Today's Mighty Oak

If you turn into KDKA (and probably the other news stations as well), you’ll be seeing shots of Fifth Avenue Place which comes from Ken Rice (@kenricekdka):

Monday is the season two second half of the first season premier of The Baristas, one of my favorite web series, shot and set here in Pittsburgh.

I won’t be able to watch until Tuesday, but I wanted to pass the word along to anyone looking for a new series to get into.

If I had the money, I would totally buy Affogato, and I do love that not only is it in upheaval in the show, but also up for sale in real life.

Couple fun things coming up.  First up, later this week, Quantum Theatre invited me out to see “Twelfth Night,” so once more, I”m going on an adventure!  I always look forward to trips to Quantum, as it lets me explore Pittsburgh a little bit more (even though I get a little nervous about finding a legal place to park), and this time is no exception.  I’ll have more about that later this week.

Also, I’m helping out CMU (when will I ever be able to type those words again?!) with the beta test of their new Tiramisu Transit app for Android (already released for iOS).  I’ll be making my way to Oakland later this week, as I try to avoid the Batman filming, to get it installed on my phone.  But I’m really excited to try out a new transit app, esepcially one that utilizes crowdsourcing.  RouteShout doesn’t always like to work, and of course, is based entirely on the time tables, not actual conditions.

I have a couple other things in the works as well, so keep an eye out as I ramp back up after my light summer schedule.

Quantum Theatre was gracious enough to once again invite me out to see their latest production, “Twelfth Night.”  While I was enamored by “When the Rain Stops Falling” and I fell in love with the music of “Maria de Buenos Aires,” “Twelfth Night” kept me entertained and laughing inappropriately to myself (more on that in my next post) the entire night, and kept me engaged in a very cool way.

Ample parking, I promise

I love going to Quantum, since it is an adventure unto itself.  This time, the show is at the former West Penn Research Foundation building, next to the East Busway and under the Millvale Street Bridge.  I’ve seen this street and building many, many times (at least when I’m awake) on my commute into town, and have always wondered what it was.  The building is not being used at the moment, and the parking lot/loading dock around the back, with the addition of risers and seats, creates an awesome outdoor stage.  I was a bit nervous about looking for parking, but Quantum provided volunteers to help guide you to the ample parking spots available, so when you see the phrase “park where available,” which would normally conjure fear in Bloomfield, don’t worry.

I’ve never seen or read “Twelfth Night” before, although I’ve read a lot of Shakespeare.  Like his other comedies, this one is fairly predictable in terms of plot, but enjoyable nonetheless.  However, the location that Quantum has chosen adds a lot of uncertainty.  Since it is so close to the railroad tracks, when trains go by, the play stops, all the characters come out (after a cue from a really cool wooden train whistle) and put on some additional entertainment until they could be heard again.  I found myself hoping for more trains to go by, just to see what else the cast and crew had up their sleeves.

Honestly, I don’t know much about theater.  I judge just about everything by its music, and the pieces in “Twelfth Night” were a lot of fun.  I know nothing about costume work, but they all looked really awesome, kind of like Renaissance Fair mixed with going-out-to-a-club (but probably in the Strip or the Cultural District, not South Side).

What impressed me the most though, was something I didn’t expect, but really should have: the passage of time.  The play starts at 8 p.m. and runs until 10:15 (with intermission, although I’m guessing times may vary depending on how many trains go by).  The play starts during the daylight, or at least, pre-dusk, and ends in darkness.  I think bringing the play outside, and allowing it to exist, maybe not part of, but at least right next to, nature, is a wonderful thing.  The falling darkness pulled me deeper into the play, and even though at a few points, the characters make light of it being a performance, I found myself forgetting I was with a crowd of strangers, instead convinced I was watching real life unfold in front of me.

Certainly, you should go see this show.  Go for an adventure.  Enjoy nature a little bit, get some culture, and laugh a lot.  It’s a great night out, and you can be urban explorers without too much fear!  “Twelfth Night” runs through August 21, and once again Quantum has partnered with local restaurants, so make an evening out of it (get the pre-show picnic, it sounds really cool) and enjoy the show.

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