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Bong Joon-ho film Parastie (기생충) in Pittsburgh from November 1.

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Tickets just went on sale for Pittsburgh screenings of the acclaimed 2019 Bong Joon-ho film Parastie (기생충), which will play locally from November 1.
Bong Joon Ho brings his singular mastery home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale.

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, PARASITE showcases a modern master at the top of his game.
Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It will play at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill (map) from November 1 and tickets are available online.
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Open Thread: Raft of Ducks

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I assume if I do not post the occasional duck photos, there could be trouble. So here you go. Since Maddie and Mabel run from me whenever I have a camera, this is the best group shot I can get:

Ducks are messy. Happiness to ducks is any and all mud. Some ducks can’t hide it as well as others:

The cutest part of this is she runs up to me like this, wanting to be picked up. She has to be satisfied with scritches.


Open thread

P.S. Tomorrow we’ll have another WereBear guest post, so get your cat questions ready!

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This Photographer Colorizes His Wet Plate Photos with Striking Results

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Fine art photographer Borut Peterlin was recently commissioned to shoot some ambrotypes by costume designer Alan Hranitelj, but he went a few steps beyond your standard wet plate collodion photography. In addition to shooting some beautiful multiple-exposures, he also decided to colorize the scans, creating striking photographs the likes of which we’ve not seen before.

There’s nothing particularly unique about wet plate photography, and there’s certainly nothing unique about colorizing monochrome imagery, but Peterlin is the first we’ve seen who put the two together so artfully in his work work. As it happens, the technique was also crucial for this particular photo shoot.

“Alan Hranitelj is a costume designer who is deeply inspired by Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carol. Dodgson was an excellent wet plate collodion photographer, and even considered a caree as a full-time professional photographer, but decided to be a writer,” Peterlin told us over email. “His Alice in Wonderland is a life time inspiration for Alan Hranitelj and through the colourized wet plate photography of his costumes the circle closes. The concept is why it’s crucial—it’s not only a technique, it’s the application and the concept that makes the difference.”

He took viewers along on this shoot via his YouTube channel, and you can watch the whole process—from shooting through developing—in the video below:

Unfortunately, the one thing Peterlin didn’t cover in detail in the vlog is how he colorized the images exactly, which is why we reached out to ask him if he’d send us some high-res scans and share some information. He kindly obliged.

“In this case I am hand colouring scans of ambrotypes in Photoshop. I’ve done it also on the paper, but for this project it was much more suitable to do it in Photoshop, using advanced application of the gradient tool,” Peterlin tells PetaPixel. “I learned the technique from this PixImperfect tutorial on YouTube, but of course while working I’ve found some variations that suited me better.”

Using the technique seen in the linked video, he’s able to transform his ambrotypes and highlight the costumes.

Here are more colorized ambrotypes from this beautiful costume shoot:

And below, the creative multiple exposure portraits of Alan Hranitelj himself, in case you wanted a closer look at those as well:

To see more of Peterlin’s fine art photography, be sure to visit his website and subscribe to his YouTube channel. And if you enjoy the work above, Peterlin has promised to create an in-depth tutorial of his ambrotype colorization process for us in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

Credits: All photographs by Borut Peterlin and used with permission.

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Wilkins Township Passes Complete Streets Resolution

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The latest Allegheny County municipality to define a transportation vision for all

On Monday, Wilkins Township became the latest Allegheny County municipality to pass a Complete Streets Policy. Just east of the City of Pittsburgh, Wilkins Township is community that touches eight other municipalities, including Penn Hills, Monroeville, Churchill, and Forest Hills, among others.

Over the past few years, the City of Pittsburgh, as well as the municipalities of Sharpsburg, Etna, and Millvale have also passed Complete Streets Policies.

Complete Streets policies are an important tool to ensure our streets are safe, convenient and accessible to everybody, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how they get around. It’s about changing the way we approach transportation projects on all streets.

These policies take a “fix it first” approach and can enshrine a community’s vision for their streets on paper, helping to make sure that all modes and are considered at the start of a project or maintenance schedule. Another way to think about it, Complete Streets policies put the responsibility on decision makers to show why all modes can’t be accommodated, as opposed to the community needing to prove why the accommodation is necessary.

Wilkins Township has introduced a robust policy to address this vision. Here’s a sample from the Statement of Purpose and Intent:

The Wilkins Township Complete Streets Policy requires all transportation projects designed for streets and trails systems to be safe and to provide practical access to users of all abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motorists, together with vulnerable populations, such as people with disabilities, seniors and children.

This Complete Streets Policy is intended to promote better health, to make overall travel more efficient by increasing affordable transportation mode choices and easing the transition from one mode of transportation to another. It is the long-term intent of this Complete Streets Policy to contribute to the desirability of Wilkins Township as a place to live, work and do business and to contribute to improved air quality in the region by reducing the number of commuter trips taken by driving alone.

We’re excited to see what Wilkins Township will accomplish with this policy, and fully support their forward thinking vision.

Now, what other Allegheny County municipalities will follow suit?

The post Wilkins Township Passes Complete Streets Resolution appeared first on BikePGH.

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"Fall Flower Show: Japanese Inspirations" at Phipps, October 19 - November 10.

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Phipps Conservatory will present "Fall Flower Show: Japanese Inspirations" from October 19 through November 10.
Starting Sat., Oct. 19, Phipps’ Fall Flower Show: Japanese Inspirations will take you on a spectacular journey to experience an inspiring celebration of harmony and nature. Join Phipps for a trip to Japan, where festivals are spectacular and the colorful chrysanthemum reigns as king. Explore the festivities as you wander through room after room of stunning Japanese-inspired botanical displays with hundreds of vibrant blooms in dramatic cascades, giant disbuds and other exciting forms. From the show’s giant origami peace cranes, dry garden and serene floating lanterns to a vibrant dragon festival display, Japanese Inspirations will capture the imaginations of visitors of all ages. Phipps’ new show lasts for just three weeks — don’t miss this grand celebration of the season!
Visit the Phipps website for more details about events and exhibitions. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located at 1 Schenley Drive in Oakland (map).
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Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, Became a Design Capital

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On a sunny day in Columbus, Indiana, there’s no more pleasant place to be than at the corner of Fifth Street and Lafayette Avenue.

A broad brick plaza here serves as the town square. The central library, built in the same red brick, faces across the plaza to a historic church with a tall bell tower. Just a stroll away is Washington Street and its bistros, shops, and ice cream parlor. Storefront windows cheer on Columbus East High School athletics—go Olympians, beat North! Fifth and Lafayette is the heart of downtown.

Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, this Smallville is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.

The Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, for example, was designed by I.M. Pei as a study of grace in brick and light. Anchoring the plaza’s Flemish-bond brickwork is a monumental sculpture by Henry Moore, Large Arch. From a certain viewpoint, the patinated bronze arch neatly frames Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church and bell tower, one of the first early Modernist designs for a religious structure to be built anywhere.

Those are only two examples. Columbus boasts buildings by a murderer’s row of notable architects. William Rawn, Kevin Roche, Susana Torre, Dan Kiley, and many others have left their mark on the town, with schools, offices, parks, bridges, and much more. One map of Columbus lists 97 projects of architectural significance, dating from 1942 to the present day. It’s striking to see so much clean geometry in a single place that isn’t Chicago or New York or Miami.

Columbus is a bastion of Midwest, main-street Modernism. Leaders there know what they’ve got on their hands. In August, the city kicked off Exhibit Columbus, a biennial festival launched two years ago to celebrate the city’s design pedigree. This program, running through December 1, invites up-and-coming architects to respond to high-Modernist buildings in Columbus with their own pavilions, interventions, and activations.

Untitled, designed by Frida Escobedo Studio, features native plants in an elevated platform with built-in seating to contrast to I.M. Pei’s Cleo Rogers Memorial Library and plaza. (Hadley Fruits)

For the next three months, Pei’s plaza is even more inviting than usual. It’s the temporary home for Untitled, an elevated garden terrace designed by Mexico City’s Frida Escobedo Studio. Next to the 1969 library, Escobedo’s platform is a complement in elegance and a contrast in materials (and ideas). More than a dozen other additions and pairings across town make Columbus an ideal destination for lovers of high design, or folks looking for a small-town getaway.

However, the planners behind Exhibit Columbus are aiming for more than pleasant. With the festival’s second iteration, the steering committee looked to architects who focus on community—and designs that would provoke as much as they delight.

“By the end of 2017, we had distilled all that we learned through the first exhibition into a really basic idea,” says Richard McCoy, the executive director of Landmark Columbus, a nonprofit heritage group, and managing director of the Exhibit Columbus program. “The reasons behind why people create thoughtful design are much more important than what it is, or how it’s made.”

Soft Civic, designed by Bryony Roberts Studio, outside the SOM-designed Columbus City Hall. (Hadley Fruits)

An installation paired with Columbus City Hall is an example. The City Hall building is a testament to both civic fortitude and transparency, with cantilevered brick walls and a semi-circular glass curtain wall that form the entrance to the local government chamber. (It was designed by Edward Charles Bassett of the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which also designed the city’s master plan.) For Exhibit Columbus, New York–based Bryony Roberts Studio came up with an installation called Soft Civic, a series of custom steel and nylon rope structures whose purpose is open-ended.

Near the entrance, the rope structures echo the swoop of the glass curtain wall. The nets serve as a playful and inviting contrast to the authority projected by the rampart brick beams. While the curving glass wall of the original SOM design suggests transparency, Soft Civic extends that idea further, out into the community. Standalone structures in the building’s yard lend the site a leisurely atmosphere, making City Hall a place to gather and even relax. The emergency neon color of these scoop seats also evokes a literal safety net, another layer to Soft Civic.

A community meeting at Soft Civic shows how leaders might interact with constituents outside the walls of city hall. (Hadley Fruits)

Both Bryony Roberts and Frida Escobedo are winners of the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, the centerpiece of the exhibition program. The prize is named after the longtime mid-century executive and chairman of Cummins, a diesel-engine company headquartered in Columbus, and his wife. After World War II, prospects for the family business were strong: The Interstate Highway System delivered demand that the company could barely keep up with. (Cummins is a Fortune 500 company today.) At the time, J. Irwin Miller worried that teeny Bartholomew County was struggling to attract the world-class engineering talent that the growing company needed.

So in 1954, under Miller’s stewardship, the Cummins Foundation offered to subsidize any new, public, Modernist building in this Bible Belt town by paying for the architectural fees. Miller had a vision: He generated (confidential) lists of preferred architects for each project, which he offered like a menu to institutions such as the school board. From the 1950s on, the program furnished exceptional buildings with the goal of putting Columbus on the map. The Saturday Evening Post dubbed the city “Athens on the Prairie.”

“What you have 60 years later is a collection of really remarkable and remarkably designed schools and fire stations and parks and other public places, which really started out as a response to an economic situation,” Tracy Souza, president and CEO of Heritage Fund, told me before the 2017 festival. Heritage Fund, the local trust for Bartholomew County, holds a $63 million endowment. Among other programs, it supports Landmark Columbus. (Which is not a historic preservation group. Columbus doesn’t have one of those.)

While modern architecture might seem like an odd appeal to nuclear families settling down to raise the Baby Boom generation, it made a certain sense at the dawn of postwar America. The country was tapping an emerging class of architects to design embassies around the world, a projection of soft power; around the same time he drafted his first school for Columbus, Harry Weese designed the (former) U.S. Embassy in Ghana. Modernism was a good look for Columbus when the country was facing forward to the future.

Design by MASS Design Group, Corn/Meal is a corn maze with a twist on the classic picnic table; it’s adjacent to Central Middle School, a project designed by Ralph Johnson of Perkins + Will in 2007. (Hadley Fruits)

Much of Modernist Columbus was built in the ‘70s, although the program continued to generate new projects well into the ‘90s. (Then an emerging name, Deborah Berke designed a library branch for nearby Hope, Indiana, in 1998.) While the days of gangbuster growth are likely behind Columbus, the Miller Prize was established to extend that legacy of drawing fresh architectural talent to central Indiana.

This year’s Miller Prize winners also include Agency Landscape + Planning (based in Cambridge, Massachusetts), MASS Design Group (Boston and Kigali, Rwanda), and SO-IL (New York City). Some of the designs that viewers may find most challenging are in the festival’s satellite programs: a university design-research fellowship and a showcase of civic projects on Washington Street. (Local high-school students kicked in an installation, too.)

Thank U, Next, by LA Más, can be reconfigured to serve the needs of anyone meeting up along Columbus’s main street. (Hadley Fruits)

Thank U, Next, a main-street installation from a Los Angeles–based urban design nonprofit called LA Más, seemed to call the whole enterprise into question. The design project comprises a series of colorful, modular outdoor-furniture components, which can be reconfigured to meet community needs. Bright kiosks list upcoming events, ranging from a heist-based role-playing game for teens (“Boy Problems: Steal a vault of unreleased songs by Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen”) to a big old picnic (“Mesa Colectiva es un picnic especial para las comunidades latinas y caribeñas de Columbus”). As with many places in the Midwest, growth in Columbus (and Bartholomew County) owes to minority populations. While the white population here is shrinking slightly, growth is strong among Latinx and especially African-American and Asian residents.

As for the meaning behind the customizable rec room, the title is a dead giveaway: a reference to Ariana Grande’s chart-busting ode to moving on from relationships with gratitude (but moving on nonetheless). Thank U, Next suggests a certain ambivalence toward the grand Modernist achievements of yesteryear, or hesitation about how inclusive these projects really are today. In terms of design, LA Más rejects a formalist approach for a more fugitive strategy.

Not that there aren’t indulgent technical displays to be seen at Exhibit Columbus. Marshall Prado, an assistant professor of design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, built an eerie biomorphic tower using lightweight glass and carbon-fiber elements. Rising more than 30 feet high, UTK Filament Tower is a feat of computational engineering and robotic fabrication. Fans of horror will appreciate the inky black structure, which rises like calcified goo to mimic the spire of Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church, itself a flying saucer out of pulp science fiction.

Marshall Prado’s UTK Filament Tower as installed next to Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church. (Hadley Fruits)

Maybe the sweetest design in the whole festival belongs to Sean Ahlquist, an associate professor of design at the University of Michigan. Playscape is a funky assemblage on Washington Street near an indoor playpen (designed by César Pelli—it’s a seriously cool playground). While Ahlquist’s project is mindful of Pelli’s exposed structural details, Playscape also looks across the street to an autism clinic for inspiration. His team’s playground piece draws on pediatric research about engaging neurodiverse children. Playscape’s custom fabrics, interactive lighting, and climb-under design are meant for kids who are sometimes easily overstimulated.

(A delightful children’s guide to Exhibit Columbus, produced by Los Angeles graphic artists Rosten Woo and Tiffanie Tran, offers a wonderful explanation for Playscape and the rest of the festival.)

Exhibit Columbus started out as a platform for elevating the city’s historic architecture. Which doesn’t take much: The former office of the Republic newspaper, a pristine glass box designed by SOM, is a seminar in restraint. Roche’s corporate office buildings for Cummins could double as a monograph of his work. John M. Johansen’s L. Frances Smith Elementary School—picture a Brutalist bunker–meets–McDonald’s Playland!—is reason alone to visit.

SO-IL’s Into the Hedge, an homage to a landscape designed by Dan Kiley, as seen from above. (Hadley Fruits)

But with this edition of the festival, Exhibit Columbus has turned the lens around on architecture, and on itself. Social factors are as key to contemporary design as glass was to the Modernist era, and this biennial reflects that trend. Columbus is very much unlike most hotbeds of contemporary design: mostly white, not very affluent but not especially poor, far from an airport. Exhibit Columbus reflects on those facts, too, giving some hard thought about who this design is supposed to support.

And Exhibit Columbus feels different from other design festivals as a result. Mostly missing is the high-strung academic bafflegab that attends events in New York or Paris or Dubai. The language of design is accessible here. Families and children are centered in the Columbus festival in a way that is almost never seen in this kind of event. That’s in part the setting—a small town in Indiana makes for a more lived-in experience than the Giardini in Venice—but it also reflects decision-making by both the festival planners and architects.

While family-friendly Exhibit Columbus is far from cosmopolitan, the design festival is no less rigorous as a result. SO-IL’s Into the Hedge is an awesome lawn-sized hammock, for example, but it’s also a thoughtful formal reinterpretation of the hedgerow that Dan Kiley designed for Eero Saarinen’s Miller House. Panel discussions and events during the opening festivities focused on accessibility and equity in design. Hot topics everywhere, but in Columbus these conversations could help steer planning decisions for the future.

“We sought out designers that like the complexities of communities, those that care about process in the same way Irwin Miller cared about process and the public realm,” McCoy says.

In a way, this festival brings the Columbus story full circle. Before he seeded the city with Modernist wonders, Miller helped to shore up the Civil Rights Movement. The Cummins executive was a founder and president of the National Council of Churches, which supported Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaigns. Miller participated in anti-segregation demonstrations, paid bail for activists in the Deep South, and personally led delegations that met with John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to voice religious support for racial justice.

Miller and his wife commissioned Saarinen to design the First Christian Church at Fifth and Lafayette in 1942—the first modern building in Columbus, and an early demonstration that faith could be modern. And that progress could be religious. And that a small town could be a design capital. These are the contradictions of heartland Modernism that Columbus is still exploring.

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