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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh artist Christina Lee
Pittsburgh artist Christina Lee
There's a cartoon on Christina Lee's Instagram page that caught my eye immediately when scrolling through her posts. It's a colorful illustration of a super cute girl positioned in a Buddha Squat, her hands held together in a prayer pose. And then, when you click on the cartoon to view it larger, the girl ... farts. A simple, animated "Poot!" It's brilliant.

Further down the page, the top half of a white, drooling cartoon dog with lopsided eyes stands in front of a bright pink and yellow background. Click on the image and scroll left, and the second half of the dog is revealed: a hot dog butt.

click to enlarge Christina Lee's Winter Guide cover illustration
Christina Lee's Winter Guide cover illustration
It's these types of whimsical illustrations and animations that sets the 26-year-old artist apart from the crowd. Lee excels at playful pieces of art that constantly leave the viewer doing a double-take. Originally from San Jose, Calif., Lee has studied illustration in London and graphic design in NYC, and now lives in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood where she works as a designer for American Eagle and a freelance illustrator. She's also a zinemaker, on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair, and on the team at PULLPROOF Studio, a membership-based workspace for screenprinting artists.

We all need cheered up during Pittsburgh's long, cold winter, and Lee was the perfect person to illustrate this year's Winter Guide. Much like how excited we were scrolling through her Instagram feed, I'm predicting our readers won't be able to look at her cover artwork without smiling. CP caught up with the artist over email after she finished this week's illustrations to talk about her move to Pittsburgh, and the work she's most excited about.

What brought you to Pittsburgh?
I came to Pittsburgh for school back in 2010, and I stayed after graduated in 2014.

You’ve studied in London and NYC. What’s Pittsburgh’s art scene like in comparison?
I can't make the most accurate comparison since I was in London and NYC very briefly as a student, and not as a working artist. However, at first glance, the Pittsburgh art scene is small, yet robust. The artists who are a part of it are welcoming and interested in giving back to the city.

Your artwork is always full of surprises. Do you purposely seek out work that borders on the bizarre?
Yes, I've always been interested in the abject. I've always sought out universal human expression, and shock/awe and humor are two emotions I enjoy evoking in people.

What’s the most fun project you’ve been paid to do?
The most fun project I've been paid to do is PublicSource's "Data on Race" article. I was hired by PublicSource to illustrate infographics that demonstrate racial statistics in Pittsburgh. I found the work profoundly impactful, and I learned a lot from the data I worked with.

click to enlarge CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee
CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee

Dream job?
I have several dream jobs. A few of them include Music Video Director, Independent Book Store Owner, and Animated Show Creator.

What inspires you?
I am discovering that I am obsessed with storytelling, specifically visual storytelling. I loved comic books while I was growing up, and I am rediscovering that side of me again. Currently, I am in the process of reading Sabrina, a graphic novel by Nick Drnaso about conspiracy theories involving the murder of a woman, and how the false narratives affect the victim's friends and family. I was particularly interested in it because it was the first graphic novel to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and its themes of fake news are particularly relevant in our current political climate.

Also, I'm reading
The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a teenager growing up in San Francisco in the '70s. I recently realized I have a strong interest in the coming-of-age story, especially from the female perspective, so I've been reading a lot of female autobiographies as well (in both novel and graphic novel format!) I'm also addicted to watching music videos, and I can't stop watching Vince Staple's video for "Fun" and Rosalia's video for "MALAMENTE".

You curated a feminist art exhibition last year at Future Tenant for the first time. How did curating a show for other artists compare to creating artwork for a solo show of your own?
It was really fun curating a show for other artists. I flexed my consolidation-building muscle, and also wrote a show statement that I was proud of for the first time in my entire life. It is much easier to write about other people's work than your own.

click to enlarge CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee
CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee

Do you think women artists have a loud enough voice in Pittsburgh?
No, I don't think women across the board have a loud enough voice in Pittsburgh. I think it's getting better, but across the board, the city is still a very male (and white)-dominated environment.

You’re also involved on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair. Are there any new zines in town we should keep an eye out for?
I am actually in the process of curating a Pittsburgh Zine Fair Pop-up at Small Mall, a store in Lawrenceville that focuses on artist-made goods. I curated this section and will include zines by Rachel Ann Brickner, Jason Lee, Aaron Regal, Ceci Ebitz, Madeleine Campbell, and Maggie Negrete. The subjects of their zines include exploring Asian-American identity, women in the music industry, gentrification in Pittsburgh, and the anxieties of being a young adult in this day and age.

You included so many fun things on this week’s Winter Guide cover. What’s your favorite winter activity?
My favorite winter activity is having an excuse to stay in because it's too cold. And drawing!

Where can people buy your artwork?
People can buy my artwork from my online store, Copacetic Comics, or Small Mall.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 2:05 PM

You think you're an aficionado for all things Buccos? Test your Pittsburgh baseball knowledge with this quiz. Then, brag about it on social media (as is tradition).

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 5:07 PM

click to enlarge Free hats, gloves, and scarves hang outside the Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station on Liberty Avenue. - CP PHOTOS: KEVIN SHEPHERD
CP photos: Kevin Shepherd
Free hats, gloves, and scarves hang outside the Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station on Liberty Avenue.
With the National Weather Service predicting record low temperatures this week in Pittsburgh, questions arise about what kinds of services are available to those experiencing homelessness. CP put together a list of places where vulnerable populations can escape the extreme cold.

In partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net, a medical and social service outreach program in Allegheny County, operates the Winter Shelter at the Smithfield United Church of Christ. The Downtown location is open every night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., including weekends and holidays, regardless of the temperature. The shelter’s services include beds, hot meals, access to showers and laundry facilities, and other resources.

“The individuals who come to the Winter Shelter for services are often those who are the most in need of services,” stated Brian Matous, homeless services supervisor at Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net, in a press release. “In fact, many of the individuals we serve at the Winter Shelter have multiple, complex needs.”

Last year, Operation Safety Net estimates that the Winter Shelter assisted 904 people, including 723 men and 181 women, between November 15, 2017 and March 31, 2018. (The current Winter Shelter runs through March 15, 2019.)

Light of Life on the North Side runs a warming station, as well as an emergency shelter that is open every day of the year.

Light of Life Assistant Director of Development, Kate Wadsworth, says the rescue mission’s warming station will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There, those in need will find hot chocolate and snacks, as well as winter items and hand/feet warmers. Light of Life also serves breakfast and dinner daily.

The Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station is now open daily through March from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Susan Zubik Welcome Center located Downtown. All are welcome, regardless of religious affiliation. (Please note that the warming station will close on Sundays if the temperature hits or exceeds 40 degrees.)

The Salvation Army/Worship & Service Center in Homestead (104 East Ninth Ave.) will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are currently experiencing homelessness, call the Allegheny Link crisis hotline (866-730-2368) for help.

United Way's 2-1-1 helpline is also available to link people to resources, such as cold weather shelters. Simply dial 2-1-1, text 898-211, or visit Resource navigators are available 24/7 to assist.

See below for other warming centers, including animal-friendly ones, in the area.

City of Pittsburgh warming centers:
Aspinwall, Leetsdale and Verona:
  • Greenfield Healthy Acting Living Center (745 Greenfield Ave., 412-422-6551)
  • Homewood Healthy Active Living Center (7321 Frankstown Ave., 412-244-4190)
  • Allegheny Center Healthy Active Living Center, Northside (Allegheny Square, 412-323-7239)
  • Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center (720 Sherwood Ave., 412-777-5012)
  • South Side Healthy Active Living Center (12th and Bingham Streets, 412-488-8404)

Allegheny County warming shelters:

  • Bethel Park Community Center (5151 Park Ave.)
  • Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department (370 Commercial St.)
  • Clairton municipal building (551 Ravensburg Blvd.)
  • Collier municipal building (2418 Hilltop Rd, Suite 100)
  • Heidelberg Community Center (1639 E. Railroad St.)
  • Ingram municipal building (W. Prospect Ave.)
  • Leetsdale Community Center (373 Beaver St.)
  • McKeesport Palisades/Café (501 Water St.)
  • Pittsburgh Technical Institute (1111 McKee Rd., Oakdale)
  • Shaler North Hills Library (1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.)
  • Verona Police Department (736 E. Railroad Ave.)
  • West Deer Fire Department No. 3 (4372 Gibsonia Rd., Gibsonia)
  • West Mifflin municipal building (3000 Lebanon Church Rd.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 200 (13th and Martha Streets)
  • Munhall Fire Station 201 (1900 West St.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 203 (3401 Main St.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 204 (1817 Whitaker Way)


  • Carnegie borough building (1 Veterans Way)
  • West Deer Township Dog Shelter - animals only (109 East Union Rd., Cheswick)

Update: In addition to those announced by the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County provided a list of municipal warming stations. Please follow their Twitter account (@allegheny_co) for further updates.

  • Turtle Creek Borough Building (125 Monroeville Ave.) - Open Wed. and Thu.,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Scott Glendale Hose Co # 1 (541 Carothers Ave., Carnegie. 412-276-4611) - Open Wed., 8 a.m.
  • Duquesne Council Chambers (12 South Second St., 2nd Floor) - After-hours access through Police Department.
  • Clairton Borough Building (551 Ravensburg Blvd.) - Open now through Friday 4 p.m. Clairton Police Can provide transportation for residents.
  • Pittsburgh Technical College (1111 McKee Rd., North Fayette) - Open 24 hours
  • Port Vue Borough Building (1191 Romine Ave.) - Open Jan. 30 and 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Richland Township Building (4019 Dickey Rd.) - Open Jan. 30 and 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Aspinwall, Leetsdale, and Verona are prepared to set up warming stations if residents experience any heating-related issues over the next few days. Please call 911 if you are in need of or lose heating.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 9:09 AM

Do you consider yourself a Pittsburgh movie buff? Now's your chance to prove your yinzer worth! From Flashdance to The Dark Knight Rises, this is the definitive quiz for movies filmed in Pittsburgh.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 4:02 PM


Send us a photo of you and your friends tailgating for a chance to win a pair of tickets to all SEVEN shows on the COUNTRY MEGATICKET driven by DIEHL AUTOMOTIVE.

This package includes a pair of tickets to see Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young, Jason Aldean, and Rascall Flatts!

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 5:56 PM

Last evening, the always in-touch Wendy Bell gifted us another insightful nugget on Twitter. This time, she dug deep into her Birkin bag of stereotypes, knocked aside some of the "racially charged" ones, and deftly presented us with her distorted June Cleaver perception of America: 

The last thing we gents want to do after punching the clock at F. W. Woolworth corporate is to come home and think about feeding our children, let alone cook the actual meal. Isn't it enough that we sometimes hug them? Pour me a tumbler of Evan Williams, put on Cronkite, and get yourself and those kids into the kitchen, I've gotta check my Standard Oil stock in the Pittsburgh Press. 
The objections from men who make dinner and women defending them came fast and furious.

Wendy Bell is like an Eloi time traveler whose knowledge of current society is based on The Saturday Evening Post, the only reference material she could get her hands on before bending time and space to make her long journey.

Godspeed and safe travels to your next era, Wendy. Older Entries »