fresh popcorn productions

observations and obsessions, in print and pictures. roadside ramblings, from the pavement to the pasture.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Morning Visitor

This adorable Easter Creature greeted me out back this morning. Being one of the only dog-less yards on the block, she has become a regular presence this spring, munching away as she pleases. Some days I see her frozen like a rock, her gaze fixed with an impressive alertness, on the English Setter watching, as motionless as she, through the fence next door.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Vegan Burger Mania

"Build a Better Burger" is how the slogan goes at this cute and cozy Santa Monica joint, The Counter. Located at 2901 Ocean Park Boulevard, the informal establishment hands out mini-clipboards to patrons listing a zillion sublime chocies for burger toppings, buns, sides and condiments. A vegan's paradise! I promise to post some shots of yummy 'Burgh-style vegan burgers soon! Too bad we don't have the ocean breezes...

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Growing up in a neighboring community, I was always envious of swimmers populating the Dormont Pool. Its sloped edges (now considered a safety hazard and outlawed), its giant once-present mushroom fountain, and its proximity to whizzing cars and a horseshoe ring pitch competiton, all captured my imagination from the back seat of my mom's vehicle as a kid. Somehow the water was always a brighter shade of blue, always crisper, always more inviting than the community pool I frequented. Heading to the Dormont pool, for a change of scenery, was a rare but adventurous outing, despite the fact that given my motivation on the right day, I could have headed there on foot any old summer day I liked. Today, as in recent years, this historic, 86-year old pool faces extinction. Today's robust rally drew easily over 200 Dormont residents, most of whom arrived on foot, and local politicians, with kids and families flocking to the site to rustle passing crowds and collect donations in coffee cans. Looks like 30K will get us one more summer, yet close to 3 milion is required for a proper full-scale restoration and future operations. With a myraid of structural issues, including aging deep cracks leaking gallons and gallons of water daily, the pool's fate stands in more severe jeapardy than ever. In 2001, the 1.4 million gallon Dormont Pool was named the region's Best Public Pool in a City Paper poll. Along with Ligonier Beach, the Dormont pool remains as one of the state's oldest and largest. The day's highlight had to be the hand-lettered cardboard sign held by a young boy that read: "Save Dormont Pool Or Else There Would Be An Angry Mop!!!"

Won't you consider helping us save this glorious Pittsburgh attraction and community treasure? Donations are accepted at the National City Branch in Banksville Plaza.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Double Happiness, One Week Later

One week ago to the hour, thousands of western Pennsylvanians witnessed and captured this sublime glowing occurence in the early evening sky. Magic Hour, Friday, March 31, 2006, dinner time. Neighbors I have never met, whose dogs keep me awake late into night and jolt me from rest early into day, rushed out into the streets of Golden Mountain, tiny digital cameras in hand. Even the P-G printed a shot of this promise in the sky. I snapped views in all directions. The blissful light and temperate air made me giddy, seeping into the just-switched-on steetlights, still puddles in our alley, slamming screendoors and ridges of cobblestone.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

3 Lives to Consider

I am a documentary film fiend, so I thought I would take a moment to recommend three that chronicle the lives of some very compelling 20th-century figures. For a heavy dose of beauty-meets-gut-wrenching-downer-ville, run to Dreaming Ant immediately to pick up "William Eggleston in the Real World," tracking the perplexing life and stunning imagery of my favorite photographer, and color photography pioneer, and "Be Here to Love Me," a fragmented story of the gifted, neglected and tortured songsmith Townes Van Zandt. Equally haunting films with interesting connections between the souls and ways and circumstances of the two artists, and worth noting that Palm Pictures picked them both up. For a more uplifting and comprehensive view of a second, too often overlooked musical giant, check out "The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack." Though I saw this hybrid of historical and autobiographical filmmaking, made by a friend years ago, when it was first released, I recently returned to the flick for a second, satisfying viewing to revisit the wild and wonderful life of Ramblin' Jack Elliot, the missing link between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.

Beats a Hollywood reconstruction of the life of Johnny Cash anyday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Neon Wedding

Little neon wedding chapels awake and asleep. I first photographed
Mon Bel Ami Wedding Chapel on the Vegas Strip during Thanksgiving of 2005. I was stunned to stumbl upon it lying on its side 18 months later in the city's edgy Neon Graveyard.