On January 6, 2014, Pittsburgh was in the middle of an especially harsh cold snap. The temperature had hit seven below zero, and the wind chill made going outside almost unbearable. But Kevin Sousa was elated. His Kickstarter campaign for Superior Motors had finally reached its goal of $250,000, and the contributions were still pouring in with nineteen hours left to go. Every time Sousa checked his phone, he saw dozens of new Twitter notifications letting him know that the campaign was doing better and better. He was pulling in an amount of restaurant seed money unprecedented in the history of Kickstarter, all to open a high-concept, multi-component restaurant in a seemingly hopeless place.On Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa's attempt to revitalize a failing steel town through food, his previous restaurants' allegedly troubled financial history, and what information is owed to Kickstarter backers about their investment. [more inside]
Rick Sebak, Pittsburgh’s resident documentarian and the inventor of the scrapbook documentary, has a brand new documentary out: A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects. Don’t know about the quirky joys of Rick Sebak, or of Pittsburgh? This is your lucky day. [more inside]
The Last Billboard is a 36 foot long rooftop billboard located on the corner of Highland and Baum in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Each month a different individual is invited to use the billboard. The custom designed billboard consists of a rail system with heavy wooden letters that are changed by hand.
Hello, [insert tv market name]!! A collection of the ‘Hello News’ package produced by Gari Communications, sold to various TV networks, nationwide (and Australia.) Hello Bonus 1: Florence Warner sings “Hello Nashville” live, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hello Bonus 2: The Osmonds record a “Hello Utah” promo.
PITTSBURGH—A multi-institutional team of new-media artists, computer experts, and museum professionals have discovered a dozen previously unknown experiments by Andy Warhol (BFA, 1949) on aging floppy disks from 1985. [more inside]
Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
Birds of the West Indies. Artist Taryn Simon (previously, previously, previously) has a work of photographs of James Bond's gadgets, guns, cars, and women. The work is currently showing at this year's Carnegie International, and has an accompanying book. Info at the main link, and a more thorough gallery here.
For over a year, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been digitizing old photos from its far-reaching library and putting them on a Tumblr called The Digs. [more inside]
"At the height of World War II, [Elizabeth] Black abandoned a promising Pittsburgh art career to join the American Red Cross effort overseas. She proposed a project to sketch soldiers and send the portraits to worried families in the United States. For two years, she sketched her way across Europe, choosing her subjects through a lottery and completing as many as a dozen portraits a day." A footlocker full of her work was discovered recently by family members, and is now the subject of a documentary, “Portraits for the Homefront: The Story of Elizabeth Black.” [more inside]
In June 2013, the Allegheny County Council approved the yarn bombing of the Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh, in celebration of Warhol's 85th birthday [previously mentioned on MeFi]. On 11 August, 1800 volunteers blanketed (heh) the bridge in 3000 feet of hand-knitted panels. More photos and behind the scenes. [more inside]
In 1891, William L. Sachtleben and Thomas G. Allen Jr. graduated from Washington University and set off to travel around the world. But their adventure was unusual for that time, in that they would travel on bicycle, following in the tire tracks of the Englishman Thomas Stevens. The two young lads returned safely to the US after three years, after traveling some 15,044 miles on wheel. Sachtleben was then asked to find another young traveling bicyclist (and photographer), Frank G. Lenz, whose goal was to surpass Stevens' journey "in both distance and daring." Lenz had disappeared in Turkey, where Sachtleben learned of Frank Lenz's untimely demise. [more inside]
Andy Warhol bridge to be "yarn bombed" Maybe some of you saw the post about the Rubber Ducky coming to Pittsburgh. Well, apparently, now Pittsburgh is getting one of their bridges covered in yarn. This is so bizarre. I hope it all happens at the same time. Bath time fun for everyone!
Giant rubber duck coming to Pittsburgh The large rubber ducky already made its debut in Hong Kong. Now it's headed to the Steel City. Watch out, yinz!
When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
He's a film critic. He's a sports fan. He's a family man. He is Pittsburgh Dad. [warning: occasional laughtrack]
Every year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, cyclists in Pittsburgh gather to ride the city's most difficult hills in The Dirty Dozen. [more inside]
Dr. Jim Withers practices street medicine in Pittsburgh, PA. Operation Safety Net provides house calls to the homeless - to meet them on their terms. [more inside]
From May 12, 1939 to June 30, 1949, a fleet of Stinson Reliants were used for a unique form of mail pick-up and delivery: skyhooking. Similar in notion to the mail-on-the-fly and mail cranes used along rail lines, the Reliants would fly low, deposit one load of mail and pick up the next, without stopping, providing mail service to rural communities. The Smithsonian National Postal Museum has a 39 minute documentary presentation on YouTube, but it's a guy talking over powerpoint slides, which is pretty dry. Instead, here is a modern news report with interviews of a skyhook pilot and old newsreel footage.
Flight to Dallas? $400. Hotel Room? $179 a night. No seat for you at the Super Bowl, even with a ticket? Pricel... 3 times face value of ticket
Apparently the NFL was looking for a record crowd at Cowboys Stadium, and tried to add temporary seating. 2 hours before kickoff, workers were still installing that seating. That status later changed to 400 fans being denied entry and instead being offered 3 times the face value of their tickets. Fans are not happy, and the screw-up is news, both locally, and in Pittsburgh and Green Bay.
Last Saturday in Pittsburgh, over 1800 canoes attempted to break the world record for the largest single raft of canoes and kayaks. This time lapse video shows how they did it in spite of the weather...
"Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with." [more inside]
Vic Walczak, legal director for the Pennsylvania ACLU, sees the FBI's action as pure "intimidation," and part of a "much bigger war on demonstrators" in Pittsburgh. [more inside]
Pittsburgh celebrates its 250th birthday today (warning: audio). It's too late to see the Festival of Lights, but Fort Pitt Museum has a full day of activities scheduled (and cake!). Historic Pittsburgh offers texts, maps, and 10,000+ photographs of the city and its people.
The Howling Mob Society. Looking out over the burning Strip District from the safety of his office in Pittsburgh's Union Station, Thomas Alexander Scott must have been humbled. Only days before, as president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Scott famously suggested that impoverished and striking railroad workers be given “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” Now, with the local Pittsburgh militia all but mutinied and the State Militia rapidly retreating, he must have wondered if his hard-line stance had backfired… [more inside]
One Cold Hand seeks to reunite lost gloves with their owners.
The Iron City Houserockers were Pittsburgh's entry in the Heartland Rock Sweepstakes that occured after the success of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger. They had literate lyrics, tough rock and roll backing, and clear-eyed vision. Led by Joe Grushecky, a special ed teacher by day, produced by Miami Steve Van Zandt of the E Street Band, and possessed of tunes like "Junior's Bar" (youtube), they seemed poised to hit the big time, but it never quite happened, which is the music audience's loss. He is, however the subject of a loving tribute in the form of "A Good Life: The Joe Grushecky Story" (trailer).
It's not spam, it's BACN. A web-term that was influenced by the proliferation of web 2.0 social networks used to describe "notifications you want, just not right now." Twitter requests, facebook notifications, bill-payment receipts, etc. Even though you're expecting the e-mail, *and* you want to read it, now is just not a good time to click the "read" button. You want to; you just don't have time right now. Hopefully the video and numerous blog postings in the last 24 hours will help to bring awareness to this new web-term recently brought to light this past weekend at Podcamp Pittsburgh.
"If you build world class facilities, you will get world class students. If you build prisons, you'll get prisoners."
Genius at work. Bill Strickland is the visionary creator of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a combination craftsmen's guild, training center and (completely amazing) school. The school comes complete with a sound stage and record label that has won numerous grammys for the music recorded there as friendly favors from jazz legends to Bill and his students. He has been profiled in major business magazines for being a master educator with the ambition to become a master franchiser by working with Ebay CEO Jeff Skoll (see, "Applying model worldwide") to go global with his approach to education. He won the Macarthur in 1996. You can also watch his famous slide show, or some live footage of his presentation on youtube.
The Musical Giants page, which contains portraits of recording artists from various genres, is my favorite section of Wayno's on-line portfolio. In this interview, Wayno discusses his influences, work routine and collaboration with fellow Pittsburghers The Karl Hendricks Trio.
The number 666 has been drawn by the Pennsylvania Lottery 12 times. Well, legally that is. On April 24, 1980, Pittsburgh personality Nick Perry, host of local TV shows and the live lottery drawing, fixed the lottery drawings. Perry has since passed away, but the story lived on in a (badly made) film adaptation. [more inside]
Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County. They hold bridge conventions here in Pittsburgh because there are around 2000 bridges in and around the city. Take the tours to see some of them. My favorites: Westinghouse, Smithfield St., East St., Panther Hollow.
Mullet Talk, FM morning radio show comedy at it its finest. Of course, in Pittsburgh we appreciate the finer things in life. Sadly, this is the only episode I could find on the web.
Bikes and cars don't mix. At least, according to the author of this column. As someone who cycles for fun and commuting, I was alternately amused by his anti-bike spewing and terrified that he's a case of road rage waiting to happen. Remind me never to bike in Pittsburgh.
Big foundations pull funding from city school district. According to my inside source at the Board of Education here, the foundations and the BoE consider the school board's shenanigans to be "marginal." That is, unusual compared to most school boards for districts this size. I would think there are many bad school boards like ours, right?
City as Loser? Iron City was ranked last out of 40 cities in this year's "Best Cities for Singles" in Forbes magazine. Not that Forbes is the ultimate arbiter of the single life (don't they specialize in male readers over 35 with money?), but your best defense of Pittsburgh or your own medium- or small-sized town would be appreciated.
I didn't grow up thinking I talked funny... but thanks to the internet, I now know why I was turned down for all those newscaster jobs. Jano yinz talked funny too?
Anyone catch the fall of Three Rivers? The Steelers want some footage of the stadium falling. The Kingdome falling made the headlines here before, but didn't have any contests to my knowldege. So I was wondering does anyone know of any other buildings coming down? Any suggestions on what buildings should come down? And does the destruction or closing of a favorite place in your city or recall any fond memories?
Mario's back! I'm a couple days late on this, but I just want to say that as a sports fan, I'm glad to see Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemiuex has returned to the ice in style. He's a class act and a great player.