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Monday, June 20, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Ball on the Bridge, an event highlighting ball culture and the need for improved health-care services for Pittsburgh’s LGBT community, took place on the Andy Warhol Bridge Saturday night. The event had 28 competition categories on the bridge, which was closed down to traffic. The sidewalks remained open and passersby were encouraged to take in the action.

“We want to see you up here on this stage!” the MC hollered to those who stopped to watch. 

Ball on the Bridge, which the Delta Foundation helped to organize, was meant to “bridge the gap” of health-care access for members of the LGBT community. Dalen Hooks, a longtime participant of the Pittsburgh ball scene and the main organizer of the night, told City Paper’s event preview.

“One of the perks of having this outside is [that] it is taking something that it is underground and making it mainstream,” Hooks told CP.

The night also brought a sense of community. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, greeting each other with hugs and kisses. Check out our highlights from the event below.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival announces lineup, new features
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Squonk Opera's "Cycle Sonic"

The festival’s 57th annual incarnation, June 3-12, will be broadly familiar: a Point State Park-based footprint, lots of bands, the artists’ market, large-scale outdoor public artworks, a juried visual-art show, festival food.

There’s even the welcome, lately near-annual tradition of a new show by performance-art rock-band faves Squonk Opera.

And it’s all still free, thanks largely to the title sponsor in what’s officially titled the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

But according to info released today by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, there’ll be a few new wrinkles in the festival-going experience, and this year’s public art has a local bent.

For one, the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s CREATE Festival, which last year merely happened in conjunction with the arts fest, is more fully integrated – and it, too, is now free. The day-long festival, will take place June 9 at the Fairmont Hotel, with talks, the Innovation Salon exhibition and more.

Things will also be more comfortable and culinarily pleasing for some fest-goers. Sarah Aziz, the Trust’s new program manager for special events, announced that for the first time the festival will include sensory-friendly “breakout areas” for people on the autism spectrum. Also look for the fest’s first ever feeding room for parents and kids, with a changing station, quiet space for breast-feeding and more.

For those on solid food, there will also be extended availability of food trucks.

At today’s press conference, at the Trust’s Peirce studios, Downtown, Aziz also recapped the previously announced musical guests, including opening-night headliner Michael Franti.

The public art, which in years past has often featured work by visiting artists, this year offers work by three locals.

In Gateway Center, look for large-scale installation “Multiverse Wall,” by Jesse Best (CREATE Festival’s featured artist of the year), and “Dandelions,” street signs mimicking the ubiquitous plant, by Carin Mincemoyer. Meanwhile, Point State Park will host the visionary “WindNest Prototype,” a quarter-scale model of a proposed artwork that doubles as a renewable-energy generator, by Trevor Lee (of Philadelphia-based Suprafutures) and Pittsburgh-based Land Art Generator Initiative.

The surrealism-minded Squonk Opera’s latest, Cycle Sonic, gets six performances June 11 and 12.

Also on the performance front, for the first time Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.’s Theatre Festival in Black and White (with black playwrights directing one-acts by white playwrights, and vice versa) is part of the arts fest.

For a full schedule, see here.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 3:04 PM

The Fifth Annual B*tches Ball — a drag competition held to raise money for the Animal Rescue League — got its groove on last night at the Pittsburgh Opera. The event brings together local celebrities, queens and animal-lovers for cocktails and entertainment in celebration of World Spay Day. In 2013 and 2014, City Paper readers voted the B*tches Ball “Best Local Fundraiser,” in the annual Best of Pittsburgh Readers’ Poll.

The ball, presented by VCA Northview Animal Hospital Specialty Referral Center, was hosted by the hilarious Akasha L Van-Cartier and Miss B*tchburgh 2015, Paris Young Boutté. After an upbeat night of performances, celebrity judges Tall Cathy, from local radio station 96.1 KISS-FM; Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner; and Natalie Bencivenga, SEEN editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; along with animal judges Pussy Willow, R.C. Fox and Scout, the Camp Bow Wow mascot, crowned contestant Confetti Gunn Miss B*tchburgh 2016.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Central Blood Bank promotes donations with The Walking Dead
Image courtesy of the Central Blood Bank
A Central Blood Bank promotion through Jan. 29 allows donors to meet The Walking Dead actresses.

Three days are left in the Central Blood Bank's The Walking Dead promotion. Donors who go to any Central Blood Bank location and mention the word "walk" will be given tickets to meet two actresses from the series — Katelyn Nacon ( who plays Enid) and Madison Lintz (Sophia Peletier) — this Sat., Jan. 30 from noon-5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.

"It’s a meet-and-greet with both Katelyn and Madison and fans who are our donors," says Megan Lakatos of the Central Blood Bank. "They’ll have an opportunity to meet them, [get] photos, autographs."

The blood bank is using the connection between zombies and blood to promote awareness and is hoping that cable TV's No. 1 rated show, on AMC, will attract donors. The show's sixth-season premiere drew 19.5 million viewers. Lakatos says that in order to keep up with demand from the approximately 40 area hospitals the bank provides blood to, it needs 500 donors each day. 

"I’m very excited because I love to meet fans and talk to them. They’re all so avid and dedicated," Madison Lintz told City Paper by phone. "They all remember me even though I was in [the show] a couple seasons ago. They all appreciate my last scene that I did, which is nice. And I totally support blood [donations] because it helps so many people."

Spoiler alert. if you're really behind on The Walking Dead.

Lintz's character was killed off in season two, when the character Rick Grimes shot her in the head after he found her reanimated as a zombie in a barn full of zombies.

Lintz chuckled and said when she booked her new show — the crime series Bosch on Amazon Prime — that she "put in my contracts that they were not allowed to have any barns."

Nacon's character Enid is still a survivor of the zombie apocalypse on the show.

The show is in its sixth season, and the mid-season premiere is Feb. 14. 

The Central Blood Bank has 22 donation centers throughout the area. The centers are open Thursday from noon-7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 9:17 AM

This year we've taken you behind the scenes to see how we created some of our most fun and interesting City Paper covers. Here's a look back at our video series: 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Around noon today, employees of Steel City Media — which includes City Paper, BOB-FM and Q92 — were not eating lunch. Rather, they were watching Harlem Globetrotter's Joyce "Sweet J" Ekworomadu dribble and spin the iconic red-white-and-blue Globetrotters basketball in the air, through her legs and around her back. Who wouldn't want this on their lunch break?

Ekworomadu is a 5'10" Texas State University grad who's played professionally worldwide and has been on Nigeria's national team since 2007 — both of the Dallas native's parents are from Nigeria. She stopped by the SCM offices to promote the current Globetrotters tour — which comes to Pittsburgh on Dec. 26 — and to answer some questions about her experience.

Tell us what it's like for you to be a Harlem Globetrotter.

I never knew that when I was 10 years old playing basketball with boys that I would be almost 30 now playing basketball with men. A lot of people think we are from Harlem. Actually, our team originated in Illinois. Our owner decided to tag on "globetrotters" to make it seem like we traveled around the globe, and then he tagged on "Harlem" because in the 1920s African-American arts and culture was hopping there. But we actually played all the games in Chicago. But fast forward 90 years later, we do break a lot of barriers. I’m a female, the 12th female in [the] history. The first female came in 1985, and she actually broke the gender barrier before I was even born. That’s amazing to think about because now I’m the 12th in history. Now girls can look at me and say, “I can be a Globetrotter.”

click to enlarge Harlem Globetrotter stops by Steel City Media in Pittsburgh to do some tricks
Photo by Ashley Murray
Harlem Globetrotter Sweet J teaches City Paper editor Charlie Deitch how to spin the basketball on his finger.
Is there a trick that you hate doing?

Actually I’m obsessed with doing tricks now, All through my life I was playing straight-up competitive basketball, working on fundamental skills trying to get to the WNBA and going to college, which I did do, finished [college] in 2008, went to the WNBA in 2008 with San Antonio. So, I never thought to spin the ball on my finger or like spin it on my head or anything. Now I’m like, “Hey everyone!” [as she spins the ball across her shoulders.] Now, I’m totally addicted.

Do you have a favorite trick?

That one behind the back, I just learned how to do that. It took a lot of practice, so I guess that’s my favorite now. I don’t have it 100 percent, I’m like 97 percent there. Until I get that down, that’s going to be my favorite.

When’s the last time you lost to those suckers you play?

The Washington Generals! We lost to them in 1971. I wasn’t even born! Actually you know the whole thing with the Golden State Warriors and their whole streak, well, the Globetrotters actually had to tweet out that they’re only a couple thousand games behind us!

Who’s your favorite pro hoops player?

Well, I actually grew up watching Allen Iverson. Sort of like Steph Curry, they’re not your freak-of-nature athlete. Not too big, not too muscular. But, he [Iverson] was outstanding when he was in the NBA because he was undersized and still getting in the paint against 7-footers and scoring.

What’s your record for spinning the ball on your finger?

For me, I could probably go about 12-13 seconds, but I have teammates who can go like 16 seconds. We have a guy named Slick who can spin two balls at the same time, do tricks with two balls at the same time. I’ve got a teammate who just broke the world record for spinning it on his nose, which is amazing. These are veteran guys who are about 10-14 years in. I come in, I’m going into my third season, and I’m kind of impatient, and I’m like, "I need to get that right now!” But they say, "Look, it took us some time to get that too."

Are you planning to learn to spin it on your nose?

No, I like my nose. I don’t want to shed skin trying to spin it on my nose. I’ll just stick to spinning it on my finger.

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