Friday, August 29, 2014

Bunker Projects & Mr Roboto Host First Penn Ave, Performance Art Festival Tomorrow

Sorry, or the late heads up. This festival including performance artists from NYC, Philly, Chicago, DC, Virginia and The Burgh is right up m alley.

4-11 PM
5106 Penn Ave.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8/21- 8/27 2014 Weekly Arts & Urbanism Roundup


Essential Pittsburgh Radio looks at the 110 year old soda pop tradition at the Natrona Bottling Company

Toonseum and Pittsburgh's Holocaust museum bring true stories of 5 Pittsburgh Holocaust survivors into comic form. Story on Essential Pittsburgh

980 Liberty Partners rebuts Heinz Endowment opposition to August Wilson Center Hotel

Essential Pittsburgh looks at recent metro walkability rankings

Pittsburgh area schools being outfitted with prison design features.

Brian O'Neall in Post Gazette: Militarization of police has its hidden costs.

Pittsburgh included in National Geographic article: "Nine Cities that Love Their Trees".

Mass Mob aims to boost attendance at Pittsburgh area Catholic churches.


Planners consider making center of St. Clair Avenue into a Bicycle Expressway!

Cleveland is making progress in attracting highly skilled young people.

Western Reserve Historical Society hosts exhibit of last Cleveland Browns world championship- 50 years ago.

Downtown Willoughby, Ohio hosts first Pig and Whiskey festival this weekend.

The Cleveland Blues Society is looking for a few good bands. (Deadline)

8/31 Deadline for Cleveland International Film Festival entries


Akron's new downtown cinema showing hard to find films and Akron-centric concessions.


What Columbus is doing to try to control sprawl. (Seriously, the city now has a lot of infill development)

Architecture and Urbanism

Nine of the most beautiful buildings we ever tore down on Gizmodo: Including Pittsburgh's Wabash Terminal.

Seven excellent examples of repurposed bike infrastructure- Including Atlanta's Belt Line.

Is it time to get rid off parking minimums?

Real Clear Politics: Left behind in rural northwest Ohio.

Toll Roads once common in Northeast Pennsylvania

Nashville's lack of sidewalks sparks campaign

California state senator arrested for drunk driving hours after voting for bill limiting Uber car service.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Downtown Willoughby, Ohio hosts First Pig & Whiskey Festival

"The free "Pig & Whiskey" event will showcase some of the best barbecue restaurants from Ohio and beyond, while featuring the premium brands of whiskey, bourbon and scotch.
Visitors can also enjoy additional food and retail vendors, an exciting line-up of live music and other great entertainment. An extensive selection will be available in the beer tent and a special cocktail corner are will also be set-up to enjoy all day.

Whiskey samples, beer and cocktails are available through the purchase of drink tickets (ages 21 and over). The BBQ and other food items are available directly through the individual vendors."

Downtown Willoughby is a historic village east of Cleveland with many historic buildings.

For people who are really drunk (optimistic)- Cleveland Browns players will sign autographs.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Weekly Arts & Urbanism Roundup

I pretty much dropped doing weekly news roundups a few years ago. Likewise, the monthy regional arts preview took too much work. At least for now, I am trying to bring the roundup back.

 A selection of recent arts & urbanism news.


Pittsburgh CityLab creates a Tiny House in Garfield- documents the process on Tiny House Journal Blog.

Ex Steelers, Baron Batch  John Malecki create a Homestead Art Studio & Marketing company.

Artist, Alexandre Arrechia will speak about his 3 temporary public sculptures downtown & lead public art tour. I love these works and meant to do a post about them.

The Amazing Bicycle Heaven bike museum & store may be the subject of a reality show- ala American Pickers. Counting Cars, American Restoration.

Pittsburgh Comic Artist, Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree volume II hits the stores. Follow his twitter feed for updates on events and book signings.

Fight to save The Carrie Furnace Deer ramps up and gets some national press

City rolls out, Mighty Beautiful, national ad campaign.


Cleveland area considers Gay Games a huge success.

The fifth annual Weapons of Mass Creation festival draws more than 2000 creatives from around the world

Cleveland leaders look at Indianapolis's Cultural Tail bike path. (See NY Times article about the path)


The Ballyhoo Music Festival in Austintown, Ohio headlined by Bootsy Collins & Michael Stanley & The Resonators. (This could be a festival to watch)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pittsburgh is Mighty Beautiful: How bout we act like it?

No, doubt- the basic structure & setting of Pittsburgh is mighty beautiful. But does the city really act like a place that loves itself and protects its inherent beauty? Would a city that loved and valued itself build the kind of massive ugly highways along its north shore waterfront? Would it see garages and surface parking as the highest land use? A city has to live its brand. So, far the city only does an average to below average job of that. Be back with more thoughts and pictures of the ugly crap, the city still does to itself.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Georgia Teens Develop App to Rate Law Enforcement & Report Abuse

Few things can make or break a city like the quality of its law enforcement (formerly known as peace officers) "Crime Rate", data alone, assuming it is accurate doesn't fully measure how a place feels. Is there really peace? Three pretty amazing high school freshman in Georgia developed an app that allows people to log on and document interactions with officers, rate departments and report abuse. One can also find police stations & communicate with others about local law enforcement issues.
“We’d like to know which regions in the US provide horrible law enforcement services as well as highlight the agencies that are highly rated by their citizens. In addition to putting more power into the hands of citizens when interacting with law enforcement, we believe that highly rated police departments should be used as models for those that fail at providing quality law enforcement services”, says Co-founder and Parkview High School senior, Ima Christian.
Read about this fantastic concept here. Full roll out of the app is coming in days

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cleveland's Weapons Of Mass Creation Festival Starts Today

Don't have time for a long post, but here is a video giving some idea what WMC fest is about.

I love the free form, almost chaotic nature of the festival. Basically, if you consider yourself creative or interested in creativity in any way, come on down.

This policy maximizes the opportunities to cross pollinate ideas.
The model is basically South by Southwest- or what that festival once was.

I invited someone on the scene to post a report.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Joseph Cornell's Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall

Christies put up this video of this Joseph Cornell tribute to screen legend Lauren Bacall, which sold last May for $5.3 Million.

The Art Newspaper has a short post about it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Steeltown Anthem's Mundania Horvath co-hosts panel @ Cleveland's Weapons of Mass Creation Design Festival

A huge problem with Pittsburgh and many other art & music scenes, is the lack of opportunities to interact with emerging artists from outside the region.

For the last few years, Cleveland has hosted a low key design festival called Weapons of Mass Creation that mixes creatives from across the country with talks, workshops and exhibitions. The event which started at a local bar (Happy Dog) has grown, to include artists, designers, web creatives, musicians and almost anybody involved in the arts.

WMC fest also includes a pretty huge helping of live music acts by emerging artists.

A few examples of the diverse breadth.


Martine Syms (Los Angeles)

"Lessons of the Tradition" is close read of a Most Days, a Mundane Afrofuturist sound work." 

Veronica Corzo-Duchardt (Chicago)

Cuban-American Designer/ artist behind Chicago based design studio, Winterbureau 

Raymond Bobgan (Cleveland) 

Executive Artistic Director, Cleveland Public Theater

Melody Kramer 

Digital Strategist- NPR, in Washington DC. Former associate producer of "Fresh Air"

Rusty Cook (Chicago)

Chicago, based designer & illustrator 

Donald Wooten (Pikesville, Maryland) 

Screenprinter, designer for Stolen Outfitters brand

Luis Cabrera (Cleveland)

Multi-Media designer for Forest City Communications Group

Kumar Arora (Cleveland) 

Serial entrepreneuar, angel investor 

Keenan Cummings  (NYC) 

Product Designer, Founder- Wander (acquired by Yahoo)


Two Arms Inc. (Brooklyn)

Husband & Wife design team specializing in custom illustration & typography 

Little Friends of Printmaking

Acclaimed designers & printers of screenprint posters and other stuff.

Anthony Simpson

Founder & Creative Director of Random Objects- Screenprint design

Oliver Barrett

Artist/ Designer

Landland (Minneapolis) 

Small  graphic design & illustration studio- screenprint workshop

The Bubble Process (Cleveland & Brooklyn, NY)

Two person, design & illustration firm  

Valerie Jar (Salt Lake City)

Freelance designer & illustrator 

April Bleakney (Cleveland)  

Screen printer, founder Ape Made, printed art & apparel company.

Scott Williams (Chicago)

Designer, musician 

Ariel Cotton (Brooklyn)

Artist, inventor, interaction designer 


Mr. Gnome (Cleveland) 

Hawkeye (Cleveland)

Black Puddle Noise (Lakewood, Ohio)

Briar Rabbit   


Ashley Brooke Toussant 

Additional events include a comedy showcase,  a live black marker drawing faceoff ; breakdance battle & an exhibition of 300 hand printed posters.

A lot of the tickets are gone but I would love for someone to post a report from this event.

Weapons of Mass Creation Festival
August 15-17
Cleveland Public Theater 

See complete schedule 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Famed Pittsburgh Oldies Station Shifts to Talk, Reflecting A Younger Region

The sudden shift of the powerful 104.7 FM form Conservative Talk to Country Music caused some anger. Less noticed was move of Limbaugh, Hannity & Co to AM means that the city no longer has a strong oldies station.

From The Tribune Review

That changed on Wednesday when Cardille, a fixture on Pittsburgh TV and radio stations for more than a half-century, lost his job at WJAS-AM, where he had worked since 1995 playing nostalgic soft-rock standards. Another local radio icon, Jack Bogut, also departed when the station's format flipped from music to talk.
Cardille, 85, of Sewickley said new station owner Frank Iorio had discussed a role for him at the station after the format switch.
“He asked if I'd be interested in talk, and I said no,” he said. “I tried talk a long time ago, and the same 20 people call all the time. It's like the people who write letters to the newspaper.”
Since hosting his first radio show at WDAD-AM in Indiana County in 1951, Cardille has been an omnipresent force on Western Pennsylvania radio and TV stations. Following a stint at WICU-TV in Erie, he started in Pittsburgh at WIIC-TV (now WPXI) in 1957.

A few short years ago, Pittsburgh was widely known as the capital of oldies music, with an almost unchanged soundtrack from 1960 looping endlessly. The change probably reflects the area's changing demographics as the steel generation passes.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Cincinnati's Historic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

John A, Roebling Bridge looking at Covington, Kentucky 
John A. Roebling Bridge looking towards Cincinnati

This is the oldest standing suspension bridge designed by John A.Roebling- built between 1856- 1867. He actually built an earlier one in Pittsburgh, whose masonry piers now support the Smithfield Street Bridge.

Roebling is important not just as a creative engineering genius, but as an early driving force in German immigration. (German influence pervades Cincinnati today) He founded the town of Saxonburg, in Butler County where he formed a company to produce steel suspension cables.

"In the decades before 1856, want and need of a passage over the Ohio River was apparent. Commerce between Ohio and Kentucky could not continue unless some form of transportation was devised that did not bow to the whims of mother nature. Unfortunately, the distance from shore to shore was great and the steamboat traffic highly congested. Up to that point, the only solution that would not constrict traffic on the river even further was a wire cable suspension bridge of the type developed by French engineers. Several American engineers had begun designing and building suspension bridges. One of these men was John A. Roebling of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. The Ohio River, however, was much wider than any river that had been bridged in France."
Steamboat and ferry interests and others bitterly opposed Roebling's proposal as a potentially dangerous river obstruction. 30 years later similar objections were raised about his Brookyn Bridge design.

For many years, the bridge was used by streetcars but its use is now severely limited by weight restrictions.
During the summer a cool & very convenient mini trolley connects Covington's waterfront hotels to Cincinnati via the bridge and there are pedestrian paths on either side.

All in all, the bridge, which has only 2 lanes seems underused. Either it should support a few more trolley shuttle routes, or fully opened up to just bikes and pedestrians.

I knew about Cincinnati's historic neighborhoods but was not prepared for how amazing Covington was.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Philly Public Radio Looks @ Oil City's Artist Relocation Program

Paducah, Kentucky is the model for this 8 year old program in Oil City to offer low cost mortgage loans to artists. 32 have moved in so far with 3 more in the process. 

The town is a treasure trove off great architecture dating from its days as an oil boom town. Pennzoil, Quaker State and no less than Standard Oil were really born here. Many buildings sat empty in later years.

 "A major selling point is the fact that Oil City is uniquely beautiful. It's nestled between hills and bisected by a river. All around town are Victorian mansions built for oil magnates of days past.
Maybe most importantly? Real estate prices in Oil City are really, really low. As in, you can buy a house for $30,000 dollars.
Artists have to apply for the program. If approved, Wheeler connects the artist with a realtor and a local bank.
In the eight years the program has been going, 32 artists have moved to the area from places like Boston, Chicago, and LA. And three more are in the process of moving."
For a while, Johnstown had a program like this but the money ran out.

See images and listen to the story: Here

I actually never heard of this. The city should consider developing a temporary artist residency program so artists can see the town.

Monday, August 04, 2014

A Short Look At The Cincinnati Museum of Art: 1

The Cincinnati Museum, stood out less for the quality (great as it is) of its collection, as the overall viewing experience with each gallery laid out with precision and craftsmanship. My Images don't do justice to the experience.

Modern galleries generally had a no photography policy. Also, several important areas like the Asian Art Galleries seemed to be undergoing renovation.
Classy Art Deco Staircase 

Entrance with inevitable Chihuly

Grant Wood 

European Gallery 

Diego Velazquez
Folk Art Sign: American Gallery 
Elizabeth Catlett 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Modernist Pittsburgh @ Concept Gallery Highlights Local Art & Design in the 1940's & 50's

Pittsburgh in 1941 was more on the cutting edge of industry than art till a young woman named Elizabeth Rockwell changed that by opening, Outlines Gallery exposing the city to Alexander Calder, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Paul Klee, Charles Eames and others.

Carnegie Tech professor, Samuel Rosenburg moved towards abstraction, helping to mentor other local artists.

Concept's exhibit seems to center on Rosenburg's 1950's abstractions, but includes contemporaries and students like Louise Pershing, Glen Davis & Marie Tuicillo Kelly..Images also show a lot of amazing modernist furniture.

Modernist Pittsburgh

July 17- September 20th 

Tuesday – Saturday: 10 AM – 5:30 PM
Thursday: 10 AM – 8PM

1031 South Braddock Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
A documentary about Elizabeth Rockwell, Outlines Gallery & modernism in Pittsburgh will be screened
Thursday, August 21, 7PM  @ The Regent Square Theater