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Monday, February 18, 2019

Five questions with Pittsburgh City Paper contributing writer Charles Rosenblum

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 12:10 PM

Charles Rosenblum
  • Charles Rosenblum
Taking a walk in most Pittsburgh neighborhoods, it's not uncommon to see historic buildings alongside shiny new developments. Some areas, like the Mexican War Streets in North Side, are protected by regulations that keep the old buildings in good shape and bar new development. But in many parts of Pittsburgh, you'll find these odd clashes of new and old, traditional designs and uber modern buildings sharing the same block. While some of the old and contemporary differences are obvious, according to the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), "the more carefully you look, the more time works to intertwine the seeming opposites."

This Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Paper contributing writer, educator, and architecture critic Charles Rosenblum will present "A Short Discussion of Architecture and Time" at the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center in Wilkinsburg. The PHLF lecture will focus on how studying the architecture of buildings can take one on a journey through time.

In anticipation of the upcoming lecture, we asked Rosenblum five architectural-related questions.

Continue reading »

Monday, February 11, 2019

Giveaway: Submit a Café Photo for a Chance To Win Two Tickets to Cirque Mechanics!

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 4:25 PM

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On March 2, Cirque Mechanics will bring circus acrobatics, mechanical wonders, and a bit of clowning around to Pittsburgh. Submit your café picture below for a chance to win two tickets to see this thrilling performance. Took a pic of your decorated espresso? Snapped a selfie with a delicious scone? All that matters is that you send us a coffeehouse pic that would make any Parisian jealous! Learn more about the event here.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Giveaway: Register for a chance to win Winter Beerfest 2019 Tickets

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 3:31 PM

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This promotion has ended.

Hundreds of craft beers from more than 125 breweries return to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Feb. 22-23 for the sixth annual Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest. Enter your email address below for a chance to win Friday night early admission tickets! Learn more about the event here.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A conversation with Pittsburgh City Paper cover artist Christina Lee

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Pittsburgh artist Christina Lee
  • Pittsburgh artist Christina Lee
There's a cartoon on Christina Lee's Instagram page that caught my eye immediately when scrolling through her posts. It's a colorful illustration of a super cute girl positioned in a Buddha Squat, her hands held together in a prayer pose. And then, when you click on the cartoon to view it larger, the girl ... farts. A simple, animated "Poot!" It's brilliant.

Further down the page, the top half of a white, drooling cartoon dog with lopsided eyes stands in front of a bright pink and yellow background. Click on the image and scroll left, and the second half of the dog is revealed: a hot dog butt.

Christina Lee's Winter Guide cover illustration
  • Christina Lee's Winter Guide cover illustration
It's these types of whimsical illustrations and animations that sets the 26-year-old artist apart from the crowd. Lee excels at playful pieces of art that constantly leave the viewer doing a double-take. Originally from San Jose, Calif., Lee has studied illustration in London and graphic design in NYC, and now lives in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood where she works as a designer for American Eagle and a freelance illustrator. She's also a zinemaker, on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair, and on the team at PULLPROOF Studio, a membership-based workspace for screenprinting artists.

We all need cheered up during Pittsburgh's long, cold winter, and Lee was the perfect person to illustrate this year's Winter Guide. Much like how excited we were scrolling through her Instagram feed, I'm predicting our readers won't be able to look at her cover artwork without smiling. CP caught up with the artist over email after she finished this week's illustrations to talk about her move to Pittsburgh, and the work she's most excited about.

What brought you to Pittsburgh?
I came to Pittsburgh for school back in 2010, and I stayed after graduated in 2014.

You’ve studied in London and NYC. What’s Pittsburgh’s art scene like in comparison?
I can't make the most accurate comparison since I was in London and NYC very briefly as a student, and not as a working artist. However, at first glance, the Pittsburgh art scene is small, yet robust. The artists who are a part of it are welcoming and interested in giving back to the city.

Your artwork is always full of surprises. Do you purposely seek out work that borders on the bizarre?
Yes, I've always been interested in the abject. I've always sought out universal human expression, and shock/awe and humor are two emotions I enjoy evoking in people.

What’s the most fun project you’ve been paid to do?
The most fun project I've been paid to do is PublicSource's "Data on Race" article. I was hired by PublicSource to illustrate infographics that demonstrate racial statistics in Pittsburgh. I found the work profoundly impactful, and I learned a lot from the data I worked with.

CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee
  • CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee

Dream job?
I have several dream jobs. A few of them include Music Video Director, Independent Book Store Owner, and Animated Show Creator.

What inspires you?
I am discovering that I am obsessed with storytelling, specifically visual storytelling. I loved comic books while I was growing up, and I am rediscovering that side of me again. Currently, I am in the process of reading Sabrina, a graphic novel by Nick Drnaso about conspiracy theories involving the murder of a woman, and how the false narratives affect the victim's friends and family. I was particularly interested in it because it was the first graphic novel to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and its themes of fake news are particularly relevant in our current political climate.

Also, I'm reading
The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel about a teenager growing up in San Francisco in the '70s. I recently realized I have a strong interest in the coming-of-age story, especially from the female perspective, so I've been reading a lot of female autobiographies as well (in both novel and graphic novel format!) I'm also addicted to watching music videos, and I can't stop watching Vince Staple's video for "Fun" and Rosalia's video for "MALAMENTE".

You curated a feminist art exhibition last year at Future Tenant for the first time. How did curating a show for other artists compare to creating artwork for a solo show of your own?
It was really fun curating a show for other artists. I flexed my consolidation-building muscle, and also wrote a show statement that I was proud of for the first time in my entire life. It is much easier to write about other people's work than your own.

CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee
  • CP Winter Guide illustrations by Christina Lee

Do you think women artists have a loud enough voice in Pittsburgh?
No, I don't think women across the board have a loud enough voice in Pittsburgh. I think it's getting better, but across the board, the city is still a very male (and white)-dominated environment.

You’re also involved on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair. Are there any new zines in town we should keep an eye out for?
I am actually in the process of curating a Pittsburgh Zine Fair Pop-up at Small Mall, a store in Lawrenceville that focuses on artist-made goods. I curated this section and will include zines by Rachel Ann Brickner, Jason Lee, Aaron Regal, Ceci Ebitz, Madeleine Campbell, and Maggie Negrete. The subjects of their zines include exploring Asian-American identity, women in the music industry, gentrification in Pittsburgh, and the anxieties of being a young adult in this day and age.

You included so many fun things on this week’s Winter Guide cover. What’s your favorite winter activity?
My favorite winter activity is having an excuse to stay in because it's too cold. And drawing!

Where can people buy your artwork?
People can buy my artwork from my online store, Copacetic Comics, or Small Mall.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Test Your Pittsburgh Baseball Knowledge!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 2:05 PM

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You think you're an aficionado for all things Buccos? Test your Pittsburgh baseball knowledge with this quiz. Then, brag about it on social media (as is tradition).

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Monday, January 28, 2019

It's about to get really cold in Pittsburgh - here's where area homeless people (and pets) can find shelter

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 5:07 PM

Free hats, gloves, and scarves hang outside the Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station on Liberty Avenue. - CP PHOTOS: KEVIN SHEPHERD
  • CP photos: Kevin Shepherd
  • Free hats, gloves, and scarves hang outside the Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station on Liberty Avenue.
With the National Weather Service predicting record low temperatures this week in Pittsburgh, questions arise about what kinds of services are available to those experiencing homelessness. CP put together a list of places where vulnerable populations can escape the extreme cold.

In partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net, a medical and social service outreach program in Allegheny County, operates the Winter Shelter at the Smithfield United Church of Christ. The Downtown location is open every night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., including weekends and holidays, regardless of the temperature. The shelter’s services include beds, hot meals, access to showers and laundry facilities, and other resources.

“The individuals who come to the Winter Shelter for services are often those who are the most in need of services,” stated Brian Matous, homeless services supervisor at Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net, in a press release. “In fact, many of the individuals we serve at the Winter Shelter have multiple, complex needs.”

Last year, Operation Safety Net estimates that the Winter Shelter assisted 904 people, including 723 men and 181 women, between November 15, 2017 and March 31, 2018. (The current Winter Shelter runs through March 15, 2019.)

Light of Life on the North Side runs a warming station, as well as an emergency shelter that is open every day of the year.

Light of Life Assistant Director of Development, Kate Wadsworth, says the rescue mission’s warming station will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There, those in need will find hot chocolate and snacks, as well as winter items and hand/feet warmers. Light of Life also serves breakfast and dinner daily.

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The Catholic Charities' Winter Warming Station is now open daily through March from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Susan Zubik Welcome Center located Downtown. All are welcome, regardless of religious affiliation. (Please note that the warming station will close on Sundays if the temperature hits or exceeds 40 degrees.)

The Salvation Army/Worship & Service Center in Homestead (104 East Ninth Ave.) will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are currently experiencing homelessness, call the Allegheny Link crisis hotline (866-730-2368) for help.

United Way's 2-1-1 helpline is also available to link people to resources, such as cold weather shelters. Simply dial 2-1-1, text 898-211, or visit pa211sw.org. Resource navigators are available 24/7 to assist.

See below for other warming centers, including animal-friendly ones, in the area.

City of Pittsburgh warming centers:
Aspinwall, Leetsdale and Verona:
  • Greenfield Healthy Acting Living Center (745 Greenfield Ave., 412-422-6551)
  • Homewood Healthy Active Living Center (7321 Frankstown Ave., 412-244-4190)
  • Allegheny Center Healthy Active Living Center, Northside (Allegheny Square, 412-323-7239)
  • Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center (720 Sherwood Ave., 412-777-5012)
  • South Side Healthy Active Living Center (12th and Bingham Streets, 412-488-8404)

Allegheny County warming shelters:

  • Bethel Park Community Center (5151 Park Ave.)
  • Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department (370 Commercial St.)
  • Clairton municipal building (551 Ravensburg Blvd.)
  • Collier municipal building (2418 Hilltop Rd, Suite 100)
  • Heidelberg Community Center (1639 E. Railroad St.)
  • Ingram municipal building (W. Prospect Ave.)
  • Leetsdale Community Center (373 Beaver St.)
  • McKeesport Palisades/Café (501 Water St.)
  • Pittsburgh Technical Institute (1111 McKee Rd., Oakdale)
  • Shaler North Hills Library (1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.)
  • Verona Police Department (736 E. Railroad Ave.)
  • West Deer Fire Department No. 3 (4372 Gibsonia Rd., Gibsonia)
  • West Mifflin municipal building (3000 Lebanon Church Rd.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 200 (13th and Martha Streets)
  • Munhall Fire Station 201 (1900 West St.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 203 (3401 Main St.)
  • Munhall Fire Station 204 (1817 Whitaker Way)

Animal-friendly:

  • Carnegie borough building (1 Veterans Way)
  • West Deer Township Dog Shelter - animals only (109 East Union Rd., Cheswick)

Update: In addition to those announced by the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County provided a list of municipal warming stations. Please follow their Twitter account (@allegheny_co) for further updates.

  • Turtle Creek Borough Building (125 Monroeville Ave.) - Open Wed. and Thu.,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Scott Glendale Hose Co # 1 (541 Carothers Ave., Carnegie. 412-276-4611) - Open Wed., 8 a.m.
  • Duquesne Council Chambers (12 South Second St., 2nd Floor) - After-hours access through Police Department.
  • Clairton Borough Building (551 Ravensburg Blvd.) - Open now through Friday 4 p.m. Clairton Police Can provide transportation for residents.
  • Pittsburgh Technical College (1111 McKee Rd., North Fayette) - Open 24 hours
  • Port Vue Borough Building (1191 Romine Ave.) - Open Jan. 30 and 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Richland Township Building (4019 Dickey Rd.) - Open Jan. 30 and 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Aspinwall, Leetsdale, and Verona are prepared to set up warming stations if residents experience any heating-related issues over the next few days. Please call 911 if you are in need of or lose heating.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

How Well Do YOU Know Your Pittsburgh Films?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 9:09 AM

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Do you consider yourself a movie buff? Now's your chance to prove your yinzer worth! See how well you know these Pittsburgh-based films for bragging rights.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Tailgate Pix for Tix: Submit a Tailgate Photo for a Chance To Win 2 Country Megatickets!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 4:02 PM

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THIS PROMOTION HAS ENDED

Send us a photo of you and your friends tailgating for a chance to win a pair of tickets to all SEVEN shows on the COUNTRY MEGATICKET driven by DIEHL AUTOMOTIVE.

This package includes a pair of tickets to see Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young, Jason Aldean, and Rascall Flatts!

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wendy Bell wakes up in 2019, tweets

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 5:56 PM

Last evening, the always in-touch Wendy Bell gifted us another insightful nugget on Twitter. This time, she dug deep into her Birkin bag of stereotypes, knocked aside some of the "racially charged" ones, and deftly presented us with her distorted June Cleaver perception of America: 


The last thing we gents want to do after punching the clock at F. W. Woolworth corporate is to come home and think about feeding our children, let alone cook the actual meal. Isn't it enough that we sometimes hug them? Pour me a tumbler of Evan Williams, put on Cronkite, and get yourself and those kids into the kitchen, I've gotta check my Standard Oil stock in the Pittsburgh Press. 
The objections from men who make dinner and women defending them came fast and furious.


Wendy Bell is like an Eloi time traveler whose knowledge of current society is based on The Saturday Evening Post, the only reference material she could get her hands on before bending time and space to make her long journey.

Godspeed and safe travels to your next era, Wendy.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Behind the scenes of 2018's best Pittsburgh City Paper covers

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 7:22 PM


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1. Clara Kent, photographed by Huny Young
April 4, 2018

That beautiful cover photograph of Pittsburgh singer Clara Kent looks like it was taken in a gorgeous garden, right? Prepare to have your mind blown. Photographer Huny Young took the "Michaels' Challenge" for this cover photoshoot, putting Clara in a bustier and posing her in front of plastic greenery and lemon branches in the floral aisle at Michaels arts and craft store at North Hills Village. Every photograph Huny turned in was killer and each could have easily been Clara's next album cover. The best part of giving Huny this assignment? Finding out she and Clara became good friends after meeting for this shoot. They even continued to work together on more projects. Here's a behind-the-scenes shot from Clara's Instagram account where you can see more of the backdrop.




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2. Distracted Pierogi, illustrated by Pat Lewis
July 4, 2018

One of the most popular Internet shares over the past few years has been "Distracted Boyfriend," a meme that just won't die. It features a stock photo of a man checking out another woman while holding hands with his disgusted girlfriend. Memes usually place text over each person, giving every image a new meaning.

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What better way to incorporate one of the best memes in recent history with one of the best weeks of the year? One of our favorite things about summer in Pittsburgh is when furries come to town for Anthrocon. The annual convention is beloved by locals who swarm Downtown to take selfies with the costumed animal characters. Brainstorming this cover was one of the best days at work this entire year, maybe ever. Former editor Rob Rossi, senior writer Ryan Deto, and I laughed for over an hour straight until we were all crying, throwing out ideas at each other for this illustration.

We first played around with the idea of placing a Pittsburgh celebrity like Sally Wiggin in the picture with furries, yelling things out to each other like, "That doesn't make any sense!" And then, "But it's funny!" But in the end, we decided that showing a few of Pittsburgh's mascots falling for a furry attending Anthrocon was the best move. Fun fact: In Pat's initial sketch, the role of Sauerkraut Saul was originally filled by Kenny Kangaroo.

We decided to have even more fun with this cover by changing the name of our paper that week from Pittsburgh City Paper to Pittsburgh Furry Paper. We absolutely loved seeing furries get a kick out of it on the streets while they were in town.

CP PHOTO: CONNOR MARSHMAN
  • CP photo: Connor Marshman



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3. Nihilist College Issue, photographed by Maya Puskaric
Aug. 29, 2018

Maya Puskaric brings on the tears. - CP PHOTO: LISA CUNNINGHAM
  • CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
  • Maya Puskaric brings on the tears.
Staff nihilist, I mean staff writer, Hannah Lynn guest edited our College Issue this year, conceptualizing the theme and choosing which articles appeared in the issue. A recent college grad herself, Hannah was by far the best person on staff to take the lead on the issue. When she approached us with the nihilism theme, and suggested putting "Best Places to Cry on Campus" as the cover art, we were sold.

CP graphic designer Maya Puskaric, also a recent college grad, wasn't just the photographer for this cover. She also talked one of her friends into modeling and dressed her in clothes from her own closet. I added on headlines from Hannah's stories, pulling everything together to make it resemble a teen magazine. Read Maya's behind-the-scenes story to find out how she got that fantastic crying-while-dying-on-the-inside look.



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4. Coloring Issue, illustrated by Jim Rugg
Sept. 26, 2018

FILM STILL: IMAGE TEN, INC.
  • Film still: Image Ten, Inc.
I admit it. I'm addicted to zombies. Add a zombie to a movie, and I'll watch it. Add a zombie to a book, and I'll read it. When CP senior writer Amanda Waltz pitched the idea of doing an oral history on the Night of the Living Dead's 50th anniversary, it was an easy decision to make zombies the theme of this year's Coloring Issue. Add a zombie to a Pittsburgh City Paper cover? Boom! It makes my Top Covers of 2018 post.

Night of the Living Dead was filmed in nearby Butler County. Jim Rugg took the iconic movie scene of zombies walking in the field and moved them to one of the best views in Pittsburgh, Downtown as seen when exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Can you imagine coming out of the tunnel to this motley crew?



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5. Election Issue and the Tree of Life synagogue, photographed by Jared Wickerham
Oct. 31, 2018

AAN, the association of alternative newsmedia, recently asked editors from around the country to share their best work of 2018. Our Election Issue was my selection, largely because of this cover image. Jared Wickerham joining our staff earlier this year as our full-time photographer and videographer was one of the highlights of our entire 2018, and he's proven himself time and time again as one of the most talented photographers not just in Pittsburgh, but anywhere.

Several days before going to print on our Election Issue this October, tragedy struck our city: a mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. The cover we initially had planned — an optimistic, hopeful smiling photo of Summer Lee, the first Black female state legislator from our region — suddenly no longer made sense while the city was in mourning. Jared was on the streets day and night covering the tragedy and provided the beautiful last-minute cover photograph of women embracing in front of the memorial outside the synagogue.



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Bonus favorite: Pittsburghers of the Year, photographed by Jared Wickerham and hand-lettered by Abbie Adams
Dec. 19, 2018

A personal note: To say 2018 has been a hell of a year would be an understatement. I started this year as Art Director, was promoted to Managing Editor this spring, and finally, became Editor-in-Chief in October. When I first started working for Pittsburgh City Paper back in 1997, I knew I found my home. So, you could say this ending has been a long time coming. You can read more about my transition in the letter I wrote our readers when I was promoted.

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But it was as Art Director for the past 13 years where I really fell in love with Pittsburgh, as I worked behind-the-scenes with so many amazing artists and photographers who taught me to look at the city through their eyes. After designing almost every cover and editorial story in the paper myself for all these years, it brought me great joy to finally hire an Editorial Designer a few weeks ago to help me with the paper's design. Abbie Adams, not just a great designer but a fantastic illustrator too, created this cover image her first week, hand-lettering the Pittsburghers of the Year title and designing it on top of a beautiful cover photograph Jared took of the city skyline.

The absolute best part of working for City Paper is getting to share Pittsburgh's stories with our readers. The second is getting to work with such an amazing staff. I'm ending this year better than the last and hope the same for all of you.

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