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Particle Falls, Clean Air

Particle Falls, Clean Air

Room to Breathe, Time to Speak: The Particle Falls lecture and panel discussion at the Trust Arts brings on an informative discussion about the clean air––or lack thereof––in Pittsburgh.

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My Complaint for the Choir: You Need to Give a Shit about Art, Pittsburgh!

My Complaint for the Choir: You Need to Give a Shit about Art, Pittsburgh!

This article will be updated over the next week.

29.May. 2014: A chat with Christiane D and Edith Abeyta, two artists presenting new work at the Upcoming Three River's Arts Festival, June 6th–15th in Pittsburgh's Downtown neighborhood.

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The AP Collection is Looking for an Intern!

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The AP Collection is a place for stories that are told by the creative people living them in and around Pittsburgh. Recordings are posted twice a week and are available on the website (apcollector.net), through the RSS Feed http://theapcollection.libsyn.com/rss, and via subscription on iTunes.

Since 2012, the website and the stories on them have been maintained solely by me. My name is Genevieve Barbee and I’m a 2D artist, living and working in Pittsburgh for the past seven-ish years, (ten if you include my time here in school). My work focuses on defining and revealing process, exposing the many layers of personal perspective, and empathy.

The AP Collection is growing and with it there is more work to be done and not enough man power to manage it all. That is why I am considering bringing on an intern! At the moment, this is not a paid position, but if growth continues it’ll become one.

Essential experience / position requirements:

Basic Mac use, a bit of web design, confidence in problem solving, independent time management, ability to accept new challenges without hesitation, comfortable asking questions, willingness to be time flexible on Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays and possibly weekday evenings if interested. No more than ten hours a week will be required with the ability to negotiate addition or reduction of time after one month.

Must be interested in: 

Learning about podcasting including all aspects of recording, editing of audio files, notation, blogging, and some very light administrative duties, (including occasional scheduling, emailing, and social media), working along side me with creating things for the site—I’m open to collaborating on new ideas!

This position has no educational requirements.
Candidates of all ages above 18 years encouraged to apply. 

I’m looking for a curious and creative person who is eager to learn new skills or expand upon their current knowledge base and who is eager to network with other creatives from a variety of disciplines in the Pittsburgh area. 

Interested parties can send their information, (email, other contact information, and website if applicable) to theapcollection@gmail.com. Please include a paragraph introducing yourself and an outline of your past experience, if any, with web design, podcasting, blogging, and any other creative endeavor worth mentioning.

National Book Festival 2013, Washington DC

This isn't even the beginning of how crowded it got in there... 

The bus from Pittsburgh to Washington DC was uneventful, at least for me. I can sleep anywhere and was focused on getting as much sleep possible on the overnight ride to Washington. Hotel check-in wasn't until 2PM and I was arriving in our nation's capital at 4AM.

Everything worked out. It turns out the Au Bon Pain in Union Station is open 24 hours a day and I found the perfect seat next to the least talkative late night traveller. I completed much needed maintenance on this very site, polishing a few things I had meant to address many times before.

Coffee^2 +  time + peace = productivity  

I wanted to use my yearly trip to Washington DC as an opportunity to walk around the city and record. My goal was to capture the transition of the city waking up on a clear and beautiful morning into a day at the National Book Festival (NBF) and possibly snippets of some of the author's lectures. Instead, I decided to tackle the events of the weekend without trying to record in the over crowded tents stuffed to the gills with book nerds from all over the country. I took pictures instead. I also took notes. Enjoy them while I devise a better way to record in more 'extreme' settings

 

Before I get started though a quick briefing about the National Book Fair can be found here.  My family has been attending since the beginning and we've enjoyed watching it grow to a huge and wonderful event that we look forward to every year.

 

Getting a good seat in the Fiction & Mystery tent of the NBF is all about strategy. In my case, I have two parents who need to have seats for the hour long presentations while I myself don't mind standing/sitting on the grass. You have to get there before the author you wish to see and either be pleasantly surprised by the current presentation or just read through your program, keeping an eye out for someone giving up their seat early. When you see a spot, you've got snag it like the trophy in Capture-the-Flag because you'd be surprised how quickly a 60-something year old Don Delillo fan can move. I was able to snag seats at the end of the third row for Margaret Atwood that we wound up keeping for the rest of the day.

There are three authors that I was particularly taken with, all for different reasons. My notes only cover a small part of the hour long presentations which can be viewed in full on the Library of Congress website.

The first was Margaret Atwood, because... she's Margaret fucking Atwood. She had chosen to be interviewed for her presentation by a book editor for the Washington Post who, while at least 20 years her junior, could not keep up with her. Of course they talked about her new book, MaddAddam and what it meant to complete the trilogy of Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. She also touched a bit on the Jonathan Franzen "controversy" explaining briefly why he should get over himself and get used to Twitter being a thing.

What stuck with me was one of the last topics discussed. Who is "your perfect reader"?

"Someone who likes the cover," she responded. She explained, half joking and half serious, how hard she worked to convey the real meaning of her novel to those designing the cover. Originally they presented an image of virginally white flowers with an elegant and delicate title. As the book features a fair amount of cannibalism she found the flowers to be misleading. I took away the importance of advocating for your work and how something that many would see as trivial, was being taken seriously as a matter of quality control and not vanity. She finished her description of "her perfect reader" as someone who, "Gets all the jokes, sniffles at the sad parts, and is anxious at the tense parts...the perfect reader is always with the book."

Brad Meltzer was the second author of note. Not that I consider myself a huge fan of his work, as a matter of fact, I've never read anything he has written. I have heard of the television program, Decoded but the conspiracy theory thing... isn't my thing. What I found interesting about his presentation was his flair for talking in front of people with a mixture of humility and outright braggadocios. His speech included comments about the IQ level of Miami, how breakfast with the President, (even with GW) is responsible for keeping the NBF well attended, and why Solomon Rushdie is a bastard, (it has something to do with stealing napkins/bagels or both, I can't remember exactly). 

The author I was holding out for at the end of the day was Justin Cronin. Author of The Passage and The Twelve, he's got me sucked into his apocalyptic vampire trilogy and I'm not afraid to admit it. But, I'm not going to talk about his presentation because, while it was interesting for a fan it wasn't his session that stuck with me. Instead, before Cronin, it was Ayana Mathis that completely blindsided me.

The author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie , Ayana Mathis shared an excerpt from her book and answered the FAQ she expects to get up front. What the book is about, "Strength, movement, and dislocation... Beauty, what I think is beautiful." etc.

It was how she transitioned into reading a Philip Levine poem, They Feed They Lion, and discussing why his poetry and literature in general is a form of radical empathy that really grabbed me. She went further into how empathy creates a bond, responsibility, and demands of one another. At this point in her talk I realized, sitting on the ground in a huge tent filled with at least 300 people in the middle of the National Mall, that you could hear a pin drop. We were all connected at that moment.

She then discussed how the story of Hattie had gone beyond the tale that she had told and had touched people's hearts in a way she never had thought was possible. 

"You find your way into another human being, that's what reading is."

And that my friends, is the reason I go to the National Book Fair, every year. 

 

Snapshots from my walk around DC (more to come) 

"The Lonely Hunter" by Fiona MacLeod

Green branches, green branches, I see you beckon; I follow!

Sweet is the place you guard, there in the rowan-tree hollow.

There he lies in the darkness, under the frail white flowers,

Heedless at last, in the silence, of these sweet midsummer hours.

But sweeter, it may be, the moss whereon he is sleeping now,

And sweeter the fragrant flowers that may crown his moon-white brow:

And sweeter the shady place deep in an Eden hollow

Wherein he dreams I am with him -- and, dreaming, whispers, "Follow!"

Green wind from the green-gold branches, what is the song you bring?

What are all songs for me, now, who no more care to sing?

Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,

But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

Green is that hill and lonely, set far in a shadowy place;

White is the hunter's quarry, a lost-loved human face:

O hunting heart, shall you find it, with arrow of failing breath,

Led o'er a green hill lonely by the shadowy hound of Death?

Green branches, green branches, you sing of a sorrow olden,

But now it is midsummer weather, earth-young, sun-ripe, golden:

Here I stand and I wait, here in the rowan-tree hollow,

But never a green leaf whispers, "Follow, oh, Follow, Follow!"

O never a green leaf whispers, where the green-gold branches swing:

O never a song I hear now, where one was wont to sing.

Here in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,

But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

Sober Thoughts (March 2013 Update)

March 1st signifies the end of Sober February. I took a pause in my social life and in order to force myself to be creative and not blow off steam at happy hour I didn't drink alcohol for the past 28.5 days. Instead, I focused entirely on the Collection, writing, and art making. The month was a great success with much accomplished but as always there is a downside. With so much productivity and concentration on selfish-making-things-time my personal life has greatly suffered!

I am now ready to reclaim my personal time. The first action is to discontinue two interviews a week. The Thursday 8PM post seem to get the most traffic anyway so I'm going to focus on making those the best they can be and continue with small little things during the week.

Just because I'm back on the wagon doesn't mean that March will be all free time and happy dancing. There are a few things that I can't disclose yet but I'm really looking forward to some improvements to each audio post that will be happening in the next couple weeks and hope to implement some of those improvements to every back post as well.

Upcoming interviews will feature a very wide variety of people, disciplines, and therefore a lot of great discussion. If you or someone you know wants to chat email me at darling.june@icloud.com and we can set the date!

The painting of Fat Sally  (see Amanda Waltz Part 2) is in the works right now in the studio along with a couple other personal projects that I will post to the site. There are also some updates to the unfinished paintings in the two-dimensional gallery.  I am hopefully posting new photos of those in the next couple weeks. 

Heart not Home sold this month

Finally, and likely the biggest news, I sold a painting this past week! Heart not Home, went to a happy location on a wall somewhere here in Pittsburgh. I make art for myself but it does feel pretty amazing to sell something. 

Happy March everyone. See you on the Internet :)

Constant Vigilance

When interviewing with a prospective employer or embarking on a first date there is a lot of fuss made about first impressions. You want to look the part of up-standing citizen and hide the fact that you maybe aren't a neat freak or the most detailed oriented.  

Personally, I've gone into a job interview with my shirt on inside out and backwards. Thankfully a couple years before that day in particular the Gap had come out with a new line of 'tagless T's' so it wasn't as obvious you'd think. Also, the person I interviewed with might have thought "the kids" where enjoying a new inside-out-backward fad of some kind. I wound up getting that job and (for all of my faults) I excelled at it. On the other side of things, when I met my current partner I thought he was a bit of a spaz, until he took interest in the things I had to say and my opinion changed dramatically.

My point is, while first impressions are important they only offer one small look into our potential. By making it to an earlier agreed upon location, completely clothed, fed, and caffeinated, you have only really committed to the bare essentials of adulthood. It's not until you are in the middle of a tense discussion in the office or stuck on the side of the road with your significant other that the real metal of a person is tested. Moments like those can't be created artificially so we must always be open to what might come our way and respond accordingly.

 

While this observation seems obvious, "Don't judge a book by it's cover kids!", it's amazing how often snap judgments are made that come from a place that is scared, ignorant, or just plan jaded.

In the past month I have learned so much from the people kind and adventurous enough to come over and talk about their lives into a microphone. The biggest take away though, has been not to take for granted the real person living underneath the first glance or interaction.

 

Ask yourself, would you have treated this kitty as royalty if she hadn't worn a crown?

Notes on Bus Travel

The snow is steady and sticking but not bad. It's the traffic that sucks. People lose their minds over a dusting.

 

Everyone will discuss this subject idly around the office coffee pot this winter. Droll topics such as the weather are perfect for avoiding your cubicle. The only thought that comes to my mind is how much I miss sitting in traffic when it's this cold outside. Riding the bus in the winter is all about honing your survival strategy. 

Traffic is so backed up on East Carson today that even the normally mute commuters  are starting to bond over the bus' lateness.

Have you seen it? Figures... it's never on time. With this weather, we are fucked! Goddamn drivers make too much money while we freeze our asses off!

The necessary equipment for winter bus travel:

  • Easily accessible bus fare (don't leave your fellow riders out in the freezing cold while you scramble for exact change- I fucking mean it.)
  • Water resistant footwear insulated by thick socks. If it's really slushy out, wrap your socked feet in plastic bags to keep the wet from creeping in - just in case you have to wait or walk a while. 
  • A good coat (duh), scarf, hat, and if you don't lose them often like I do - a nice set of gloves. This is an obvious thing to mention but you'd be surprised how often I see a poor soul freezing their asses off at the stop. I can tell their car is in the shop that week.
  • A cell phone or small flashlight is essential. If the street light is out at the stop your at that bus will fly right by you. 
  • Something to listen to AND something to read, the former for the wait and the latter for the ride. Both if you get stuck with the bickering couple that ride every morning on the 54 to the Southside. Her mother-in-law isn't a fan of that dude and I never cared why...

 

This list provides only the very basic elements for survival on the Allegheny County Port Authority Bus system.  Feel free to tell me what I'm missing.

Holiday Time

I've been traveling around the East Coast the past few days to hang out with my wonderful friends and family. Leaving Pittsburgh on Thursday I headed to New York City and got to sit down with a few friends and one of my younger brothers to talk. That and an interview with another awesome Pittsburgh comic are coming at you this weekend.

In the meantime, have a happy holiday season everyone :)

Transient

of course...

I was previously having my interview hosted on SoundCloud, but I think I might have gone over their allotted time cap for the free account. This has apparently corrupted the first interview!!! 

I'm working on a solution... PLEASE let me know if you have any suggestions/can trouble shoot with me.

UPDATE: 12/19/12 7PM

I have ditched Sound Cloud and am now using Dropbox. When you click on the link a new window will pop up on your browser and the file will begin to stream. I have to thank my friend Bengt Alexsander from Action Camp for his late night tech support.

Now let's test this bitch. (this is the sound of me being super fucking frustrated, talking to a friend online, and playing a video game while half in the bag.)

-love-

Alex and Jude

have always loved Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure. To me, it is a hopeless tragedy the mirrors the reality of life. When people use the phrase"Life is hard!" is my mind goes immediately to the pig butchering scene and I think, "You're goddamn right it is..." Jude experiences a series of unjust and fateful events - highlighted by only a few minor accomplishments that help the reader continue until our hero is dead. Hardy simply depicts a life - a difficult and very real life. This might sound depressing but it's not meant to be. Reality is just that and the hand we are dealt offers as much as we are willing to bluff.

This train of thought came up after my discussion with Alex Stypula in November. We sat down to discuss the comedy he creates and right off the bat he corrected me when discussing his outlook on life. "I prefer to look at it as realistic."  While his outlook is realistic, his comedy leans more towards the extremely surreal. While most comics stick to current events and their tumultuous sex lives, Alex discusses explicit acts of violence including child abuse, beastiality, and sexual torture. I recorded one of his sets at the Beer Hive in November and while glancing around at the crowd, became nervous when I saw the woman in her mid-fifties/sixties at the table closest to the stage. She had come with her daughter and her daughter's male companion to enjoy a few beers and listen to some comedy. Then comes Alex with jokes about locking young children in a cage in the basement and fisting pet cats to death. Here's the thing... Alex is so intense and the things he describes so wild - that everyone, including this woman, her daughter, and her daughter's male companion start laughing uncontrollably like Mary Tyler Moore at Chuckle's funeral... without the crying in the end. He killed it that night.

At first I thought, and this is mentioned in the recorded conversation, that people were sort of primed to laugh by coming to a stand-up comedy night. While it's true that some comics warm the crowd, I don't think that's the case with Alex. He confronts us with things that are so strikingly sobering with the delivery of a man who, on the other side of the conversation doesn't see why you are so freaked out, it catches you off guard and laughter spills right out of your guts.

Now, when I think of Jude, I wish that Hardy could have written his character as a stand-up comic. That way, no matter how shitty his day-to-day was, he would have an arsenal of material for the stage.