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Pop Filter Hot Pick: get UNBLURRED by the arts along Penn Avenue

Artistic Artery: in the city's centrally located Friendship-Garfield nabe, the first Friday of the month is synonymous with a street-wide showcase of a diverse array of grassroots galleries, museums, music venues, boutiques, and eateries called Unblurred. It's the perfect opportunity to take in world-class culture along one of the city's most eclectic commercial districts, check out new exhibition openings and test your skills at glass making or dance. From hip happenings and trendy tees, to architecture and urban farming, the Avenue is alive and kicking.

The en plein air happening showcases new work by emerging and established artists produced and presented within the urban fabric of the neighborhood. Spanning the East End nabes of Friendship, Garfield and East Liberty, the art crawl serves as a behind-the-scenes showcase for the area's many arts and cultural destinations, from well-established cultural institutions like The Pittsburgh Glass Center and Dance Alloy Theatre, to the latest coffeehouse and music venue.

Ready to rock down to Penn Avenue? Start your art world wanderings on either end, or anywhere along the stretch from 4800 to 5500 Penn, where most events are free from 6p.m. to midnight. Here's the lineup:

Pre-game your eclectic evening at the new Mexican Verde Kitchen to sip happy hour margaritas and check out a new mural created by local artist Gabe Felice. Have a seat and some java at Voluto Coffee where National Book Award-winner Terrance Hayes will read poetry at 7 p.m.

Pop into Alloy Studios to get your dance on! At the family-friendly open house, gallery crawlers will learn popular and diverse dance styles, enjoy belly dance, salsa/meringue, and modern jazz demos by Alloy instructors and nosh on light refreshments.

Don't miss the grand opening of the Center for PostNatural History, where visitors will explore the intersection of culture, nature and biotechnology. The permanent exhibition facility on Penn is dedicated to the research and exhibition of lifeforms that have been excluded from scientific taxonomy and intentionally altered by humans--from the dawn of domestication to genetic engineering, selective breeding and biological tampering. Opening in association with the Miller Gallery’s current exhibition “Intimate Science," the unique space presents the postnatural world through diorama, taxidermy, photography, and living exhibitions, from engineered corn to Sea Monkeys to modified Chestnut Trees to BioSteel™ Goats.

Roll up your sleeves and head over to community art and tech space, Assemble, where collage artist Seth Clark has turned the conventional studio model from a reclusive private space to an open public forum. Explore Clark's work and and participate in the creative process of an emerging Pittsburgh art star.

Forget the kindle! Peruse the shelves at out Awesome Books, which boasts thousands of affordably priced titles from biographies to gardening. Over at Artica Gallery, get a preview of April’s upcoming GA/GI Festival at Unblurred, while at The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, celebrate the release of the new book, Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh Artists, and enjoy live music by Joy Toujours and the Toys du Jours.

Mr. Roboto Project, which recently opened the doors of its new grassroots music venue, will host the first annual Allies Alumni Art show, featuring demos by d.s. kinsel, Kelly Tobias, Maggie Negrete, and Katherine Young. Stick around after Unblurred for live music by Wolfden, Hard Money and City Steps. At ModernFormations' new exhibition, The Word Made Flesh, visitors will explore the anatomy of the body via distorted depictions of anatomical medical images and setups in compelling works created by Stephen Tuomala.

Join LUPEC (read: Ladies United for the Protection of Endangered Cocktails) at Morris Levy Gallery to ring in Women’s History Month with celebratory festivities and classic cocktails honoring local female artists and Feminist Art Movement pioneer June Wayne.

Head to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater for a cocktail party-style mixer inspired by the East Liberty venue's upcoming SUNSTAR series, which showcases women in art and music. Venture over to The Shop, located at 4314 Main St. for Unsuccessful Searches for Unconditional Love, an exhibition of mixed media and sculptural work by Joe Rudans, with selected pieces by his father, the late artist Eriks Rudans. Providing the night's live soundtrack will be bands Evil Twin and Gangbuss.

Ready to hit the dance floor after all of that culture jamming? Discover the music and dance of Argentina at 5005 Penn, and wrap up your arts excursion at Brilobox, for Pandemic, where local DJs will spin everything from Brazilian funk to Bosnian hip hop.

The best part? It's all accessible on foot.

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