Posts tagged “Pittsburgh

Handmade Arcade starts holiday shopping early

Hey yinz,

Handmade Arcade, which calls itself “Pittsburgh’s Largest Indie Craft Fair,” gave a preview of the frenzied holiday shopping season with its annual pre-holiday craft show in David Lawrence Convention Center on Saturday.   There were so many vendors selling jewelry, homemade soaps, recycled/reused/upcycled notebooks, screen-print T-shirts and my favorite, plushies!  Most of the items are reasonably priced for gifts, which I think is one of the goals of the event. The pre-holiday shopping extravaganza for handmade wares began in 2004 with 32 vendors, and this year, the event had more than 150 vendors. My favorite part about this event is that most of the craftsmen and artists are Pittsburgh-based.

Here are some pictures from the day. I asked all of these vendors for permission before photographing their work. Some asked for me to send them my photos. I also decided to add their websites if available. The Handmade Arcade website has a complete list of the vendors with their websites.

On a side note, you’ll notice that I played around with my photo presentation. It actually was not that easy, so if you don’t like it, I’ll happily go back to the usual format.

Wade Caruso woodwork’s Picasa album   

Rebound Designs

Rebound Designs

Rag Trader: Vintage Reborn
Friend or Foe plushies made in Pittsburgh and sold at Divertido in Lawrenceville
Narwhal plushie by Zooguu

Pittsburgh-based Green Bubble Gorgeous

Pampering treats from Green Bubble Gorgeous

I can personally vouch for Green Bubble Gorgeous because I’ve purchased Krystal Doring’s expertly crafted, organic cupcake bath bombs, and Popsicle- and donut-shaped soaps for myself and for gifts. 🙂

There was also a great interactive area for the kids, where they could make silk screened wrapping paper (I got bison wrapping paper!), create a cardboard tube city and dress up like monsters.

Congratulations to the organizers on another successful Handmade Arcade!



Teenie Harris, a Pittsburgh story

Hey yinz,

Pittsburghers love our own. We love our backup-backup QB Charlie Batch and Jackie Evancho. We even love claiming Jeff Goldblum for the Steel City. No one has anything bad to say about Jeff Goldblum. We even secretly love that when Christina Aguilera was buzzing online for going on a date pants-less that she was rocking an Andy Warhol shirt. Double points on that one!

Anyway, I wanted to spread the word about an exciting, super-Pittsburghy exhibit that’s on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story is not just an American story — it’s a Pittsburgh one. Teenie Harris lived from 1908 to 1998 (amazing), and he photos ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary for the “Pittsburgh Courier” during the 1930s through the 1970s, according to Teenie’s biography on the Carnegie Museum’s website.  (Note: The prominent black newspaper,  the “Pittsburgh Courier,” is now the “New Pittsburgh Courier.”)

This is the sign outside of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Teenie Harris exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art acquired nearly 80,000 of Teenie Harris’ negatives in 2001, and since then the museum has scanned and cataloged about 60,000 of those negatives. There are pictures of jazz musicians playing upright or double basses, weddings, funerals, and babies.

I also love this photo of a demonstration outside of the US Steel building because of the story it tells.  Most of Teenie’s photos are not composed in a particularly artistic way. He actually took a lot of group portraits of people sitting in chairs and photos that have the society-page or standing-around-the-backyard-barbeque feel. But this is an exhibit I definitely want to check out. The exhibit opened last week and will run until April 7, 2012. I’ll try to get out to the exhibit sooner than later though.

On a side note, the museum has a job opening for a part-time special projects assistant job position dedicated to this exhibit. It would be a great job for someone knowledgeable about African-American history, Pittsburgh history and/or photography. Good luck if you’re applying!


Urban Hike sends us on a scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill

Hey yinz,

As a native Pittsburgher and Pitt aluma, I’ve become well acquainted with Squirrel Hill. It’s home to kosher Giant Eagle thumbprint cookies, a sweet movie theater that plays less mainstream movies (the Manor Theatre), and a few of my favorite restaurants, including the recently reopened Bangkok Balcony, Rose Tea Cafe and New Dumpling House.

But on Saturday, I discovered how little I actually knew. My sister, brother-in-law, nephew, boyfriend and I all participated in the Urban Hike scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill. The scavenger hunt sent us running around the neighborhood for about two and a half hours. It got us looking at murals, second-floor businesses, signs and cars.

There were some general challenges, like taking a picture in front of a business with a name that’s not English or finding a rare Raja supporting lawn sign. We also took a picture of a popular in Squirrel Hill because it “fits” anywhere (Answer: a Honda Fit) and a help wanted sign.

We took a neighborhood-specific pictures next to an Elvis mannequin playing the ukelele, the place where a lady of the realm could have her cleaning done (Lord Duncan Cleaners), and an art store on Beacon Street. Here’s a picture in front of the store.  The team is wearing balloon hats created at one of the challenges.

I'm making this picture small because I'm not sure how much the people in the picture would like having a photo with their balloon crowns on the world wide web.

The challenges were my favorite. At Allderdice High School, we had to name Allderdice alumni using video clues. In addition to Wiz Khalifa and Myron Cope, we learned that the Jet’s Curtis Martin attended Allderdice.  At the JCC challenge site, we played Yiddish charades, and at another challenge, we answered trivia while making balloon hats, as you can see in the photo.

At 2:30, we regrouped in Gullifty’s and had a late lunch while we waited for the scores to be tallied:

We didn’t win – or come close – but we had a lot of fun learning about the neighborhood, which is the point of  Urban Hike.  It’s a neat Pittsburgh organization that encourages people to go out and explore the various neighborhoods. The organizers said they would host another scavenger hunt in May. Most likely it’ll be in a neighborhood less familiar to me than Squirrel Hill, but I welcome the challenge!


Schenley Park and Oakland landscapes

Hey yinzes,

I am a bit of a procrastinator.  Right now, I’m sitting with this month’s book club selection, “Room” by Emma Donoghue, at my side, and I have more than half to finish. With this book, so to put it in a cliche, the book or cup or whatever is half empty.

Anyway, as I said in my last blog post about Scarlett Knob Campground, my homework for my photography class is to take pictures of landscapes. The unpredictable weather we’ve been having has made it difficult to shoot. Last week, I put off my homework until Wednesday night, and it was raining lightly or misting annoyingly all night.  I ran out into the courtyard of my apartment building with my tripod and an umbrella. The pictures turned out surprisingly well. Here’s one:

The camping trip helped me to get most of the landscape shots I needed. However, Scarlett Knob did was surprisingly flat, and I didn’t capture the textures I wanted. So once again, I had to go out to shoot photos the night before it’s due. The forecast showed scattered showers all day, and thick clouds hovered over the city all day. The sky looked bright, colorful, and cloudy. It seemed pre-apocalyptic, as I suppose is expected. But lucky me, it didn’t one drop, and I got some nice photos to edit tomorrow in class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

Several of these pictures have a lot of noise… It happens more when I shoot in RAW. I wish that I knew these would come out like this, so I could have tweaked the settings (even though Hipstamatic and Instagram have made the film grain cool again). I’ll reduce the noise on the school computers using Adobe Lightroom.

Does anyone know why these three trees have been planted here?

I took the picture of the sign just in case you didn't believe me.

Phipps Conservatory

There was a nice woman taking a time lapse video of Phipps Conservatory at sunset when I took this shot. We talked for so long that I missed out on the farmer’s market that was just 50 feet away!  On that note, next week’s farmer’s market will be the last, at least a Phipps. It’s 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Also, the sizes of these photos are a little off from usual because I tried using Picasa’s photo exporter. The vertical pictures are too big for a blog it seems.

Well, thanks for stopping by! I’ll talk to my professor about the noise in my photos and get back to you.


P.S. I know these weren’t all landscapes. In addition to procrastinating, getting off task is another one of my flaws. 😛

Zafira bows out at Club Bellydance

Hey yinz,

Yesterday, you saw the “N’at” post about Zafira Dance Company’s last show. Now, you get to see the “Pix” part.

The Club Bellydance performance at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty last night was amazing. I’m so glad that I went. It was a neat opportunity to see two different styles of belly dancing from Zafira and Bellydance Supestars. Zafira had a beautiful earthy style with a lot of subtle athletic moves. Bellydance Superstars had flashier routines that incorporated ballet moves and stage characters. Picking a favorite would be like choosing a favorite child. Meaning, I have one, but I’m smart not to tell. Just kidding!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of Bellydance Superstars because no photography was allowed during their performances.  However, I’m thankful that I got to take pictures of the Zafira dancers for their last dance.

The Kelly-Strayhorn theater bears the name of two Pittsburgh music icons, Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn.

I loved this dance because it shows the traditional side of belly dancing. The pots also helped to showcase the ladies' isolations.

I did not compose this picture as well as I would have liked, but I like the concept. I love the rich blue and the pose - so beautiful and strong.

A lot of my pictures are framed in the same way. Part of that is the limitation of my 18-55mm lens, but I also note that I had to shoot in the same spot of the stage to avoid getting people’s heads in the shot. I cropped the last picture for that reason, but I like how it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope to see these ladies perform again.



RADical days at the Children’s Museum

Hey yinz,

The Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) has been offering free admission to many historical and cultural attractions, including Phipps Conservatory, the Mattress Factory and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, since September 24. I wish I would have blogged about this sooner, but there’s still a lot of events coming up. Check out the rest of the RADical Days events. Anyway, on Sunday, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and I went to an old Tran family favorite, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Oh, I miss crawling through those mole tunnels and taking the organs (like the long intestine! ewww) out of Stuffy!

Here are some pictures from our time at the Children’s Museum:

My brother-in-law and nephew outside of the Children's Museum Photo: Patty Tran

This is the ceiling of the old part of the Children's Museum, which used to be a post office.

My brother-in-law restrains Marc from interfering with the silk screening.

This room contains the gravity room, a tilted room that kind of makes me feel sea sick, slides and funhouse-style mirrors.

This was probably my favorite part. In the Garage/Workshp area, they had paper rockets to cut and tape together. Marc had a great time launching the rockets at the target rings.

This is an old favorite. I loved playing in the water when I was little, and now I have the opportunity to take my nephew! Not shown is the area where kids can direct the flow of water with various pipes and connections.

This was an amazing day. I’m thankful that RAD made this possible for free. Also, we took advantage of the free parking on Sunday!

There’s still a lot of cool events coming up. Here’s a few events that seem particularly interesting:

  • Friday, October 7 – Free admission from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to the Pittsburgh Glass Center with “heat-defying acts of art in the flameworking and glassblowing studios” and an art installation
  • Saturday, October 8 – For Pittsburgh-loving sketch artists, join the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for a sketch crawl through downtown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 9 – Free admission to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Need I say more?
  • Friday, October 14 – Free admission to the Andy Warhol Museum from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and to the National Aviary. To sweeten the deal, October 14 is World Egg Day! According to the International Egg Commission, World Egg Day is an international holiday established in 1996 that’s dedicated to promoting the health benefits of eggs.
  • Saturday, October 15 – Free admission to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 11 a.m. to noon. This would be great since the last time I saw the PSO was probably during a high school field trip. The performance list includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major.

There are a lot of events that I didn’t list. RAD ensured there would be something cool to do everyday through October 15. For more information, click on the RADical Days page.

Yay! Don’t you love when fun is free?


Bras across the Hot Metal Bridge

Hey yinz,

October is breast cancer awareness month, and American Eagle decided to do its part by zip-tying 4,000 bras across the Hot Metal Bridge in the South Side. For the next week (til October 6), Aerie, will donate $1 for every bra sold to Bright Pink, a non-profit organization that encourages women to be proactive in breast and ovarian cancer detection. Aerie will contribute up to $50,000 to this organization, which educates women about issues from prevention and early detection to legal advising for possible employment and health insurance discrimination.

This display definitely got a lot of drivers, cyclists and walkers looking up and thinking.  I had a great time shooting these pictures and blogging for this great cause. I might go back to shoot some more photos in RAW and with the Pittsburgh skyline as a backdrop. The bright colors look so pretty across the blue sky and against the darkness of this historical truss bridge. Check them out:

High contrast. You caught me, but you won't get any apologies. I love the blue!

On a side note, Aerie bras range from $29.50 to $44.50. So, lets just say that Aerie didn’t use so many of the more expensive bras. At $30 each, there’s 120,000 buckaroos of brightly colored polka-dotted, striped and lacey brassieres! Ooh la la!