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Pop Filter Hot Pick: (Gallery) Crawl into art, before and after dark

Why you should go: Combat that case of cabin fever on Friday, January 24th, by heading into the heart of Pittsburgh's Cultural District for the winter edition of the Downtown Gallery Crawl.

Marking one decade of quarterly arts happenings, the Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District goes late-night expanding the depth and breadth of its offerings. The event's 10th anniversary installment kicks off 2014 and serves as the debut of CrawlAfterDark, a new initiative showcasing the city's late-night cultural scene and promotes Downtown as an after-hours destination for world-class art, entertainment, comedy, music, theatre, dining and more.

What's new for the 2014 Crawl?

Friday's Crawl will animate the District with its signature open house-style events and activities at 30-plus venues from 5:30 to 9 p.m., including thought-provoking visual art exhibitions, live music and DJs, dance and theatre performances, comedy acts, and experiential activities.

At Wood Street Galleries, step into Erwin Redl's immersive installation, Structures of Time and Space, to experience an architectural environment that explores reverse engineering, the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality, 3-D computer modeling, visual perception, corporeal motion, and the passage of time. The Austrian-born artist, who is now based in the US, is known for creating artistic interventions and architectural environments that incorporate LEDs, videos, graphics, computer art and electronic music.

Nearby at SPACE, there is still time to catch Behind Our Scenes before it closes. Curated by artist and educator Jen Saffron, the group exhibition examines relationships between two-dimensional form and space via photographic installations and constructions. Featured artists include Nancy Andrews, Leo Hsu, Dennis Marsico, Annie O’Neill and Barbara Weissberger. While at SPACE, make your own button with the Carnegie Library of PIttsburgh and groove to sounds spun by Aaron Clark (Humanaut, Honcho).

Live performances by Attack Theatre will be featured at the Trust Arts Education Center. The Pittsburgh-based company will present Traveling, a clever contemporary dance performance that tells the story of a traveling salesman, his case of curiosities, and the powerful potential that exists within the "little things in life." Featuring Attack's signature inventive use of props, daredevil partnering and a dose of nostalgia, Traveling will transform small objects into big ideas and fun physical feats.

Across the street at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, enjoy interactive performances by Australian companies, Terrapin Theatre and Polyglot Theatre. Participate in collective storytelling, as you join a tiny puppet to become a temporary resident of an imaginative installation. Next, encounter a world filled with strange tall cardboard trees, paper leaves, boulders, ponds and mysterious forms. Watch as fantastical animals hang from branches and rest upon trunks while you populate and experience the space.

At Future Tenant, explore the powerful story of history's oft-forgotten Radium Girls, young female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with glow-in-the-dark paint at the US Radium factory in Orange, NJ in 1917. Memorializing the women, the new window installation by artist Savannah Schroll is an extension of the artist’s in-progress graphic novel The Color Of Silence is Radium Green, which celebrates the lives of these ill-fated girls, and examines this little known segment of American history. Friday's festivities will also feature live music by DJ and producer Jakeisrain and the electronic jazz sounds of C Street Brass. Attendees are also invited to create a collage during the gallery's “Make Your Own Radium Girl” activity, which honors the young women's legacy and also celebrates the creative practice of pioneering German Dada artist Hannah Höch, who created provocative collages exploring the representation of women in the media.

Be sure to pop into 709 Penn Gallery to see Terry Boyd's new exhibition, Neverlands. Featuring mixed media drawings, Neverlands offers an interpretation of life and death, with imagery originally depicted by the sky, sea, land, and characters described in J.M. Barrie’s stories, including Peter Pan.

Next door at 707 Penn Gallery, relive the last days of a much-debated structure that graced Pittsburgh's skyline for 50 years--a glistening silver dome nicknamed the Igloo. Whether you championed it as a feat of engineering, attended your first rock concert there or could not wait to see it razed to make way for new community and economic development opportunities linking Downtown to the Hill District, you won't want to miss the chance to experience the Arena’s final months in operation and dramatic yearlong demolition process through the eyes of one local artist. Arena: Remembering the Igloo offers a captivating visual document of the structure's demise by local photographer David Aschkenas. The only photographer licensed by the Sports and Exhibition Authority to have total access to the Civic Arena during its demolition, Aschkenas shot 10,000 photographs of the project. From wide-angle shots depicting the pre-demolition Arena, to closeup images of the everyday objects and quiet moments within, Aschkenas' arresting photographs document the end of the iconic building's era.

Explore local history with the PNC Legacy Project at 600 Liberty Avenue. Celebrating Black History Month, the project features oral histories of Tony Award winner Billy Porter, Pittsburgh Courier Publisher Rod Doss, Olympic champion Swin Cash, civil rights advocate Alma Speed Fox, and trumpet player Sean Jones.

Swing by the Renaissance Hotel to meet the Lonely Robot. Constructed by artist Toby Atticus Fraley, and previously featured in his Cultural District installation, the robot and his friends will appear in a room window display at street level.

Channel your inner super hero

Don't miss the new Wonder Women exhibition at Toonseum. One of the largest exhibitions focus on women in comics to ever be presented, Wonder Women: On Page and Off features more than 50 pieces of original art. An exploration of the role of women as artists and in he comics industry, as well as a look at the ways that women have been portrayed in comics, the groundbreaking exhibition is curated by Kathleen Adam of The Women’s Museum of California with assistance from “herstorian” Trina Robbins and ToonSeum staff.

The show explores gender constructs that have hindered women since the turn of the 20th century in the comics industry, as well as the nature of early female comic characters who often appeared in minor, supportive roles, but that today can be found as both heroines and main characters. Mixing history with exceptional art, the historical collection also honors the growth of female characters in comics at the ToonSeum, and explores the accomplishments of women in the comic and graphic industries as artists and characters. On view through March 30th, Wonder Women also honors the first African-American female cartoonist, Jackie Ormes--a Pittsburgh native who created the iconic “We Can Do It” poster.


Don't stop the culture crawling at 9 p.m.! To highlight recent growth taking place throughout the Cultural District, CrawlAfterDark includes extended hours for numerous Cultural District venues participating in the Gallery Crawl.

Late-night entertainment taking place in conjunction with CrawlAfterDark includes venues and clubs presenting comedy, live music, theatre, dining, and more. Featured CrawlAfterDark performers and events around the Cultural District include The Freya String Quartet, FRENDZ, Kartoon Karaoke, Global Beats, Guest DJ Dave “7up” Sanchez and Arcade Comedy Theater acts. Select CrawlAfterDark venues require minimal admission ranging from $5 to $15.

Open until 10 p.m. on Friday night is the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's Night Market VII. Hosted indoors for the winter season, Night Market VII will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. at 131 7th Street. The market's seventh edition will feature 19 vendors selling food, gift items, handmade wares and even custom-made cartoon art created by the Toonseum. Night Market VII will also feature entertainment by Duquesne University singer-songwriter Tori Plack.

View a complete schedule of Gallery Crawl and CrawlAfterDark events.

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