Monday, December 27, 2010

From High Art to Low Art...From One "Ordinary Madness" to Another

That is "Ordinary Madness" at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Steeler's Madness at the "Whatever It Takes" exhibit at Miller Gallery at CMU.
Ordinary Madness at the Carnegie is a terrific exhibit and high art in the best sense of the term. The exhibit is close to the end, only up through January 9th, so make haste to go if you want to see choice works by: Phillip Guston, Willem De Kooning, David Hockney,Tony Oursler, Charles Burchfield, Ed Ruscha and others, both well and less well-known. One hundred and seven works are included. Oridnary Madness refers to the premise that the "ordinary is in fact laced with the contradictory, uncanny, and surreal". I really enjoyed this exhibit. So much strong work by both famous and not so famous artists. For more information see

The exhibit "Whatever It Takes" at the Regina Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University draws from the everyday Steeler madness that is around us in Pittsburgh. The exhibit focuses on Steeler fan rituals, collections and obsessions. The exhibit is up through 1/30/11.The Steelers man cave, recreated from its basement home is amazing. A local cook? chef? Denny DeLuca who has painstakingly put his Steeler's memorabilia together in one room over the years recreated his space in the gallery.. It's fascinating. And the accompanying video of Mr. Deluca suggests that his collection is something he enjoys and has a sense of humor about. Whereas an item such as the Steeler's poodle....(a photo on exhibit) is much my view. For information on the exhibit,see

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Adventures in hot metal: Carley Parrish

It's been a week since I accepted Carley Parrish's gracious invitation to stretch my skills and try my hand at casting in her studio. It was a small group at the studio: Carley Parrish, Mike Walsh, Adam Castleforth, and my friend Laurie Trok and myself. I am a complete novice when it comes to this type of medium. Honestly, it was absolutely a wonderful experience. I have not retrieved my experiments yet, but I will follow up with an image of my attempt!

What Carley was concentrating on for the evening was a molten aluminum pour. She was casting in two different types of sand relief and lost wax casting. The sand reliefs were very immediate, and offered an opportunity to experiment with carving or pressing. One sand, for carving, was mixed with something to keep it stable and was good for carving a relief into. It kept marks very well. The other sand was softer and better for taking an imprint. This was where my friend, Laurie Trok, and I were working.

Carley Parrish and Mike Walsh were working with a combination of things. Both had lost wax pieces prepared and both were also preparing sand for casting in relief. Theirs were much more complex, of course, planned as components for later assembly. Mike Walsh was also preparing for an exhibit that opened on December 18 at The Gallery 4.

All in all, it was a rewarding experience. Carley made the process seem much more accessible than I would have thought, bringing a very intuitive approach to a medium that I had always seen as requiring considerable planning. Unfortunately, I had to cut out before the drama of the pour really started. I will, however, be sure to update when the next hot metal pour will be held.

Please take a few minutes to view the slide show. The images are labeled and document the process up to loading the crucible.

Get to know Laurie Trok. I wish I could find some information on Adam Castleforth to share with you along with Laurie's, but I can find no trace in the e-phemeral.

If you want to acquaint yourself with some of Carley Parrish's work, stop by Hermanowski's (1907 Penn Ave) in the Strip District where you can see the impressive Strip Mural. Carley and her husband, Ed Parrish, have brought hot metal to many public events in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities. Their work is always good and their events are filled with fire and energy. Carley includes a number of mediums in her skills, and her work appears in many focused and group presentations. Recently, some of her works were included in the new Irma Freeman Center for Imagination in the exhibit Energy: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

You can definitely get to know Mike Walsh a little better Check out:

Coming Full Circle "20 Years Later"
Recent work by Mike Walsh
The Gallery 4
206 S, Highland Ave, 15206
tues - sat
1pm - 7pm

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reading Suggestions While Roasting Those Chesnuts Over an Open Fire

Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Santaleaks and Bagging the Beats at Midnight (the latter two are available online).

Keith Richards: A Life. I love the Rolling Stones, but it didn't really occur to me that this might turn out to be a good book. Then the reviews started pouring in. All good. Every one of them. And the book, which has a co-author, is engrossing.Richard's really knows how to turn a phrase, and he certainly doesn't seem the least bit concerned about offending people. He has a fascinating story to tell. I read half of the 547 page book the first night I got it. Brings the 60s and 70's to life. Great portraits of musicians and other artists. And celeberties. And groupies. The whole cast of characters. Too bad Hogarth isn't alive any longer, what he could do with this source material!!!!!

Santaleaks The title speaks for itself. And you thought the wikileaks cables were shocking! From The New Yorker, the link is here

Just Kids by Patti Smith This book came out maybe early this year? So it has been out for quite awhile. The subject is Patti Smith's love affair/friendship/creative fermenting with Robert Mapplethorpe.It is one of my favorite books. So well written. So evocative of NYC's underground. And a great story about the process of two people becoming artists. Patti Smith just received the National Book Award for this work.

Bagging The Beats At Midnight by Karen Lillis Karen's memoir of her time as a clerk in the famous St Mark's Bookstore in NYC. There are currently 4 installments. Like the Patti Smith book, it left me with an unanswered question, why on earth didn't I ever work in a NYC bookstore???!!! If I have my life to live over, this will be on the agenda, at least for awhile. Ofcourse the bookstores have to be as interesting as those in which Patti Smith and Karen Lillis worked.
Bagging the Beats at Midnight is so well-written, and a lot of fun.

Karen's piece is here
There is also a video of the editor of Undie Press reading a bit from the first installment here

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 12/10-11/10.

c. David Grim (taken 11/21/10)


The Pittsburgh Glass Center seems to be making the effort to build a bigger profile for its brand. Tonight they are hosting a reception at Future Tenant for a group show of 8 glass artists. It's called "Futilitarian" and starts at 6PM.

The Pretty Things Peepshow is in town, and appearing at the Rex Theater in the South Side. They are a premiere touring burlesque outfit from northern NJ, and several of its members have done time at the justly renowned Coney Island Circus Sideshow (including Heather Holliday and Danny Vomit). That fact alone should compel you to see this! The doors open at 8PM and the show starts at 10PM. Bring $15 to get in.


This week's must-see art show is "Big Love" at the Panza Gallery (and that's not just because I'll have work there). Curated by Lawrenceville resident Cleo Zell, it features the work of approximately 40 artists, conveniently priced at $100 or less. Some of the creators involved include Kathleen Lolley, Mascha Vereshchenko, Gabe Felice, Heidi Tucker, Ryder Henry, Mario Zucca, Laura Jean McGlaughlin, Bob Ziller, Sid Kweller, Carley Parrish, Paul Leroy, etc. It runs from 6-9PM, but if you get a late start on the evening and think you have to skip it, stop in anyway. Events at Panza (115 Sedgwick Street, Millvale) invariably run past their scheduled times.

Apparently there's a new gallery space opening in Edgewood. It's called Verde Art Space (113 Edgewood Avenue), and it plans to be fully in business in the Spring. But if you are of the mind to, you can catch a preview today from 11AM-8PM.

And in Homestead, Artspace 105 (105 E. Eighth Ave.) is having a silent auction from 7-9PM. Robert Qualters, George Nama, and Paula Bland are just a few of the participating artists.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pittsburgh Art Events 12/3/10.

c. David Grim (taken 11/21/10)


Yes, indeed. it's going to be COLD for this month's Unblurred. But that doesn't give you license to skip it. There is plenty worthwhile to see, and you'd be remiss if you didn't get out there and support some struggling artists. Do some holiday shopping somewhere other than Walmart.

Gabe Felice will be down at the newly-named Penn Avenue Art Studios (4810 Penn), working on a live art project. Appearing with him are Dan Devine, Perry and Danny Angel, and they are all there to support the Kullu Valley Bike Project. Ten bucks will get you into the after party, which includes wine, beer, and DJ's.

You could also do your holiday shopping at the Irma Freeman Center (5006 Penn) where they are hosting "I Made it! Affordable Art & Craft". Apparently City Parks will be there with some light up ornaments. Oh... and there's some bands too.

Seth Clark and Kelly Blevins are at Modern Formations (4919 Penn). The latter is this past year's Spring Salon winner, which means she already has a significant audience waiting to see what she will do. No pressure, Kelly! Meanwhile the ever-prolific Dean Cercone is showing at Most Wanted (5015 Penn Ave.) with someone named "Detrich" (as per the gallery site).

Not that I'd particularly want to go to the South Side on a Friday night, but if I did I'd go to Silver Eye Center for Photography (1015 East Carson St., 6:30PM) to see the work of the winners of their Photography's Fellowship 2010 Competition. Don't worry if you're not up to the mess of transit. You can see the images of Laura Heyman of Syracuse, NY, and Laura Bell of Girard, PA, through January 15th.

And then there's the rare event at James Gallery (413 S. Main Street) in the West End- a group show called "Pulp Friction". Its "Paper: burned, sliced, disguised, reclaimed, reconfigured" can be seen between 5:30-9PM. Good luck finding out who is participating, as the gallery's website seems to demonstrate a deliberate disinterest in providing any significant information. I do know that Tom Sarver is involved, so that's one bright spot.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Next Three Days...Worth Seeing on the Big Screen and Great PR for Pittsburgh

No matter the reviews, John Morris and I were definitely going to see the thriller "The Next Three Days", given that the film was said to have loads of shots of Pittsburgh being Pittsburgh. As opposed to for example, the as yet unreleased "One For the Money" which made Pittsburgh into Trenton NJ.

The first reviews I saw ranged from indifferent to a downright bad one in the New York Times. However, the usually tough David Denby of The New Yorker liked the movie.........a lot. He calls it an "accomplished, intelligent, often exciting piece of work." The movie was written and directed by Paul Haggis who made Academy Award winner "Crash" and wrote the script for another Academy Award winner "Million Dollar Baby".

I am not a Hollywood movie person,being more an indepedent film fan, but this was fun, suspenseful, entertaining. While violent in parts, it had none of the person being tortured stuff that is frequently found in action films now, and which infuriates me.

It turns out that not only are scenes of Pittsburgh all over the movie, Pittsburgh is written in everywhere. And the city looks gorgeous (ofcourse).Since it is not actually a travelogue for Pittsburgh, yes, there are a lot of things missing if a person really wanted to "see" Pittsburgh. No time in this thriller to shoot details of our wonderful period architecture, or ramble through our big beautiful city parks.
However, I notice I don't know that I'll ever look at even mundane things, such as the I79 sign, in quite the same way again.

This movie will end up being seen by millions of people, and it will be really good PR for our city.

Several big Hollywood films have been made here recently (I am sure this is not news to anyone who lives in Pgh!).

A Pittsburgh Post Gazette interview with Paul Haggis(warning some plot spoilers)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Detroit's Heidelberg Project

Yesterday I got a brief tour of Detroit, courtesy of an old friend who lives in Ann Arbor and teaches in Flint. The trip was too short for me to really wrap my mind around Detroit as a whole--I did notice how spread out it was, but I didn't always get a sense of what part of this was just a wider-scale city planning or a car-centered urban vision vs. Rust Belt depopulation. Until we went seeking Heidelberg Street. As soon as we turned off Jefferson Avenue and entered the neighborhood of McDougall-Hunt, I could see the Detroit I'd heard about: the abandoned and half-burnt houses, the many empty lots where houses used to be, no evidence of any grocery stores, and some evidence of urban gardening.

Then we reached The Heidelberg Project. Due to my longtime East Coast chauvinism no doubt, I had never heard of this amazing outsider-artist, two-block-wide "installation," although it has been around since 1986--growing, evolving, getting demolished by Detroit police, and growing back again like unstoppable knotweed. One Detroit resident, Tyree Guyton, grew up on Heidelberg Street and witnessed the 1968 riots, from which he says Detroit has never recovered. After he began cleaning up the debris in empty lots and abandoned houses on his block, he started to create art by decorating the empty houses with the trashed items he'd found. The result is colorful, beautiful, and critical, and seems to succeed in getting attention for the plight of the neighborhood and the city--and Detroit's efforts to rally around creative community engagement. While we walked around, we overheard one of the street's residents explaining the project to a visitor, and saw foreign tourists stopping to shoot pictures and wander among the houses, the sculptures, and the makeshift billboards. We met an artist, Lisa Marie Rodriguez, who is an artist-in-residence at the Heidelberg, studying at Wayne State U. She's been working on an entranceway to the block and has constructed a welcome sign, a sun dial, and a meditation garden. She knew all the neighborhood residents who passed by and told us that the community wants to see not only that they get attention, but that someone sticks around and cares about the continued progress of the neighborhood. She considers herself an artist in residence for the long run.

This project is best described in images; see more pictures here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 11/19-20/10.

c. David Grim (taken 10/31/10)


It's that time of year again- the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is celebrating its Artist of the Year. Brian Dean Richmond has been a familiar face to anyone who's been on the Pittsburgh arts/music scene for the past couple of decades. Now you have a chance to understand the full scope of his creative output.

I've mostly associated Richmond with some of the best local bands of recent history- The Johnsons and The Working Poor among them... what I didn't know was that he is a prolific visual artist as well. Over the years I've seen him out, and he once shocked me by buying an unsolicited beer for me at Gooski's (I have no idea why). Still I've never had a conversation with him. I'm sure I've seen a few of his short films at Film Kitchen over the years, but I haven't really paid close attention to his paintings. Now I'll have the chance to remedy that (5:30-8PM, $5). Alongside Richmond, Gregory Witt will be honored as Emerging Artist of the Year.

If you make it downtown during the (newly-copyrighted) Light Up Night, stop in at the Space Gallery (812 Liberty Ave.) for a group show curated by Ally Reeves, with the rather unwieldly title "Scale: Aesthetic Turbulence and the Search for Lifestyle Panacea”. Artists featured in the show include Bill Daniel, Dana Bishop-Root, Derk Wolmuth, Teresa Foley, Gordon Kirkwood, Heidi Tucker, Jon Rubin and Caleb Gamble. The reception runs from 6-9PM.

And WildCard in Lawrenceville has turned over their walls to Kim Fox. She's made screen-printed box frames of her illustrations. The show is called "Prints Charming" and focuses on domestic and other pleasant themes. For free refreshments, show up at the store (4209 Butler Street) between 7-9PM.


I wouldn't normally do this, but I'd like to mention Bobby Porter's wake at Kopec's
Corner in Lawrenceville (3523 Penn Ave, 9PM). I knew Porter, iconic frontman for the Thin White Line. He was a friendly guy with a large spirit and a lot of talent. Thanks, Bill D. for memorializing him in the City Paper this week.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 11/5-6/10.

c. David Grim (taken 10/23/10)


It's once again time for the critical mass of the arts scene on First Friday. Of course enough is packed into this one day to fill the social calendars of discriminating viewers for the entire month, but we'll take what we can get and try to jam as much as possible into our limited hours.

Start with Unblurred in the Penn Avenue Corridor. As always it's a great opportunity for you to see a lot of stuff by a lot of different artists in one compact area. Check out Fumino Hora's installation at the Pittsburgh Glass Center- "The Way of Samsara" has to do with the cycle of reincarnation. Perhaps that's just the angle of perspective we need going into another cold season. Or maybe William W. Wade's non-characteristic attempts at experimental photography is more your speed? You can see that at Imagebox (4933 Penn Ave).

"Round 5: An exhibition of the Brewhouse Distillery Art Program" will be opening at C Space: Collective (4823 Penn Ave), and highlighting the efforts of Aimee Manion, Meghan Olson, Jaci Rice, Kara Skylling. and Ryan Woodring. And Unblurred veterans Jason Rosemeyer & Christian Breitkreutz will display their stuff at Modern Formations (4919 Penn Avenue). Meanwhile Garfield Artworks (4931 Penn) is jam-packed with work by Dennis Warner, Obsolete, Tom Jefferson, Ian Green, John Fox, Gnome, and Elma.

You could also head over to swellsville and check out Gallery Chiz (5831 Ellsworth Avenue). They have a selection of ceramics artists to honor the AAP Centennial. Perpetual favorite Laura Jean McLaughlin is one of the featured participants (along with Jane Freund, Marcia Winograd & Jordann Siri Wood). That runs from 5:30-8:30PM. The one-word descriptions included on the press material should be all you need to understand what each artist is up to. Meanwhile the German-born Jens Jensen is showing his colorful abstract paintings at the Steve Mendelson Gallery (5874 Ellsworth Avenue) from 6-8PM.

Did you check out the Three Rivers Arts Festival this year? If you did you likely saw the work of prize-winners Deanna Mance and Maria Mangano. And you can see it again at the 709 Penn Gallery (Downtown) at their opening reception between 6-8PM. But if you want to step off the beaten path, go to Point Breeze for an exhibition of Steve Hankin at his studio space (408 Lloyd Street). His realist style of painting can be appreciated from 6-8PM.


Unfortunately some venues seem so far removed from the center of activity on the local arts scene that events tend to be neglected. Don't let that be the case forever. Get out to Hopmestead to visit Artspace 105 (105 East 8th Street) and see the drawings and watercolors of Rachna Rajen. The artist was a refugee from the first Gulf War, and is reputedly interested in electronica and other"aspects of modern life". This gets underway at 7PM.

Yelena Lamm unveils her sharply rendered paintings at Panza Gallery (115 Sedgwick St, Millvale) in an opening reception for "Forbidden Fruit" from 6-9PM. Naturally I'll be looking forward to that.

The Christine Frechard Gallery (5871 Forbes Ave) over in Squirrel Hill is also hosting a reception from 5-8PM. Jane Haskell and Jeffrey Schwarz are the featured artists.

All weekend

Will this year FINALLY be the one that marks my long-awaited return visit to the films of the Three Rivers Film Festival? Who knows? But YOU can check out the entire schedule at the official site.

Ruth E. Levine Memorial Service Friday Nov 5th

Ruth Levine, a well known artist in Pittsburgh passed away in October. She was a tremendous artist and a wonderful and charismatic individual. A memorial service will be held tomorrow, Friday the 5th, at Heinz Chapel at 1:30. Ruth's passing is a blow to the Pittsburgh art community, as well as to her devoted family and her many (MANY!) friends. People loved Ruth.

The memorial, as well as a reception afterwards at the Sculpture Hall at Carnegie Museum of Art, is open to all.

I am very fortunate to have been one of her firends. I interviewed Ruth a couple of years ago. Here is a link to that interview. The interview includes links to images of Ruth's work.

Marilyn exhibit at Warhol, through January 2nd 2011

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The photo above is from the irreverent take by some attendees on the Warhol/Marilyn link.

The exhibit is up through January 2nd and has many terrific photos of Marilyn, some large scale. Ofcourse, there is also artwork related to Marilyn. A standout for me was a terrific DeKooning painting. Personally, I would have liked a bit more archival material, but over all a very interesting exhibit. Personally, I'd go just for that DeKooning.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA is pleased to announce Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe, an exhibition that captures the spark, sex appeal and sensation that was Marilyn Monroe through the art of Andy Warhol, Allen Jones, Peter Blake, Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others. Documenting the iconic life of America’s favorite sex symbol in styles ranging from fashion photography to Pop Art, this exhibition is on view at the Warhol Museum from October 23, 2010 through January 2, 2011.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Saturday Night Event: Global Beats...AVA Lounge ...the Gypsy edition

October 30th Closing Reception Unsmoke Systems"The New Abstract"

Before you go off to your Halloween parties:Closing reception in Braddock for Unsmoke Systems "The New Abstract". Usually these openings also involve brick baked pizza and an outdoor fire.

UnSmoke Systems Artspace
1137 Braddock Ave
Braddock, PA

CLOSING RECEPTION: October 30th 6-10pm
Featuring LIVE Musical/Theatrical performances

Vanishing Point aims to present work that confronts the notion of a “new abstract”. Inclusive to all medium, the exhibition presents abstraction as a means of reconciliation to the dislocation of self in modern life.

...Engaging concepts of science, personal histories, politics and beyond, these artists build upon the histories of abstract art to fashion a sense of stability in an environment ever changing, ever updating – an environment built upon a constant feed for more information, with its reference point focused evermore on the self in synthetic environments.

Through this visual “storm” these artists have honed their use of abstraction not only as a means to understand their world, but as a mechanism to locate themselves as an individual in a sea of turbulent messages and meaning. Our understanding of our self becomes more abstract each day – these artists represent a direction where abstraction is no longer universal, but an intrinsically personal understanding.


Jenna Hannum / Katie Hinton / Simona Josan / Michael Kalmbach / Adam Lister / Caroline Santa / Phillip Scarpone / Cullen Stephenson / Matthew West

Various members of Drew + the Medicinal Pen will present an original “theatrical” performance in conjunction with Vanishing Point at UnSmoke Systems (Braddock, PA). ( )

Curated by Brookes Britcher and Alexander Conner

adaptation ( )
Our goal is to provide challenging and dynamic curatorial interventions to traditional and non-traditional art venues. We curate, develop and produce exhibitions and related events at off-site venues ranging from houses, storefronts, backyards as well as traditional gallery and museum spaces. The activities generated and developed by Adaptation attempt to provide a venue and a context for artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, designers, architects and others of the creative ilk to actively engage in the cross-pollination of ideas, practice and inspiration through the activation
of a space.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday on the Northside Warhol Museum Marilyn Opening 24 hour party AND....

The Warhol Museum opens a big Marilyn exhibit tomorrow...and it is the Museum's 15th anniversary. To celebrate, they will be open, and for free...for 24 hours. I tried to get into the party 15 years ago and couldn't...I expect to have better luck tomorrow. See details for tomorrow below

Join us as we celebrate our newest exhibition, Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend, as well as our 15th anniversary with a free 24 hour RADical opening.

October 23 Activities:

Noon - 4pm silkscreening and other art activities
6pm - midnight silkscreening and other art activities
8pm - midnight DJ Les Noise spinning a mega Marilyn mix
8pm curator gallery tour with Director, Tom Sokolowski
9pm curator film tour with Curator of Film & Video, Geralyn Huxley
10pm film quiz contest
11pm Marilyn look-a-like contest with Milton Fine Curator of Art, Eric Shiner as MC
midnight thru Sunday, Oct. 24, 10am ongoing Marilyn film screening


Also Tomorrow on the Northside: A hip hop concert sponsored by the Mattress Factory.
Free to museum members. 9 dollars for students with Pitt or CMU ID...12 dollars for everyone else.

We are thrilled to announce additional performers and a very special host who will join Soandry on stage this Saturday at the New Hazlett Theater. Soandry will be joined by special guests and Pittsburgh and international favorites FREESTYLE, HANDSDOWN (ShaRon Don and Deejay Huggy), and BZE! We are honored to have PARADISE GRAY host this special event!
Tickets will also be available at the door:
$12 general admission
Mattress Factory members (+1) free at the door
Pitt & CMU students with I.D. are $9 at the door
Performance begins at 8pm

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 10/15-16/10.

c. David Grim (taken 9/25/10)


Lawrenceville has made attempts at an art crawl in the past. Years ago, when Digging Pitt was still open, a few of the neighborhood galleries made a half-hearted attempt to coordinate their efforts on Thursday nights, once a month. Unfortunately proper organization was always lacking. After that the businesses west of the 40th Street bridge got their act together, and sponsored what ended up being a fairly successful series of "Final Fridays". Even the retail stores stayed open late, and people began attending these events regularly. Eventually this too fizzled out, but I am at a loss as to why. Now another opportunity for "after-business-hours" fun along Butler is at hand.

Gallerycycle involves nine venues and starts at 6PM. It's part of what Bike PGH is promoting as a "Car-free Fridays" initiative. It looks like Fe Gallery (4102 Butler), with its "Out-of-Whack" multi-artist opening reception, and Wildcard's (4209 Butler) first anniversary group show, "Strangely Familiar: Uncanny Works on Paper" are the highlights of the evening. The latter features work by such local stalwarts as Mary Tremonte, Mike Budai, and Thommy Conroy, as well as relative newcomers like Heidi Tucker and Mario Zucca. That should be massively entertaining, folks!

Check out the schedule HERE.

If instead, you are willing to weather the hassles of the South Side on a weekend night- you must check out "Wicked Bitches" (7-10:30 PM), a group show of female artists at the Elixir Lounge (1500 Carson Street) that benefits the Animal Rescue League of Western PA. Pay your $5 and see the work of Pittsburgh luminaries like Lissa Brennan and Jenn Wertz.


Come down to Guardian Storage (2839 Liberty Avenue, 6th floor) in the Strip District for PIX, Pittsburgh's FIRST independent comics expo. The expo runs from 10-5PM on both Saturday and Sunday. This amazing production is presented by the Toonseum, and sponsored by Copacetic Comics Co., The Sprout Fund and The National Cartoonists Society Foundation. There will be tons of local and regional exhibitors and a few heavy hitters like Kevin Huizenga, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, AND Frankie Santoro. Good stuff.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Look Up: Look Out For Kim Beck's SKYWRITING Project

More than a few of you will doubt hiring a plane to print out huge mysterious sentences over the city of Pittsburgh qualifies as art. If you were looking for a way to take a huge number of people out of their normal comfort zone, this might be a good plan.

Kim sent me the messages, most of which seem related to a giant sales pitch of some kind but are loaded with enough double meanings to leave a lot of questions. I like that it's not just targeted to the normal art world/ museum crowd.

When/Where: Friday Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2 at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Skywriting will last from 30-60 minutes depending on wind and air quality. The plane will fly over downtown Pittsburgh, the North Side and Oakland. Each letter will be one mile high and will be visible throughout the area. Follow for updates!

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 10/1-2/10.

c. David Grim (taken 9/25/10)


Once again events have conspired to line up all at once, like some sort of cultural eclipse. There is so much going on in the local arts scene that you are going to have difficulty seeing only a portion of it on Friday.

Downtown features its seasonal art crawl starting at 5:30PM. You can get an earful of cutting edge art at Wood Street Galleries with two separate sound installations called "Longplayer" and "Dark Matter". But if your predilections run more toward the visual (as many readers of this blog), you might enjoy the selection of new outdoor lighting installations along the streets and avenues of the Cultural District. They are part of the Pittsburgh Festival of Lights, and will be on display through the middle of October.

At SPACE Gallery (812 Liberty) they have an exhibition of "socially-engaged" printmaking including a cast of 200 international artists. This traveling show has been in the 'Burgh since August, but this month is your last chance to see it in this city. Additionally, if you head downtown you should make it a point to check out Eric Stern's piece(s) in the TXT group show at the 707/709 Penn Galleries. Also, the Pittsburgh Society of Artists has a group show called "Shelter" at the Society for Contemporary Craft – satellite gallery (One Mellon Center Gallery, 500 Grant Street in the lobby of the Steel Plaza T-Station). There's an emphasis on green and recycled materials in the included selections.

And stop in at Shaw Galleries (805 Liberty Ave.) for a fine assortment of Warhol photos and prints. After all, it's great to go look at his work at the museum... but it's another thing altogether to get the opportunity to actually purchase a piece of art history.

Unblurred October is upon us as well. The Irma Freeman Center (5006 Penn Ave.) is celebrating its anniversary with a selection of photographs from early-90's South Side hipster Brian Cummings. He seems to have captured the activities of a generation within the Pittsburgh urban underground. Check his images out along with performances by the Mud City Manglers and the Moodswingers.

Most Wanted Fine Art (5015 Penn Ave.) features the work of its proprietor Jason Sauer and tattoo artist Jason Angst (who toils at Tattoo Noir in Bloomfield) in a show called "Derby Cars and Skulls". I suspect that there is some truth in advertising with this title. Meanwhile Imagebox (4933 Penn) has paintings from the always-intriguing Susan Constance. Her work has evolved in unexpected and delightful ways over the years, so "Unreal Spaces" is a necessary stop in your nightly travels.

The Academy of the South Side returns to Penn Avenue for their second annual exhibition, entitled "Harvest 2". See paintings and video by participants in the programs at the International Children's Art Gallery (5020 Penn Avenue).


If you haven't had your fill of art yet, you can make a trip (5-8PM) to Squirrel Hill and the Christine Frechard Gallery (5871 Forbes Avenue). "Between Stillness and Movement" features the work of Carolyn Olbum & Ursula Neubauer.

Susan Constanse "Unreal Spaces" Opening at Image Box 10/1, 7-10

There are many things to see tomorrow night, with both the Gallery Crawl downtown and Unblurred going on. This exhibit "Unreal Spaces" (part of Unblurred)is a don't miss. I have seen some of the paintings in Susan's studio, and they are wonderful. I think it is best to let the artist describe the series, see below.
I am pleased to announce that I will be presenting works from my Unreal Spaces series at Imagebox. Opening in October, I’ll be exhibiting the newest work from this series. Hope you can make it for the reception on October 1.

Unreal Spaces series
Recent Works by Susan Constanse
October 1 – 29, 2010
Opening reception: Friday, October 1, 2010: 7-10PM
The show is available for viewing during the opening reception, all other times by appointment only. Contact Susan Constanse at to set up a meeting.
4933 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
(412) 441-0930

Artist Statement
Unreal Spaces series

I am a habitual pedestrian, using public transportation only for journeys further than two miles. In my walks through the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, I became very aware of the structure of the streets, with its triangle blocks, breezeways and alleys. The streets echo back to the birth of the city, when pathways evolved along the contours of the land, seeking always the path of least resistance. The city has an organic quality to its structure, with houses and buildings evolving and decaying in their use and function. Much of the architecture has strange, almost purposeless, features.

The geography implied in Unreal Spaces references the architecture and contours of Pittsburgh. The works do not reflect a physical landscape but are a recording of foot travel and its purpose; an abstract auto-geography. As I travel between my home and various points around my city, I am fully engaged, taking the time to observe building facades and the odd corners and spaces between structures.
The paintings take several sessions over the course of a month. In this respect, the works are like a portrait, not of a moment but of a time span. The difference between a portrait and a photograph is just this distinction; that the artist records their observations over a period of time, providing a denser and more meaningful representation.

Light features highly in the work, specifically referenced in adding dimension and depth through veils, shafts and implied reflection. Palette, which is a subtle and complex vocabulary, is integral to my work. Color, in all of its values, provides a way of creating a subtext within individual works.

I am influenced by the design and color characteristics explored by painters like Klee and Kandinsky. Klee’s compositions and palette are emotionally orchestrated, implying movement and space beyond the confines of the individual works. Kandinsky is a master at reconciling objective and non-objective elements.

Paintings. The paint is applied in thin layers, building from broad foundations to greater complexity in color and in hand. The paintings are allowed to mature and are finished with Dammar varnish.
Works on paper. The works on paper allow a casual exploration of themes and materials.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Final Sale at Vacca's Drycleaners and Tailoring This Weekend

As so well described by Merge in the post below, lots going on in the Burgh this weekend.
Need some interesting clothing to go to all your events? Check out this sale:

Vacca's Drycleaners and Tailoring has been in business (at the current location) for 50 years. Sadly (for me, not for him) Mr Vacca retired several months ago (at age 80). He created a wonderful environment (definitely could have been a set for the show Madmen)in which he did the highest quality work possible, and he was an integral part of the community.
More on Mr. Vacca later , as I have a blog entry I am working on. I will be putting that up later this weekend.
Since his retirement, they have been having having very periodic sales at the store. I had wanted to post about these earlier, but I never knew when they were going to occur.
The final one will be this weekend. Fri- Sunday 10 am to
4pm in conjunction with the Little Italy Days in Bloomfield,
4623 Liberty Ave, bright blue facade.
This was NOT a place where they got rid of the drycleaning/tailoring if no one picked it up after 30 days. Actually, there was such an overwhelming amount of clothing for sale that I only really started to look at it last weekend, once it had thinned down a bit. There is a lot of stuff there. I bought some great jeans and a vintage boys white cotton shirt that I love....and a boys black formal jacket. Among other things.
The prices are very low. There are also some other random items left in the store, including buttons, bows, ties, that kind of thing, and maybe they will put more out. There are some amazing vintage wedding dresses.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 9/24-25/10.

I certainly could be forgiven for eschewing my semi-regular posting of weekend events this go 'round. It's the end of the month, and truthfully... I'm not overly excited about anything in the listings. These posts take time anyway, and sometimes I wonder if anyone even considers checking them out when they are making plans. Sometimes this feels like screaming into a vaccuum. But I guess anyone who has ever kept a blog for more than a week has similar stories, so I'll quit whining before I expose myself as a 'net cliché.


I'll make an admission right off the bat- I've never attended an art crawl in Sewickley. I've considered it, but I've never made it an actual priority. Most of the time this swell little community schedules its events to coincide with "first friday", so it loses out to Unblurred. Now it's seasonal so I have no excuse besides the time it takes to get there from my house. I'm not going to provide a detailed rundown (that would make no sense because I don't know any details from personal experience), but Pittsburgh Art Blog has posted the schedule HERE.


The Andy Warhol Museum is sponsoring a field trip to Braddock! "Library Pop!" runs from 1-4PM, and offers a celebration of the Braddock Carnegie Libary (419 Library Street) that includes printmaking projects, an unveiling of some special Warhol wallpaper, and free food. Plus you'll finally have the opportunity to explore this wonderful historical building. The last time I saw the palce was at one of the very last Flux events several years ago. I don't know what condition the place is in nowadays... but I'm curious to find out how this local treasure is faring.

The second annual Pittsburgh Small Press Festival and Two-Day Expo will happen Saturday and Sunday (from 12-5PM) at Artists Image Resource (518 Foreland Street on the North Side). There will be vendors (books and food), literary word games, workshops, and free stuff for th efirst 500 attendees. Check it out. Who knows what else you'll find?

What I can tell you for certain is that opening receptions at the Michael Berger Gallery (30th South Sixth Street, South Side) are always worth the visit. The work is often stuff that wouldn't look out of place in a major international art museum. Recently the gallery seems to have a direct line to some of the best contemporary art from Asia I've ever seen. Check out Naijun Zhang: The Examiner and Heidi Taillefer from 4-6Pm. I hardly think you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pittsburgh Art Events: 9/17-18/10.

c. David Grim (8/6/10)


It seems like a couple of downtown art venues are getting a head start on the seasonal art crawl by rolling out their shows now. The 707/709 Gallery (Penn Avenue) has a collection of work by a number of artists inspired by text. Naturally the exhibition is called "TXT", and the accompanying reception begins at 6PM. And Future Tenant (819 Penn) has its own opening for "Eat Me", a group show put together by the former curator of Fe Gallery, Jill Larson. This too seems to have assumed a more literally descriptive title to suggest its content. Apparently the participants are somehow concerned with "exploring food, art, and desire." Who said that all artists have to be enigmatic?

Meanwhile a new venue on the North Side (605 East Ohio St.) called "Keep the Change Shop" appears to be offering a selection of stuff by Janet Pazzynski. I can't find much info about the place (or the artist) online, so a visit in person seems to be in order (from 6-9PM).

And PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh is Friday, so metered spaces throughout the city will be transformed into temporary public parks. This annual global event was initiated in San Francisco, and has spread as a non-commercial celebration of imagination and creativity within the temporarily appropriated commons. For a full listing of participants, check out the local site or Pittsburgh Art Blog's write-up.


Persad's Red Tag Studio Sale will be held at Imagebox (4933 Penn) from 6-10PM. It benefits the counseling center for the region's gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered community. Show up, drink some wine, and put a bid on some quality art to help those in need.

Over in Braddock, Unsmoke Systems is hosting an opening for "Fool's Gold", which includes some rather involved works representing collaborations between five different artists (Agnes Bolt, Julie Leidner, Daniel Luchman, Jennifer Myers & Michelle Gratacos-Arill). If you want to see it, you have to make your way there between 8-11PM.

Also, if you want to take a short drive away from the city to Lower Burrell... you can go see "Open Call" at the Artform Gallery and Tattoo (2603 Leechburg Road). The opening for the show (for which i can find no details whatsoever) runs from 6-11PM.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Has this illuminated art work found a home in Braddock or is it in a dumpster?

I had the very impractical idea of making an illuminated piece that was based on my Carrie Furnace photos, and putting it in the doorway of an abandoned building in Braddock.

I picked a spot near the closed UPMC Braddock, as that area could use some light these days (or nights rather). I experimented with using solar powered lights, and did some otherthings that were new for me in my work. The piece is? was? about 40 inches high,and was stapled to a make shift pedestal since the doorway wasn't level.

Now obviously, it was unlikely I was actually going to ever get this piece back....I didn't really secure it, just a few staples. I was really hoping it wouldn't get trashed.....and I don't think it the staples seem to have been carefully removed so as to not damage the piece or the lights.

So, I don't want it back....but I'd love to know where it is.

I do think I'll make my next one a bit more difficult to I think this one was only out 24 hours or so.

Any info?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pittsburgh Art Events: 9/10-11/10.

c. David Grim (taken 8/6/10)


It's turnover time at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and that means there are several new galleries worth of material to check out. The highlight of this cycle is a collection of work by Maxo Vanko, the internationally-famous Croatian muralist who created some amazing imagery in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Perhaps you've been to St. Nicholas Church in Millvale to see his stuff there? I recommend the trip. Also, while you are over at PCA... you can see five other exhibitions, including the latest Group A show, and Context Ingeminate- presented by the Philadelphia-based Center for Emerging Visual Artists. It all gets underway at 5:30, and costs $5.

Society for Contemporary Craft (2100 Smallman St., Strip District) is opening DIY: A Revolution in Handicrafts. English-speaking artists from three different countries weigh in on issues like politics, environmentalism, community and a redefining of a producer/consumer relationship. This runs from 5:30-8PM.

At the Spinning Plate Artist Lofts (5720 Friendship Ave.), you can find glass work by Jason Forck from 6-9PM... and something called Stevo's Studio in Squirrel Hill (corner of Forward and Murray) is listing an opening for "three artists from vastly different walks of life" (7-11PM).


If you are interested in discovering the state of abstract photography in the modern age, head over to Silver Eye Center for Photography (1015 Carson Street) for "Spectra: New Abstract Photography". The show is guest curated by Lisa Kurzner, a photo historian based in Cleveland, Ohio. The reception runs from 6:30-8:30PM.

There's also an opening (6-9PM) for Michael Walter's "Man and Nature" at the Panza Gallery (115 Sedgwick St.). His paintings give the viewer much to ruminate on.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

TWO Small Press Expos in Pittsburgh

Not one but TWO small press expos are coming to Pittsburgh in the next several weeks! One is the Second Annual SPF: Small Press Festival and the other is PIX: Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo. The SPF Expo (September 25-26 at AIR on the North Side) will have a representation of literary and other presses, from Pittsburgh, Ohio, New York, and more—while small press activities are going on all month (see their calendar). PIX will obviously focus on comics and graphic novels, and presses and artists are expected from near and far. PIX will be held October 16 & 17 at the Guardian Storage facility in the Strip District. I am personally excited about the Small Press Tourism both these events will bring to Pittsburgh.

As part of the SPF's month of events, I have been asked to conduct two tours. On Sunday, September 12th, I will be taking people to tour a few major libraries in Pittsburgh, and on Sunday, September 19th, I will conduct a tour of six of Pittsburgh’s indie bookstores. Pittsburgh has such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to historic libraries and indie bookstores, that we won’t get to all of them, but I’ll talk about the ones we don’t go to. Both tours will be from 1:00-4:30pm, both cost $10, and both will come with a “swag bag” of goodies, including one free Autumn House Press book for each tour participant, as well as a brochure-map of either Pittsburgh's historic libraries or our indie bookstores (respectively). You must sign up before the tours. Tickets and details are HERE for the Library Tour and HERE for the Bookstore Tour.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Pittsburgh Art Events: 9/3-4/10


I realize that this post may come a little too late for you to incorporate the information into your weekend plans, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyhow. September Unblurred should be worth attending, so it would be a shame if I let it come and go unmentioned.

Sam Thorp and Eric Luden will be on display at Most Wanted Fine Art (5015 Penn). If past shows are any indication, there should be images of smokin' babes rendered in clean lines and vibrant colors. And Dean Cercone has been popping up around town with his announcements of a solo at Garfield Artworks (4931 Penn). Not only is this wunderkind mightily prolific, but he is also consistently entertaining. Of course that means that having a look-see is mandatory.

Meanwhile Crystala Armagost and Ashley Andrykovitch are sharing their sense of loss with the opening of "Deaf and Death" at Modern Formations (4919 Penn). Anyone who has caught rumors lately of this much-esteemed venue's closing over the last few months will be more than excited by the prospect of a new show. Make sure that you stop by to let Jen Q. know how much you appreciate all her efforts.

The proprietors of Boxheart and Moxie Dada are once again bringing Mox Box to Penn Avenue with a party at the Glass Lofts (5491 Penn). The folks have focused their energies toward directing local artwork to interior designers, corporate offices, and home-makers... and the results are on display for you to walk through.

Check out the Pittsburgh Beautification Project's garage (4810 Penn Ave), and participate in the making of cooperative public art to benefit the Kullu Valley Bike Project, which is raising funds for a bike shop run by children in orphanages in India. Get on one of the bipedal machines provided, and spread paint on to large sheets of paper. The results will be cut up and sold via auction at the Shadow Lounge in October.

And I realize that one doesn't usually consider Bloomfield as within the purview of Unblurred, but apparently Tattoo Noir (4514 Liberty) is piggy-backing on the event. Kati Zmenkowski and Michael Galone are sharing their ink-inspired works there from 7-9PM.


Come by Zombo Gallery (4900 Hatfield St., Lawrenceville) for the second night of a weekend-only show featuring custom-made vinyl toys, curated by Nat Chamberlin and Brian "Bullets" Holton. There are 23 participating artists, and DJ Keebs will be on hand providing musical accompaniment.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Harish Saluja "Mandalas and Deities" opens 9/3 Friday 7-9,Mendelson Gallery

In the 1980's Harish was very well known in the Pittsburgh art scene as the creator of rich and dynamic abstract paintings. His work was collected both locally and nationally. I have always found his work to be inspiring and exciting. His new series, Mandalas and Deities, looks...even better.
The opening reception tomorrow is likely to be very crowded, but lots of fun. So if you do come tomorrow, you may also want to plan to stop by in the next few weeks to see the paintings properly. See write up from Silkscreen Asian American Film Festival below
After a long detour in the world of Cinema, artist Harish Saluja has a new set of paintings to share. The show ‘Mandalas and Deities’ opens at the Mendelson Gallery Sep 3 and runs through October 2, 2010.
Although he has an engineering degree from the prestigious IIT Kharagpur which remains unused, he has been painting and showing his work for over 40 years. Harish’s work falls under the Abstract Expressionism discipline.
Apart from painting, Harish’s creativity has explored literature, music and film. He directed, produced, and acted in several movies and plays, including the award-winning film The Journey. He also co-hosts one of the longest running Indian music radio programs in the country, Music From India, on WDUQ Pittsburgh. Since 2005 he has been running Silk Screen, a non-profit Asian Arts and culture organization.
In his Mandala and Deity Series Paintings, his latest set of works on canvas, he has started incorporating figurative and semi-abstract images with abstraction. The result is a sumptuous, almost erotic celebration of joy.
Mandala is Sanskrit for circle, polygon, community, and connection. It is a symbol of man or woman in the world, a support for the meditating person. It is often illustrated as a palace with four gates, facing the four corners of the Earth. Before the meditating person arrives at the gates, he/she must pass the four outer circles. Saluja builds on this basic discipline and gives it an abstract flavor.
The other set of paintings are Abstract depictions of Hindu deities: Shiva, Ganesha, Sarasvati and others.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Call to Pittsburgh Artists, Child in Need, Bedroom Murals of Zelda and Star Wars

Cross post from our good friend Rick Byerly, at The Pittsburgh Art Blog.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is a repost for an appeal to Pittsburgh area artists who can paint bedroom murals for a child with serious medical problems. I'll cover the painting supplies if we can find a qualified artist. Email jamieholmes05(AT) your name, some portfolio work (preferably an online link like a website or the pgh artist registry which is free) and your phone number.

Thank you for your help in spreading this info. The clock is ticking.

Rick Byerly


A few weeks ago I was contacted for help in finding Pittsburgh area artists who would be willing and able to donate their services to help 9 year old Zachary Mulvey achieve a higher quality of life. Jamie's Dream Team is run by 23 year old Jamie Holmes and they are looking for area artists who can paint murals on his bedroom walls of interest to Zachary like Star Wars and the Legend of Zelda. I hope anyone reading this will forward this along, post on blogs not only to get the attention of area artists but also to anyone willing to donate to this amazing cause (Jamie's Dream Team is a registered 501 c 3 non-profit).

To Pittsburgh area artists who think they may be a good fit contact Jamie Holmes either by phone (412) 302-1500 )or email ( jamieholmes05(AT) )

Jamie's Dream Team also has a website here. The donation link can be found here.

Jamie's letter below has the full story which speaks for itself...


Rick Byerly, Uniquetake Photography, Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Mr. Byerly:

My name is Jamie Holmes, I am twenty-three (23) years old, and I am the founder of Jamie’s Dream Team. I am writing as a follow-up to the telephone conversation that you had on August 3, 2010 with my Mother, Kim Shidel, who is the First Vice-President of Jamie’s Dream Team. Jamie’s Dream Team is a nonprofit corporation that has been granted a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service. A copy of the 501(c)(3) determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service for Jamie’s Dream Team is enclosed. The mission of Jamie’s Dream Team is to lift the spirits of those suffering from, and ease the burden caused by serious illness, injury, disability or trauma by granting assistance and/or “dreams” to those individuals. Jamie’s Dream Team’s purpose as a public charity is to provide assistance and/or make distributions to or on behalf of qualifying individuals who are handicapped, disabled, terminally ill, severely injured or suffering from a serious medical condition, disease or trauma. I was born with a rare disorder known as V.A.T.E.R. Syndrome. Children born with V.A.T.E.R. Syndrome can have congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae, anus, trachea, esophagus and kidneys. I was born with abnormalities in all of those areas. I have had at least twenty-five (25) surgeries and/or medical procedures since my birth, including surgeries to reconstruct my esophagus, trachea, and anus, and to fuse several vertebrae in my spine. One (1) of my kidneys disintegrated and my remaining kidney does not fully function. I, however, have been fortunate throughout my numerous hospitalizations and surgeries to have had the support and love of my family, friends, doctors and nurses. Throughout my life so far I have received so much from so many, and I have dreamed for several years of being able to help others in need. Despite the pain and suffering that I have, and will continue to endure, my heart has always been with others who are suffering. As such, I started Jamie’s Dream Team to fulfill my dream of helping others who are suffering as I have suffered at times throughout my life.

Jamie’s Dream Team has fulfilled over one hundred (100) “dreams” since its inception in November 2005. These “dreams” have been granted to qualifying children and adults and have included princess parties, carnivals, helicopter rides, airplane rides, golf outings, baseball games, motorized scooters, go-carts, computers, furniture, horse and carriage rides, amusement and water park outings, camping trips, NASCAR racing, concerts, Christmas presents and meet and greets.

I am presently working on fulfilling a “dream” for a boy who has truly touched my heart in every way possible. He is Zachary Mulvey. Zachary is only nine (9) years old and he has already received two (2) heart transplants. He received the first at the age of ten (10) months, and he received the second most recently on June 19, 2010 in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Zachary’s need for the first transplant at the age of ten (10) months was due to dialated cardiomyopathy. He recovered from that transplant very well and was on his way to living a normal life when he was diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) approximately two (2) years ago. It is my understanding that PTLD is a form of cancer that transplant patients can get and the treatment for PTLD includes the cessation of the anti-rejection medications. As a result of the PTLD, Zachary could no longer take his anti-rejection medications for his heart transplant. On May 10, 2010, Zachary went into cardiac arrest while he was getting ready for school. CPR was performed on Zachary for anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. As a last resort, Zachary was placed on an ECMO machine which is similar to a heart-lung machine. The following day Zachary’s Mother, Crystal Mulvey, was told that Zachary was not expected to have any brain function. As Zachary’s family was preparing for the worst, a miracle truly happened. Zachary woke up and was responsive to his medical team! Zachary was then placed on a ventricular assist device (VAD), which is like an artificial heart, while he waited for a new heart. Five (5) weeks later on June 19, 2010, a heart became available for Zachary. Zachary was discharged from Children’s Hospital with his transplanted heart on July 7, 2010. Zachary is doing well but he still cannot take the anti-rejection medications due to the PTLD. As such, Crystal Mulvey has informed me that a day will come when Zachary’s body will likely reject his new heart and she is fearful that Zachary will not be as lucky the next time.

Unlike other little boys his age, Zachary is unable to play sports, ride a bike or travel. As a result, Zachary has occupied his time and entertained himself by playing video games. He is truly a video game aficionado! His favorite video games include the various Legend of Zelda games. The “dream” that I am working on for Zachary includes a makeover for his bedroom. I would like to include as part of the makeover, a painted mural of video game characters on Zachary’s bedroom walls. I am writing to inquire whether you, or any other artists that you know, would be willing to donate your services to paint such a mural for Zachary.

Like me, Zachary has a dream to help others like himself who are suffering from a serious medical condition. The Community Coed Softball League (CCSC) in the Port Vue/Liberty Borough area has been fundraising for Zachary. On August 8, 2010, at the conclusion of its season, CCSC will be presenting a check to Zachary for the proceeds from its fundraising. Zachary, however, intends to, in turn, donate those proceeds to Jamie’s Dream Team to be used to help those who are sick like him. Zachary is truly an amazing and inspirational child! Please contact me to let me know if you, or anyone you know, can assist Jamie’s Dream Team in fulfilling this “dream” for Zachary Mulvey. I can be reached by email at and by cell phone at (412) 302-1500. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, Jamie Holmes

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fe Gallery "Leaving My Mark" Opens Friday August 27th, 7 to 9

Fe Gallery presents:


The Seven Year Itch

"Leaving My Mark is an exhibition, where each artist has worked directly on the wall. During the closing reception, Fe will encourage people to paint on the walls, covering the artwork and "leaving the marks/artwork" in the space forever.

After seven years of curating exhibitions at Fe, Jill Larson is stepping aside to welcome guest curators. This will be the last exhibition by curator, Jill Larson as Fe launches their guest curatorial programming."

Participating Artists:
Steven Boksenbaum
Lorin Boksenbaum
Marc Burgess
Seth Clark
Lex Covato
Doug Kinsey
Deanna Mance
Meghan Olson
Suzie Sparks
Thomas M. Weprich

Note: Jill Larson's next curatorial venture is "Eat Me" opening in mid-September at Modern Formations.CORRECTION!!!!!!!!!!!!location is Future Tenant. Eat Me is at Future Tenant in the Cultural District- opening 9/17 with the fashion show of edible designs on 9/30

Friday, August 20, 2010

At Least One Thing Pittsburgh Can Learn from Portland, Oregon

I recently reconnected online with my old pal DJ Anjali. She’s a DJ in Portland, Oregon where she spins danceclub music heavy on South Asian beats and vocals, throws dance parties all over town, and hosts a Bollywood Bike In. She and her partner, The Incredible Kid, were the first ones to introduce the beats of “bhangra & Bollywood” to the dance floors of Portland.

The website for the India Cultural Association of Portland states, "Portland and neighboring suburbs currently boasts a thriving community of nearly 10,000 Indians, primarily in high-tech, engineering, medical, teaching, research and healthcare professions." It’s a very similar story in Pittsburgh. According to a Trib-Review article earlier this year, "about 14,000 [Indian-Americans] live in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area...predominantly white-collar professionals, doctors or workers in the high-tech sector." It was harder to find statistics on the per-capita DJ ratios, but I know that each city has a thriving underground dance scene.

So, why doesn’t Pittsburgh have a Bollywood party or bhangra-beat dance nights at clubs and dance halls? When is DJ Anjali going to fly in and show us how it’s done? I propose importing her to kick off a Bollywood movie and dance night, sponsored by Dollar Bank, co-hosted by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and CMU, held at Filmmakers’ Melwood theaters in (heavily Indian) North Oakland. The dancing could start at Filmmakers and maybe the late-night after-party could move on to Brillobox. Any counter proposals?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New kid on the block

A very unique shop has opened in Polish Hill. Urban Gypsy offers a variety of art and artifacts, all with unique character. Te small shop offers art by some of my old favorites, like JR Holtz --

I thought that the selection of Brian James Gonnella's panda's were very sweet, too --

The shop has some lovely handcrafted and vintage wearable ornaments, too. The display itself, along with the rest of the shop, is very appealing.

Stop in and say hello.

Urban Gypsy
3101 Brereton St.
Pittsburgh PA 15219

Monday, August 09, 2010

A meditation on drawings made by David Grim

A meditation on drawings made by David Grim. His show recently closed at Panza Gallery.

Ink drawings of people, maps of human bodies, made on phone book pages.

Image of the person, the picture made by looking at them, drawing in lines over lines of information about people, lists of numbers that allow us to reach out and make contact with a person.

White pages, lists of people, people with numbers next to their names. Index of human beings reduced to ten digits by which they can be reached. Connectivity.

A portrait of a person drawn over a list of people. An individual as a collection of people.

Knowing a person by seeing them. Knowing a person by reading information about them. Knowing a person through the metadata attached to that person. Phone number as tag.

Knowing some one on sight. Knowing some thing about some one. A piece of information is intimacy. Nudity is intimacy. Hearing a voice on the telephone is intimacy.

Drawings are seen. The numbers are seen. The numbers imply voices. Figures on a ground of numbers. The numbers imply connectivity. The numbers imply communication.

Art as the mediating object between bodies, carrying information in a container more dense than words.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Joren Dykstra @ Box Heart

From Box Heart's site:
"Joren Dykstra's current work centers around two series of paintings: "Grid" paintings, in which the picture plane is divided into multiple squares, and "Synthetic Collage" paintings, which are random in their overall composition."

The works Mr. Dykstra is presenting are very energetic, destroying the static designation of "grid". The line and color fairly explode from the canvases. The grid makes cursory appearances in these works, disappearing and re-surfacing in broken lines. The motifs that Mr. Dykstra uses are consistent in size, lending themselves to a kind of calligraphy that begs to be read.

Mr. Dykstra's recent works are available for viewing at Box Heart Gallery through August 14. Kudos to the gallery for putting up a strong solo in a month usually dedicated to group exhibits.

Recent Work: Paintings by Joren Dykstra
July 20 - August 14, 2010
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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ballistic Parking Rant On The Way

I'll admit to being a pretty emotional person who holds things in. No doubt, one wonders why so many of the most critical issues related to "livable Pittsburgh" have not come up on this blog more. First reason is that the group blog format has never developed the mass needed to take the load off one or two posters. Also no real conversation has ever developed, leaving me to mostly feel like I'm talking to myself.

The other and much more significant one is that I'm often just too pissed about things to sit down and put together the kind of posts these subjects deserve. Usually, it all ends up with either no post or an explosion of rage.

Let's just say, the recent parking (just the word--sets me off) sale lease issue is building to that level.

Once again, many (not all) of our so called "green" defenders of our environment are shown to be at best Hypocrites.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carnegie Museum Bagpipe Dance

It's usually the unexpected things that really make a place great. The great stuff inside the Carnegie at the AAP opening was somewhat expected---although this seems like a show well above the average of what I've seen. (As you likely know---No photos were allowed inside)

However, this strangely compelling bagpipe/ African Dance improv was unexpected. There's sort of a reason why this came to be, but why let that spoil it.

Imagine a loud bagpipe.

One For The Money: Film Shoot In Shadyside

I'm a little shy and don't have the time to stalk the load of local film shoots going on. We seem to have had a steady average of about three major studio productions being shot at any given time, plus smaller independent films.

This particular film shoot landed in a pretty big way almost out my front door. so I figured it might be OK, to load a few shots showing the scale of what's going on. I can't say it's not disruptive, but clearly they are getting on with it. Also, Shadyside itself with it's college kid vibe, is hardly a "get away from it all", type place. Luckily, one doesn't have to depend too much on a car for local errands around here.

It seems a bit nuts given how flat the landscape is there, but in this case Pittsburgh is supposed to be doubling as Trenton, NJ in a film about a bounty hunter based on a best selling book. Someone said even the Trenton Makes The World Takes, bridge will be replicated in Kittanning .

Best source of info on local productions is The Pittsburgh Film Office.

A few stories about the film. Who knows how much money and development we would have if there were more "sleazy adult bookstores" on The North Side?

"The Crazy Mocha coffee shop on East North Avenue assures patrons that it's open for business during filming, even if it appears to have been transformed into a tobacco outlet -- at least on one side. Across Federal Street, there's Trenton Tattoo, a hoagie shop and an adult book-video store plus a couple of Trenton police cars, all for the movie."

Celebrity Gossip

Boring Pittsburgh

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Leveraging Akron's Soap Box Derby: The Akron DYI Festival

Trailer for the Film 25 Hill
The above trailer is really pretty over the top (I guess I'm old) and hard to get through, still it's about something that's I think somehow valuable and worth saving.

I guess everyone has their own opinion of brands that are over or undervalued. To lots of folks, the name Soap Box Derby is forgotten, even though for several generations it represented almost everything we like to think of as American.

Exploration, perhaps, teamwork, tinkering and innovation--culminating in a race. Of course even racing cars without engines is linked with 1950's and 60's car culture.

In the mind it gets back to the primordial garage, where we know so much of our innovative economy was always born and reborn.

The Derby has fallen on hard times and a film is being made partly in hopes of spurring more support.

The Derby has lost key sponsors, including Chevrolet and Levi Strauss Co. over the years and in 2009, FirstMerit Bank demanded payment on more than $600,000 in loans.

But a new board is making some tough financial decisions to keep the Derby alive -- and in Akron.

''We are committed to making sure that the Derby survives,'' Bill Evans, the board president, told the Akron Beacon Journal. "The Derby is so inexorably linked with Akron's brand.''

Ironically all of this is happening at the very moment so many people are returning to DYI everything.

I'll take a slim shot and throw out the idea of building the derby into a longer Festival of Do It Yourself Culture. Something for all ages. Imagine for example demonstrations of new power ideas or solar car races. Perhaps it could actually have events spread from Akron to Youngstown or even further--but invite projects from around the country.

Sort of Burning Man for the common man. Science meets art meets fun on very practical level.

The question then comes up. Well, don't both Pittsburgh with it's Art's Festival and Cleveland's Ingenuity Festival attempt to do that? Yes, and really no. Both seem very focused as demonstrations of very local and hyper local creativity. The door is still very much open to anyone who wants to transend that and tap into a very deep powerful international trend.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cannonball: Kids Make The Best Of Hard Times

Cannonball from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Matthew Newton posted this short film about skateboarders feasting on the emptied out pools of California's real estate bust.

It's hard not to think of the iconic film of Skateboarding's history, Dog Town and Z-Boys.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PostApocalyptic Movie Theater @ Gooski's

While I was out and about in Polish Hill this past weekend for the Polish Hill Arts Festival, I spent a couple hours watching the works of local filmmakers at Gooski's. The PostApocalyptic Movie Theater is an installation of works curated by Jessica Fenlon. A portable and changing installation, the work is meant to be seen on walls that have their own character.

Ms. Fenlon did present one of her own works at the events, which I found very beautiful and compelling. Flight was scored by a live band at a screening in Pittsburgh. The work is richly layered, the color is other worldly.

For this installation, Ms. Fenlon chose works from her library of local filmmakers that ranged from narrative to abstract. Works by Matt Wellins, Ben Hernstrom, and Jessica Fenlon were represented in the event at Gooski's.

Clip from Flight, by Jessica Fenlon