Last week in our Local Beat column, I told you about the singer-songwriter competition going on in Lawrenceville for the past couple of months. Last night was the finals, and here are the results:
First place went to Louisville, Ky.-based Zach Austin Longoria. New Kensington's Jay Stenger took second place, and third place went to Jordan Auth of the North Side.
Congrats to the winners!
Monday MP3 madness! This week we have an MP3 coming from girl/guy duo Mad Rapture.
Combining real instrumentation with electronic production, Mad Rapture serves up some high energy tunes in an old meets new style. Check out their song "Two Steps" for yourself!
The upcoming Thrival Festival at Bakery Square 2 had already announced performances by Scottish indie faves Frightened Rabbit and producer/musician RJD2 in addition to locals Formula 412; yesterday, the festival organizers confirmed De La Soul as the final act to be announced for the festival.
The festival, which takes place Sat., Sep. 7, is sponsored by Thrill Mill, the East Liberty startup working space, and PNC Bank. It's designed to be part music festival, part innovation spectacular, allowing local startups to show off their talents for investors and the public.
General admission tickets are $20 and available here; there's also a $100 VIP package. Bakery Square 2 is the annex of the Bakery Square development, on the site where Reizenstein Middle School stood until recently.
On Saturday, newly launched sneaker cleaning and restoration company Refresh PGH hosted their first annual Pittsburgh Sneaker Convention at the August Wilson Center. From 1-8 p.m., upward of a thousand people filed up the stairs in the building on Liberty Avenue, where about 30 sneaker and clothing brand dealers had set-up booths to buy, sell, and trade with attendees. A shared interest and passion was evident ranging from the hardcore sneaker collectors to adolescent teenagers shopping for back-to-school shoes.
“I went to an urban high school where your shoes kind of defined you,” says Sean Devine, a Peabody High School grad and co-founder, along with schoolmate Baldwin Dawkins, of Refresh PGH. “Growing up you always wanted to have the newest Jordan’s, newest Barkley’s, basically whatever athlete you liked you wanted to have their shoes on your feet. You know, you thought it made you play better.”
While there were some moderately priced sneakers available, the hot commodity at an event such as this are mostly rare and retro sneakers. A pair of sneakers that are 15-20 years old and in great condition might cost a buyer several hundred or even thousand dollars. There are more current and newly released sneakers that can garner a similar price tag, as alternate color-ways and limited supply of a particular shoe can generate a high demand.
The idea to start Refresh PGH partially stemmed from Devine’s interest as a collector: “At a point you get to saying, 'Man, I’m spending thousands of dollars a year on these shoes, it’s time to start making some money back or making a profit off of it.’ So, what we want to do is make some money off of the actual services without exploiting the culture.”
The business started online, where it provided services such as sneaker cleaning, restoration, and consignment opportunities. A good response and growing demand has inspired continuing development for Refresh PGH. In the coming months, they’ll be opening a store on Penn Avenue in Garfield next to fellow Pittsburgh fashion-related start-up Daily Bread (which specializes in streetwear clothing).
Devine plans to bring the aforementioned sneaker culture of larger cities to Pittsburgh, while also applying some blue collar customer service to his business: “We’re gonna have a ‘wall of shoes,’ kind of like they have in Flight Club in New York and L.A. You’ll also be able to come and kick your shoes off, pay 20 bucks, and get them cleaned on the spot. We almost wanna be like a dry-cleaner for shoes.”
For services and updates related to Refresh PGH, interested parties can find them on Instagram and Twitter @RefreshPGH
Hey! It's Monday, which means back to work AND a sick free MP3! This week we are offering some soulful, sexy R&B from local musician Landon Thomas.
Thomas' track "Bang" is up for stream and download this week. You can check out the rest of his EP, The Heartbreaker here.
Two quick news items on the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild front:
— The MGC Jazz series has a show planned for next February called "Three Generations of Jazz," in which three generations of male jazz singers will perform. The problem is, they don't have a young jazz singer — yet. That's where you come in. They're taking submissions for a contest to be the third singer, on a bill with Allan Harris and Ernie Andrews. To enter, you must be between 18 and 35. More details here.
— Folks of all ages will be interested in MCG's yard sale, taking place as we speak. It started yesterday and goes through Saturday, and features everything from t-shirts to audio and soundproofing equipment. It's your chance to own a piece of a Grammy-winning studio! Here's the info:
This week's MP3 Monday is a little ®¡Ð¡¢üĻøû$. Up for listening and download is Åü®å by $ñ€åK¥m¡K€.
It's hard to categorize $ñ€åK¥'s sound into a genre, but he certainly knows how to start a party. He's opened shows for artists from all over the musical map including the Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalifa, Matt and Kim, Andrew WK, Electric Six and Wang Chung.
In a gathering that united some of Pittsburgh’s fashion icons and trendsetters, Style & Steel hosted their first ‘Superwomen In Heels’ Style Awards. Thursday evening at the Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District, men and women dressed their best for the ceremony that celebrated women working in a variety of areas in the style and fashion business. Style Award categories included Designer of the Year, Make-Up Artist of the Year, Model of the Year, and Stylist of the Year, among others.
“It’s not often that women get together and celebrate one another,” says Style & Steel founder Wadria Taylor. “I feel great seeing the women feel good about themselves.”
Lakisha Pattin has been a freelance stylist for about seven years. She also does make-up and runs her own company, Focused Fashion Consulting, LLC. At the ‘Superwomen In Heels’ Style Awards, she received the award for Stylist of the Year.
“It feels good to be appreciated for your hard work,” Pattin says. “This is something that’s very exciting, and it really helps to jump-start more fashion works in Pittsburgh by bringing different arts together, from make-up’s and hair, to styling, to photography.”
21-year-old Makayla Wray was an arts feature and City Paper cover-girl in the month of July. Honored with the Style & Steel award for Young Stylista On the Rise, she agrees with Pattin on the potential network and creative opportunities that can develop from the initiative Style & Steel is presenting.
“It’s kind of like a sorority of women who are doing something in Pittsburgh,” says Wray. “You know, Beyonce used all women in her concert sets — guitarists, drummer, her background dancers were all women. That’s amazing, women really have to stand together and be strong. I think we’re here to better each other.”
Thursday’s Style Awards is part of Style & Steel’s first Style Week. On Wednesday, the company founded by Wadria Taylor held their launch event which welcomed a local celebrities, fashionistas, and socialites. Continuing into the weekend, Style & Steel will be presenting a fashion show, boutique crawl, and concluding Sunday with a beauty boot camp in collaboration with CitySTYLE.
List of Style Awards Honorees:
Style Icon of the Year: Debbie Norrell
Superwoman of the Year: Demeatria Boccella
Model of the Year: Ernesta Pollard
Make-Up Artist of the Year: Patty Bell
Designer of the Year: Lana Neumeyer
Stylist of the Year: Lakisha Pattin
Most Stylish Host: Vanessa Doss
Most Stylish Artist: Vanessa German
Young Stylista on the Rise: Makayla Wray
Fashion Photographer of the Year: Mary Beth Kratsas
According to a press release from Style & Steel, a Style Committee comprising of fashion industry insiders evaluated nominees and determined the honorees. Style Award Committee members were Sabrina R. Clark, Fashion Editor with Soul Pitt Media Consultant and Stylist at Sabrina’s Fashion Consulting, Eric Gaines, Founder of Emage Models, LaMont Jones, a Pittsburgh fashion icon, Allegra Johnson, founder of CitySTYLE and journalist with American Urban Radio Networks, and Leigh Pugliano, founder and CEO of Straight Forward Consulting. Prior to the awards ceremony, which was hosted by KDKA’s Lynn Hayes-Freeland, singer Anqwenique Wingfield & Groove Aesthetic impressed the audience with a live performance blending opera, jazz, and soul.
Style & Steel Presents Style Week, upcoming events:
Saturday, August 10 — Boutique Crawl, 12p-5p
Boutiques throughout the city will be featuring trunk shows and special promotions exclusively to Style Week patrons. Participating locations will be announced shortly. Free and open to the public.
Sunday, August 11 — CitySTYLE presents Beauty Boot Camp — LaLa’s Salon, 1p-4p | $25
Get glam. Get fab. Get fierce. Stylistas will be treated to massages, make-up and style makeovers, facials, demonstrations, and a variety of vendors.
A quick round-up of some weekend events that didn't make it into the paper this week but are still worth checking out:
— Tonight at Altar Bar, Ben Sollee plays, with local opener A.G. Levine, who used to go by Adam Levine, which really is his name, until he gave in to the fact that everyone would come to his shows expecting him to be the dude from The Voice.
— If your tastes skew a little weirder, try Psych Out, a show featuring locals Slinky, Hunted Creatures and Lost Realms. If you're having trouble reading that flier, let me help you: It's at Wood Street Galleries, it's at 10 p.m., and it's free.
— For the metal folks: Locals Molasses Barge headline a show at Gooski's that also includes OutsideInside, Resin and Admiral Browning.
— And there's a big benefit show at Stage AE for Operation Doug, which aims to get Sgt. Doug Vitale a smart home after he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs. The Lt. Dan Band, which features Gary Sinise, plays that one.
— Tomorrow (Saturday), there's a big bash at Howlers featuring Endless Mike and the Beagle Club, The Homeless Gospel Choir, The Maxipads(!) and Hitodama.
— And of course, as I did note in this week's issue, all day and all night tomorrow is Rock All Night Tour in Lawrenceville! Go out and get it!
Graveface Records is underwater. Well, it was. The independently owned Savannah, Georgia record label suffered an immense amount of flood damage three years ago, and just recovered it’s salvageable stock in addition to getting slammed with court fees.
Compulsive music addict and sole label owner and operator, Ryan Graveface, a.k.a. the guitarist of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and member of Dreamend, The Marshmallow Ghosts and The Casket Girls, is asking for donations to help cover bill that racked up as a result of insurance coverage dispute to keep the label in existence.
The Indiegogo fundraiser has 20 tiers of “perks” ranging from rare and unreleased vinyl to taxidermy to homemade Ouija boards as well as an exclusive release of the new Marshmallow Ghosts Halloween album.
You can help save Graveface Records here.