At Home With: Dani Kramer | At Home With ... | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
click to enlarge PHOTO: DANI KRAMER
Photo: Dani Kramer
Everybody is dealing with the COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions in different ways. While there's no single right way to cope — social distancing and staying TF home aside — connecting with friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start. You can contact your loved ones on your own, but you might also be curious how your favorite strangers in Pittsburgh are coping, so Pittsburgh City Paper is reaching out once a day to artists, activists, workers, and makers to see how they're doing.

Today, it's Dani Kramer of Pin Up Posters Courier Collective and Allegheny Cleanways (and volunteer bridge maintenance).

What is your day-to-day routine like now?
I wake up whenever and make coffee and breakfast. Then I go out to the garden and turn the compost and check on my seedlings in the basement. The rest of the day is a grab-bag of maybe an hour or two of WFH on the computer, looking at houses for sale in rural PA to daydream about, bird-watching, Scrabble online, and whatever craft can keep me busy (sewing, baking, building bee-hotels). By five I usually make a quarantine bartending video if I'm not too bummed out, make dinner, then watch Star Trek with Ampersand the bunny til we fall asleep.

What’s the current state of your bike courier business?
Pin Up Posters Courier Collective still exists, but we're just doing what we can to make it through this. Obviously, we have no income right now, so we're just working on alternatives to keep our heads above water. I'm working for free to try and help a smidge, and two of our past members of the collective are being patient with their buy-outs. We still meet on Zoom once a week and work on our fundraising efforts and check in on each other. We've got merch that folks can buy now, and they'll receive the items they buy when this is over and Commonwealth Press is up and running again. We're also offering folks a 25% discount to pre-pay for work in the future. So folks can pay now for poster distribution in the future and get a sweet deal. We've also got a GoFundMe set up. I just really want the newer members of the crew who are still technically independent contractors to be taken care of.

What is your favorite food to eat at the moment?
I've managed to get by with zero visits to the grocery store, so I'm getting creative! I made saag from edible weeds out of my garden, which was really tasty and it felt good to be self-sufficient. I've got a lot of vegan chili prepped in my freezer, which is delicious and has been a staple in my diet for a few years. I'm not tired of it yet.

What piece of art/film/comic/book/TV/music is bringing you comfort/inspiration at this time?
Letters to Survivors by Gebe is an awesome little graphic novel that's extra poignant right now. I've been listening to a lot of Haydn and Brahms during the day, and Sleigh Bells, Savages, Phantogram, and Crystal Castles at night. (rage-y lady music 😁)

What’s an object in your house that has particular significance to you these days?
Ugh, my phone?! I've been video-chatting with my parents pretty regularly. My dad had emergency triple-bypass surgery last month and I haven't been able to see him in person. So I'm thankful for video call technology. Other than that, I'd say all my trash treasures have been special and important to me. I really miss my work at Allegheny CleanWays, and I've got a bunch of stuff all over the house that I've pulled from illegal dumpsites (bottles, tools, trinkets n doodads). Seeing them around is a comfort, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there and digging into our cleanups.

You’ve been tweeting out some quarantine cocktail recipes. What’s your favorite so far?
That's a toughie! When I still had cava, the French 75 is one of my favorites. Since the cava is no more, I've been making trashy versions of it with raspberry vodka, lime juice, and White Claw. I think my favorite that I still have on hand is Super Punch Jannamico and leftover coffee from breakfast. Shake that up with some ice and something sweet like hazelnut liqueur and you've got a perfectly Pittsburgh-y pick-me-up.

What is happening these days with Cleanways?
All of the staff at Cleanways are working on reduced hours, doing what we can from home. But we're all extremely eager to get back to our work in the field. Our land and river cleanups, as well as outreach and education, are all on standby and we're very anxious to get back out there. The folks running the show are doing what they can to plan for the future, securing grants and making sure we can be running at 100% as soon as we're able.

What’s an organization you’d recommend giving to or supporting at this time?
Ooh there's so many! Off the top of my head, if I had any money right now, it'd be going to the Democratic Socialists of America, Let's Get Free, Pennsylvania Resources Council, and Honor the Earth. And of course, I always find it soothing to give money to Planned Parenthood whenever something is upsetting me.

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