Local writer Matthew Newton has started a new small press, and is launching it with his own lovely new zine, titled “In Case of Emergency.” The event is tomorrow night, at Braddock’s UnSmoke Systems Artspace.
Newton’s new small-press venture is called No Empire, and “Emergency” is its first publication.
Newton has written for publications including The Atlantic, Esquire, Forbes, Guernica and Spin. (He’s also written for CP from time to time.)
Tomorrow’s event, co-presented with Small Press Pittsburgh, includes a Small Press pop-up bookshop with works by local authors; vintage-goods shop Do Not Destroy; and readings by Newton, Karen Dietrich and Karen Lillis (who runs Small Press Pittsburgh).
It’s also a chance to see the art exhibit View From A Hill, Devon Johnson’s "psychological portrait of the landscape of Pittsburgh."
Doors at UnSmoke open tomorrow at 6 p.m, with readings at 7 p.m. The gallery is located at 1137 Braddock Ave., in Braddock. The event is free.
Arriving past our deadline was word of Pittsburgh Collects, an exhibition of 75 images contributed by three local collectors.
The collectors represented are Evan Mirapaul, Graham Shearing an an anonymous collector.
Mirapaul, though known locally as founder and director of the Pgh Photo Fair, is also co-chair of the library committee of the International Center for Photography. Shearing, a curator and consultant, has written art criticism for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Quarterly.
According to the Silver Eye press release, the images in the show reflect both photographic history and current trends, from silver-gelatin prints to digital prints. Minor White and Josef Sudek are among the widely famed artists whose work is included. Local photographers whose work is represented include Sue Abramson, William D. Wade and the late Aaronel deRoy Gruber.
The exhibition is organized by Brian Lang, curator of the BNY Mellon Corporate Art Collection (and Silver Eye’s board chair) and Marcia Rosenthal, an independent art consultant, fine-art appraiser (and Silver Eye board member).
The show continues through Jan. 11. Silver Eye Center for Photography is located at 1015 E. Carson St., on the South Side.
Those looking for an arty way to spend the holiday can check out a performance by a pair of the artists represented in the museum’s current Detroit: Artists in Residence show.
The triptych includes three shorter films, “Decampment” (2008), “Traditions” (2010) and “Possessions” (2010). (The films are in color, though the accompanying promo still is in black and white.)
Kuperus and Miller will perform the soundtrack as ADULT., the electronic musical duo under whose name they’ve released five full-length albums and performed live internationally.
Here’s a description of the film from its Facebook page: “The approximately 95 minute presentation consists of three interconnected short films; the first being the silent-experimental-horror mirage DECAMPMENT, which was made in 2008. DECAMPMENT follows a provisional women's transmigration from her ‘past’ life into a new society full of deceit and fable. The second chapter in the trilogy is entitled TRADITIONS (2010). TRADITIONS follows two young female friends and their matriarchs, all with unknown (and unchosen) inheritances, down four crossed paths. The trilogy concludes with the brand new dark and claustrophobic installment entitled POSSESSION(S) (2010). POSSESSION(S) simultaneously completes and ignores the narrative triad with doubles.”
In Detroit: Artists in Residence, Kuperus and Miller contributing Diptyching , a somewhat unsettling and somewhat hilarious video installation that depicts two anonymous jump-suited figures undertaking a series of home-improvement tasks, with disastrous results.
Trailers for the Three Grace(s) films suggest that they have different settings and varied scenarios, but a similar vibe.
Tomorrow’s show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include beer and “movie snacks.” More info here.
And yes, costumes are welcome.
The past few summers, the Moth Mainstage program filled the 500-seat New Hazlett Theater. But in this, its fifthl appearance, the annual show made the big leap to the Byham with seemingly little trouble, selling all but a handful of the Downtown venue’s 1,300 seats.
As usual, the Mainstage show matched local and visiting talent. Chicago-based teller Shannon Cason told a riveting story of how a bank-manager job he had as a young man collided with his gambling problem. And New Yorker Trisha Coburn offered a dazzlingly detailed account of how a 1960s-era charm school changed her life as a small-town Alabama girl on welfare.
Local performers included Kelly Flanagan Dee, who produces Pittsburgh’s monthly Moth StorySLAM, at the Rex Theater, and who told of trying to relate to sketchy South Side neighbors as a younger woman.
Two other Pittsburgh-based tellers were among the evening’s biggest hits. Justin Strong, who founded the recently shuttered East Liberty cultural landmark the Shadow Lounge, told how the venue came to be — it was the next step from the parties he held in his off-campus house as a Pitt student — and its precarious early days, long before anybody was bothering to gentrify 'Sliberty.
The story included a tibdbit Strong later confirmed he’d never mentioned publicly before: how, in 2002, with the Lounge about to lose its lease, neighboring East Liberty Presbyterian Church stepped in with cash assistance and other behind-the-scenes help. The Lounge lasted another 11 years.
The evening’s closer, and the only national celebrity on the bill, was David Newell. The actor better known as speedy-deliveryman Mr. McFeely, on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, told how he got into acting — a charming anecdote about seeing his first play at age 8, a production of Harvey starring Joe E. Brown, at Downtown’s old Nixon Theater. (This was in the mid-1940s, shortly before the grand old theater was demolished.)
Newell’s story, a heartwarming tribute to Fred Rogers and his long-running show, included an anecdote set in 1982, in NBC headquarters, in New York. (Rogers was there to guest on Letterman — with Julie Andrews and Andy Kaufman!) At the encouragement of an NBC staffer, Newell accompanied Rogers to the dressing room of Eddie Murphy, whose spoof “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood” was then a recurring skit on Saturday Night Live. (The summit ended in a hug.) Cute stuff.
A club for “music obsessives” that includes some notable local musicians has a new compilation CD, with two release events planned in the coming week. The first is Thursday.
MM26 compiles tracks by attendees of the monthly music meeting held by artist and filmmaker tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. Participants talk about and play a wide range of sounds, including jazz, pop, musique concrete, contemporary classical, sound art and more.
The CD includes work by Ben Opie’s jazz group Flexure; pop/rock numbers by Unfinished Symphonies; Zout’s “post-klezmer jazz”; Rey Freme’s electro-acoustic music; contemporary classical by composer Matt Aelmore; Anthony Levin-Decanini’s musique concrete; and Tent’s own “low classical Usic.”
This Thursday, as part of Levin-Decanini’s Crucible Sound series at ModernFormations Gallery, there’s an 8 p.m. release show featuring three sets of improvised music by a group composed of several music-meeting types, including Opie, Aelmore, Freme and Tent, most of them playing electronic or wind instruments. Shorts by Tent will screen between sets. The show is free, with a requested donation. (An $8 donation scores you a CD.) ModernFormations is at 4919 Penn Ave., in Garfield.
The second event is next Tue., Aug. 13, at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., N. Oakland). This event focuses more on films related to the music meeting, though the short movies are interspersed with live performances by Aelmore, Levin-Decanini, Haney and Tent. The Aug. 13 show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $4-8.
Twelve high school students and one twenty-something actor comprise the cast of this year’s Urban Impact Shakes production of Much Ado About Nothing. There is 32 years of Shakespeare experience between the 12 students in the cast. The youngest cast member is 13.
Urban Impact is a Christian community-development nonprofit that works with inner-city students. Most of the students live on the North Side and are in the Pittsburgh Public school system.
Much Ado About Nothing, which will be at the New Hazlett Theater tomorrow and Wednesday, is the fourth production put on by the Shakes program since it began in 2010. After the Pittsburgh performances, the group will go on tour, taking their production to Buffalo, N.Y.
The Shakes actors have met four times a week since June. A typical meeting is six hours and includes acting workshops, Bible study, English classes, lunch and rehearsal. This schedule is telling of the Urban Impact philosophy, which touts the holistic approach to development, aiming to address students’ academic, physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Eric Anderson, the performing-arts program manager at Urban Impact and the director of Much Ado About Nothing, believes the program is valuable because it utilizes each student’s talents. They chose Much Ado About Nothing partly because they knew one of the Urban Impact students was a talented songwriter.
The adaptability of Shakespeare fits well with the goals of the program: “Shakespeare is really vigorous; it makes people think,” Anderson says, but also “it can fit our students.” Past productions have included a “Rome-punk” version of Julius Caesar and a Depression-era rendition of Romeo & Juliet. As a director, Anderson encourages the students to be 50 percent the characters and 50 percent themselves. “So they’re not traditional soldiers coming back to Messina; they’re young men, the high school aged boys, who are playing them, too.”
Anderson explains that this production has borrowed from the style of Mumford & Sons and other neo-folk bands. This folky inspiration shaped the costume and set designs, which Anderson describes as natural and whimsical. The students and adult volunteers wrote folk-inspired melodies to compliment the lyrics in Shakespeare’s comedy.
During the show, periodically, the students yell “stop!” and break the fourth wall to address the audience with personal testimonies about their spiritual journeys and how they can relate to what’s happening on stage.
“People have always been surprised, and will be surprised, that some of these students bring so much life and so much depth to their characters,” Anderson says, “It’s amazing.”
The performances on Tuesday and Wednesday start at 8 p.m. Ticketas are $8-12. For more information, call 412-321-3811, x128, or visit urbanimpactpittsburgh.org.
The street market on North Pacific Avenue, fairly food-oriented, will include familiar vendors like the Franktuary truck and Fukuda’s Lomito truck, as well as The Creped Crusader and Garfield-based vendors Healcrest Farm and Abby’s Sweets and Treats.
Also expect reps from the Carnegie Libraries, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and upcycled-accessories maker Bulla Designs.
The Night Market, a project of cityLAB and the Bloomfield-Garfield Corp., is meant to foster vendors from the neighborhood — business-incubator style — and to build a connection between Unblurred and the neighborhood.
The Garfield Night Market runs 6-10 p.m., about the same as Unblurred. Future Night Markets will also coincide with upcoming Unblurreds, on Sept. 6 and Oct. 4.
If you’re into underground comics and outsider art in general, a stop at Future Tenant might be in order this Friday.
FT says the show “will feature traditional sculpture, outsider sculpture, and Obscuro art and comics all unified by their singularity of vision.”
The media include comics, sculptures and woven masks. The artists include Thomas Rehm (who also curated), Elmore “Buzz” Buzzizyk and Maximum Traffic (locally based founder of comics and art zine The White Buffalo Gazette). Friday’s special guest is Obscuro cartoonist Steve Londy Willis, creator of underground comix fave Morty Dog. And there’ll be live music from local duo Pairdown.
The show’s Facebook page has a little more detail
Friday’s opening runs 7-10 p.m. It’s free and includes drinkies compliments of Straub, Jack’s Hard Cider and Johnnie Ryan Soda.
If you miss the opening, gallery hours are 1-6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and 1-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There’s also an Aug. 24 Zine Exchange at the space, co-sponsored by the Roboto Project..
Tonight, the neighborhood’s burgeoning nightlife and culture district adds an art venue, and the next night bids farewell to Butler Street stalwart Fe Gallery.
The new place, The Inn, is the latest incarnation of an art venue/project that began life a few years back in Shadyside as The College Inn Project. It’s now taken over the second floor of the former tire plant at 5601 Butler St.
The space (pictured below), focuses on local artists and is run by artists/curators Stephen Tuomala and Sarah Humphrey. (The latter an occasional CP contributor.)
Then, on Friday, after a decade on the block, Fe holds one last event before closing its doors. Jill Larson launched the storefront gallery in August 2001, back when art galleries and boutiques were rather more rare on Butler than now.
Two years ago, with Fe ensconced as one of the city’s better small galleries, Larson left to pursue her own curatorial and art practices. But while the gallery was not expensive to run, board president Sara Dixon says it became harder and harder to secure grant money and other donations. “A lot of good organizations and not enough money to go around,” Dixon said on Tuesday.
The board had been discussing closing the space since January, she said. Things only got harder when Jared Boyer, Larson’s longtime assistant who then ran the gallery, was hospitalized with an illness in May.
“The goal has always been 10 years for us,” says Dixon. “We’ve made it 10 years and it’s a good number to close on.”
The final art exhibit at Fe was Alabaster Blast, a fiber-art show curated, coincidentally, by none other than Larson. The space subsequently hosted a small theatrical production. Larson didn’t know at the time that hers was the final show at the venue she had launched and then spent eight years of her life running.
“I put a lot of everything into that space, and I really hoped I’d be able to take my grandchildren there,” she said in a phone interview yesterday. Both of her sons largely grew up in that space, including the younger boy, now 11, for whom the gallery’s storage closet was his nursery.
“What was always unique about Fe was it was a gallery for local artists, but it welcomed artists from out of town,” putting the Pittsburgh work in a larger context, said Larson.
Most of the shows were group shows. Asked to recall some favorites, Larson cites Fear: Real or Imagined, for which she hung 100 nooses in the gallery and had a collaborator install a suspended floor that swayed when visitors walked on it. She also recalled Boys Will Be Boys: “It pushed a lot of stereotypes.”
Then there was the big Pittsburgh 250 show, for the city’s anniversary, which drew an incredible 1,000 visitor on its first night. When he saw the line of visitors snaking around the corner, her older son said, “Mom, you’ve made it!”
Dixon said it’s possible the Fe brand will remain, perhaps via pop-up events.
The physical Fe, at 4102 Butler St., closes Friday night with a free reception from 7-11 p.m. titled (Fe)nale, featuring music by DJ Zannaz.
“We’ll launch the duck around 6 p.m. that evening” is a phrase you don’t hear daily. But at this morning’s press conference, the Trust’s Paul Organisak was having some fun announcing the whimsical treat that will kick off this rather prestigious fall festival of performing and visual arts.
The duck in question is The Rubber Duck, an international phenomenon involving a yellow ducky the size of a yacht that’s already turned heads from Amsterdam to Sao Paulo and Hong Kong. Here’s a photo from the artist’s site:
As the festival’s title implies, it’ll be the first U.S. appearance for not just the Bunyanesque toy waterfowl, but also for each of seven edgy performance works and four visual art exhibitions, all in and around Downtown from Sept. 28-Oct. 26.
Previous Festivals of Firsts, in 2004 and 2008, were hits, and this one sounds pretty promising too.
The kickoff performance is a dance show by the internationally acclaimed Compagnie Marie Chouinard that includes the U.S. premiere of “Gymnopedies,” set to solo piano works by Erik Satie, and “Henri Michaux:Movements,” inspired by poems and drawings by the Belgian artist. The troupe is familiar to Pittsburgh Dance Council devotees — no coincidence, as Festival curator Organisak also runs the Dance Council.
Next comes Kiss & Cry, in which a miniature theater performance — featuring human hands portraying characters on tiny sets — is transformed into a “live movie” for the audience. The story is a drama about a woman recounting her greatest loves; the troupe is Belgium’s NanoDanses, Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael.
Also on the program: The Pigenoning, Brooklyn-based Robin Frohardt’s darkly comic bunraku puppet work about an obsessive-compulsive man’s relationship with pigeons; Perth (Australia) Theatre Company’s It’s Dark Outside, a human-and-puppet drama about a man facing Alzheimer’s and Sundowner’s syndromes; and Swiss company Zimmerman & de Perrot’s Han was Heir, a crazy-looking Euro-circus-style show whose memorable components include a stage that revolves on a horizontal access (imagine a cross-sectioned four-room house rotating like a pinwheel).
But wait, there’s more. The most conceptual-sounding work is American artists Christopher McElroen and T. Ryder Smith’s Measure Back. As explained by McElroen at the press conference via Skype, it’s an interactive work about war, in which text and reference points from the Trojan War to modern torture manuals — not to mention technology including audience cell phones — are used to track the distance between wartime citizen-as-spectator and citizen-as-participant. It sounds duly harrowing.
And The God That Comes is Novia Scotia-based 2b theatre company’s one-man show inspired by Euripides’ The Bacchae. So it’s about “sex, wine and rock ‘n’ roll” and stars Hawksley Workman.
The FOF visual art component, announced by Wood Street Galleries coordinator Murray Horne, includes Kurt Hentschlager’s animated 3D audiovisual installation Hive, at Wood Street, and Hentschlager and Ulf Langheinrich’s installation Granular Synthesis, including large-scale video work “Model 5” and improvised immersive environment “POL,” at Space Gallery.
Tickets for all performances are $25. For more info, see call 412-456-666 or see www.TrustArts.org.