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Signal To Noise

When you hear the name "Lou Reed," you probably don't immediately think, "Oooh! I love his photos!" But that's what he wants. Taking a break from hawking his tai chi DVD (!) and album of meditation music (!!), Reed visited The Warhol on Thursday for a pricey sold-out reading and the opening of his Lou Reed: New York photography show.

At the reception, Reed sat at the end of a long line to sign autographs, wearing some Jedi robe and looking very Yoda. Among those in line was Robert Smith -- or at least a dude who looked like him, who'd driven from Akron clutching the Velvets' VU LP. But after he waited patiently for a half-hour, word trickled back through the line that now Lou would be signing only his $50 photography book. People were pissed.

Reed's probably pretty sick of divorced dudes begging him to sign records he made before the birth of Christ. But that didn't make $50 materialize in my pocket for some coffee-table book -- hell, I don't even own a coffee table. And "Robert Smith" is definitely not driving here from Akron again. Thanks for keepin' it real, Lou.

But as much as the Warhol thing proved kinda lame, Midnite Snake's May 25 album-release party was like Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. (No Tina Turner, but I swear I saw Master Blaster chugging a PBR.) I mean, forget the music -- the vibe was intense: A couple hundred people rocking out amidst piles of rusty iron under the Bloomfield Bridge, blitzed on booze and everything else, barbequing in the dark, climbing scaffolding, pissing in the bushes. All the while, Midnite Snake scorched the earth as fireworks and flares went off. Cake was also served. More, please.

Also in recent Pittsburgh-gets-awesome news: Rising local talent Jon Check will be taping a performance and interview for the nationally syndicated radio program World Café Live. Which doesn't seem like a big deal, until you realize that Check's August airing will reach an estimated 500,000 listeners. The taping is June 22, at the Warhol, but if you can't make it -- or don't have a ticket to the sold-out tapings here with Sinead O'Connor or moe. -- you can see these and several more at WYEP's free festival on June 23 at Allegheny Landing, on the North Side.

And before you jet: Local indie rockers Shade have, um, landed a spot on American Airlines' in-flight music. "Keep Them Shouting" appears on the airline's June "Buzz" channel, amid the likes of Tapes 'n Tapes and Goldfrapp.

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson