The free annual hands-on expo for all things rugged or just plain recreational is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you ever wanted to try a climbing wall, in other words, now’s the time. Plus things as low-impact as horseshoes.
Likewise kayaking, fishing in the Allegheny, dragon-boating, yoga and more. (This year, borrowing a page from the restaurant world, the fest will test a smartphone-based “no wait” reservation system for boats.)
There’s also lessons in the esoteric martial-arts discipline of capoeira (and the rather slower art of tai chi) and lawn games in the GameZone organized by festival sponsor Dick’s Sporting Goods: croquet, bocce, Ladderball.
Venture Outdoors will even have bikes on hand for you to ride. Or take to the water on the RiverQuest Explorer, a “green” boat that teaches about the health of the watershed.
Everything you need to know should be here.
Commuting can be a solitary enterprise, the bike kind no less than the car-bound variety. But on National Bike to Work Day, you can rally in two-wheeled solidarity with your fellow working-stiff cyclists.
Local organizer BikePGH is sweetening the pot with a dozen Hydration Stations from Downtown to the East End. Each station features “breakfast beverages” (hmm, wonder what those could be?), snacks and swag bags stuffed with bike-related goodies.
Even if you don’t bike to work every single day, Bike to Work Day lets you show your support for safer streets and a more bike-friendly Pittsburgh.
Bike to Work Day also kicks off Car Free Fridays season, when BikePGH encourages us to set aside one day a week to leave the internal combustion engine at the curb.
BikePGH is also touting its I Bike, I Walk, I Vote campaign as well as the National Bike Challenge. In the latter, cities and individuals compete to see who can log the most trips and miles in commuting and recreation.
Learn more about it all here.
The final public meetings for OPENSPACEPGH — the city's planning effort for open space, parks and recreation — will take place over the next two weeks. A public comment period will also open tomorrow and last until June 7.
OpenSpacePGH is a component of the city's comprehensive plan, PLANPGH, and will help guide city development by determining which areas are best left protected as open space.
The meetings are free and open to the public and will educate residents on the findings of the draft plan — which can be found here or at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations. Residents can also comment on the plan online. The city is also encouraging residents to share ideas about priorities for open space programs in various neighborhoods.
OpenSpacePGH meetings will take place on the following dates and locations:
Tues., May 7: 6 to 8 p.m., Kaufman Center, 1825 Centre Ave., Hill District
Wed., May 8: 6 to 8 p.m., Kingsley Center, 6435 Frankstown Road, Larimer
Thurs., May 9: 6 to 8 p.m., Knoxville Elder Ado, 320 Brownsville Road, Knoxville
Tues. May 14: 6 to 8 p.m., Schenley Ice Rink, Overlook Drive, Squirrel Hill
Wed., May 15: 6 to 8 p.m., Propel Northside, 1805 Buena Vista St., North Side (parking lot accessed off of Brighton Road).
For more information, contact Andrew Dash, Senior Planner, Department of City Planning by phone at 412-255-0760 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Jordan, the former Pittsburgher best known till now as the zine-maker “Dishwasher Pete,” returns Monday with a new book about another obsession.
Jordan comes at biking neither idly nor as a recreational rider. He studied urban planning in Amsterdam, and he says more bicycling is a big way to make cities more livable (and, not coincidentally, more environmentally sustainable).
However, he's not concerned with weekend warriors in Lycra on fancy road bikes, but rather with everyday people riding everyday bikes to everyday places, like work and the grocery store.
In Amsterdam, where he lives with his 7-year-old son, biking is simply the way things are done.
American friends have often asked, on his return visits, whether he saw a big difference with biking today. So many more riders, eh?
“Actually, it was kind of hard to tell the difference,” Jordan recently told CP via Skype from his home in Amsterdam. Where he lives, the streets are filled with bikers all day. In supposedly bike-friendly New York City, at rush hour, he’s seen the bike lanes filled … with pedestrians.
Asked about typical reasons Americans give why biking isn’t more common here, Jordan offers some surprising insights.
American motorists, for instance, often complain that cyclists don’t follow traffic rules. Amsterdam cyclists, too, have an anarchic reputation, one stretching back a century: They ignore stoplights, don’t employ lights for night riding, and eschew helmets. Yet there’s almost no conflict with motorists.
Jordan says as an everyday biker in the U.S., he averaged one run-in a day with a motorist. In Amsterdam, he hasn’t had one in years.
Partly, he says, that’s because most drivers are bikers, too, and know what’s up. He adds that while U.S. traffic laws treat bikes as cars, even though they’re much smaller and slower, in Amsterdam, bicycles are their own class of vehicle, which helps traffic flow.
Jordan also cautions against dismissing Amsterdam’s bike-topia as something that can’t be replicated here because it’s “always been this way.” In fact, he says, three decades back the city made a conscious choice to become more bike-friendly, and actually began changing the streetscape to do it.
Amsterdam wasn’t afraid to “radically realign the city to promote cycling,” he says. Bike-friendliness in Amsterdam is measured less in painted bike lanes than in bike lanes separated from motor traffic by curbs or other barriers. And there are more of those every month, Jordan says.
“They have no problem with taking an intersection out and completely redoing it with a roundabout,” he adds.
As part of his nine-city U.S. book tour, Jordan returns to Pittsburgh on Mon., May 6.
He’ll read from his book at the Brew House, 2100 Mary St., on the South Side, starting at 7:30 p.m. (For some reason, the event isn't listed on his publisher's web site, but Jordan has friends in Pittsburgh and will definitely be here.)
People who like the Three Rivers Arts Festival basically the way it’s been shouldn’t have any complaints about the 2013 edition. But people hoping for something new should find it, too — starting with the flashy re-opening of the Point State Park fountain, on the opening night of the Dollar Bank-sponsored June 7-16 festival.
As the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced this afternoon at the Wyndham Grant Pittsburgh Downtown, you’ll know it’s all on when you see the Point Park fountain, after a lengthy reconstruction, spurting again. And you won’t be able to miss that because they’re going to light the bejabbers out of it in something called Riverlights at the Point.
According to Lisa Schroeder, of Riverlife, the “new and improved” fountain will be the focus of a three-night light-based artwork called “Pittsburgh Spectral Ascending.”
Hard to describe precisely at this juncture, but it involves artists with international resumes setting up on top of PPG place and shooting the fountain with lasers.
The festival, as usual based in and near Point State Park, also includes a river-borne, light-based art installation; more room for the artists’ market; a bigger Giant Eagle Creativity Zone for kids; and — just what your life’s been missing — a “10-foot tall inflatable transparent Buddha,” afloat, by artist Chang-Jin Lee.
Here's an image from the juried show, by Maxwell Perim:
Even the music lineup at feels fresher than usual. Most of the mainstage acts, including openers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and closing-night bill-toppers The Airborne Toxic Event, haven’t played the fest before, nor been in town lately.
Other notable names include Grupo Fantasma, Glen Hansard, Lucius, Jontre and Red Baraat (pictured below).
Other things that’ll return include the indoor Juried Visual Art Exhibition and that ongoing Zero Waste Initiative (this year especially targeting plastic bottles).
The festival’s also happening in conjunction with several other summer shindigs, including the Pittsburgh Pridefest (June 14-16); Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival (June 7-9); the June 15 ceremonial dedication of the Great Allegheny Passage; and the Americans for the Arts Conference.
And as always, of course, the festival is free.
Each week, you read, digest, and are probably both tickled and angered by, the work of cartoonist Matt Bors in City Paper; Bors, an Art Institute of Pittsburgh grad, is a nationally syndicated artist who was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2012, and this Saturday, May 4, he returns to Pittsburgh to appear at the Toonseum.
He's in town to sign copies of his new book of cartoons and essays, Life Begins at Incorporation, and appears as part of the Toonseum's Free Comic Book Day celebration. Bors appears from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.; the event is free.
On the morning of March 13, the driver of a car — described by witnesses as likely a Lincoln MKZ or a similar model — hit a cyclist at the corner of Liberty and Mathilda in Bloomfield. The driver fled the scene and was never caught; the victim, a longtime member of the local arts and music scene named MJai, sustained serious injuries, including a broken femur.
Tonight, friends and supporters have put together a benefit show at the Mr. Roboto Project to help defray the costs of MJai's treatment and medical needs. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7; bands include The Frantic Heart of It, Robin Vote, Chaibaba and Pairdown. It's a sliding-scale donation, from $5-15.
There'll also be a bike ride prior to the show, starting at Dippy the Dinosaur by the Carnegie Museums in Oakland at 5:30, and ending at Roboto.
For those who can't make it tonight but want to donate, there's a link on this website to do so.
America's very first Carnegie Library — which almost didn't survive the 1970s — is being declared a National Historic Landmark tomorrow.
The celebration includes a ceremony featuring local politicians, a guided tour of the grand old structure and a primer on efforts to remake it as a center for community engagement and life-long learning.
The library first opened 1889 — when Andrew Carnegie launched it with a million-dollar endowment — but declining population led to its closure in 1974. The library, slated for demolition, was saved and renovated by volunteers led by former BCL librarian David Solomon.
Efforts have ramped up further in recent years, with arts classes and more.
The ceremony tomorrow from 1-2 p.m. includes addresses by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. The guided tours begin at 2:30. And from 2-4 p.m., there's a "hands-on" reception including access to button-making, screen-printing, music and other activities.
See here for details.
Pitt’s new lecture series on climate change begins tomorrow, and the first speaker is one of the nation’s top voices on the subject, Joseph Romm.
Romm is a physicist and author whose feisty blog Climate Progress is a crucial clearinghouse for climate info and perspective, from documenting the acceleration of our vanishing Antarctic ice to debunking the science-free pronouncements of climate-change deniers.
Romm’s free talk is about how climate change — whose effects are already being felt around the world in extreme weather and changing ecosystems — will affect the U.S.
The lecture is titled “To Hell and High Water: What You Need to Know About Climate Change,” a reference to Romm’s 2006 book, Hell and High Water. His latest book is 2010’s Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions.
The talk kicks off Pitt’s University Honors College Climate Change Series, described in a press release as “a long-term program to educate students, faculty and staff members on issues regarding climate change.”
“There are some challenges to civilization that are of such urgency that every college graduate should understand them, and the implications of research on climate change are among them,” University Honors College Dean Edward Stricker said in the release.
Romm has testified frequently before Congress, and his writings and comments have been featured everywhere from The New York Times to National Geographic.
The talk is at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the J.W. Connolly Ballroom of the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.
Reservations are requested. Make yours here.
Several groups will hold a rally Monday to speak out against global military spending.
The rally, called "Our Tax Day, Not Theirs," will be from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, outside the Squirrel Hill Post Office at Darlington and Murray avenues.
"As we file our taxes on April 15, half of every dollar spent in the annual discretionary budget feeds the Pentagon," event organizers wrote in a press release. "That is neither what we need nor the spending priorities that a majority of people support. We are calling for a change to our national spending priorities on Tax Day."
The rally is being sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, American Friends Service Committee PA Program, Pittsburgh Raging Grannies, Coalition for Peace Action and the Thomas Merton Center.
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