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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Camp classic inspires Pittsburgh duo’s musical on Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Missy Moreno (left) and Connor McCanlus in "Whatever Happened to babyGRAND?" - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL RUBINO
  • Photo courtesy of Michael Rubino
  • Missy Moreno (left) and Connor McCanlus in "Whatever Happened to babyGRAND?"
Talented local duo babyGRAND, known for improvising whole musical comedies, perform a new but still largely improvised work, What Ever Happened to babyGRAND?

The show, which debuted at Arcade Comedy Theater during PrideFest 2016, adapts Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, the famed 1962 drama starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Davis plays a former child star who keeps her more successful sister, played by Crawford, a prisoner in their home after having run her over with a car decades earlier.

The show preserves the characters and iconic moments and costumes, but weaves them together “with improvised music crafted around a single audience suggestion.”

babyGRAND is composed of veteran locally based singers and actors Missy Moreno and Connor McCanlus. Moreno has toured with CLO’s Gallery of Heroes and worked with Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe. McCanlus has performed with Bricolage Productions, CLO Cabaret and Kinetic Theatre, and he runs the Pittsburgh Improv Jam.

What Ever Happened to babyGRAND? will be performed at 10 p.m. this Saturday at the CLO Cabaret Theater. The show runs 50 minutes.

Tickets are $10 at the door.

The CLO Cabaret Theater is located at 655 Penn Ave., Downtown.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Japanese folk tales take center stage at Pittsburgh's City of Asylum on Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 2:25 PM

  • Photo courtesy of City of Asylum
  • Kuniko Yamamoto

Visiting storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto will take families on a journey to Japan this Saturday at City of Asylum’s Alphabet City tent. Her Origami Tales continues a new series, Summer on Sampsonia, named after the North Side street that the nonprofit literary center calls home.

Combining origami, masks, musical instruments and mime to tell traditional tales, Yamamoto gives audiences a chance to experience firsthand the culture of Japan.

Yamamato is a native of Japan currently based in Florida. Trained by renowned mime/actor Tony Montanaro, Yamamoto has performed extensively at venues throughout the U.S., including Disney’s Epcot Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Thanks to her magician husband, she also incorporates subtle illusions into her ancient stories.

As City of Asylum preps for the upcoming opening of its new Alphabet City cultural center, in the former Masonic Building, near the Garden Theater, it continues using a large tent adjacent to its headquarters to host literary, jazz and cultural events.

Origami Tales takes place on Sat., Aug. 20, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 318 Sampsonia Way, on the North Side. The event is free to the public, but reservations are encouraged.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

House-sized artwork premieres at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory tomorrow

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 11:02 AM

Detail of Dennis Maher's "A Second Home" - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE MATTRESS FACTORY
  • Image courtesy of the Mattress Factory
  • Detail of Dennis Maher's "A Second Home"
Buffalo-based artist Dennis Maher premieres A Second Home, his new work that that fills all three floors of the Mattress Factory’s galleries at 516 Sampsonia Way.

As City Paper glimpsed in a walk-through while the site-specific installation was in progress, Second Home packs the building with an array of architectural elements — from wooden archways to miniature curving staircases.

That was about two months ago, which suggests how extensive a process this is for Maher, an artist, architect and educator whose recent projects “have focused on processes of disassembly and reconstitution through drawing, photography, collage and constructions,” according to press materials.

Maher is a professor in the Department of Architecture at Buffalo-SUNY whose works have been exhibited across the U.S. and as far afield as Spain. His award-winning work has been featured in publications from the The New York Times to Architectural Review.

Second Home will be on view “for an undetermined amount of time.”

An opening reception is 6-8 p.m. tomorrow, in the museum’s lobby at 500 Sampsonia Way, on the North Side. Guided tours of Second Home will be given throughout the evening.

Admission is free.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pittsburgh's inaugural Re:NEW Festival to celebrate sustainability and reuse through art

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 4:27 PM

Artist and Pittsburgh resident Bill Miller's "Three Sisters" was made from vintage linoleum flooring. Miller has exhibited with Drap-Art for four years. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE GREATER PITTSBURGH ARTS COUNCIL
  • Image courtesy of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Artist and Pittsburgh resident Bill Miller's "Three Sisters" was made from vintage linoleum flooring. Miller has exhibited with Drap-Art for four years.
Local officials today announced the inaugural Re:NEW Festival, which unites more than 20 organizations and dozens of artists to celebrate the themes of sustainability, transformation and creative reuse citywide.

Re:NEW, taking place Sept. 9 to Oct. 9, will be highlighted by the North American premiere of Drap-Art, the international festival of recycling art from Spain, at the Wintergarden at PPG Place. Drap-Art will feature about 80 works of art all constructed from discarded materials.

Other art installations will go up at Gateway Center, U.S. Steel Tower Plaza and in the North Side's Deutschtown neighborhood. Exhibits are scheduled at 709 Gallery and the Big Room at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, in Downtown; Sweetwater Center for the Arts, in Swickley; and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, in Shadyside.

The festival will also feature walking and biking tours to explore green community initiatives, study native trees Downtown with artist Ann Rosenthal, and discover green spaces throughout the Hill District.

Leadership behind the new festival includes the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Sustainable Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
The festival also includes the latest installment of Art Olympics, on Sept. 17 at 613 Smithfield St., with teams of artists putting their creativity to the test with items donated by Goodwill.

Other events include bestselling author Sebastian Junger discussing his latest book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, on Sept. 15 at the Carnegie Lecture Hall.

In addition, music and dance performances, workshops for families, film screenings, TEDx speakers, school visits and even a dinner cooked using "rescued" grocery-store produce will color the month-long festival. Prepare to start looking at "garbage" in a whole new light.

To learn more about the Re:NEW Festival and its lengthy list of events, visit www.renewfestival.com.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Pittsburgh's Bricolage seeks holidays-themed radio plays

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 11:35 AM

If you'd like to see your work staged for radio (and no, that's not an oxymoron), Bricolage Production Company has an opportunity for you.

The company, known for its Midnight Radio shows, is accepting submissions of original 15-minute radio plays to be produced as part of its holiday variety hour this December, at Bricolage's Downtown theater space.

No prior radio writing experience is necessary. The scripts should be family-friendly, related to the winter holidays (from Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to Festivus) and include dynamic sound effects. (Midnight Radio shows are staged for live audiences and not necessarily broadcast; part of the fun is watching performers come up with the appropriate sound effects live on stage.)

The scripts should be 15 to 20 pages long and be a single episode (not a cliffhanger) written for four actors. Also, Bricolage notes, "funny is a plus" and "relevance to Pittsburgh is a plus." One possible model is the company's 2015 show Yinz'r Scrooged.

The deadline is Sept. 1. Submit to submissions@webbricolage.org.

Two plays will be selected for production, and each writer will receive a stipend of $200.

The complete call for submissions follows the jump.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Revamped Pittsburgh park re-opens Saturday as August Wilson Park

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 11:27 AM

Teenie Harris photos displayed along the fence by the park's half basketball court - PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT ROLLER/PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
  • Photo courtesy of Scott Roller/Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Teenie Harris photos displayed along the fence by the park's half basketball court

Among Pittsburgh's neighborhood parks, there won't be one with a better view (to name just one amenity) than the brand-new August Wilson Park. The extensively renovated former Cliffside Park, with its spectacular view of the Allegheny River and the North Side, opens with a community celebration this Saturday.

The view north from August Wilson Park (North Side visible in the background) - PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT ROLLER/PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
  • Photo courtesy of Scott Roller/Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • The view north from August Wilson Park (North Side visible in the background)
The park is named, of course, for Wilson, the two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright who grew up literally right around the corner. And in fact, that building on Bedford Street, now known as the August Wilson house is itself under renovation, and for the month is the venue for a production of Wilson's Seven Guitars.

The new park, which is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, includes a multi-age playground, a half basketball court, a performance space and more.

Special features include installations honoring the work of Wilson himself and banners with photos by famed Pittsburgh-based photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris. (Featured quotes from Wilson's plays include this one, from Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: "You don't sing to feel better. You sing 'cause that's a way of understanding life.")

Quotes from August Wilson plays adorn a wall in his namesake park. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT ROLLER/PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
  • Photo courtesy of Scott Roller/Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Quotes from August Wilson plays adorn a wall in his namesake park.
Partners on the park's renovation included Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the city's Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments, Hill House Association and the Daisy Wilson Artist Community (which is renovating the Wilson House), all with input from the community, according to a Parks Conservancy press release.

Saturday's events run from 2-4 p.m. and include a ribbon-cutting, "a festive all-ages procession along the park's winding entry path," music, activities for kids, and treats from Hill District food vendors.

August Wilson Park is located at 1801 Cliff St., a block off Bedford.

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Escape artist Michael Griffin takes on new challenge in Pittsburgh

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 8:45 AM

Michael Griffin
  • Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin defines death-defying. As a two-time World Magic Award-winner and escape artist, the Pittsburgh local has survived a hanging while on the back of a horse and, in a separate stunt, while being submerged in the ocean trapped in Harry Houdini’s original underwater box. Griffin has been featured on Masters of Illusion, America's Got Talent and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

On Aug. 12, at 7:30 p.m., Griffin will perform his latest interactive show, 50 Shades of Great, at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont. The program is filled with mind experiments, dangerous stunts and audience participation.

As a special challenge, if 200 tickets or more are sold by Aug. 10, Griffin will be handcuffed and attached with 30 pounds of chains to a cement block and dropped into the Allegheny River at noon on Aug. 11. The location has yet to be specified.

Tickets for 50 Shades of Great range from $17 to $25 for VIP front table seating.

The Oaks Theater is at 310 Allegheny River Blvd., in Oakmont.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Iconic Pittsburgh filmmaker Tony Buba featured at the Carnegie tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

  • Image courtesy of Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton
  • Tony Buba in "No Place But Home"

A new documentary short about one of Pittsburgh's most notable artists highlights a free evening with Buba at the museum.

In "No Place but Home," local filmmakers Ryan Loew and Matthew Newton let Buba tell the story of his four-decade career in his own words.

The eight-minute film covers a career largely defined by Buba's work illuminating his hometown of Braddock, the formerly booming Mon Valley mill town that, by the time Buba started making films, in the 1970s, had fallen on hard times.

Buba's work — including possibly his magnum opus, the feature-length "Rust Bowl fantasy" Lightning Over Braddock (1988) — has earned him international acclaim, and honors including, in 2012, a five-day retrospective at New York City's prestigious Anthology Film Archives.

Tony Buba (right) on the set of 1988's "Lightning Over Braddock" - IMAGE COURTESY OF BRADDOCK FILMS
  • Image courtesy of Braddock Films
  • Tony Buba (right) on the set of 1988's "Lightning Over Braddock"

Tomorrow's "No Place but Home" screening is followed by a selection of Buba's own signature shorts, including: "Betty's Corner Cafe" (1976), about a neighborhood bar and its characters; "Washing Walls With Mrs. G" (1980), his warmhearted and hilarious portrait of his grandmother; "Mill Hunk Herald" (1981), about the legendary workers' newspaper; "Fade Out" (1998), a film that lyrically suggests the town's fate at the hands of the planned Mon Valley Expressway; and 2007's "Ode to a Steeltown." There's also a never-before-seen short, followed by a Q&A with Buba.

The evening, co-sponsored by WESA 90.5 FM, is part of the Carnegie's Double Exposure series, which features artists, curators and others discussing the legacy of the avant-garde film and video of the 1960s-80s.

The event runs 6-8 p.m. Admission is free.

The Carnegie is located at 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Free Admission to Pittsburgh-area Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village this weekend

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 4:49 PM

If you've never been to this remarkable historic site and history center just an hour west of Pittsburgh, — and plenty of Pittsburghers haven't — this offer of free entry is the perfect excuse.

  • Photo courtesy of John Heinz History Center
  • Meadowcroft Rockshelter
Meadowcroft, in Avella, Washington County, is home to what's touted as the longest continuous site of human habitation in North America: a massive rock overhang used as a seasonal shelter by Native Americans as long as 16,000 years ago.

In addition to interpretive exhibits about that attraction, Meadowcroft (part of the John Heinz History Center), also includes a replica of a 16th-century Eastern Woodland Indian Village and two 1770s-era structures like those European settlers would have inhabited in the Upper Ohio Valley.

Visitors can use an atlatl — a spear-throwing implement used by prehistoric hunters — watch a blacksmithing demonstration, and more.

Courtesy of the Jack Buncher Foundation, admission to Meadowcroft is free this Saturday and Sunday for all adults, children and seniors. 

Meadowcroft is open noon-5 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, see here.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pittsburgh’s Inaugural Homewood-Brushton Self-Guided Arts and Culture Tour this Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:42 AM


Cultural treasures past and present are the focus of this free neighborhood tour, which takes place in conjunction with this year’s Harambee Black Arts Festival.

After picking up your tour map at the festival’s registration table (located on Kelly Street between North Lang and North Homewood avenues), head out to see sites associated with pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn, photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, pioneering black supermodel Naomi Sims, jazz musician Erroll Garner and more. All these luminaries lived, worked or played in Homewood.

Architectural landmarks include Mystery Manor, home to the National Negro Opera Company (the nation’s first African-American opera troupe), and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — Homewood.

The tour is presented by Operation Better Block, Inc., and the Homewood-Brushton Business Association and Homewood Artist Residency. Organizers include historian and author John Brewer, Jr., Operation Better Block’s Demi Kolke, art historian Kilolo Luckett, and the HBBA’s Diane Turner.

Free transportation is available for seniors and those with physical disabilities. For more information, see here.

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