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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Port Authority announces detours for marathon weekend

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Service on Port Authority buses will be "extensively detoured" this weekend due to street closures for the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and related events, the transit agency announced today.

Additional service will also be implemented on the busways, inclines and light-rail systems for runners to get to the downtown starting line.

The agency will detour approximately 50 buses from the start of service and until about 3 p.m. during the full marathon. Riders should anticipate delays and allow for extra time.

Here's some more information from an advisory the agency sent out today:

— In Downtown, buses will be rerouted to stops near Steel Plaza T station, where riders may transfer to the T for free. Routes normally serving Squirrel Hill and Oakland will not serve Oakland during the marathon, but a free shuttle will be available to take riders between the neighborhoods. Riders heading to Children’s Hospital from Downtown can use the rerouted 64 Lawrenceville-Waterfront bus route, since the 88 Penn won't reach the hospital because of street closures.

— Additional, smaller detours will be in effect in Downtown and on the North Side on Friday and Saturday for marathon events.

— On Sunday, light rail service will begin around 4 a.m. and both inclines will open at 5 a.Riders should anticipate delays and allow for extra time.

For more information, visit the authority's marathon information page, or call Customer Service at 412-442-2000 (TTY 412-231-7007).

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Help Redesign Louisa Street in Oakland

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Louisa-St-steps-May-meetings-1024x662.jpg

The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation will hold a public meeting Thursday, May 2, for input on redesigning Louisa Street.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple St. From the looks of the flyer, there are some ideas percolating — like a "bike boulevard" through Central Oakland.

The final pans will be presented at a meeting on May 30.

For more information, contact David Zwier at dzwier@opdc.org or 412-621-7863 ext. 174.

May Day march tomorrow for immigrant rights

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM

A coalition of groups will march tomorrow to celebrate and advance the rights of immigrants.

The rally will take place at 5:00 p.m., at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, 10 South 19th St., South Side. The group will then march to the IBEW Hall, 5 Hot Metal St., South Side.

Among the groups marching will be Fight Back Pittsburgh, Ironworkers, One Pittsburgh, Metro Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Community Justice Project, SEIU Healthcare PA, SEIU Local 32BJ, United Steelworkers, Congolese Union of Pittsburgh, Working America, The Latino Family Center and the UE.

"Today, the fight for workers’ rights and immigrants' rights are still one and the same," a press release announcing the march from One Pittsburgh reads. "Too many companies in our country use undocumented workers to exploit those without the rights to stand up and protest. When our co-workers and neighbors must live in the shadows, we all lose."

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Arts Festival Programming Announced

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

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.

Lasers, people.

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:

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If you're seeking a reprieve from funnel cakes and curly fries, come by for the new Food Truck Fridays.

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).

Red_Baraat1_by_Erin_Patrice_O_Brien.JPG

Hard to complain about the more familiar acts, either. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, for instance, is back. And the fest’s second annual bluegrass day is headlined by none other than the genre’s biggest name, Ralph Stanley.

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.

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MP3 Monday: Idle Drifters

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM

The Idle Drifters
  • The Idle Drifters

Afternoon, everyone! It's another installment of MP3 Monday, and this week we're featuring a fantastic local band by the name of The Idle Drifters. They've got a straight-forward alt-rock vibe with just a tinge of blues on some of their tracks. Their song, "Emily" leads in with a riff that you can't help but love. This Saturday night, they're releasing their debut EP "Been Made" at the Inn Termission Lounge in the South Side. If that piques your interest, stream "Emily" below!


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Cartoonist Matt Bors coming to Toonseum

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM

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.

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Free summer concerts include Bob Mould, Glen Hansard, Rickie Lee Jones

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Today marks the announcement of both the Three Rivers Arts Festival music lineup and the Allegheny County Parks' concert series; head on over to FFW>> to get a look at the big names on this year's lineups.

Summer free-concert dates start rolling in

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Today marks the announcement of both the Allegheny County Parks concert series and the Three Rivers Arts Festival concerts. The TRAF concerts have been trickling out all morning on WYEP; big names include Glen Hansard (Wed., June 12); Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Fri., June 7), and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley (Sat., June 8).

On the County Parks docket, the biggest names include: Bob Mould (of Husker Du) June 9, Langhorne Slim and the Law June 23, and Rickie Lee Jones August 25, all at Hartwood Acres; and The Wailers June 21, David Cassidy July 12, and Los Amigos Invisibles August 9, all at South Park.

The annual Hometown Music Fest takes place at South Park this year, on Fri., August 30; the lineup is: JD Eicher, Caleb Lovely, and Danielle Barbe.

I'll post a link to the full lineups when they're up!

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Review: Fleetwood Mac

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Three years have passed since Fleetwood Mac’s last tour, but their performance at Consol Energy Center last night proved their on-stage spark is hardly exhausted. For about two and a half hours, the band sent the crowd on a nostalgic journey through their back catalog with many of their greatest hits, as well as a long lost demo and a new track from their upcoming EP. While the band as a whole put on a great show, the musical chemistry between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks could not be ignored.

“Second Hand News” opened up the show, presenting Buckingham’s awe-inspiring fingerpicking skills almost immediately. As soon as the last chord sounded, Mick Fleetwood, seated atop an impressively large drum kit, rattled his shimmering chimes and broke into “The Chain.” John McVie’s dark, ominous bass solo hypnotized the squealing audience. Both songs set the tone for the evening: the Mac is back.

After “Dreams,” Buckingham took to the mic to discuss Fleetwood Mac’s return to the road.

“Every time we go apart and come back together, it’s different,” he said. “There are some chapters left to write for Fleetwood Mac.”

With that, the band performed “Sad Angel,” a new song from their next release. Much like many other Fleetwood Mac favorites, the song was upbeat with Buckingham’s fingerpicking driving the song.

Most of the set list seemed to focus on Buckingham’s talent as a guitarist, especially during his solo acoustic performance of “Big Love,” during which he thrashed and smacked his strings. Nicks’ vocals and theatrics also took center stage, specifically during “Rhiannon” and “Sara.” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again,” both performed acoustically by the duo, drew even more attention to them, as though the rest of the band hardly existed.

Buckingham gave a brief speech about a business axiom before tearing into two songs from Tusk. He explained the phrase, “If it works, run it into the ground and move on,” reminds him of that album, which shocked Warner Brothers quite a bit.

“It was not what they ever expected and most probably not what they wanted.”

“Not That Funny” allowed Buckingham to get more aggressive with his vocals, while he turned “Tusk” into a chaotic, barbaric chant. He crept up to the microphone like a jungle cat, building the song with increasingly louder coyote-like yelps. Fleetwood’s drum solo further established the savage manner of the song.

In addition to playing old favorites, Nicks and Buckingham performed a song they had recorded as a demo in the 1970s and lost somewhere along the way of their rise to fame.

“It was before we were even doing drugs. We were sober, and we still lost it!” Nicks said.

The song, entitled “Without You,” was a ballad written by Nicks about Buckingham. They rediscovered it on YouTube recently and have been performing it throughout their tour. Fleetwood moved off of his platform and in between Nicks and Buckingham, making the song seem even more intimate, as though the trio were reliving a moment from the start of their career together.

“Gypsy” and “Eyes of the World” had the crowd singing, while Nicks’ performance of “Gold Dust Woman” turned into a haunting, theatrical performance. She writhed around in a gold outfit, like the melting Wicked Witch of the West. Buckingham countered Nicks’ dramatics with his evocative rendition of “I’m So Afraid.” He thrashed and smacked his guitar strings like a man gone mad, creeping across the stage with a slow skip.

“Stand Back” and “Go Your Own Way” livened up the audience after Nicks and Buckingham’s bizarre performances. “World Turning” included an appropriately over-the-top solo from Fleetwood, with him screaming “Are you still with me?” in between his flurried drum rolls.

The band left the stage, only to return with a rousing performance of “Don’t Stop.” Brett Tuggle’s piano solo stole the show. The band left and returned to the stage once more for a poignant performance of “Silver Spring.”

As the band bid the audience farewell one last time, Nicks showed her gratitude for their fans, dubbing them “the dream catchers.”

“This whole thing is all your fault. You did it,” Nicks said as she thanked the crowd for their support over the years.

Fleetwood, donning a red top hat, red shoes, and knickers, gleefully trotted to the microphone to also show his graciousness.

“We are glad to be back doing what we love to do,” he said.

And with a tip of his hat, the ringleader exclaimed a prophetic message.

“Remember…the Mac is back!”

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Mayoral campaign about to get next-level?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Allies of Bill Peduto are bracing for what they expect will be a negative attack, launched by an independent political committee whose finances are murky, but appears to have ties to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

At 10:30 last night, Peduto's campaign sent out a blast e-mail to supporters, advising them that "For the first time in Pittsburgh's history, an outside, secret group is funding attack ads in the mayoral election. Starting tomorrow, a group backed by Wagner & Ravenstahl has purchased TV time to begin running a smear campaign against Bill Peduto. The Wagner-Ravenstahl group -- which calls itself 'The Committee for a Better Pittsburgh' -- has kept their donor list from this year a secret."

Indeed, City Paper has discovered records indicating at least one ad buy organized by the committee. The group apparently intends to spend $1,600 on a commercial running on WPGH-53 sometime this week, perhaps as early as tonight. (UPDATE: I reworded the previous sentence to reflect the fact that the ad is apparently only slated to run twice during the next few days.) The 30-second spot will air during reruns of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory, as well as the station's 10 o'clock news. (ADDED: The file also suggests that the agency placing the ad is SRCP Media, which bills itself as a "Republican media consulting firm" with clients that include Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, Mitt Romney, and Mitch McConnell.)

It is unclear where that money would be coming from. As we first noted a year ago, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's campaign loaned the Committee $20,000 in April 2011, when the organization was established. Ravenstahl campaign records show that $17,000 was returned later that year. And in its 2012 annual report, the Better Pittsburgh committee reported returning another $2,000 of that money, leaving it with an outstanding debt of $1,000 to Ravenstahl's campaign, and just $121.43 in cash.

The report showed no other activity, and no other reports were available online from the state. But campaign-finance records suggest that the committee's treasurer, John R. Morgan, also serves as treasurer for the campaigns of state Sen. Jim Ferlo, an ally of Ravenstahl who has endorsed Wagner in this year's mayoral race, and state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, the mayor's brother. A John R. Morgan also appeared in a 2008 Post-Gazette story about public employees landing on their feet with help from the Ravenstahl administration, though I haven't been able to verify if it's the same guy.

State records do not show contact information for the Better Pittsburgh campaign beyond a Downtown post office box. I left a message for Morgan at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, which is where the P-G reported him working. I've also called and e-mailed the Ravenstahl campaign. When and if I get a response, I'll post it here.

Of course, the Better Pittsburgh ad has not aired yet, and for all we know, it's a loving portrait of a city and all the candidates who hope to lead it. But it's probably no surprise that Peduto's campaign is assuming that Ravenstahl is backing an effort to attack him. As we first reported in early March, when Mayor Luke dropped out of the race, he still had upwards of $1 million in a bank account. And "[n]othing in city law prohibits independent expenditures of money: Ravenstahl could, for example, set up a committee to spend untold sums attacking Lamb and Peduto." Independent expenditures are of course valid, if lamented, at the state and federal level, and nothing in the city's campaign ordinance bars them either. (Even it if did, a judge has said the rules don't apply to this year's mayoral race anyway.)

Bear in mind, however, that nothing is certain here. The next campaign-finance reports won't be released until May 10. We may not have a full accounting of the committee's finances until that point. Or later.

Stay tuned.

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