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Open Thread - Blog

Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category

January 14th, 2010
Open Thread

Announcing the Morgantown Poets winter/spring reading series kickoff, featuring Matt Anserello, Isaac Pressnell and T. W. McNemar

chapbook-31Thursday, January 21 at 7pm, Open Thread and Morgantown Poets will hold the kickoff reading for their winter/spring reading series at the Monongalia Arts Center. The reading will feature the poets Matt Anserello, West Virginia winner of our 2009 Tri-State Chapbook contest and Isaac Pressnell, the West Virginia judge of same, as well as humor and fiction writer T. W. (Terry) McNemar.  The reading is free and open to the public. The MAC is at 107 High Street, downtown Morgantown (beside Hotel Morgan).

About the authors: McNemar is a humor, short story and novel writer. His writing reflects the humanity, humor and conscience of everyday life, often in a strong Appalachian style. McNemar’s work has been featured in The Johns-Hopkins University ‘ScribblePress,’ the drama textbook, Young Women’s Monologues from Contemporary Plays, MountainEchoes, and Traditions, the literary journal of Fairmont State University. His novella, “Ragdoll Angel” (Booklocker, 2007), tells the story of a kidnapping in a small mountain village in 1952. McNemar is also the current president of West Virginia Writers, Inc.

Anserello holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University and lives in Morgantown with writer Emily C. Watson and two retired greyhounds. His poems have appeared in Bat City Review, Phoebe, Smartish Pace, and Versal, among others. Anserello is the West Virginia winner of the 2009 Open Thread Tri-State Chapbook Contest for his chapbook, “Cloud Shaped Room.”

Pressnell earned his Master of Fine Arts in poetry from WVU.. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Tar River Poetry, Ninth Letter, DIAGRAM, Opium, Bravado, Lake Effect and OTQ: Open Thread Quarterly. He lives in Keyser where he teaches English at Potomac State College.

About the Organization: Morgantown Poets is an informal not-for-profit, all-volunteer community group that meets from 7-9 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at MAC, providing literary enthusiasts in north-central West Virginia the opportunity to express themselves, share their work, network and to connect up-and-coming writers with more established authors. New writers are welcome. Join the group on Facebook by entering “Morgantown Poets” in Facebook’s search. Or join Morgantown Poets mailing list by writing to or the listserve.

Established in 1977, West Virginia Writers, Inc. is the state’s largest nonprofit, all-volunteer, writers’ resource and service organization serving literary interests. West Virginia Writers sponsors both an annual writers’ conference and an annual writing competition.

Questions: call 304-292-3325 or email

IMPORTANT NOTE: During winter months, Morgantown Poets schedules featured authors on a WEATHER-PERMITTING basis. If weather conditions are poor, Morgantown Poets does not guarantee any and/or all scheduled authors will be able to attend. In fact, Morgantown Poets discourages anyone (featured authors included) from attempting to drive in poor weather conditions, snow or ice. We urge everyone to exercise utmost caution during winter driving season. DO NOT attempt to drive to any event if road conditions are (or may become) hazardous. Safety first!


Pecha Kucha Night is a “high-energy showcase that started in Japan in 2003 and now occurs in over 110 locations globally.” Add Pittsburgh to the list and Open Thread to its proud participants!

In short (because that’s the style of Pecha Kucha, which means “chatter” in Japanese), each presenter uses 20 slides in 20 seconds to share her/his project, idea, or musings. Then the presenter must, in the website’s words, “sit the hell down.” The result is a fast-paced taste of what’s creative and exciting in Pittsburgh.

This Friday, April 3rd, AIA and AIGA (No, righteous populace, not AIG.) of Pittsburgh will hold their Pecha Kucha Night at 8pm in the Third Floor Gallery downtown. Tickets are $10 at the door. 

Open Thread co-director Scott Andrew and I will share why we started Open Thread, what it’s done so far, and where we’re taking it in 2009 and 2010. 

Our fellow presenters include Steelerbaby, Teresa Foley, Open Thread featured artist Laura Miller, and representatives from the Pittsburgh Signs Project.


March 29th, 2009
Adam Atkinson



img_05021The Open Thread Regional Review, Vol. 1, long previewed on our website, is finally hitting Pittsburgh this Thursday, April 2nd at INBOX/OUTBOX! It will sell for $15 at the event (way cheaper than online), and Encyclopedia Destructica’s Coatlicue 2 will sell for $10.

The event kicks off at 7pm at Encyclopedia Destructica Studios in Lawrenceville (address below) with readings by Coatlicue 2 contributors Mallory Monroe, Nick Rogers, and Wayne Wise – and Open Thread Regional Review contributor Lizzie Harris.

More Regional Review contributors read at 8pm: Alayna Frankenberry, Tom Laskow, Sally Wen Mao, Ben Pelhan, and Nicola Pioppi.

Throughout the night, selected artists from the Regional Review will display their work, including Danielle Brannigan, Elin Lennox, Michael McParlane, Jack Meade, Michael Pisano, and James Storch. Also, a silent auction featuring local businesses will raise money for the Tri-State Chapbook Contest, Open Thread’s new collaboration with Encyclopedia Destructica.



After the event, SPOILERS will host an after party at New Amsterdam in Lawrenceville, featuring DJs Lauren G and Nikkels, as well as video by Michael Mallis, Tom McConnell, Michael McParlane, and Michael Pisano. Thanks to SPOILERS, 10% of the bar benefits the Tri-State Chapbook Contest.

March 29th, 2009
Paul Cunningham

jan-beattyPittsburgh poet and Prosody radio host, Jan Beatty, will be heading to Slippery Rock University on April 22 for the release of the fourth edition of the literary publication, SLAB. She’ll be making an appearance as the evening’s keynote reader, providing the public with a taste of her ever-reaching craft. The event will begin at 7:30 PM at the University’s Russell Wright Alumni House.

Beatty’s poetry has appeared in Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Court Green, as well as anthologies published by Oxford University Press and University of Iowa Press. In 1994, her first book of poetry, Mad River, was honored with the Agnes Lynch Starret Poetry Prize of the University of Pittsburgh Press. 2008 marked the debut of her latest book, Red Sugar, which declared the ignored complications involving the interior and exterior thoughts of a woman’s body.

In addition to the book-launch, student sound/audio projects will also be showcased. The evening itself will contain a variety of odd and thought-provoking highlights, as well as the announcement of the recipients of the annual Elizabeth R. Curry Prize in Poetry.

Editor’s Note: The contributor is the Sound/Audio Editor, as well as a poetry and creative nonfiction reader, for SLAB.


March 25th, 2009
Erin Goldberger

swan_logo_color_rgbIn honor of March being Women’s History Month, SWAN Day has been created as a new international holiday that celebrates women artists. The No Name Players will be hosting Pittsburgh’s SWAN Day Event on March 27 & 28 at 7:30 PM at the Grey Box Theatre in Lawrenceville. SWAN Day is a grassroots effort that is being coordinated by The Fund for Women Artists.

The evening will consist of short plays, poetry, dance, music and film by local women artists. They will be showcasing paintings and photography by women artists as well. It promises to be a truly inspiring night! Open Thread can personally vouch for poets Molly Prosser and Michelle Stoner, who’ve both appeared in our Poetsburgh reading series with Weave Magazine.

Reservations are encouraged and can be placed via email: or call 412.207.7111.

Tickets are $15, payable by cash at the door.


Producing Artistic Director of the No Name Players, Tressa Glover, gave Open Thread a sneak peak into the SWAN Event.

OT Blog: What can we expect from this year’s SWAN event? Who is performing?

Tressa Glover: Well, the Celebration of Women Artists is a collection of short plays, music, poetry, dance, film and visual art by local women artists. There are over 35 artists involved in the event.


“Accessories,” by Carol Mullen, Directed by Joanna Lowe, Featuring Jaime Slavinsky and Rachel Shaw

“Dry Cleaning the Soul,” by Tammy Ryan, Directed by Don DiGiulio, Featuring Tawnya Hall and Eric Anderson

“Stockholm,” by Jeanne Drennan, Directed by Tami Dixon, Featuring Laura Lee Brautigam, Don DiGiulio and April Kitchen

“Pieces,” by Vanessa German, Featuring Tressa Glover and Vanessa German


Vanessa German, Maggie Glover, Molly Prosser, Michelle Stoner, Arlene Weiner


Kaitlin Dann and Gretchen LaBorwit, Nandini Mandal


Cecile Desandre-Navarre, Julie Mink

Visual Art and Photography:

Sally Bozzuto, Allison Hoge, Lauren Zurchin


Joy Ike (Saturday March 28th only), the young women from Act One Theatre School’s Professional Training Program

OT: How did you/Pittsburgh become involved with the SWAN events that happen all over the country?

TG: I first read about SWAN Day last year on and loved the idea. Don and I (We’re married, by the way!) were living in Chicago at the time and working as actors. In June of last year we moved back to Pittsburgh, and I knew once we began producing shows again that No Name Players would somehow take part in the SWAN celebration of 2009. From the beginning planning stages, we knew we wanted to take part in SWAN Day by celebrating local women artists. We wanted to make sure that the extremely talented female artists here in Pittsburgh received recognition and that Pittsburgh itself was rightfully included in this worldwide celebration—and not only artists in the theatre, which is our comfort zone and the field with which we’re most familiar, but also artists from other disciplines: visual art, poetry, dance, film and music. 

We wanted to create the most eclectic group of women artists possible, providing for them a safe venue in which they can foster their diverse creative sensibilities and exhibit their extraordinary talents.

This broad mix of artists and disciplines will, we think (and hope!), attract an equally broad demographic of audience members. We feel that the program we’ve assembled will appeal to women (and men) of all ages and backgrounds. We know that people within the thriving arts community here in Pittsburgh will be extremely interested in this type of event. We also hope to attract an audience that spans the multiple disciplines that we will have on display to encourage an environment of mutual appreciation of art in its many forms.

OT: Can you tell me more about the No Name Players?

TG: No Name Players’ tenure here in Pittsburgh began in August of 2004 with our critically acclaimed Pittsburgh premiere production of “Big Love,” by Charles Mee, which earned us a spot as one of the Top Ten Plays of 2004 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Subsequent productions have included the American premiere of “This Hotel,” by Alex Poch-Goldin, and most recently our crowd-pleasing production of “Wonder of the World,” by David Lindsay-Abaire, in December of last year.

No Name Players is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to presenting unique and challenging theatrical productions by both new and established playwrights with an emphasis on the collaborative nature of theatre through ensemble. We focus on works that appeal to our own uniquely eclectic creative sensibilities. We work together as a group, where no individual is greater than the whole. Actors, directors, playwrights, designers and stage personnel play equally important roles in achieving our artistic vision. There is no fear in exploring a vast array of styles and genres. There are no boundaries that will not be pushed. There is no limit to what we can achieve.




SWAN Day Poster

March 20th, 2009
Erin Goldberger

04_thelondoneye_09_gruber_web_000March 18 – June 27, 2009

With a retrospective exhibition featuring over 50 photographs, the Silver Eye Center for Photography pays tribute to one of Pittsburgh’s most prolific artists, Aaronel deRoy Gruber. Gruber recently turned 90, but she is still heavily active in the art community and creating fine art photography. Her tireless effort and inspiring images that range from picturesque panoramas of landscapes to industrial views of steel mills can be found in museum and corporate art collections throughout the country.

The opening reception for Gruber’s show will be Saturday, March 20th from 3-5PM.

Gruber is well known for utilizing unique techniques such as infrared photography, and many of her prints are chemically toned and hand-painted. The infrared film and digital filters (sensitive to infrared radiation) produce an ethereal quality often identifiable by foliage that appears white and rose-hued skies.

07-floridagatehouse_32_gruber_l_0001The Analytical Eye: Photographs by Aaronel deRoy Gruber is an exhibition of photographs selected from the artist’s collection, Photo Forum Gallery and The Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibition Co-Curators are Linda Benedict-Jones, Curator of Photography at The Carnegie Museum of Art, and Graham Shearing, Arts Writer and Critic. Graham Shearing explains, “We have re-shuffled the pack and dealt the cards differently for this retrospective. And now we can view this particular artistic life as a panorama itself, strikingly consistent and incisive…an essentially analytical eye.”

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