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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Guerilla Artist installs exhibit on Baum Blvd. to highlight NFL protest

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:16 PM

  • CP photo by Bill O'Driscoll
This public-art projection by Artist m.M Franco went up at 8:30 p.m. on Baum Boulevard near Euclid in East Liberty. Franco, who lives in East Liberty, references the controversy over NFL players taking a knee for the national anthem to disrupt people’s daily routines and get them thinking. She hopes this work of guerrilla art — visible only at night — will stay up through the weekend.

"As a Disruptive Public Artist with an emphasis on social justice issues, my artistic goal is to buck repressive norms and disrupt our social agreements,"  m.M Franco. "The debate about whether public art, esp temporary pop-up art, ought to serve as confirmation of perceived beliefs ie a " social contract" or to dissent and echo the cries of a community. I believe in the latter. Peoples' voices need to be heard. Public Art provides that mechanism."

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The many hobbies of Demetri Martin

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Demetri Martin
  • Demetri Martin

There's an illustration in Demetri Martin's new book, If It's Not Funny, It's Art, that shows a bald, bespectacled man's head suspended above two crossed arms. The caption reads, "Skull and Crossbones (when he was still alive)." OK, so that's an example of a joke that shouldn't be translated to writing (sorry), but it's a good intro for newcomers to Martin's distinct approach to joke-making.

Martin, 44, is a quiet, unassuming dude who specializes in short, minimally but smartly worded comedy. The punchlines sometimes take a second to stick, but in his specials, books and TV appearances (my favorite: as the new keytar player in Flight of the Conchords), his low-key charisma is apparent off the bat.

Martin, who is performing at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall on Fri., Oct 20, released If It's Not Funny, It's Art in September. It's his third book of drawings, a skill he developed and integrated into his performance when he was first doing standup. Last year, he starred, produced and directed Dean, a semi-autobiographical romantic indie comedy that looks and sounds and feels very Demetri Martin. In it, he plays an illustrator (more on that later). CP spoke with Martin by phone last week, discussing his hobbies, Halloween and Ang Lee.

Continue reading »

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Al Gore says progress on climate change is happening despite President Trump

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 1:29 PM

  • CP photo by Rebecca Addison
  • Al Gore
In the months after the presidential election, former Vice President Al Gore spent time talking with President Donald Trump about the threat of climate change and the importance of sticking with the Paris Agreement, created to address greenhouse gas emissions. We now know those talks were futile, since in June, Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global agreement.

But while things might appear bleak, in an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper this week, Gore said he remains hopeful. And he said projections indicate the United States is going to meet and exceed commitments previously made as part of the agreement, whether Trump likes it or not.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"East Texas Hot Links" begins Pittsburgh troupe's experiment with longer runs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 1:20 PM

In years previous, this past weekend would have marked the final performances of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.'s run of Eugene Lee's 1991 drama East Texas Hot Links. Except for its popular stagings of plays by Pulitzer-winning native son August Wilson, all of the small company's runs have been three weeks long — usually about a dozen performances of each.

The cast of East Texas Hot Links - PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL MANKER
  • Photo courtesy of Gail Manker
  • The cast of East Texas Hot Links
But inspired by Chicago's prolific theater scene, Playwrights founder and artistic director Mark Clayton Southers is literally doubling down: Instead of being wrapped, East Texas is now only halfway through a six-week run, a duration Southers intends to become his company's new standard.

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How a doodle by a Pittsburgh-based data analyst became the pseudo-logo for NPR's 1A radio show

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 12:38 PM


As a lover of stick figures and public radio, this story was too good to pass up.

Last week, I was discussing the NPR/WAMU show 1A with CP intern Hannah Lynn, and she mentioned that her friend John drew the lasso stick figure. I'm a big fan of the show, but I can't say I pay a whole lot of attention to its Twitter, so I didn't know what she meant. Basically, every Friday there's a weekly news roundup (a holdover from the program it replaced, The Diane Rehm Show); every tweet related to the roundup incorporates a small stick figure wearing a brown hat, holding a lasso, smiling (sort of).

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Pittsburgh civil-rights leaders urge city to settle with alleged police-brutality victim Leon Ford

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 11:53 AM

Leon Ford arrives for his civil trial on Sept. 26. - CP PHOTO BY CHARLIE DEITCH
  • CP photo by Charlie Deitch
  • Leon Ford arrives for his civil trial on Sept. 26.
At 19 years old, Leon Ford was stopped by police for a traffic violation in Highland Park on Nov.11, 2012. The encounter escalated when — even after presenting officers Andrew Miller and Michael Kosko with his license and registration — police believed Ford was not who he claimed to be and was instead a man who was wanted by police with a similar name, Lamont Ford. The officers called for backup and Detective David Derbish arrived on the scene to determine Ford’s identity.

Confused and afraid, Ford remained seated in his car after the officers asked him to step out. Miller tried to forcibly remove Ford from the car. Derbish entered the passenger side of the car and claims he thought he saw a bulge indicating that Ford was carrying a weapon. Derbish then shot Ford, who was unarmed, five times in the chest at close range after the car started to move.

“With the presence of three police officers insisting that Ford was not who he really was, we could understand why such an encounter might cause a young 19-year-old to be fearful,” Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project, said at a press conference on Monday. “Particularly in the light of the many negative encounters between young black males and white police officers which have been televised so frequently over the recent years, both locally and nationally.”

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Monday, October 16, 2017

George Takei at Pittsburgh's Soldiers and Sailors on Tuesday night

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:50 PM

Tickets remain for An Evening with George Takei.

The actor, activist and social-media genius will discuss his experiences during World War II, when as a child he was interred in a government camp along with his family as part of the forcible locations of Americans of Japanese descent.

Takei will also speak about his experiences as a gay Asian man throughout his acting career.

Takei, 80, first gained fame as Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series and in subsequent films. He's now equally well known as an activist for social justice, LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.

The event is part of the University of Pittsburgh's International Week.

An Evening With George Takei takes place at 7 p.m. at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, 4141 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.

Tickets are $30-40 or $10 for students and are available here.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Community mourns the loss of Pittsburgh LGBTQ "pioneer" Chuck Tierney, co-owner of city's first public gay bar

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 5:47 PM

Chuck Tierney (left) and Chuck Honse in April 2007, a few weeks before they closed their LGBTQ bar, the Holiday. - CP FILE PHOTO
  • CP File Photo
  • Chuck Tierney (left) and Chuck Honse in April 2007, a few weeks before they closed their LGBTQ bar, the Holiday.
Chuck Tierney, a longtime LGBTQ activist and former co-owner of The Holiday Bar in Oakland died Oct. 11 from complications of liver cancer. And while he may be gone, his impact on Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community will be long remembered.

“I have gotten many calls from friends, who said they will really miss Chuck,” says Chuck Honse, Tierney's partner in The Holiday. “It is a big loss for me, but an even bigger loss to the community.”

Continue reading »

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Scenes from Pittsburgh City Paper's and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania's #ISTANDWITHPP Glitter Box Bash

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 11:52 AM

  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
Last year when City Paper published its very first Pink Issue, we decided a portion of the paper's proceeds would go to the nonprofit featured on the cover. This year, with Congress and the president more adamant than ever before about defunding Planned Parenthood, we decided to feature the health-care provider on the cover.

But rather than just provide a portion of the  proceeds, we decided to hold a benefit for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania at the Glitter Box Theater. Local artists Childlike Empress and Merlette donated their time and talents to the fundraiser. Both shared stories of why the organization was important to them. Childlike Empress shared her story in the Pink Issue.

In addition to music, there were crafts, conversation and great food from the Franktuary Truck and beer from Roundabout Brewing. Thanks to all those who came out to perform, donate and support the event.

  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Charlie Deitch
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk

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Call for Submissions: Videos of Your Super-Cute Cat for Upcoming Film Fest

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Does your cat live in Western Pennsylvania? Is it a potential film star? The next Grumpy Cat or Keyboard Cat or Random Cat Falling Off Something?

Row House Cinema, in Lawrenceville, is looking for videos of your funny/adorable/clumsy/whatever cat for its upcoming Cat Film and Cultural Festival, to be held Nov. 11-16. One highlight of this catastic event will be the compilation film, "Pittsburgh's Pretty Kitties," and Row House is looking for YOUR videos of YOUR cat.

Videos can be submitted for consideration in four categories: Cutest, Funniest, Bravest and Most Yinzer. Humans can submit up to three videos; videos must be 30 seconds or less; and the submission period is open until Nov. 1. Videos should be sent to, and entrants should view full video technical specs here.

Get started meow.

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