Sara Bir is nosy. She peeks into backyards, deep corners of the forest, and Walmart parking lots.
She’s a forager with an eye for forgotten fruit, abundant harvests, and nature’s strangest offerings.
Bir is the author of The Fruit Forager’s Companion, a book filled with recipes, tips, and tricks for the everyday forager. On Sept. 1, she will team up with White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield and a fellow fruit-lover Andrew Moore for a book signing and discussion.
The ChallengeThe following is a paraphrased account of what our Creative Director and Managing Editor, Lisa Cunningham, said to me one sleepy afternoon last week: “We are doing a college nihilism theme. I am looking to really embody the essence of a college student here. I was thinking ... a cover ... like a teen fashion magazine! All bright and peppy but WAY more depressing. We need someone innocent and youthful and then we need to corrupt that. The model needs to look like they are trying their best but is also in a constant state of complete emotional destruction. Also let’s make it cute.”
“Young, Wild & Free” by Wiz Khalifa
Along with Snoop Dogg and Bruno Mars, Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa released this freshman-year anthem back in 2011, and it has yet to lose its luster. You’re young, wild, and free!
“Loves No Stranger” by Nardo Says
Put J. Cole and Parliament in a blender, sprinkle in jazz elements and what emerges is local hip-hop artist Nardo Says.
“Smooth” by Sierra Sellers
Sierra Sellers embodies a smooth, sultry sound that will have you dancing around your room exotically (or is that just me?).
“Crystal Ball Part 1” by Fortune Teller
This one’s for you, garage-y stoner rock fans. The six-minute doozy ranges from raw rock to percussion-heavy beats and back again.
“Flight Chief” by Slugss
Twisted psychedelic rock with a zoned-out spacey sound in “Flight Chief” is heard throughout APPEAL. I bet if the album was available on vinyl, it would be out of this world.
“Marijuana” by Chrome Sparks
Although Chrome Sparks no longer resides in Pittsburgh, he was born and raised here. The electronic artist started making music in college, and in 2012 “Marijuana” went viral online.
“Room to Roam” by Northern Comfort
Northern Comfort has all the elements of a typical country band. Singing about drinking, love, and driving on an open road, you can get your country fix, locally.
“Rivers Deep” by Gabby Barrett
The 18-year-old finished third in the 16th season of American Idol, singing a mix between country and pop.
“Hold On” by Brooke Annibale
This song is the first on Brooke Annibale’s fourth album, Hold to the Light. With an airy and dream-like sound, “Hold On” sets the tone for Annibale’s indie-pop self-release.
“Wop De Wop” by Beauty Slap
This electro-brass-thunder-funk group can often be found playing around Pittsburgh. Beauty Slap is phenomenal live and listening to them at home doesn’t fully encompass their groovy-ness.
Tie up your pigtails, pull out your leather jumpsuits, unearth your back tattoos — Amy Schumer’s coming to town.
The Amy Schumer and Friends tour — featuring Rachel Feinstein, Bridget Everett, and Mia Jackson — comes to Heinz Hall on Sept. 21.
Schumer is a theatrical jack-of-all-trades. She does not limit her talent to standup; Schumer is also a writer, director, producer and actress. On her popular show Inside Amy Schumer, which won an Emmy in 2015, Schumer acted, directed, wrote, and produced. (City Paper interviewed one of the show's writers, Kyle Dunnigan, in 2016.)
In 2017, Schumer received a Grammy nomination for her narration of her autobiography, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo. Schumer is unapologetic and bold, and has emerged leading activist. She has been vocal in the #TIMESUP movement and is an outspoken feminist. Schumer packs her tweets with calls to action and support for social justice movements.
In order to honor Schumer’s return to Pittsburgh, we’ve compiled some of our favorite moments. Tickets for her tour are on sale now — don’t miss this comedy queen.
When she acknowledged the universal struggle of a double chin.
This 2015 Saturday Night Live monologue when she revealed her true feelings about the Kardashians.
Every time she confronts her critics.
When she identifies the struggles of adult bridesmaids.
(Singing) who's that girl?!!! pic.twitter.com/kFuQI3ZQCL— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) November 19, 2015
And finally, our favorite moment:
Hobo Johnson loves scones. He doesn’t bake them, he doesn’t eat them. He raps about them.
Johnson is the persona of Frank Lopes, a 22-year-old rapper from Sacramento. The young artist released “Peach Scone” with his band, the Lovemakers, in the fall of 2017. The video went viral. Lopes navigates a "friend-zone" with his stream-of-consciousness rap style and off-the-cuff beats.
Lopes’ lyrics for “Peach Scone” tell the tale of a modern-day unrequited love.
“We should go and get a friggin' cup of coffee,” Johnson raps. “And I’ll act friendly and I won’t pull any stunts. But I’m little stunt puller from birth, so I don’t know what to tell you if I try to confess my love for ... scones.”
The video for “Peach Scone” opens on a backyard, Johnson standing center, grasping the mic, and smoking a cigarette with a manic look in his eyes. As he performs, Johnson characterizes the anxiety and pressure of young relationships. He riffs the on phrase, “I love the thought of being with you, or maybe it’s the thought of not being so alone.”
The emotion heightens as the Lovemakers join him to shout, “not being so alone!”
Johnson the performer, Lopes is the brain. He plays with speed and pauses, turning his melody into a story. His beats switch as he emotes. In "Romeo & Juliet,” a song about his parents' divorce, he breaks from a hip-hop rhythm to a piano solo in the first 30 seconds.
Lopes’ lyrics are a testament to humble beginnings. At 19, Lopes was kicked out of his home, finding refuge in a 1994 Toyota Corolla. He worked in a pizza shop, performed on the street, and produced music in laundromats and libraries. He created Hobo Johnson as a tribute to his past.
Lopes' profile is gaining momentum; he titled his 2017 album The Rise of Hobo Johnson. The sound of every song is different, but Johnson hooks listeners with his spoken-word artistry and passionate vocal delivery.
The rapper is bringing his love for peach scones to Pittsburgh on Mon., Nov. 5. Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers will perform at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale as a stop on The Bring Your Mom Tour 2018. Tickets go on sale Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.
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