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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

wats:ON? Festival Returns to Carnegie Mellon University

Posted By on Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:55 PM

In years past, the wats:ON? festival at Carnegie Mellon University has featured works that explore virtual reality, speed, transformation and sound. This year, starting Thursday and ending Nov. 4, the festival takes on space — but not the kind that involves planets, stars and black holes.

wats:ON? festival logo
  • wats:ON? festival logo
The theme, "Shift," features works that focus on physical and perceptual space. In "Body Drift," by Jakob Marisco and Chris Carlson, multiple performers will sit or stand onstage in a custom rig. Although they will appear to be still, their minuscule movements are captured and magnified on large projection screens.

In "Transitional Spaces," by Hadi Tabatabai, large panels featuring intricate threadwork create a nebulous sense of space.

Tonight, an opening reception for "Transitional Spaces" takes place at 5 p.m. in the College of Fine Arts Great Hall, followed by a talk by Tabatabai at 6 p.m., in the Kresge Theatre. The installation remains up through Dec. 2.

On Nov. 3 and 4, a reception for "Body Drift" will take place in the College of Fine Arts Great Hall, followed by a performance of the work at 7:30 p.m. in the Kresge Theatre. Right after, Marisco and Carlson will host an informal master class for those who want to learn about the methods and technologies behind "Body Drift."

The festival began in 1997 to honor Jill Watson, a professor in the School of Architecture who was working toward a master's-of-fine-arts degree when she died in the TWA Flight 800 plane crash on July 17, 1996.

The festival is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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Pa. Auditor-General Eugene DePasquale report finds Pittsburgh Zoo and others receive free water from struggling PWSA

Posted By on Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale - CP PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
  • CP Photo by Rebecca Addison
  • Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale
This summer marked one of the hottest in Pittsburgh history. So think of the thousands of gallons of water that were used to maintain city attractions like the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and  the Phipps Conservatory Botanical Gardens this year. The largest tank at the PPG Aquarium holds 15,000 gallons of water alone.

But according to an audit by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released today, these institutions receive water from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority free of charge. Annually the water given freely to Pittsburgh institutions amounts to more than 600 million gallons.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

A brief and subjective guide to the best spots in Allegheny Cemetery

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 12:31 PM

The Allegheny Cemetery began as a 100-acre burial ground in 1845, but today it spans 300 acres and is home to more than 124,000 "residents." For many people, the cemetery is a place of mourning and remembrance, and for others it’s simply a great place for walks, runs, wildlife-spotting and impromptu history lessons. This guide focuses on just a few of the cemetery's highlights.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Amidst cuts to ACA resources, health-insurance marketplace enrollment period to begin Nov. 1, end Dec. 15

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 2:14 PM

Since 2010, more than 20 million people have obtained coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 10 million of those people obtained coverage through the ACA health-insurance marketplace.

But due to significant cuts to resources allocated to informing the public about the ACA, many people may not know that the marketplace enrollment period is starting — and ending — soon. The enrollment period is shorter than ever this year, beginning on Nov. 1, 2017, and ending on Dec.15, 2017.

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Bloomfield gets into the Halloween spirit with 49th annual parade

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 12:22 PM

The 49th annual Bloomfield Halloween Parade on Thu., Oct. 26 - CP PHOTOS BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
  • CP photos by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • The 49th annual Bloomfield Halloween Parade on Thu., Oct. 26

When the Bloomfield Citizens Council (BCC) announced on its website last month that this year's annual Halloween parade was canceled, residents of the neighborhood protested. An online petition to save the parade was created, an emergency meeting was held and, on Thu., Oct. 5, the BCC posted a press release announcing that an anonymous donor had donated funds, and the 49th annual parade was back on.

We were there last night as marching bands, politicians and lots of excited kids in costumes made their way down Liberty Avenue. Check out our photo highlights below.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Recently posted racist video targets Pittsburgh comedian and ‘Drinking Partners’ podcast host Day Bracey

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Day Bracey had had enough. Earlier this month, the well-known Pittsburgh comedian and co-host of the Drinking Partners craft-beer-focused podcast had been engaging in some social-media back-and-forth with another area comedian, Zach Hudak. Bracey took offense at some of Hudak’s posts, which often included racist and homophobic memes, and responded to some of the posts on Facebook.

Then Hudak took the discourse to another level. He responded to Bracey days later with a video he made and posted to Twitter on Oct. 16, tagging Bracey, who is black. The video (shown above) features Hudak, who is white, in black face, imitating Bracey, using a minstrel-like voice, and saying, “Hello there, this bes Day Bracey, when I sees the racist, sexist, Eskimo-phobic, peckerwood motha fucka Zach Hudak, I am gonna be curb stompin’ his ass.”

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Every scary movie playing in Pittsburgh through Halloween night

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 3:04 PM

Some spooky stock-art smoke
  • Some spooky stock-art smoke
There's a neat article in the New York Times this week that hailed 2017 as "the biggest year in horror history." This wasn't hyperbole or opinion. The piece cited numbers from Box Office Mojo, "the most comprehensive box office database on the Internet," and found that horror films have pulled in a record $733 million in 2017. And that's with two months and several potential heavy hitters to go (Happy Death Day and Jigsaw). It and Get Out scored the biggest returns, accounting for roughly $475 million of the year's total.

That's an impressive feat, though the growth wasn't exactly overnight. The Witch, Creep, It Follows, Cabin in the Woods, It Comes at Night and The Babadook are all excellent entries from the 2010s (just to name a few). October, and this week specifically, is a great time to relive those greats and dig back into the history of the genre. Personally, I've been watching a horror movie more or less every day since Oct. 1, including my first-ever viewing of Carrie (excellent, as expected) and The Breed (a phenomenally awful vampire flick from 2001 featuring Bokeem Woodbine, Adrian Paul and the brilliant William Hootkins). But for out-of-the-house viewing, there are plenty of options as well.

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Art commission votes to remove Stephen Foster statue

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 10:50 AM

That troublesome Stephen Foster statue, it seems, is coming down.

Capping decades of racially charged controversy over the 117-year-old bronze memorial to the famed songwriter, the city's Art Commission voted unanimously to remove it from public view and seek a new home where its 19th-century stylings might be given some context.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Allegheny Health Network conference in Pittsburgh tackles drug-addiction misconceptions

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 2:08 PM

Maia Szalavitz was addicted to cocaine and heroin from age 17 to 23. In college, at Columbia University, she says, she sold drugs to make more friends. Things came to a head when she was expelled after the police paid her a visit.

"I opened the door with a needle in my arm," Szalavitz says. "I was expecting a friend."

But being expelled and facing legal consequences for dealing drugs only made her addiction worse. And traditional treatment programs didn't help her.

"Though I knew it was completely wrong, the only thing I could think of to manage my life was more drugs," Szalavitz says.

Szalavitz was among the speakers at a conference hosted by Allegheny Health Network last week, at Allegheny General Hospital. The conference was centered around combating the opioid crisis and featured national experts and AHN addiction-medicine specialists.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wants his bike back

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 4:56 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers' new star wide receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, is known for catching touchdowns and coming up with innovative celebrations, including a hide-and-seek number during the Steelers' win over the Bengals on Oct. 22. But Smith-Schuster is also known as the team's best bike commuter, as he often rides his bike to practice at the Steelers' training facility in the South Side. And in a town where city councilors might scream at you for riding your bike, that's an impressive feat.

However, Smith-Schuster tweeted today, Oct. 24, that his bike has been stolen. "I hope it's not an end of an era #TeamFindJujusBike," wrote Smith-Schuster on Twitter.

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