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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 1:52 PM

click to enlarge First Night 2018 attractions announced (3)
Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Some cities drop pickles, roses and bologna at midnight. But on Highmark First Night, the ball rises as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve.

Now in its 24th year, Highmark First Night, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, returns on Dec. 31 with more than 100 events throughout Downtown's 14-block Cultural District. (While some First Night performances and attractions take place outdoors, most are indoors.)

This year’s theme, as announced this morning at a press conference Downtown, is “Love, Peace, Pittsburgh.”

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with children’s fireworks sponsored by Dollar Bank on the Highmark Stage. Afterward, steelpan band Barrels to Beethoven kicks off the night's musical performances with its energetic tropical sound.

Other attractions include the Allegheny Health Network Parade, with Grand Marshal Randy Gilson, artist and creator of the North Side's Randyland, at 8 p.m.; performances by Arcade Comedy Theater’s Penny Arcade, at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Player One, at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. at its new location at 811 Liberty Ave.; and Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers at the Benedum Center, at 7 p.m.

Outdoor warming and cell-phone charging stations return this year, and are located at the August Wilson Center and Katz Plaza.

click to enlarge First Night 2018 attractions announced (4)
Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Lee Fields & The Expressions headline the night, performing soul and funk anthems from 10:45 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. at the Highmark stage, at Liberty and Stanwix. During the performance, Lee and company will ring in the New Year with the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh Ball and Zambelli fireworks.

Admission buttons for First Night are $10, and are free for children 5 and under. They are available online at, in person at the box office at Theater Square on 655 Penn Ave.; or by phone at 412-456-6666. They are also available at a $1 discount with an Advantage Card at participating Giant Eagle stores.

For $40, attendees can purchase First Night Friend VIP buttons that grant access to priority seating, parking and a private lounge in the O’Reilly Theater, where they can relax with hot beverages and sweet treats.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

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.

click to enlarge "Books & Beer" for New Year's
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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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Posted By and on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 10:09 AM

The Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2001 Wylie Ave. in the Hill District, celebrated Christmas on Friday, Dec. 18 with song and dance. The church was established in 1875 and has had less than a dozen pastors since. In 2004, an enormous blaze destroyed the church, and two Pittsburgh firefighters tragically died when the bell tower collapsed as they were fighting the flames. The community rebuilt, and the new Ebenezer Church building opened in 2006. A memorial to the firefighters is located on the first floor.

City Paper photo intern Theo Schwarz took a peek inside the church during their annual Christmas praise and celebration, and he captured these images.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 12:26 PM

The Jewish community of Pittsburgh marked the beginning of Hanukkah with Chabad of Pittsburgh's annual Menorah Parade, which began at sundown this past Sunday. The parade is in its tenth year, and approximately 75 cars participated in 2015. Organizers say that in the last few years, they've seen an increase in cyclists, with around 25-30 participating in the parade. City Paper's Theo Schwarz captured these images.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include numbers of cars and bicycles.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 9:29 AM

To be a true Pittsburgher, you need a Thanksgiving-themed pierogie ornament
Photo courtesy of Jenna Johnston

Happy Thanksgiving!

We took the day off, but not before finding you this adorable Thanksgiving-themed turkey pierogie Christmas-tree ornament, made locally by Etsy shop ArrayOfHappiness

Jenna Johnston, the Beaver County native and brains behind the decorated pierogie ornaments, says she started playing around with clay and this is what she came up with.

"I still have my original pierogi ornament on my Christmas tree. It doesn’t look anything like they do now," Johnston says. "I’ve come a long way with the design."

And, she's not just selling pierogies disguised as turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. "Mainly, the Santa and the Pittsburgh [-themed] ones are the most popular." There are also little leprechaun pierogies for  St. Patrick's Day and pierogies donning hearts for Valentine's Day.

Johnston says she loves having an Etsy shop because it allows her to get to know people.

"You actually have a relationship with customers, as opposed to selling on something like eBay," she says. "I don’t really look at money aspect of it. I love meeting people. It is exciting to sell a pierogie though."

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 8:52 PM

So today in the office we decided to play a game and wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving.

Slow news day or pure artistry? You decide. The rules were staffers could only use pens, pencils and miscellaneous office supply junk available on their desks and could include a quote or caption. Here are the results.

"Snarky Turkey" by Charlie Deitch, Editor

"Culinary Turkey" by Al Hoff, Associate Editor

"Political Turkey" by Lisa Cunningham, Art Director

"Thankful Turkey" by Ashley Murray, Multimedia Editor

"Scared Turkey" by Celine Roberts, Listings Editor

"Post-it Note Turkey" by Rebecca Nuttall, Staff Writer

"Cynical Turkey" by Ryan Deto, Staff Writer

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Monday, November 23, 2015

A photo essay from Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The holiday season officially kicked off in Pittsburgh on Friday night as people filled the Downtown streets for the city's 55th Annual Light Up Night festivities.

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