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Friday, August 17, 2018

'Bee Kind' on National Honey Bee Day

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Are you feeling tired? Weak? Irritable?

Well, you may be deficient in Vitamin Bee — Honey Bees, to be exact — and, lucky for you, Aug. 18 is National Honey Bee Day.

These pollinators get little respect, their reputations clouded with visuals of dive-bombing wasps and traumatic childhood stings. Bees carry the weight of our entire ecosystem, fertilizing plants for the world's food supply.

For years, the Honey Bee population has been on the decline. In 2017, bees experienced their first increase in numbers. These little guys deserve some celebration!

Bridge and Tunnel Books, located on Pittsburgh's North Side, has decided to do just that. The shop is offering a "Bee Kind" bundle, featuring The Bee Book and local honey from Bedillion Honey Farm. With every bundle purchase Bridge and Tunnel will donate $5 to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, an organization that works towards protection and prosperity of pollinators. The 10th buyer will receive free beekeeping lessons at the Bedillion Honey Farm.

At CP, we're just buzzing about bees. And, never opposed to education (or tasty honey) we decided to check out the "Bee Kind" bundle.

Created by The Foliage Library, The Bee Book combines aspects of geometry, art, engineering, and environmentalism — something the library hopes to do with every publication.

The Bee Book isn't much of a book as a piece of art. The hexagon-shaped and honeycomb reminiscent book is a never-ending series of unfolding pieces. Each layer of the book is filled with facts about bees, ranging from flower preference to scientific names.

Once it was apparent that all flaps were not supposed to be held down at one time, the book became a hit. It's interactive, eye-catching, and informative, all things to capture the attention of both children and adults.

The honey was easier to navigate and just as satisfying. The Bedillion Honey Farm, in Hickory Pennsylvania, harvests their honey and beeswax year round.

Bedillion's honey is perfect. The difference between local honey and the store-bought Aldi bear is massive. The honey is smooth and sweet, perfect for peanut butter and banana sandwiches. We quickly stowed it away in preparation for fall tea drinking.

The "Bee Kind" bundle is un-bee-lieveable. It's the bee's knees. A buzzworthy success (okay, we're done now).

Help a bee out by purchasing your own bundle from Bridge and Tunnel. It's all it's cracked up to bee. 

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Experience a new community - no strings attached - at today’s 'Puppet Slam'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 4:18 PM

Puppets from Puppet Slam show - PHOTO COURTESY LARRY RIPPEL
  • Photo courtesy Larry Rippel
  • Puppets from Puppet Slam show
For most people, the phrase “poetry slam” elicits a vision of a dimly lit cafe and scarf-wearing patrons snapping in approval.

For the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh, it’s the inspiration for their third annual "Puppet Slam" taking place tonight in Spring Hill at the Workingmen’s Beneficial Union.

“We’re using the idea of showcasing a bunch of short acts to show people what’s going on with Puppetry in Pittsburgh,” said Cheryl Capezzuti, the Puppet Slam’s chair. “It’s a format that’s actually popular in a lot of cities right now and our guild is trying to introduce Pittsburgh to the concept.”

The showcase will consist of several 5-15 minute puppetry acts by local artists. Capezzuti, a self-described "artist, educator and giant puppet maker," was quick to explain that the event will show artists’ usage of puppetry as a storytelling medium.

“One of the things that is most important to note about the work is that people have this concept that puppets are for little kids and that they tell stories for children,” Capezzuti said. “This work, people come and they will see works that are funny, works that are thought provoking, that are sad, that are creepy, and designed to not just have a good time but to make you think about what’s going on in our world.”

The slam will be hosted by Pittsburgh-based Tom Sarver and Dave English with music by Daniel “Kreepy Dollz” Baxter and his band Imaginary Friends.

The showcase, featuring puppetry media ranging from marionettes to shadow puppets, starts at 7:30 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring their own baskets to a pre-show picnic from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., featuring a food truck, puppet workshops and beer from Spring Hill Brewery.

“You feel like in some ways like you’re going on an adventure to get there but it’s five minutes from Downtown,” Capezzuti said.

Capezzuti admits the event draws an “wide and unusual crowd,” with the event generally drawing 100 attendees.

Tickets are available online at the door for $10 for adults, $5 for children and residents of Spring Hill.

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Best of PGH 2018 Party Photo Slideshow

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:41 AM

On August 9, Pittsburgh City Paper celebrated the Best of PGH 2018 Party. The party was City Paper's highlight event of the year where the best people, places, and trends were celebrated at Nova Place in the North Side.

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Road Trip Recommendation: Laurel Hill Bluegrass Fest

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival - CP PHOTO BY LISA CUNNINGHAM
  • CP photo by Lisa Cunningham
  • Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival
Daily grind got you dreaming of an escape? Then head to the hills!

Tucked into the beautiful wilderness of Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset, about an hour drive from Pittsburgh, the cheerful picking of strings will flow through the trees this weekend for the annual Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival.

The stage is set up under a large tent, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It usually fills up fast. City Paper recommends bringing chairs or a blanket to sit on the grass. You can still hear the music, and you'll get a better view of the mountains against the skyline as you listen.

Colebrook Road
  • Colebrook Road
Seven bluegrass bands play over the course of the fest — four on Saturday, three on Sunday. Aren't able to get there when it starts? No worries. Stick around — each band plays a second set.

Favorites include Harrisburg band Colebrook Road, whose contemporary, upbeat strings are perfect for dancing, and Jakob's Ferry Stragglers, who bring a fresh take to bluegrass tunes with hints of rockabilly. Fans of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival will recognize its annual Bluegrass Day staple Allegheny Grifters, a must-see for lovers of traditional tunes.

And the festival is totally free! But bring cash for food trucks and church stands, providing cheap eats like barbecue, haluski, and desserts. There's also a vendor area with wares from local artisans, typically selling homemade goods like candles, jams, and pottery. Somerset County is renowned for its maple syrup, if you can find some.
Allegheny Grifters
  • Allegheny Grifters

Want to fully embrace the retreat from city life? Sign up for a wagon ride or check out the old-timey village set up at the top of the hill, with demonstrations by reenactors dressed in period garb.

The festival's organization is impressive — volunteers direct traffic, there's ADA parking and shuttle drivers to give lifts to folks with disabilities, and people walking around the park the entire length of the festival, happy to help when needed. You can also bring your pup. The festival is dog-friendly.

One note of caution: Right now, there's a chance of thunderstorms, but in years past, when the storms come, the bands pack up then start again when and if the skies clear. Fingers crossed for sun.

Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival. Sat., Aug. 18, Noon-8 p.m., and Sun., Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset. Free.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin paved a path for today's artists

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 2:21 PM

Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul, who died Thursday morning — paved a musical pathway for contemporary artists.

Looking at Franklin's expansive career, her roots in gospel music are evident; she masterfully fuses her spiritual foundation with blues, R&B, and Rock 'n' roll.

Franklin opened doors for strong, powerful female singers, especially when she hit her 100th charted song in 2014 (becoming the most charted female in history). In 2008, Franklin won her 18th Grammy and sang at President Obama's inauguration. She was the first female to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and held close ties with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Franklin was a musical force, an icon for feminism, and a symbol of black empowerment.

As we mourn her passing, we've taken a look at how Franklin influenced today's singers. Below, we've listed three of today's most popular artists, and how we think they've taken cues from Franklin.


A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Beyoncé approaches life's ruthlessness with an air of lightness. Formation, a song released in 2016, pairs a catchy melody with politically-charged lyrics. Her rhythms are upbeat, similar to Jump To It by Franklin; Both women love unconventional beats. Franklin contrasted melodic resolution with lyric unrest flawlessly.

Jennifer Hudson

A post shared by Jennifer Hudson (@iamjhud) on

One of Hudson's best known performances is And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, an emotionally laden piece that requires a tremendous vocal range. Hudson's voice, a powerhouse of strength and tone, mimics Franklin's ability to sustain sound. Hudson has the same raw energy and rasp that Franklin brought to songs such as Respect and Think.

Alicia Keys

A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on

Keys takes cues from Franklin's commanding, storytelling inflections. Her vocal agility parallels Franklin's; both artists fluctuate between genres with ease. Keys mirrors Franklin's method of building the melody, yet holding back right at the climax, keeping dramatic tension. Songs like (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and If I Ain't Got You spotlight this. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Meet the man who builds miniature ballparks, including PNC Park, for charity

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 12:54 PM

  • Photo courtesy of David Resnik
  • David Resnik's PNC Park model

David Resnik loves architecture and baseball, so his love of a well designed ballpark should come as no surprise. When the Cleveland native isn't at school studying architecture, he spends his time building miniature versions of America's great ballparks and arenas: Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Safeco Field in Seattle, Minute Maid ark in Houston, and Fenway Park in Boston. 

Resnik’s latest project is a model of PNC Park, complete with working stadium lights, miniature video board, and the third-baseline view of the city skyline. All proceeds from the “Mini PNC Park” raffle will go to Miracle League of the South Hills. City Paper spoke with Resnik about his take on the iconic Pittsburgh stadium and how he got into the business of miniatures. 

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Get a last hurrah of summer 2018 with A-Trak and Jubilee at Crosstown Cookout

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 3:37 PM

  • Jubilee

It’s not always bad when someone slides into your DMs.

At least it wasn’t for Jubilee, a performer at the 2018 Crosstown Cookout.

Derek Burnell, one of the faces behind the annual Crosstown Cookout (owner of El Burro, Umami Izakaya, and Round Corner Cantina), reached out to the artist about his event while in London and followed up with a meeting with Jubilee at an afterparty.

“I get a lot of weird messages on Instagram,” the Miami-raised, NYC-based and UK-resident DJ Jubilee laughed. “But [Burnell] came to an afterparty and I just thought, ‘this guy is so cool.’”

Jubilee is known as "The First Lady of Miami Bass" and is just one artist on Crosstown’s talent-filled lineup. She first discovered her love for drum-and-bass in Miami’s underground rave scene; now she runs a segment on BBC Radio 1’s Residency and plays regularly in the U.S. and U.K.

The stages will be headlined by A-Trak, a turntable prodigy recognized for his mission to ignore barriers and fuse genres.

At 22, A-Trak kickstarted his career by opening for Kanye West. Since then, the DJ has started a label, Fool’s Gold, producing artists like Kid Cudi and Onra. A-Trak is half of Duck Sauce, the disco duo behind the global sensation, “Barbra Streisand.”

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Taylor Swift brings fire, glitter, and so, so many snakes to Heinz Field

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 12:16 PM

  • CP photos by Hannah Lynn
The first time I saw Taylor Swift live, I was a freshman in high school. I was 15, a very important age for Swift fans. In the song, "Fifteen," Swift sings about feeling everything, without being old enough to know just how much else is out there. I probably cried to it a dozen times.

At the Pittsburgh stop of her Reputation tour, I didn’t feel the connection I used to, but there were plenty of people, many of them 15, that did. There were throngs of young girls in costumes and DIY shirts: gold letters on a black tee that said “hug me Taylor,” a glittery sign hanging on a girl’s neck that said “handle with care: delicate,” another girl adorned with tide pods and a sign that said “TAYpods.”

The massive, elaborate show at Heinz Field was her fifth performance at the stadium, she announced. She opened with “... Ready For It?” the second single from Reputation that plays like an essential oil diffuser with a drop of hip-hop oil.

The song is meant to set the tone for the rest of the album, which is generally about love, revenge, bad reputations, haters, dresses. She wants her longterm fans and critics alike to know that she's an adult now, and will behave as such, by wearing black lipstick and singing about old fashioneds.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Best of PGH 2018 finalists: Best Card Store

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 2:43 PM

We're revealing the top 10 nominees for this year's Best of Pittsburgh readers' poll. Below are finalists for Best Card Store. Check back on August 8 to see who takes the top three spots, and click here to get your tickets to this year's Best of Party before it sells out!

Kards Unlimited

A staple in the Shadyside community for over 40 years.

love, Pittsburgh

A post shared by Kim Fox (@workerbird) on

The perfect store for all your quirky Steel City needs.


Looking for personalized stationary, wedding invitations, or business cards? Papier is perfect for you.


Lawrenceville's beloved card store, spotlighting local artists.

Top Deck Cards and Games

They have that Yu-Gi-Oh card you've been searching for since 8th grade.

Bebe blu design

Debbie Barbarita hand-illustrates each design, each drawing dedicated to her sister. 

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Concert photos: Smashing Pumpkins at PPG Paints Arena

Posted By on Sun, Aug 5, 2018 at 12:32 PM

Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Aug. 4, 2018 - CP PHOTO BY MIKE PAPARIELLA
  • CP photo by Mike Papariella
  • Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan at PPG Paints Arena on Sat., Aug. 4, 2018
The Smashing Pumpkins brought its "Shiny and Oh So Bright tour" to PPG Paints Arena last night, playing a three-hour set mixed with songs old and new.

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