President Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, and demographer Manuel Pastor gave provocative keynote addresses at last week's Americans For The Arts national convention, held in Pittsburgh. A recap in Program Notes.
We take a look at the Arts Fest's Juried Visual Arts Exhibition. See Program Notes.
WordPlay, a new quarterly storytelling series, had a strong first showing this past Friday. Details in Program Notes.
Artists and performers from Europe, Australia and Canada offer a month-long series of U.S. premieres starting in September. A gigantic rubber duck floating up the Allegheny River is also involved. See more in Program Notes.
And we don’t mean the general election.
No, as he told City Paper in an interview after winning last week’s primary, “I’m a pretty funny guy.”
Peduto can prove it tomorrow night when he’s a guest on the John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show.
I dunno — are we ready for a mayor who, you know, appears in public? Might take some getting used to.
The show’s theme is Dogs and Cats Living Together — Mass Hysteria, referencing “Obama accused of being Nixon. Kidnappings in Cleveland” and such.
The long-running show starts at 10:15 p.m. in Downtown’s Cabaret at Theatre Square, 655 Penn Ave. Tickets are $5 (or free with a stub from an earlier Cultural District show).
An aspiring novelist from Pittsburgh is one of five finalists in the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The winner will be determined by online voting, which ends tomorrow, May 29.
Evelyn Pryce’s romance novel A Man Above Reproach was selected from among thousands of entries from around the world. Voters can see excerpts of all five finalists at www.amazon.com/abna and vote for their favorite.
The winner receives a publishing contract from Amazon Publishing and a $50,000 advance. Though in a sense, Pryce has already won: Each remaining finalist also receives a publishing contract, along with a $15,000 advance.
Each finalist is in a different genre: general fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horror or young-adult fiction.
A Man Above Reproach “is a Regency romance featuring a stoic duke who falls for a mysterious piano player at a brothel and then must navigate the choppy waters of class, identity and love.”
Pryce is the pen name of Kristin Ross, of Port Vue, an administrative assistant at Chatham University who studies literature and history there part-time.
Ross says she’s attempted writing literary fiction before, but her work is unpublished. She tells CP that she really found her groove in historical romance.
Still, given the popularity of romance novels, “I did not expect myself to be the winner” in that category, she says.
You can see other excerpts plus author photos here. Pryce is the only one posing with a glass of white wine, which you’d have to think bodes well.
Amazon is flying Pryce and the other finalists to Seattle for the June 15 awards, where the winner will be announced.
Post by Olivia Lammel
Models will strut down the runway in outfits designed by students at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, getups assembled entirely from home-renovation items found at the Greater Pittsburgh Habitat ReStore. Above is a photo from last year's show, courtesy of Habitat.
Habitat families will also hit the runway decked out in collections from the Waterfront Macy’s store. Local celebs appearing include 96.1 KISS FM’s Tall Cathy, who will emcee the show, and dancers from the Lifetime show Dance Moms, who will perform.
General admission tickets are $25 and include access to the silent auction and complimentary crudités.
VIP tickets are $100. VIPs will be seated along the runway and can attend a pre-show cocktail party in a lounge with a cityscape view and live music. VIPs also receive free drink tickets, a selection of hors d'oeuvres and goodie bags stuffed with chocolates, gift cards and giveaways.
All tickets will be entered in a raffle to win two round-trip JetBlue tickets. Proceeds will go to the Veterans Build program, which aims to provide housing, volunteer and employment opportunities to U.S. veterans, military service members and their families.
You’ll see some spectacular stuff in Talons!, the new indoor free-flight show at the National Aviary. If you’re lucky, you might even get buzzed by a Eurasian Eagle-Owl, a cat-sized bird with deep orange eyes.
There’s also the super-fast Lanner falcon, snapping snacks out of mid-air. And it’s all backed up by the Aviary’s professional trainers and custom-designed lights, sound and video.
One specific goal of Talons!, however, is to rehabilitate the image of the vulture. These birds, thought homely by most, come by their association with death honestly. They are scavengers, after all.
But as the Aviary’s manager of animal training, Cathy Schlott, noted yesterday at a press preview for the show, vultures also play a vital role in their ecosystems, which of course also usually include human beings.
Vultures, she said, are “one of the most misunderstood birds in the world.”
In recent years, they’ve found out just how important vultures are in India, Pakistan, Nepal and other Asian countries. There, vulture populations have declined precipitously — by more than 99 percent in India alone — mostly because ranchers were feeding their cattle an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac. Dead cattle are key vulture fare, and diclofenac is deadly to vultures.
The result has been more anthrax and rabies, which are transmitted by the corpses, but to which vultures are immune. As vultures died, populations of rats and feral dogs exploded to fill the niche. And corpses that once would have been consumed by vultures were left to pollute water supplies.
The Aviary’s hooded vultures are actually native to Africa. But raising awareness is among the show’s missions. The resurgence of bald eagles in the U.S. is a good example, says, Schlott. The bird, near-extinct by 1970, rebounded after DDT was banned.
“That’s the model story,” says Schlott. These days, you can even find a nesting pair in Pittsburgh.
(In fact, some Asian nations have banned diclofenac, and there’s recent evidence vulture populations have bottomed out.)
Meanwhile, in Talons!, giant projected images of the vulture’s bald, wrinkly head, accompanied by a soundtrack of majestic choral music, might make you suspect the Aviary of trying to make the species a big a star as our only nominally bald national symbol.
Talons! is being shown in preview performances starting today, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily through Fri., May 24. Tickets are $5 in addition to the Aviary’s usual admission fee of $11-13
The show formally opens May 25. The Aviary is located at 700 Arch St., on the North Side.
A movement to get Pittsburgh to enforce a 36-year-old city law requiring that public construction projects set aside “1 percent for art” holds its first big press conference and rally Downtown, on Friday afternoon.
The Pittsburgh Percent 4 Art Campaign assembles artists, students and others at 1 p.m. at Katz Plaza — home of artist Louise Bourgeois’ landmark “eyeball” sculptures.
Organizer Carolyn Speranza says the group is calling on candidates for mayor and city council to support public art by enforcing the law, passed in 1977 but essentially ignored since. The law requires that 1 percent of the cost of publicly funded construction and renovation projects of more than $50,000 be set aside for public art.
The campaign dates to February, when Speranza and another local artist posted an online petition calling for the law’s enforcement. The petition has garnered about 1,000 signatures so far.
The city (and the county, which has a similar, if newer, ordinance) acknowledges that the law goes unenforced. But the city’s public-art manager has said the law is so poorly written as to be unenforceable. And he adds there might be better ways to achieve the same goal.
But proponents of the law insist that other cities with such laws do enforce them, to the betterment of their communities, economies and quality of life.
Scheduled speakers at Friday’s one-hour press conference include artist and activist Speranza; artist and photographer Kat Gregor; community organizer Brian Brown, of the Hill District Consensus Group; Roxanne Williams of the League of Young Voters; Marvin Williams, owner of 3 Lions Construction; and 3 Lions apprentice Lee Salihl.
Katz Plaza is located at Seventh and Penn avenues, Downtown.
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