Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods’ Category

Specter Studios

Halloween is a month and a half away, and everything is now available in either pumpkin (yay) or candy corn (boo) flavor.  But it’s not too early to start planning your costume.
Local company, Specter Studios, has an awesome selection of costumes and accessories.  I’m partial to the Plague Doctor costume myself, although I think the Duck is pretty cool (and a bit off the wall).
This post is in no way sponsored, I just think they’re a cool local company (either Sharpsburg or O’Hara).  They advertised on one of my podcasts last year, but I ended up listening to those episodes after it was too late to order, so I wanted to make sure I got the word out early this year.

The Electric Baby

Quantum Theatre was gracious enough to set up a time for me to chat with Karla Boos, artistic director and founder of Quantum about their latest production, The Electric Baby.  The play centers around the influence a child has on the adults in his life, bringing together those in Pittsburgh with his Romanian mother and Nigerian father.

Once again, Quantum returns with a world-premier, and this one has a special connection, being set in Pittsburgh, written after playwright Stephanie Zadravec’s time in the city.  Zadravec was on set for the first and last weeks of rehearsal, and she will be in town for most (if not all) of the run of the show.  The cast and crew, as always, includes a slew of locals, including those with Point Park and Carnegie Mellon filling out their resumes.

What I’ve always liked about Quantum is their dedication to the local community, and the East End in particular, the area they call home.  Like prior performances, Electric Baby continues their neighborhood initiative, this time heading to the Friendship neighborhood.  Quantum travels to the Waldorf School, in the shadow of the new Children’s Hospital, adding poignancy to the show.

The Waldorf School is described as a “bright space, with an old fashioned quality,” said Boos.  While they had originally thought to try to stage the play in Children’s Hospital, the logistics, as well as I can only assume, the additional stress placed on the patients and staff, moved the production to the nearby school.  The Waldorf, being an old convent

Boos mentioned that when you first walk into the school, you smell apples, as the students make applesauce each day.  I think that’s pretty awesome, and I wonder what kind of memories that is going to conjure in theater-goers throughout the run of the show.

Next season, I am happy to report, Quantum will continue their neighborhood initiative and will hopefully be premiering more plays.  Although I asked, Boos can’t disclose the shows or locations yet, and I completely understand, but I am eagerly anticipating the announcement to see what they’ll be doing next.

In the meantime though, make sure to check out The Electric Baby, which runs through April 22, and of course, take advantage of the nearby food partnerships, either Verde or Cafe Sam.

Note: I wrote this up two weeks ago, and apparently hit the wrong button, my apologies for the delay in getting this online.

New brand for Mt. Wa(r)shington

I’m back from my travels, and so blogging resumes, first up a new branding initiative for Mount Washington.  The City Walkabout blog reported on it, and I really like the new logo:

I think I’ve only been to Mt. Washington twice (I know, I’m a bad Pittsburgher), something about the heights, narrow streets and rumblings of impossible to find parking make me hesitant to venture up there.

Igloo watch: 9-27

image

More fencing this morning.

When did this happen?

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I thought it was illegal to sell fireworks in pa

Mr. Rogers’ stalkers

Copyranter found an old letter that Mr. Rogers wrote an overly-eager fan.  Of course, his poise, compassion and kindness show through, even all these years later.

Click through the link to read Copyranter’s post and see the larger version.

Another trip for 101 Achievements

I’ve posted before about an awesome local blog called 101 Achievements, but I need to post this one as well, seeing as I busted out laughing:

And then Michael decided we would play a game called 'baby Jessica stuck in the well.' Except that baby Jessica's well wasn't freaking HAUNTED.

Love it.  Check out the blog for more Pittsburgh awesomeness.

PATransit Tuesday: Shortcuts

The Rachel Maddow show visited Pittsburgh for the NRA convention.  She had this to say:

The NRA held its convention this year in Pittsburgh, a city that is way more beautiful than it gets credit for.  Pittsburgh also has way worse traffic than it gets credit for with 70,000 extra people in town for the NRA who would not otherwise be there.

She then took a ride with City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess as they discuss the gun violence in Homewood.  You can watch the video here.

What I love, is watching them leave downtown and head past the Strip District and then turn onto the East Busway.  Government cars, as well as emergency vehicles use the busway all the time, although it was a little strange to watch, I’m used to being higher up on the back seats of the bus, it was fun to watch him pass the stops that I’ve become so familiar with.

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!)

A public message to the Monroeville Post Office

When you only have one open window (even though workers are at all the others) and a line of about twenty people, commenting loud enough for me to hear

The line keeps getting longer and longer, but it is their own fault.

Your customers get mad.

And I post it online.

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