Pgh's First Art+Technology+Ecology Festival! EVENTS SCHEDULE (click above)


Friday, January 29, 2010

Touchfaster will Take GA/GI Fest and Super Size it!

we wanted a large, leafy festival salad, but we wanted more veggies with that. So Adam Keene, the Duquesne University dymnamo who runs Mpowered introduced us to Touchfaster, an engergetic group of six 20-somethings, who have combined their considerable resources and incredible talents to create a company that makes artistic culture in the city "happen."

The Touchfaster group has been in the making for several years. Six friends, Kevin Saftner, Christmas Eger, Eli Rebich, Pierce Marratto, Cory Chicconie, and Skip Douglas have "hung out together," since their early school days. Saftner was a young DJ who often booked bands in which the others performed. He eventually entered IUP as a Business Management Major, and the others members of Touchfaster also went away to different colleges. It was later, when they had all graduated with complimentary skills that Saftner assessed the possibilites, reconnected the group, and they have been working out of his home in Dormont for the last several months.

Said Saftner, "Touchfaster orginated as a music promotion company, now we're involved in music, arts, and fashion." And we should add charity benefits. Their Facebook page on January 26 said in part:
Hey guys. Come hang out with us Saturday night down at Folino's in the South Side for our Haiti benefit show.......Time to lend a hand and help... change some lives together.>>>:::POWER ON:::<<<<

Touchfaster is on a roll. They will be promoting GA/GI to a diverse mix of people, designing marketing material, providing music, and giving GA/GI some branding assistance. In addition Saftner is also completing another project: A new restaurant which will serve "family style" food.
Penny's Diner (mapquest it at 4080 Washington Road, McMurray, PA 15367) opens February 8th, 2010.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What do Dance, Coffee, Pizza and Zipcars Have in Common? They're New Faces at GA/GI!

Our newest partners will be putting some spin on the GA/GI event! For GA/GI Day:Dance Alloy will be treating kids at our Great Play Date--"Birds, Trees and Robots"--to a creative movement class with instructor Ayisha Morgan-Lee. Other activities will be a performance by the Dilworth School Drummers, a visit by David Edwards Power Flower, Replay my Play, a Project funded by Penn Ave neighbor Sprout, and a other "green" activities. For GA/GI Night @ Penn Avenue "Unblurred," The Spak Brothers will be open serving their special brand of pizza, garlic wings, chicken salads, or even their phenomenal perogies (when they aren't sold out)! Spak will co-sponsor a Bike Pittsburgh project (TBA). Voluto Coffee plans to host some unique eco-tech art on their walls and visitors to GA/GI will get to sample some super delicious hot coffee, and get info on cool upcoming events like World Environment Day. Dance Alloy Theater is back for evening entertainment as well! Heather Ferri, a tap dancing Pittsburgh native, will introduce the newest vibe in shuffle rhythms since Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Ferri’s “Tap into the Possibilities” will expose people to the idea that tap is not just one sound or story. Her dynamic, 8-section piece tells multiple stories through the sounds of taps, contemporary movement, and spoken words performed by college students from Point Park University. Cost at the door is $7.

They're will be a lot of Zipping around during GA/GI, too. In Zipcars! They're Coming from their centrally located address: 429 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1626(412) 475-5909! Billed as "Wheels when you want them,"the company rolled into Pittsburgh a little over a year ago and hasn't stop moving since. Zipcar sees their deal as "better than having your own car." There are 40 Zipcars parked throughout Pittsburgh in neighborhoods like Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Downtown, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Southside and Northside. There are also over 6000 Zipcars available in other major cities like New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, London, Toronto and many more. Zipcars are available for self service reservations for as little as $7 per hour or $67 per day, and that includes all of your gas and insurance costs.” And more good news! GA/GI Fest goers are getting a special offer! Check it out at: .

We also noted that Zipcar isn't shy about listing their "green" benefits which include a break down of how car sharing will save billions of dollars in gas and oil. Indeed, a Zipcar is the perfect car... if you like the convenience of not owning one!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Want a sneak preview of what our Team partner, Jonano, of GA/GI's Fashion Division has in store for you on April 2? Check out their eco chic from Portland's Fashion Week!

Monday, January 25, 2010

GA/GI @ Pittsburgh's First SAG Screening

When Cathy Yonek said we could bring our GA/GI Festival Dog-n-Pony show to Pittsburgh's first ever SAG Screening Awards party, we ran all the way! Ran with fliers, art off the walls of the ARTica Gallery to add some atmosphere, and along the way snatched David Edwards of Art Energy Design, who had just enough time to grab his wife and his camera.

Pittsburgh was only one of a few sites beyond Hollywood asked to coordinate a city screening; one other included was Philadelphia. The fun-filled evening which included eating sushi from the back of a luxury car, headlined many of the folks who faces end up in the string of movies being made in Pittsburgh. The event was held at Island Studios. (More to come)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Profiles in Green: Salvage Artist, Amanda Gross and John Metzler, Urban Tree Forge

Amanda Gross, one of GA/GI's "green" Fashion Designers, worked with a professor at Eastern Mennonite University in a class called "Trash Fashion." She designed and created five outfits from recycled materials and helped put on a group fashion show. She was hooked; very interested in exploring art that reused items no longer deemed valuable for their original intent and purpose (a.k.a. trash). "I reuse trash in my art as a metaphor for hope. Is says that we as a society, as individuals, can do better," said Amanda.

These days Gross teaches at The Neighborhood Academy, a faith-based, independent college-prep high school for Pittsburgh's low-income youth. Students attend school all day with an academic schedule in the morning and either sports or Arts Connection in the afternoon. Amanda's class "Recycled Fashion Design" is one of their afternoon art options.

In addition to opening up conversation about the use of resources, the class has allowed Amanda and her students to connect to several community partners in and out of the school: Teachers, local artists, and community members have been saving all sorts of things from the landfills in order to support the project. Crazy Mocha in Lawrenceville has been especially helpful saving plastic caps and tea bag packets. Students have used materials as diverse as packing materials, plastic tableware, magazine clippings, and junk food wrappers. And the results are stunning!
See them at the Fashion show the evening of GA/GI at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

John Meztler calls his business Urban Tree Forge, a "creative manufacturer of hardwoods, millwork, furniture, cabinetry and sculpture." And he truly does it all! Metzler, collects his product from Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, and other nearby communities; trees that have outgrown their usefulness and are pushing up sidewalks, blocking roads, or are damaged. He more than collects them, John "rescues" them.

In one instance, he got a call from a friend in Brookline to save a mighty ash tree which may have gone to a landfill. Turns out this large tree can yield about 900 square feet of super, tough flooring or become tool handles and baseball bats. Another call from Indiana Township saved a tree that had uprooted and fallen across a creek. Good wood for a multitude of uses. Still again, another rescue mission: This time a giant Mulberry in Wilkinsburg, a rarity in woods. But it isn't enough that John rescues these jewels from the urban forest, he then carefully considers the future of the wood. In nearly all cases, pieces from the tree will be sent out to be dried in a kiln, some taking months to cure, or even up to one full year. Pieces of the wood are then sold to artists and cabinet and furniture makers who come to John's warehouse on Washington Blvd, to find just the right planks for everything from benches to bracelets. Urban Tree Forge also rents space to over a half dozen artists to create and develop uses for wood materials.

You'll be able to see John's wonderful work as well as art created by other artists using fodder from Urban Tree Forge and other salvage finds during the Geek Art/Green Innovators Festival on Penn Avenue. Hosts for these displays are Friends of the Urban Forest, Grow Pittsburgh, and the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation's Activities Building aka GA/GI's Eco-Tech Center.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bring your Camera Phone To GA/GI and Share the Cool!

One click...that quick! Deep Local, one of our tech team members, will create a system to have the photos you take during the Geek Art and Green Innovators Festival upload to an e-mail and slide-show in a window along Penn Avenue where hundreds will view it. Yes--you will be the paparazzi! Include your name and zip, and your photos might be displayed along with the work of our official GA/GI photographers in a post event publication! Register by phone-mail that night or pick up your GA/GI paparazzi badge at the Glass Center the day of the event.
What will you be snapping?????
Our schedule of events will include: "Bird's, Bugs, and 'Bots, "a play symposium for Kids at the Union Project in Highland Park from 10 am to noon. In the afternoon, a Penn Avenue farmer's market on Penn Avenue, and an eco-bike tour to begin an evening where you'll enjoy a pantheon of film, performance, exhibits, technology innovation and eco-friendly fashion venues. Plus a sneak preview inside the brand new Glass Lofts Condo! More details later!