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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two unconventional car-themed openings tomorrow for Pittsburgh artist Jason Sauer

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Jason Sauer, Pittsburgh’s best-known artist who’s also a demolition-derby driver, debuts two shows drawing on his automotive interests, both at nontraditional venues. And they’re timed so you can catch both of them.

  • Art by Jason sauer
At 7 p.m., head to the Sewickley Starbucks for six new paintings by Sauer that honor the birthplace of Porsche, which, as Sauer puts it, “was conceived as a tractor in a barn in Germany.” The paintings were made with PPG paint on Alcoa aluminum plate, and sport handmade wooden frames. The free event at 425 Beaver St., runs through 9:30 p.m. and includes Starbucks refreshments.

At 10 p.m., Sauer will be at Brillobox (just up Penn Avenue from his own Most Wanted Fine Art gallery) to debut his latest sculpture made from demo-derby parts. This one, he says, “has a Monster Jam theme … and it’s painted white, because it is being 3D mapped” and then projected in the space. The projection is a collabo with ProjectileObjects.

The Brillobox event has an admission price ($10) because it’s actually more than an art opening: It’s a whole Monster Truck-themed evening also featuring U.K. dubstep legend Hatcha, from South London, with support from local lazercrunk DJs Cutups and Keebs. More info on the musical portion of the evening is here.

The Brillobox event is 21-and-over and runs till 2 a.m. For presale tickets, look here

Brillobox is located at 4104 Penn Ave., in Bloomfield.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Author Jelani Cobb speaks tomorrow on “Race and Justice”

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 10:53 AM

Cobb, one of our top public intellectuals on race, is the featured Martin Luther King speaker at Carnegie Mellon University.

The associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut (and director of the Africana Studies Institute there) is a staff writer for The New Yorker, where his articles  have included “The Anger in Ferguson,” “Murders in Charleston” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.”

Last year, Cobb won the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism. The jury wrote, in part, “Cobb met the challenge of describing the turmoil in Ferguson in a way that cut through the frantic chaos of 'breaking news' and deepened readers' understanding of what they were seeing, hearing, and feeling. Ferguson was not an aberration, he showed, but a microcosm of race relations in the United States — organically connected to the complicated legacy of segregation and the unpaid debts of slavery itself.”

Cobb's books include Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.

Cobb’s talk at CMU is titled “The Half Life of Freedom: Race & Justice in American Today.”

The talk, which is free, begins at 4:30 p.m. Thu., Feb. 11, in Porter Hall 100. (Here's an interactive map of CMU's campus.)

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Artist Ricardo Iamuuri aims to reach people with sound

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 6:07 PM

  • Photo by Renee Rosensteel
Audio-visual artist and performer Ricardo Iamuuri will perform A BRAND NEW WORLD: kill the artist Thu., Feb. 11 as part of the New Hazlett Theater's Community Supported Art series. Iamuuri, who began his arts career as a folk musician, uses field recordings, Foley art (creating sounds live in a studio) and music to recreate historical spaces as well as score his silent films. Last year, he produced a sound installation at the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark site, in Rankin, as part of the Alloy Pittsburgh Biennial. You can see our interview with Iamuuri below and hear him on our upcoming City Paper podcast episode.

You consider yourself an audio-visual artist, and you are also a musician. How do you intertwine them?
To me they all have their own language, their own communication. With sound and music, it has its own jargon, it has its own sort of rules, just like filmmaking does. I'm really interested in communication and creating art that creates a communal space for people to speak about social-justice issues, be it reconsidering history and stories, be if it’s to raise questions about mass media or just things that are going on in the community. [I] definitely started off as a folk musician, that’s how I hit the arts and music scene. And ever since then I’ve just been using art to cope with a lot of things that are going on in our current culture.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Central Blood Bank promotes donations with The Walking Dead

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

A Central Blood Bank promotion through Jan. 29 allows donors to meet The Walking Dead actresses. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE CENTRAL BLOOD BANK
  • 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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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Health-insurance enrollment event at Pittsburgh's City-County Building tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 4:49 PM

  • Photo from

Six days remain until this year's Jan. 31 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Open Enrollment deadline, and the mayor's Healthy Together campaign wants to make last-minute sign-ups accessible.

Health-care "navigators" from the Consumer Health Coalition, a local organization that helps people sign up for insurance, will be on hand at the City-County Building in Downtown from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m on Wed., Jan. 27.

"Families are encouraged to stop by for support navigating the health-care enrollment process — the event and enrollment help are provided at no cost," the mayor's office stated in a press release.

The mayor's office began its Healthy Together campaign under a grant it received from the National League of Cities in August 2014. The campaign is a partnership between Mayor Peduto, the Consumer Health Coalition, Allies for Children, Enroll America and the Allegheny County Health Department, and it aims to enroll all the city's children in health coverage — whether through Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or through an ACA Marketplace plan.

"We know that usually if there’s an uninsured child, there’s an uninsured parent," says Betty Cruz of the mayor's office. "And while kids can get enrolled in health care year-round, families are limited to the open-enrollment period. We really want to make sure during this final push that families know there are resources like the Consumer Health Coalition."

According to Enroll America, a national outreach organization and a partner of the Healthy Together campaign:
  • Four out of 5 Pennsylvanians who have signed up for coverage have received some kind of financial assistance to reduce their health-insurance costs. And, for those who remain uninsured, a fine of at least $695 may apply on next year’s taxes.

  • For those with qualifying income ($16,243 for a single person, $33,465 for a family of four), Pennsylvania’s HealthChoices program may be available to provide coverage with no monthly premium.
As for data released last week, a little more than 415,000 Pennsylvanians — 78,213 in Pittsburgh — had enrolled in a Federal Marketplace plan. 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Benefit Concert for Kenyan Girls' School Postponed

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 12:58 PM

UPDATE: This event has been postponed due to this weekend's anticipated snowstorm. The concert has been tentatively rescheduled for April 23.

This Saturday, River City Brass — a nationally touring 28-member ensemble — will play a concert at Karma Banquet and Event Center to kick off a campaign for Hekima Place, a home for orphaned and vulnerable girls in Kiserian, Kenya.

  • Courtesy of Katie Urich
The benefit supports Hekima Place's new all-girls high school just outside Nairobi. Founder Kate Fletcher and the Kenyan board of trustees are building the school to address the lack of seats for girls to attend high school in Kenya.

At the concert, the band will draw on a repertoire ranging from John Philip Sousa to "Ruby Tuesday" and  "God Bless the USA."

The River City Brass performance will be followed by refreshments and a meet-and-greet with Hekima Place's Kate Fletcher and band leader James Gourlay — an internationally renowned tuba soloist and conductor.

River City Brass will play at 7:30 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 23. Tickets are $30. 

The Karma Banquet and Event Center is located at 205 Mary St., in Carnegie. For more information, call 412-491-0867 or visit

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

CMU exhibition highlighting robot locomotion opens tomorrow

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 11:04 AM

Tomorrow, Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science debuts a new exhibition, Ivan Sutherland's Trojan Cockroach, at the Posner Center.

Ivan Sutherland rides his original "Trojan Cockroach," a six-legged hexapod walking machine. - DANIEL PILLIS
  • Daniel Pillis
  • Ivan Sutherland rides his original "Trojan Cockroach," a six-legged hexapod walking machine.
The free exhibition celebrates Sutherland's "Trojan Cockroach," a six-legged hexapod walking machine that the computer scientist developed with six CMU graduate students in the 1980s.

Sponsored by the Posner Center Internship Program, the display will focus on the origin of legged robots and their ability to replicate biological skills. In addition, the exhibit celebrates CMU's history of computer graphics. Sutherland — widely acknowledged as the father of computer graphics — will be in attendance.

A free opening reception takes place at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The Posner Center is on CMU's campus, 5000 Forbes Ave., in Oakland. For more information, call 908-902-9559 or see

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pittsburgh to celebrate bicentennial with events year-round

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 3:12 PM

On March 18, 1816, Pittsburgh officially became a city when it received notice of incorporation, granting its citizens the right to local elections and self-governance. 

Today, the city announced it would be celebrating the 200th anniversary of that milestone with a series of events throughout the year.

"We now today want to begin a year long celebration of Pittsburgh's 200th birthday," said Andrew Masich, president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center and chair of the Bicentennial Commission. "And toward that end, the mayor has assembled a volunteer commission and 300 community organizations have rallied around the Pittsburgh bicentennial." 

Mayor Bill Peduto with members of the Pittsburgh - Bicentennial Commission - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Mayor Bill Peduto with members of the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Commission

When Pittsburgh turned 100, then mayor Joseph Armstrong commissioned the building of the City-County Building where today's press conference was held.

"That was the legacy of our first 100 years: this beautiful building," said Mayor Bill Peduto. "Well we don't have money, so we have to find more creative ways to celebrate." 

The bicentennial celebration this year will begin with a kickoff celebration on March 18, the day of Pittsburgh's incorporation. Commemoration events will continue in July with an event at the John Heinz History Center, a Bicentennial Parade, a festival at Point State Park, and recognition of descendants of Pittsburgh's former mayors. There will also be smaller events in different city neighborhoods.

"We're going to give every city resident and those that come to visit the city a passport to see it. We often say we don't cross rivers, we don't go to other neighborhoods," said Peduto. "It will be a year of celebrating the greatness that is this city and that's its people."

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Books & Beer" for New Year's

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 2:17 PM

There are countless options for celebrating New Year’s. But if you’re the sort who enjoys being near a big New Year’s party but not necessarily in it; gravitates toward literature and recorded music; and still digs a little adult beverage on a secular holiday, Amazing Books & Records might have you covered.

  • Image courtesy of Amazing Books & Records
At its Downtown and Squirrel Hill locations, the store hosts its Books & Beer New Year’s Bash from 8 p.m. to midnight tomorrow.

Fair warning: The Downtown event will of course sit in the midst of the huge annual First Night Pittsburgh festival. But for those who think browsing books and LPs sounds plenty festive, thank you, this is a great alternative (or complement).

Amazing’s Downtown location is 929 Liberty Ave. The Squirrel Hill store is at 2030 Murray Ave. (There’s no party at the brand-new Oakland outlet.)

At the time of this posting, Books & Beer was not yet listed on Amazing's website, but CP has verbally confirmed that it's happening.

Happy New Year.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bennet Omalu Foundation launches in Pittsburgh

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Pittsburgh doesn't deserve Bennet Omalu. A decade ago, after trying to shed light on a brain disease that was contributing to the deaths of football players, he was run out of town. But, last night the Nigerian forensic pathologist  with nearly a dozen degrees and certifications in everything from music to business returned to the city  to launch a foundation named for him. 

The Bennet Omalu Foundation will continue Omalu's work on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease he discovered after performing an autopsy on former Steelers legend Mike Webster in 2002. The foundation was founded by Giannina Scott, producer of Sony Pictures’ Concussion,  a soon-to-be-released film based on Omalu, and will be affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh where Omalu studied.

From left: Jeanne Marie Laskas, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Giannina Scott and Dr. Clayton Wiley - PHOTO BY REBECCA NUTTALL
  • Photo By Rebecca Nuttall
  • From left: Jeanne Marie Laskas, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Giannina Scott and Dr. Clayton Wiley
"I was so inspired by this man, by his selflessness, his generosity," Scott said of her decision to make a movie about Omalu and create the foundation. "He gave up everything to bring this information to the world, and it didn't matter how much they tried to stop him, everything he lost, he continued his work."

The foundation launch preceded a screening of Concussion and after watching the movie, it's hard to reconcile Omalu's love of America and Pittsburgh after everything he went through. His discovery of CTE and its effects on numerous players in the National Football League was not originally celebrated, and his perseverance to spread the truth about the disease made him a target. His family and livelihood were threatened to the point where he ultimately decided to leave Pittsburgh.

"If not for the city of Pittsburgh, if not for the University of Pittsburgh, I wouldn't be standing here today," said Omalu, who became an American citizen in February of this year.  "The road has been long and hard and difficult. I have been bruised, but that is the story of the American family." 

And from Omalu's comments last night, you get the sense that he definitely does not hold a grudge. He sees his struggles as another step along the path to achieving the American dream.

"When I was a child growing up in Africa ... America was a country that was closest to what God wants us to be as his sons and daughters, a country where God sent his favorite people," said Omalu. "Today, with all of my experiences, my belief in this country as a child has been affirmed. I'm more American than America."

For our review of Concussion, pick up the Dec. 23 issue of the Pittsburgh City Paper. 

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