Archive for the 'Explicitly Explanatory' Category

Welcome.

January 25, 2009

Now GTFO.

This here marks the final resting place of this specific blog.

But wait! There’s a sequel! Just go here.

Feel free to peruse the posts on here before they get archived and expunged, you can expect that any day now. What currently remains is a fraction of what was on here, and it’s a good thing too. There was a lot of chaff mixed in with the wheat.

Hope to see you where the real party’s at.

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Brillobox

October 24, 2008

While it can be argued that life could get better, it doesn’t. that is to say, despite my complaints about and in recent weeks, life is by most accounts pretty swell. It don’t get better than this, and I’m dealing.

The other night (October 21) I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Brillobox. It’s always nice to have national acts acknowledge the existence of Pittsburgh. Hopefully the enthusiastic yet stationary (dance, damn you!) crowd meant that we’ll see them again in the future. It was their first time here, but I think we left them with a good impression.

Admittedly, I am not the number one superfan of CYHSY. I dig them ok, but I was not in a position to sing along. I don’t usually jump on Pitchfork’s bandwagons, because I find the lot of them to be insufferable pricks. I just happen to be very enthusiastic about live music, hence, I was there.

Doors opened at 8, which meant I wouldn’t get there until half-past, and that no music would begin until like 9:40. Approximately. My bad mood in the meantime was diminished by the soundman playing “Oh! You Pretty Things” and “Autumn Sweater” over the system. It was not helped by the fact that the ‘box is non-smoking now, and apparently I managed to time my cig breaks so that I was cancering myself all by my lonesome.

Why grouchy? Well, because I was at a show, alone, again. Either I’m too much of an elitist indie fuck for my friends or they have little to no interest in good music. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, and I could prolly help my case by, uh, making friends with someone at these shows, but whatever. I don’t need another friend, I’ve got too many friends.

So I’m 3/4 or something for going to shows alone in the last six months or whatever, I missed out on Ukiah last Saturday. A big bummer, because when I finally got up the nerves to leave the house (and bathe, jesus. I was all kinds of shambles) and go for a walk around midnite, Howler’s was packed. Packed with all sorts of kids just like me, drinking pbr and smoking cigs and enjoying music that sounded great from Liberty Avenue. I don’t know who the headliner was that night, but between them and Ukiah, it would have been well worth the five bucks to get in.

I did have a date for the CYHSY show, but luck has been absent for me recently, so it fell through. I gave someone at the door my extra ticket gratis in the hopes of shoring up my karma.

9:40 and local band Donora came on. Think Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ second album meets the Cardigans. The bassist was having more fun than an amusement park and laying down some perky five-stringed grooves, and singer/guitarist was confidently belting out some solid pop nuggets. I will most definitely stay frosty for future show of theirs. Maybe buy their EP.

It was a long wait for yrs truly, with nary an ear to squawk into. But joy of joys, it did happen. CYHSY treated the crowd to a propulsive set, including four new songs, two of which laid down before the one song I could confidently sing at least some of the words to- “Satan Said Dance“. It didn’t matter, because barely anyone danced. I guess they’re not down with Beelzebub.

Obviously, albums don’t do any great band’s live show justice and this was no exception. I didn’t care much about the yokels around me, I let myself get sucked into the jangly yet danceable wall of sound. Their records sound flat compared to the live act, obviously. Also, CYHSY does that with their production anyway (something I kind of hate), which is why I am not a superfan.

It was a mixed crowd, some well-dressed, some shabby (hiya!), some young, some old. Two such older dudes in front of me were totally into the show, pumping fists and going on about how CYHSY have put out some of the best songs of the last ten years and obscuring my view. I’m kinda short.

After a nice long set:

Space Junk
Is This Love?
Man at the Bar
Satan Said Dance
Details of the War
Strong Man
In This Home on Ice
Trotsky’s Fence
Gimme Some Salt
Statues
Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
Clap Your Hands!
Heroes
The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth
Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood

CYHSY departed from the stage to some loud thunderous applause (get it?! ha!). Many in the audience, coincidentally, were demanding that particular song. For our foot-stomping and whistles, we were rewarded with a two-song encore:

Some Loud Thunder
Heavy Metal

While I don’t think that CYHSY can lay claim to towering above their contemporaries, I have a new-found appreciation and interest in them. At the very least, the music is some of the best self-conscious, neurotic dance-rock in this decade that occasionally employs a harmonica. I can safely say they’ve pretty much cornered that market.

Grade: B

And only because I refuse to give such an esoteric outfit anything higher out of principle, and for all the energy in the music itself, the band themselves couldn’t stoke more than a dozen people to move around like their shoes don’t fit.

Savage Animal: In Memorium

October 9, 2008

A few days ago, a beloved member of my family passed, even after undergoing two successful operations for cancer. Old age is something you can outsmart but not outrun.

Savage Animal, the de facto mascot for my house and treasured furry companion has joined the squeaking choir invisible.

Yes, my pet rat died. Yes, her name was Savage Animal. Say it with me:

Savage. Animal.

In actuality, she was only partially my rat- I helped pay a sizable chunk of her medical expenses and made sure she was fed and entertained when the house matriarch was out on *business.

*Frisbee tournaments.

When the topic of Savage’s wake came up, said matriarch, my bfff, accurately stated that Savage was a glue that held a lot of the wonderfulness in this house together.

Those of you who have not had the pleasure of a pet rat, sucks to you. They are as smart as cats (no lie, look it up), more affectionate and are great stress relievers.

They are not, as I may or may not have mentioned, good accessories for games of pool, but are happy to ride shoulders during any and all activity.

Why a wake, you ask? Because she was our mascot, the blind little butterball of fuzz at the bottom of all of our souls.

And yes, enough people express concern over the situation that it is indeed warranted.

Having the trust of any animal makes the experience of being said animal’s human. I recall my folks’ dogs sleeping on my chest when they were puppies, and no matter how lousy a time I may have been having at that point in my life, the same magic transpired when Savage nuzzled into my lap for some sleep.

The past few nights I have come home, I have had to catch myself from calling out and ambling over to her cage to feed her a carrot or scratch her behind the ears.

Though our house maintains a steady regimen of neighbors bleeding over into common area, cooking, pool and porch sitting, the atmosphere is nevertheless subdued by the loss of the curious white rodent who was everpresent, even if she was only poking her nose out from her cage, trying to sniff for someone to pick her up and join in the fun noises.

The cage has been given away, there is a bare spot in the main common room.

Services are TBA and closed to the unwashed masses.

Politics? No thanks.

September 28, 2008

I made a decision when I finally (it only took like two years, right?) decided to get semi-serious about this here blog to not even bother or try to bother with politics again, not even the everlasting clusterfuck of corruption on Grant street here in Pittsburgh, as fun as that is. There’s better-equipped individuals already doing that.

That being said, and to clarify, I can write whatever the hell I want, ok? Get off my back.

But this comes up because of my crafty ole pops.

Exhibit Alpha:

Now if’n that isn’t the funniest political cartoonesque thing I’ve seen all week, I don’t know what is. Certainly not the whining, unfunny shit in every major city’s free weekly. I’m looking at you, Derf. The City.

Not funny. Irritating choir-preaching.

The exception, of course, is Get Your War On, as I have illumined before here, but Pittsburgh City Paper doesn’t get that. At least Savage Love is in there, explaining that inserting one’s testes into a partners orifice is perfectly acceptable sexual behavior.

So that’s that.

I watched the debate last night, and without going into it too much, our boy Obama needs to get a few more teeth in his head, cause good ol’ boy McShame has some razor sharp ones in his dentures. It was nice to hear that the “tie” came out for Obama, as far as the talking heads were saying, but I’d like to see just a little indignation. A little (more) accusation; the best moment was when Obama directly called out baldy for being wrong a numerous counts.

Thursday’s debate with Palin and Biden ought to be good, if only for the laughs I’ll get out of seeing a seasoned and grizzled DC dog run circles around Mz lipstick.

Bad Art and iPods

September 25, 2008

This last weekend, my best pal from highschool came to visit. As the host, I had a credible and decent agenda laid out. However, my lesser demons tend to get involved when I make plans, giving black eyes to anything with a halo. So the agenda got pretty much blown to hell.

The original plan was as follows:

-Shadyside Arts Festival
-Lunch in Shadyside
-Roller Derby Championship
-Dinner…somewhere?
-Alcoholocaust

I only managed three of the five. Ouch.

So my buddy gets lost on the turnpike (laugh all you want, but I did it at least three times back when I still drove) so that buys my hungover ass two extra hours of tequila induced nonsleep.

He shows up, I man up, we stroll up.

To Shadyside. I make him buy me a hotdog to keep both the physical and spiritual sickness at bay. I had forgotten what a lame fuckaround these kinds of things are. Thomas Kinkade would fit in perfectly. Almost the entire lot was shite art for idiots with too much money.

Perfect for Shadyside.

There were some really cool artists- a bronze sculptor, a few painters, one or two other sculptors, but you had to wade through series of tents filled with uninspired tripe. Most of the tents had manual credit card swipers ready. Imagine.

To perfect this sickeningly bourgeois experience, this one here knuckled under and replaced (and recycled for a 10% discount!) his long-dead five-year-old iRelic.

In the Apple store.

The moral of this story is that for all my grousing, I’m no better than the lilies of Shadyside, because I fucking need an iWant, dammit.

I just have better taste in art.

Not skill, there was a good bit of skill there, more so than my technical learnin’. But a shithouse is a shithouse, and I can manage some usable, albeit grimy receptacles.

I had fucked us by forgetting to buy Roller Derby tickets until the night before. They were of course, sold out. Congrats, Bitch Doctors!

So a meal was next. Back to Bloomfield, and Lot 17. I was thereby informed I had already taken my buddy there, so….Brillobox!

Closed? At like 5? Fuck.

Here’s where the lesser demons really got busy.

hey we can just go to the strip it’s totally not that far away

Dear lesser demons, the Strip is over twenty fucking blocks from that particular spot of hell-borne inspiration, you fucks. And my damn sandals gave me blisters.

So, great conversation, urban blight, and eventually Primanti’s. Then, for some reason, I’m all like, “Yo, fuck the 54c, I don’t even like that bus.” So we walk downtown.

We finally hit a 61 back to Oakland for Dave & Andy’s (dude, Strawberry Coconut!) and then walked back to my house, leaving us both wholly satisfied with a pretty packed afternoon and early evening.

Then we each bought a bottle of wine.

I recommend this to anyone:

The bottle is a magic trick! It disappears in a single gulp and you are magically invincible. It does not help yr pool game, however. As the neighbors made obvious. Then, wanting to show my pal how I roll when the night creeps into my veins, I demand we all go to Sonny’s. They told us it is haunted, and used to be a way-station on some old passenger train line. No shit. Some guy told me I should write horror poetry, but I was too chickenshit to tell him there’s not too much I could do to make it more horrible, haHA!

We finally came back into orbit, only to have me force my friend into the waiting arms of a neighbor for a salsa lesson. Perfect way to end an evening.

I awake Sunday, he drops me at work on his way back to the 216, leaving me with a compound hangover, a reaffirmed disgust for Shadyside, the hypocrisy of a shiny new iNeed and a half-finished painting from Friday night.

Shit, I’m not all mouth.

Leader-healer-Kingly-wealth-protector-Man

September 16, 2008

At the pretended behest of my roommate (he only casually asked, and I was actually being a bother when I answered him a few minutes later. He’s a very busy man), I endeavored just now to investigate what in hell my last name means. It is inexplicably German, while the lineage I distinctly know of is Scottish, Welsh, English, Czech, French and some other stuff.

Obviously, there’s German in there.

Those of you who read this regularly, know that I will readily lay claim to being American, especially because here’s my birthrights, as far as I know them:

Scottish:
+Caber Toss: admittedly awesome, but is instantly nullified along with anything else cool (like, say, generations of axe-wielding badasses) by
Golf: Fuck. This. Game.

=Golf anyone?

Fuck it, we still need a visual of awesome.

Welsh:
+Boudica: Amen, tell it on the mountain, a warrior queen.
Reality– Who the fuck is Welsh anyway? (Answer: The Manic Street Preachers)

=I guess I can deal with Welsh.

English:
+Dude, more barbarians: I view the English as the historical precursors to the Americans, which a lot of people do, but I tend to go a bit further back. To cut it short, just like us, they’re descended from just about everyone, they killed everyone they could, formed a country, then killed more people and formed an empire. It’s not so much a plus per se, but it makes for a nice point of reference, and explains why we get along so well. Also probably why both countries do stupid things. Like not using metric. Or invading countries.
Wicked, Tricksy, False, Thieves: Contrary to popular belief structures, the English have had next to nothing to do with modern culture. Yes, I’m talking about punk rock. Yes, I’m talking about blues. Yes, I’m talking about rock and fucking roll. And while we’re at it, can I get a Wu?

(say Tang, or I’m gonna look real bad!)

They can keep Clapton, and we’ll trade all hair-metal for Ozzy, the only one who had anything to do with anything. Dance pop should have been over next week and everyone knows Radiohead is saving money to buy a modest island in the Arctic Ocean and start their own country (Damon Albarn can probably come too). Deal with it, and do not call my own musical tastes into question, I am making a point here.

=It’s a filthy toss-up.

Czech:
+Kafka, thank you.
Ennh: As far as Wikipedia tells me, they eat lots of meat. Also, pointing with the index finger is considered rude, and I tend to use my pinky, huh.

=I can also deal with this, minus the kidney eating.

French:
+Dial That Shit IN: Please, by all means, name as many Poets and Thinkers as possible.
Flag Collection: Ya’ll ain’t never gonna live Vichy down.

=The elevation of humanity is, in hindsight, a bit more relevant. I can deal.

German:
+Dude, beer: Dude, beer. And I guess big daddy Nietzsche.
Oooky television: I think that’s obvious.

=Ennh. I could hang without it. N did go nuts, after all. I worry about that enough as it is.

I’m getting lost here, and I know I’ve missed some things. I think my sister explained it to me at some point. I must not have been listening. Oh well.

So, I’m lost, but then, oh shit! I done gots this flag hangin up above mah bookcase!

I’m not gonna do the chant. That’s for Republicans and morons.

So, in the end, this little experiment was good for drinking a beer and listening to Joanna Newsom, who is a faerie. And further shored up my own personal definition, where I cherry-pick the good stuff and then own up to the bad stuff. Like Republicans and morons. And those stubborn fucking Texans waiting for rescue. Obviously certain death doesn’t scare Texas.

But, like I said, those folks are, in some weird way, related to me.

Thanks, all you shallow-end-of-the-gene-pool morons, for making me increasingly an exception to some bizarre set of rules we have in this country.

And thanks Mom and Dad, for the incongruous fucking name. I should go back to my old plan and drop the middle and switch it to Danger. Then I will get all the ladies.

All of them.

A Fun Project

June 13, 2008

So, awhile ago, I began assembling a personal mixtape.


[shrinky-dink mixtape necklace, found on craftlog!]

It’s not a full tape, and you’ll understand why I’m excited for that by the time I’m done explaining the context of said mix.

If you’re ever particularly lonesome, drunk, stoned, strung out or otherwise unnatural, creating a tracklist corresponding to each and every love in your life, in chronological order, is both refreshing and distressing.

Also, for the record, I listen to mine a lot.

The method is simple. You pick a song for each love. You keep going. This isn’t something that is expected to end.

The song involved for a particular subject could be the song, a song you put on a mix for them or vice versa. One or two of mine made it because of certain lyrics, or even a single line. In the case of one song, the sound of it alone made it the definitive audio.

To take this further, and in an effort to be honest with the next entry on the tracklist, one might even consider giving a copy up for an ear-session. If said entry isn’t the jealous type.

Then again, it might be better to cuddle away with a fifth and listen to it on repeat until you pass out on your desk.

I’m not advocating obsessing, but like any great moment (and ideally, the song should capture the definitive moment of the relationship….if it was a bad one, then pal, you fucked up. To be fair, I’ve got one real misery of a tune on mine), you want to ride it out ad infinitum.

As a culture that loses its own identity as quickly as it affirms it, I think it’s more than important for the average you to sit down and get happy and sad over this stuff. Assemble a full tape (By all means, find that last track!). Listen to it. Find it when you move and tramp over it again. Remember. Tell your kids. But don’t go as far as to say they could have had a different parent. That’s just crazy.

The point is, live in and love your ID. Each track on this mix is just another factor in the equation. Sometimes it’s easier to explain things to yourself if you can find an icon for a given moment. You put those in a series, and it turns out your life is a little interesting.

Bring your film along with a sixer to your friends’ house, share and share alike; you can have a little festival. Stories like that beat the hell out of anything on the idiot box, in any case.

And since when did anyone need a serious excuse to drink and shoot the shit with pals?

EDIT:

I didn’t want to kiss and tell, but then, the point of the exercise is talking about this…So here’s my tracklist to date:

Major Label Debut (Fast Version)-Broken Social Scene
Nancy of Spades-Tony Fahey (To be fair, this is a friend of mine. Precious few have heard this.)
My Mistake-Smashing Pumpkins
Coffee & TV-Blur
One Line-PJ Harvey
Grass-Animal Collective
23-Blonde Redhead
Between The Bars-Elliott Smith

Just Another Day in the Suck

May 18, 2008

The sooner we leave the better. Every few months it’s something new (old). Civilians killed, locals insulted.

At least this latest is sort of funny (really, it shouldn’t be, but then, if you can’t laugh at things, the world’s just going to pull you down), if only for the fact that it’s so childish: “Oh yeah? Well here’s what I think of your stupid book, doodoo-heads!”

So some wiseass plugs a Quran with a few rounds. I don’t ever want to subscribe to the idea that the Army is a bunch of monkeys and increasingly, ex-cons, but guys like this certainly aren’t doing my country, or humanity for that matter, any favours. I know a few in the service, and most of them wouldn’t put up with this nonsense. Sadly, not all of them.

Same goes for the people behind printing the Quran on toilet paper (though to be fair, if that chafes too much, there’s a King James variety around somewhere, I’m sure).

The real funny thing is that these religions are based on oral traditions. The gospel, Old and New were passed along orally, through sermons and the like. The Quran comes from the visions Mohamed laid out for his followers.

From my standpoint as a socialist, the reason these stories are so fanciful is because they were entertainment. Pillars of salt? Brimstone? Virgins awaiting you in the sky? Man, that’s just as cool as Scylla and Charybdis, or the Green Knight.

So what does a book matter then? I can understand the point. In fact, if I ever happened across a book-burning and saw some Vonnegut or Miller in the fire, I’d likely go a bit nuts myself.

It’s not the destruction of a mere collection of paper that gets to people, it’s the ignorance and arrogance, the sheer idiocy, and like I said, childishness. This is not how a civilized society works. But then, it seems we keep slipping further everyday.

57th Street is my Hell.

May 8, 2008

Pittsburgh, can we talk?

It’s cool you have these paper streets and all, but what the fuck?

I get 3/4 up a giant fucking mountain and the fair city tells me no dice?

Hence, I have to Indiana Jones my way up through the Shrine of the Silver Monkey, nearly breaking my money maker (my face, thank you).

Let’s rewind:

It’s two Saturdays ago. I get word the Philadelphyinz are playing a gig at Remedy.

Recently, I’ve been getting out more, making my presence known, though probably not felt. So I decide to go. I’m antsy all Saturday…looking for excuses not to go, thinking too much. To be fair, going out on my lonesome is a big deal to me, I used to get panicky enough not to leave the apartment for days.

But I go, a cute little triumph. I get there an hour early, because City Paper lies, promptly bump into a scenester chick who unloads, “Excuse me!”

Alright, we’ll do that. I sit down and hit a few gin and tonics, waiting. Finally some heads I recognize roll in, and I slip upstairs, cover not included. There’s some awkward talk with an old friend who’s grown up, some chitchat with Skinny Friedman and Apt One, and suddenly, some cats I haven’t seen for a minute are there. The Harlan Twins were among my favorites.

And the dancing, rapture motherfucker. I’m playing pool, dancing my face off, talking Steelers, film and grad school (shit, I am totally not qualified, but I generally have an opinion about everything) at the same time.

For the record, the Yinzer expats put down a fucking great show. I’m looking forward to hitting up one of their regular joints in Brooklyn or Philly. Smooth and lovin tunes.

An ex is there, which was a surprise. Her forcefield decorum was met by a drunken handshake and an apology for her not liking me. Well. I am classy at times. Not sure if that was one of them.

So last call sounds and I’m gone like the honeybee. Since I walked around one side of the cemetery, I figure I’ll round the other side and come out near home.

For the record, it took 30 minutes from Sonny’s to Remedy.

I walk, realize this part of Lawrenceville has yet to be colonized by art-fags, and turn up 57th street. I’m an eagle scout, I can find my way. But then, disaster! 57th ends in a creepy one light road up a hill or a paper street. I am nothing if not an enthusiast, so up the paper street I go.

I have hiked hellish topography worse than this. Granted, I was sober, but still. The hill went on. And on. Then the stairs, due to some crossed stars, bore a giant “ROAD CLOSED” sign, complete with yellow tape, halfway up the bloody thing. I did what any self-respecting scout would have done, I kept going.

Enter the vines, enter the thorny branches. Enter the stairs that disappear. Yes, every stair meant six that were never put down. So I’m clinging to the rail in the dark, working my way up to some halo at the apex. Then the stairs just stop completely. I’m still only 3/4 up the hill. Suddenly, I’m back in Cub Scouts, swinging on grape vines, rolling town junk heap tires down into gulleys, clawing my way through leaves and mud to the top of something I don’t need to be at the top of.

A backyard, a dog barking, a quick retreat into the welcome of a streetlight. Yes, I arose into a backyard. Some engineer fucked up somewhere. So I wander around, keep walking. By now I’m trying to call someone, just to say hello I am fucking lost what did you do tonight. There were a couple of funny voicemails (read: drunk and frantic) some brief conversations, and then I get ahold of this real cute photographer, we end up talking through to the end.

I skip through Morningside, Garfield and one or two others. I pick up a rock on the way, why not?

Finally, I breach unto the intersection of Baum and Penn, the world has found me. I walk a few blocks, some old black dude on a corner extends his hand with a ‘What’s up.” Without missing a beat, I clutch the phone in my shoulder, keep talking, switch the rock to the free hand and shake.

Later I realize this is completely inappropriate behavior. I also realize that I met this gentleman and his friends at around 3:30 AM.

After this, it’s all eyes on Get-Go, I drop my improv weapon and it’s a cheap sub and Gatorade, it’s a thank you to my cute photographer angel for the nice chat, and then half of Return of the Jedi and some sleep, after a surprisingly eventful evening. The lesson is to get out da hahs.

It’s 4:30 when I get home. I left at 2.

It is now glaringly obvious I made a very stupid call. But I make those every few months, and it almost always results in a drunk stumble through town. And it is always a great time.

Most of these good times would not be possible without the framework of this fair city, incomplete stairways and all.

Bless you, Pittsburgh.

Artistic License

April 25, 2008

Since the recent uproar surrounding the Grant Street Transportation Center’s offering towards a fresher, prettier Pittsburgh has been found to be (along with a couple other ‘offerings’) unlicensed, this brings up what should have been licensed.

Early this year, an artist by the name of Daniel Montano was in the local news and in angry posts all over the internets for his own brand of offerings.

To clarify my position: I’m a huge proponent and advocate as graffiti (the kids who are with it just call it ‘graf’, dig) and artists like Banksy really sing to me.

Paraphrasing from his manifesto or vision, outlined on his site (because I can’t seem to find it), the goal of Banksy is to get people involved in their environment- be careful where you lean or sit down, it may be a fresh work of art.

I will readily admit a lot of tags are ugly, and a lot of them aren’t really artistic expressions. But there is a fine line.

If you don’t think that’s beauty, you should have your eyes checked. That’s MFONE, who by most accounts is a petty vandal.

Call it what you will, but it has more class and technique than say, well, anyone with a spraycan.

Anybody who would dispute the dedication of people who are willing to climb bridges (remember Mook, Pittsburgh? No? just look at the pinnacle of just about every bridge in town), risk arrest, bodily harm, all for art is frankly wrong.

Perhaps a better example of this dedication would be one of the best art galleries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, Cleveland’s RTA light rail Red Line. Everytime I visit my folks, I make sure to take the train, just to see some of the best contemporary art around.

I will take this over the Mona Lisa any day of the week.

Yes, it is vandalism. Fine. Agreed. But along with making the news, Mr. Montano got a lot of snarky, angry letters to the editor questioning his credibility as an artist. It’s important to remember that his arrest came on the heels of his exhibition at the Mattress Factory.

In a society where artists have stopped bothering to starve and routinely shill for advertising (seriously, commercials have become funny, entertaining and kinda cool is not for the face they’re commercials) or just quit the dream, it’s no small wonder you’ve got a few wild ones who won’t stop living the dream, even if it ends in the back of a police cruiser.

Here in Pittsburgh we laud ourselves for being culturally aware, we squawk about the artists in Lawrenceville and the monthly gallery crawl in downtown (which is tonight, actually), but folk are pretty quick to jump on graf artists. Lock them up, make them pay.

This brings me to where I started. Given a choice between a flat and soulless brick wall, a flashy (but equally soulless) LED not-a-billboard or a mural designed by a convicted vandal, what would you like to see on the side of the Transportation Center?

I agree that vandals ought to pay. Sure- buy the ticket, take the ride as Dr. H.S. Thompson would say. But let’s use our heads; make them pay the entire community back and give these voices in the wild a chance to be recognized and appreciated for the artists they are.

Plenty of cities do this sort of thing already with weed and seed programs, and the graf community is definitely capable of improving the community without being forced to make restitution, like this story from Seattle, and improving the aesthetics of daily life doesn’t always come from a spraycan.

The result is a vibrant, living city.


I offer this piece of tranquility from the Eliza Furnace Trail, taken by Dullroar.

This town could use a little more wet paint.