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Eat + Drink: Pamela's owners launching 'modern Jewish deli,' Legume's new lunch hours and much more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at all the news that's fit to eat and/or drink.

Pamela’s founders bringing an old-world Jewish deli to Squirrel Hill.
An eat-in, modern Jewish deli will open in Squirrel Hill next month. Nu (from the Yiddish interjection for “well?” or “so?”) will occupy the space formerly held by Pamela’s sister restaurant Aji Picante at 1711 Murray Avenue, which held its last dinner service on Saturday night.

In addition to new twists on traditional Jewish fare, such as homemade pickles and matzo ball soup, Nu will smoke and hand-carve all its own meats. It will also have its own line and workspace, rather than share a kitchen with Pamela’s, as Aji Picante did. The sit-down restaurant will retain Aji’s outdoor seating, but won’t have any cases, nor will it sell deli meats.

“It’s going to be a little upscale looking, but not expensive,” says Pamela’s co-owner Gail Klingensmith, adding that executive chef Kelsey Sukel and co-owner Pam Cohen’s sister Rise’ will operate the restaurant.

“This is a family passion. It’s a slice of Americana, and it’s our history,” says Klingensmith, adding that Nu, which she projects will open around October 15th, will probably operate 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We’re old girls, but we can still make it to eight.”

Legume now open for lunch
The popular, locally sourced Oakland bistro has begun a lunch service that will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu, which will change every day, will include small plates, sandwiches and salads. Also, we hear the chocolate mousse cake is a legitimate slice of heaven on Earth.

“Steel Town” filmmakers holding fundraiser at Bar Marco
Steel Town,” a live-action, short film currently in pre-production that tells the story of the Homestead Steel Strike, will host a fundraiser and live table read at Bar Marco next Wednesday, October 2nd, at 6 p.m.

Carnegie Mellon alumni Nick Hurt and Yulin Kuang wrote the screenplay, and Hurt will direct when principal photography begins in November. The fundraiser’s host committee includes city councilmen Bruce Kraus and Bill Peduto, as well as State Representative Erin Molchany.

You can RSVP for the event by calling Producer Dan Vetanovetz at 937-243-1518, or e-mailing steeltownmovie@gmail.com. The producers of “Steel Town" are also operating a Kickstarter campaign that has just nine days remaining.

Pittsburgh Opera will perform at Downtown Farmers’ Market
Puccini, Rossini and Bizet aren’t varieties of mushrooms, but they’ll nonetheless be featured during each of the next three Market Square Farmers’ Markets.

The Pittsburgh Opera will perform tomorrow, October 3rd and October 10th between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., to celebrate the arrival of fall and the Opera’s 75th season. Lunchtime concerts have long been a staple of Market Square, and this marks the Opera’s first appearance in the series.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Gail Klingensmith, Dan Ventanovetz

New single-screen movie theater will cater to Pittsburgh's film buffs

Brian Mendelssohn has always dreamed of opening an old-timey movie theater. When he came across the space at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, he knew he’d found his location.

“When this building came along, it felt so right,” says Mendelssohn, a principal with Lawrenceville’s Botero Development. “It’s a single-screen neighborhood movie theater, as if we were opening this up in the 1920s. It’s going to have an intimate feel with modern amenities. We’re trying to imagine what it would look like if Bette Davis designed it.”

Construction is about 65 percent complete on Row House Cinema, a single-screen theater for all breeds of film buffs, which is slated to open in December.

In addition to modern amenities such as stadium seating, a state-of-the-art sound system, completely digital projection and gourmet concessions, the theater will have something entirely new to Pittsburgh.

The adjoining building will house sister business Atlas Bottle Works, which Mendelssohn aims to make “the best beer store in Western Pennsylvania.”

Moviegoers will have the option of buying draft beer at the theater’s concession stand or choosing from the expansive selection next door. Atlas Bottle Works will start out carrying 500 varieties of beer — no macrobrews — and the selection will expand from there.

As for the theater, don’t go to Row House expecting any first-run movies.

“We’re trying to do a new business model we’re calling marathon programming,” Mendelssohn says. Screenings at Row House will revolve around genres, themes and directors. Showings, he says, will occur in back-to-back marathon format (like a single-day “Lord of the Rings” marathon), or over the course of several days, and will touch on everything from sci-fi, horror and zombie films to popular directors, such as the Coen Brothers and Alfred Hitchcock.

The theater, which will seat about 90 people, will also host Q&A and discussion sessions with people from all reaches of the movie industry.

Row House Cinema is currently staging an indiegogo campaign to help cover the costs of installing its picture and sound systems, and rewards for donors, which include choosing movies to be screened, show that local movie fans’ voices will be heard when it comes to programming.

“The community will have a strong influence about who we are and what we’re doing,” Mendelssohn added. “If we had a tagline,” Mendelssohn says, “it would be, ‘Like Netflix, only curated.’”

You can follow Row House Cinema’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Brian Mendelssohn

The Hollywood Theater's Indiegogo campaign: Go Digital or Go Dark

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont has given itself an ultimatum: Go Digital or Go Dark.

The title of its recently launched Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign is a serious one. Managing Director Chad Hunter says that there is no hard date set, but if the one-screen, 300-seat theater can't raise enough funds to transition to from 35mm film to a digital format, the Hollywood will close for good.

Hunter says it's increasingly difficult for independent cinemas to screen certain releases, with restrictions on use of DVD's, and the rarity of many film prints.

"The writing is on the wall," he says. "We can't operate effectively when these walls keep coming up from the studios."

The theater needs to raise $75,000 to make the film-to-digital conversion. The campaign began with $5,000 in seed money from last September's Pittsburgh Day of Giving.  The Indiegogo campaign has so far raised $6,622 as of press time, with 24 days to go.

The Hollywood Theater originally opened in 1933 and is one of few remaining single-screen movie houses in the Pittsburgh area. It has opened and closed several times in the past decade, but was reopened in May 2010 by the non-profit Friends of the Hollywood Theater (FOHT). The organization's long-term goal is to purchase the theater from its current owners.

And the Hollywood isn't alone in this scramble to transition. Theaters around the country are making the expensive switch—or closing up shop—including The Guthrie, in nearby Grove City, PA.

This Saturday, March 2nd, The Living Dead Festival will host a sold-out fundraiser at the Hollywood, featuring a meet-and-greet with cast members from the 1968 film by George A. Romero. The film will be screened in 35mm, with all proceeds going toward the Indiegogo campaign.

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Chad Hunter

Movie inspired by Lawrenceville progressive dinners soon to be filmed there

A new film titled Progression, inspired by the Lawrenceville Urban Pioneers Society Dinner, will be filmed in the neighborhood beginning in March. 

Written and directed by Gab Cody and Sam Turich, the narrative film takes place over the course of an evening, and will focus on three different couples as they wander through the homes and streets of Lawrenceville.

Cody says the film will be driven by conversations and the behavior of people, not by special effects or action sequences.  “Rather a world of people at dinner tables having funny conversations,” she says.

Which is how Cody perceives the LUPS Progressive Dinner.  That event is in its 27th year and has grown from 12 participants to 150.

Cody and Turich moved to Lawrenceville from New York City four years ago.  Three months after moving in they participated in the progressive dinner, and were able to meet “so many great, quirky, weird, strange, funny, hilarious, smart people that we were delighted that we'd chosen to live in Lawrenceville,” Cody says.

“It’s a really magical night in which you are thrust into situations with strangers but often times in their homes,” Cody says.  That type of encounter can be unusual, she says, but is always filled with interesting social interactions and conversations, where friendships develop, and even romance can bloom.

Which is why Cody decided it would be a great setting for a movie of this kind.

Cody and Turich's previous short film, Mombies, was also set in Lawrenceville.  Pageboy Salon & Boutique owner Rachel Vallozzi, who starred in Mombies, will design costumes for Progression, and Cody is reaching out to restaurants and chefs in the Pittsburgh area to design the film's food. 

Filming is scheduled to take place between March and July, and Cody hopes to have a local premier as early as next fall.

Fat Beckett, a play written by Cody and directed by Turich, is currently in production by the Quantum Theatre, and runs through December 18th at the Old School House in Lawrenceville.

And a Kickstarter campaign has launched to help finance the film.  Visit that site here.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Gab Cody

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater will reopen in May

As digital filmmaking ushers in a new cinematic order, some pieces of the old movie garde are too important to leave behind. When the Hollywood Theater, located at 1499 Potomac Avenue in Dormont, closed its doors last May, a determined group of volunteers called Friends of the Hollywood Theater (FOHT) vowed to keep alive this single-screen gem that dates back to 1933. The hard work of this 11 member board, and 25 member advisory board, has paid off.  The Hollywood Theater will reopen on May 4.

"We've been working with 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, they're a non-profit, and they're going to show The New Metropolis at the theater on May 4. It's a PBS documentary about the inner suburbs and the challenges they face in the 21st century," says John Maggio, board member of the non-profit FOHT.

After The New Metropolis screens, there will be a Hollywood Theater open house with free film showings on May 14-15. Part-time showings of paid-admission films will be shown the following week, and the theater will open full-time beginning in June.  FOHT plans to hire a permanent manager and two paid employees. The 48 Hour Film Festival has already signed on to use the venue, and FOHT intends to start showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as other classic and rare 35mm works. They will also use the theater as a community space for a wide variety of on and off screen events.

For nearly a year, the diverse volunteer FOHT board has been busy fundraising, working with Duquense law students to achieve 501c3 status, and collaborating with CMU students to develop a business plan. FOHT currently needs less than $10,000 to open the theater's doors, which they're confident will happen. While they will rent the building for now, Maggio believes they will be able to buy it in the near future.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Friends of The Hollywood Theater at P.O. Box 7902 Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

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Writer: John Farley
Source: John Maggio, Friends of the Hollywood Theater

Photograph copyright John Farley

Warhola Video Productions moves to, expands in North Side

The North Side's just teeming with Warhols these days.

Warhola Video Productions has joined the Andy Warhol Museum as a neighborhood resident. The production company, which focuses on corporate videos, is owned by Jay Warhola, a second cousin of famed artist Andy.

Warhola Video Production, which previously had its 2,900-square-foot offices in Robinson, has moved into a 4,700-square-foot space in Deutschtown Center, a former bottling plant at 801 Vinial St. Kevin O'Leary with Warhola Video Productions says the company chose Deutschtown Center for its proximity to Downtown and its on-site parking.

The first-floor studio (which includes a large green screen) is about 1,000 square-feet, with an adjoining 700 square-feet for master control, equipment and makeup rooms. The second-floor offices occupy the remaining 3,000 square-feet.

"The change that is most exciting to us is to now have a functional studio that will allow us not only to accommodate our needs, but potentially other businesses' needs as well," says O'Leary. "We're opening up the studio to anyone who's interested in renting the space."

Warhola Video Productions, which was founded in October 2001, is staffed by four full-time employees and a team of freelancers. It offers editing, videotaping, duplication, CD and DVD services, and has produced award-winning training, promotional, commercial, broadcast and special interest videos for thousands of national, international and local companies, including Pittsburgh-based Black Box and the Steamfitters union.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Kevin O'Leary, sales/business development, Warhola Video Productions

Photograph courtesy Warhola Video Productions

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