Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beachland Ballroom Celebrates The Plaza Apartments: Cleveland's "Chelsea Hotel"

A great story in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

""I grew up at the Plaza. It's where I became an adult," said Ravenstine. "I was a kid from the suburbs. When we bought this inner-city building in the red light district in 1969, we did everything from paint to carpentry. When the building was first built, it had 24 apartments. When we bought it in a land contract, there were 48 apartments. We tried to restore it unit by unit."

Bloomquist, who now restores historic buildings in Savannah, Ga., said his involvement in the Plaza spanned from 1969 to 1985. "There were several hundred people that called the building home during those years," he said.

"There were scores of wonderful community dinners, insipid and treacherous burglars. Innocence was lost, and there were raucous outrageous parties. Families were formed and raised, there were tragic early deaths of close friends. But music, art and life were in joyful abundance all the time," he said."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Urbanophile Looks At Mega Bus

Someone said life is what happens when you are thinking about other things--the same is true for many transformative economic trends. Six years ago-or even less, only a small number of energy geeks had heard of hydraulic fracking or imagined it's possible potential or drawbacks. Mega Bus and similar competitors are a similar trend few saw having such a large impact on inter city travel.

While not perfect, I have used Mega Bus about 5 times to NYC and found the cost vs. benefit to be a much better option than Amtrak to NYC. From the crowds, many feel the same way.

Urbanophile has a good post up about the trend--and it's possible impact on High Speed Rail.

So why the complaints? They can speak for themselves, but I suspect a couple of items. Firstly, some people just don’t like private sector solutions. That’s a view I can respect, but not agree with. But more importantly, I think that there’s fear that successful private sector intercity bus service undermines the case for high speed rail that is near and dear to the urbanist heart

Indeed, it is true that in many cases Megabus frankly does undermine the case, particularly for the “Amtrak on steroids” style HSR proposals on the table in places like the Midwest. Megabus already delivers basically the end to end journey times of the proposed Midwest “high speed rail” system with similar amenities but without the need for billions in government expenditures. Even on the east coast, NYC to Providence has a journey time not that much worse than the Acela – and at 20% of the ticket price. Congestion might be a real concern, but if so, customers would notice. But give Megabus some credit – they build this into their schedules. Generally the journey times are as advertised.

One huge factor is that a true mass rail market must be price competitive-although he does mention the huge embeded subsidy coming from the "free" government highway system.

Anyway, a pretty good post-what are your thoughts?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Open Call For D.Y.I. Tech Projects For The Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire

On one level, I'm a little bummed about this--cause, our D.Y.I. scene here is so awesome and I wish/think we could support a bigger event here.

On the other hand, let's work with what we got and start small and great.

Sunday, October 23, The Pittsburgh Children's Museum will host the First Pittsburgh Maker Faire!

Organized by the staff of MAKE magazine, and, Maker Faire is a newfangled fair that brings together science, art, craft and engineering plus music in a fun, energized, and exciting public forum. The aim is to inspire people of all ages to roll up their sleeves and become makers. This family-friendly event showcases the amazing work of all kinds of makers – anyone who is embracing the DIY spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience.

We encourage you to join the fun and enter a project to exhibit.

■Student Projects
■Music Performance and Participation
■3D Printers and CNC Mill
■Textile Arts and Crafts
■Home Energy Monitoring
■Rockets and RC Toys
■Green Tech
■Radios, Vintage Computers and Game Systems
■Electric Vehicles
■Biology/Biotech and Chemistry Projects
■Food and Beverage Makers
■Shelter (Tents, Domes, etc.)
■Unusual Tools or Machines

Entry deadline is Tuesday, September 20, at 5:00 pm

Check out all the details and submit here.

Parting Words Of Museum Director Resonate for Me

In NYC, many of the big players in town are huge money art dealers and auction houses but in most other cities aside from perhaps LA, the big players in town are the museums and other large non profits.

Quote from, David Gordon, the former CEO and director of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“(This idea) has grown on me as I have gone around the country and looked at one expensive building after another...with the same kind of dynamic of wealthy donors really wanting to have a place to entertain themselves,” he said. “I just feel that the problems facing society are about inequality, and if as museums say we only care about showing’s no longer interesting enough.”

Why shouldn't the museums in Detroit be part of turning the blighted areas into the artist colony that’s taking root there, he said, or why shouldn’t museums open annexes in the weakest parts of cities rather than just erecting big-budget buildings?"

I also love that he shares my increasing loathing for The Museum of Modern Art which will now set you back $25 just to get in the door.

Perhaps we will be talking about this at the first Museum Tweet Up -6:30 @Brillobox? Twitter hash tag #MuseumsNAt

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cleveland's Downtown Taken Over By Avengers Film Shoot

Pittsburgh isn't the only town around here hosting a big budget film shoot.

From The Cleveland Pain Dealer...

"Filming continues today of 'The Avengers' movie on East 9th Street in Cleveland between Euclid and Prospect avenues, which have been transformed by Hollywood magic into a New York battle zone.

Filmmakers shot and re-shot a scene that started with heavy smoke outside the Huntington Bank headquarters on Euclid Avenue. Next came a barrage of gunfire and hundreds of extras running in all directions."

How can you tell who's in the scene?

"The extras are better dressed -- New York casual -- versus the extras in their Cleveland casual."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pittsburgh Antiques Roadshow Visit Recaps In Post Gazette

I remember a few years back when an early American cabinet shocked viewers when it was valued at $250,000. Since then the Roadshow pretty commonly uncovers some really important stuff--with Pittsburgh being no exception.

According to The Post Gazette, finds included

A painting by Rockwell Kent valued at $250,000

A first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," worth between $80,000 and $100,000.

"The Voyage of the Beagle," a first-edition "On the Origin of the Species" and an 1871 copy of "The Descent of Man", all by Charles Darwin given a combined value of$284,000.

"A 17th Century Chinese carved rhinoceros horn cup, whose owner originally bought it for $1. It's now appraised significantly higher: between $350,000-$450,000."

Antiques Roadshow recap

Story about the Rockwell Kent discovery.

It's fun to stay tuned to these pieces many of them actually go to auction to find out what they finally sell for. Usually, these appraisals are conservative and on any given Sunday, anything can happen.

How Transit Systems Can Make Money By Developing Real Estate

I have mentioned Hong Kong's amazing, cheap and insanely profitable transit system before, but, it seemed at the time that I was talking from another planet.

One big emerging benefit of the financial crisis is that as the seemingly endless well of government cash dries up people are rethinking the way things are done.

Unlike infrequently used sports stadiums or subsidised garages, well planned and executed transit systems add lots of value to surrounding real estate values, by allowing -taller buildings, less space wasted on parking and more sales per square foot of retail.

What if the transit system got a lot of that money? From The Infrastructurist.

The reason Hong Kong’s metro system can afford to pay its chief so much more than New York’s is that, unlike the MTA, which faces a $10 billion shortfall, the MTR actually makes money. Lots of money. Like 8.7 billion Hong Kong dollars lots, according to Bloomberg, which is more than a billion U.S. dollars a year.

This type of thinking is gathering some steam at least in New York City and increasingly is being discussed-partly cause Hong Kong's MTR just lured away the former head of NYC's MTA with a huge boost in salary and no doubt-stock options.

Several posts and related articles...

On Bloomberg

On Cap'n Transit

On WNYC (New York public radio)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lauren Toohey @Art Form Gallery (and Tattoo)

It was one of those rare opportunities to pass beyond the boundaries of our fair city. I jumped at the opportunity; It was worth the trip.

Art Form is a beautiful setting. Spread over two floors, you wouldn't know walking in that there was tattooing on the premises. The first floor, which is the main gallery, is beautifully painted, the second floor houses Art Form's permanent collection and a tattoo station. However, Saturday night was earmarked for seeing Ms. Toohey's recent works.

Alongside the witty and whimsical works, Ms. Toohey included works from a recent series of avian themed paintings, ranging from minuscule to medium. The works burst with color,echoing the male mating displays of birds. The works are an interesting read, with detailed imagery providing a subtext for the works.

The show will be in place through mid September.

We made these pictures come look at them k thanks.
Art Form Gallery and Tattoo
Shop Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 1 - 9pm
2603 Leechburg Road
Lower Burrell, PA

Plans For A Harvey Pekar Memorial In Cleveland

JOYCE BRABNER, Harvey's wife and longtime collaborator has revealed some plans for a Pekar memorial in Cleveland they are already trying to raise money for.

Also, they are likely to start a Kickstarter project soon. Stay tooooned.

Some details here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ai Weiwei, Circle Of Animals/ Zodiac Heads: Public Sculpture To Come To Pittsburgh In 2012

When I took these photos of this work by the controversial Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei in NYC, I had no idea this large scale public sculpture would making an extended stop in Pittsburgh.

Modeled on the once prized possessions of the former Emperors of China later looted by Europeans, this work pushes lots of historic and cultural buttons most of us don't fully understand.

"Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads is the centerpiece of a global, multi-year touring exhibition that will be presented in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The set of twelve zodiac heads was recently on display at the São Paolo Biennale in Brazil (September – December 2010). The official world tour for Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei will launch in New York City at the historic Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza near Central Park and the Plaza Hotel. The heads will be on display there from May through July 2011, with additional international and domestic venues to follow.

Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuits serving in the court of the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong, the twelve zodiac animal heads originally functioned as a water clock-fountain, which was sited in the magnificent European-style gardens of the Yuanming Yuan. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. In re-interpreting these objects on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on questions of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the “fake” and the copy in relation to the original."

PITTSBURGH, PA – 10.01.12 - 12.31.12
The Andy Warhol Museum & Carnegie Museum of Art

Read more.

The Antiques Roadshow Will Visit Pittsburgh's Historic Carrie Furnace

Regular viewers know that Antiques Roadshow usually includes a few segments on local museums and or historic sites specific to the cities they visit. No surprise, they will be looking at the Carnegie and Warhol Museums, but the third visit will be to a truely unique icon of of our steel heritage.

Apparently, the producers insisted on shooting there when they learned of the place.

""This is the coolest place we've been this summer," Mr. Wahlberg said of the Carrie Furnace Thursday, looking skyward to the criss-cross of beams and wires overhead. "It's overwhelming; I cannot imagine what this place was like when it was up and running."

In its heyday, about 4,000 workers manned the Carrie Furnace complex as it provided more than 2 million tons of iron a year to the Homestead Works across the river.

When the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area organization heard "Roadshow" chose Pittsburgh as one of its six summer tour cities, it pitched a visit to the historic site."

Read the full story here.

Open Call For Submissions For Juried Show, "Women In Art" @ Seton Hill University

Obviously, this is an open call to women artists only.

"Harlan Gallery at Seton Hill University is currently seeking submissions for the juried exhibit “Women in Art” to be held October 27-November 21. “Women in Art” will showcase women artists working in all media."

All submissions must be made by Friday, September 16, and a $20 entry fee must accompany the submissions.

See full details here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art Events 8/12, 8/13

A few things happening this weekend:

Paintings by Damodar Lal Gurjar, opens at BE Gallery tomorrow 1-4 (see above).

Tonight, Opening at Fe Gallery:
Rust Melt: New Pittsburgh AbstractionsTwo painters from different parts of the country found themselves living in Pittsburgh and had a conversation about the state of abstract painting in the Rust Belt. They observed the history of the region's rise and fall of industry embedded within the complexities of the landscape. They wondered whether those features were in turn reflected in the abstract language of the city's painters. The result of this exploration is Rust Melt: New Pittsburgh Abstractions, an exhibition co-curated by Julie Leidner & Elizabeth Mooney.
From the Curator's Statement: "...An exhibition of local artists that explores issues of technology, landscape and time through paint. In the context of a city that has historically prioritized science and technology and continues to do so within the contemporary art community, the exhibition features paintings and other work that prioritize human gesture. As natives or residents of Pittsburgh, the 8 selected artists have common roots in a landscape of abandoned factories, collapsed industry and hope for reinvention. Each of these artists chooses to defy logic in favor of intuition, making work that defies functionality in favor of chaos. As paintings, these works are non-machines..."
The 8 featured artists:
N Sean Glover
Jessica Langley
Dana Lok
Clayton Merrill
Meghan Olson
James Schafer
Karen Seapker
Adam Welch
7:00 - 9:00PM





Tomorrow: "The Lost Pittsburgh School" Continues
THANK YOU to all who attended the Opening and the first of our Lost Pittsburgh School events last Saturday! This collection of artists is special. If you missed it, it's not too late... events are ongoing with a great panel this weekend:
Saturday, August 13th, 2011 7pm – 10pm

Charlie Humphrey, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Council Member
Doug Shields, Pittsburgh City Council Member
@ UnSmoke Systems Artspace (1137 Braddock Ave, Braddock, PA)
FREE to all

21+ to drink

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snowy Street in Downtown Pittsburgh, August 11th 2011

Great set for....a Batman film. Wow. Also, as a side note,a number of Pgh. streets will be closed downtown for the next several days......
Photo from I Heart Pittsburgh, Batman'at here

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rust Wire Looks At A Public Art Project Helping Heal After Tragedy In Cleveland

Cleveland seems to have a good number of neighborhoods, attracting creative interventions by artists.

From Rust Wire.

The post gives about a pretty good idea of the project for those who can't personally experience it.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Antiques Roadshow Comes To The Pittsburgh Convention Center Saturday

One highlight of visiting my mom is catching up on Antiques Roadshow, where appraisers and other experts help take a look at people's valuables.

The Post Gazette has a good article revealing just how the selection process for the show works. It seems that they don't exactly just let anyone just bring things in--until they have screened things first online.

"Prospective participants were solicited through the show's website (, where photos of items were submitted for pre-approval. That's no guarantee that Rich, a warehouse manager in Canton, Ohio, or Bob, a long-time antiques collector from Beaver County, will actually make the final cut with their treasures. It does mean the show is interested enough to arrange for the items' delivery to the convention center.

Not long ago, Rich -- the show won't allow last names, insisting on a certain level of anonymity for its participants because of the possible value of the items -- was hoping to sell his garish but fun Tiki bar for $150."

P.S. All 6000 available free tickets to the event were already distributed by lottery and none will be available at the door.

John Morris Solo Exhibit Up Through August 19th in NYC at D'Amelio Terras

John's solo exhibit will be up through August 19th in NYC at D'Amelio Terras Gallery in Chelsea. This is a solo exhibit of paintings made in 2002-2003, but never previously shown. John is in the front room. A related group exhibit, Affinities:Painting in Abstraction showcases the work of various gallery artists.

In ARTslant, reviewer Noah Dillon said of John's work in this exhibit:

As in nature, with a very few building blocks, Morris creates structures of amazing subtlety and complexity, which are both strict and inviting.

Full review here.

If you go, be aware that Chelsea gallery hours are different in the dead of summer, for example, no Saturday hours. For information, go to D'Amelio Terras here The Affinities exhibit also looks terrific.

Cleveland's Rare Urban Sawmill Helps Make Use Of It's Great Trees

Many of us in Pittsburgh were moved by the work of Urban Tree Forge which worked to turn local trees into great works of art furniture.

Freshwater Cleveland profiles Metro Hardwoods, one of very few (and the first) urban sawmills making use of this enormous asset.

""It's nice to open up a log and find interesting patterns," he explains, pointing out in a nearby slab prized "flaws" such as a gnarled grain or burled hue. "You don't find a lot of that in trees from the country that grow straighter and have more generic grains. Grown under the stress of city conditions is where you get the character."

Word of mouth is how folks find out about Metro, says Heidelberg, who started his company at the age of 23. Lately, word seems to be spreading faster than he can keep up. Running counter to our race to the bottom in terms of fast, cheap and temporary products is a growing trend toward local, sustainable and handmade stuff. Heidelberg's locally-harvested timber fits the bill."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

August Unblurred

The night was humid. I'm not kidding, here, it was stultifying in its denseness, it was a miasma heat and sweat, practically visible in its density. But that didn't stop the stalwart souls of Pittsburgh from making their way to Penn Avenue for the monthly Unblurred.

They were rewarded with some very fine shows. The regulars at Artica and Awesome Books were on hand, doors open and smiling in spite of the heat. If you missed the anniversary show at Modernformations in July, Friday was a great alternative to view the exhibit. It wasn't nearly so crowded.

At Most Wanted Fine Art

Michael Galone, Untitled (flower)

Kati Burgess, Lost Love


Charcoal Drawings by Kati Burgess and Michael Galone are showcased at Most Wanted Fine Art. A small show, but well presented. The works by Ms Burgess and Mr Galone are clean and very well executed.

Most Wanted Fine Art
5015 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At Image Box

Rebecca Spitler, Seahorse Study #2

These were a series of very small, very clean drawings. Kind of sweet, and charming.

... a solo exhibition featuring a series of ink drawings by Ms. Rebecca Spitler.
Image Box
4933 Penn Ave
At Assemble

Dana L Depew, Pleasure of Course

Oh, this was just an all around fun place. Tons of stuff going on, ranging from installation to more static forms. The work by Ms Depew (pictured above) got a lot of attention, with its tiny vignettes. Each of the suitcases contained a lit diorama, just a lot of fun to explore. I am looking forward to weeing what assemble will be binging us in the coming months.

5125 Penn Ave

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Updates (and probably better link re: Batman filming) ++ Batman'at

I actually don't often like Hollywood movies....but this is fun. Batman and's going great. Feels like there is another carvival in town ( to pick up where the Furries left off) This link from a local tv channel seems to have very up to date locations, here
I Heart Pittsburgh has started a Tumblr blog....called Batman'at the photos and comments are great (please tell me the wedding photo wasn't staged....come to think of probably was not....weddings must have still been going on across the street at the huge Catholic church. For the Batman'at site go here

Friday, August 05, 2011

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Andy's 83rd Birthday is Saturday (I mean Warhol, ofcourse)

If Andy Warhol was still with us, he would be 83 on Saturday. I have heard that there will be events/happenings/etc in Union Square (NYC) where this terrific statue of Andy sits.
In Pittsburgh, Paul LeRoy (King of Art)is holding a birthday party for Andy at his grave.Truly. The event will be filmed.For information go here I am sure Andy would have loved it.
There was a very interesting and detailed article in the NY Times today about an avid student of Warhol's life (and all around obsessed a good way) who gives tours of places in NYC that were important to Andy's life.....everyplace from Capote's residence (where he stood outside hoping to meeet Truman) to his residences,to the Factories...etc etc. I think I'll be taking one of these tours the next time I'm in the city. See here

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 8/5-6/11.

c. David Grim (taken 7/9/11)


This month's Unblurred features an installation of found material art by Rust Belt insiders Joseph Close, Ron Copeland, Dana Depew, and Dave Desimone. They are at assemble (5125 Penn Ave). Gina Favano has "mixed media" work at the Irma Freeman Center (5006 Penn), and Garfield Artworks (4931 Penn) hosts VOLUTION IN ARTS XIV with Adia, Dennis Warner, Jesse Harris, Bradley Sizemore, Caroline Cratsley, and Tobi Makinde. Also check out ink drawings by Rebecca Spitler at Imagebox (4933 Penn) and "new work" by Greg Kamerdze at Mr. Roboto's rapidly developing new space (5106 Penn).

The Brew House (2100 Mary Street) in the South Side is shaking things up with a retrospective of Cuban-based artist Jorge Luis Santana. There's a little bit of everything to see including installations, videos, paintings and photographs. That gets underway at 6PM.


Go learn about the "Lost Pittsburgh School" in Braddock at Unsmoke Systems Artspace (1137 Braddock Avenue), starting at 7PM. No... I've never heard of it before either. Apparently it was a local movement in the 70's featuring the work of creators Joseph Barkoczi, Gil Dugita and Wilem Smithammer, who focused on Earthworks and other conceptual outdoor art. Show up and hear noted author Stewart O'Nan pontificate on what it all meant.

24 Hours in the Subway @Box Heart

I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Garbani at Box Heart during the artist reception for her solo, 24 Hours in the Subway. We had a few moments to discuss what we like best about working with pastels.

Her group of subway inspired works are really beautiful, offering a recording of a moment's contemplation pulled from the hectic energy of daily commuting. The works are elegantly simple in their softness and abbreviated palette. The strong contrast between decaying sooty darks, and the shallow yellow of fluorescent light emphasize the rhythm of the cars as well as the structure of the subway environment.

For all of their elegance, the works impart a sense of isolation. There are no people, and the only indication of human intrusion is the occasional suggestion of scrawled graffiti.

I did notice that Ms. Garbani chose a very substantial paper, with deckling intact, for the subway series. The square format is a difficult one to work with, and Ms. Garbani answers this challenge with aplomb.

The works are available for viewing through August 13, but you can preview the exhibit on Box Heart's site.

July 19 - August 13, 2011
24 Hours in the Subway
Pastels by New York Artist: Isabelle Garbani
Box Heart
Gallery Hours:
Tuesdays: 11 AM - 6 PM
Wednesdays - Saturday: 10 AM - 6 PM
Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM
4523 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

The Lost Pittsburgh School, Art Events in Braddock

If I am able to make it out Saturday, this will be the 4th weekend in a row that I've been to an art event or opening in Braddock PA aat Unsmkoke! They are certainly making up for the cold winter months when Unsmoke's gallery is closed.
This exhibit sounds really fascinating. The exhibit, which includes a series of tlks and events highlights "the first comprehensive study of the earthworks and conceptual outdoor art movement in 1970's Pittsburgh".
The Lost Pittsburgh School

August 6 – 27, 2011
Lectures/performances each Saturday @7pm
or by appointment

Saturday, August 6th
Stewart O’Nan, novelist
James Weiss, performance artist and art historian

Saturday, August 13th
Charlie Humphrey, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Council Member
Doug Shields, Pittsburgh City Council Member

Saturday, August 20th
Charlee Brodsky, documentary photographer and professor at Carnegie Mellon University
Jim Daniels, poet and professor at Carnegie Mellon University

Saturday, August 27th
Alexi Morrissey, artist
The Halftime String Band

The first comprehensive study of the earthworks and conceptual outdoor art movement in 1970's Pittsburgh opens August 6th at Braddock's UnSmoke Systems Artspace.

Dubbed "The Lost Pittsburgh School" by now-retired CMU professor Bruce Breland, these 11 artists (and two "collectives"), widened the boundaries of public art in America. Resolutely political, they maintained a rigor of form and an aesthetic of craft endemic to the region - making a laborite art that didn't labor under doctrine. They stepped beyond Post-Industrial clichés before "Industrial" was post. And then, in step with Betty Rockwell, G.David Thompson, and Jacob Lawrence, they left Pittsburgh, ignored and neglected by the community they'd done so much to exalt.

Working together with Canadian curator Eddy Saad, Pittsburgh-based Bessemer Press brings this remarkable group back to life again. And it happens in Braddock, the birthplace of both the industrial might and the attendant misery that lit their imaginations.

Featured Artists:

Joseph Barkoczi
Ryan Avedissian
Ereni Bariekis
Brad Demmler
Gil Dugita
Pamela Luwderowski
Harry Macrady
Danilova Navratilova Malloy
Steve Nied
Wilem Smithammer
The 1877 Strike Collective
Allison Von Westerberg
The Skid Crews