Event | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Friday, April 6, 2018

Can you tell which is which?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 2:02 PM

Think you can tell the difference between these strains or band names? Drop some knowledge and check out our Marijuana Issue on stands on April 11th.  Be sure to also check out Compassionate Certification Centers' Medical Marijuana Conference April 12-14th at the David L. Lawrence convention center.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Muriel Rukeyser was a political activist and important American poet, and one of her most notable works was The Book of the Dead. The 1938 poetry sequence was written in response to the Hawk's Nest Tunnel disaster in West Virginia, in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Some cities drop pickles, roses and bologna at midnight. But on Highmark First Night, the ball rises as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.

Now in its 24th year, Highmark First Night, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, returns on Dec. 31 with more than 100 events throughout Downtown's 14-block Cultural District. (While some First Night performances and attractions take place outdoors, most are indoors.)

This year’s theme, as announced this morning at a press conference Downtown, is “Love, Peace, Pittsburgh.”

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with children’s fireworks sponsored by Dollar Bank on the Highmark Stage. Afterward, steelpan band Barrels to Beethoven kicks off the night's musical performances with its energetic tropical sound.

Other attractions include the Allegheny Health Network Parade, with Grand Marshal Randy Gilson, artist and creator of the North Side's Randyland, at 8 p.m.; performances by Arcade Comedy Theater’s Penny Arcade, at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Player One, at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. at its new location at 811 Liberty Ave.; and Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers at the Benedum Center, at 7 p.m.

Outdoor warming and cell-phone charging stations return this year, and are located at the August Wilson Center and Katz Plaza.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Lee Fields & The Expressions headline the night, performing soul and funk anthems from 10:45 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. at the Highmark stage, at Liberty and Stanwix. During the performance, Lee and company will ring in the New Year with the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball and Zambelli fireworks.

Admission buttons for First Night are $10, and are free for children 5 and under. They are available online at www.firstnightpgh.trustarts.org, in person at the box office at Theater Square on 655 Penn Ave.; or by phone at 412-456-6666. They are also available at a $1 discount with an Advantage Card at participating Giant Eagle stores.

For $40, attendees can purchase First Night Friend VIP buttons that grant access to priority seating, parking and a private lounge in the O’Reilly Theater, where they can relax with hot beverages and sweet treats.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit www.firstnightpgh.trustarts.org.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 4:26 PM

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Jazz might not be front-and-center in the landscape of contemporary music, but vocalist Gregory Porter is helping to bring it there. The 45-year-old Sacramento native has been entrancing a new generation of jazz lovers since his 2010 debut, Water. It’s not often you see so many generations under one roof for a concert, but that was the case at Porter’s show at the August Wilson Center this week. Porter has almost a Mr. Rogers quality about him in the way he conveys lessons about morality through art, simplicity and art. In his signature tawny, brown-colored suit and his black Kangol Summer Spitfire hat, Porter’s appeal and charm were undeniable on Wednesday night.

Porter’s musical education began at church, which is evident in the way he connects with the crowd and in his impeccable vocal delivery (which earned him two Grammy wins for Best Jazz Vocal Album, most recently in 2017 for Take Me to the Alley). Porter performed that album’s title track with a solemn demeanor; empathetically waxing about the people living in the “alley” and how we treat them. In “On My Way To Harlem,” from 2012’s Be Good, Porter reflects on that neighborhood’s rich history and the changes its endured, channeling names like Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye and Langston Hughes.

Speaking of legends, Porter brought up the recent death of Al Jarreau, though he admitted he didn’t feel confident enough to pay tribute with a cover. Instead, his band’s bassist played a passionate and hypnotizing medley celebrating Jarreau’s legacy, which transitioned into “Musical Genocide.”

A personal favorite of mine is a song called “No Love Dying” from 2013’s Liquid Spirit, a beautifully composed piece lightly colored with stray piano notes and fluttering syncopation. Of course, it wasn’t all ballads and love songs: the lively and upbeat “Liquid Spirit” energized the crowd with hand claps and foot stomps, peppered with Porter’s encouragement to “sing that song” and “go ‘head.” Porter closed out the set with “Free,” a horn-heavy blues piece about hard work and sacrifice. He ends the song with a “thank you” to the audience for allowing him to be himself, and to be free.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:08 PM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Anyone familiar with Light Up Night knows that it’s one of the most vibrant, crowded nights that Downtown Pittsburgh experiences each year. Pedestrians cram on the sidewalks and streets to watch buildings and Christmas trees get illuminated, listen to live music and watch fireworks erupt over the the city's three rivers.

To accommodate all the foot traffic, sections of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard will be closed to cars and will act as a pedestrian promenade during the holiday festival held on Nov. 18. The promenade will include two large music stages, as well as many food vendors and interactive attractions. It will also provide great views of the fireworks, said Jeremy Waldrup of nonprofit coalition Pittsburgh Downtown Partners at a Nov. 3 press conference. Also new this year: cable and internet giant Comcast agreed to a multiyear naming-rights deal, so the festival will be referred to as Comcast Light Up Night

Waldrup joked that it might be a difficult sell Pittsburghers on the name change, given how many locals still call PPG Paints Arena the Civic Arena, even though they were never the same structure.

“I know Pittsburghers can be a little resistant to change, but we need your help to make Comcast Light Up Night a household name,” said Waldrup.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald recognized Pittsburghers' stubborn ways, but believes things are changing, considering Downtown's renewed vitality.

“We may be a bit resistant to change, but things are changing,” said Fitzgerald. “People are living Downtown, and we are embracing the changes.”

Comcast is also bringing changes to the night. Christine Whitaker of Comcast said there will be 30 “street team” members in light-up jackets roaming Downtown and handing out Santa hats. She also said there will be a virtual-reality booth where users can experience a NASCAR simulation and WiFi access on Ft. Duquesne boulevard.

Another big change to this year’s festival is the installation of a wind-powered, LED-light display on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Similar to the popular light display on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the vertical suspension bars on the Rachel Carson Bridge will light up in artistic patterns.

“We are celebrating what we are: a city of bridges,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto at the press conference. “And we are celebrating one of our great leaders, Rachel Carson.”

Carson, a Springdale native, was a pioneer in the the U.S.’s environmental movement, and authored influential books, such as Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us. The project is sponsored by German-based material-science company Covestro and will use wind turbines manufactured by Pittsburgh-based manufacturer WindStax to power the lights.

This year, the main music stages will be placed on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, and top musical acts for the festival include rock band O.A.R. and local pop singer Daya, as well as other artists.

Comcast Light Up Night will be held Fri., Nov. 18. The tree lighting is at 11:15 a.m.; activities run throughout the day, with the fireworks begining at 7 p.m.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Representing two generations of hip hop hitmakers, Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg joined forces in Burgettstown last night for the High Road Tour.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 11:42 AM

Seven years in, it's almost difficult to remember a time before VIA, which has since then created an increasingly challenging and diverse space in which to explore the intersection of new music, art and technology. This year's festival — happening Oct. 6-9 — offers one of its coolest lineups yet.
click to enlarge Juliana Huxtable
Juliana Huxtable

Headliners include influential post-punk group ESG, playing its first-ever show in Pittsburgh — and for that matter, Pennsylvania; legendary MC Rakim, who will perform Paid In Full in its entirety; and "legend-to-be" Juliana Huxtable, a poet/artist/model/DJ and prominent member of the New York City's LGBT community. "After her performance at [Carnegie Museum of Art] last year, we know her Shock Value party is guaranteed bananas," organizers Lauren Goshinski and Quinn Leonowicz wrote in an email to CP

Other performers include, among others, Empress Of, Junglepussy, Rabit, Aye Nako, Fee Lion, Ghost Cop, Lee Bannon, and Ben UFO. "He's only in his 20s, but we've been trying to get Ben UFO to play here for the last 40 years," joke the organizers, adding that UFO is "one of the most versatile DJs out there." Locally-based performances and artists, visual programming and other events will be announced later, but "[a]s always, our visual programming is stacked — we'll have a Virtual Reality salon and so much more." 
This year, Ace Hotel will act as the flagship venue for the event, which is scheduled for Oct. 6-9. In addition to festival passes, Ace VIP passes are also available and include a two- or three-night stay in the hotel, all-access festival passes, and a few other perks. "We always like to experiment with the structure and locations of the fest. Since The Real World Pittsburgh never happened, we're taking a stab at it," writes Goshinski and Leonowicz. "Ace Hotel is giving us the keys to the castle, so VIP pass-holders and artists can eat, sleep and breathe the fest with each other under one roof." Both Ace VIP and regular passes are available for purchase now. If you don't want a pass, individual event prices range from free to $25.

Visit VIA's website for more information. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 4:50 AM

Courtesy of Japeth Mennes

Despite Rhyton’s roots in New York’s noisy experimental underground, the band’s fourth offering, Redshift, is an eminently listenable affair. On it, the Brooklyn-based three-piece — comprised of Stygian Stride’s Jimy SeiTang, the No-Neck Blues Band’s Rob Shuford and Pigeons’ Rob Smith — pay tribute to a wide range of influences, from Free Jazz to Joe Walsh, whose “Turn to Stone” they cover. 

The eight freewheeling jams that result are sonically pleasing at first blush, but it is in repetition that the album’s technical riches are revealed in the form of ambitious timing, thoughtful lyrics and studio wizardry that weaves rootsy twang of the most organic variety with synthetic sound effects. The album’s title track is a good example of this: it's a playful intergalactic country number that calls to mind the lysergic spaciness of early Meat Puppets and the furtive paranoia of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick in equal measure; and it clocks in at just under nine minutes.

Listeners can glean as much or as little as they choose from Redshift to equal enjoyment. There are plenty of moving parts to contemplate. That the band achieves expansiveness by employing such measured phrases is remarkable, especially without dulling the members' technical proficiencies or resorting to prog-rock condescension.

‘Redshift’ refers to the astronomical phenomenon of “displacement of spectral lines toward longer wavelengths often used to measure the otherwise immeasurable.” It’s a high-minded conceit, but, on Redshift, Rhyton illuminates the sacred by couching it in the profane terms of rock music.

RHYTON with SAGAS, LANDMARK TONGUES. 8 p.m., Sun. Aug. 7. Brillbox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 421-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

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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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 11:09 AM

SouthSide Works Exposed is back for its 12th year, partnering with I Made It! crafts marketplace to bring nearly 70 local artisans to South 27th Street for a packed three-day weekend. Handmade crafts in all sorts of media will be available for purchase each day. 

click to enlarge The crowd at an earlier SouthSide Works Exposed
The crowd at an earlier SouthSide Works Exposed
Live bands will perform throughout the weekend. Friday will feature Tres Lads and Bastard Bearded Irishmen, while Saturday showcases Shelley Duff, The Delaney’s, Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution, Kierra Darshell & Drag Performers and closer No Bad JuJu.

Sunday is Kids Day, with live animals, a magic show, kids' Zumba and a set from Kelsey Friday and the Rest of the Week Band. 

Additionally, about 10 food trucks, with menu items ranging from Japanese cuisine to gourmet meatballs to the timeless pierogie, will be available through the festival.

SouthSide Works Exposed takes place 5-10 p.m. tomorrow; noon-10 p.m. on Sat., July 9; and noon-5 p.m., on Sun., July 10. Admission is free. For more information, including a full schedule, see here

The festival is centered at the corner of Sidney and South 27th streets, on the South Side.

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