rail transportation within the Commonwealth. Additional information about the plan and meeting can be found in the attached flyer. We hope that you will help us to spread the word of this meeting to the constituents of District 7.

PA Intercity Passenger & Freight Rail Plan
Thursday, September 17, 2009
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Carnegie Borough Building
One Veterans Way
Carnegie, PA 15106

Now, I don't understand why they are having this meeting in Carnegie instead of downtown Pittsburgh. Especially at 6PM. Anybody out there planning on going? I would love to put together a group to get out there!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

AAP: Influx 3 @ Borelli-Edwards Galleries

An interesting show of new Associated Artist's of Pittsburgh members opens tonight @ Borelli Edwards in Lawrenceville.

Hopefully this link will take you to some images.

The exhibition runs till September 5th.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Guest post by Kate Bechak

Emily Laychak wears her heart on her sleeve, sticks paintings on the wall and sculptures on the floor, and creates the distinct impression that she once drew a deep breath and then didn't exhale until a great golden aura filtered out of her pores and crystallized around her. In short, she's an inspirational person to meet. She's currently curating the show GRRLS GRRLS GRRLS! with work by Stephanie Woods and others, previously mentioned in this blog as part of Unblurred. The show will run at Garfield Artworks until August 29th, and her band Rock Rifle will open for Jessica Hopper and Katie Stelmanis this Friday at 6:30. I interviewed her via email:

What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
Money! And this is coming from an artist who works primarily with garbage, literally. Most of my materials are free. If you want to live under a roof and eat, you have to work, but being an artist is a fulltime job in itself. It takes a lot of time and energy to make art and organize shows, but one doesn't necessarily make money. I took off work a lot in the month leading up to the show-- and I have done that before, getting ready for shows, because I have needed the time to work on them -- and the consequence is being poor.
I do have a job in art, at Pittsburgh Children's Museum, but minimum wage requires you to work pretty much fulltime to live, and if you're working full time, you have no time to make your own art. Either you chose to have time for your creative self and barely make rent, or you live financially comfortably and exhaustedly watch television after work until bedtime. But that’s not a challenge specific to artists though, is it? That’s the challenge all people face as people: what are we living for?

Has working at the children’s museum affected what you think about artistic development?

Working at the children's museum is an eye-opening experience because I see firsthand how hard adults have to work to be creative and how often they stifle the natural creativity of their offspring. Children are a big influence in my art because we intuitively create -- we just see things, that’s all, and have ideas. I watch parents tell their kids what colors to pick for a project, for example, or even encourage their kids to copy from another kid's ideas. It’s pretty crazy. Kids do not need help to be creative, it’s really raw.

How well do you think our educational system arms artists with the tools they need to develop their work?

Art and creativity are underappreciated. When budgets are cut, what’s the first to go? My little brother’s elementary school doesn’t have art and music classes anymore! Of course they maintain gym classes and sports teams. This makes sense because what will the working adults watch on TV if we aren't training our children to be football players?

What is it about girls?

Well, girls aren't being trained for the NFL-- but I'm just using football as an example to illustrate a bigger point. Girls are disadvantaged all over the place. The history we learn in school is dangerously misleading, it leaves out many people who have contributed a great deal and keeps a whole lot of people from believing in their potential in every subject.

Do you see an intersection between your work as a fine artist and as a musical performer?

I make art and music because I have ideas. That is really all there is to it. I see things, hear things and then make them new things. I think that everyone could do this in one way or another if they were encouraged to, but they are not, and they lose it. I consider myself monumentally blessed to have this freedom. I want everyone to have this, whatever form their own ideas come in, to have the freedom to make them real and to share with other people. I especially want this for girls because girls are the most oppressed people there are, throughout all places and time.

Anyway, it’s really scary to share ideas because no one is asking for them. Of course, no one even knows about your ideas except for you, so why would they want them? But wouldn't it be great if a girl, instead of needing a diamond or cute shoes, if she needed her very own song, that she personally wrote, to sing?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sacred Art @Box Heart

The Sacred Art exhibit at Box Heart is always a good show. This annual juried exhibit has reached it's thirteenth year. The exhibit is up and the opening reception is this Saturday. There were several really fine works up yesterday when I swung by. The show is just recently installed and the Box Heart team has not had a chance to upload documentation on the exhibit yet. This exhibit is national in scope and features work from all over the country as well as some local artists.

Jessica Somers Consumption

There is something really appealing about the simplicity of the above work by Ms. Somers. I think the title belies the image somewhat. The wolves seem more comforting, like a mass of warm bodies acting as protection. Well, that's my individual reaction, though.

boxheart-2.jpg boxheart-3.jpg
Liz Rundorff-Smith Reap (left) and Savor (right)

The above works by Ms. Rudorff-Smith are small canvases, well-painted. Both have a lovely soft glow. They seem like a memory of anticipation. The table was in the process of being set. The presentation was seriously considered, with an eye for tablecloth and place setting. The host and guest know each other well enough to share a simple, intimate repast. Since this exhibit is about interpretations of the sacred, it seens to me that the artist feels a very day-to-day relationship with the spiritual.

David Nelson God's Appointment Book

Yep. Nice painting. It really drew your eye when you walked into the gallery.

The 13th Annual Sacred Art Exhibition
August 18, - September 12, 2009
Public Reception: Saturday, August 22nd: 5 pm - 8 pm.
Box Heart Gallery
4523 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
P. 412 687 8858

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 AM - 6 PM
Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM

Friday, August 14, 2009

Welcome Students

Off-Campus Oakland Primer from Pitt News Multimedia on Vimeo.

We all know that Pittsburgh is now kind of a college town, with an economy tilted towards "Eds and Meds", and an energy level can be measured by the number of cups and vomit pools on Carson Street.

Welcome Freshmen! I found this video to help orient you to Oakland, assuming you are not from Pittsburgh which may also be helpful to yinz types that never crossed the river to see it.

Night Out In Braddock To Celebrate Unsmoke Systems First Year

In July of 2008, UnSmoke Systems Artspace was launched with their inaugural event, Out of this Furnace, in conjunction with the 55th Carnegie International. Since the studio’s debut, UnSmoke Systems has become integral to promoting the arts in Braddock.

On August 15, from 7:30 – 10:30pm, UnSmoke Systems will be hosting Night Out: Braddock - a party to celebrate our first year of events. Featuring the artwork of resident and guest artists, Humanaut DJ’s Aaron Clark and Paul Alexander (resident DJ’s at Hijack, New Amsterdam) and refreshments. Delicious Donations will be present and raising money for the regional artists, with a cash award (typically between $100 - $250) to be given away at the end of the night. Join us for an evening of art, music, and socializing to kick off one more year.

Participating artists: Barb Antel, Stephanie Armbruster, Emilia Edwards, Jeanine Hall, Eric Haberle, Marc Nieson, Tara Powley, Fitzhugh Shaw, Josh Tonies, and Paulina Wilkowska

Stephanie Armbruster has been with UnSmoke from the beginning. Her work is an exploration of urban spaces, populations and visual textures. Often a reflection on the postindustrial landscape, her works suggest whimsical environments that are familiar, unique, and a little absurd. Informed by a fascination with printed matter, street art, and design, Stephanie works primarily in 2D media. Her work is currently on view at the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art.

Marc Nieson’s background includes filmmaking, children’s theatre, building construction and a season with a one-ring circus. Excerpts from his forthcoming memoir Schoolhouse: A Memoir in 13 Lessons have appeared in the Literary Review and Iowa Review, and his fiction recently was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won the 2008 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. His feature-length screenplays include Bottomland, The Dream Catcher, and The Speed of Life (Special Jury Prize 2007 Venice Film Festival).

Josh Tonies has been with the organization from the start. He also lives and works in Braddock, PA. His current work explores transient structures. Mining systematic imagery such as technical illustration, security patterns from envelopes and architectural diagrams, he reconfigures these depictions of space into slippery windows. He has exhibited his work nationally at Mass MoCa, Light Industry in Brooklyn and internationally at Meinblau e.V in Berlin.

Support for Night Out: Braddock is generously provided through a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) – Project Stream Grant

Sorry, for the crude cut and paste job. It's the best I can do. I'm also very sad I will not be able to catch this event.Very, Very exiting weekend in The Burgh.

By the way -- I think the address on Unsmoke's website is wrong.

I think it's 1183 Braddock Ave which is what Google's street view shows.

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Thoughts About The Education Bubble

As people crow about Pittsburgh's bulletproof economy built around "Eds & Meds", (we are still losing jobs) It might be good to take a hard look at how well these "industries" really are doing and the danger our dependence on them might mean.

Of course, people need to go to school and people need healthcare, but the fact is that people need a lot of things and what matters most in a truly sustainable economy is the balance between current consumption and future investment. The heart is important and so is the brain, liver and stomach but when one grows out of all proportion to all the others---you might have cancer.

An article on The Examiner tells the harsh truth

"As usual, the numbers tell the whole story. According to the College Board in early 2009, total student loan borrowing more than doubled between 1998 and 2008. The numbers are staggering. We're talking about $85 billion in loans, as compared to $41 billion ten years ago.

Privately funded student loans have risen, too, from 7% in 1998 to 23% of all student loans in 2008. It makes for quite a brew for cash-strapped Americans this year, who are already saddled with unemployment and loss of income. Sallie Mae, for example, had a delinquency rate of 9.4% in Q3 2008, as compared to a rate of 8.5% just a year earlier.I'm willing to bet that rate gaps higher as the months go by.

The student loan market has been, is, and will be riddled with trouble. Expect higher default rates, as students can't pay back these loans."

Even more disturbing is that the real explosion of college costs have not been fully felt by people(which is why they exploded in the first place) because of government loans and subsidies. As that well runs dry-the reality will hit like a rock and real hard cost cuts and college closings will begin.

Youngstown To Gain 500 Call Center Jobs

I know this blog is about Pittsburgh, but I think it's important to build more regional awareness and draw on some of the positive things happening not far away.

The mayor of Youngstown was on c-span talking about how his city is doing and hinted at a big announcement which was followed a few hours later by the news that a large LA based firm would be opening a call center in Downtown Youngstown that may soon employ 500 or more people.

It's only a call center an area known to be easy come and easy go, but still the size of the move is impressive and when put in context even more so. Youngstown will soon have, I think three full buildings downtown full of small start up stage companies in areas like business software development and information outsourcing.

"To hear Mayor Jay tell it, the fact that Youngstown was just named this month by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. to start a business verified the decision to expand their operations to Youngstown.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday restated the fact Youngstown was named one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. to start a business."

Also, not too far to the east is the Cranberry home of Westinghouse, a firm looking to hire at least 700 people to fill it's large Nuclear Reactor backlog.

Can Youngstown build on this and will some of these people choose to live nearby in Youngstown itself? Stiil many challenges ahead.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Leechburg Visionary Artist: Peter (Charlie) Besharo

I can't fully explain it but a lot of the work I'm most drawn to could be called "visionary" or "outsider".

Looking through my Outsider Art Sourcebook, I came across an artist, whose work I had seen published before that seemed full of both beauty, and enigmatic mystery.

Peter was born in Syria in 1899 an migrated in his teens into the area north of Pittsburgh, working at first as a peddler in the mining communities. He finally settled in Leechburg and made his living as a house and sign painter. Few knew him well, and almost none knew he was an artist. 70 strange works were found after his death in 1960 laden with images of spaceships, crosses, galactic combat, mythological and religious references as well as hopeful messages predicting world peace and brotherhood.

Of course half the fun is wondering about what he was thinking.

From the Encyclopedia Of American Folk Art

Besharo was much affected by the World Wars, the development of nuclear power, the Cold War, and his own experiences as an Arab living as a member of a minority group in his adopted country. Popular cul-ture, as reflected in comics, pulp magazines, and illustrated books, may also have influenced his conceptual ideas and visual forms. Besharo transformed all that he saw into a personal vocabulary of form.

Besharo’s painted fantasy adventures in space and interplanetary interaction appeal to a universal interest in transcending mundane, everyday life and replacing it with exciting and surprising journeys. Rooted in his Arab heritage, the conflicts of his early life in Lebanon, and his integration into local American community life, in particular his involvement in church and fraternal organizations, Besharo takes a broad historical view—albeit with a liberal mixture of fact and fiction—and foresees eventual cosmic peace.

Peter Besharo's work is in the collection of The National Museum Of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in D.C. and The American Folk Art Museum In New York.

Pittsburgh's One Of The Strongest Housing Markets: But How Long Can It Last?

First the good news.

Business Week has ranked Pittsburgh as the nation's sixth strongest housing market.

"Methodology: The metros are ranked by the share of homes with rising values in the second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2008. The annual change is the year-over-year change in median values for the metro in Q2 compared with the same period last year. The quarterly change compares the second quarter with the first quarter. The ranking is based on's Q2 Home Value Index, which is the median "Zestimate" for a given geography for a given time period. The Zestimate™ is Zillow's estimated market value of a home. This figure is computed by taking many different data points from public records and entering them in a proprietary formula."

Obviously, this is a game of relative performance since many of these markets also have modestly declining prices.

1 Boulder, Colorado
2 Spartanburg, South Carolina
3 New Orleans, Louisiana
4 Binghamton, New York
5 Fayetteville, North Carolina
6 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7 Little Rock, Arkansas
8 Gainesville, Georgia
9 Burlington, North Carolina
10 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The first thing that stands out is that very few of these are major metropolitan areas, which gives one some idea how broad and damaging the housing bubble was. Another feature common to most is that two of them, Oklahoma City and Little Rock are State Capitals and colleges and universities play a big role in their economies. The Fayetteville, North Carolina area is home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force base as well as three colleges.

One thing we should have all learned from the bubble was that trends that look like they can't go on forever, usually don't.

As, to the Meds side, things might look even worse.

There are many, many positive things to report about Pittsburgh and many great opportunities here which I will try to touch on in another post. Even so, we need to be aware of our real position.

Visionary Arts Pictures Coming Soon

I promise to post my meager supply of shots from The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival when I can get around to getting them off my camera.

The really great piece of news/rumor is that there are plans to keep this thing going, most likely as a biennial event.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Plans For The Arts Take Shape In Greensburg

In spite of it being home to the important Westmoreland Museum; I'm gonna have to fess up to never having spent time in Greensburg. On each train trip to NYC, I look out the window and think-- wow-pretty town there!(that's gonna change)

Finally, Greensburg is getting it together and using a number of planned and existing arts and educational assets to create a low key but thriving downtown.

Yesterday, the press conference officially announcing the details of LECOM at Seton Hill was held at the University. How exciting this is! The nation's largest medical school has partnered with SHU! This means we will be seeing Seton Hill evolving in many exciting ways. I have lived in the Greensburg area all my life. I remember shopping "Downtown Greensburg" at Troutman's and Royer's with my Grandmother. Since those days,businesses would close one by one as the malls and other large developments would draw business away from town. It was only about 10 years ago that I walked through town and unless you were an attorney or working at the courthouse; downtown was pretty much a ghost town. Recently, under the vision of Barb Ciampini, Greensburg City Planning Director, Karl Eisaman, Mayor , Steve Gifford of GCDC (click to read Steve's vision for Greensburg) and other city officials and committees, there has been a major upswing. A little over a year ago, I looked around at the beginning transformation of the city and predicted that someday soon it would be a extraordinary cultural and arts center. Already home to DV8 Espress Bar and Gallery, Stage Right School and Theater Company, Westmoreland Museum of American Art , Pottery Playhouse, St. Clair Concerts in the Park, and so much more. In addition, the new $21 Million Seton Hill Performing Arts Center will be opening 2009 right in the heart of the Greensburg Cultural District. Due to the increased enrollment in Seton Hill's outstanding art program, Seton Hill will house the art department's painting studio in the Troutman's building. So...this all leads to a renaissance of Downtown Greensburg and Seton Hill University. Who knows...maybe someday, we will refer to "Upper Campus" and "Lower Campus" as we grow and are widely recognized for our exemplary medical programs with our Physician's Assistant Program and LECOM's Medical School, as well as our paramount performing and visual arts programs!

August Unblurred

Good news! A few of the venues on Penn Ave are extending their regular gallery hours. Modern Formations has had gallery hours practically since its inception. Artica, who opened a year ago, has regular hours. Joining them this month is Most Wanted Fine Arts. That's a lot of action in two short blocks. The Pittsburgh Glass Center, which sits on the border of the Penn Ave corridor, has regular hours, too. So-ooo, it's nice to know that you can catch shows during the month instead of just on first Fridays!

Currently, Most Wanted Fine Arts has a photography group show with Kimberly Metcho, Jason Furda and Chris Sauer (from left to right below; click on thumbnails for a larger image).


Modern Formations is exhibiting --
“The Mr. Gerald Scoops Show” by Thad Dachille, portrays his imaginary cartoons coming to life. These new works, completed over the last year, continue to represent his interest in rendering imaginary cartoons with strange and sometimes vulgar personalities. More information on their site

The following work, Excited, is pretty representative of the works in the exhibit. Mr. Dachille has a great installation/assembly work in the back room. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a clear shot during the opening reception.


Artica is exhibiting --
AHA-Moments By Christine, a one-woman exhibition featuring the work of ARTica Gallery Director, Christine McCray-Bethea, who will showcase quirky, funky but always friendly salvage and fiber art from her African(American) Mask and Religion-at-glance series as well as her quilts and works on paper. More information here

Two samples of Ms. Bethea's engaging salvage work (click on thumbnails for details images) --


Really, these are worth going to see. Artica is an eclectic blend of art and collectibles, so be prepared to spend some time poking around!Ms. Bethea consistently exhibits work from local artistsat Artica in addition to her feature. You never know what you will run into.

This was an August Unblurred, so several artists studios as well as other venues typically open were not exhibiting this month. With tha said, I was pleasantly surprised to see the works in all of the venues. Again, most venues are only open for Unblurred, but most are happy to make an appoingment with you.

Garfield Artworks is exhibiting --

A collaborative installation presented by Emily Laychak, Stephanie Woods and girlfriends, expressing a visual commentary on the state of girlhood. More information on their site


I really like the above work. Unfortunately, i cannot credit the artist since I couldn't locate an identifying tag. If it helps at all, Once I was wheeless, but then I found my wheels, was posted in proximity to this grouping. These very whimsical works were among the best at Garfield Artworks.

Imagebox had a great show this month, featuring another salvage artist, Robert Pfister. His work is very urban decay with all of the textures and color associated with the deterioration of abandoned metal (click on thumbnails for detailed images).


All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. The Penn Ave venues are really putting on some good exhibits. Hopefully we'll see more galleries and venues with regular gallery hours.

BikeFest 09 Fundraiser

BikeFest is here! Because I am lazy, almost all of this post was copied from Bike Pittsburgh.

First-- there's a big fundraiser- so they can exist please attend or support them if you can, in any way you can.

Come to our party and help make Pittsburgh a safer place to ride! The BikeFest Fundraiser Party is known as one of the best parties in Pittsburgh — great people, food, drinks, music and fun! Please mark your calendar now and save the date.

When: August 14th // large donor event 6:30pm - 8:00pm // main event from 8:00pm-12am

Where: Pittsburgh Opera // 2425 Liberty Avenue // Pittsburgh, PA 15222 [map]
Why: To raise money for BikePGH (and to have a great time while doing it)
How much: $30 General Admission, $55 Ticket + BikePGH membership, $100 VIP Stimulus ticket, or $10 Recession Special. Click here to purchase

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More about the fundraiser here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Daniel Bolick: RESURRECTED @ The Westmoreland Mueum

Drew Whitley – Sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder he did not commit. Exonerated after 18 years, 78 x 56 inches, acrylic and latex

Daniel Bolick: RESURRECTED
Sunday June 14, 2009 - Sunday September 06, 2009

People who regularly read this blog know that, I personally am a Libertarian or more accurately a "Classical Liberal", who believes the government's only proper role in society is to protect individuals from force, theft, fraud and other criminal acts; run a court system for civil disputes and protect our nation from military attack.

Ironically today, the sacred absolute right all people should have to a speedy trial and serious deliberate defence when accused of a crime is not taken seriously at all.The entire concept of "plea bargaining" is meant to save time and money and police departments often lack the resources and training to investigate crimes; the result is that, many completely innocent people are sitting in jail or occasionally even executed for crimes they did not commit.

Artist's Statement

"The ten men depicted in these paintings and drawings have served a total of 164 years in prison – 71 of those years on death row – for crimes they did not commit. When innocent men are released from death row or long term incarceration, they emerge as broken human beings. They are not eligible for services to help them re-enter society, such as education, counseling and job training – services meant for guilty offenders only, not the wrongly convicted. There is nothing to aid these men (and women in some cases). There is a great reluctance to even acknowledge that a mistake has been made. There are no official apologies and, for most of these men, no compensation.

I hope that this exhibition will raise awareness about the failings of the criminal justice system. Wrongful convictions are not isolated, rare events. Innocent people languishing in prison or worse—being put to death for crimes they did not commit—should be intolerable to everyone."

Daniel Bolick was born and raised in Pittsburgh, attended Kent State and worked for thirty four years in the Pittsburgh Public School System.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Regional Art Recap

Western PA

Erie Art Museum

Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser

"Weiser has become one of the leading practitioners of this genre. His surreal, lushly painted porcelains build on the great traditions of both Europe and Asia. Articulating his post modernism while paying homage to his ceramic forebears makes Weiser’s work appealing and awe-inspiring. Weiser’s virtuosity as a painter is immediately evident. Closer examination of his work is even more rewarding. Lush beauty gives way to darker undertones leaving viewers plenty of room for interpretation. Kurt Weiser is an unassuming genius. He pursues dream, memory, and desire in a centuries-old medium with a 21st century sensibility."

The Hoyt Institute Of Fine Arts

The Story Of Harness Racing By Currier & Ives

Title: Coming to Trot, lithograph by Currier & Ives
Credits: Courtesty of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame



SAMA Ligonier

John Ritter August 14th--November 7th

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley is pleased to announce the opening of its latest exhibition, Popular Culture: A Retrospective of Published Illustrations by John Ritter. The exhibition features more than 30 images by Ritter, whose American post pop compositions incorporate vibrant colors and photo collage while revealing a unique interpretation of contemporary politics, youth culture and media, and how each affects our interpretation of reality. The exhibition opens August 14 and will remain on view through November 7.


Westmoreland Museum Of American Art

Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art MuseumSunday June 14, 2009 - Sunday September 06, 2009

"This exhibition examines the complex and heterogeneous nature of American art in the mid-twentieth century. Featuring thirty-one of the most celebrated artists who came to maturity in the 1950s, the exhibition traces the history of this epochal period through forty-three key paintings and sculpture selected from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection. The exhibition is organized according to three broad themes. Grand Gestures explores the autographic mark, executed in sweeping strokes of brilliant color which became the expressive vehicle for Franz Kline, Hans Hofmann, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell and others. Optics and Order highlights the work of Josef Albers, his exploration of mathematical proportion and carefully balanced color, and the artists who built on his ideas including Ilya Bolotowsky, Ad Reinhardt, and Louise Nevelson, among others. New Images of Man includes the work of Romare Bearden, Larry Rivers, Jim Dine, and Grace Hartigan, and others, who searched their surroundings and personal lives for vignettes of larger, universal concerns."

Cleveland And Northeast Ohio

Cleveland Museum

50 masterworks on view from CMA’s renowned collection of Asian art acquired during Dr. Lee’s tenure as a curator and director. till August 24th

Museum Of Contemporary Art: Cleveland

There Goes the Neighborhood:

explores the evolution of communities here and abroad. The exhibition focuses on how architecture and landscape embody a neighborhood's past, present, and potential future. The work on view examines places amid growth or decline, sites that hover somewhere between construction, deterioration, and renewal. The artists reveal how physical sites symbolize the human experience of change, whether simple or complex, invited or forced. Linking actual and anticipated shifts in communities across the globe, There Goes the Neighborhood emphasizes the evolving structures and compositions of neighborhoods in the twenty-first century.


Maos and Cows : Selections from the Marjorie and Anselm Talalay Collection
On view June 5th, 2009 through August 16th, 2009

Cleveland Institute Of Art

The Warhol Show-- through August 16th

The Cleveland Institute of Art is proud to announce a rare opportunity to view a private collection of prints created by the famed Andy Warhol this summer, in “Andy Warhol Prints: 1974 – 1986, Works from the Cochran Collection.”

Kent State (Kent Ohio) till September 6th

Cary Mcdougall Sculpture


University Park Art FairRegional and local artists will be exhibiting works at the University Park Art Fair at Grace Park on Saturday, Aug. 15


Butler Institute Of American Art

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009): A Tribute (Youngstown) EXTENDED till August 24th
This special exhibition, drawn from the Butler collection and private holdings, pays tribute to the Wyeth Heritage and includes works by the late Andrew Wyeth and his son, Jamie Wyeth. Andrew Wyeth


Annual National Juried Show: 73rd National Midyear Exhibition till August 24th
National Midyear Exhibition (Youngstown) This annual juried exhibition is open to artists over 18 years of age who reside within the United States and/or its territories. Seventy-two works were selected by this year's juror, New York gallery owner and art historian George Adams.

Upcoming-- Pittsburgh Artist, Dennis Marisco- September 20th-December 27th

Dennis Marsico: Face Value (Flad Gallery, Youngstown)
This new work by a cutting-edge Pittsburgh photographer integrates images of currency engravings with "invisible" letterpress communique

Anyway- a bit half assed but it nmight give you some ideas

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Go See Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival

No time to do a better post but YOU Really, Really, Really are missing out on a lot if you dont experience the Visionary Arts Festival at Schenly Plaza in Oakland.

View Larger Map

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Video About Future Tenant

Thanks again to Bittersweet Harvest, and of course Future Tenant for putting together this nice video about what their space is about and how it is run.

For many years CMU has been a leading school in areas like technology, art and arts management-- but only very recently have their been a lot of active attempts to integrate fully with the city.

Other CMU related projects include the Waffle Shop.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hanging at the Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival

In lieu of writing my weekly art events post (which I apologize for skipping last week), I figured I'd do my first live blog post. This is the premiere of the Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Fest (hereby to be referred to as VAF). The event was organized by young, talented artist Alberto Almarza, and showcases a more non-traditional, "outsider" brand of artists doing edgier work than you would find at a typical summer arts festival.

There are about fifty tents down here at Schenley Plaza, and the scope and quality represented is remarkable. It doesn't hurt that the location is smack dab in the center of Oakland- a hub of activity with multiple hospitals and universities. Folks seem to be pleasantly surprised to encounter this type of aesthetic madness during their lunch hours.

Site coordinator Sarah Bauer (Almarza's better half) seems to be relishing the day. In between running around with waiver forms, she had a chance to sit down for a few seconds at our Unicorn Mountain tent. Says Bauer, "It's cool to showcase the diversity of the progressive arts scene of Pittsburgh. People have been so receptive... they're not like, 'who are these freaky wierdos'."

Maybe it helps that the audience is unfamiliar with the odd brand of individual who would agree to sit in a ten-by-ten foot enclosed space for 27 hours over a three-day weekend. The VAF runs all weekend from noon until 9PM each day. I'll be sitting here during much of that time hawking my own photos, as well as work by other artists in our collective, books and t-shirts. Perhaps I'll even get a chance to say hi to the other creators... if I ever get the chance to leave this tent.

Happy Birthday, Andy

Ok, so I'm one day late.

Feds Upset At Funny Money Surge-- So Is China

As folks face hard times,many are turning to modern printing technologies to just create counterfeit money out of thin air to purchase the things they need and want.

"The evidence is only anecdotal at this point, but law enforcement officials and business owners across the country say they have seen a significant spike in the circulation of counterfeit currency since the economy started to sour more than a year and a half ago:

More than $1,500 in counterfeit bills found its way into the cash registers of businesses in South Strabane Township, Pa., last weekend.
A counterfeiting ring passed at least 10 fake $100 bills in Collier County, Fla., before three people were arrested last month.
At least 17 victims were swindled with counterfeit bills over the Fourth of July weekend in Elkhart, Ind., where police recovered roughly $1,500 in fake cash. One of the victims was the City of Elkhart itself, which took in at least 200 phony dollars at municipal installations."

The combination of a poor economy and ever more sophisticated and cheap computer technology fueling the surge.

Warning--------- Printing Fake Money Out Of Thin Air Is A Destructive Form Of Theft Best Handled By Experts. You can't just print money cause you need it and want to spend more than you are producing.

That's Ben Bernanke's Job

Little Flea Craft Market In Lawrenceville

Lawrenceville is getting an outdoor marketplace – Lawrenceville Little Flea!

Located in a high-traffic area at 36th and Butler, the Lawrenceville Little Flea will provide a rotating variety of flea, food and craft in Pittsburgh’s most up-and-coming shopping and dining district. Come join us!

Where: 3601 Butler St. (Corner of 36th + Butler St.)
When: Saturday, August 8, 10 am – 5 pm

Vendors Needed
Got cool stuff to sell? We still have a few spots available for Saturday, August 8. If you’re interested in joining us, contact for a vendor application.

Participation Fee: $15 ($10 / 2+ Saturdays)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ghost Bikes

"Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.

The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003, and they have since appeared in over 80 cities throughout the world. For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again -- but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed."

Pittsburgh was the second city in which Ghost Bikes began to appear.

NYC Ghost Bikes Ride, January 2008 from Paula Froke on Vimeo.

not sure if people w/out facebook can see the info:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
8:30pm - 9:30pm
Intersection of Meyran Ave. and Louisa St. In Central Oakland
Meyran Ave. and Louisa St.
Pittsburgh, PA

and the info: At dusk, Wednesday, August 5, 2009 , we will be locking up a "ghost bike" to memorialize Ruihui Gin who was killed earlier this week by a currently unknown driver who fled the scene.

We will meet at the intersection where the accident happened, and lock up the ghost bike, light candles and lay flowers for our fellow cyclist and Pittsburgh.

Come to memorialize Ruihui Gin, and show your support for safer roads for ALL users in Pittsburgh.

"The victim, Rui Hui Lin had became a U.S. citizen in a ceremony a year ago on the South Side.

He died Monday night after he was struck by a pickup truck struck while riding his bicycle to deliver food for a Chinese restaurant. Mr. Lin, 38, was pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m. at UPMC Presbyterian."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fallingwater Lego Set

Want to try to build Frank Loyd Wright's iconic masterpiece, Fallingwater?

"Mr. Tucker's company, Brickstructures Inc., teamed with the LEGO Group to produce the new Fallingwater set. Retailing for $99.99, the kit also includes a 100-plus-page spiral-bound book with assembly instructions as well as drawings, photographs and a history of the Fayette County house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1935 for Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann.

Mr. Tucker was at Fallingwater yesterday to promote the model, which debuted at Manhattan's Guggenheim Museum in May, along with his LEGO replica of that Wright building. The release coincided with the museum's current exhibit of Wright's work, marking the Guggenheim's 50th anniversary."

I actually missed seeing the Frank Loyd Wright show at the Guggenheim and I now really regret it. From what I can tell they pulled out all the stops in terms of creating large scale models of not only many of the buildings he built but also of many of the fantastic designs for projects he wasn't able to execute.