CMU Grad Creates Power Hour, the Album

If Ali Spagnola's hour-long Power Hour tunes don't get you moving, the booze certainly will.

You learn a lot when you get to college. One of the first terms I picked up was “pre-game.” No, not the four hours of radio before kickoff.

The fine, subtle art of “pre-gaming” is the practice of drinking while getting ready for a party, so as to already have a nice warm buzz going on arrival. (This is, of course, much more practical in a college town, where you rarely have to drive.) The ritual takes different forms for different people, from merely sipping a beer to elaborate drinking games that would send more moderate quaffers running for the hills.

One such game is the popular but treacherous Power Hour—get a watch/clock/timer/friend willing to count seconds and take a sip every minute for one hour. (The traditional wisdom is to take a shot-glass full of beer, but a sip will do just fine.) Certainly not for the timid, and to be approached cautiously, but a nice way to get where you’re going.

Enter Ali Spagnola. The local musician and CMU grad was more than keeping busy, but facing the problem that a lot of young artists face: getting anyone to show up at concerts. As she put it, “I had struggled with promotion for concerts, so I wanted to make a party.” In 2007, she began putting together one-minute pop songs that generally revolved around drinking; once she had come up with sixty, the party was born.

Turning a live show into a drinking game—the live Power Hour—was a stroke of genius, and an instant hit at CMU. The five dozen ditties are catchy, varied bits of pop fun, and with each clocking in at exactly one minute, Spagnola doesn’t even have to bother remind the crowd to drink. Every time a new song starts, it’s time for a sip.

With many other endeavours, though, it took a while for the songs to evolve beyond fodder for legendary parties. Spagnola is, by day, an artist and sound designer with local game company Evil Genius Designs; she’s also produced several other albums and is an active visual artist. Finally, after four years, and an extended lawsuit with some dude who claims to have invented the term Power Hour (note: he didn’t), the Power Hour Album was born.

Available at powerhouralbum.com, even the format is ingenious. You can by a shot glass with a USB drive in the base, which contains the album. The shot glass, obviously, is for drinking (although you should probably keep the USB dry.)

To celebrate the long journey from concept to product, a CD release party is scheduled for this Friday at South Side’s Diesel Club Lounge.

“The crowd will drink along and play with me. It should be a good time. A lot of the songs are interactive, so you’ll be jumping up and doing dances.”

As the first live Power Hour in over two years, Friday’s event promises to be another unforgettable party, no pre-gaming required. You can pick up the shot glass/album combo or a regular CD of the Hour, and party coaches will be provided to keep you motivated throughout your long path to inebriation.

And, of course, Spagnola (and After Dark) would like to remind everyone to be responsible. Stick to your limits and, obviously, get a designated driver. Even as a confirmed ‘Burgh party queen, Spagnola agrees.

“I had to start a company for this, so I called it Binge Responsibly, LLC. On my CD, I say, ‘Be responsible. Having fun is cool, but killing yourself is not.’ The game is not about finishing all sixty shots. Everybody wins.”

(1601 E Carson St, South Side. Friday; Doors at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m. $5. Info: http://www.fadedindustry.com/2011/11/30/power-hour-concert-at-diesel/ )

The 412

Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

The former Steelers cornerback joins the 120 Sports team to keep you up to speed on all things sporting.
Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Celebrate Our 'Up-and-Coming Nightlife City' Status With Pittsburgh Cocktail Week

Raise a glass to another 'Burgh superlative at these awesome cocktail parties.
Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Pittsburgh is One of the Most Cycling-Friendly U.S. Cities

Bicycling mag ranks the Steel City at No. 21 on its list of 50 metropolises.
Thrival Festival Rocked Bakery Square 2.0

Thrival Festival Rocked Bakery Square 2.0

Relive the two-day event that was part innovation and part musical brilliance.

Hot Reads

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

Ed Piskor is Pittsburgh's Hip-Hop Historian

While he can walk largely unrecognized in his hometown, comic-book artist Ed Piskor of Munhall continues to win critical acclaim and international fame with “Hip Hop Family Tree,” a series of graphic novels telling the story of hip-hop music.
Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

Bryant McFadden Wants to Talk to You

The former Steelers cornerback joins the 120 Sports team to keep you up to speed on all things sporting.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

The 8 Best (Not) Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Food trucks. Pizza boats. Bagel Clubs. The best on-the-run food in town.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

PittGirl Declares She's Breaking up with the NFL

Given recent developments, our resident fan of Pittsburgh — and football — says enough is enough.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments


The Last Plate of Summer: Summer Squash and Chickpea Pie

The Last Plate of Summer: Summer Squash and Chickpea Pie

Roll like a domestic goddess with a slice of comfort-food queen Nigella Lawson’s savory pie.

Comments


The Endorsement: Working at the Bar

The Endorsement: Working at the Bar

Ditch the coffee shop Wi-Fi routine and get a few things done with a drink in hand and a snack nearby.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Find Your Flair

Find Your Flair

Hit the fall chill head on with style.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
This Just In: Crested Duck Available Across the Country

This Just In: Crested Duck Available Across the Country

For a limited time, genius chef Kevin Costa will share his cured meats with the rest of the nation.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

Time to See Ballet Under the Stars

This weekend, the PBT presents its annual production at Hartwood Acres under the night sky.

Comments