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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Meet the staff: Senior writer Amanda Waltz gets spooky (and sexy) on Ghoul on Ghoul podcast

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2019 at 11:53 AM

Several months after Amanda Waltz came on board as our senior A&E writer at Pittsburgh City Paper, and just a few days after I was named editor, she came to my desk and confided a secret, whispering the words Generation X bosses overseeing millennial staffs are most fearful of: "I have a podcast."

I soon realized why she hadn't confessed this to our former male editor. It wasn't just any podcast, she explained. It was about ghosts ... and sex. Ghoul on Ghoul, which Amanda records each week with her co-host, Sarah, promotes itself as "a supernatural sex-positive horror comedy podcast featuring first-person encounters with the paranormal."

It wasn't totally a shock. While Amanda is talented at writing both heavily reported news stories or diving head first into a multifaceted art review, she's also become known as the office deviate — the kind of person who will say anything on her mind without thinking twice. I mean that quite affectionately. She's refreshingly honest and also unashamed to have serious conversations about her sexuality. In the realms that an office environment allows, of course, though I'll admit that an alt-weekly newsroom is probably much more lax than others.

My first response when she told me about her podcast was to beg her to let me promote it. We've been aiming to increase diversity at the paper over the past year, introducing sex and social justice columnist Jessie Sage to our pages, and including even more feminist and social justice causes in our news coverage. Showing our readers that our senior writer also is a sex-positive horror junky is good press! But while she's talked openly about it in the office since, Amanda asked me to keep it a secret to the public, wanting to keep her personal life separate from her professional life.

But months later, after immersing herself more and more in the local arts and nightlife scenes as a reporter, she realized it was getting harder not to mention it when asked, so I now officially have permission to out her as a Ghoul.
The podcast itself is more charming than shocking. Yes, it's NSFW unless you're wearing headphones — or working at an alt-weekly, and the women swear. A lot. A fucking lot. But listening to the podcast is largely like eavesdropping on a conversation between two girlfriends sharing a large bottle of wine.

They laugh frequently at themselves and each other, share secrets about their own sex lives, and both have a tendency to break into voices and impressions, from Björk to Bon Jovi. Basically, they're not afraid to sound like giant dorks.

Each podcast is nearly an hour, and guests keep the show interesting. They've had on everyone from CP's own Jessie Sage to Tobin Seastedt of Crickets to Betsy, who brought on mealworms and grasshoppers for the hosts to eat on air before talking about all-natural lube. If transitioning from discussing the crunch of a bug leg in a cookie to an admission that it's harder to get wet as you age sounds weird, just trust me. They make it work.

Ghoul on Ghoul also specializes in ghost stories and local horror folklore; serial killers and cults; true crime and hauntings. And sometimes, it combines both. There's at least one episode where the women discuss sex with ghosts, and on the episode with Sage, they discuss ovipositors, a sex toy that allows women to deposit an egg inside their vaginas so they can experience the joy of giving birth to an alien.

Tonight, Amanda and Sarah celebrate their first anniversary with the Rate / Review / Subscribe / Imbide: A PGH Podcast Party at Spirit in Lawrenceville. The night includes DJ MB from the In Bed by Ten dance party and tarot readings. In addition to Ghoul on Ghoul, the pair have also invited other local podcasts to join the fun. Guests are encouraged to subscribe to any of the podcasts — Give Me Murder or Give Me Death, Neon Brainiacs, THRIFTY Podcast, Start The Beats w/SIKES, and Werewolf Ambulance — for a chance to win prizes.

The event is free and starts at 7 p.m., with the live show recording starting at 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast, April 17: Life as a student journalist

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 6:13 PM

City Paper's Janine Faust, Ryan Deto, and Alex Gordon
  • City Paper's Janine Faust, Ryan Deto, and Alex Gordon

In this episode of Pittsburgh City Podcast, we're discussing the daily life of a student journalist. CP managing editor/podcast host Alex Gordon and CP staff writer Ryan Deto are joined by news intern Janine Faust, who, this fall, will take over the Pitt News as editor in chief. We're also joined by students/future journalists from Mount Pleasant High School.

The Pittsburgh City Podcast is brought to you by Pittsburgh City Paper and the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation.

Meet this week's Pittsburgh City Paper cover artist: Ellissa Nicholle Schatz

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 1:06 PM

Ellissa Nicholle Schatz
  • Ellissa Nicholle Schatz

This week's colorful hand-lettered Marijuana Issue cover was created by Pittsburgh artist Ellissa Nicholle Schatz. Pittsburgh City Paper asked her a few questions over email about her artwork after completing the cover illustration.

How did you get into illustrating?

I went to SCAD [The Savannah College of Art and Design] for illustration and printmaking, and now am working to amp up my freelance career alongside my graphic design 9-to-5. I'm just having fun and figuring out what/how I like to draw.

What is your dream job? Dream client?

I'd love to be doing creative direction for an art and fashion publication, something where I could have my eyes and hands in a lot of different projects.

Freelance-wise, I've been dying to work with Bitch Magazine since I first found out about them. Doing a mural is also on my list of goals for the next couple years.

Ellissa Schatz's CP cover illustration
  • Ellissa Schatz's CP cover illustration

Your cover illustration this week includes a lovely moody person, scrolling hand lettering, lots of plants, and an interpretive and vibrant use of color — all of which are seen throughout your larger body of work. Where do you gather inspiration from?

Honestly, Instagram, like everyone else, mostly. I love big Versace-ish fashion prints and bright colors that maybe don't go together and girls that have inches-long bejeweled acrylics. Also other illustrators like Laura Callaghan and Caleb Boyles (I went to school with him and you should really check him out … he's so good).

You work in a lot of different mediums including silkscreen, digital illustration, works on paper, animation, and zines. Do you have a favorite? Do you go to a particular medium for creating different subject matter, mood, or message?

When I feel like I haven't made something in awhile, or having a day where I can't draw, I like to paint or silkscreen (both using very low-tech setups on top of my drafting table). Making something that is probably going to be kind of messy by nature makes me loosen up a lot and gets me in the mood to have more ideas for projects way more organically than staring at an empty Photoshop document would.

Digital is cool for most client work just because you can change things so fast and colors can be so fun to play with, but there also is a pressure to make things extra perfect because you have the ability to do so. I think painting and screen printing are more of an experimental personal project way of working for me, and then drawing and animating in Photoshop is more "professional" I guess. I'd loooooovvveeee to start doing more animations for work just to get better at it.

Do you have any big or exciting projects coming up?

I'll be in a show with a bunch of other artists in the fall, so I'm starting to work on paintings for that. That's going to be super fun. And then I'm also in the works for something with a really cool publication later on in the spring. For more on that you'll have to check my Instagram because it's not entirely ironed out yet.

Where can people buy and see more of your artwork?

I'll have some work for sale in Small Mall this summer! I'm thrilled about that. And then you can check out my Instagram, I sell prints on there sometimes. Or my website. I also have a Redbubble and Society6 that are up to date (for now) if you want different sizes!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast, April 10: The many roads that lead to a job in journalism

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 8:09 AM

  • CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
This week on the Pittsburgh City Podcast, we're joined by students from Urban Pathways. The topic today is the many roads that lead people into careers in journalism (hint: it's not necessarily getting a degree). Host Alex Gordon talks with Pittsburgh City Paper digital media manager Josh Oswald (who now has a column at CP), and office coordinator Maggie Weaver (who is now a staff writer and food critic).

The Pittsburgh City Podcast is brought to you by Pittsburgh City Paper and the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast, April 3: Bigfoot is news, too

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 7:50 PM


This week on the Pittsburgh City Podcast, host Alex Gordon and CP staffers Amanda Waltz and Abbie Adams tackle the serious business of covering local paranormal conferences. They're joined by students from East Allegheny High School.

The Pittsburgh City Podcast is brought to you by Pittsburgh City Paper and the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation.

Continue reading »

Friday, March 29, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast March 28: Covering last weekend's protests

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 6:47 PM

  • CP photo: Jared Murphy
On this week's Pittsburgh City Podcast, we're discussing the coverage of last weekend's protests in response to the verdict on the Antwon Rose Jr. trial, in which a former East Pittsburgh police officer was acquitted for the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager.

Host Alex Gordon is joined by City Paper writers Ryan Deto and Hannah Lynn, as well as students from Pine-Richland High School.

The Pittsburgh City Podcast is brought to you by Pittsburgh City Paper and the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast welcomes local high school students as new co-hosts

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 8:49 AM

  • Photo: Point Park Center for Media Innovation
Last week, Pittsburgh City Podcast introduced a new host, CP managing editor Alex Gordon.

This week, we're introducing some new co-hosts: three students from Bishop Canevin High School. Join our co-hosts, Alex, and CP writers Jordan Snowden and Ryan Deto as they discuss an upcoming hair and fashion expo, the non-boring world of transit journalism, and an exploration of charitable busking.

Next week, we'll be back with another high school and three new co-hosts, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that. The Pittsburgh City Podcast is brought to you by Pittsburgh City Paper and the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Meet Disco, this week's Spring Guide cover artist

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 6:03 AM

Disco, superstar artist - CP PHOTO: RENEE ROSENSTEEL
  • CP photo: Renee Rosensteel
  • Disco, superstar artist
The painting seen on this week's cover was painted by Disco the penguin from the National Aviary.

Watch the artist creating this week's masterpiece in our behind-the-scenes video by Renee Rosensteel above; then, enter to win the original artwork!

Take a photo of this week's cover and post it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; tag Pittsburgh City Paper (@pghcitypaper) and National Aviary (@national_aviary).

One winner will be chosen at random. The prize package will also include two free passes to the North Side's National Aviary, and two City Paper T-shirts.

No purchase necessary to win. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Pittsburgh City Podcast: Comedian Gab Bonesso discusses this week's cover story on the sexism and harassment facing women in Pittsburgh's comedy scene

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 at 4:43 PM

Pittsburgh comedian and CP contributing writer Gab Bonesso with students from Norwin and North Hills High Schools - CP PHOTO: LISA CUNNINGHAM
  • CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
  • Pittsburgh comedian and CP contributing writer Gab Bonesso with students from Norwin and North Hills High Schools
This week's Pittsburgh City Paper cover story, a roundtable on the sexism and harassment some Pittsburgh female comics face in the local comedy scene, featured CP contributing writer and local comic Gab Bonesso. For this week's Pittsburgh City Podcast, Bonesso joins CP's editor Lisa Cunningham and managing editor Alex Gordon to discuss how the story was formed, and answers questions from high school students at Point Park University for High School Media Day.

The Pittsburgh City Podcast is a collective effort between Pittsburgh City Paper and Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation, hosted by CP managing editor Alex Gordon.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Take Your Driver’s Exam at the Cindy Cohen School of Driving

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 12:45 PM

Hate waiting at the DMV? Ditch the lines and take your Driver’s Exam at the Cindy Cohen School of Driving.

PennDOT has authorized a limited number of non-DMV locations to conduct PA Driver’s Exams. Cindy Cohen School of Driving is one of the very few approved Third-Party Testing Centers in southwestern Pennsylvania and the only one in the City of Pittsburgh. Now, instead of having to schedule an exam weeks ahead of time and then go to a PennDoT Driver’s License Center, you can schedule your exam as little as 48 hours ahead of time with CCSoD.

The road tests begin and end in the parking lot of CCSoD’s 3131 West Carson Street testing site. Exam routes are comparable to those of the state test centers. CCSoD examiners have been qualified, approved, and verified by PennDOT, and tests are conducted and scored according to PennDoT standards. The testing center serves anyone with a valid Pennsylvania learner’s permit.

Besides the driver’s exam, Cindy Cohen School of Driving also offers lessons for new drivers, previously-licensed adults, and internationally-licensed drivers. In the past eight years over 30,000 drivers have learned safe driving techniques from CCSoD. For lessons the school accepts most valid state learner’s permits. The school can also teach international drivers.

Behind-the-wheel lessons place a student on the road with an approved Pennsylvania driving instructor, licensed through the Department of Education. CCSoD instructors are recognized for their technical expertise and dedication to safety, as well as for fostering a positive learning environment which helps inexperienced drivers overcome the nervousness that often accompanies learning to drive. Driving lessons are generally two hours long and cost $150 per lesson. Lessons can include basic vehicle control, specific maneuvers (such as three-point turns and parallel parking), defensive driving practices, and more advanced topics (lane-changing and merging, highway driving, adverse conditions, etc). Students can sign up for one or as many lessons as necessary to become a safe, confident driver.

CCSOD is client-driven, offering individualized instruction catering to pupil-specific skills and needs. The number of lessons necessary to reach an acceptable level of driving proficiency varies for each client, depending on experience, aptitude, and other factors. They offer brush-up lessons for licensed or permitted drivers who may have severe driving anxiety. They have transformed many fearful individuals into confident, safe drivers. The school offers a practice test to prepare clients for the driver’s license exam at CCSOD. Senior observations are offered to help those suffering from illness or injury to continue driving safely. There is also an online driver’s education course available through the CCSoD website,

Thanks to Cindy Cohen and her staff, new drivers are hitting the roads confidently and safely, through a quick and friendly process. Take lessons and/or schedule your driver’s exam today by visiting or calling (412) 580-0027.

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