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R2D2 Engagement Ring Created in Pittsburgh

on Mon, 12/10/2012 - 22:42

Within the realm of Geek Culture, there are very few elements as significant or influential as Star Wars. The original trilogy not only enthralled sci-fi fans of the era but continues to entertain the many generations that have come of age since the premier of A New Hope in 1977. Although the later “prequels” may not live up to the standards of the first three films, their success at the Box Office demonstrated that the franchise is still a strong and viable entity, a fact that was reaffirmed when Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars from creator George Lucas in October 2012. For an untold number of self-proclaimed followers, meanwhile, Star Wars is both a religion and way of life, with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia and Han Solo being modern day icons, even if they did originate a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

New Jersey tattoo and graphic artist Joe Pagani is apparently among the “true believers” of the Star Wars Universe. When he decided to propose to his girlfriend and fellow co-worker Emily, for instance, Pagani designed a ring based on droid R2-D2. He then uploaded his blueprints onto, an online matchmaker for custom goods, hoping to find someone to build the actual item. Pittsburgh jewelry designer Paul Michael Bierker of Paul Michael Design answered the ad and in turn crafted the engagement ring as specified.

EW Declares Pittsburgh the Hollywood of the East

on Sat, 12/08/2012 - 20:19

Fox News said it in February. CNN, meanwhile, chimed in during the month of August. The end of 2012 now brings another believer into the fold, a media giant likewise ready to declare what many local residents have been saying for years—that Pittsburgh is the new Hollywood of the East. Entertainment Weekly is the latest advocate, with a short write-up that is part of its end-of-the-year coverage. “Although people have been making movies in the Steel City practically since the video camera was invented, the city’s film industry really took off when Pennsylvania introduced a tax credit program for filmmakers about ten years ago,” the magazine states. “Since then, Pittsburgh has seen a steady increase of film work—culminating this year, when five major studio movies shot in southwestern PA hit theaters, including The Dark Knight Rises and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

The bulk of the Entertainment Weekly article is penned by Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, and briefly discusses the “birth” of the Pittsburgh film industry in 1914, the feast and famine era of the 1990s, the statewide launch of the aforementioned film tax credit program in 2002 and how the city was able to nab The Dark Knight Rises and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. “The decision wasn’t related to the incentive program at all,” Keezer says of The Dark Knight Rises. “They chose Pittsburgh because of our history, because of our reputation, because of the fact that we have four crews that work in this industry on a full-time basis. Most cities our size are usually lucky to have one or two crews; we can now do four full features with all local hires.”