More Ideas from The Big Idea

The Big Idea – Pittsburgh's all-volunteer, collectively run radical bookstore – is nearing its eighth year of existence and its sixth year at our current location. The quaint, hole-in-the-wall storefront, however, has often had trouble catching eyes. People who have passed the store every day for years occasionally come in and claim they'd never seen the place before. Luckily, we recently persuaded a local vinyl sign maker to donate to us a flashy new sign that reaches across the windows from one end of the store to the other. This move will surely afford us some more notice.

But, more troubling yet, are the times we live in. With the digital divide afoot, book-buying traffic has decreased, along with the money people are willing to spend on literature. Financially, The Big Idea has been coasting through 2009 on a wing and a prayer – or, if not prayer, then whatever it is that anarchists have. In need of that cold, hard cash that keeps anti-capitalists like us in a persistent bind (you never want it but always need it), we did something that is popular among broke activists: benefit party! On Friday, Dec. 4, The Big Idea threw a variety show fundraiser event under the banner of a "2010 Slingshot Organizer release party," encouraging patrons to buy an organizer and maybe a new book, while providing them the pleasure of a quirky variety show in exchange. And with the exception of a few small incidents (the worst of which was a spilled bowl of chips), the event was a success. We are still constantly in need of money to keep the lights on, but now we can finally pay AK Press back for all those books they lent us on good faith. Thanks, AK!

If you're in Pittsburgh, remember to stop in and visit The Big Idea. We'll be the ones with the classy vinyl sign.

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