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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo


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South Hills kids can return to school in style with free backpacks, haircuts

On August 17th, South Hills kids in Pittsburgh will get a head start in their back-to-school shopping.

 "Our Advisory Board had the idea to ask the Mt. Lebanon School District to do a backpack collection and all 10 schools participated," said Major Paul Moore, Salvation Army Pittsburgh Temple Corps Worship and Service Center Commanding Officer. "Model Cleaners graciously agreed to clean the donated packs at no charge.  And, South Hills Beauty Academy has a history of serving our families in need.  It is a win/win for everyone."

Applications will be accepted until Friday, August 9th at (412) 207-2127 or MaryAnne_McFeely@use.salvationarmy.org.  School-age children from preschool through grade 12 who reside in the South Hills area are welcome.

To read more about the backpack giveaway and project, click here.

Raymund Ryan on Pittsburgh's inclines as urban characters

Raymund Ryan, a curator of both the Heinz Architectural Center and the Carnegie Museum of Art, has a sparkling description of Pittsburgh's sister inclines in this article about urban characters in cities.

"Known as the Monongahela and the Duquesne, and dating from the 1870s, each consists of a double run of track and a contiguous cable, with one car ascending as its twin descends.

Entry is through chalet-like structures at both the base and top of each Incline; only the upper station is manned by an operator in a dedicated control box. The Monongahela cars are stepped in section with three small interior tiers; the red Duquesne cars are consolidated volumes, like miniature railway carriages. You climb aboard and the car shunts gently away from its berth. At night, the Monongahela track is marked by blue lights, the Duquesne by red."

To read more of Ryan's description and see what other cities mention in this interesting article, click here.

Pittsburgh featured in Parisian's webcomic

One webcomic artist tells the story of his visit to Pittsburgh the best way he knows how in this installment of The Bouletcorp, written and illustrated by a Parisian named Boulet. To read about his journey beginning with the T-Rex in Pittsburgh International, and ending with a close call with a zombie, Batman, and Robocop, click here.

A guide to Pittsburgh's indie movie theaters

Emma, a blogger for iheartpgh.com, offers up a twist on a familiar summer ritual. "When the weather starts heating up, sometimes the only thing to do is go inside. This season many of us will take to the air-conditioned refuge of our local megaplexes. To switch things up, I offer you a list of local independently owned theaters. Many of the theaters screen the same new releases, but also provide character and unique programming."

To read Emma's sweet guide to Pittsburgh's little guy theaters, click here.

The work behind child's play at the Carnegie

The New York Times reports on the "Playground Project," the Carnegie Museum's new exhibitional ode to the playground through history in a full-page spread this past Sunday. An excerpt:

"Mounted on plywood panels that suggest the walls of an impromptu recreation room, this jam-packed show uses photographs, film, books, architectural plans and models to illuminate the golden decades after World War II, when cities around the world felt the need to build new play areas in parks and on streets.

"Artists and architects buoyed by the work of child psychologists like Bruno Bettelheim and Jean Piaget reinvented the playground’s look and dreamed up new equipment. Once regarded as a holding area where children could be controlled and contained, by the 1960s the playground was seen as a zone for creative exploration and cognitive development."

To read more about the "Playground Project" and its message, click here.

This once grimy city is now a leader in green, clean living.

Organic Gardening's "Living" section touts Pittsburgh's green innovations as some of the best in the country, especially considering what some might call a grimy history.

"One writer called the place 'hell with the lid off.' That's what some people still expect to find on a trip to Pittsburgh. But they'd be wrong. Visitors emerging from the Fort Pitt Tunnel today are welcomed by a spectacular view of a city experiencing a vibrantly green renaissance that is the pride and joy of gregarious Pittsburghers. A walk through the city's Strip District reveals a burgeoning locavore food scene with an emphasis on freshly sourced and prepared ethnic food, an eclectic collection of unique shops, and an equally diverse crowd scene. Every Saturday morning, Farmers@Firehouse, an organic farmers' market, is held in a parking lot right next to a former firehouse."

To read more about Pittsburgh's green revolution, click here.

The Walls Come Tumbling Down for Bricolage, Clear Story and partners

Bricolage Production Company is featured in a recent article about the growing popularity of Immersive Theater, a genre of theater based on audience involvement as a part of the show. "A one-on-one experience for every audience member was offered in STRATA, a production mounted in summer 2012 by Pittsburgh-based Bricolage Production Company. The difference was that in each room, the STRATA visitor was given a choice of where to go next. The effect, though, is the same: Not every person followed the same track.
“We really wanted to address the homogenization of art, and theatre in general. When bringing an audience all at once into the same space, the audience gets cues from each other on how they’re supposed to respond,” says STRATA co-creator and Bricolage artistic director Jeffrey Carpenter. “Ultimately, theSTRATA experience was about you, and it was so individualized that nobody had the same experience.”

To read more from the Theatre Communications Group about Bricolage and Immersive Theater, including their Pittsburgh partners, click here.

Wohlers report from Pittsburgh conference says 3-D printing is exploding

PlasticsNews.com (yes, there is an e-zine for plastics, too) offers their insights into the world of 3-D Printing, including a conference held on the subject in Pittsburgh back in June. "Attendance at the event, organized by the Dearborn, Mich.-based Society of Manufacturing Engineers, nearly doubled this year to more than 2,500, from 1,400 who attended the event last year in Atlanta. It also featured about 100 exhibitors.

Additionally, some 500 people showed up at 8 a.m. June 12 to hear keynote speaker Terry Wohlers, the additive manufacturing sector's recognized guru, declare: "I've never seen so much interest in this technology. It's unprecedented."

To read more about this burgeoning market, click here.

Christian Bale emerges 'Out of the Furnace'

Christian Bale returned to the Pittsburgh area to film another movie, but he won't be playing Batman this time. Bale's character, Russell Baze, is a far more down-to-earth, blue collar guy caught in a difficult situation. "To capture the blue-collar spirit, Cooper insisted on filming in Braddock, Pa., where he set the story. The director was impressed with the way Bale immersed himself, taking none of his own clothing on the shoot — wearing only what Russell would wear. Bale also experienced work on the steel furnace.

"It's long hours, unhealthy conditions and intense heat.," says Bale. "It's dangerous work. The guys had recently lost a friend who had died on the job. But there's a great bond. And they have a love for it, despite the hardships."

Bale and the other actors — the cast also includes Forest Whitaker, WIllem Dafoe, Sam Shepard and Zoe Saldana — were also able to find character role models in the town. Bale recorded a local man at length to get a handle on the tricky Braddock accent."

To read more about what actors call "the process" and Braddock's role in the new movie, "Out of the Furnace." click here.

Pittsburgh brings wi-fi to its waterways

According to GovTech.com, Pittsburgh's rivers are due for a technological upgrade.

"River vessels, used for both moving cargo and people, are often viewed as an outmoded form of transport, in part because of their reliance on old technology, such as VHF radio, with nary a Wi-Fi signal in sight. So to bring these river vessels up to snuff, so to speak, Pennsylvania's Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) has launched its Wireless Waterways project.

Working with students from Carnegie Mellon University and with volunteers, the PPC built a backbone for marine technology and Internet applications that expands across Pittsburgh’s three rivers -- the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers. "

To read more about how the PPC and CMU are working to bring our rivers up to date, click here.

Bill Strickland - The insurrection of connection

As bicycling stories go, they don't get much scarier than this.

"There was that adrenalized moment when you are going for your brakes and also looking for a way around and past, and in that moment the car jammed the gas and started to cut around the wagon, then hesitated as the driver must have noticed that we were right there, that close. The shoulder was blocked to us."

To read how Bill Strickland turns a hostile close call on the road into a touching connection between driver and cyclist, click here.

The secrets behind the successful launch of Design Allies on Facebook

How do you engage an online community around design?

Chris Koch, Director of programs at The Design Center, shares secrets to the impressive success of Design Allies Facebook page in an interview with the Association of Architecture Organizations.

"In 2011, the organization re-branded itself as the Design Center and established a new website and a Facebook page called Design Allies, which is actually part of a larger, multi-faceted community engagement effort operating under the same name," she says. "

The social media strategy, developed by the Design Center, was intended to expand its role in advocating, educating, and engaging communities in good design and planning, both locally and nationally. The strategy focuses on reaching out to practitioners, community members, and thought leaders to ensure dialogue and action in community revitalization."

To read more about Design Allies facebook strategies, click here.

Nine places you haven't visited but should--includes Pittsburgh of course

It's more than just fries on a sandwich. Why every traveler should visit Pittsburgh.

Read the full blurb here.

Pittsburgh tops the list of smartest cities. But then you knew that, yes?

Pittsburgh not only made the list, we topped the list of smartest cities.

 Here’s the criteria:
  • Universities and colleges per person
  • Libraries per person
  • Education level
  • Media per person (newspapers, TV, radio, magazines)
  • Museums per person
  • Public school rank
Read the article here.

Pittsburgh knitters want to make blankets for the Andy Warhol Bridge

The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh plans to cover the Andy Warhol bridge in blankets later this summer, as reported earlier in Pop City.

Darla Cravotta, the county's special projects coordinator, said the group hopes to cover the bridge in mid-August and leave the blankets in place for about four weeks, reports The Oregoniana.

"After the blankets are removed, they'll be washed and distributed to homeless shelters, nursing homes and animal shelters."

To read more from The Oregonian's website, OregonLive.com, click here.
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