Entertainment

Party at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

PIT Trading card one

There’s a party going on at Pittsburgh International Airport this week, as part of a renewed commitment to celebrate the region’s local institutions, food, music and culture in the airport.

So far this week there’s been live music, visits by sports mascots, a display of (replica) Egyptian relics from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a class in hieroglyphics. The Carnegie Science Center distributed liquid nitrogen ice cream, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum brought by some history displays and the Phipps Conservatory let passengers pot their own air plants.

The party continues today – Sept 15 – with a live African penguin from the National Aviary, button-making hosted by The Andy Warhol Museum, a steel drum band and free popcorn.

Andy Warhol Wallpaper at PIT

Friday, Sept. 16, the entertainment includes live reptiles from the Pittsburgh Zoo and a musical theater performance.

Sounds like fun!

Airport residencies: next big thing?

Brisbane orchestra

Courtesy Brisbane Airport

Airport residencies by cultural arts groups seems to be the next big thing.

Australia’s Brisbane Airport (BNE) just announced that a team from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) will be the newest Artist-in-Residence and will present six ‘pop-up’ performances in the international and domestic terminals, with three of these performances taking place before the end of the year.

Brisbane Airport started their Artist-in-Residence program last year and first up was Robert Brownhall, who created a series of works featuring different views of the airport.

Here in the United States, airport artist-in-residence programs are happening too. This year, the Fern Street Circus is in residence at San Diego International Airport, so keep an eye out for an unusual number of Bozos.

SAN CIRCUS snip

Courtesy SAN Airport

Bozos invade San Diego Int’l Airport

SAN CIRCUS snip

My At the Airport column for USA TODAY this month is all about the bozos -and the jugglers, plate spinners, musicians and other circus characters – that have moved into San Diego International as part of the airport’s new performing arts residency program.

“It’s not our usual venue,” said Fern Street Circus co-director John Highkin, co-director of San Diego’s Fern Street Circus – but when the call went out seeking applicants for the residency “we were intrigued with the idea of the airport as a community space and a place where circuses don’t usually happen.”

With monthly performances and weekly in-airport rehearsals and regular, unannounced interactions with passengers before and after security, the circus performers are proving that airports are a great place for circuses to happen.

But like a wire-walking act, choosing the right type of passenger interaction for an airport circus performer can be a delicate balance.

“We recognize that people come to airports with various frames of mind,” said Highkin. People travel for various reasons — some of them sad— and there’s the hectic phase of checking bags and getting through the checkpoints and, once past security, “the opportunity to be still.”

Pre-security, said Highkin, “we’ve figured out the most appropriate thing is for us to be playful and surprise passengers, but then let them move on.”

There are also plenty of rules and procedural issues a circus in residence at an airport has to go through and keep in mind.

Circus troupe members have to be fingerprinted, photographed (without clown make-up … ) and go through background checks and security training in order to be badged to enter secure areas of the airport and circus props must be thoroughly scrutinized by the TSA.

And no matter how impressive it looks, at the airport jugglers aren’t permitted to use fire, swords, cleavers or other sharp objects pre- or post-security.

During its residency, the Fern Street Circus is not only interacting with passengers at SAN Airport unannounced, it is holding weekly workshops and in-airport rehearsals.

Monthly performances of the circus’s new airport-centric work are scheduled for August 19, September 15 and – the grand finale – October 15.

Check the SAN Airport website for times and locations.

And don’t be surprised if you encounter more bozos than usual at San Diego International Airport.

CLE Airport & Superman welcome RNC attendees

superman

Superman was created in Cleveland! This exhibit in CLE baggage claim tells the story.

Cleveland is hosting the Republican National Convention this week and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) – and Superman – welcomed many of the 50,000 or so attendees with art, entertainment and helpful information.

And now that everyone has arrived, the airport is getting ready for everyone to depart. This advice is posted on the CLE website:

  • The heaviest departure days for convention participants and media will be July 21st, 22nd and 23rd.  If you are also travelling at these times PLEASE leave early for your flight!
  • In anticipation of a very busy departure day following the convention on Friday July 22nd, we would highly recommend the following 5-4-3-2-1 action plan:
    • 5 Hours Check out of hotel; travel to the airport
    • 4 Hours Return rental car
    • 3 Hours Check-in at airline ticket counter
    • 2 Hours Be at the TSA Security Checkpoint
    • 1 Hour Arrive at the airline boarding gate

Circus arrives at San Diego Int’l Airport

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

It’s going to be a circus at San Diego International Airport.

Clowns, stilt walkers, jugglers and other characters from the San Diego-based Fern Street Circus will be performing at the airport today and then, as part of SAN’s new Performance Arts Residency, they’ll be sticking around for eight months to create, rehearse and perform monthly.

Full-on summer performances are scheduled for June 7 in the T2 West End Gallery, July 21 in T2 baggage claim and Aug. 19 in T1 post-security, but airport officials expect the troupe to be out and about in the terminals quite often.

“They are creating content inspired by the traveler experience, so they will constantly be visible, trying out new ideas and interacting with passengers,” said airport spokesman Johnathan Heller.

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

SAN DIEGO, APRIL, 29, 2016: Members of the Fern Street Circus perform at the San Diego International Airport. Photo: Gary Payne

 

(Photos: Gary Payne)