Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Sever" artcl:2

Listening to "This Mortal Coil" at the moment while I write this
which sends me back to the early 90's living in Pittsburgh and going to college at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I was an Industrial Design Technology Major, which is fancy for getting a degree in learning to make kiosks for trade shows..go figure. I went for make-up FX.

So bare with me and this little diversion from my last entry at least for a moment as I explain two instances that led me to write Sever. Let me jump to the second first. The second moment that changed my life was in around 1991. A lot was a blur then, between working on films as a prop guy 24/7 and going to school I’ve been able to become a robot.

So a close friend mine at the time Steve and I used to "hedge" which is a term or slang for all I know about climbing the outsides of buildings, bridges etc. Something we just like to do with no nets, ropes or anything fancy like that.

It was pretty hairy to say the least, walking underneath railroad trestles during a full moon or abandoned buildings at night with only a flashlight. I have been scared in my life, but nothing has scared me like these two 5 story buildings located along one of the Alleghany River in Pittsburgh.

They were skeletons now, broken windows, debris everywhere, stairwells knocked down by DEA agents to keep the riff raff (me) out and off the top three floors. Not a chance, Steve and I had been all through out these buildings day and night. Both of us have had near misses in that place which I can go on about on another thread. But there were these two times I felt true fear and from what I can recount probably the only times in my life I was ever that scared.

1. We had ventured into the basement of building two. We each had small pen like flashlights. The safety of the structure didn’t bother us as much as the homeless who hid amongst the shadows here.

So we get down to the bottom of the stairs and there is a room with no windows. I'm the first who walks in, then Steve...I think he was with me, I might have gone in by myself, can't remember exactly. It was dark, darker than anything I've ever seen. The place smelled musty, I could hear water trickling down the walls. It was a stale musty silence, and I could literally hear my heart beating, loudly. I scanned the narrow beam around the room only illuminating a small portion of space at a time. Nothing. But man I could feel as if someone was standing just out of reach-

2. On a different day, late afternoon. The sun was setting across the river. Orange light poured in and throughout the building. Steve and I climbed up in through building ONE, went across a rotted wooden bridge into the other. From the 2nd floor of building TWO we wanted to see how long it would take to get to the roof. We split up and each of us had been here now 5+ times so we knew the buildings pretty well. We made it to the top no worries. The sun is lower now and we begin to hear a pounding of muffled metal to metal or maybe to wood. It echoes through the structures remains.

Steve and I race down two floors and pin point the sound...it came from building one, on the floor above where we could get out. As I come to the window adjacent I see a man or actually an arm holding a shiny new hatchet catching the glint off the barrel fire. It scared the hell out of me. Steve was my witness, I assumed he was just chopping wood for the fire. But we didn’t wait around.

We freaked and ran down to the first floor of the building and as we approached a window to get out. Another group of taggers were trying to get in. The saw us running at them from the outside and bolted like a shot out of hell. I guess thinking that we were crazy vagrants coming to eat them. It was the funniest God damn thing I ever saw. They were scared shitless and by the time we got out of the building they were at the other block and still going.

Never the less, followed...

…..next artcl. We discover someone famous is living in the warehouse.

About the images:

These buildings are the ones I mentioned and they look the same in the first pic as they did in 1991-1993. Located in the strip district (on the south shore of the Allegheny River), are now high-end lofts (not photographed). Notice the tree growing on the roof of one of the structures. Thanks to Jeffery Eck for the updated information about the lofts (11/12/06). Photo taken 10/8/01.

Oh man here is what they look like now, found this link and image…