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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 7:07 PM

Thanks to your feedback, there are now 10 new categories to vote for in Pittsburgh City Paper's Best of Pittsburgh readers' poll:

•  Best Local Farm
•  Best Tanning Salon
•  Best Children's Party Entertainer
•  Best Hummus

Last week when we announced the launch of this year's readers' poll, we asked readers for suggestions on 10 new reader-submitted categories. Above are the final selections, which are now open for nominations, along with the 255 previous categories, until Wed., July 22.

Once the nominations portion of the poll closes, Pittsburgh City Paper staff will sift through the nominations and disqualify any that we discover to have posted harmful defamatory racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or transphobic commentary on social media or elsewhere, as stated last week in our new elimination policy.

Then, the submissions that have gotten the most nominations in each category will move on to the final voting round on Wed., Aug. 5.

Nominate your favorites today at: https://citypaper.secondstreetapp.com/Best-of-PGH-2020/

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 10:11 PM

Last month, after posting a news story about a public official who is trans on Pittsburgh City Paper's official Facebook page, our feed was soon filled with transphobic comments. Dozens of them in a short time span.

When hateful comments appear on our website or social media pages, we do our best to monitor and delete them. We also alert readers of our policy against hate speech, then block people's pages who ignore our warnings.

After June's transphobic comments, which were the worst examples of hate speech on our platforms we have seen in recent times, we added a long list of filters to our Facebook page moderation settings, where you can block posts or comments containing certain words or phrases. Still, more hateful comments continued to make their way through our page, despite our filters, which meant if we weren't monitoring our page 24/7, offensive posts could remain on our page for hours at a time.

Today, City Paper's management team — which includes myself (editor in chief Lisa Cunningham), ad director Jasmine Hughes, and our director of operations Kevin Shepherd — have made the decision to turn off all comments on pghcitypaper.com.

This decision comes in light of the difficult decision of company-wide furloughs and cutbacks on Friday, including three editorial staffers. This decision is made based on the fact that we no longer have the staff to monitor comments on our website. We would rather disable comments entirely than risk having even one transphobic, racist, or hateful comment appear on our site.

Let me be clear, however. Our aim is not to silence reader responses or voices, and we welcome readers to send us feedback on our stories, whether positive or negative. Since we are removing the comments from the website, we are instead announcing a new weekly curated Letters to the Editor section launching on our website as early as Mon., July 6 if we get submissions, which will include links to the stories readers are commenting on next to their feedback.

If you are interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, please email submissions to info@pghcitypaper.com with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. Submissions must be 100 words or less to be considered for publication.

If you have a question and/or would like to request a response from a writer or editor, please include that in your email, and we will do our best to include answers in the post along with your letter.

Additionally, if it was possible to at least temporarily disable comments entirely from our Facebook page until we are able to get our furloughed staff back full-time, we would do so. Unfortunately, after looking into this, it does not appear to be an option. In the meantime, we will continue to try to monitor our Facebook page as much as we can, but since we are short staffed, we are afraid comments will sometimes fall through the cracks. If you do happen to see a comment slip through our filters, and if you are comfortable doing so, we would really appreciate it if you are able tag us on the post so it brings it to our attention, or you could email me directly at lcunning@pghcitypaper.com and put "HATE SPEECH" in the subject line, and we will do our best to remove it as quickly as we are able to do so.

And for any trolls reading this who are now just going to fill my inbox with hate mail: I've read it all before. At least try to be original this time.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 9:08 PM

click to enlarge Sadly, we didn't realize "Summer Survival Guide" would have so many different meanings to us when we put out this week's issue :( - CP PHOTO: LISA CUNNINGHAM
CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
Sadly, we didn't realize "Summer Survival Guide" would have so many different meanings to us when we put out this week's issue :(
The past few months have been some of the hardest in my 20+ years at Pittsburgh City Paper, with periods of uncertainties, watching our small staff of under 20 full-time employees work their asses off to keep our publication going during a pandemic.

Today was without a doubt the hardest.

Just yesterday, Millvale Music Festival — the last large Pittsburgh music fest to have a date still listed on this year's calendar — finally announced it was postponing to 2021. This morning, 61 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Allegheny County. And this afternoon, months after launching a membership campaign, after working day and night to bring you more stories than we've ever put out before, after putting out new products as way of trying to generate additional funds we lost because of events and businesses closing their doors and discontinuing advertising, Pittsburgh City Paper faced a day we've been trying to avoid since the pandemic first began, a day none of us ever wanted to see.

Today, we had to bring company-wide cuts in order to ensure that our paper survives post-COVID. The hits are devastating, and they will be noticeable. For the most part, though, we are optimistic they will largely be temporary.

There's no denying it. Our editorial furloughs are huge.

They include managing editor Alex Gordon and senior arts writer Amanda Waltz, and I honestly don't know how we're going to survive the next month without them.

Alex is the main copy editor on almost all of our stories, and our content is going to suffer immensely without him here. I'm very worried errors are going to slip by. I'm worried weaker stories are going to pass by without him. Actually, I know weaker stories are going to get posted without him. He's an incredible story editor and story teller. His own story on the Pittsburgh Muslim community celebrating Ramadan during coronavirus is still one of my personal favorites from the last few months. He's funny as hell, too. God, writing this fucking sucks, man.

As our senior arts writer, Amanda hasn't been able to write about the arts and culture scene nearly as much as she would have liked to over the past few months, but just this week, she was able to preview an exhibit at the Heinz History Center. She's also done such an amazing job switching gears to covering news stories like writing about a local nail salon accused of racist remarks, and she just wrote a heartwarming tribute in memory of her friend, Jeffrey "Boosie" Bolden, a literary figure highly loved in Pittsburgh who passed away earlier this week.

More temporary furloughs announced today include our events and marketing coordinator, and two graphic designers. Our sales and events sponsorship manager had already turned in his two weeks and was going to be replaced with a new Digital Advertising Strategist. That position is now on hold.

I'm writing all this out to ask you, readers, to help me make sure Alex, Amanda, and the rest of our furloughed staff come back ASAP. I'm pretty much begging you to keep reading. Keep supporting us. I'm asking you to please forgive us a little over the next month for our inevitable spelling errors that slip through, and to let us know if you notice a problem so we can fix it as quickly as we can.

All of these furloughs were based only on financial reasons, and not for any of these folks' performances. These are talented employees who we want to bring back as soon as we can, and our remaining staff is going to work as hard as we possibly can to make sure we don't skip a beat in our coverage to make sure that we're still bringing you great issues and online stories because now we're fighting even harder for them too.

And if you know anyone with big foundation money or deep pockets ready to buy some ads, CALL US CALL US CALL US CALL US.

Other changes:
We also had to make the really difficult decision to layoff our Digital Media Manager, Josh Oswald who in addition to his web maintenance and social media duties, also wrote the hilarious column Just Jaggin.

• Lisa Cunningham, editor in chief (that's me); Jasmine Hughes, Director of Advertising; and Kevin Shepherd, Director of Operations, will all be taking an unpaid week's vacation in July, and each will be taking a pay cut.

• While we remain committed to continuing to bring readers a weekly print product, our page counts will begin to shrink to 16 pages starting with our July 1 issue unless we can sell more advertising. (If you are a business who needs advertising, we're getting more positive feedback than ever from readers, I swear. But we need your ad dollars to keep going. We are not pay to play, so no — I will not write about your business if you place an ad, but our ad director Jasmine Hughes is amazing, and she will take care of you. Email her! jhughes@pghcitypaper.com)

• We are asking anyone who is able to continue to support us in the following ways:

- Consider becoming a member: Pittsburgh City Paper's Membership Campaign (It includes perks like a free T-shirt and a photo print from our photographer, but some members have asked us if requesting no perks would save us money and it actually does. So if you become a member and would like to request no perks, please email supportus@pghcitypaper.com because to be perfectly honest, any little bit helps us right now.)

- Purchase Pittsburgh Kitchens J'eet Jet? Cookbook (half of proceeds go to 412 Food Rescue)

- Purchase Pittsburgh City Paper's Over-the-Top Completely Ridiculous Yinzerffic Coloring Book (half of proceeds get split evenly between the 35 local artists who illustrated the artwork inside the coloring book)

- Purchase a Woke Commie Rag T-shirt (proceeds benefit both City Paper and local print shop CommonWealth Press)

- Purchase a 1-Year Subscription to Pittsburgh City Paper for $250

- Purchase a 6-Month Subscription to Pittsburgh City Paper for $150

- Purchase a 6-Week Subscription to Pittsburgh City Paper for $32

Thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts for your continued support, but I cannot stress this enough. In addition to people supporting our editorial product by reading us, we also need financial support and our door (email, phones, pockets) are open for ideas.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 9:10 AM

It's Best of Pittsburgh time, baby!

If you're rolling your eyes a bit, hear me out. You think these things are rigged, right? You think advertising controls the winners? You're tired of the same people winning every year? Or, you've just seen too many of these, and you're bored with them?

I've been working at Pittsburgh City Paper since 1997. This is my 23RD STRAIGHT YEAR OF THESE THINGS, people! So believe me when I say we've done everything we possibly can to bring new life to our poll this year to bring some energy, and I gotta be honest. I'm kinda psyched.

This is your issue, the one issue of the year we get to give control of the content to our readers, and we've tried really hard to make this year's poll more inclusive than ever to help ensure that more people and communities feel welcomed and represented in our poll.

Our nomination process starts today and lasts until July 22. Start off by nominating your favorite Pittsburghers in as many categories as you'd like, then check back on Aug. 8 to vote for the final round. (Don’t worry, we’ll remind you.)

Here are some of the changes we've made this year:

New elimination policy:

We will eliminate and immediately disqualify any nomination that we discover to have posted any harmful defamatory racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or transphobic commentary on social media or elsewhere. Pittsburgh City Paper does not condone this kind of behavior in our own staff, our contributors, and we will not accept anyone who posts these viewpoints in any of our polls effective immediately.

New music categories:

You asked, and we listened. Last year, we heard a lot of feedback about problematic music categories that were left over from years ago, and our music writer Jordan Snowden took time developing new categories. For example, we took readers' suggestions and split up old combined categories like Jazz and Blues and gave them each their own categories this year, and added new genres like Electronic and World Music. Plus, we added new categories like Legacy Performer and Legacy Band, in hopes that readers will vote for their favorite established Pittsburgh celebrity musicians in those categories, and give rising stars a chance in the other categories. (It is, however, always up to the readers to interpret the categories their own ways. So if people still vote for The Clarks as best Pop Band, please remember: WE TRIED.)

More inclusive categories:

We aimed to add more inclusive categories this year, in terms of adding in more diversity. You'll find new categories like Best Venue for Diverse Musical Acts in the Culture and Nightlife section; Best Black-Owned Restaurant and Best International Grocery Store in the Food and Drink section; and Best Black-Owned Hair Salon, Best Black-Owned Barber Shop, Best Women-Owned Business, Best LGBTQ-Owned Business, and Best Person of Color-Owned Business in the Goods and Services section.

Reader Submitted Categories:

And, because chances are high we have missed some important categories, we're asking for your help. For one week only, I'm opening my email up for readers to send over Best of Pittsburgh category suggestions, pertaining to diversity and inclusivity. What did we miss? Please reach out and email me and let us know. (If you write "BEST OF SUBMISSION" in your Subject Line, that'd be a huge help.) The deadline for category suggestions is next Wed., July 1 at 9 a.m. We will be adding 10 new reader-submitted categories to our official poll next Wednesday at noon, which will still give all of our readers three full weeks to nominate folks in these new categories.

Bonus: Answers to that top paragraph:

• No, the poll isn't rigged.
• No, advertising doesn't control the winners. (Anyone can buy an advertisement on our website or a "Vote for me!" ad on a Best of Pittsburgh voting page, but no one can buy a vote.)
• We often switch up the categories from year to year to try to keep things fresh, so the same people don't keep winning year after year, but sometimes people just really, really love what they love. I'm really feeling optimistic, though, that by adding some new categories, we're going to see some new faces.

Our theme for this year's Best of Pittsburgh is City of Champions, but not in the way everyone typically uses that term. Sure, we dig our sports teams as much as the next person, but even more so, we wanted to recognize that the champions in Pittsburgh are also the folks performing on local stages, serving up our meals, and creating amazing artwork on gallery walls. There are so many champions in our city, and we can't wait to see who you choose.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2020 at 7:37 PM

click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATION: JOSIE NORTON
CP Illustration: Josie Norton
Never one to miss a good social media trend, we jumped on the bandwagon last month and created our own "Pick Your Pittsburgh Quarantine House" meme that gave us some good laughs:


But now a month has passed, and we're still haunted by readers telling us their favorites weren't included in our original list. Since we're still in the yellow phase and a lot of us are still stuck at home, we thought we might as well continue the fun. It's time to pick your own quarantine house! It's this week's #CPQuestionOfTheWeek.

You're quarantined with one Pittsburgh celebrity, one Pittsburgh food, and one Pittsburgh drink: What do you choose?

Scroll down to see who our readers chose when left to their own imaginations. (But, for the record, I still think our House No. 6 sounds like a blast.)

"Mister Rogers.
Potato Patch fries.
Arnold Palmer drink.
#sopittsburgh"
Brian K. Root on Twitter

"Betty Esper, 40 oz from Capris Pizza, crab legs from High Rollers. We don’t even have to leave Homestead."
@jeremyjoens on Instagram

"Gertrude Stein, Stations' Tagliatelle with Smoked Pork Shank, and those frozen jabronis from Tina's."
David Bernabo on Facebook

"Noodlehead Chang mai 100% - the person and the drink don’t even matter"
@galsgals on Instagram

"August Wilson - greens and beans from Collangelos and Rose cider from Threadbare."
Anna Rodi Benvenuti on Facebook

"Mikey and Bob. Primanti's. Rolling Rock, before it left Pittsburgh."
michael palmosina on Facebook

"Jeff Goldblum, Triangle Hoagie, Pittsburgh Lemon"
Jessica Amber on Facebook

"Jonas Salk, Pretzel Shop Anything, Turners Iced T"
@lukachris on Instagram

"Polish food with Andy Warhol and beer at Cinderlands"
Beth Oberly on Facebook

"Frankie Capri * Primanti's * IC Light 🔥🔥🔥🔥"
@jleighbob on Instagram

"Mister Rogers
Buffy the Mac Attack Slayer from The Yard
Hitchhikers Band of Existence IPA"
Michelle M on Twitter

"Pittsburgh Dad, Gooskis Wings, Wigle"
John Huxley on Facebook

"Tony Buba, Mineo’s pizza, East End Big Hop"
@samueledwardprice on Instagram

"Wiz khalifa, pierogis, turners chocolate peanut butter milk."
Jessica Grey on Facebook

"Joe Manganiello... and who needs anything else? 😄"
Becky Broderick on Facebook

The Pittsburgh celebrity people mentioned the most:

The man. The legend. The Rick Sebak.

"Rick Sebak, whatever people drop off at his house, and Marburger FARM Dariy chocolate milk."
Amy Brunner on Facebook

"I’m going with Rick Sebak, Turner’s Strawberry Lemonade and a wedding cookie table."
@kimmy_kimkimm on Instagram

"Rick Sebak, Fiori's, Arsenal cider"
Megan Elizabeth on Facebook

"Rick Sebak, Mason Dixon Hot dog and a variety of beers from D's Six Pax & Dogz! 🍻"
Regina Robinson on Facebook

"Rick Sebak, 'O' fries with whiz, Turner’s tea, all narrated by Rick Sebak, natch."
@mrswhitesclassroom on Instagram

"Rick Sebak, pierogies, Schneider's chocolate milk"
Matthew Frankwitt on Facebook

"Rick Sebak. Pierogis Plus. Parking Chair Vodka. There are no other answers..... 🎤 drop."
@leea.jo on Instagram



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATION: JOSIE NORTON
CP Illustration: Josie Norton
Yes, most of Western Pennsylvania is now in the yellow phase, and Beaver County is about to join us, but that doesn't mean life has returned to normal. We're still social distancing. We're still wearing masks. And we still can't return to life as we once knew it. So what does everyone miss the most about life before COVID-19? We reached out to our readers on social media and asked for our #CPQuestionOfTheWeek:

What do you miss the most about life before the pandemic?

"I miss being able to pet neighborhood dogs."
Tessamyn Wieczorkowski on Facebook

"Live Music"
@pittsburghmusicguy on Instagram

"I miss when every single topic that was talked about was not 'it'"
Face with rolling eyes
Andy Manos on Twitter

"Going to a Pirates game."
Katie Kowall Reed on Facebook

"
Going out to a local coffee shop and chilling out for an hour. 💛☕"
@crabbymum on Instagram

"
THE NITE LYFE"
Rejoice Evans on Facebook

"I miss holidays with family and friends. Missing out on an in-person Easter and Mother's Day was tough."
Brian K. Root on Twitter

"Browsing independent bookstores and spending days in local libraries."
@literarylittorallenhart on Instagram

Our favorite comment of the week:

After numerous folks posted about missing hugs on our Facebook post, Jessica Jones Brendel shared this photo of a "hug curtain" her family created so her kids could hug their grandparents:

And me? What am *I* missing the most?

The sense of time. I told yinz I'd get this post up on Monday, and here it is Wednesday already. Hey, cut me some slack, will ya? There's a global pandemic going on! (What will I miss the most about the pandemic when it goes away? Being able to use that excuse.)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 7:16 PM

click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATION: JOSIE NORTON
CP Illustration: Josie Norton
With most of the department working from home these days, our editorial Slack channel has been filled with our staff sharing all sorts of odd quirks we've picked up during quarantine.

Amanda Waltz has developed an obsession for looking at luggage online, even though she's not going anywhere. Hannah Lynn has found herself browsing apartment listings, even though she's not moving. And me? As the solo editorial person still coming into the office during the pandemic, I've taken to raiding everyone else's desks for snacks left behind, even though I'm not hungry. (Thanks for the leftover Girl Scout cookies, friends!)

We reached out to our readers on social media to see if they too have picked up any new quirks for our new weekly series, #CPQuestionOfTheWeek:

What's the weirdest habit you've developed during quarantine?


"I researched 'cat language' and am trying to communicate with my furbaby on a new level."
Becky Klink on Facebook

"Watching YouTube videos of abandoned mansions"
@katie41222 on Instagram

"Reading old Hollywood wiki pages."
Jenna Thomas-Cline on Instagram

"Talking to my plants. I had never done it prior to covid 19."
Jeimy Ibarra on Facebook

"Sitting in different rooms of the house getting a feel for them"
@kirbycucumber on Instagram

"Not being able to hold an adult conversation. Does that count?"
Jessica Amber on Facebook

"Drinking"
slimathee on Instagram

"Staying in my pajamas ALL day!"
— @vail4507 on Instagram

And readers who I'd like to think would appreciate my daily food hunts:

"Hummus in bed at 3am"
@m_zaharko on Instagram

"Increasing my snack intake. Look, it's been a rough couple of months ok? I haven't been able to do s——!"
Aimee K. Davis on Facebook



Monday, May 4, 2020

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 9:22 PM

click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATION: JOSIE NORTON
CP illustration: Josie Norton
It's a hotly contested question, being debated by folks all over the country: When is too soon to ease COVID-19 restrictions? Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Allegheny County was not one of the 24 counties in Pennsylvania allowed to reopen this week, despite the expectation from many that Pittsburgh's Stay at Home Order phase would be eased to the Aggressive Mitigation phase. Some took to social media to express their relief, fearing for public health safety if restrictions were lifted, while others, many fearing lost income from businesses still unable to open, expressed their frustrations.

We reached out to our readers on social media for the second installment of our new weekly series, #CPQuestionOfTheWeek:

Do you think Pittsburgh is ready to reopen?


"Not until we have widespread testing for our most vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes, the jail, and alternative housing facilities!"
— Allegheny County Councilperson Bethany Hallam

"Abso-freakin'-lutely. Allegheny County population is 1.2 million. There's only been 102 deaths. That's .008% of the population. That is such a ridiculously low number to be even having this conversation. Governor Wolf has cost more than a hundred people their lives in financial hardship."
Instagram.com/tony.tucc

"No. The region is full of selfish jags who refuse to care about other people's well-being."
Amy Brunner on Facebook

"Absolutely! If folks dont feel safe they can stay home but business needs to carry on!"
Instagram.com/rachelleparksbonato

"If I felt people would look after not only their own health, safety and interests but also the health, safety and interests of others, yes. But too many don't. If we put others before ourselves, we could. Too many are fueled by anger and fear, not love."
Sam On Yavin IV on Twitter

"Yes based on the data based on available hospitals beds and ventilator available. We did our job we flatten the surge. Now they need to do their job and reopen us."
Laurie Christy on Facebook

"The sad irony is that if social distancing measures and business closures work, then people think they weren’t necessary to start. Those who are calling for businesses to reopen have not seem their friends and families affected (yet). Until we have more tools to combat this—whether that’s tracing or some confirmation that this new remdesivir drug works for treatment—reopening isn’t worth the risks."
Instagram.com/amfanee.lr

Our favorite answer of the week:

"Yinz can reopen, but ima stay in the house & watch what happens to you first 😜😜😜"
Instagram.com/sarahsarah62880

And, on Twitter, we followed up this week's question with a readers' poll:


Thank goodness for takeout.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 7:16 PM

click to enlarge CP ILLUSTRATION: JOSIE NORTON
CP illustration: Josie Norton
Last week, Pittsburgh City Paper brought you 20 Reasons to Keep Smiling, our list of Pittsburgh people, events, and businesses that are bringing us joy despite the pandemic. This week, we wanted to continue to lift readers' spirits by giving them a chance to spread some happiness.

We reached out to our readers on social media for the first installment of our new weekly series, #CPQuestionOfTheWeek:

What is something that has recently brought you joy?


Here are our favorite answers:

 "Being able to practice outside on my aerial rig. 💖🎪🌞"
— Iron City Circus Art performer Abby Richert

"I ordered some perfume that reminded me of a specific time in my life and it took me right back. I've been wearing it when I walk on the bike trail, pretending I'm somewhere else. Maybe not the healthiest coping mechanism but it's still something that brings me joy."
instagram.com/nightmareasachild

"Watching the garbage truck pick up and dump my bin with its robotic arm."
— Pittsburgh artist Nathan Mazur

"Getting stuff in the mail."
instagram.com/mem2243

"My friends and I have been playing excellent hidden role/social deduction game over Zoom similar to Werewolf/Mafia. It's gotten a bit heated occasionally, but overall it's been a lot of fun."
Matthew Frankwitt

"Looking at the stained glass and oriel windows on the cool old houses in Friendship."
The Law Offices of Hall & Copetas

"Keeping in touch with my family and friends. 🙏❤️"
instagram.com/mrsmax62688

"Running and gardening."
instagram.com/runallthestreets

And the best answer of the week?

"The thrill and excitement of trying a different setting on my electric toothbrush. The best two minutes of my week."
Eve Alden


Friday, April 3, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 9:02 AM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh City Paper's shirt available for sale on compressmerch.com
Pittsburgh City Paper's shirt available for sale on compressmerch.com
Even in times of a global pandemic, Pittsburgh City Paper still gets hate mail from conservative trolls. After working for the paper for over 20 years, I've learned to not let it bother me ... well, quite as much as it used to. But sometimes? Sometimes, someone insults you during a global freakin' pandemic when your staff is working their asses off to try to save the company, and you just wanna really stick it to them, you know? And thanks to the good folks at Pittsburgh printshop Commonwealth Press, my wish came true.

It's been a really hard time for the paper. In addition to our staff's own worries about coronavirus, we've also lost a substantial amount of our advertising revenue, so we launched a membership campaign, which is really helping us keep afloat right now. (Thank you, thank you to everyone who has signed up so far.) The cool thing is that when you become a member or make a donation, readers are allowed to list a reason. Many have dedicated in honor of Lynn Cullen, who does a daily podcast on our site. (If you haven't already, please listen; she's a freakin' legend.) But when one new member said they were donating in honor of an online troll who wrote, "No thanks, the City Paper is a woke commie rag," that's when you, dear reader, became my new favorite person.

It only took one email to Dan Rugh, the owner of Commonwealth Press, for him to say yes to turning the insult into a Woke Commie Rag shirt, which you can see in the image above. They have an entire line of COVID-19 Relief Fund merchandise in support of local businesses affected by the pandemic in their shop, including places like the Rex Theater and Piper's Pub, and we're so honored they let us join in. You can order one of our new T-shirts for $25 here: $10 from each shirt will go to City Paper, and $15 will go to their awesome printshop and staff.

Their printshop is hurting too, so it means a lot that we can help another business at the same time as helping ourselves. (They're taking orders and promise to do their best to ship them out as soon as they feel safe doing so.)

We're so lucky to share space in the city with people like them. And with you, our readers. Which reminds me — we're still here! We're still printing! You can pick up this week's issue in street boxes all over the city, Giant Eagle locations, and restaurants that offer takeout. (If you're a business who wants to receive print copies of City Paper, please email kshep@pghcitypaper.com.)

And if you don't need to go outside to get essentials this week, you can flip through the pages of our digital issue from the safety of your homes below.

Our March online readership went up over 50% since February, and as long as we're still around, we promise to keep bringing you the stories that matter most to our community. Thanks for reading. We mean it. It really means a lot.