The Spinners and Fifth Dimension at the Palace; The Other Arts Festival on Walnut Continues Today (Sun., 5/22/22)

1) The Spinners, a male vocal and dance group who originated in the suburbs of Detroit, enjoyed considerable success in the ’70s with top 10 hits including “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” “The Rubber Band Man,” (If they were from Pittsburgh it would be “The Gum Band Man”) and “I’ll Be Around.” In ’74, they teamed up with Dionne Warwick to produce the number one smash hit “Then Came You.” During the 1960s The Spinners were with Motown before switching to the Atlantic label in the ’70s. The Spinners still tour regularly and have one original Spinner remaining—Henry Fambrough, who has been in the band since its formation in 1954. That’s a lot of R&B. The group’s latest LP release release is 2021’s, Round the Block and Back Again. Sharing the spotlight for the concert is the pop vocal group The Fifth Dimension. They sure were performing at a few more dimensions between 1967 and 1973 when they charted 20 Top 40 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100. These included “Up, Up and Away,”  “Stoned Soul Picnic,”  “Wedding Bell Blues,” and the mega hit “Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” from the Broadway show Hair. Florence LaRue is the one remaining original member. The songs are so great and it’s fantastic to hear them live. 3 p.m. Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg.  (M.V., R.H.)

August is a great month for strolling the tree lined streets of Shadyside and enjoying the fine arts and crafts during the Art Festival on Walnut. (Photo: Rick Handler)

May is a great month for strolling the tree-lined streets of Shadyside and enjoying the fine arts and crafts during the Art Festival on Walnut Street. (Photo: Rick Handler)

2)  “Hip”—as in “Get hip,” rather than “Get a hip replacement”—is one of the oldest American slang terms still in wide use, and Shadyside’s Walnut Street is perhaps the longest-running hip district in Pittsburgh. Incredibly, it gets even hipper during the Art Festival on Walnut Street. The Festival is popular, in part, because there’s so much art. The Walnut biz district is closed to motor vehicles and packed with booths where artists and craft people display paintings, prints, ceramics, handmade jewelry, and so forth ad infinitum. In addition: Some Walnut Street merchants bring out selected goods for sidewalk sales. Exotic food vendors descend. Established restaurants, coffee shops, and night spots operate in peak mode. And, music being the food of love and other good things, musicians play on. Official hours for the art and craft booths are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. May 21 and 22, but you can bet that on Saturday the 21st, merrymaking will continue into the night. Walnut St. between S. Aiken and Ivy Streets with further activities adjacent, Shadyside. There is also another Arts Festival on Walnut in August. (M.V.)

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Mike Vargo

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