Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teenie Harris Images "re-tell the musical history of black America in the 20th Century"

Wow! another knoockout story on Teenie Harris, focusing on shots of the incredible lost music scene in The Hill. Many of these shots taken in the Hill, but also at locations like Oakland's Syria Mosque. Other shots were taken at Harlem venues like The Savoy Ballroom.

Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, Earl 'Fatha' Hines, Erroll Garner, Billy Eckstine, Roy Eldridge, Honey Gun band, The Ink Spots, Mary Lou Williams, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn

From the UK's Daily Mail

Melvin Rose, master craftsman and son of Cleveland's Rose Iron Works founder dies

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"He was the custodian of one of the great legacies of the Arts and Crafts movement of Cleveland," said Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative arts and design at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "He wore that mantle with humility and pride, and that pervaded everything he did."

Harrison said that Melvin Rose continued to ensure that Rose Iron Works "became a haven for craftsmanship and artisanship when machines took over and began taking the men out of the craft."

In 2008, Melvin Rose was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award for Design."

Cleveland should get more attention as a center of great craft manufacturing and industrial design.

A great in depth profile of The Rose Iron Works from The Plain Dealer

Rose had founded the company that bore his name in 1904, and Feher, who had moved here from Paris at his behest, would be his most famous colleague and collaborator. While the iconic screen was used to illustrate the breadth and depth of American Art Deco, you could also say, zooming in more tightly, that no one could write the history of design and architecture of 20th-century Cleveland without considering Rose Iron Works. "It's the best Art Deco ironwork ever done in the United States," says Henry Adams, an art historian and professor at Case Western Reserve University, who once devoted a graduate seminar to the firm's work. "Not only is their workshop extraordinary, but the story of Rose is the great American story."

Examples of the firm's artistry have been featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In Cleveland, the company's legacy penetrates the present and past -- whether manifested in elaborate dressing-room doors at Halle Bros. department store, the sculptural sign for the G.W. Mercer floral shop on West 25th Street or the gates of the Van Sweringen estate in Shaker Heights. Not far from the art museum, you can find an iron mural by Martin's son Melvin on the walls of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and an adjacent gate Melvin designed at the Western Reserve Herb Society.

Through the early 1950s, the company was one of the nation's leading designers and creators of ornamental and functional works, crafted in wrought iron, stainless steel, aluminum-copper alloys and glass.

Rose Iron Works website

Cleveland sports teams wanna crap on the city's head again: asking for extension of "sin taxes"

Yup, it's the new world where having a drink or two is a "sin", but pillaging the public treasury is not.

From The Plain Dealer

Voters and fans supported the sin tax in 1996 to help build a new stadium to ensure a football team return to Cleveland.

But since the Browns returned, the team has struggled on the field changing coaches and quarterbacks, routinely leaving fans frustrated with a last place team. Still the Browns are owed the money for repairs per the sin tax and lease agreement with the city under the Mayor Mike White administration.

Monday afternoon Browns officials and city leaders met to talk about how to pay for $5.8 million in repairs to seats, ramps and concrete at Browns Stadium.

Well, it's better than in Pittsburgh, where people voted against the stadiums and got them anyway.

The irony here is rich since these were no doubt sold as investments that would help the local bars, clubs and entertainment venues. Instead, they are being driven under by taxes.

The Browns want credit for the money they have given to local charities. Scumbags--you are a charity living on the dole.

Rumors are flying that The Indians and Cavs will join the lobbying effort for a tax extension.

From The Cleveland Leader

The sin tax was originally approved by Cuyahoga County voters in 1990 for a term of 15-years to pay for the construction of Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field) and Quicken Loans Arena (formerly Gund Arena) through what was known as the Gateway project. Then, in 1995, voters approved extending the tax for another 10 years to help build Cleveland Browns Stadium. The sin ax put a tax on cigarettes of 4.5 cents per back, 16 cents per gallon of beer, 32 cents per gallon on wine and mixed beverages, and other spirits at $3 per gallon.

By the end of 2015, bonds issued by the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to pay for their shares of the construction of all three projects will have been repaid. Each of the three professional sports teams has 30-year leases that put the burden of capital repairs on the city and county governments.

Please Cleveland, respect yourself and stop being kicked around and treated like garbage.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pittsburgh's Creative Scene

Pittsburgh is finally starting to gain national traction as a place where technology, art and creativity meet.

Best part about this video is how little thay had to stretch to make it. I can think of a lot of great area companies, game makers, ad agencies, designers and particularly architects that were not included. Also doesn't include the very large number of area firms applying creative technologies to things like weapon systems--something that they might not want to hype.

It's an easy come easy go situation, in that many of these start ups may not be around in a little while, but it looks like there's a lot more on the way.

A few of the companies listed.

Schell Games
Deep Local
Body Media
Maya Design
4 Moms
Lightwave International
Evil Genius Designs

Some stuff they left out.

Edge Studio
Slate XP
Left Right Studios
Etcetera Edutainment

New Collaboration to create the largest film production facilities outside of California

From The Post Gazette

"The best film and video production facility for movies outside Southern California will reside in Pittsburgh with the collaboration of a Strip District production studio, Carnegie Mellon University's entertainment technology program, Paramount Studio Group and the company that produced the digital imagery in the movie "Avatar," .

A big part of this project is an expansion of CMU's Entertainment Technology program, allowing students to take classes at the new studios in The Strip District. When completed, the studios will be the largest sound stage outside of LA.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Great talk about Kickstarter, crowdfunding and DYI culture

The Huffington Post has this amazing, if now slightly out of date video about, Kickstarter and the rapidly emerging culture of DYI, creativity and invention that's out there.

Lot's of good points are made about how the process adds a level of connection and sense of personal ownership between projects and their funders.

Kickstarter expects to pass the NEA in arts funding

Depending on how you look at it, this is either a really good sign of grass roots, creative funding or a grim look at how little we value arts at the federal level,although the federal government also funds the arts through the NEH, educational grants and a wide range of other programs.

Personally, I'm mostly in the camp that sees this as totally great! The NEA while a core funder of some major institutions, has failed completely at supporting a dynamic and creative ecosystem. Most likely, one can't expect it to do so.

From The Huffington Post

In general, Kickstarter projects follow a looser definition than the NEA's, described as "creative" projects rather than solely artistic ones. The NEA's recent grantees include Magic City Smooth Jazz, supporting their Jazz in the Park series, and the Puppetry Arts Theater, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY, to support a production of a new musical, "Antropomorphic" (see a list of recent grant recipients here), and are often meant to promote arts education as much as specific projects.

Strickler added that the company views the implication of the $150 million number "in both a good and a bad way."

It's best described as the National Endowment For Certain Famous and Connected Institutions, Artists and Curators. (the folks who likely need that kind of funding-the least)

Hopefully this is just the start of a trend, both online and off to better fund creativity at all levels. Remember also that Kickstarter supports seed funding for projects rather than continuing support for institutions.

(P.S. In spite of the term "endowment", the NEA, has no funds set aside or invested and is funded on annual basis out of the general Federal budget)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wow, Youngstown having troubles with downtown free parking. Installing Meters

Who knew poor, depressed Youngstown is now having some pretty big parking problems. More than a thousand people now work downtown with more nearby at YSU. An emerging retail revival is causing big problems for store owners as parking for potential customers is taken by downtown employees, exploiting the two hour free street parking by moving their cars around every two hours.

The city plans to install meters. Good for them!

Discovery Channel casting for new show: Looking for America's Top Engineer

The Discovery Channel is looking for America’s most creative and daring techies, machinists, inventors and engineers to design, build, and BLAST their way to a Grand Prize on their new competition TV show TOP ENGINEER.

A handful of lucky men and women will be chosen to take on exciting challenges from various engineering fields at the state-of-the-art WET design facilities ( in California.

No, you don’t need to have an engineering degree to compete on this show, but you MUST be able to design, build, test and integrate an idea into a final product that WORKS. These will be fast-paced, hands-on, VISCERAL challenges! If your experience is strictly behind the keyboard, then this show is NOT for you.

We are looking for visual effects experts, accomplished home shop machinists, contractors and engineers with backgrounds in electrical, civil, structural or mechanical engineering.

If you have an outgoing personality and are ready to get your hands dirty for the chance to win a GRAND PRIZE and the title of TOP ENGINEER, then we want to hear from you.

Remember, this is a competition on reality TV, so really shy folks, not into the stress, constant creative challenges and public spotlight, are likely not right for this.

Full details here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brite Winter Illuminates Cleveland Creatives + Ohio City

Cleveland events have few prouder glories than highlighting its greatest neighborhood success stories. Last week’s Brite Winter celebrated both the blossoming of the start-up festival in its third year and the city’s most progressively developing district, Ohio City.

If there were any doubts Ohio City is now one of Cleveland’s premier arts and culture hubs they were quelled by Brite Winter Festival’s line-up of the city’s most promising and most established creative forces. Moving from last year’s location in the Flats to directly adjacent to the bustling West 25th, the festival turned the usually lively neighborhood into a complete block party takeover.

The night was lit with interactive installations created by many of the most up-and-coming designers in the Cleveland art scene. As the evening went on the crowd swelled and a giant snowflake by cyancdesign glowing in the usually vacant lot became a symbol of the festival. Nearby, open pit fires burned alongside an audience dancing to jangly indie buzz act The Lighthouse and the Whaler on the outdoor main stage. The whimsical scene was accented by the presence of art event leaders The YoyoSyndicate, who brought the 50 People 1 Question film project, and Cleveland festival veterans Ingenuity Cleveland, who examined the art of sound with their ‘Whisper-ma-phone’.

Most engaging of all was Brite Winter Festival’s use of local businesses as musical venues. Not only were bands stationed throughout the night at Ohio City mainstays such as Great Lakes Brewing Company, Garage Bar, and Touch Supper Club, crowd favorites were the most unconventional stages: Bonbon CafĂ©, Joy Machines Bicycle Shop, and Market Avenue Wine Bar. The folk of Jack and the Bear has never sounded so intimate as playing a floor set to a wall-to-wall crowd in the trendy newcomer bakery Bonbon. A block away, Cleveland hip-hop was at its most organic, on ground level in the dark basement of Touch Supper Club with the stylings of DJ ESO.

A sensory overload marked the triumphant return of this year’s Brite Winter Festival. Beyond the charming and ambitious art, beyond the packed bars and stages, Brite Winter’s move to Ohio City was a testament to the possibilities of local businesses investing in local talent. And that’s what makes Cleveland’s culture keep blossoming.

More Thoughts on Civic Branding on Urbanophile: Don't Brand Your City

Another post about urban branding, seems like it's in the air.

Don't Brand Your City

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The North Shore Connector: Can We Make It a Train to Somewhere?

The Post Gazette put up this promo film of the soon to be open North Shore Connector.
Powerful. Awesome. An amazing asset built at great expense. Now, let's see what we can do to make this pay off beyond linking to the stadium, casino a few events and hotels.

The North Shore is most certainly not "nowhere", but our misguided, development patterns have come close to making it so by putting cars above human based development.

I will try to come back with more thoughts soon.

Video compilation of Teenie Harris profiles in the national media

The Westmoreland Museum, which hosted a earlier Harris retrospective, uploaded a montage, highlighting some of the attention paid to Harris and the communities he photographed. Almost all of them are really well done, so don't just skip through it.

Seems like many were done during the period of the earlier show, but some are newer.

"what he shows so clearly and forcefully in these photos is the sense of community that existed"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Great talk about city brands on Rust Wire: Some advice from Don Draper

Rust Wire put up a post about Cleveland's latest efforts to tinker with or create it's brand.

An Illustrated History of Cleveland’s Varied Attempts at “Rebranding"

Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter

A commenter than linked to this awesome article about urban brands with some advice from Don Draper.

"Face it you can't escape from who you are"

The problem, it seems, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what branding a city really means. Talk of “creating a brand” suggests a blank slate, a point of ground zero where we begin the process of establishing who we are. But cities are living organisms, with a legacy of past behaviors and no shortage of current, on-the-ground realities, which means–like it or not–they already have a brand.

Jackie Benson, a long-time player in place-based marketing, puts it this way: “If you’re the guy who doesn’t return phone calls, it doesn’t matter how much you talk about your personal commitment to your clients. You’re still the guy who doesn’t return phone calls. That’s your brand.”

People imagine that folks know nothing about the city and will believe anything pumped out by the PR team. The reality, is often that they know, a bit, and that you already, for better or worse, carry that brand.

Cleveland's biggest moment of civic branding happened in 1969

It was the city where the river caught on fire.

What's the ad guy gonna say? No, The River Didn't Catch on Fire?

Now we have some new branding for Cleveland.

It's the city with the former county executive on trial for large scale political corruption.

OK, and then it's the city that's home to The Cleveland Browns-etc....

My point is you can't hide or evade the things people already know about your city and culture that are true. If they are really, bad like being known for lots of violent crime, pollution or corruption, you likely have to work on changing those facts.

If your leadership fails to engender trust, you can’t sell strength. If your policies are not incentivizing what you want and penalizing what you don’t, you can’t sell vision. If your zoning promotes sprawl and your citizens are disconnected from civic participation, you can’t sell community.

What you can do is build up and sell the great things about who you are even if they won't appeal to everyone.

Like Cleveland might not be a great place to go on a diet.

But you know, a few people might like that. In fact, Cleveland has lots of great and very real things that many people would love.

Part two soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What is Transit Oriented Development?

Yes, you heard right--

"In the first 6 months of 2009, 18% of all housing construction permits for the entire state of New Jersey, were in Jersey City."

"People who used to own two cars, now only own one, people who own one care only use it on occasion."

"We don't require parking in most of the development, that your looking at."

There's a maximum parking ratio for much of this development, but there's no minimum.

"A key part of it is changing the zoning."

It's not just something they are doing in New York and New Jersey.

Hopefully, a conversation about this will develop in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and other communities around the region.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Potentially Great Moment for Transit Oriented Development as The Cincinnati Streetcar Breaks Ground

Can we say it? Pittsburgh's transit situation is an epic clusterf...k with service on even the most critical core routes being cut or eliminated.

A core problem is that we have always sold transit as basically a charity item (or jobs program) and never properly connected transit investments with development. Am I excited about the opening of the North Shore Connector? Only mildly, since it mainly connects to a sports facility used a few times a year and a gambling casino targeted at a broad base of car oriented gamblers.

For purely political reasons we supported many suburban money losing routes with few riders which helped people think that transit is a waste of money. (when is the cost of a road ever questioned)

Cincinnati's streetcar excites me-because it actually is the product of a new way of thinking about how people get around and how land will be used. I'm not saying they will get this right, but they are thinking in the right way.

Ground Broken For Cincinnati Streetcar

Something tells me, suburban voters get it, which is why they hated this project from the start. The streetcar means the city property owners can use land for something other than storing cars.

Great website reviews and maps hundreds of Ohio Festivals

Beneath Ohio's image as a bland state is a huge amount of history, diversity and just plain weirdness. Festivals are a great way to discover all that.

A few examples--from the over 200 festival reviews on the site.

Cleveland Asian Festival

The Port Clinton Walleye Festival

Taste of Cincinnati

Tremont Greek Festival

Medina Ice Festival

Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival

Gene Autry Days – Kenton

Larchmere PorchFest – Cleveland

Toledo Lighthouse Festival

Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival

IngenuityFest – Cleveland

Ohio River Sternwheel Festival

Skunk Fest – North Ridgeville

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pyrotopia Fire Arts Festival comes to Homestead: April 27th & 28th, 2012

Pyrotopia overview from Pyrotopia on Vimeo.

This now long awaited event got delayed a bit but now has finalised dates and location. It will now be held around The Pump house in Homestead.

Keep up with the details here.

It will be the East Coast’s first-ever festival dedicated entirely to fire arts, presenting fire’s diversity of use by artists and celebrating humankind’s primal fascination with fire.

Pyrotopia will entertain and enchant attendees with the use of fire and related media such as electricity and light in artistic ways. Activities at Pyrotopia will include
• fire dancing, spinning, hooping, swallowing and other performances
• interactive fire sculptures and games
• fire-related demonstrations
• a gallery show of fire-related and inspired imagery, sculpture, video and other media
• workshops and lectures on fire science, history, safety and other topics
• and more

Anyone who went, want to share a post about Cleveland's Brite Winter Fest?

This is a time sensitive request. If you went to The Brite Winter Fest, in Ohio City and have pictures, video or thoughts about it, you can share, it would be much appreciated. Cross posting is fine.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cleveland's Cash Mob Movement shows off it's Awesome DYI Culture

Yes, Cleveland is home to Jimmy Dimora, and a lot of just plainly misguided city leaders.

How, does it survive? Well, Cleveland also has a totally awesome, DYI, and local craft businesses culture. Born in Cleveland and spreading around the country is the cash mob movement, a grass roots way to connect, discover and support local shops.

From the Plain Dealer

An enthusiastic 'cash mob' gathered in front of The Grog Shop concert venue at Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard to, as organizer Andrew Samtoy said, help "get people back into the habit of supporting their local businesses."

After Samtoy announced the cash mob 'rules' - participants must spend $20 and meet three new people - the crowd of mostly 20 and 30-somethings made their way down the bustling Coventry strip to the night's target business; Big Fun Toy Store.

Owner Steve Presser warmly greeted the surge of new customers, as the mob quickly descended upon the store's seemingly endless supply of vintage memorabilia. Billed as offering "a shopping experience like no other", Big Fun's quirky stock of everything from Troll dolls and KISS refrigerator magnets to Dick Goddard greeting cards and 'Billy Bob'-style teeth produced plenty of smiling faces and a steady stream of purchases.

May Building Plan gives Cleveland Negative buzz In Atlantic Cities

I know this plan is allegedly dead,(I don't believe it) but I can't drop it. It symbolises so much of what has gone wrong in downtown development plans that so often put attractions for tourists and suburban commuters above the basic structure and design of the city.

Atlantic Cities picked up the story which has some very good comments.

This is a building almost everyone who has been to downtown Cleveland has seen and admired. It's not just beautiful, but screams out how useful it is for almost anything from retail, to office and residential.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Owners of Cleveland's Historic Downtown May Building propose gutting it for Casino Parking

Image from the Wikipedia (public domain)

More about this building

OK, they were turned down by the city planning commission.

The building's owners, a Florida-based investor group, had hoped to create 734 parking spaces on four floors and remove the windows for ventilation.

An architect working on the project said that that building's ground floor would be maintained for retail, and that housing and offices were possible on the upper floors. But plans submitted to the city focused on the parking proposal, which was limited to the second through fifth floors.

The commission seemed shocked that with all the "investment", in the area, like the nearby, football, baseball and basketball arenas, the soon to be constructed massive convention center and casino, that the owners didn't see more value in renovating the building for any higher use.

Of course- creating massive single use facilities, specifically aimed at bringing in huge crowds to such a small area was almost certain to inspire just this kind of development. Already several other historic buildings had been torn down for casino parking.

My sad guess is that these neighboring developments, taken as a whole subtract, rather than add to the building's potential value for offices, or residential. How many people say, gee I want to have an office right by a casino (a small casino might be different) or a huge stadium? Fewer are likely to want to live there.

Even so, Cleveland, still has the bones of a great downtown-and this building is a very big part of that. There is also a tight and growing demand for residential space downtown. One can only hope this building can make it.

2013 Carnegie International Curator's Blog getting Some Attention

I have to say, I liked the last Carnegie International, but it didn't exactly stretch your brain, consisting to largely of established American and European art stars-showing works in the very tight confines of a traditional museum and making very little use of Pittsburgh's unique landscape or history. Not surprisingly, the curator pretty quickly skipped town.

I have heard some rumors, that the new curatorial team is looking to possibly use some alternate spaces outside the museum. I sure hope so. If their blog is any indicator, they are much more involved in the neighborhood art scene. Their curatorial trips also indicate a show that spans a much wider range.

Write up in Gallerist NY

Some sample posts.

Symposium on building art institutions in Africa-In Senegal

A look at a sculpture park made out of garbage in Senegal

Political Puppet Theater from Poland

A look at Beirut's Arab Image Foundation

Artist Apartment Talks in Lawrenceville

A trip to The Maxo Vanka Murals

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Cleveland Museum Extends it Reach with a New Annex in Ohio City

This is not exactly news to many people but it was news to me.

If you dig around on the blog, you can see I've been somewhat negative about The Cleveland Museum's very ambitious-almost dangerous efforts to supersize itself-while in my opinion doing nothing to better integrate itself into the city.

My feeling about this plan to create an annex on Cleveland's West Side is totally different. Wow! nice.

I love the comments from the Bidwell's about the annex becoming much more of a place for experimentation.

"The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation announced on September 16, 2011 a collaboration that will bring additional exposure for contemporary art to Northeast Ohio and for the first time in its history expand aspects of the museum's programming and exhibitions to dedicated space outside of its University Circle campus. Titled the Transformer Station, this new arts venue takes root in a former transformer station built in 1924 at 1460 West 29th Street in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood."

Up until a short while ago one would not have guessed from it's institutions that Cleveland is home to a good number of very important contemporary art collectors. In the next few years that will be totally changed, with the opening of the new Cleveland MOCA, The Transformer Station Gallery; Spaces Gallery and expanded Cleveland Museum contemporary galleries and of course The Akron Art Museum.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cool Blog by West Virginia Artist, Robert Villamagna

Took me a long time to find, Robert Villamagna's personal blog where he documents some of his creative process, teaching experiences, exhibits and other random stuff. It's also a peak at many of the art happenings going on in West Virginia.

Check it out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Street Art: Benjamin Banneker Sign In The Hill District

I really like this raw folk art/ street art piece I saw in The Hill District. I think it's on Centre Ave but I'm not sure.

One thing street art can do is make people more aware of their regional or cultural history. My guess is that was the main intent of the creator of this work I saw in the hill. Sad to say, I had only a very vague idea of who Benjamin Banneker was-but I looked him up after seeing this.

From the Wikipedia

"The title page of an edition of Banneker's 1792 Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris stated that the publication contained:

the Motions of the Sun and Moon, the True Places and Aspects of the Planets, the Rising and Setting of the Sun, Place and Age of the Moon, &c.—The Lunations, Conjunctions, Eclipses, Judgment of the Weather, Festivals, and other remarkable Days; Days for holding the Supreme and Circuit Courts of the United States, as also the useful Courts in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Also—several useful Tables, and valuable Receipts.—Various Selections from the Commonplace–Book of the Kentucky Philosopher, an American Sage; with interesting and entertaining Essays, in Prose and Verse—the whole comprising a greater, more pleasing, and useful Variety than any Work of the Kind and Price in North America.

The 1792 almanac included the times for the rising and setting of the sun and moon. Weather forecasts and dates for yearly feasts were also included. Readers also saw a tide table for the Chesapeake Bay and home treatments for illnesses. In his 1793 almanac, Banneker included letters sent between Thomas Jefferson and himself.[17] The title page of a Baltimore edition of his 1795 almanac had a woodcut portrait of him as he may have appeared, but which a writer later concluded was more likely a portrayal of an idealized African American youth."

I liked this work a lot.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out, Pittsburgh: Cleveland's West Side Market Celebrates 100 Years

Warning--this video is not for vegetarians.

Why is it so hard for a Pittsburgher or Clevelander to acknowledge one great thing about the other city? Just admit this is pretty great.

A whole bunch of celebrations are planned.


A traffic-stopping street festival is planned for Oct. 7, a rare Sunday that the market will be open, and will include food by local restaurants and celebrated food trucks, as well as a parade with costumes created in workshops led by the Cleveland Museum of Art's Parade the Circle organizers.

The market's actual birthday is Nov. 2, a Friday. The gala event will be celebrated Saturday, Nov. 3 (billed as the first day of the market's next century), featuring homeboy restaurateurs and award-winners Jonathon Sawyer and Michael Symon -- along with a dozen or so of their nationally renowned chef friends. Tickets will be priced at three levels, with the most expensive providing the closest access to chefs. The Great Lakes Brewing Co. will be releasing a centennial brew.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Organization, Alternative Appalachia aims to support non traditional arts

"Alternative Appalachia aims to provide exposure to filmmakers, musicians, visual artists and writers living in Appalachia whose art form does not conform to traditional regional styles. We intend to initiate social awareness of the wide spectrum of creativity occurring in the region through our website and other platforms. Alternative Appalachia strives to challenge stereotypes of art in the region and will create a support system for artists and develop interest in their work"

Check out the submission guidlines for each art form

P.S. No exact definition is given for what they consider, Appalachia, but all of West Virginia, the greater Pittsburgh area (actually most of Pennsylvania) and South East Ohio, is usually considered in this region.

In an earlier version of this post, I made the assumption, they gave grants. After looking further at what's on the website, I think they are more about creating a forum to make people more aware of alternative work being made here.

Just a heads up that they exist--check out the details.

James Simon's Welcome to Uptown Sign

Sorry about the low quality of these images, I don't drive and this is not a spot I normally pass with a camera at hand. When I did, there was a pretty serious back lighting situation.

Both me and Jean were a bit surprised by the weird location of this sign, which is in a parklet few neighborhood people would go. In fact, you really can only see it well, as you leave the area and head towards the South Side.

Beggars can't be choosers, and this was the spot the city must have given. James did a wonderful job bringing a creative and colorful entrance to the neighborhood.

You might know that James also did an amazing Welcome to Braddock sign.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Industrial Strength": The South Side's Emerald Art Glass House profiled in The Times

We were watching as this weirdly great new house was starting to loom over a factory on Pittsburgh's slopes.

From The NY Times

"It took three years to build, but the Emerald Art Glass House (named after the Zielinskis’ company, Emerald Art Glass) now hovers above the factory in the South Side neighborhood, overlooking the Monongahela River, railway line and bridges.

Eric Fisher, the couple’s architect, says proudly that the cantilevered extension is three times the length of the one at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. And that it recalls the tradition of the owner living over the shop."

It gives a lot of the back story of how it was built and the owners who built it. Also has a nice slideshow.

In case the Times link doesn't work, even if you subscibe and log in, here are a few more related links.

In Rusty Bridge

On Wreck and Salvage

Amazing Milestone: Two Kickstarter projects raise over a million dollars.

So many things I should post about.

Wow, most people assume you can't raise really big money through crowdsourced funding and most people and organizations don't try.

"LOS ANGELES — Last night at 6:42 pm in New York, a Kickstarter project raised $1 million. Double Fine Adventure, a video game designed by San Francisco game designer Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine Productions, is a downloable “point-and-click” graphic adventure game. Backers get both the game and a real time documentary filmed by 2 Player Productions as the game develops."

From Hyperallergic

Stunning but not a record because 4 hours earlier another project passed the million mark.

Obviously, I find so many reasons to love this. In spite of supposed efforts at outreach, the vast majority of conventional government and foundation funding goes to the same folks and ideas over and over.

What is the record for an art project?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Call For Artists For Youngstown Mural Project

I am getting more press releases which is cool. FYI, I can't post everything and am still very interested in people willing to do their own full posts on the blog.

Calling All Artists!
(on behalf of the Youngstown Playhouse)

Glenwood Neighbors Beautification Project!

The Youngstown Playhouse is pleased to announce an upcoming mural project in the Glenwood Avenue area on the Southside of Youngstown!


The project is an effort to beautify the Playhouse Grounds and surrounding environs through a highly collaborative mural art display. Debris and brush will be removed and a mural painted by community residents and institutional partners on a large and highly visible wall adjacent to playhouse grounds. This project ties into greater efforts to beautify and improve the Glenwood corridor and to strengthen community partnerships between non-profits and neighborhood residents.


Friday, March 23 - Response DEADLINE

April 15 - Selection of artist

April - May - Design

June -July - Mural Installation


· Cover letter, stating your interest in the project, as well as how you
would approach the project if you were selected

· Examples of past work, jpg files on a CD (max 10)

· Annotated image list to accompany jpg files

· Resume with three references and contact information

All materials must be submitted by MARCH 23, 2012

Applications and materials may be sent to:

The Youngstown Playhouse

600 Playhouse Lane.

P.O. Box 11108

Youngstown, OH 44511

Please contact Sean Posey at, or by calling 330.480.0423.

Youngstown Playhouse website

A Favorite Pittsburgh Mural: Kate Bechak's Worm's Eye View

Crap, I live not far from this but somehow never got around to photographing it. Sorry, I need to get a wider angle shot to give one the full three panel image.

The theme here is explained by the title, a trippy landscape as it might be seen by an urban worm. Catch all the subtle but hilarious details, like the gangsta pigeon, the gum pulling from the bottom of the sneaker and some kind of weird bacteria action.

Kate is a highly creative artist who's work I see too rarely.

Devastating, Depressing Slideshow of Pittsburgh's Lost Architecture

I came across this slideshow on line, while searching for images and history of The North Side Market House. Ohio City in Cleveland is celebrating the happy 100th birthday of it's West Side Market. Allegheny City will never have that happy moment, after losing 500 buildings at it's heart to urban renewal in the 1950's, along with it's connected street grid.

It's not so much that all these buildings were lost--life goes on, and building and adapting is part of life-it's that a vast number of them were replaced with ugly parking garages, highways, failed developments and often just empty lots. I rarely feel that way about losing buildings in Manhattan since most (not all) are replaced for good reason, most often taller and more urban structures.

Anyway, it's depressing and there's a whole lot more one could show-entire communities just blown away in a few years of destruction.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Small Instalation of Romare Bearden Work at Warhol through the end of February

Got this press release but could find no info on their website.

From a Warhol Museum press release

"In celebration of Black History Month, The Andy Warhol Museum has installed a selection of Romare Bearden artworks, which are on view through February 29,2012. This installation features 10 Bearden screen prints and collages, on loan from Pittsburgh art collectors. This installation also features five Andy Warhol works, including a series of three Ladies and Gentlemen (1975) prints, Two Horns (1958),and Martha Graham: Satyric Festival Song (1986)."

Works are on display until February 29

The first of three Antiques Roadshow Episodes shot in Pittsburgh air on Monday

I'm excited to see the discoveries people from the region brought in for PBS's Antique's Roadshow last year.

Finds included

A "folk art", carved wooden devil bought for $10 which survived a flooded basement, valued at $4000-$5000

A Louisville Slugger bat used in a game in 1960 by Roberto Clemente and signed by the baseball legend. Valued at $25,000

A First Edition set by Charles Darwin brought in by a West Virgina man valued at $284,000

A Rockwell Kent Painting valued at $150,000 -$200,000

A 17th century Chinese carved rhinoceros horn cup bought for $1, valued at $350,000 - $400,000

Story in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

8 p.m. Monday on WQED, Channel 13

No Surprise, The Cleveland City Council approved another give away to the Cleveland Browns

When Cleveland's mayor was begged by small music clubs and musicians to cut back an 8% admissions tax he shot back- "I have a city to run.".

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Today, we got an idea of the kind of spending the city considers vital. Cops? Education? Street repairs? No, another give away to a favored sports team.

"City Council voted 16-2 Monday to let the team take the money from a city-administered tax on alcohol and tobacco sales. Cleveland, which leases the stadium to the football team, is required to provide only $850,000 a year for major improvements."

My guess is we will see some of these scumbags in a puppet theater show soon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Blogger's Visit To Youngstown on Urbanophile

From Urbanophile

A Clevelander made a day trip to Youngstown, visited The Youngstown Historical Center's Museum of Labor and Industry, walked around downtown, stopped in at The Lemon Grove Cafe; had a a few beers at Rust Belt Brewing Company; walked through Mill Creek park and drove through the struggling Idora neighborhood. Along the way he met a few people who decided to move to Youngstown, and so far are pretty happy about it.

New Documentary about Kraynick's Bike Shop being shot. Do you have a story to tell?

More Than Two Hands from Jennifer Caple on Vimeo.

Wow, an awesome project indeed. If you/yinz know and love Kraynicks, it's history or just a lot about the Pittsburgh bike scene? Perhaps you should contact the filmmakers.

"'This is Your Bicycle' is a documentary that is currently being filmed in Pittsburgh. As we continue interviews and filming on location at the bikeshop,
we are looking for photos, interviews, and personal stories for the film. Email or join our RSS feed for updates on screenings and events."

Follow the project at

Monday, February 06, 2012

Small Clubs and Local Musicians Work To Fight Cleveland's Destructive 8% Admission Tax

Ever wonder why in spite of an incredible asset like The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland's living small club scene still struggles?

First reason is that small music clubs almost everywhere, don't often rate as the world's most profitable businesses. Add to that the range of licencing fees and taxes on the one steady moneymaker, alcohol sales and Cleveland's special gift-An 8% across the board tax on admissions.

From Cleveland.Com

"Mayor Frank Jackson has shown no interest in a tax break for music clubs, telling The Plain Dealer: "People owe, they should pay. We have a city to run. We can't run it on air."

The Cleveland Music Club Coalition is growing, and it's planning a big push in February to get hearings on the legislation and to raise awareness with a single night of concerts at their venues called "Defend Music: Stop the 8 Percent," said Sean Watterson, owner of the Happy Dog on Cleveland's West Side."

LOL my flippin ass off. What do the Cleveland Brown's, Indians and other freeloaders do to pay off the tens of millions in cash they took from taxpayers?

Recent plans to collect on back taxes (To fund Cleveland Browns Stadium repairs?) have driven a number of clubs to the wall.

From Cleveland.Com

"Cindy Barber, owner of the Beachland Ballroom on the city's East Side, said this week that she faces a demand for $400,000 -- three years' worth of taxes plus penalties and interest.

Peabody's, near Cleveland State University, recently began adding the 8 percent tax to the price of tickets but also remains on the hook for collections dating back three years."

Local musicians are trying to desperately to repeal the tax.

Kirby is urging them to send a copy of their CD, cassette or mp3 to Mayor Frank Jackson, along with a note of support for Cleveland Music Club Coalition and a pending ordinance which would exempt small music clubs from the admission tax.

He’s asking them to do so by February 29th “for maximum impact,” saying “I would like to make a huge impression on Mayor Jackson to support our local venues and musicians that helped bring $840 million dollars of income and $91.6 million in taxes to Cuyahoga County in 2010.”

Here’s how to get your music to the mayor via snail mail or email:

Mayor Frank Jackson
Cleveland City Hall
601 Lakeside Ave.
Cleveland 44114

Downtown Cleveland ... Is It For You? Promotional Video Hypes Organic Energy

Gotta take all Promotional videos with a grain of salt, but I like the focus on small business, creative energy and convenience in this video. The Food Trucks, Pop up stores, non chain gourmet dining scene and landscape make Cleveland's downtown actually look like a unique and special place- which it is.

I also like the open ended sales pitch which in many ways is similar to Pittsburgh's "Imagine what you can do here", campaign.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The word made flesh

StephenTuomala at Modern Formations

Seeing the foot traffic on Penn Avenue, it was hard to believe that it's February. It was a great night for a brisk stroll among the galleries and artspaces open for first Friday. The last three winters have seen heavy February snowfalls, which is a huge deterrent for all but the most stalwart of art patrons. Last night was a happy intersection of lovely weather and a fantastic exhibit.

I have been looking forward to the Stephen Tuomala exhibit at Modern Formations, and it did not disappoint. The show is beautifully installed, and the work is really engaging. Mr. Tuolmala's loose interpretation of the body is raw with tension.

The works are ink on bible pages, taken from a couple different volumes. The larger works were crated by joining multiple pages together. An installation of dozens of skull drawings cover an entire wall, exhibiting a remarkable and subtle variation in form. The work emulates the Otranto Cathedral, with its wall of martyr's skulls. The presence of the work is intense. Across the room are three unflinching nudes that are disorienting. The life-sized figures float in a field of inky darkness, seemingly placid in the state in which they are depicted.

Modern Formations has regular gallery hours, so if you missed the opening, it's not too late to see the exhibit.

Modern Formations
Stephen Tuomala
The Word Made Flesh
4919 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15224
Thursdays 7pm - 9pm
Saturdays 1pm - 4pm or by appointment

Friday, February 03, 2012

Operator of NY's Taxpayer Financed Yankee Stadium Garages Nears Default

Don't ever say governments don't invest in our communities. Allegheny Center, was an investment that took the heart out of The North Side, while Mellon Arena was an investment in the lower Hill- which just happened to remove it's residents and businesses.

The Cross Bronx Expressway was an amazing feat of engineering, leaving a wonderful gash through the Bronx. Often tax investments are given to vital interests like sports teams who have the community's interest at heart.

Few were as misguided and despicable than the 2005 deal between NY City and The New York Yankees. It's blowing up now.

From The Daily News

THE FIRM that built and manages the new Yankee Stadium parking garages can’t repay $237 million in tax-exempt bonds the Bloomberg administration arranged for it four years ago, new financial records show.

Bronx Parking Development Company LLC is running perilously low on cash reserves and faces a looming default by the end of the year, according to a report filed Friday by a trustee for the firm’s bondholders.

Time is running out, in other words, to avoid one of the biggest failures in decades of bonds issued by a New York City agency.

Local politicians who supported the deal like Council Speaker, Christine Quinn thought...
“I think it would be great if people could go to sporting events exclusively on mass transit but that’s not going to happen,” she said. “So one has to, when they’re developing projects like this, have a reality sense of what the needs are as it relates to parking.”

Even though more than fifty percent of game goers used mass transit.

The positive thing is that, as the garages go belly up, people are finally thinking of actual money making ways to use the land, like building hotels and conference centers. The problem is that, with the city so eager to bend over and hand out tax dollars, sports teams have little incentive to make good use of their properties. Honestly, George Steinbrenner's obsession with expanded parking revealed how little he thought of The Bronx.

In Depth Post About The Gas Drilling Slowdown in The Post Gazette

The Post Gazette has more details on how low gas prices are affecting local gas drilling. Included is a longer list of drillers who are slowing down and a map of the so called wet/dry gas line.

From The Post Gazette

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Resignation of Important Cleveland Museum Board Member Creates Doubts at a Critical Time

A few years ago, I posted about the huge expansion of The Cleveland Museum of Art, which had caused the museum to tap into the interest from funds set aside for acquiring art.

Let's hope everything works out, but the loss of a major board member, who had already given $5 million to the institution raises new concerns. The Plain Dealer has a long in depth story detailing some of the history.

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The loss of a generous donor - Horvitz and his family have contributed more than $5 million to the museum’s expansion and renovation - also raises questions about how the museum could have alienated someone with the potential to do more for it in the future.

The timing is troubling, too. While the museum has raised $230 million for the expansion and renovation, it still needs an additional $120 million to pay off its debt, a huge sum for any institution in Cleveland."

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Low Gas Prices Force Drillers to Shut Down Wells

Governments counting on the cash and jobs bonanza from shale drilling might soon be out of luck, as a long period of very low gas prices is causing drillers to shut down wells.

Chesapeake Energy, Conoco-Phillips, Noble Energy and Consol Energy have all announced plans to cut back spending and close off wells.

Low prices deflate natural-gas rush

People looking at the falling prices, were wondering how long the drilling boom could go on. Unlike, coal or oil, gas is almost impossible to ship without a pipeline, creating a very localised market.