Predictions for Pittsburgh culture in '07 | Under The Wire | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Predictions for Pittsburgh culture in '07 

'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions and thoughts of the coming year. So here are my predictions for Pittsburgh's culture, neighborhood by neighborhood, in 2007:

UPMC and Pitt cover Oakland's chain stores with an indoor domed mall. CMU kids are too busy to leave campus anyway; Pitt students don't mind as long as Starbucks has half-price food at night.

Strip District proprietors, always in search of the latest trend that's played out everywhere else, abandon the "ultra lounge" and revive the '90s isolation-tank craze, immersing patrons in vats of Iron City. A plus: The metal tanks are bulletproof.

Every South Side storefront from Smithfield to 28th becomes a bar, except for some which serve as pay toilets. No one notices a problem until the Urine Flood of '07 crests at 30 feet, and the 54C floats downstream. Not to fear -- money from the North Shore casino, instead of keeping the Pens here, pays for a levee to protect the Slopes.

Soaked Flats residents try Squirrel Hill/Shadyside but are rebuffed by rents only yuppies and foreign grad students can afford. So yinzerpunks relocate to Lil' Italy and Larryville, which soon teem with dive bars and tattoo parlors. Across the river in Millvale, bedraggled MySpace moppets congregate near Route 28 to petition PAT for a bus route to take them home from Mr. Small's.

Unimpressed by roller derby and bellydancing, indie rockers and veganites flee eastward when Braddock's hip mayor donates every available edifice to art galleries, practice rooms and the East End Food Co-Op. The revitalized borough becomes a rent-free mecca for retro dance parties and craft fairs.

Local bands roll in the dough in '07: Grand Buffet gets a hilarious sitcom on the CW, Modey Lemon becomes Carson Daly's late-night talk-show band, Anti-Flag markets a line of Nikes with profits going to Darfur, and Girl Talk is spotted getting out of a limousine buck naked (yes ladies, the carpet matches the drapes). The Pandemic DJs solve conflicts in Cyprus, Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Israel-Palestine with some peppy global dance music. Every savvy Web site around is abuzz about Pittsburgh's influential "marching-band-punk" scene -- even Gwen Stefani flies in to take a look.

But the biggest surprise lies Downtown. After failing to attract tenants, the Cultural Trust finds an ace in the hole: Suburban goths migrate into the city by the hundreds to be near Pegasus, swelling student ranks at the Art Institute. A grateful Trust replaces Forbidden Broadway with a Dresden Dolls tribute, then renames a major thoroughfare "Boulevard of Bela Lugosi."

Hey -- it could happen!

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