It's all about positionality.

Posts tagged Pittsburgh

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OBVIOUS Thursday April 19th @ Mexico City (by brianbullets2010)

"The thing that I’ve noticed about this is I don’t think we’re doing anything out of tradition in Pittsburgh’s history.  I mean, my first club night when I came here was Steel City Jungle.  And Diesel Boy and that guy Ruffian and all those guys, they threw the best bass music parties in America.

And I feel like as Drum and bass somewhat fell off the global scene, as did our prevalence in it.  We’re just bringing it back.  It’s exactly the same kind of style. It’s funny ‘cause in terms of naming the night, one of the ideas was that we just call it Steel City Jungle again.”  Obvious’s Ryan Walsh

Filed under music Pittsburgh bass Obvious

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A.DD+ - Brain Sex (When Pigs Fly) (by HipHopnBall)

VIA is already on their grind with stellar picks for ‘12.  They’re bringin’ these guys with their no-shit-taking, slick, smart rhymes to open up for Black Milk on March 1st.   

Filed under music VIApgh Pittsburgh

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You might know her as the foxy redheaded hipster girl who’s typically jumping around on stages snapping stellar pictures of DJs, artists and the crowds they send into dancing frenzies.  Inspired by the Long Live Pittsburgh piece on the Washington Post’s Lifestyle Blog, photographer Lindsay Mullen recently picked up a camera stocked with Super 8 Ektachrome film and shot some perfectly vintage, sepia-toned footage of our fair city to create this montage set to Portlandia's theme song, “Feel it All Around” by Washed Out.

If you’ve lived in Pittsburgh and you no longer do, beware, this will make you feel homesick.  If you are currently living in Pittsburgh just watch this and reinvigorate your love for it.

Filed under Pittsburgh Film

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DEMF - it ruled…here’s why.

Movement, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, referred acronymically by veterans as the now outdated DEMF, happened a couple weekends ago, spanned three days and offered the massive onslaught of electronic music aficionados a wide range of dance music; from the classic and old of the Made in Detroit Stage to the new, albeit more “mainstream” of the Red Bull Stage.  

I had preconceived notions about the festival, ones wrapped up in visions of Bonnaroo procreating with a rave and pooping out a weird hybrid festival that featured music that is current with music that is storied.  Such a marriage is entirely too reductive, as Movement was simultaneously a history lesson in techno and a sociological experiment in drug induced marathon dancing.  From the moment our Mega’techno’bus hit the D, the reverb was felt and the history lesson was on.

I wanted to experience this festival-cum-dance culture phenomenon from as many viewpoints as possible so I ran with different packs, let the program guide me when I knew of particular names that were personal must-sees, and found people who’s tastes I trusted, colleagues, DJs…or just generally fun looking people.  

I hit the Made in Detroit Stage for my Detroit history lesson, danced to the likes of Mike Servito, a Detroit transplant who spun an utterly seamless set that had me forgetting the echos of ‘house music bores me’ from people who like futurebass as much as I do.  That stage also offered up classic stuff from Bruce Bailey and Delano Smith.  It took 2 hour chunks spread out over the course of 3 days, but I now truly know what people mean when they say, “This sounds very Detroit.”  

My favorite Detroit sounding stretch came from the Circoloco party at TV Lounge and was dished out by Stacey Pullen.  The top floor of the club felt like home to me; a floor that gave slightly in the middle, a haphazardly set up bar towards the back, a small intense crowd close to the booth trailed by dancers whose interest faded to whatever drugs and booze as they bounced around closer to the bar than the DJ.  It was like the Lawrenceville Moose shrunk down slightly, became a second story dance floor, and was inhabited by Detroit techno.

The bottom floor of TV Lounge for Circoloco was graced with the presence of the ever prolific Cassy.  I have a certain weakness for female DJs.  They’re so rare and inspiring that regardless of the kind of music they spin, I generally love and respect them.  Cassy worked the decks to the 5am-dance-stupid crowd with ease and elegance and perfection.  The club was hot with moving bodies packed tightly inside its cavernous walls, but Cassy stood behind the booth and beat-matched her far-reaching vinyl collection without breaking a sweat, nor frizzing a curl.  She officially became an idol of mine that night.

Having taken my much needed doses of Detroit sounds, I went out and explored what I wanted.  My personal favorites of the fest were Pearson Sound and Scuba and I know I’ll get heady disagreement on those choices but you can all suck it, because to be perfectly honest, I loved everything I heard that weekend, so seriously, just shut the fuck up.

In the end the experience was as much about dancing and music as it was about camaraderie.  I realized that if you explore enough you find city pockets at the festival.  I found a group of Chi-towners who all found each other with slight randomness.  Chicago became my adopted city for moments throughout the fest, and I now feel an allegiance to that city’s underground even though I’ve never actually experienced it outside of stories from its most seminal inhabitants.  

I also knew that my own underground realm would be close by at any given time because about half of the entire familial scene of yinzers was in Detroit that weekend.  Subsequently I got to know some of those fellow night owls who I only see in dark loud spaces, or within the one-dimensional arena of Facebook and forums.  We conversed on the bus ride, hung out in hotel rooms, spent hours in the daylight dancing in the rain on the steps of the Vitamin Water Stage and in the mud by Beatport or wrestling through the scantily clad ravies to get closer to the shelter at Red Bull.  DEMF is clearly where the scene gets tighter. 

Having taken a Terrible Towel as a makeshift umbrella from a thoughtful friend who brilliantly towed it along as some sort of flag, I ended up meeting Pittsburghers I didn’t even know.  Later on, that wide-eyed, Pittsburgh-proud friend went on about the Towel’s implicate power…even in the D, at a wild rave, the Terrible Towel unites the Yinzers.

Filed under Detroit Movement DEMF Pittsburgh Chicago music writing dancing techno EDM

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I didn’t gather that hobo literarily meant hobo until I saw Hobotech in person.  He looks quite like a hobo, but not the creepy drunkard sort, more like Gene Wilder meets Bilbo Baggins with a dash of Woody Allen-like insouciance.  He was all unwieldily hair, thick plastic framed specs, and a way of talking that instantly tells you he’s read a lot of books and really fucking appreciates Dust Bowl Ballads.  His set was dripping with Americana homage…if I hadn’t forgotten my notebook I’d be able to give you folk titles here, but alas, a beer replaced the pen.  

The very concept of melding storied American folk music in all of it’s weird and painful glory, tales of depression and woebegone working men panhandling their way across the country - and mixing it all together with heavy bass and electronic dance beats is really kind of oddly synchronous.  Think of vagabonds, tramps who move along the American railway, jumping from car to car and living a sort of freedom that comes at a cost but is probably so worth it.  Now think of the congregation of individuals on the dance floor…all seeking some sort of individual freedom…they find it in moving to some beats, some bass, just dancing their collective asses off.  Hobotech was like Kerouacian robots, hitchhiking their way across America in search of a place where they can just dance.

Filed under Hobotech drum and bass dubstep electronic dance music Pittsburgh

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Litas, meet Pittsburgh…

I walked down the wretchedly torn up sidewalk that runs along Main St., towering at 6’1”, 5” above normalcy.  The skeevy cat-callers who sit at that Pizza shop formerly known as Cumps, were luckily nowhere to be seen.  Whether it was the cold air or the early hour that kept their filthy past-middle-age-eyes off of me, I didn’t really care.  I was just glad to Bambi-walk it alone, sans stares whilst I gained the confidence that the shoes ultimately exuded from my legs.

Once I got to the corner of Penn and Main, I was pretty much ready to take on the world.  I crossed with ease, and was able to take my eyes off of the ground in front of me, to fix them, as I habitually do, on the driver of the car that was trying to take my right-of-way.

"Asshole," I thought to myself and ineffectually channeled with my aviator masked eyes.

I sauntered up to the bus shelter in front of the Sunoco, boppin’ my head a little to the grungy guitars rifs of BRMC.  Spread Your Love, the soundtrack to mine and Litas’ rock’n’roll catwalk to the bus stop.  The boots felt ultra light, not necessarily cushioning my feet, but so light that I could run gracefully if need be.  I could stand still, legs shoulder width apart, without tottering.  And they got stares…oh, they got stares.

The older man sitting in the shelter couldn’t seem to just write me off as some crazy kid, instead continued double-take after double-take, wide-eyes directed downwards, as if these boots were crazier than those webbed toe shoes people wear these days.  I had to force my eyes down Penn, pretending to search for my bus, in an effort to not do the same right back at him.  He wore a sullied, 90’s era Steeler Starter jacket, equally sordid grey sweatpants with elastic around the ankles, and lacked teeth making his already gaunt face look like a punching bag.  One could argue that I too was dressed like a bum, tattered jeans, oversized Goodwill sweater, we were in the same boat, but in such different ways.  It was like a micro Culture Clash, the Lawrenceville crazies are awesome like that.

My bus stop companion eventually got on the 88, and the minutes slid by as the hour reached closer and closer to 10am.  While unacceptable, this kind of lateness is somewhat notoriously linked to the 54C.  Most of the time it’s on-time, or close enough, but today, when I have an actual meeting, and not just some class I can be 5 minutes late for, it decides to not show up.

After cranking my iPod in an effort to relay Prodigy’s Breathe with me, Breathe the pressure to my own lungs, I decided I’m gonna have to make a move.  I began walking as fast as the Litas would let me back down Main to hit the other 54C stop (different bus, don’t ask, it’s a Pittsburgh thing).  After breaking into an unnecessary sweat on the 40 degree morning, I reached the corner of…well that weird very triangular, Pittsburgh intersection where Liberty turns into Main but simultaneously remains Liberty (again, such a Pittsburgh thing).

I looked left to check out oncoming traffic and to discern whether or not I could make a break for it across the three lane intersection, and there it was.   The motherfucking Penn&Main 54C!

"What a fucking asshole.”  I said quite loudly, over the sounds of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead; “Another Morning Stoner,” oh how I wish I were that kid, as opposed to this obsessive compulsive early bird who was now gonna be uber late for a meeting with a potential grad school recommendation. #fml

Filed under JC Litas Pittsburgh bus stop 54C writing walking

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Know these things….

It takes 2 hours to get to Lawrenceville from the North Hills via the 1D.  

Mount Royal is quaint, picturesque, hilly, full of old townhouses and it has a Marshalls (and an Aldi).

When downtown, old African American men will cat call you to no end, but when it comes time to board the bus they don’t give a shit what gender you are, they will board first.

Although a young mother and her young son justly deserve the front seats on the bus, very few will move for them, but when a man does, his attractiveness increases ten fold.

….until next next time…

Filed under writing creative nonfiction Pittsburgh riding buses