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Local artists and musicians continue rallying to the cause of Steven Kurtz, the artist and former Carnegie Mellon University professor facing federal criminal charges after a bizarre series of events earlier this year. Under the auspices of the Patriot Act, Kurtz was detained and investigated by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force following the discovery in his home in Buffalo of biotechnology research materials he used as a member of the Critical Art Ensemble (see City Paper News Briefs: "Curtailing Kurtz," June 23, But Kurtz was not arraigned on charges of bioterrorism; instead, he faces up to 20 years of prison on each of four counts of mail and wire fraud -- charges some regard as a face-saving move by federal officials unable to mount a bioterror case against him. With support for Kurtz being voiced on First Amendment grounds in the science magazine Nature and by artists and academics nationally, Pittsburghers host Keep on Rockin' in the Free World, a benefit for his legal defense fund. The evening features a case update by Nathan Martin of the Carbon Defense League, a talk on civil liberties and the USA Patriot Act by the Center for Constitutional Law's Mike Healey, and ACLU tips on FBI questioning by Omar Slater. There's also consciousness-raising entertainment including: DJs Ed Um and Amy Rappa, live music by the Lay-Z-Boys and The Working Poor and Cell Wars, a movie by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE.


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