Page 1

ISSUE 9 p

SAWDUST & SACRIFICE

THE LARGER THAN LIFE ARTS

EMPOWERMENT PROJECT IN MCKEES ROCKS

HOLIDAY DISHES &

COCKTAILS

to warm up any get together

CHARITIES

That Need YOUR Help

How to make your time count this year!

HOLIDAY FASHIONS TO MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON BRIGHT


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ISSUE 9 p

SAWDUST

Cover Image: Photo by Gregory Neiser

& SACRIFICE

THE LARGER THAN LIFE ARTS

EMPOWERMENT PROJECT IN MCKEES ROCKS

HOLIDAY DISHES &

COCKTAILS

to warm up any get together

CHARITIES That Need YOUR Help

How to make your time count this year!

HOLIDAY FASHIONS TO MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON BRIGHT

ADVERTISING info@local-pittsburgh.com


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR As the Holidays bear down on us like a runaway train, it’s important to take stock of what the holidays actually mean to us. What’s the value of a present? What garners ultimate happiness? Are we destined to become an egocentric amalgamation of people that will ultimately succumb to materialistic tyranny? Those are tough questions, with complicated answers, but there is something that we can all do to truly help the world and ourselves in the process, charity. And I’m not talking giving your old sock collection to Goodwill so they can sell for 30 times the profit, but a real, relevant charity; a women’s shelter, soup kitchen, hospital ward, boys and girl club, or animal shelter. The “Facebook like” is by far the most sought after commodity in our oneclick society, but if we can learn to change our behavior and disperse our help to others who need it, we can recapture the connectivity we’ve lost over the past decade. In this issue, we’re highlighting a handful of low-profile charities that are making a significant impact in the region, and could use your help. We’re also featuring a remarkable organization called 412 Food Rescue, and their mission to end hunger not only in Pittsburgh, but across the world. As we fall further into a widening chasm of likes, emojis, and selfies, we can still find our humanity by simply doing good for those who need it.

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As always, enjoy our journey through Pittsburgh, and Happy Holidays. Editor-In-Chief, Rodney Burrell

Have a story idea? 4

| Issue 9

Send your information and pitch to rburrell@local-pittsburgh.com.


Contents 8 12

14

32

48

6

History of The Hill District:

8

Waste Knotz Want Knotz:

A bustling epicenter back on the rise. Nisha Blackwell is setting the city on fire with her handmade bowties.

12

Holiday Sweet Tooth:

14

Day in The Life:

16

The Raw Truth:

Indulge in some of our favorite holiday treats. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. We follow PBT soloist, Hannah Carter, for the day. Turns out she dances quite a bit. Dan Burda and Studio Raw have a flair for the theatrical and a heart for the community. Find out why.

22

People of Pittsburgh:

24

Good Food Pittsburgh:

32

Fashion:

36

412 Food Rescue:

41

What makes you happy this holiday season? Holiday cocktails to keep you warm, holiday dishes to keep you full, and news to keep you informed. Holiday inspired looks for all occasions. Ending Pittsburgh’s hunger problem.

Impact:

Five local charities that need your help in a big way.

48

The Roar of Change:

52

Art:

54

Music:

58

Fitness Files:

60

Buyer’s Guide:

62

Animal activist Jaqueline Gnazzo shares her volunteering experience in an African Animal Conservation. Spray paint artist, Durty, and fine artist Kait Schoeb. We feature Devin Moses and The Saved, Andre Costello and The Coal Miners, Chet Vincent and The Big Bend, and Stutter Steps. Punish your culinary sins with these fat-burning exercises. Gifts that keep on giving. (No, not the Jelly of the Month Club.)

Sawdust and Sacrifice:

17,000 square feet and a dream for an artsy tomorrow. 5

| Issue 9


h history

The early origins of the Hill District started much like most Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It began as farmland until the 1840s when a tract on what would become the Lower Hill was purchased by Thomas Mellon, who converted the land into a residential community. Wealthy and influential figures soon populated the area in association to a broad array of immigrants following the Civil War, including a large population of free blacks. New cultural traditions thrived in the Hill District, including music, theater, and sports. Though short-lived, the Negro Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pittsburgh Crawfords fielded some of the best teams ever assembled including Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Josh Gibson from 1931-40. The peak of the Hill Districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cultural significance, though, arose from its arts tradition, and attracted national attention. 6

| Issue 9

Written by Ben Hamrick Illustration by Jordan Mitchell


FRO M CRO SSROADS TO REDEVELO PM ENT A HISTORY OF THE HILL DISTRICT from the scope of American (and Pittsburgher) consciousness? After the war, economics and post-World War II paranoia dominated the local political mindset.

For much of the early twentieth century, the Hill District served as an African-American cultural oasis for Pittsburgh. An emphasis on culture preservation persevered throughout Pittsburgh’s African-American community; many of whom changed the national music landscape of the time. Performers including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane flocked to Pittsburgh and its Uptown community to contribute to its wealth of jazz, blues, and theater productions. Until the 1950s, the Hill District was a bastion of African-American culture and revolutionized popular music. So what happened? How could a culturally significant community simply vanish

Unfortunately for the Hill, development and city restructuring projects following the Second World War permanently severed the Hill from its Downtown connection. Concerns arose regarding finding jobs for soldiers returning from the War and reestablishing industrial presence for the city. In 1943, City Councilman George Evans proclaimed the Hill District to be “one of the most outstanding examples in Pittsburgh of neighborhood deterioration,” arguing the Hill was perfect for city land reclamation. Evans’ argument included eliminating much of the residential housing of the Lower Hill and rebuilding housing for returning war veterans and promoting private enterprise for the growth of industry. The plan began in the 1956 and displaced much of the Hill’s population to surrounding neighborhoods. The rest of the Hill District was excluded from local and federal redevelopment projects, which plunged the neighborhood into a state of malaise and disrepair. The reclaimed land eventually became the Civic Arena and its adjacent parking lot upon completion in 1961. Poet Claude McKay once referred to the Hill District as the “Crossroads of the World,” due to its diverse ethnic population and cultural significance. Arguably the most famous denizen of the Hill District was Frederick August Kittel; better known as August Wilson after changing his name in 1956. Wilson’s The Pittsburgh Cycle won two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for its depiction of African-American life in Pittsburgh. He went on to be a prominent writer and activist for African-American education and culture not only for Pittsburgh, but for the United States. Locations such as the Crawford Grille, Musicians Club, Pythian Temple, Bambola Club and Savoy Ballroom celebrated the local jazz and music scene while attracting popular headlining acts. The Pittsburgh Courier, based in the Hill District, served as the most influential newspaper for African-Americans across the country. Though the Hill District has recently come upon tough times, the neighborhood is evolving, much like the rest of Pittsburgh. New housing and commercial developments are on the horizon and while the days of jazz and bebop are long gone, its impact is still relevant on contemporary culture. 7

| Issue 9


s startups

Brought to you by:

Urban Innovation 21

www.urbaninnovation21.org Contemplating her future, she had searched for meaning through the business world, only to find that she had no desire to work towards someone else’s dream, but she wanted to create her own oasis of freedom. Blackwell’s ah-a moment started out by making a hair bow for a present, since she didn’t have any money to purchase a gift.

nt a WKnotz

WKansotetz Written by Enzo Knight Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with, a dedicated employee

gets

ousted

by

their

company

and

they’re left hanging in the balance, wondering what tomorrow will bring. The fear can be crippling. But for some, it’s fuel to a fire that lay dormant for many years, awaiting a spark of epic proportions. For Nisha Blackwell, her dream started the day she found herself unemployed.

The present went off with a raucous reception, and from there, she began custom making gifts for people. It was a step in the right direction. And then someone said, “Why don’t you make bowties?” And that’s where the green light clicked and Blackwell stepped on the proverbial gas. Just a year and a half later, Blackwell is the proud owner of Knotzland, a company that makes handcrafted artisan bowties out of recycled material.

Yep, bowties. And yes, they’re brilliant. The completely customized options have customers from all walks of life lining up to have their little piece of necktie glory for all the world to see. Blackwell, who is extremely pursuant in her conservation efforts, is fervent and dedicated to finding the best materials that have the least impact on

the environment. Not only can customers get a high-quality, customizable bowtie, they don’t have to kill any rainforests to do so. The name Knotzland was born out of a grueling passion to be different. It’s a name for the underdog, the anthem for the little guy, the symphony for a person who gets laid off three times, and still has the motivation to create something unique and exciting for people in the city. It is, in fact, a method of thinking, and a way of believing not only in yourself, but the spirit and attitude behind a successful lifestyle. Blackwell, gleaming with positivity, has continued to grow her business model, and is in the process of expanding Knotzland retail distribution around the city. A truly glowing personality, Blackwell has a steadfast approach to her happiness. Keep doing what you love, help the community, and help the environment. Everything else will fall into place, and when the chips fall, Blackwell may or may not be the wealthiest bowtie conglomerate owner on the East Coast, but she has given the city something that it desperately needs more of, a fighting spirit, great attitude, and heart to make this city a better place to live in.


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From its charming appearance to the cozy atmosphere, Bella Christies Bakery has been providing sugar enthusiasts with delectable treats since 2011. When your

treats

footsteps through the door, be prepared for sensory overload. The smell of

Holiday Sweet Tooth

fresh baked goods, vibrant colors, and friendly faces are enough to make anyone smile. From macaroons and cakes to cupcakes and cookies, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve collected a list of some of our favorite holiday treats from BCZ. Engage will power in 3…2…1.

Written and Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

Eggnog Cheesecake

Funfetti!

Funfetti cake iced with rainbow buttercream and sprinkles.

White Chocolate Dream

Vanilla cake filled with Bavarian cream and white chocolate ganache, topped with vanilla buttercream and drizzled with white chocolate.

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| Issue 9

Cheesecake infused with nutmeg and Grand Marnier (or Cognac), topped with spiked whipped cream and gingerbread cut out cookies.

Snickers

Cookie Monster Brownie Brownie with icing, cookie pieces, and chocolate syrup.

What’s in the Box?

Chocolate cupcake filled with dulce and peanuts with a nougat buttercream frosting that’s rimmed with peanuts , drizzled in caramel sauce, and topped off with a piece of Snickers bar.

Left is the “Pumpkin Latte” cupcake - a pumpkin cupcake topped with mocha spice buttercream and sprinkled with coffee flakes.

Eggnog Parfait

Glass rim dipped in corn syrup and crust crumbs pressed onto it. A skinny champagne glass filled with alternating layers of the same crust, cheesecake, and spiked whipped cream until glass is full and finished with the spiked whipped cream and gingerbread cookies on top.

Middle is the “Almond Torte” cupcake - almond cake filled with almond pastry cream and topped with almond buttercream and toasted almonds. Right is the “Peanut Butter Cup Layered Cupcake” - chocolate cookie crumb base layered with peanut butter mousse, fudge icing, and chopped peanut butter cups.


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A DAY IN THE LIFE HANNAH CARTER Written by Enzo Knight Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

Welcome to the first edition of “Day in The Life,” an intimate look into every day people doing extraordinary things. In this segment, we follow Pittsburgh Ballet Theater (PBT) soloist, Hannah Carter. On this day, we arrived at PBT around 8:30am, when all the dancers begin their stretching and warm ups. They were training for PBT’s premier Triple Bill program: “Western Symphony,” “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated,” and “Sinfonietta. “ What ensued after the morning routine was an arduously intense repertoire of feverishly paced routines mixed with periodic breaks, and loads of little meals. With the average dancer burning 1,2002,000 calories per day, eating is just as important as stretching. In between sets, they eat energy bars, nuts, yogurt, and other healthy snacks. The intense schedule continues on 5-days-a-week for resident dancers.


Carter, a native of the UK who has been dancing since the age of five, is in her second season with PBT and is a graduate of The Royal Ballet School in London. She initially got into dance so she and her best friend could do something together, but it turned out that she actually loved dance. As a soloist, Carter often solos in productions, as well as learns principal dancer roles as an understudy. The level of intensity of each practice depends on her role in the current production, although a full day of dancing happens either way. Now living in the city, Carter has been delighted with her experience as a soloist with PBT, and hopes to continue on with her career with the company. Her soft-spoken demeanor doubled with her intrinsically powerful abilities shines through during her performances. The rest, is arabesque history. Carter has performed in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Swan Lake,” “Coppelia,” “The Nutcracker,” “La Sylphide and Balanchine’s Who Cares?” Her repertoire also includes “Three Musketeers,” “La Bayadère,” “Giselle,” “Firebird,” and “The Sleeping Beauty.”

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| Issue 9


At first glance, you might think you’re at Perlè, but looking a wee bit deeper shows a bustling epicenter of hair follicles, cuts, curls, colors, manicures, massages, cursing, nudity, and did I mention the sandwiches?

When most people punch in for their 8 hours of drudgery, they get to look at an office, cubicle, or some other confounded gladiator-like contraption designed to make them forget they could be sitting at home in their underwear watching Netflix. In most cases, it doesn’t work.

THE

RAW TRUTH

And then there’s Studio RAW (Reveal Anew Within), a multi-dimensional salon, spa, and professional peanut butter and jelly bar, located in Pittsburgh’s North Hills.

Written by Rodney Burrell Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

16

| Issue 9

It’s the love child of Dan Burda, the crown prince of Studio RAW. A fun-loving, no-nonsense person that is simply put, in love with being genuine, or you could say, raw. He doesn’t apologize for being unique, and never walks a line of the safe and simple. Burda, who co-owns Studio RAW with his mother, LaRaine, is a believer in dreams, but more importantly, himself.

“Dream big, or you’ll never know how far you can get,”

said Burda, during my visit to Studio RAW. After a fire destroyed RAW in 2012, Burda decided to turn up and rebuild RAW into the virtual Disneyworld of hair salons. The 8,000 square foot facility houses a hair studio, full spa, and nail salon. There’s also a fully stocked kitchen with adult beverages, free wi-fi, and refreshments. On the outside, a wrap-around deck overlooks the somewhat serenely wooded area of Babcock Blvd. It’s where Burda takes a few moments to relax. But Burda doesn’t spend too much time blowing off steam, as he manages a staff of 20+, and continues strategizing the expansion of the Studio RAW brand.


“I never imagined having it at this level, so once you start tasting those next levels, it’s like what are the other ones like?” Studio RAW now offers a 401k and profit sharing for its employees. A big bonus in the small business world. At the root of Burda’s ethos for Studio RAW is great energy and philanthropy. Probably one of the most vocal business owners in the Pittsburgh region, Burda is a veracious supporter of charities across the board, constantly giving back to the community. His methods have been causing controversy for years, but it all comes with the territory. “When you’re the loud one in town, saying look at us, you’re being taken as arrogant or narcissistic, or doing things for attention, and in a lot of ways you’re correct. If you want to succeed you need attention, but you have to have thick enough skin that when people are shooting the gun at you, you don’t care,” said Burda. Recently, Burda put his verbosity into action when Studio RAW raised $17,000 for Ava Campbell, a six year old girl that was killed by a drunk driver. Burda came under attack for his methods in raising the money, but as Burda explained, it shouldn’t be just his business banding together. “A six year old girl was run over in front of her parents by a drunk driver. Every [expletive] business should be out there with a big bag saying, put everything you have in here,” said Burda. “I’ve gone through death and loss, and it’s intense. It’s the strangers that came up to me and said

you’re gonna be fine, you’re gonna make it, that made all the difference.” Burda, who tragically lost his partner last year, approaches life in a very different way than before. “Once you see your partner drop dead in front of you, there’s not much else to be afraid of anymore” But as every cloud moves, clear skies do surface. Burda says that the biggest change over the past year is that he has taken control over his life… personally, professionally, and emotionally. He’s now engaged and plans to wed in May. “A Big Gay

Wedding” will take place at Studio RAW, and yes, he’s selling tickets, with proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis. As he was whisked away for more hair duty, he jokingly said, “You can’t leave older women sitting in a chair with grey hair, they don’t like that.” Unrelenting in his pursuit of balance, Dan Burda is living proof that an open mind and heart will always shine light into the darkness we see. “How powerful this world would be, if we could all just get along and be a circle of community? And it will never happen, but it’s fun to keep trying.” 17

| Issue 9


find your happy place

Love Where You Live

Home is much more than just a building; it’s an entire community. That’s why Walnut Capital’s luxury apartments and townhomes are located in Pittsburgh’s most desirable neighborhoods. With over 20 locations to choose from, you’re sure to Find Your Happy Place!

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p people of pittsburgh

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what makes you happy this

holiday season?

Welcome to People of Pittsburgh,

our #LOCALrover project to connect with the great people of this city. We ask real questions, you give real answers. Visit us online at LOCAL-pittsburgh.com, and watch for us in a neighborhood near you.

Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh


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The Best

Holiday Dishes Written by Emily Catalano

in Pittsburgh

Every family has their own dish that makes the holidays special – one dish that everyone waits all year to have. From figgy pudding to sauerkraut, there’s plenty of seasonal favorites popping up on menus at restaurants and bakeries all over town. Here are some of our favorites...what are yours?

Habitat

Need a little luck in 2016? Then don’t forget to take a big bite of sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. S&D Polish Deli has some of the best in the city – and, served up with their house-made pierogis and kielbasa, it’s way too good to be just a once a year treat.

Oakmont Bakery Enrico Biscotti

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, our comfort food of choice is a biscotti from Enrico’s, and a cup of hot tea. And this year, it’s easier than ever to get our hard-cookie fix, because Enrico Biscotti is making their biscotti available at a number of different stores and cafes throughout the region. We go crazy over their chocolate-chocolate-drizzled ones, but their classic almond flavor is welcome on any holiday cookie table. | Issue 9

One of the best meals of the year is the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian ritual that’s still popular in homes throughout Pittsburgh. Stagioni’s Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner is a yearly tradition for the restaurant, with a menu that varies slightly from year to year, featuring everything from baccala with capers to poached cod – and plenty of their house-made pastas. The dinners fill up fast, so contact the restaurant to make a reservation early.

S&D Polish Deli

Every year, Habitat hosts a Christmas brunch, with classic holiday dishes, like prime rib and herb-roasted turkey. But what we really love are their holiday desserts, which are on the menu all season long. Their pastry menu includes seasonal favorites like warm figgy pudding, chocolate peppermint pie and their handcrafted Buche de Noel, along with updated sweets like eggnog crème brulee. .

24

Stagioni

Get your New Year off to a sweet start with Oakmont Bakery’s famous New Year’s Pretzel. Each mega-sized coffee cake is twisted into a pretzel shape, and filled with sweet morsels, like cherry nut, raspberries, raisins, or cinnamon swirl, and topped with a sweet buttercream frosting. Available only for a limited time each year, it’s a delicious way to ring in 2016.


Winter

Cocktails to Warm You Up

Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

It’s the holiday season, and that means that there’s plenty of reasons to celebrate. And what better way to spend quality time with friends and family than by sipping on some quality cocktails? Bars and restaurants throughout Pittsburgh have been updating their cocktail menus with winter warmers; those darker, deeper cocktails with seasonal herbs and house-infused spirits that make you want to pull up a cozy chair next to a fire, and drink to your heart’s content.

Occupy Manhattan at Grit & Grace

Grit & Grace is known for their extensive cocktail menu, and their updated take on classic drinks. This Manhattan is made with Wild Turkey Rye, Liquer 43, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, orange bitters, and finished with chicory and pecan bitters, giving this cocktail a decidedly seasonal twist.

Oubliette at Tender Bar + Kitchen

If it seems like the bartenders at Tender Bar + Kitchen outdo themselves every season with a new menu of painstakingly created cocktails, it’s because they do. All winter, they’ll be slinging Oubliettes, made with bonded bourbon, sweet vermouth, ginger liqueur and a hint of allspice bitters, with its distinctive holiday taste.

Normandy Apple at Spoon

Spoon has one of the best cocktail programs in Pittsburgh, with an ever-evolving cocktail list, and a specials board that changes weekly. But they’ll keep their Normandy Apple cocktail, made with Crown Royal, Boulard Calvados, cranberry juice, apple vermouth and sparkling cider, on the menu well into the new year. The restaurant also hosts a monthly gin club meeting, celebrating all things gin. The bartenders pull together a truly spectacular menu, with a dozen cocktails that mix classic favorites with new seasonal creations.

Falernum at Maggie’s Far Rum

Big congratulations to Maggie’s Farm Rum, which just got approval to make and distribute their very own house-made falernum. It’s a sweet syrup that’s made with fresh ginger, lime, and clove liqueur, and an all-star in cocktails. Maggie’s Farm Rum is also home to one of our absolute favorite winter cocktails: Egg Nog. Every winter for a limited time, they serve up their made from scratch egg nog, using their own rum and topped with nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s definitely worth a trip (or two) to their Strip District distillery.

Hot Toddy at Acacia

Acacia has taken one of the most classic cold-weather cocktails, and has given it their own twist. Their version uses Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, an uncut, unfiltered, and straight-from-the-barrel Kentucky bourbon, giving it one heck of a kick.

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Traditional Cuisine

Top Shabu-Shabu is a Pan-Asian restaurant that brings a variety of delicious Asian foods to Pittsburgh’s Oakland. Top Shabu-Shabu is different from most Asian restaurants; we don’t just sell food, we offer a unique community experience that brings laughter, joy and happiness to the table. We specialize in two traditional Pan- Asian styles.....

Korean Barbecue uses electric grills right at your table to cook raw cuts of meat and seafood. You sear and marinate to your individual taste, leaving the foods with a smoky delicious aroma. Traditionally Korean Barbecue is eaten with a lettuce wrap and rice. Together, it gives a perfect blend between crisp lettuce, comforting rice and savory slices of meat. Absolutely delicious! The experience you receive is just as valuable and cherishable as the food you will eat.

Hot pot, similar to Fondue, is a traditional style of dining in Asian cultures. Hot pot offers the ability to customize your food choices. You choose your own broth base: spicy, light, or in-between. The ingredients include your choices of meat, vegetables and/or noodles. You can dine vegan or vegetarian if you choose. Top Shabu-Shabu will also provide a variety of sauces to complement your hot pot creations.

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Restaurant Roundup Written by Emily Catalano

In one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in recent memory, Brent Young, a Pittsburgh native who found fame with the launch of his Brooklyn butcher shop, The Meat Hook, is gearing up to open a meat-centric restaurant in East Liberty’s new Ace Hotel. Whitfield will feature American food, with a focus on locally-sourced meat. The ultra-hip boutique hotel and restaurant are scheduled to open in December.

Keith Fuller of Root 174 and Rick DeShantz of tako, Meat & Potatoes and Butcher and the Rye are teaming up to open Pork & Beans in the Cultural District. The restaurant will feature a number of pork dishes, including house-made hot dogs and plenty of barbecue. Over at Root 174, Fuller has hired Kevin Costa as chef de cuisine. Costa will be shuttering his Crested Duck Charcuterie in January to take over the Regent Square’s kitchen. Chef Roger Li’s Japanese-style pub Umami isn’t open yet, but he’s been making his way to kitchens all over town and serving up pop-up previews of his take on traditional Japanese dishes. The Lawrenceville spot is aiming for an early 2016 open. The winter session of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is happening January 11 through January 17, and will be featuring dozens of local restaurants, featuring lunch and dinner prix fixe menus for a fraction of their regular prices – plus, most restaurants will also feature a $20.16 dish, specially created for the week. Want even more Pittsburgh restaurant and food news? Visit GoodFoodPittsburgh.com for daily updates. 57 27

| Issue 9


h heroes

A two-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Police Department, Officer Tenisha Pettus has dedicated her life to keeping the streets safe. She is stationed out of Zone 5, which stretches from Bloomfield to Pittsburgh’s East Hills neighborhood. From April to September of this year, Officer Pettus was part of the community-oriented policing program, which is a different approach to policing that engages individuals and communities with officers. Although they provide backup if needed, community-oriented officers do not answer calls from dispatch. They also respond to many of the complaints from the Mayor’s 311 line. Community-oriented patrols attend a lot of neighborhood meetings and events, and often go to schools to talk and interact with children. “Many kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods only see police when someone is being arrested, which is very sad,” says Tenisha. “We want to let them know that we are here to help and keep them safe.” Recently Officer Pettus and other community officers played dodge ball with some kids at Brashear High School. “My toe hurt the next day but it was fun,” laughs Tenisha. Officer Pettus had originally planned to be a probation officer, but ended up choosing a different path. “I never imagined I would be a police officer,” says Tenisha. “Someone I know

OFFICER

Tenisha Pettus: Written by Aleita Hermanowski Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh

thought I would be good at it, so I took the test, passed and here I am. I encourage anyone who’s interested in criminal justice to join the police force. I’ve realized it’s easier to help people on the front end. It’s much more difficult when someone has already been to jail or in the system. I love the interpersonal aspect of my job. Interacting with the public is a lot of fun and I get to meet all kinds of people.” Above all, Officer Pettus believes that the police’s main role is to maintain public safety. Zone 5 Commander Jason Lando and other supervisors encourage officers to be friendly and accessible to the communities in which they work. “Everyone here does an amazing job,” says Tenisha. “I love that we work as a

LOCAL HERO

team. We see all kinds of things every day, but don’t dwell on the negative. We support each other. It’s like a family,” she says. “We’re all human. I’m a person. When I go home I take off the uniform, relax, and spend time with my family and friends just like you do,” she says. “Regardless of what your job may be, it’s important to be kind to everyone.” 29

| Issue 9


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My Cup Runneth Over: A Journey to Rescue Pittsburgh

Leah Lizarondo, Gisele Fetterman, and Jennifer England are the masterminds behind 412 Food Rescue, an organization that disperses potentially wasted food to those in need. It’s a simple idea that has big rewards and an even bigger impact on the community.

“My heart clenches every time I take a truck and see the impact this food has on their lives. Little kids dragging a wagon to get their milk, and they know they’re going to have breakfast,” said Jennifer England, 412’s Project Leader.

Written by Rodney Burrell Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

Founded in 2014 by Lizarondo (The Brazen Kitchen) and Fetterman (The Free Store 15104), 412 Food Rescue develops relationships with food distributors, retail outlets, and restaurants to collect food that is perfectly edible, but not marketable by conventional retail standards. An item that’s approaching a sell by date (which according to Lizarando, doesn’t hold any real validity), a banana that’s too yellow, or bread that hasn’t sold all fall victim to the landfill,

and that’s where

412 Food Rescue steps in.

Desperate is not the typical adjective that comes to mind when you think about the holidays. As we celebrate the fruits of our labors, eat copious amounts of good and bad cuisine, and buy gifts that most of us will forget about after the Christmas lights turn off, a large amount of people suffer from something worse than not getting a shiny new iPhone 27. A silent killer that debilitates the body, mind, and spirit…Hunger.

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| Issue 9

Food insecurity is a growing problem that plagues so many people in our city, and the lingering question is, how can we feed all of the hungry? It’s a complicated matrix of red tape and logistics, but the silver lining is that we have enough food to go around, however, there’s a deficiency in creating a proper system to delineate the 40% of wasted nourishment every year. According to the UN, we could feed every person in the world 4 times over, if we stop wasting our food. It’s an uphill climb, but there are a few ladies, and droves of volunteers who are taking it upon themselves to eradicate the hunger in Pittsburgh, and across the globe.


After collecting from their large network of donors, volunteers deliver the food to apartment complexes, shelters, soup kitchens, and housing projects. Lizarondo, a native of the Philippines, and Fetterman, a native of Brazil, immigrated to America from impoverished conditions, and after noticing the tremendous amount of waste in America, they decided to do something about it. “In my country I see people dying from hunger, and in America we’re just throwing it all away,” said Fetterman. Armed with a fundamental belief

that people should help one another, 412 Food Rescue started its first mission to end hunger last year. Since its inception, the organization has provided over 100,000 meals for the food insecure in Pittsburgh.

DONOR

As I sat in this meeting with three incredible women, all moms to boot, I needed to dissect and dredge out the motive behind something like this. The how, the why.

DELIVERER

And the answer Lizarando gave me was as simplistic and pure as the ocean’s breeze. “Because we can.” Visit 412foodrescue.org for more information on how to donate and volunteer.

RECIPIENT

“In my country I see people dying from hunger, and in America we’re just throwing it all away,”

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Sometimes volunteering turns into that looming responsibility that gets pushed further and further back on your to-do list. Whether it’s time or resources, most of us end up having good intentions but never quite making the push to help our favorite non-profits. But InvolveMINT has changed all of that. With a simple reward system, this program provides incentives that encourage volunteers to stay involved. The InvolveMINT app let’s you view volunteer opportunities according to your individual interests, track your hours, connect with other volunteers, and redeem your credits at local businesses. Volunteering just got a lot more fun.

Local Non-Profits: Volunteering Made Easy Written by Julianna Bagwell

Like any burgeoning city, Pittsburgh is powered by the selfless individuals who keep our communities strong. Non-profit organizations are a fundamental cog in the machine that can only be powered by the efforts of volunteers. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned do-gooder or a newcomer to the world of non-profit, you’ve undoubtedly been affected by the hard work of our city’s many philanthropists. This list of local organizations is sure to inspire you to get to work in your own community and find out how you can start giving back.

R EPAIR T HE W ORLD werepair.org

Photo taken by Julie Kahlbaugh

Repair The World (RTW) is a national organization that operates out of Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, and Pittsburgh. Each year, different regions focus on connecting volunteers with opportunities that meet tangible local needs and best serve their communities. Pittsburgh’s chapter of RTW is spending 2015 focusing on the issues of Educational Justice and Food Justice. Pittsburgh’s nine RTW fellows work throughout the year to create regional partnerships. Higher Achievement, 412 Food Rescue, and Food Revolution are just a few of the organizations RTW has joined forces with. 41

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A ssemble assemblepgh.org

Where art and technology come together, Assemble is an urban makers space that encourages experiential learning and creativity. Assemble is a gallery and flexible workspace in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood that has been providing hands on learning, exhibits, and workshops since 2011. Their classes and workshops revolve around STEAM curriculum and promote the development of usable modern skills. Guest artists and innovators serve as the educators at Assemble, making the curriculum in these public workshops both unique and powerful. Assemble has created community ties all over Pittsburgh by partnering with programs like Gwen’s Girls, The Hill House Association, and the Neighborhood Learning Alliance.

O peration B etter B lock obbinc.org

Operation Better Block (OBB) believes in building neighborhoods up by addressing all community needs. Their rich history began in 1960, after a series of civil disturbances throughout the country inspired the people of Pittsburgh to jump into action. Since 1971, OBB has been serving the Homewood community by fostering youth development, sustainability through partnerships, and improved housing development. It is OBB’s mission to revitalize the Homewood Brushton community. Their positivity and active approach has helped fuel the Homewood Children’s Village as well as the neighborhood’s Homeowner’s Association.

MGR Y outh E mpowerment mgrf.org

Named after Marilyn G. Rabb for her compassion and strength in the face of adversity, MGR aims to make powerful changes for at-risk youth. In 2001 Lionel Rabb, a philanthropist who had navigated his way through Chicago’s public school system, applied his own experiences to give back to the community that supported his pursuits. In 2008 Pittsburgh became MGR’s first expansion city. MGR’s Arts in Action initiative enables youth in the Pittsburgh region to be civically engaged in school, afterschool, and summer programming. The initiative has also become an asset to incarcerated youth who are in great need of the resources this organization offers. They currently serve over 1,600 Pittsburgh youth each year. 42

| Issue 9


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b bites

From Jason’s Kitchen :

Linguine With Clam Sauce

What will be at your Holiday table? I’m going to do some short ribs for sure. With lots of mushrooms in the demi-glacé. And we always have pasta with some sort of fish or seafood, like linguini with white clam sauce. I think Eggplant Parmesan is on the radar too this year.

L e t ’ s M e et : Jason Capps Jason Capps is the owner of Bella Sera and a seasoned chef. He is also a third-generation food service entrepreneur. Bella Sera is Pennsylvania’s first caterer and event venue certified by the Green Restaurant Association. In 2009 Jason pioneered the Market Square renovation with Bella Sera Urban Trattoria. He has won a number of awards including Star Award Recipient by the International Caterers Association, and in 2010 he was awarded “Restaurateur of the Year”. Jason actively serves on the committees of The United Way, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy/Pathways, CASA.

What are your thoughts on the food scene? I’m excited that new spots are opening up in and around the city at such a brisk pace. There is a ton of culinary talent in this region. A great city has to have a great dining & night life scene to be taken seriously. We are finally there thanks to some creative & adventurous spirits. Social Media, do you like the role it’s playing in the restaurant industry? As with anything, there are upsides & downsides. The speed at which a message can be broadcasted can make or break a place quickly. I’m constantly working on ways to stay relevant, on people’s minds & engaging, without being overbearing or self-serving. It’s a fine line to walk. How do you spend time off? Traveling!!!! There are so many places I want to see & share with my daughters before I die!!! I’ve always been close to my family roots, particularly my mom’s side, which is entirely Italian. I speak to them often and visit Italy 2-3 times a year. I love it so much I bought two properties in Tuscany. And I want to share what I’ve found so I’m starting group tours in 2016.

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt 1 lb Linguine 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced) 1 lb New Zealand Cockles (or 24 Manila or Littleneck Clams) scrubbed 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes 1 cup Dry White Wine 1/2 bunch Italian Parsley 1 to 2 tablespoons whole butter (optional) Directions: In a large pot over medium high heat, bring 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine and cook uncovered, just until clams open, 4-5 minutes. Add linguine to boiling water and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm). Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan. Cook over high heat, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. If necessary, add some reserved cooking water to keep moist. Remove from heat. Add parsley and butter(optional), tossing to coat. Transfer to dish and serve immediately. 47

| Issue 9


a abroad

In recent news, the tragedy of Cecil the Lion and the dark world of canned hunting really cast a sadness on my soul, knowing that Cecil’s fate happens every day in Africa. The three major threats to lions are: loss of habitat and human conflict, canned or trophy hunting, and the illegal Asian market trade. Conservation work has always been a passion of mine, especially animal conservation. My mantra is to help those who can’t help themselves. For my 30th birthday, I wanted to go back and spend time volunteering at the same lion conservation program I was involved with in 2012, ALERT (African Lion & Research Trust) Lion Encounter in Zambia. “ALERT: Lion Encounter” is a conservation program focusing on the lion population, which is estimated at 20,000, down 42% from just 20 years ago.

THE ROAR

OF CHANGE The ALERT mission is to increase the population and educate the African culture as to why lions are extremely important for the ecosystem. The 4-part developmental stage model has not yet been perfected, but they are constantly making strides to have a positive outcome and create a benchmark for other conservation programs to follow. This would help save various breeds of animals that are on the brink of extinction.

By Jaqueline Gnazzo

I was so excited to see how big the lions were since my last trip. I also couldn’t wait to laugh with all of familiar faces and friends I made, but most of all, I was eager to find out how the program was evolving.


And while the land is extraordinary, life isn't ideal when caring for 40-some lions in the middle of the bush, especially during summer conditions. Every day is a new challenge, but very entertaining. During our morning meetings, we were provided several tasks. They consisted of: taking the lions for walks, cleaning and maintaining their enclosures, collecting data on the Dambwa (stage 2) lions or wild elephants, visiting schools and helping the children, searching for poacher snares, and anything else that was asked of us. Taking the lions for their daily walks was clearly the best activity. And while some of the big cats have human contact, they are still very much lions…Lions that possess every instinct and ability to politely remove your arm without hesitation. But, if you can get past the whole wild animal thing, it’s the most rewarding feeling to be so close to such a powerful creature. The object of the walks are to familiarize the lions to their normal environment, while honing their natural instincts in order for introduction into a Stage 2 or 3 release site. Fast forward three weeks, I was on my last leg of flights about to touch down in Zambia. I couldn't believe I was back. I walked off the plane and took in the smell of the Africa's smoky earth scent. It was magical, as we drove down the earth-toned road into a massive camp ground(ish) area with baboons and monkeys frolicking about. To the left were wooded “boma-like” houses. Straight ahead was a white concrete house with a gigantic red-blossomed tree. In front of us, two smaller concrete houses, with elephant's grazing directly behind them. This is how Africa should be. Wildlife at peace and uninterrupted on their own lands. One glimpse of this place and your brain just hits the play button on "Circle of Life."

With 8 other volunteers, we made the most out of life in the bush. Many days I would wake up around 5 a.m. to the sound of lions roaring. Sometimes we would have electricity, other times we didn't. Adjusting to no power can be quite frustrating, but doable. At nights, we would gaze at the sky over a camp-fire, looking at the Milky Way covered with a blanket of the most awe-inspiring stars. Other nights we watched for wild elephants grazing and parading around our sleeping quarters. Experiencing the true essence of Africa and the excitement of Mother Nature was fascinating.

Not only did I get to donate my time and assistance to a conservation that I love, but I realized how much we take for granted. The everyday life for an African is not an easy one, with very little luxuries. The very same luxuries that we don't take into consideration, like electricity. It's a big eye-opener, and harsh reality. We can only educate and inform our society of the drastic lifestyle changes across the globe. I am beyond grateful for my entire experience, and I pray that my children, and their children will be able to experience the true essence of Africa.


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a arts

DURTY Written by Enzo Knight Photographed by Julie Kahlbaugh

Spray painting has long been a symbol of rebellion and anarchy. The debate of art versus defamation of public property rings to this very day. But many recognize a presence of freedom wrapped in the bedlam, and embrace a true source of expression that frees the mind and illuminates the soul. Bob Freyer, aka Durty, is a hip-hop loving, aerosol painter that has seen a substantial level of notoriety for his unique, and sometimes controversial method of expression, the spray can. Durty’s somewhat dark manifestations rattle the senses and his laid back demeanor welcomes all who enter his labyrinth. A bright-colored cornucopia of gas masks, celebrities, and children’s characters drape his home studio wall as he explains the hauntingly muted nature of his creations. “My art is kind of dark, because I’ve been through a lot in my life. I want to inspire change,” said Freyer. As I compared Durty’s art to Banksy, the prolific and morose exhibition artist, he snickered as I 52

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explained the introspective nature of the motive, not the exhibition and awe factor. Freyer agreed that his work had taken a turn into other waters over the past couple of years. As he continues to grow into his form, Freyer has become more focused on helping and philanthropy. He wants to shout for those who cannot. His spray can helps charities across the area, as well as promotes individualism and creativity, something that has been well received by clients from around the globe. Freyer was commissioned to do several large building pieces, and his roots in the hip-hop community put him in front of Rakim and KRS-One to create one-offs. Freyer recently welcome a new addition to the family, Annabel. And although she’s still an infant, he’s excited to show his future aerosol junkie the way of the world, according to Durty. Visit Durty Art at facebook.com/durtyarts


Kait Schoeb is a self-taught fine artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who works primarily in oil paints and colored pencils. While most of her works are created in a hyper-realistic style, Schoeb manages to capture whimsical and surreal elements within each and every piece. Her piece “Pots and Pans” received a Congressional Award and was hung in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Schoeb has been painting since 2008, winning numerous awards for “Flo,” “Kletus,” and “Pots and Pans” and was named an international finalist in the 2015 Artkudos. com International Juried Art Competition and Exhibition. In 2013, Schoeb formed Paints by Kait, LLC and hasn’t looked back since. She frequently creates both large and small scale pieces for

kait schoeb

various corporations and is frequently commissioned for works of all kinds. Desiring to have a positive impact on the community, Schoeb has created and donated pieces for and has worked extensively with various local and national charities including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The Austin’s Playroom Project of the Mario Lemieux Foundation, The Twenty-Five Club of Magee Women’s Hospital and now the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART). In addition to her art, Schoeb is also a professional model. Her portfolio and information on commissioning the artist can be found at www.paintsbykait.com. Kait can be contacted directly at kaitschoeb@gmail.com.

“My passion and favorite subject to paint is people. I feel like the more I paint the person, the more they come to life. Naming the person in the painting is my favorite part. Giving them their own name gives them their own identity; like as if you’re naming your own child. They become a real person to me and their face portrays a mysterious life to the public. I also love aspects of humor in my work.Whether it’s getting to name the piece or the concept, I like to show a little slice of my humor and a touch of personality.” - Kait Schoeb | Issue 9

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m music

Andre Costello & The Coal Miners

Chet Vincent & The Big Bend

If you slip up and call André Costello’s band “The Coal Miners,” you’re not alone. Many have, not least among them Costello himself.

Originally a folk-rock 5 piece group, Chet Vincent & The Big Bend recently moved away from folk, and more towards rock for their newest album.

“I had thought of just calling it ‘The Coal Miners’ at first,” the singer and guitarist says, “but then I thought I’d make it more complex.”

Before The Big Bend came along, Chet Vincent had been playing music since he was a young boy, growing up on the Shadyside Academy campus where his father worked. By the end of high school he started writing his own songs and thought of it as a natural progression. Never truly confident about his own singing voice, Chet Vincent drew influence and gained confidence from artists like Neil Young and Bob Dylan and from there he took off.

The wordplay isn’t unlike the play on emotion Costello’s music conjures: on the border of folk and rock, many of his songs dance between the upbeat and the melancholy, often landing on both at once. The Pittsburgh artist isn’t so much a storyteller as picture-painter in his songwriting, calling to mind Neil Young and John Cale in his chords and lyrics, and Arthur Russell and Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth in his vocal textures. (Painting pictures isn’t so unfamiliar to Costello, a graphic designer by trade.) “The Rattling Arcade,” released Oct. 7, 2015, is André Costello’s first full-length album, and his third record on the Wild Kindness label. It sees Costello settling into a full-band sound that’s miles from the lo-fi recording of his earliest work, but maintains the depth of emotion and literary playfulness he established as a younger man. With Costello and his Cool Minors — be they chords or collaborators — nothing is too simple.

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“Another one is the band The Silver Jews,” Vincent continues. “He has a really unusual voice and he has a line in one of his songs: ‘All my favorite singers couldn’t sing.’ That really stuck with me.” Vincent says that it was not hard for him to break from his original creativity and influence to make a gritty blues-rock album because it felt natural. The album Unconventional Dog was not produced in a normal recording studio, but instead inside the family home of the bands’ drummer, Abe Anderson, while his parents were away for a few months. With all of this time and familiarity of the “recording studio” they tried almost everything from recording drums in the largest room in the home, to recording vocals in an elevator shaft. Unconventional Dog was released to wide acclaim in January 2014. The band is preparing their follow-up, to be released in early 2016.


Devin Moses & The Saved Devin Moses is a singer/songwriter who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and is currently finishing his first full length album ‘Hit To Hurt’ with The Saved, which will be released on September 19th, 2015. The band Devin Moses & The Saved began in the summer of 2014 and since then they have been consistently playing shows in the Pennsylvania area as well as in the Midwest. Devin Moses & The Saved consists of Nino Albanese on the lead electric guitar, Ryan Very on the backup vocals and electric bass, Scott Mervick on drums, Derek January on electric guitar and backup vocals, Paloma Wu on violin and backup vocals and Devin Moses on acoustic guitar, harmonica and lead vocals. Devin Moses & The Saved stylistically brings a mix of folk, rock and country. Devin describes his style of writing as an attempt to not waste the listeners time and to ensure that the purpose of the song is not meant to glorify one’s own vanity, but to make the best possible music period. If you’re a fan of irreverent attitudes, satirical excess and folk/rock music then this band is for you, if not….well it’s a free country.

Shutter Steps Everything around us is chaos & panic & impending disaster, but Ben Harrison is keeping it cool. The debut self-titled album from his band Stutter Steps doesn’t spit in the face of death — it gives death a warm hug and invites it inside for a game of Scrabble. Most Americans imagine Pittsburgh as some kind of rusted out steel factory, but it’s actually one of the more beautiful cities in the country, a stunning blend of rivers and hills dropped in the middle of the Allegheny mountains. If Stutter Steps sounds like it emerged fully formed from its natural surroundings, that’s because it did. Recorded over a few days at a lodge in the Laurel Highlands, a retreat space about 1 ½ hours east of the city, you can hear the mist and the mystical all over the record. Stutter Steps is a beacon of warmth and light. It radiates youthful energy and hardearned wisdom. It’s bookended by two different versions of the same song, just like Yo La Tengo used to do. It’s stunning and wonderful and broken and bliss. Just like you. Just like me. Just like all of us. 55

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Burpees Stand up with the ball at your chest, bend over placing the ball at your feet, jump your feet back into a plank, then right back to your hands. Now stand back up pressing the ball over head until your arms are fully extended. If you would like to make these more challenging, add in a push up with the burpee. Do 8-20 of these.

Fitness FILES Written by Ginger Kutschbach

Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh 58

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JUST YOU & YOUR MEDICINE BALL THREE FAT BURNING EXERcises TO SWEAT OFF THE HOLIDAY FEASTS


STEP Up/ PULL DOWN

thruster Start in the squat position and the ball in front of your face. Press through your heels standing up and pressing the ball up at the same time until arms are fully extended over your head.

Start with one leg on the box, step, or chair and the ball over your head. Step up and bring your knee to your chest while pulling the ball down to your chest.

Do 15-20 of these.

Do 1 leg at a time and 8-15 reps each leg.

All exercises are done with a medicine ball, but that can be replaced with dumbbells, kettle bell, or a rice sackâ&#x20AC;Ś basically anything with weight. You can do this from home or from a gym. Try to circuit these movements in this order for a fast workout that will burn tons of calories. You can set the timer and do as many rounds as possible for 20-30 minutes or you can try to complete 4-6 sets of each movement. Take minimal rest between exercises.


Vintage Penny Game

Pittsburgh Popcorn Glass Christmas Tree

Who needs an Xbox One? Go vintage this year with this antique penny arcade game. Available at Scavengers Antiques & Collectibles, 3533 Butler Street.

With over 20 delicious flavors of popcorn, you simply can’t go wrong. Sample some at the Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. in any of their 4 locations. www.pghpopcorn.com

Add a unique piece to anyone’s home with this handmade glassblown Christmas tree, complete with ornaments. Find this along with many great pieces at Gerbe Glass in Lawrenceville www.gerbeglass.com

Holiday Tea

e t u n i M Last

Enjoy these festive holiday inspired blends like this Christmas Joy Tea that contains candy pieces, Jasmine Petals, Cinnamon, and Cloves. Available at Margaret’s Tea Imports in Squirrel Hill www.pittsburghcuppa.com

! f f u t S Cool Guide t f i G y a d i a Hol raphed

otog by & Ph Written h g hlbau Julie Ka

LUX Chocolates

For the sugar enthusiast in your life, LUX Artisan Chocolates will do quite nicely. www.luxartisanchocolates.com

Hand Poured Candles Give the gift of smell good. Hand poured candles courtesy of North Ave. Candles. www.northavecandles.etsy.com

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Vintage Beer Tap Knobs

These beer tap knobs are a great addition to any picker’s collection. Available at Scavengers Antiques & Collectibles, 3533 Butler Street.

Superhero Luggage Take your nerd travel to another level with this eye catching Marvel Superhero themed luggage. You can find the whole collection at Specialty Luggage. www.specialtyluggage.com


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I strolled into a weathered building in McKees Rocks, and it became painfully obvious that this guy has some vision, and he’s a little crazy, but I can’t wait to see what he makes out of this thing.

T S U D W A S

night y Enzo K augh Written b ed by Julie Kahlb h p ra Photog

E C I F I R C +SA

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That guy is Ziggy Sawdust aka Brady Kellner, an artist, entrepreneur and entertainment manager based in Pittsburgh. Sawdust, whose craft is woodworking, has been making strides to create a synergistic environment for the art and entertainment community in where people actually make money for doing what they love. He’s not a gazillionaire, or a business tycoon, just a regular guy with an immense talent for creating something out of nothing. A couple months back, Sawdust put on event called Layer Cake, an indoor music festival that saw 36 bands, live painters, and other performers at the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy in Pittsburgh’s North Side. It’s the type of thing that creates a new dynamic in the city for what people can expect from our music and art community. It makes people excited to go out and see what’s new. It lets them see that there are more options than they ever anticipated.


He’s not a gazillionaire, or a business tycoon, just a regular guy with an immense talent for creating something out of nothing.

Anyway, back to this building. Sitting right across the McKees Rocks Bridge is the 17,000 square foot former church and school that will now house artists, dancers, musicians, and become host to concerts and other performances. Sawdust is in the process of renovating the space for a building that will be “of the community and not just in the community”. Providing affordable or free housing for artists when they’re touring, a place for musicians to practice, designers to design, photographers to shoot, and dancers to dance. It’s a one-stop creative suite for the city, and it’s all happening right here, right now. As I walked through the space, pieces of plaster crumbling and crackling below my feet, the gentle shuffling of sand creases the breaking light waves through the windows, I thought to myself, this is somewhat revolutionary. A musty aroma that smells of abandonment permeates the grand ballroom, but yet Ziggy is home, and he’s here to stay. Taking a risk not only on the space, but also choosing his HQ in McKees Rocks speaks true to his pioneering spirit. Picking one of the more troubled areas in the Pittsburgh region to launch an art house might be considered risky, but Sawdust looks at the fabric of the area to be pretty solid.

“It’s mostly blue collar and very little trouble. I just think you have to look at the specifics of the area and how the crimes correlate,” said Sawdust. And even if the Rocks is a little rough around the edges, who cares, so is art. It’s neither straight, round, clean, nor dirty. It’s a process of constant breaking and fixing. Redoing and reformatting. Molding an outcome that isn’t necessarily planned for form, but most definitely function. And with that, he continues on his plight to give artists some refuge as they continue to get forced out of the neighborhoods they’re responsible for creating by increasing rents. A big focus of Sawdust’s overall plan is to develop a program in conjunction with the art house to provide affordable housing for creatives. Yet another dream that will soon become a reality. Over the next two years, Sawdust will continue to redevelop the space, turning it into a creative oasis, Air BnB, and concert venue. Always one to think of conservation, Sawdust is also implementing some green technology, like solar panels on the roof and other environment saving technology to reduce his footprint on the community. As the project trudges on, he’ll continue to partner with Sto-Rox, and the city of Pittsburgh to promote growth and foster a divergent community of arts for the people, by the people. 63

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On the move? New to town, or just a new neighborhood? If you haven’t tried transit before maybe now is the time. Port Authority has convenient and frequent service to and from the urban areas of Pittsburgh. East Liberty is the heart of the East End’s transit service. Many Port Authority bus routes use the East Busway to bypass local traffic including the P1 and P3 from East Liberty’s busway station which offer quick rides to Downtown and Oakland. Various other routes have stops on Penn Ave. and serve just about anywhere in the East End of the city. Living Downtown? You CAN get anywhere from here. You can catch a bus or T to almost anywhere in Allegheny County. Groceries in the Strip District, take the 88. For all the flavor of Lawrenceville the 91 works. Nearly all of Port Authority's 100 routes travel in and out of Downtown. For more neighborhoods go to onthemove.portauthority.org and make this town your own.

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