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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Re-opened Brew House art space gets gallery hours

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 8:04 AM

The art gallery at the Brew House Association, which re-opened in July after a long hiatus, now has gallery hours.

The space's inaugural show, Homecoming: Artists and Adaptation, can be seen Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and by appointment.

The gallery re-opened on July 14, several years after shutting down while the historic South Side complex underwent extensive renovations.

Work from Carin Mincemoyer's "Arboreal Geometric" series, selections from which are on display at the Brew House - ART BY CARIN MINCEMOYER
  • Art by Carin MIncemoyer
  • Work from Carin Mincemoyer's "Arboreal Geometric" series, selections from which are on display at the Brew House
Homecoming: Artists and Adaptation features work by 12 local artists who inhabited the complex, with its famous clock-tower, dating to the days when it was an artist-run co-op, and the gallery was a key part of the city’s art scene. (Kids: This goes all the way back to before the South Side was considered simply a regional drinking destination.)

The artists include Bob Bingham, Chris Craychee, Christiane Delores, Tim Kaulen, Theo Keller, Rob Long, Aimee Manion, Bill Miller, Carin Mincemoyer, Keny Marshall, Wendy Osher and Renee Zettle-Sterling.

The Brew House structures date to 1899, when they were built by Duquesne Brewery. The brewery closed in the early ’70s, and the building was later occupied by artists who renovated portions of it as living and working space.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Very Smart Brothas makes the move to Gizmodo

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:51 PM

In some ways, life at Very Smart Brothas is broadly the same as it was before the Pittsburgh/Washington, D.C.-based blog was acquired by Gizmodo Media Group, on June 30. Contributors including co-founders Damon Young and Panama Jackson still turn out acerbic commentaries on African-American culture and politics with titles like “The 10 Best Places for Black People to Escape White People When We Just Don’t Wanna See Them for a While, Ranked” and “White Supremacy Is the Opioid That’s Destroying America.”

But about 10 days after all VSB’s new content became a vertical under The Root, things are also kind of different — and, mostly, better, says Young. For one, VSB — which already had two million unique visitors a month, with comments for some individual posts numbering in the thousands — is getting even more eyeballs.

“Our traffic has definitely gone up already,” VSB editor-in-chief Young told CP yesterday. That’s not unexpected when you’ve suddenly become part of the Univision empire. But still, having what might have been your best traffic week ever is cause for celebration.

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U.S. Sen. Bob Casey condemns President Trump's comments on Charlottesville violence

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Bob Casey at today's Facebook event in Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
  • CP photo by Rebecca Addison
  • Bob Casey at today's Facebook event in Pittsburgh
At an event in Pittsburgh earlier today, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) called President Donald Trump's comments in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Va., offensive. Trump's latest round of comments, which have angered many over the past 24 hours, equivocated the groups who clashed in Charlottesville over the weekend. On one side were neo-Nazis, white nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan; on the other, those who oppose them.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Squonk Opera in China: Week Two

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 2:19 PM

  • Photos courtesy of Squonk Opera
Pittsburgh-based Squonk Opera is spending August performing its show Pneumatica at the Qingdao International Beer Festival, in China's Shandong province. Throughout the month, Squonk members will be sending City Paper updates about their experiences week-to-week. For more info, go here.

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An NYC road trip to check out Progress UK wrestling

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 1:17 PM

Pete Dunne, left, and Jack Gallagher - CP PHOTO BY MEG FAIR
  • CP Photo by Meg Fair
  • Pete Dunne, left, and Jack Gallagher


On a Saturday night in Queens, NY, more than 1,000 bodies jammed into a gym probably meant for a crowd of half that, to see a show from a little ol’ wrestling company from the UK. Progress Wrestling, founded in 2012, is a beautiful fusion of punk rock and professional wrestling. The strong-style, heavy production is, and you could have guessed by the name, more progressive than the average pro wrestling company.

Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” burst from the speakers and the crowd erupted into cheers as Progress founder and ring announcer Jim Smallman made his way to the ring. You could tell that Smallman was absolutely floored by the intensity and vigor of the crowd. Before the show even started, the NYC merchandise had sold out and the crowd was already chanting “Please come back!”

Smallman laid down the main rule for the night and the Progress mantra and the crowd gleefully joined in: “Don’t be a dick!”

The night kicked off with a brilliant promo from heel extraordinaire and WWE UK Champion, Pete Dunne. Dunne was supposed to fight WWE 205 Live star and former Progress wrestler, Gentleman Jack Gallagher for the UK title. But, due to an injury that required 11 stitches the night before, Dunne was not cleared to compete. Dunne came out to jeers and boos as he claimed he owned WWE, Progress, and the entire city of NYC. (Dunne would later bend someone’s hand who was flipping him off.)

The sweet and perfect lad that is Gallagher came out to stop the champ’s ego, reminding Dunne that he hadn’t seen Dunne on TV last week (while Gallagher had been). It was teased that this was a match with a future possibility, to which the crowd popped immensely.

Of course Gallagher was still going to wrestle somebody, and who else would it be but Progress’ most hated wrestler, Zack Gibson. The whole deal is that we’re supposed to hate him because he’s from Liverpool. I don’t really understand why that’s the case, but the crowd did what it had to. You could barely hear a word Gibson said on that microphone because the boos from the crowd were so insanely loud. It was absolutely marvelous.

The two wrestled a fabulous match, of course, with huge cheers for Gallagher and nothin’ but hate for Gibson during his US debut.

Jinny and Deonna Purrazzo (the heels) entered to good heel heat, especially Jinny, whose glare could absolutely kill anybody. The faces were the sweetest angels to grace the ring, South Pacific Power Trip’s Dahlia Black and #TeamKick queen Dakota Kai (recently signed to WWE).

The pacing in this match was absolutely marvelous, with all of these women playing up their heroics or villainy. It had me on the edge of my seat, desperately cheering for the good gals, but alas it was evil that triumphed here. That being said, it was still an absolutely moving match, and I can’t wait to see more from every single one of these women.

Jimmy Havoc vs. “Bad Boy” Joey Janela in a no DQ match was a highly anticipated event. The cinder blocks and chairs, doors and tables had been slid under the ring in preparation for what most assumed would be a match that included legal murder. The crowd was somewhat split, but the joyous chant of “Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy Fucking Havoc!” was absolutely beautiful.

I truly cannot express how stressed and into this match I was. Several times I screamed out loud in terror as the two absolutely laid waste to each other using all of the tools at their disposal. There were some really amazing spots too, like when Havoc set up Janela to get smashed into a chair off the corner and instead Janela landed sitting in the chair.

It was only after Janela was dropped onto some tacks (feet and manhood spots) that Havoc put him away. It was a brilliant no DQ match, probably my favorite to witness to date.

Not a no DQ match, but one that had me wincing nonetheless was the incredible showing between Matt Riddle (the Superking of Bros) and behemoth of a man Walter for the Atlas championship. By the end of the match both men’s chests were absolute RED from the insane slaps and chops delivered to each other. Ultimately it would be Riddle who vanquished Walter, but it was a super thrilling match in terms of pacing and intensity.

The four way between Mark Andrews, Austin Theory, Mark Haskins and surprise entrant Keith Lee was absolutely bonkers. Andrews high-flying actually had my jaw on the floor, and Keith Lee is so charismatic it should be illegal. Ultimately it was Haskins who ended up on top, but these four men really brought it.

The matchup of returning South Pacific Power Trip (TK and Travis) vs. British Strong Style (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) was very hyped up, as BSS are some of the most talented and tantalizing heels in the business and SPPT are loveable, high-energy faces who were in the midst of a very recent comeback from industry.

The match started off fun with elements of comedy and banter in the mix, but quickly got very serious as SPPT member TK jumped off the corner of the ring and landed on BSS. Unfortunately he came down hard and wrong, and dislocated his ankle.

The match was immediately called off as the folks at Progress took care of the situation—it was really sobering. It’s not often that we’re reminded how much our favorite wrestlers put their body on the line for us, and when we see accidents happen it is absolutely devastating.

Travis Scott, TK’s partner, hopped on the mic after TK had been carried out to challenge Tyler Bate and Trent Seven in a handicap match to avenge TK. The handicap match ruled, and the crowd was so emotionally invested in the success of Scott after seeing a fan-favorite injured. When Scott ended up on top, the whole crowd was deafening in its applause and cheers.


There were so many really beautiful moments at Progress NYC that showed what the pro wrestling community has to offer as place of friendship and support.

Before the second half of the show, Smallman turned the mic over to Mike, who had driven to the show from Florida with his girlfriend Cat, so that he could propose to her. That pop from the crowd when he proposed and she said yes had several folks in my row crying happy tears and on their feet cheering. Even though the room was full of a thousand strangers, that moment especially made it clear that everyone in that room was family.

Additionally, whenever TK injured his ankle and the match was called, the crowd was so quiet and patient and respectful. It was really refreshing to see decent human behaviour reign as the organizers chased down a doctor to help get TK out of the area and taken care of. Although his injury appeared to be pretty gnarly, the angelic TK was literally fist-bumping people as he was carried away. His love for the crowd was tangible as was our love for him.

Progress Wrestling has created an incredible environment of inclusivity and mutual support with a roster of incredibly humble and kind wrestlers, the kind of folks who don’t really need to run their own merch booths but do so with grace and patience and endless gratitude for every person who walks up to their table after not only wrestling for us but also jumping to the aid of people who were passing out in the sweaty gymnasium.

Given the fire code smashing and general insanity of the night, I highly doubt that Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities’ Center in Queens will ever host Progress again, but I certainly hope to see those lads on the East Coast sooner rather than later.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Lynn Cullen Show returns to Pittsburgh City Paper on Tuesday Aug. 15

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 7:16 PM

The world since Lynn Cullen went off the air
  • The world since Lynn Cullen went off the air
Lynn Cullen, Pittsburgh's only real progressive talk show host, makes her return to at 10 a.m. on Tue. Aug. 15. Cullen has been off the air because City Paper's incompetent editor, Charlie Deitch, struggled to find a place for Cullen to broadcast, despite the fact that most 12-year-old kids know how to put on a podcast.

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Hundreds gather for Pittsburgh solidarity vigil against Charlottesville violence

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 9:51 AM

The crowd sang the 19th century socialist anthem “The Red Flag” to the tune of “O Christmas Tree” during a candlelight vigil in Schenley Plaza on Sun., Aug. 13. - CP PHOTO BY STEPHEN CARUSO
  • CP photo by Stephen Caruso
  • The crowd sang the 19th century socialist anthem “The Red Flag” to the tune of “O Christmas Tree” during a candlelight vigil in Schenley Plaza on Sun., Aug. 13.
Oakland's Schenley Plaza filled with waving red flags and determined speakers as some 700 Pittsburghers showed up for an impromptu rally and candlelight vigil in response to violence this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Pittsburgh Filmmakers marks Restaurant Week with films and video programs

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 4:53 PM


Pittsburgh Restaurant Week runs Aug. 14-20, and to mark it, Pittsburgh Filmmakers is presenting several programs about food, cooking and community here in Pittsburgh and around  the world.

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PWSA grants activists’ request to consider a customer-assistance program

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 1:59 PM

Speakers at the Aug. 10 board meeting - CP PHOTO BY HALEY FREDERICK
  • CP photo by Haley Frederick
  • Speakers at the Aug. 10 board meeting
Members of the Our Water Campaign attended a Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) board meeting on Thursday to urge the board to develop a water-affordability plan for low-income customers. Our Water asked the board to form a subcommittee to work on the project and to consider a moratorium on shutoffs, amid the slew of issues PWSA has been dealing with in the past several months, such as billing discrepancies and concern over lead levels.

“We’re here today to make sure that there is an assistance program in place — we have one for energy, we have one for electricity, we have one for the sewage bill at Alcosan now — we don’t have one for water,” said Aly Shaw of Pittsburgh United. “So we want to make sure there’s an assistance program in place, and until that happens, we think, with the incorrect bills coming out of PWSA and the lead crisis, that there shouldn’t be any water shutoffs until people have an assistance program.”

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Advocates call for Lexington Technology Park redevelopment to include affordable housing

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Laura Wiens, of Pittsburghers for Public Transit, speaking at an August URA meeting - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Laura Wiens, of Pittsburghers for Public Transit, speaking at an August URA meeting
When it comes to building affordable housing, there is no better place to do so than near public transportation. Since low-income people are less likely to own cars than higher-income individuals, good access to public transit is necessary for affordable-housing dwellers to travel to work, visit family and just get around. According to the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy, people in the Pittsburgh Metro area spend 34 percent of their income on transportation, the second highest figure of large U.S. metro areas, just behind Tampa.

And at a Aug. 10 meeting, this thinking led a group of affordable-housing advocates to request that Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority include affordable-housing measures in its pitch to redevelop the Lexington Technology Park, in North Point Breeze.

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