Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 5, 2012 · Page 59
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 59

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Thursday, April 5, 2012
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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE  Thursda , 5, 2012  WWW.POST-GAZETTE.COM w-20 which he got more involved in when it became Paul’s and he became the buyer, a position that helps shape the store’s personality. “It was good to be able to have that kind of direct input,” he says. “It came with some pressure, because you can make a mistake and watch your mistake sit on the rack for years. But it’s something I feel like I’m pretty good at.” Rob Conroy, who’s only half joking when he says he’s spent 30 percent of his income there, agrees. “I honestly believe that Paul’s is the greatest record store that I’ve ever visited,” the lawyer from Avalon says. “I know that if I walked into the store blindfolded and randomly purchased a pile of CDs sight unseen, every single thing that I purchased would at least be worth a listen … I would at least understand why Paul’s decided to stock it and be able to see some kind of underlying artistic merit in it.” Along with family and keeping in- die-music geeks happy, Mr. Hendricks was on an academic track as well. In 1998, the same year he released “Declare Your Weapons” on Merge, he went back to Pitt, with thoughts of becoming a journalist. “Then I started taking some courses with Chuck Kinder and Lee Gutkind,” he says, specializing in fiction and creative nonfiction. “They were like, ‘You should get an M.F.A.’ I admired those guys, and I said, ‘Sure.’ They recruited me, they admired my writing, that’s why I went down that path.” He got the M.F.A. in English in 2006 and started teaching composition classes and intro to fiction, and became a full-time visiting lecturer. He could see, though, that a professorship was not in the cards. Going into this academic year, he was offered only one class. “I couldn’t move forward with my life teaching one class,” he says. “I had to figure out one thing to do, instead of scraping together a bunch of things, which I had been doing.” Sound Ca CS Last September, the mild-mannered Mr. Olszewski told the PG that his 19th year of Paul’s would be the last. “August was the worst month ever in the history of the store,” he said. It made perfect sense to start selling off the inventory and give the space over to another coffee shop or knickknack store. That’s when Mr. Hendricks stepped in. What would compel him to take such a risk? “The honest answer I feel sounds really negative, but I’ll start with the honest answer,” he says. “I feel like I don’t have any other options. I tried to get a teaching career started and still would be pursuing that, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere close to having a full-time secure job teaching college. So, with my job at Pitt kind of falling through and Paul closing the store, I figured I had to find other resources. What I could have done was go on unemployment and figure out a new direction, but I figured at this point, where I am in my life, I’m sort of scared to figure out a new direction. I figured it was better to have any plan than no plan. I figured I could make this work.” There were a couple, mostly anecdotal factors, that led him to that conclusion. “I think the one thing that’s changed is that in the past maybe three years, I started seeing a lot more young people in the store — meaning people under 25,” he says. “There definitely is a different vibe in the store than there was, say, five or eight years ago. I think the world’s changing a bit. I think certain young people are deciding that there is a life outside of screens and I think they want places to go. This is all based on anecdotal evidence, but I think the resurgence of young people leaving their apartments and going out will sustain small businesses — and I’m happy to make a place where people want to go.” Along with that, the older customers, many of whom still crave the physical product, never went away. In fact, in recent years, there’s been a comeback of vinyl, which some find to be a much richer musical experience than a bunch of computer dots and dashes. It’s still a minute portion of music sales, but last year vinyl sales rose 36 percent to 3.9 million, their highest level since SoundScan opened in 1991. Also, last year, the bleeding stopped for CD sales (partly thanks to Adele’s whopping sales of 5.8 million). After dropping 19.5 percent in 2010, sales of CDs fell only 5.7 percent in 2011, to 223.5 million. With that little shred of hope, Mr. Hendricks will hang the sign for Sound Cat, a store name he brainstormed with his family. For the time being, he’s having to let two beloved Paul’s employees go — Bob Jungkunz and Jason Baldinger — and he will man the store with help from his daughters Maeve, almost 17, and Nell, almost 13. He’s purchased most of Paul’s leftover inventory. “Karl starting Sound Cat in the space seems like the most natural thing in the world,” Mr. Lerner says. “I just bought the Jim Capaldi box set from him, so I know he’s off to a great start.” At some point this summer, Sound Cat will even be stocking a new Karl Hendricks Trio record, the first since 2007, called “The Adult Section,” on the label Comedy Minus One (which also features the bands Oxford Collapse and Obits). In many ways, this is all a uniquely Pittsburgh story. “From what I can tell, absolutely,” Mr. Hendricks says. “Thinking about the kind of stores we have — Jerry’s, Mind Cure, Attic, Eide’s — a lot of places would feel lucky to have any one of those. It flabbergasts me that Pittsburgh can support this, but it’s the kind of a tradition we have here. Jim and Paul helped established a tradition of going to a record store. People even visit Pittsburgh to go to record stores — Jerry’s for sure, and we get some spillover. Other cities, if you tried to explain that, they’d be like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ ” Even though he’s several hundred miles away and many years removed, Mr. Spitznagel is happy to see the legacy of what he started continue. “I put everything I had in that store just the way Paul did and Karl will. It’s hard to have a small business like that, but the music kept me going. When I would get down, there would be great new music coming in, and it would restore you. I still love hanging out in record stores now.” Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette. com; 412-263-2576; Twitter: @scott- mervis_pg; blog: www.post-gazette. com/popnoise. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette CDs and vinyl albums at Karl Hendricks’ Sound Cat Records in Bloomfield. , FROM PAGE -12 Reviews are out of four stars. ‘Kid carus: prising’ HHH 1 ⁄ 2 “Kid Icarus” has been one of the most celebrated franchises in Ninten- do history, yet before “Uprising” (3DS; Nintendo; E, for Everyone) arrived on the 3DS, gamers hadn’t seen this hero in more than two decades. Thankfully, the return of “Kid Icarus” is a modern take on a beloved classic that pays tribute while pushing the protagonist into new and exciting places. Our hero, Pit, must fend off the forces of Medusa, who is out to destroy civilization as we know it (well, at least as we know of it in faux-Greek mythological times). The game play is filled with more surprises than I expected; I thought it would focus on getting everyone reacquainted with Pit — not staking new ground. The plot and dialogue are packed with humor and accompanied by constant bursts of color and effects. A difficult control system will trip up many gamers, but once you clear that learning curve the play is wonderfully varied. On-rails flight set pieces and then on-foot combat and boss battles mean wide-ranging experiences are packed into this tiny cartridge. There’s also an incredible depth to the weapons system — like the depth of a classic role-playing game instead of something you typically get from an action game. If you need more arm-twisting, some half-decent online game modes allow you and up to six others to use customized weapons to duel in an assortment of match types. Some may loathe the demanding controls, but those who persevere are rewarded with a fantastic 3DS game that ushers a classic hero back into the spotlight. ‘Tiger Woods Tour 13’ HH It’s Masters week for golf fans, which means there is no better time to welcome blooming azaleas onto our TVs with the latest incarnation of EA’s “Tiger Woods” golf franchise (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3; EA Sports; E, for Everyone). But this game needs more time and care in order to blossom. Kinect support has been the big advertising draw for this year’s edition, but, as is often the case with Kinect games, it’s hit or miss — and when you’re talking about golf, the misses look really bad. Yes, you will occasionally stripe a ball crisply down the fairway and think you’re ready to take on the pros. Then you’ll calmly approach the ball for your second shot and duff it 20 yards for no real reason at all. Or worse, the Kinect sensor will not register your swing and you’ll swing four or five times to just make the game recognize the motion. Sticking with the controller is the smoothest way to hit the links this year. Equally disappointing is the lack of any groundbreaking new modes of play. Sorry, but playing as Tiger in various stages of his life from young child to full-on pro just isn’t interesting, and the online Country Club is a nice idea but doesn’t feel fully realized. There are 16 courses to play that all look amazing (Augusta National is back, as well), but you can’t avoid the innumerable prompts and advertisements to pay for more upgrades, courses and other downloadable content EA is offering. With Tiger beginning to resurrect his career, I’d hoped for a new dawn in his gaming franchise, too, but this year’s edition stopped short of hitting the hole. — Chris Campbell, Scripps Howard News Service gamedaze ANTIQUES WANTED Buying old furniture, glassware, china, all pottery, Roseville, Hull, McCoy and all art glass, all collections. High prices paid for gold jewelry, silver jewelry and all old costume jewelry. Call Mr. Fox (724) 352-4500 BEER COLLECTIBLES SHOW! PENN BREWERY 800 Vinial St., Pgh. 15212 Sun.,April 22nd., 9am-2pm Buy-Sell-Trade. Adm: $3 WEXFORD GENERAL s STORE ANTIQUES s We’ve been voted #1 Let’s Celebrate!! Fri. Evening, April 20 6PM--9PM ss Wine & Cheese ss sss SUPER SALES sss 724-935-9959 www.wexfordantiques.co m TO PLACE AN AD: 412-263-1185 or email dsacco@post-gazette.com To call the Post-Gazette Classified Advertising department at 412-263-1N W SELL IT with a Classified Ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Call 412-263-1NOW for more details.

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