If it’s day 19 of the shoot for the "Untitled Shane Dawson Comedy," it must be Most Wanted Fine Art.
The interior of the Garfield storefront gallery has been remade for a couple of days as a used-record store called The Vinyl Vault. It’s just one of the many sets for “Untitled,” which in turn is one of two low-budget feature films being shot here almost simultaneously, based on the same source material, as part of a unique larger TV and film project.
Dawson, the wacky Internet comedy and music star, is directing a version that leans toward the raunchy comedy of American Pie. This scene centers on some phone sex that young protagonist Joel (played by Drew Monson) is having at the store counter.
The company's production of this intriguing play in a spectacular Downtown space recently had its run extended, and now has five more performances starting with tonight's. More in Program Notes.
Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae, celebrates the Jamaican popular music that bridged the gap between ska and reggae (and which some aficionados prefer to either).
Stascha Bader’s 2009 film documents the rocksteady era (1966-69), when musicians blended ska, soul and R&B into something different, adding new rhythms, the prominent bass and socially conscious lyrics that in their reggae incarnation would earn a world audience.
The 90-minute film includes interviews and a 2009 tribute concert, shot at the Festival de Jazz de Montreal. Many of the musicians featured are familiar to fans of ska and reggae, including Judy Mowatt, Ernest Ranglin and Sly Dunbar. Guest stars include Rita Marley.
Songs include such hits as “Rivers of Babylon,” “Stop That Train” and “The Tide is High,” the latter a rocksteady number later made famous by Blondie.
The Black History Month screening is part of Sembene: The Film & Arts Festival, named after the great Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.
The screening begins at 5:30 p.m.; a discussion follows. The Homewood Carnegie is located at 7101 Hamilton Ave., in Homewood.
A local online bookseller is offering indie-publisher surprises, while a fledgling literary journal issues a call for submissions. Read all about it in Program Notes.
Three important comics artists with local ties are highlighted in a Black History Month exhibit at the City-County Building.
Beyond the Funny Pages: The Works of Art and Life Captured in Comics opens with a reception tonight, from 6-8 p.m.
Evans, born in Steelton, is regarded as the first African-American comics publisher.
Ormes, raised in Monongahela, was the first African-American woman cartoonist. Active in the mid-20th century, she was known for newspaper strips like “Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger” and characters including Torchy Brown.
And Baker, raised in Pittsburgh, was known for the 1940s comic-book heroine Phantom Lady.
Tonight’s reception will include live music by Roger Humphries and remarks by speakers including Mayor Bill Peduto.
An interactive, projection-based video and sound installation will brighten Market Square for three weeks starting Feb. 21, it was announced yesterday.
The exhibit is the first project of the Market Square Public Art Program, a three-year initiative of the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning’s Public Art Division and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
“Congregation” was announced yesterday at a press conference at swank Market Square watering hole Perle, by PDP president Jeremy Waldrup, and Renee Piechocki, of the Office of Public Art.
Also at the press conference was freshly minted Mayor Bill Peduto, who had inadvertently stolen a bit of the event’s thunder by tweeting some video of “Congregation” Piechocki sent him earlier.
Peduto also said he tweeted the words “funky Downtown lighting,” but there’s a bit more to “Congregation” than that. Piechocki said that among the more than 130 submissions the project’s committee fielded, “Congregation” stood out for its “combination of artistic excellence and interaction” plus “a certain wow factor.”
Michael Mitcham, operations director for in-city Primanti Brothers locations including the one in Market Square, said at the press conference that “Congregation” continues the site’s revitalization. Peduto connected “Congregation” to a city’s need for a central gathering place.
“Congregation” will be switched on for the public on Feb. 21, and will run from dusk to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and dusk to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Market Square Public Art Program is backed by funders including The Heinz Endowments, an anonymous donor, the Colcom Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
Last spring, the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side announced a new project: A subscription-based arts-performance series called CSA (Community-Supported Art), based on the idea of community-supported agriculture.
After a successful first season, the theater is now accepting applications from "emerging and mid-career performing artists and technical designers from the Western Pennsylvania region" who would like to be involved in 2014-15. The technical designers aspect is new this year — the program is looking to involve set and costume designers, lighting and sound designers and the like, in addition to performers.
The Hazlett is holding an open house for the program on Mon., Jan. 27; more on the program and how to apply here.
Jan. 13 marks 150 years since the death of Foster, one of Pittsburgh's most influential native sons.
Foster, born in what's now Lawrenceville in 1826, died in New York City, penniless, at age 37. But his legacy as the world's first professional songwriter lives on, as do songs like "Old Folks at Home" and "Hard Times Come Again No More."
Foster is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, and he's honored in Lawrenceville annually with Doo-Dah Days.
On this special occasion, Monday's 11 a.m. program at the cemetery's Temple of Memories Mausoleum includes: a Foster medley, sung by children form St. Raphael Elementary School, in Morningside; remakrs by Jim Wudarkdzyk of the Lawrenceville Historical Society, and Deane Root, of Pitt's Center for American Music; and a performance and group sing-along with famed Pittsburgh guitarist Joe Negri.
Full details here.
For more on Foster, see here.
The Temple of Memories Mausoleum is located at 4715 Penn Ave., in Bloomfield.
The Pittsburgh-based, internationally known literary magazine for “true stories, well told,” which in 1993 marked its 20th year, has a supersized edition for this milestone.
Founder and editor Lee Gutkind contributes a brief history of creative nonfiction, which he did so much to popularize — especially in the 1990s, when, as he recalls, the genre was much beset by critics. These days, the publication’s 2005 essay collection In Fact is used in writing classrooms all over (and the mag's editorial advisory board includes names like Annie Dillard, Dave Eggers, Susan Orlean and Gay Talese).
The 128-page special edition also includes a conversation between Gutkind, who founded Pitt's creative-nonfiction program, and former student (and one-time Creative Nonfiction copy-editor) Michael Rosenwald, now a Washington Post reporter. It's titled “How Many Times Did You Almost Go Out of Business With This Thing?” And there’s a cut from Gutkind’s in-progress memoir, titled “On the Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting?” (Are we sensing a theme yet?)
But the centerpiece of issue 50 is a collection of 10 works of creative nonfiction from CN, dating back to issue one. Writers include famed poet Charles Simic, former Pittsburgher Elena Passarello (whose “Ramalamadingdong” excavates the world of rock lyrics) and journalist Sam Quinones.
The price is $10. Learn more here www.creativenonfiction.org
A compact new book of color photos documenting the Civic Arena during its last days (including its picturesque demolition) might make a good grab for the Pens fan, concert-goer or modernist-architecture afficionado on your list.
Mendelson’s introduction reminds us of the Igloo’s history, including its stint in the’70s, especially, as one of the country’s top indoor concert venues.
The photos themselves range from striking demolition images like the one accompanying this post to someohow poignant shots from inside the intact but depopulated arena, like one of a toaster and empty dry cereal bins on a counter in the Pens’ locker room.
The book is available online and at brick-and-mortar venues including the Heinz History Center, The Team Gear Penguins Store at Consol Energy Center, and Hobbytown USA, in Robinson.
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