What a feeling! Leg warmers & warm memories
Leg warmers on dinosaurs is the latest fashion fad to hit Pittsburgh.
The mirror-scaled stegosaurus and ketchup-red triceratops who make their home outside the Wintergarden at PPG Place, as well as the tyrannosaurus who lurks outside The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, are sporting these retro-chic accessories.
And if Emily Balawejder has her way, the trio of fashionistas is just the leading edge of a trend that will spread across the region and then the nation.
Balawejder is the art director for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and an avid knitter.
Last August, she suggested outfitting local statues and other stationary objects with leg warmers as a way to promote “Flashdance — The Musical,” which is having its world premiere Tuesday through
Jan. 6 at Heinz Hall, Downtown, as a presentation of the PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh series.
The musical is set in the 1980s, an era when leg warmers were a must-have fashion accessory.
“I thought it was the perfect way to get the (theater and knitting) communities together, and it worked,” Balawejder says.
It also caught the attention of the promoters for the national tour, who are encouraging other cities where the show will travel to follow Balawejder's lead.
To help her make the project a reality, Balawejder approached local knitting-supply stores to recruit knitters, including Natural Stitches, a store in East Liberty that offers knitting, crochet and spinning supplies and classes.
When Balawejder outlined her plan, store manager Yvonne Spencer replied with an enthusiastic yes.
“I'm a child of the '80s,” says Spencer, who graduated from Conneaut High School in Ohio in 1985. “I said, ‘Let's put leg warmers on everything.' I want to leg-warmer the city.”
Spencer persuaded Cascade Yarns of Tukwila, Wash., to donate yarn for the project.
The store recruited volunteer knitters and crocheters to create the custom leg warmers from measurements supplied by Balawejder.
Every two rows of knitting or crocheting earned volunteers a ticket for a drawing of prizes such as tickets to the opening night of “Flashdance — The Musical” or gift cards.
At times, as many as six people could be found working on the project at the store at any given time.
“It was a lot of fun getting people involved,” says Spencer, who estimates about 40 people took part.
When the leg warmers — basically large, colorful rectangles — were completed, Spencer and Annie Valdes, a customer, wrapped the dinosaurs' legs and stitched together the back seams.
They also decorated lampposts outside Heinz Hall with the brightly colored cylinders.
Not everyone was enthusiastic about the project, says Balawejder.
Her offers to outfit statues of sports figures, politicians and others were declined, she says.
Balawejder hasn't given up hope that others with suitable statues might want to join the fun.
Anyone interested in creating leg warmers for personal use or to garb a statue of their own can find directions at www.trustart.org/knit.
The leg warmers will continue on display at least until “Flashdance — the Musical” leaves town on Jan. 6.
“But if it stays cold and funny, they will stay up longer,” Balawejder says.
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Pennsylvania’s ‘Grand Canyon’ offers something for everyone
- Court attire can have impact, Allegheny, Westmoreland public defenders say
- Pope’s South American homecoming to spotlight poor, environment
- Pirates trust eye test when voting for all-stars
- Police again looking for missing 75-year-old man
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Tunisia imposes state of emergency after terrorist attacks
- Biertempfel: Loss of All-Star paper ballots a blow to nostalgia
- Conneaut Lake park turnaround to be arduous task
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 5, 2015