Events

Friday, November 20, 2015

Elizabeth Kolbert at the Monday Night Lectures

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 4:31 PM

If you were looking for rays of hope about the planet in Monday’s talk by the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe and The Sixth Extinction, they were few and far between.

Elizabeth Kolbert - PHOTO COURTESY OF NICHOLAS WHITMAN
  • Photo courtesy of Nicholas Whitman
  • Elizabeth Kolbert
But I’ll point to one glimmer: Last time Kolbert visited Pittsburgh, in 2008, I interviewed her, and I recall the conversation taking place in a context of widespread climate denialism. After all, Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth movie was only two years old, and lots of people didn’t really understand how climate change worked, or care to know.

This past Monday, the hopefulness resided in the fact that Kolbert assumed that what looked like a full house at Oakland's Carnegie Music Hall all agreed that climate change was real, and a real threat. She explained the science briefly, but didn’t seem to feel she had to address any possible deniers in the audience. That’s a start, I guess.

Trouble is, things would be a lot better today if we’d been at that point, say 25 years ago, when there was already overwhelming evidence that human activities were causing the planet’s climate to change in drastic and sometimes unpredictable ways.

Which brings us to the rest of Kolbert’s talk. She focused on The Sixth Extinction, her 2014 Pulitzer-winner that explores how human activity is likely driving a mass extinction of historical proportions among plant and animal species.

Climate change is just one reason, and on this front Kolbert offered little hope. Despite the stated intentions of everyone from the president down, global emissions of greenhouse gases keep rising.

Many scientists have said a safe concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is 350 parts per million. This year, we passed 400 ppm, a figure not seen on earth in literally hundreds of thousands of years. Some activists hold out hope that the upcoming global climate talks will result in agreements that bring emissions down. But Kolbert presented projections that even in a low-emission scenario, we’re likely to reach 550 ppm by 2100.

That’s a level sure to spell increased disaster in the form of rising seas and extreme weather, not to mention a level of ocean acidification (from ocean absorption of carbon) that would leave us with effectively dead oceans.

And that’s the optimistic scenario. Wish I could leave you with something happier, but that's the way it is sometimes.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

"Pittsburgh Poetry Review" Launches Tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 12:14 PM

There’ll be a big poetry party tomorrow at the Pittsburgh Glass Center to celebrate issue 1 of this new journal, meant to fill the void left by the departure of the long-running 5 AM.

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The inaugural issue includes more than 100 poems by 71 poets, including both Pittsburgh-based names like Jan Beatty, Jim Daniels, Lynn Emanuel, Ed Ochester and Judith Vollmer, and nationally known contributors including Denise Duhamel, Gerald Locklin and Afaa Michael Weaver.

Some 40 of the contributing poets will are slated to read their work at the event.

Pittsburgh Poetry Review was created by four local poets: Bob Walicki, Ziggy Edwards, Jennifer Jackson Berry and Michael Albright.

The event runs 8-11 p.m. Admission is free, with beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres provided.

The glossy-covered journal will be on sale for $10. (The cover price is $12.)

Pittsburgh Glass Center is located at 5472 Penn Ave., in Friendship. 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ingress game seeks players in Pittsburgh for this Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Games company Niantic Labs is seeking players here for a Saturday-afternoon session of Ingress, a kind of digitally enabled capture-the-flag contest that’s been played around the world.

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In a press release, Niantic says Ingress agents “visit real-world locations to capture portals, experience history, enjoy at and have fun.” The agents are divided into Resistance and Enlightened agents, who are pitted against each other. The game, which is free, is powered by a mobile phone or other GPS-enabled device. Niantic says "hundreds" of players have already signed up.

Niantic calls the game series “XM Anomalies,” and says that these fantasy contests that take place in the real world “bring together hundreds of Resistance and Enlightened Agents of all ages for an intense burst of walking, running and biking gameplay.”

The stakes are “Human destiny! The future of civilization!” But the games are really more social events. (Here’s a more detailed explanation from an Ingress enthusiast.)

Saturday’s session here, named “the Abaddon anomaly,” follows October’s Ingress Mission Day, which attracted 200 players in Pittsburgh. Niantic expects this event to attract tourists from the region and even from overseas.

The afternoon-long game, however, is open to experienced and beginner agents alike.

The Abaddon anomaly begins at 1 p.m. Sat., Nov. 14, at the City-County Building, 414 Grant St., Downtown.

Prospective players can download Ingress from the Google Play or iTunes stores. Register here. You’ll be asked to choose your faction (Resistance or Enlightened) and to provide an agent name.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Point Park University hosts panel discussion tomorrow night on human trafficking

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 2:12 PM

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We often think of human trafficking as something that affects a relatively few people in remote countries. However, it's estimated that as many as 27 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking. And between 14,500 and 17,500 victims of those victims are here in the U.S.

To raise awareness, the Project to End Human Trafficking (PEHT) hosts a free panel discussion, “Human Trafficking at Home & Abroad,” tomorrow night, at Point Park University’s JVH Auditorium.

Speakers include PEHT team members Mary Burke and Lynsie Clott, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Brad Orsini, photographer Maranie Staab, and the panel will be moderated by Chris Rolinson, associate professor of photography at Point Park.

The event highlights PEHT’s “Women and Children of Uganda” gallery exhibit, featuring Staab’s photographs of the organization’s work in Uganda. Staab’s photos will be on display in Point Park's Lawrence Hall through the end of December.

The Wed., Nov. 11, event takes place 6-9 p.m. at 201 Wood St., Downtown. Click here for more info.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Sync’d – live music with local silent shorts – is tomorrow night at Neu Kirche

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 12:26 PM

The Three Rivers Film Festival begins tonight, with films from around the world, but one of its more notable homegrown ingredients arrives tomorrow.

Film by Mike Bonello is part of Sync'd 7
  • Film by Mike Bonello is part of Sync'd 7
Sync’d 7 is this year’s incarnation of an evening-length program during which local musicians provide live scores for short silent films by local artists.

Tomorrow night, as part of the festival’s Micro-Cinema Side-bar, Sun Cycles (Matt and Jackie McDowell) and Cocoon II (Nick Fallwell and Caulen Kress) provide the sounds for films by such top local film and video artists as Ross Nugent, Padraic Driscoll, Tess Allard, Andrew Daub, Jenn Gooch, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, Michael Maraden, Andrew McIntyre, Ivette Spradlin and Athena Frances Harden, Justin Crimone and Mike Bonello. (Maraden is Sync’d’s organizer.)

Traditionally, the films range from abstracts to documentaries, though most are experimental. Most this year are in video, says Maraden, though Nugent’s contribution is a double-16 mm film projection.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. Admission includes free refreshments while supplies last. There will also be pre-show and intermission DJ sets by KMFD.

Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center is located at 1000 Madison Ave., in Deutschtown.





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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Phat Man Dee and Friends Share European Jaunt Tonight at Mr. Smalls

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 8:16 AM

Pittsburgh’s resident left-field jazz vocalist spent much of last summer touring the clubs and festivals of Europe – 15 cities in 12 countries.

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Being from Pittsburgh, she also sought artists with whom to collaborate on bridges, from jazz musicians to dancers and poets. The efforts and results — collectively titled “Take It to the Bridge with Phat Man Dee” — were captured on video by her traveling companion, Alistair McQueen.

You can see a sampling from the trip tonight as part of Mr. Smalls’ Creative.Life.Support Revival Series.

The evening includes both performances by Phat Man Dee and her band The Cultural District, and by others, and some of the video footage from the journey.

Guests include Paris-based, American-born jazz poet Moe Seager, who’ll perform accompanied by live jazz; Alistair “Smokin’” McQueen, who’s also a “boylesque” dancer; and belly-dancer and belly-dance teacher Maria Hamer, who’ll perform with some of her students.

The show is at 7 p.m. tonight, and follows the Creative.Life.Support pricing structure: free for those over 21, $2 for those under 21, with performers paid based on how many of the free tickets they distribute are redeemed at the door.

You can reserve tickets here.

Mr. Smalls is located at 400 Lincoln Ave., in Millvale.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Final Week for Psychedelic Monster Maze at Spirit in Lawrenceville

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 1:29 PM

Ian Brill's Psychedelic Monster Maze - PHOTO COURTESY OF RENEE ROSENSTEEL
  • Photo courtesy of Renee Rosensteel
  • Ian Brill's Psychedelic Monster Maze
Five nights remain to see local artist Ian Brill’s Psychedelic Monster Maze at Spirit — a brand-new Halloween attraction inside that popular nightspot.

The maze, located upstairs from Spirit Lodge, is supplemented by live music nightly through Halloween, culminating that night with a big costume party.

Brill’s Maze is a high-ceilinged structure made of back-lit white plastic panels that glow in a constantly shifting array of patterns and colors. In some respects, it’s an expanded version of Plume, an igloo-like installation he exhibited last year at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. (And Brill's been doing related work for years.)

While you might encounter the odd monster inside the Maze, the emphasis is decidedly on the psychedelic, with a spooky, ambient soundtrack.

The Maze, with its wide passageways, is not at all claustrophobic, though if you have trouble with rapidly blinking lights, you might want to exercise caution.
A wide-view rendering of the maze - IMAGE COURTESY OF SPIRIT
  • Image courtesy of Spirit
  • A wide-view rendering of the maze

At one of the maze’s exits, Spirit has added a small, walk-through haunted-house installation, which is kitted out with thrift-store finds and all the creepier for it.

Nearby, there’s another small room with a fun black light attraction by the Locomotive Explosive.

Tonight, the Maze’s accompanying musical attraction is the Weird Paul Rock Band. Five-dollar shows running from 8 p.m. to midnight continue tomorrow and Thursday.

On Friday and Saturday, admission bumps up to $15 for big parties occupying both floors of Spirit.

Friday’s party, Lazercrunk Devil’s Night, runs until midnight and features U.K. artist Sam Binga, special guests Tracksploitation and more downstairs, and upstairs (with the Maze, for no additional cover), a set by Silencio, the local group that performs the music of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti.

On Saturday, it’s the Lost Lodge Danse Macabre, with Joe Bickle (of Los Angeles’ Animal Club) and guests, a free pizza buffet and costume contest. The party goes until 2 a.m.

The shows are all-ages until 9 p.m., and 21-and-over afterward.
 
Spirit is located at 242 51st St., in Lawrenceville.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Global Links’ Dia De Los Muertos Fundraiser on Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Global Links, which sends surplus medical supplies from the U.S. to facilities in poor countries, is reprising the theme of last year’s fundraiser in hopes of an even bigger party.
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Like all Day of the Dead celebrations, this one should cheer the living, with food, cocktails, live performances and more.

The party, at Global Links’ warehouse headquarters, in Carnegie, runs 8-11 p.m. It features Latin American street food (from Edgar’s Tacos, La Palapa and more); beer and wine; visual art; a performance by dance troupe Attack Theatre; and dancing to the tunes of DJ Wayne Smith. A new wrinkle is haunted pinball machines form the Pennsylvania Coin Operated Hall of Fame & Museum.

Because Dia de los Muertos is sort of the Latino Halloween, guests often come costumed, or at least sporting the traditional Dia de los Muertos colors of orange, yellow, purple, pink or red. If you want to be a skull, Global Links will have face-painters. You can even get your fortune read.

A VIP party ($125) that starts at 6:30 p.m. includes a private dinner by local celebrity chef Bill Fuller, of Big Burrito; signature cocktails; and a live performance by the Mariachi Fiesta Band.

The party’s theme is especially apt because Global Links works mostly in the Western Hemisphere, and often with Latino countries. Countries it has served include Bolivia, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua.

The group, founded in 1989, ships everything from used hospital beds to still-packaged sutures that U.S. hospitals would have otherwise disposed of, simultaneously serving humanitarian and environmental missions. Its motto is “We work toward a day when no one will die for lack of what others throw away.”

Here’s a 2008 CP feature story on Global Links.

For tickets, or more info, see here or call 412-361-3424, x203.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Carnegie Museums celebrate 120 years with online contest

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 2:27 PM

The four museums celebrate their collective 120th birthday by going head-to-head in an online battle called “Clash of the Carnegies.”

Dippy - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CARNEGIE MUSEUMS
  • Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Museums
  • Dippy
The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center and The Andy Warhol Museum have each selected six artifacts, artworks or museum experiences to face off in a public online vote to begin Monday at www.carnegieclash.org.

The museum won't announce all the objects until Monday, but it has offered a sneak peak. Two of the natural-history museums offerings are Dippy the dinosaur and the 1867 diorama "Arab Courier Attacked by Lions." The CMOA has Teenie Harris' circa-1945 photo "Little Boy Boxer" and Van Gogh's "Wheat Fields after the Rain." The Science Center proffers its interactive robot Andy Roid and its Miniature Railroad & Village. And, the Warhol's putting up Warhol images "Cat" (from a 1954 book) and 1964's "Flowers."

There will be two rounds of voting, and the final four favorites — one from each museum — will then compete for “ultimate bragging rights.”

Andy Warhol's "Flowers" (1964) - THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM, ©THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS, INC.
  • The Andy Warhol Museum, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
  • Andy Warhol's "Flowers" (1964)
The winning object will be announced during the 120th-birthday celebration at the museums of art and natural history on Nov. 14. One guest will also win a prize package including a free one-year membership to the four museums.

The Carnegie Museums of art and natural history were founded in 1895 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who in his later years was known for his philanthropy. (The Science Center dates to 1939 and the Warhol opened in 1994.) Each year, the museums reach more than 1.3 million people and bring more than 150 special exhibitions, films, theater shows and live performances to the region.

The 120th birthday party is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 14, at the Carnegie Museums of art and natural history, 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland. Click here for more info. 





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Monday, September 28, 2015

Banned Books Week “Read-Out” on Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 4:51 PM

Freadom, the ACLU of Pennsylvania's 20th annual reading of banned books, is something of an all-star affair.

The readers and performers at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater — with favorites from years past — include WQED-based documentary filmmaker Rick Sebak, jazz vocalist Etta Cox, poet and “genius grant” winner Terrance Hayes and talk-show host Lynn Cullen.

There’ll also be a banned-books quiz, with prizes, and a banned-song singalong. The event is free, and recommended for teens and adults.

It’s not all straight literary readings, of course. Cox will sing “Strange Fruit,” the haunting anti-lynching song made famous by Billie Holiday, which was banned by some Southern radio stations.

Sebak will read from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Hayes will sample Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (banned in France, of all places, and elsewhere). And Cullen will go counterintuitive by reading from the Bible, which has been subject to censorship or bans in many countries over the decades.

Other guests include Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC), who’ll read from Margaret Sanger’s 1914 pamphlet “Family Limitation,” which explains how to prevent pregnancy and was the subject of a federal obscenity ban. LUPEC will also serve a special Banned Books Week cocktail to attendees over age 21.

The Banned Books Quiz, organized by the Carnegie’s own librarians, will include questions about “young adult” books, which are the most frequently challenged books in libraries. The quiz includes prizes.

And the karaoke-style banned-song group singalong will cover well-known songs banned from the airwaves.

The challenging and banning of books continues to be a problem in libraries. The ACLU reports that this year’s Top 10 list includes “And Tango Makes Three," a non-fiction book about two male penguins raising a chick, and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s debut novel, "The Bluest Eye.”

Freadom takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater (on the museum’s lower level). The museum is located at 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland.

The event’s sponsors also include the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and radio stations 90.5 WESA-FM and 91.3 WYEP-FM.

For more information, call the Pittsburgh office of the ACLU-PA at 412.681.7736, go here www.aclupa.org/takeaction/events/2015freadom/ or email FREADom@aclupa.org. 


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