Archive for March, 2011

Anyone need a blogger

I don’t know how long this will be up, hopefully I can pop in with some more info later, but anyone looking for a blogger, I feel as though I’m going to be free very soon and looking for a new home online…

OMGPittsburgh is a possibility, or maybe I’ll start something myself, but how would people find me.  Sigh.  I love blogging here, who knows, maybe we’ll get another miracle!

Contact me here!

Decisions, decisions

Wednesday brings a big decision for me (well, not really, I already RSVP’d to the one event, but I’m pretty bummed anyway).  While I am heading to the North Shore to a special reception for Squonk Opera, one of my favorite columnists of all time will be at Pitt’s campus: Dan Savage.  Basically, if you have ever thought about sex, you should go.  Hell, even if you’ve never thought about sex, you really need to go.

Dan Savage is the internationally-syndicated sex-advice columnist from Seattle, you can read “Savage Love” every week in City Paper.  He also has a weekly podcast and, along with his husband, founded the It Gets Better Project.  I’m a huge fan of his work and activism (google Santorum, or don’t, if you have a weak stomach or are at work), and I usually quote him to my friends, endlessly.  However, if you read nothing else by him, please read “The Commitment,” a book where he examines marriage, and every iteration of relationships by looking at his family.  It’s such a good book that I pulled  quote from it and wrote a toast for a wedding around it.

Anyway, enough of me gushing.  Savage will be at Pitt on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public, but preference is given to Pitt students (fair is fair).  Hopefully, we’ll see some of the question and answer session go up to Savage’s youtube channel, if so, I’ll post a few in the future.

Have fun, I’ll be jealous from across town!  Click here for the Facebook event and more information.

How to help and confidential to local media

After this week’s tornado that ripped through Hempfield Township, a lot of local media has been running donation drives to support the Red Cross.

Not to nit-pick (but I will): you’re mispronouncing it.

The Red Cross chapter is the Westmoreland-Chestnut Ridge Chapter.  Not Chester.  Chestnut Ridge.  I cringe every time I hear it said wrong.

I know Westmoreland County isn’t as glamorous as Allegheny, or as “interesting” as Fayette, but here’s a short history lesson.  The Chestnut Ridge is an area of the Laurel Highlands, named after the American Chestnut trees that once grew there.  When the Saint Vincent Basilica was built, the wood used was American Chestnut.  After the building of the Basilica, a blight hit the tree species, and very few remain today in mature form, and the species is still in danger of extinction.  This makes the Saint Vincent Basilica pretty much priceless, which is crazy to think about.

Anyway, click below to donate to the Red Cross and help the families in Westmoreland County affected by the tornado.

Maria de Buenos Aires

Dancers from Attack Theater discuss the show as they sit on the winding stage

Quantum Theatre recently invited me out to a special preview of their latest show, “Maria de Buenos Aires,” and all I can say is this: go see this show.

Sometimes I forget how much of a sucker I am for good strings (and good cymbals), and the live orchestra during just the little bit that I saw kept me transfixed, even to the point of occasionally ignoring the singers.  Not to say the singers were not amazing, because they were, but the live orchestration kept me enthralled.

“Maria” is about the history of tango, and the theme that form must die to be reborn.  The entirety of the show: the dialogue, dance, music, set design, even location, all explore that theme.  Karla Boos, Quantum Theatre’s artistic director said that “Maria” really is a big experiment, and she’s anxious to hear from the patrons what they liked and what they didn’t.  I certainly appreciate the dialogue, and am happy for that.

Quantum has taken a few liberties with the piece, all of which I think are for the better.  The orchestration has been modified a bit, putting more emphasis on the violin, which of course, makes me extremely happy.  They also changed the narrator’s part, not only adding more singing, but making it more English-focused as well, which helps to clarify the story as it progresses.  Additionally, the use of projection screens, with custom movie clips (written and created by Joe Seamans) will enhance the performance, again helping to bridge the language barrier and keep the audience from becoming lost.

East Liberty YMCA. It doesn't look like it, but for now, it's a theater.

During our preview, we became part of the blocking, as two of the dancers from Attack Theater made sure they could move one of their props through the audience without hitting anyone in the head (spoiler alert: no injuries, plenty of room).  The preview that I saw, was also the first time the orchestra and actors were together in the performance space, so it was like every other musical rehearsal I’ve ever been at or seen, which was comforting.  Also, every single musical makes the same face when a note is played out of tune: it’s nice to see universals like that.

I only have one bit of criticism, and it’s not even about the show itself.  Later in April Quantum will be doing a “Women Only” evening.  Now granted, I’m not a woman, and I don’t think this is their intent, but I refuse to believe that women can be so weak or scared that they need a night all to themselves.  Yes, it can be nice to meet in a setting and already have something in common, but I come from the Joss Whedon school of thought, so I view my feminism through a lens of actual equality and strength.  But hey, if it fills the house, more power to Quantum, I can’t argue with economics.

“Maria de Buenos Aires” opens tomorrow and runs through April 17.  Find out more, including local dining partners and directions (it’s just a short walk from the East Busway!) at Quantum’s websiteCheck out all my photos here (just be warned, I am not a good photographer!)

Go buy some games

The next phase of Make Room for Kids, the charity arm of That’s Church is in full swing, and you can help while getting a good laugh.

Check out this Amazon Wish List for the games that are left that need purchased.  And make sure you read the descriptions that Ginny has added.  They are golden.  Take for instance, the description of the Force Unleashed for the DS:

“I can make objects travel across the room to my hand via The Force. Also, I call my husband “The Force.””

Games are going quick, so take a look (you can ship directly to the Mario Lemieux Foundation, it’s the address provided with the Wish List, even though it won’t be listed publicly) and pitch in what you can.

The Real March Madness

So apparantly there’s some basketball tournament going on…or something.

May I instead call your attention to an annual tradition of 96.1, the Freak Show Bracket.

Once again, it is broken out, not by conference, but by counties.  And I have to say, down in the Fayette County Division, I don’t see the City of Uniontown doing all that well.  This year also features contendors such as Charlie Sheen (you knew it was coming), Angry Brids, Ambassador Rooney, Geno’s Parents, Samoas, Julie Bologna and Brett Johnson’s Left Hook.

View the whole thing and vote in the first round here.

Coming up later this week

Coming up later this week, I’m heading to East Liberty for a special preview of Quantum Theatre’s latest production, “Maria de Buenos Aires.”

Quantum has been gracious enough to once again reach out to local bloggers and invite them to a preview of their 2010-2011 season which features their neighborhood initiative.  I’m looking forward to it, and think I’ll be taking a few trips on the East Busway to do it this time, so I’m sure that will provide an entertaining post as well.

Check back later this week for (hopefully) some pictures and a write up of the East Liberty YMCA and Quantum’s latest production.

Sid back on the ice

The offical site of the Penguins (and Pensblog and That’s Church) is reporting that Sid is back on the ice, skating for about 15 minutes in full gear.

Great news to hear,hopefully he’ll be back on the ice for games sooner than I thought.

Check out the full story and video here.

A few thoughts on drinking

With the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations kicking off this weekend (I have to pull out my big hat), a few items that I’ve recently learned about Pittsburgh drinkers.

First, when you go to a bar and practically empty your pockets/purse onto the bar, that’s a Pittsburgh thing.  And I”m very guilty of this, I almost always have my wallet and cell phone on the bar in front of me, and typically leave them there (even if I go to the bathroom).

Also another dead giveaway that you’re from Pittsburgh: leaving a $20 bill (or some other denomination) on the bar and expecting the bartender to make change from it (and you’ll presumably pull out tips as well) as you order more rounds.

Both of the above items have tipped off bartenders in other cities that the people telling me these stories (bartenders themselves) were from Pittsburgh.  Thankfully, some people are kind enough that if they see you drop dow na $20 bill for a bottle of [insert your favorite beer here], they’ll make some comment about you being a Yinzer and then make change accordingly.  Asshats will take the entire $20 as payment and tip.

Be safe out there this weekend, enjoy the drinking!

Confidential to the City of Pittsburgh

You smell like a wet dog.

Not that that really matters, you’ll be covered in a blanket of snow tomorrow morning.

Still working on getting mobile uploading working, I’ve been posting a lot, but nothing is showing up, more soon.

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