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JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019 VOLUME 28 + ISSUE 5 Editor-In-Chief LISA CUNNINGHAM Associate Publisher JUSTIN MATASE Director of Operations KEVIN SHEPHERD Managing Editor ALEX GORDON Senior Writers RYAN DETO, AMANDA WALTZ Staff Writers HANNAH LYNN, JORDAN SNOWDEN Photographer/Videographer JARED WICKERHAM Digital Media Manager JOSH OSWALD Editorial Designer ABBIE ADAMS Graphic Designers MAYA PUSKARIC, JEFF SCHRECKENGOST Marketing and Promotions Coordinator CONNOR MARSHMAN Senior Sales Representative BLAKE LEWIS Sales Representatives KAITLIN OLIVER, NICK PAGANO Office Coordinator MAGGIE WEAVER Advertising Sales Assistant TAYLOR PASQUARELLI Circulation Manager JEFF ENGBARTH Featured Contributors REGE BEHE, GAB BONESSO, LISSA BRENNAN, LYNN CULLEN, TERENEH IDIA, CRAIG MRUSEK, CHARLES ROSENBLUM, JESSIE SAGE, STEVE SUCATO Interns JANINE FAUST, XIOLA JENSEN Office Administrator RODNEY REGAN National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP.

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PHOTO: CENTA SCHUMACHER

^ Sun., Feb 3: Ashley Jones’ Colorism: Looking Outside the Brown Paper Bag

50 DAYS OF ACTIVITIES TO HELP YOU SURVIVE THE SEASON 1

WED., JAN. 30

OUTDOORS Huddling indoors this season has its

perks, but eventually the cabin fever will get to you and you’ll need to get some air. Snow-dusted tree tops and open meadows of deep powder deserve your attention, not to mention all the local plant species that thrive in the winter. Discover it all at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden with the Winter Botany Walk. Lunch and admission included. 10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. 798 Pinkerton Run Road,

Oakdale. $20 for members, $30 for non-members. pittsburghbotanicgarden.org

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THU., JAN. 31

MUSIC Glitter Box Theater immortalizes one of its original productions with the Sea Turtle in Space CD release party. Written and directed by Teresa Martuccio, the show — which premiered last May — addresses issues related to misogyny and patriarchy as it follows the character Turtle floating around in space, waiting for companionship.

Animations from Sea Turtle in Space will be projected as the show’s music writers, Jim Price and Rachel Ann, perform live. There will also be spaceships, a photo booth, and cast member appearances. 7:30 p.m. 460 Melwood Ave., Oakland. Free or $1 donation. theglitterboxtheater.com

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FRI., FEB. 1

+MUSIC DANCE The dap gets a spin in André M. Zachery and LaMont Hamilton’s Dapline! The choreographic work at the August

Wilson Center aims to be an engagement opportunity over Black existence in the United States relating to masculinity and image. 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $23.75-33.75. aacc-awc.org If dance isn’t for you, across the bridge at Club Cafe is Pittsburgh Songwriters Showcase. Featuring local musicians/bands Nathan Zoob, Tim Vitullo Band, Aris Paul, Gary Prisby, and Samantha Sears, who will perform acoustic sets of original music, this is a great opportunity for music lovers and local artists to relax and mingle. 6:30-9 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10-12. clubcafelive.com CONTINUES ON PG. 8

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PHOTO: TERESA MARTUCCIO

^ Thu., Jan. 31: Sea Turtle in Space CD release at GBT

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SAT., FEB. 2

STAGE

Watch Willy Wonka and his guests navigate the delicious and wonderful world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The classic tale has been adapted to the stage and is coming to the Benedum Center. A show for all ages. Eight performances run from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 237 Seventh St., Downtown. $45-125. trustarts.org

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SUN., FEB. 3

ART Beautiful Black women on brown paper bags line the walls at Phosphor Project Space. Duquesne artist Ashley A. Jones’ Colorism: Looking Outside the Brown Paper Bag celebrates Black women while challenging beauty standards and discrimination within their own communities. Sundays 1-4 p.m. or by appointment, through Sun., Feb. 16. 7720 Waverly St., Wilkinsburg. phosphorpgh.com

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MON., FEB. 4

MUSIC

Grab the sixth issue of Women in Sound, a zine highlighting women, queer, and trans people in music, at Ace Hotel. Zine editor and local recording engineer Madeleine Campbell opens with a MASTER TRAX workshop series; a party follows with tunes by DJ AUNT BUCK. Workshop 7:30-9 p.m. Party 9 p.m.-midnight. All Ages. Free. 120 Whitfield St., East Liberty. womeninsound.com

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TUE., FEB. 5

MUSIC

Cha-cha and rumba with The Havana Cuba All-Stars at the Byham Theater. The high-energy performance features Banda Asere, some of Cuba’s best musicians, sideby-side with dancers. The Cuban > Sun., Feb 10: Monster Jam PHOTO: FELD MEDIA

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beats will have you dancing in your seat. 7:30 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $25-40. trustarts.org

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WED., FEB. 6

MAGIC Kicking things off for downtown’s

new Liberty Magic venue is Eric Jones, a

charismatic magician from Philadelphia with a restrained, unexpected, approach to his reveals. His show, IMPOSSIBLE, uses familiar tools from the trade like cards and coins to deliver something truly new and unique. City Paper got a sneak peek in December, and we promise you won’t be disappointed. 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., March 17. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $40. trustarts.org

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THU., FEB. 7

STAGE The coming-out stories for LGBTQ people can be quite harrowing. You Can Call Me Al is a new long-form story about this experience that explores what it means to be “fully queer and fully vulnerable.” The New Hazlett Theater hosts this show as part of its Community Supported Art Performance Series. 7 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $25. newhazletttheater.org CONTINUES ON PG. 10


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^ Sat., Feb. 2: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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FRI., FEB. 8

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SAT., FEB. 9

STAGE Dive headfirst into the gun debate with

MUSIC Curated by Misra Record’s social

two pieces of theater that tackle the subject in different ways: one critical and one musical. Quantum Theatre explores the questions and complications of gun culture in The Gun Show at CLP-Homewood (runs through March 3, locations vary), while The Lamp Theatre stages renegade folk-tale Bonnie and Clyde: A New Musical through Feb. 16. The Gun Show. 7101 Hamilton Ave., Homewood. $33-50. quantumtheatre.com or Bonnie and Clyde. 222 Main St., Irwin. $15-20. lamptheatre.org

media intern Erika Kellerman, Pittsburgh’s Very Own at Mr. Smalls Theatre brings together some of the latest artists to join Team Misra: Benji. and Clara Kent (Dauntless Records, Misra’s sister label), in addition to Mars Jackson and Isaiah Small. As Misra’s general manager Jeff Betten explains, “It’s going to be quite the family affair!” 8 p.m.-midnight. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $10. mrsmalls.com


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FOR OUR MOST UP-TODATE EVENT LISTINGS

SUN., FEB. 10

KIDS Sundays are a day for relaxation,

religious practice, and chores. But all of these things can wait, unlike American Girl Live at Byham Theater (Feb. 9-10) and Monster Jam at PPG Paints Arena (Feb. 8-10). Take your sons to a live show about dolls and your daughters to a filthy truck rally. Live a little! American Girl Live. Times vary. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $40.25-70.25. trustarts.org; Monster Jam. Times vary. 1001 Fifth Ave., Downtown. $15-55. ppgpaintsarena.com

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MON., FEB. 11

MUSIC Fans of the Kronos Quartet, this one’s

for you. Sybarite5, who has been dubbed the “Millennial Kronos,” is bringing its commanding stage presence and classically honed technique to the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland. Because of their mastery in composition, Sybarite5 also teaches masterclasses and workshops for students up to the age of 25. 7:309:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $50. chambermusicpittsburgh.org

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presents FELIPE LUCIANO “The Last Poets” “The Young Lords”

FEBRUARY 16, 2019 | 7 P.M.

TUE., FEB. 12

LECTURE You may know him from his podcast Pod Save The World, his activism against police brutality in Ferguson, Mo. and Baltimore, or his bright blue vest. Now get to know DeRay Mckesson’s work firsthand with a lecture and Q&A at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland. 7 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $10-100. eventbrite.com

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PHOTO: NOAH PURDY

^ Sat., Feb. 16: Frigid Bitch Ride

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WED., FEB. 13

MUSIC The Arkadian’s Facebook “about”

section reads, “We’re a band that writes songs about video games in the style of ‘80s rock,” and that pretty much sums it up. Heavy-metal lovers and Atari 8-bit fans shake hands and become friends because this rock band from Boston is coming to Howlers. 8-10 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. howlerspittsburgh.com

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THU., FEB. 14

GOLDBLUM Jeff Goldblum returns to Pittsburgh

on Valentine’s Day to perform at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. Join Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra for a night of convivial lounge music. One dollar from each ticket benefits the Tree of Life “Our Victims of Terror”

fund. 7 p.m. 510 E. Tenth Ave., Munhall. $53.50-128. librarymusichall.com

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FRI., FEB. 15

EVENT Cure the post-

Valentine’s day blues by eating a fancy dinner and learning about the sex lives of animals. Animal Instincts Valentine’s Dinner at the Zoo presents Henry Kacprzyk sharing his animal mating expertise. Guests can munch on hors d’oeuvres, hit the cash bar, and check out some of the zoo’s small animals in person. 6 p.m. Also Sat., Feb. 16. 7370 Baker St., Highland Park. $70 for members, $75 otherwise. pittsburghzoo.org

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SAT., FEB. 16

OUTDOORS Riding bikes out in the

cold requires the pain thresholds that only women possess. Gather the girls and get ready to race at the sixth annual Frigid Bitch Ride. The ride starts and ends at Threadbare Cider in Spring Hill. Prizes are handed out after the ride. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 291 Spring Garden Ave., Spring Garden. $5. pghbabesonbikes.com > Tue., Feb. 19: Bob Mould PHOTO: ALICIA J ROSE

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SUN., FEB. 17

STAGE The Rube Goldberg exhibit at the

Pittsburgh Children’s Museum is already worth a visit. But get extra bragging rights by bringing your kids for a Creative Movement Workshop with modern dance group Attack Theatre, as it takes inspiration from the exhibit for an interactive performance. 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. 10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, North Side. pittsburghkids.org After the kids are entertained, have a sitter pick them up and head over to the New Hazlett next door. Kinetic Theatre is celebrating Black History Month with An Octoroon, which New York Times recently called one of the “25 most important plays of the past 25 years.” 2 p.m. Continues through Sun., Feb. 24. $20-36. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. kinetic.showclix.com CONTINUES ON PG. 14

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PHOTO: JAMIE GREENE

^ Fri., Feb. 22: Summertime Somewhere

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MON., FEB. 18

ART Pittsburgh artist Ashley Cecil’s botanical patterns fill silhouettes, transforming nature-loving locals like Leah Lizarondo from 412 Food Rescue, whose nonprofit helps save food from going to waste, into works of art. Visit Cecil’s “Deepening Roots: Our Growing Connections to the Botanical World” at Phipps Conservatory, then stay for Eye Candy, the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show, a work of art on its own. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Sun., March 17. $11.95-17.95. One Schenley Park, Oakland. phipps.conservatory.org

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TUE., FEB. 19

MUSIC Following the release of his new album, Sunshine Rock, the legendary Bob Mould is traveling across North American and

Europe for his Sunshine Rock Tour. One of the stops is Mr. Smalls, where he will be joined by Murder for Girls. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $25. mrsmalls.com

WED., FEB. 20 22

COMEDY Club Cafe hosts a great night of upcoming comics for the Just Some Regulars tour. Featured are Terry Jones (Pittsburgher, portrayed Santa Claus on CP’s Christmas 2016 cover), Kevin Budkey (current > Sun., Feb. 17: Ananias J. Dixon in An Octoroon PHOTO: KINETIC THEATRE

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Chicagoan, Second City grad, former Pittsburgher), Zako Ryan (producer at Laugh Factory in Chicago), and Paige Blair (also producer at Laugh Factory, has performed at Zanies, Laugh Factory and The Comedy Bar. It’s Budkey’s 26th birthday, so bring a gift. 7 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $20. 21 and over. clubcafelive.com

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THU., FEB. 21

BEER It’s the end of February, and you still haven’t worked on that New Year’s

resolution to lose a few pounds. Hey, it’s OK, it’s cold. Sitting on the couch drinking beer sounds better to us than walking on the treadmill. How about a compromise? Beer + Yoga! Spend an hour breaking into a sweat doing the downward-facing dog at Brew Gentlemen, then celebrate checking the “exercise” box off your list with a free 6 oz. beer. 7:30 p.m. 512 Braddock Ave., Braddock. $8. brewgentlemen.com

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FRI., FEB. 22

EVENTS Dreaming of a tropical vacation?

You’re in luck! It’s Summertime Somewhere, and tonight, it’s at the National Aviary. Ditch the snow and hang with tropical birds, play lawn games, and take in a painting parrot. (Yes, you read that right.) Stop by the Tropical Rainforest to really get in the mood. 6-10 p.m. $35. 21 and over. 700 Arch St., North Side. aviary.org


FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @PGHCITYPAPER FOR MORE EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE SEASON!

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GREGORY PORTER

SAT., FEB. 23

TECH/FROGS

Check out HackPGH’s collection of maker exhibits and projects at PGH WinterHack 2019. The event features drones, 3D printing, woodworking, and more. Alternatively, learn how to identify and record data about frogs with FrogWatch USA volunteer training at the Frick Environmental Center. Either way, you’re a nerd (but in a cool way). WinterHack. 2-10 p.m. 1936 Fifth Ave., Uptown. hackpgh.org or FrogWatch Training. 2 p.m. 2005 Beechwood Blvd., Squirrel Hill. pittsburghparks.org

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SUN., FEB. 24

FILM The August Wilson Center will host its annual Black Bottom Film Festival, in honor of its namesake playwright, as well as Black History Month. The festival, which runs Feb. 22-24, will feature both classic and modern works celebrating Black filmmakers. Times vary. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $28.75-58.75. aacc-awc.org

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MON., FEB. 25

PHOTOGRAPHY Everyone has a high-quality camera

in their pockets now, but it wasn’t always so easy. Street Photography to Surrealism: The Golden Age of Photography in France at the Frick Pittsburgh explores the evolution of photography that captured everyday life, from flea markets to dance halls. Continues through May 5. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. Free. thefrickpittsburgh.com

FEB.17 2019 8 P.M. PURCHASE TICKETS AT

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CONTINUES ON PG. 16

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PHOTO: SCREENCAP FROM CAT VIDEO FEST 2019 MOVIE TRAILER

^ Mon., March 11: Cat Video Fest

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TUE., FEB. 26

TALK

Few things on this earth are more soothing than watching Ina Garten prepare a roasted chicken with potatoes and an apple tart on Barefoot Contessa. She likely won’t be doing that for her talk at Heinz Hall, but she’ll probably still tell you to use good olive oil. 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $55-105. pittsburghsymphony.org

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WED., FEB. 27

FILM Don’t want people to see your home movies? Delete the tapes, people! Lucky for us, folks in the past didn’t take heed, which left behind absurd reels for experimental filmmakers to discover. Expect the unexpected at Glitter Box Theater during Archival Anomalies: Found Films from Frisco’s Craig Baldwin. 7:30 p.m. $8. BYOB. 460 Melwood Ave., Oakland. theglitterboxtheater.com

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THU., FEB. 28

LECTURE

The civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s were seminal in the fight for equal rights for Black Americans. Learn about those movements from an expert, Leonard Moore, who is also the vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas. 6-8 p.m. Heinz

History Center, 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. Free. heinzhistorycenter.org

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FRI., MARCH 1

COMEDY/MUSIC Fred Armisen has always managed to

inject musical components into his comedy, whether in his performances on Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, and in unforgettable fictional bands on Documentary Now! (long live the Blue Jean Committee). Now he’s combining those passions outright with 2019’s Comedy for Musicians but Everyone is Welcome tour, at Smalls tonight. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. All ages. $40. mrsmalls.com

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SAT., MARCH 2

COMICS “It’s like Free Comic Book Day, only thicker!” Ka-pow! Head to any six New Dimension Comics location < Fri., March 1: Fred Armisen PHOTO: LANCE BANGS

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during store hours for Free Graphic Novel Day. Boom! Everyone gets a free book; buy a graphic novel from the store while you’re there, get an additional one free. Pow! Multiple locations. ndcomics.com

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SUN., MARCH 3

COMEDY The Chabad of South Hills was scheduled

to hold its annual Jewish Comedy Night the day after the Tree of Life Shooting. It was rescheduled, which is fitting because we need a laugh even more now. Comedian Sarge will headline the event at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall. 7 p.m. 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie. $36. chabadsh.com

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MON., MARCH 4

ART

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild presents Action · Movement · Revolution, a photography and mixed media exhibition described as documenting and highlighting “the human experience CONTINUES ON PG. 18


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• Adult Cooking Classes: Currently featuring the foods of South Africa, India & Spain • Crème Puffs & Madeleines • Pizza for Adults Cooking Class Visit our website for a complete list of classes

309 EAST CARSON STREET • PGH, PA 15219 412.325.2703 • GAYNORSSCHOOLOFCOOKING.COM

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ART: ASHLEY CECIL’S “PLANT PROFILE” OF LEAH LIZARONDO

^ Mon., Feb. 18: “Deepening Roots”

from how we define an American woman to the effects of gentrification to the struggles of refugees.” Includes work from Pittsburgh artists Kennethy Neely, Martha Rial, and Sarah Huny Young. Continues through April 5, 2019. 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. Free. mcgyouthandarts.org

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TUE., MARCH 5

LECTURE Dive into multimedia art with a

lecture at the Kresge Theater from Carnegie Mellon University visiting professor in the School of Art Sean Lynch, whose work explores forgotten moments in history through sculpture, photography, and installations. 6:30 p.m. 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. art.cmu.edu

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WED., MARCH 6

FILM Critics have long noted the original 1933

King Kong has some pretty overt racist overtones. But confronting America’s problems with racism in pop cultural is actually a pretty important use of your time. AMC Waterfront 22 is screening the classic monster movie film, which has played a monster-size role in influencing modern film. Grab some popcorn. 7:30 p.m. 300 W. Waterfront Drive, Homestead. $5-7. amctheatres.com

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THU., MARCH 7

ART

Libraries have always been an important part of communities. In the newest exhibit


at the Brew House Gallery, one is a source of inspiration. In This is Not Romantic, three artists, connected through the Braddock Carnegie Library, use photography, multi-media works and sound to explore how their lives have intersected through the library. 2-7 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and by appointment. Through March 23. 711 S. 21st St., South Side. brewhousearts.org

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FRI., MARCH 8

EVENT The co-working space Alloy 26

celebrates International Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day by highlighting the projects, businesses, and platforms of local women. The event includes yoga, raffles, and panels, including a discussion on how to run for office featuring various women political candidates and representatives. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. 100 S. Commons, North Side. Free. alloy26.com

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SAT., MARCH 9

EXPO

Pittsburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bleed Black & Gold Tattoo Expo is back for its third year. Over 200 artists gather at Sheraton Station Square for a weekend of tattoos, body piercings, and live entertainment. Ink lovers compete to win best sleeve, tattoo of the day, and more. March 8-10. Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel, 300 W. Station Square Drive, South Side. $25-50. pittsburghtattooexpo.com CONTINUES ON PG. 20

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PHOTO: PRINCE CHERRYWOOD CHALLENGE 2018 TRIBUTE TOUR

^ Fri., March 15: Pittsburgh Creative Arts Fest

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SUN., MARCH 10

COMEDY This annual drag comedy pageant

is a preliminary to the national show in Orlando, so expect some serious laughs and serious drag. Miss Steel City Comedy Queen contestants pay a $50-75 entry fee. At There Ultra Lounge, they compete in different categories like Outrageous Evening Gown and Comedic Talent. 9 p.m. 931 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. Facebook “There Ultra Lounge”

MON., MARCH 11 41

FILM Is anything more purrfect than sitting on your couch watching cat videos on

YouTube? Yes, yes, there is: laughing your tail off at cat videos on the big screen at Row House Cinema. With clips chosen from thousands of submissions, Cat Video Fest is sure to make you meowy happy. Through March 21. Tickets and

showtimes to come. 4115 Butler St., Lawrenceville. rowhousecinema.com

TUE., MARCH 12 42

MUSIC Catch drummer Thomas Wendt for a free show at Backstage Bar. A staple of Pittsburgh’s jazz scene and Duquesne University and the Afro-American Music Institute of Homewood, Wendt has worked with some of the biggest names in modern jazz. Google him backing up with Mark Strickland on Wes Montgomery’s “West Coast Blues” for an intro to his restrained, smart style. 5 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. trustarts.org

< Tue., March 19: The Punch Brothers

WED., MARCH 13 43

COMEDY

Known as “Fluffy” to his fans, Gabriel Iglesias loves to poke fun at his own large stature. The Last Comic Standing standout is performing at the Petersen Events Center and audience members should expect jokes about Iglesias’ Mexican heritage and su familia. 8 p.m. 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. $32-67. fluffyguy.com

THU., MARCH 14 44

TALK Stay sexy and don’t get murdered when one of the country’s biggest CONTINUES ON PG. 22

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Presented by Stage Right

Upcom ing Shows !

Student $15 General $25

Feb 22 & 23 7:30pm Feb 24 2pm

Messages from Heaven: 3 Rivers Medium

Presented by Stage Right

Student $12 General $15

Erica Altmiller

Live Mediumship Demonstration

Fri, Jan 25 7pm Sat, Jan 26 7pm Sun, Jan 27 2pm

Friday, March 1 8pm

$40

Presented by Split Stage Productions

Elvis Tribute Artist

Matthew Boyce

Student $15 General $20

Saturday March 2

Feb 8-9 8pm Feb 14-16 8pm

TUSK Ultimate Tribute to

8pm

$25

Fleetwood Mac

Credence Clearwater Revival & Fogerty Tribute

Sunday Feb 17

Saturday March 9

6pm

8pm

$30

$27

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PHOTO: DUANE RIEDER

^ Mon., March 18: Diana Yohe and Allison Stroming

comedy true crime podcasts comes to town. During two live performances of My Favorite Murder at the Benedum Center, hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark discuss notable Pittsburgh cases, life on the road, dresses with pockets, and more. 8 p.m. Also March 15. All tickets are currently sold out. Seventh St. and Penn Ave., Downtown. trustarts.org

FRI., MARCH 15

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SAT., MARCH 16

MUSIC Philadelphia’s Slaughter Beach, Dog

and Ohio’s The Sidekicks come to Pittsburgh for a night of stripped-down solo performances at the Roboto Project. For fans of Remember Sports, Saintseneca, Ratboys. But, you know, solo. 7 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $15. All ages. therobotoproject.com

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SUN. MARCH 17

FEST Knitting, quilting and crocheting are just

STAGE Prime Stage honors four incredible

as popular as they’ve always been. Explore the products of productive hands at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Fest. Now in its 15th year, the festival takes over the first floor of the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree. Event runs March 15 to 17. 12-7 p.m. 500 Mansfield Ave., Green Tree. $10. pghknitandcrochet.com

women with In The Time of Butterflies. Presented at the New Hazlett Theater, the play tells the story of the Mirabal sisters — “The Butterflies” — who inspired a fight for freedom in the Dominican Republic and forged a legacy that led to the creation of the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence against

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Women. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $10-25. primestage.com

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MON., MARCH 18

DANCE Two renowned dance institutions come together to make something special with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Dance Theatre of Harlem at the August Wilson Center. The performance will feature signatures from both companies as well as collaborative work. Continues through Sun., March 24. Times vary. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $28-112. aacc-awc.org

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TUE., MARCH 19

MUSIC What happens when you mix classical music and bluegrass and sprinkle in

a little county? The Punch Brothers are born. In their latest album, All Ashore, the quintet attempts to make sense of distraction and isolation in the digital age. Join them on their quest for understanding at the Byham Theater. 8-11 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $44.25-$179. trustarts.org

WED., MARCH 20 50

MUSIC For its Sound Series, The Warhol Museum hosts someone you definitely need to know: serpentwithfeet. The solo artist, aka Josiah Wise, blends R&B beats, exquisite vocals, and irresistible notes of gospel on his debut, soil. Start with “wrong tree” and the album-opener “whisper.” 7:30 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $15-18. warhol.org •


PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

23


PHOTO: CHIOKE LANSON

Keisha Blain

.NEWS.

GUIDING STAR

Social justice news publication starting with Pittsburgh’s Keisha Blain at the helm BY RYAN DETO // RYANDETO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

F

AMED ABOLITIONIST Frederick Douglass once said: “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” That guiding principle helped power America’s abolitionist movement and continues to energize today’s fight for racial equality. With that doctrine in mind, a new media company focusing on social justice is forming with a Pittsburgh professor at the helm. The North Star, first published by Douglass in 1847, has been revived as a modern media company. Its mission is to be “unapologetic freedom fighters” in the vein of modern-day versions of Douglass. By educating its audience on the struggles of racial

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PGHCITYPAPER.COM

inequality, it hopes to help society progress toward a more equal future. The company is backed by social-justice activist Shaun King and progressive organizer Benjamin Dixon. The North Star has already surpassed its 25,000-member goal in order to launch the site. University of Pittsburgh professor and well-known historian Keisha Blain will be the company’s editor-in-chief. Blain specializes in African-American history, the African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She believes The North Star should take strong stances in the name of social justice, and that the media company will tackle several topics

it wishes to see advanced, like income inequality between white and Black Americans. “The North Star will play a central role in shining the light on inequality in various cities across the United States. Pittsburgh will certainly not be overlooked,” says Blain. “We anticipate featuring pieces that help readers develop a better understanding of racial inequality in the city; and we will also emphasize some of the strategies for addressing this problem.” The new publication pays homage to the original newspaper. Douglass started the paper to spread the abolitionist message as far as he could, helping to guide as many slaves to freedom as


possible. It was named after the North Star, aka Polaris, which guided Black slaves to freedom, lighting their way to cities like Pittsburgh and the nation’s free states. The original paper’s slogan was “Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” King wrote in a Medium post that he received the blessing of the Douglass family before launching his campaign. And King has high hopes for Blain. “[We] believe that no single person in the world is better suited to lead us where we are going in the weeks, months, and years ahead,” wrote King. Blain is an expert in the history of racial violence in the U.S. She helped spark a recent Twitter movement around the hashtag #Charlestonsyllabus, which crowdsourced reading recommendations related to racial violence. The movement eventually culminated in a book, which Blain co-edited with Chad Williams and Kidada E. Williams. Pitt history professor and Blain’s colleague Laurence Glasco also expects great things to come out of The North Star thanks to Blain. He says she is one of the most distinguished young historians writing today. “She is deeply concerned with history that speaks to the present in a way that will lead to a better, more just future,” says Glasco. “Any journal that secures her presence is most fortunate.” Blain intends to remain on faculty at Pitt while she edits The North Star. She hopes to gain a national and local audience of writers, activists, and educators who will “view The North Star as a crucial platform for addressing inequality and other injustices in the city and beyond.” Blain says continuing to teach courses and study history will only help her in her new role. “In the fall, I am teaching a course on the civil rights movement; and another on Black women and internationalist politics,” says Blain. “Both courses will have a nice synergy with the kinds of content we’re planning to produce at The North Star — pieces that center the experiences of marginalized groups and also highlight key national and international developments.” As The North Star grows, the media company hopes to create podcasts, an app, and a news broadcast. The endeavor has raised enough money to hire 12 staff positions. The news website is set to launch sometime in mid February.

For passes and Information go to AACC-AWC.org

Follow senior writer Ryan Deto on Twitter @RyanDeto PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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CP PHOTO: KEVIN SHEPHERD

Free hats, gloves, and scarves hang outside the Catholic Charities’ Winter Warming Station on Liberty Avenue.

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T O D AY A N D E V E R Y D AY T H E J C C I S H E R E F O R C O M M U N I T Y F O R Y O U T O D AY A N D E V E R Y D AY T H E J C C I S H E R E F O R C O M M U N I T Y F O R Y O U T O D AY A N D E V E R Y D AY T H E J C C I S H E R E F O R C O M M U N I T Y F O R Y O U

The JCC has that inclusive feel to me. I love T H E how J C C I Snonjudgemental H E R E F O R C O M M U N Iand TY FOR T H E ƐƵƉƉŽƌƟǀĞƚŚĞŵĞŵďĞƌƐ JCC IS HERE FOR COMMUNITY FOR are. It’s just a great place THE JCC IS HERE FOR COMMUNITY FOR to work out.

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T O D AY A N D E V E R Y D AY T H E J C C I S H E R E F O R C O M M U N I T Y F O R Y O U

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Bach Choir Does Bach FEBRUARY 9, 7:30 PM and FEBRUARY 10, 4:00 PM St. Agnes Center at Carlow University, Oakland

Johann Sebastian Bach’s creative genius produced beautiful, highly sophisticated melodies and harmonies. He challenged himself, his performers and his audiences with compositions that were more complex and longer than the 18th century norm. Bach experimented with well-tempered tunings, dissonance and influences from abroad. His innovations were endless, as is the catalogue of music that has been collected for us to explore.

Repertoire includes: Sheep May Safely Graze, Jesu Meine Freude, Sleepers Wake and more.

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.VOICES.

PRO-AGING / PRO-FRIZZ BY TERENEH IDIA // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

W

HAT TO DO in a world obsessed with youth and anti-aging/antifrizz beauty products when you’re a woman in her 40s with an Afro? The lessons of society come at you from an early age. Jack and Jill, Barbie, Disney, Star Wars ... Sure, there was also Sesame Street, Fat Albert, and Ezra Jack Keats. But for the most part, as a little Black girl, my erasure from so-called mainstream media and society was absolute. “You’re not valuable; you’re not smart, nor beautiful. You have no history, no present, and no future.” That was what American society told me in so many words, but so thorough and insidious was the lesson that often no words were needed. So what to do? For a little while, you follow along. You straighten your hair, you even put a tank top on your head, whip it around to mimic the coiffure you see in TV and movies. Then one day your dad argues with your mom when she is about to grab the heated metal straightening comb from the oven burner. “You are teaching our daughter to hate herself!” he yells. Both you and your mom ignore him and continue to press away the Afro coils into straight strands. But you don’t completely disregard his words. A seed of rejection was planted, which comes to fruition years later. In college, you style your hair into an Afro; the ease, the beauty, history, and heritage all come through in the proud cloud of ebony brown nappy curls. You ignore the “antifrizz,” “curl defining” creams and let your

hair just be your hair. Let it be you. Now you have years of self-defined beauty and hard-fought self-love. You have fortified yourself for whatever society throws at you. Or so you think. Then a growing crescendo of anti-aging messaging you easily ignored before starts to grow louder and louder. The wellearned laugh lines and eye wrinkles are to be rubbed, acid-washed, or lasered away. The words “old” and “aging” are not a gift, but something to be fought against. “You don’t look your age!” It is meant as a compliment. Imagine a rallying cry: “What do we want? Anti-aging! When do we want it? Now!” Are we using the very skin on our bodies to fight against the beautiful gift of life? Or is it that we want to be 80 years old but look 25? If so, why? What kind of system values us, especially women, for only 10-15 years of our 78 years of life expectancy in the United States? It is an ageist, ableist system that makes us do whatever we can to look as young as we can for as long as possible. But what are we conforming to? Why are we disappointed when we see the evidence of a life of laughter, joy, pain, and as the song goes, “sunshine and rain?” That is our life, we earned all of it, celebrate! Show the world every spin around the sun, our life’s continued adventures wrinkles and all. In one way I am lucky: I have had a lifetime of rejecting and ignoring society’s harmful lessons on who I am. But I know me. I am valuable, smart, and beautiful. So are you. I have a proud history, thriving present, and joyful future. We all do, that’s the gift of aging.

Follow featured contributor Tereneh Idia on Twitter @Tereneh152XX

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“The time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black History Month

February 2019

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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.JUST JAGGIN’.

RANDOM HOUSE BY JOSH OSWALD JOSWALD@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

T

WO WEEKS AGO, I sat on my bed

with my kids to read them The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant. While I had heard of the book, I had no knowledge of the ludicrous events waiting within. Babar starts predictably enough: a baby elephant is born, and his mother loves him. She rocks him to sleep and sings to him. Babar grows, makes friends and plays in the sand. His life is quite lovely. Then some dude in a white hat strolls in and pops two rounds into Babar’s mother. She’s dead. I tossed the book to the ground in disgust. After realizing my kids didn’t really care the mother was killed (what is wrong with them?!), I picked up the book and continued with what would become a bizarre interspecies rom-com. After days spent running away from the hunter, Babar stumbles into a town with buses and automobiles and houses,

CP PHOTO: ABBIE ADAMS

which he somehow knows to identify as “buses, automobiles and houses.” He also has the ability to appreciate a finely tailored men’s suit and says to himself, “I wonder how I can get them.” We solve that problem on the next page: “Luckily, a very rich Old Lady who has always been fond of little elephants understands right away that he is longing for a fine suit.” What a fortuitous fetish: rich lady with a thing for elephants. PreInternet, finding this perfect of a match would have been impossible. Everything is coming up Babar since the slaughter of his mother.

With great haste, Babar’s newfound sugar mommy stuffs his pockets full of Kohl’s Cash to get right with some Van Heusen. They dine together, and he stays the night. In the morning, Babar is dressed in a Speedo, doing yoga with “The Old Lady,” as the book insists on calling her. As a now properly socialized, Parisian elitist, Babar begins driving fancy cars, solving complex math problems, and leaning casually against fireplaces in a tuxedo to regale other high-society types with stories of the forest. Life is perfect, until his two broke and

suit-less cousins appear out of nowhere to expose him for what he is. But the joke’s on them. Soon, they too are taken to Kohl’s and fed bonbons. Finally, the only two voices of reason in this debacle show up – the moms of the cousins – to take all pachyderm back to the forest. The Old Lady’s work has been wasted. Unfortunately, there are about 50 plotlines left in the final pages of Babar. But in the interest of your sanity and mine, I’ll summarize: Babar returns to the forest with his cousins, the current king eats a poisonous mushroom, dies, and Babar is made king because the other elephants admire his cool car, just like how the U.K. picked Queen Elizabeth. The story ends with Babar and his childhood sweetheart getting married and going on a honeymoon to their next adventures—more manically structured books is my guess. I know this book is French, from the ’30s, and probably aptly espouses universal themes on colonialism and class, but it’s too hard to get past being jealous of the Dudley Moore of elephants to draw any concrete conclusions. Tallyho!

Follow digital media manager Josh Oswald on Twitter @gentlemenRich

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31


.FOOD.

CASA BRASIL BY MAGGIE WEAVER MWEAVER@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

T

HERE’S your heaven.” ...My server at Casa Brasil in Highland Park laughed as he said this, setting down a plate of chicken on the table. But he was right — the restaurant’s homestyle, down-to-earth dishes, with their authentic, intoxicating flavors, struck a heavenly chord. Part-owner Keyla Nogueira Cook became a force in Pittsburgh’s food scene, working freelance and catering across the city. In 2018, Cook and partner Tim Guthrie decided to join the ranks of Pittsburgh pop-ups by renting the Bryant St. building previously occupied by Plate & Bowl, bringing a fresh take on Brazilian food to Highland Park. At Casa Brasil, no towering skewers of meat float around the restaurant. Cook’s menu lists traditional, at-home eats, like stews and prato feito (a plate composed of rice, beans, meat, and vegetables). On Saturdays and Sundays, Cook prepares Brazil’s national dish, feijoada (black bean stew). From the outside, Casa Brasil looks like a house. A double-window bigger than the restaurant’s front door sheds light on a fenced-in patio area. Inside, the intimate dining room alludes to warmer weather with bright colors and energetic rhythms. Bookcases display knick-knacks and cookbooks. It’s simple and cozy, with a heartbeat of tradition. I visited Casa Brasil on a cold night, taking refuge at a tucked away table. After glowing recommendations from my server, I ordered three dishes: pão de queijo (cheese bread rolls), frango

CP PHOTO: MAGGIE WEAVER

Moqueca de peixe (Brazilian fish stew)

à passarinho com molho de iogurte e limão (fried chicken with a yogurt and lime sauce), and moqueca de peixe (codfish stew). I started off with the cheese bread: five rolls tumbling on a plate, splotched with evidence of fresh toasting. I broke the crunchy crust and was rewarded with a mouthwatering cheese pull. It was dense, heavy in my hand, and an obvious success. There are few things better than bread and cheese.

Next to the rolls, four massive pieces of chicken, all steaming with an intoxicating aroma, dressed up a white plate. Cook marinated the chicken for at least two days, resulting in juicy, flavorsmacking meat. The lime, yogurt, and cilantro sauce punched each bite with citrus, breaking through the crunchy, spice-heavy ends of the chicken. The dish had me dancing in my chair. My stew was straightforward comfort, a warm embrace of nostalgia-

FAVORITE FEATURES: Hot Tea

Farofa

Resedencía

In my ranking of hot drinks, mint tea takes a top slot. Casa Brasil makes its with fresh mint, a delicacy I’m head-over-heels in love with. It’s miles better than a teabag.

Casa Brasil introduced me to farofa. It has the texture of finely ground pretzels but is herbal, salty, and surprisingly delicious.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, when Casa Brasil is closed, Cook offers the space to other local pop-up kitchens. Past dinners feature authentic Chinese and Puerto Rican food. Keep an eye on the website for more Resedencía announcements to come.

CASA BRASIL 5904 Bryant St., Highland Park. Wed.- Fri., 5:30-9 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 412-404-7573. casa-brasil.com

inducing taste. The codfish flaked apart, light enough to balance out the robust coconut milk-based soup filled with vegetables and rice. It finished off with a dusting of farofa (toasted yucca flour with herbs), boosting the stew with salt. The flavors delivered a familiar hom sickness, one that only follows true comfort food. For now, Cook and Guthrie plan to inhabit the Bryant St. space until their lease is up in a year. But based on Cook’s flavor-driven, all-around delicious dishes, Casa Brasil deserves a permanent home.

Follow staff writer Maggie Weaver on Twitter @magweav

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PGHCITYPAPER.COM


.ON THE ROCKS.

CHAIN OF TOOLS BY CRAIG MRUSEK // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

B

EING A BARTENDER, I frequently

get asked about the various tools I use. Most often, people want to know what specific items they need at home in order to make decent drinks for themselves and friends. In previous columns, I’ve listed an assortment of useful bar tools, so here’s one last batch to consider.

Paring Knife WHAT IS IT? A little knife for cutting little stuff. They’re everywhere, from high-end kitchens to your grandmother’s junk drawer. It was likely the first knife a grownup ever let you use in the kitchen. DO I NEED IT? You probably already have one. If not, get one. Paring knives are handy for small cutting tasks and particularly useful for preparing garnishes. It’s the go-to tool for slicing and trimming all the goodies that make your drinks look spiffy. BASIC OR FANCY? Basic. You can find decent ones for under $10 in kitchen and houseware stores. Find one you like and get a few — knives like these have an annoying habit of getting lost or borrowed.

Channel Knife WHAT IS IT? More of a peeler than a knife. It’s designed to pull a narrow, string-like strip of rind from fruit (usually citrus) and vegetables.

DO I NEED IT? Maybe. If you want to introduce some variety into your garnish game, it’s a nice gadget to have. Not essential, but it definitely gives you more options when it comes to decorating your drinks. BASIC OR FANCY? Depends. Like its sibling the veggie peeler, cheap ones do the trick for most situations. However, if you’re making a lot of garnishes that require this type of tool, spend a couple more bucks and get one with a robust blade and comfy handle.

Ice Crusher WHAT IS IT? A machine that takes big chunks of ice and turns them into smaller chunks of ice. Designs vary, but the one I recommend is the two-piece, handcranked model designed to sit on a table or counter. DO I NEED IT? You can definitely get by without one, but to make things like juleps and certain tropical-style drinks, they’re mandatory. Plus, they’re fun to use. Show your guests how to use it and put those freeloaders to work. BASIC OR FANCY? You’re looking for one that’s sturdy and feels like it’s up to the job. Some newer ones are made pretty well, but I prefer the vintage models. They’re built like tanks, and can be found cheaply at thrift stores, flea markets, and websites like Etsy and eBay.

Follow featured contributing writer Craig Mrusek on Twitter @DoctorBamboo PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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.FOOD.

HEALTHY EATING (FOR DUDES!) BY MAGGIE WEAVER MWEAVER@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

I

T WAS BOUND to happen: “manly” veganism is a thing now. It’s the newest trend carried by masculinity’s widespread wings, swept along with brosé and brogurt, a powerful alternative to yogurt, designated as “chick food” by Men’s Journal. Masculine veganism, according to Dutch advertising company Marielle Bordewijk, is hot in 2019. Along with eco-conscious packaging and mushrooms, man-approved veganism makes the annual list of food trends predicted for the upcoming year. In 2019, men are heading for plants. In 2019, real men are vegan. There’s no shock that men are late to the game. Veganism is missing one vital pillar of machismo: meat. True men are carnivores. They don’t just eat meat; they need it. This narrative is all too familiar. When women catch onto a trend, it’s considered frivolous, annoying, and overused. Look at yogurt. At first, the proteinpacked food targets women with pastel colors, fruity flavors, and the everpopular weight loss trope of a yellow polka-dot bikini. The male version is the exact opposite. Powerful Yogurt (by the company Powerful Foods, created specifically to target dudes) boasts 25g of protein, is “made by men, for men.” Its black, stout packaging doesn’t list calorie counts.

CP PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ABBIE ADAMS

MJ Flott, owner of punk-centric vegan pastry business Wolf Teeth Donuts and house baker at Kaibur Coffee in Polish Hill, laughs at the notion of masculine veganism. “The things that girls like are stupid, basic, and trendy, but once a man catches on, they become elevated and re-defined,” jokes Flott. “Hegans,” the moniker for men who swear by veganism, turn a femaletargeted and socially weak diet into a strong, sex-driven, powerful lifestyle. Advocates for hegans stroke the male ego. Articles brag that “Vegan Men Have 13% Higher Testosterone Levels!” and “23 Hot Guys You Didn’t Know Were Vegan.” Menus emphasize generous portions and satisfying results, balancing out meatless meals with descriptors like gunpowder and caveman. It’s a

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MEN ARE DITCHING MEAT FOR PLANTS. The baker is right. With or without men, veganism is on the rise. In the past five years, Pittsburgh has seen a spike in accessible vegan food. Restaurants like Onion Maiden, B52, and Apteka

raised the city’s standards for plantbased diets. Neighborhood grocery stores are making vegan food convenient, stocking shelves with dairy-free cream cheese and nut milk. Veganism has been polished, taken under the wing of influencers, food-bloggers, and now, men. Masculine veganism is a transparent attempt to get social permission for men to lose meat. (Unfortunately, it also means a surge of the term “Hegans” on social media.) Plenty of men are vegan — for health, moral, or ecological reasons — not because of targeted marketing. Gendered or not, it’s just food. Veganism may be masculinity’s new frontier, but nothing else has changed. And while men struggle to catch up, women can sit back, relax, and enjoy their chick food.

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de-feminization of vegan food. “If more men want to be vegan, cool!” Flott says. “The marketing end of it is pretty silly. If you are so concerned with being weak because of food, then you have a greater issue than food. I don’t think veganism is going to suffer for lack of masculinity.”

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED RESTAURANT

AN AUTHENTIC TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN

LEON’S CARIBBEAN 823 E WARRINGTON AVE., ALLENTOWN / 412-431-5366 LEONSCARIBBEAN.COM Family owned and operated since December 2014. Here at Leon’s, we take pride in our recipes and quality of dishes. Simple menu with all the traditional dishes! Leon Sr. has been a chef for 30+ years, mastering the taste everyone has grown to love and can only get at Leon’s.

823 EAST WARRINGTON AVE. ALLENTOWN, PGH 15210

BAR LOUIE

330 N. SHORE DRIVE, NORTH SIDE (412-500-7530) AND 244 W BRIDGE ST., HOMESTEAD (412-462-6400) / BARLOUIE.COM We’re your neighborhood bar, where you can kick back and be the real you, with the help of an amazing staff, great music, handcrafted martinisand cocktails, local and regional drafts, incredible wines and a huge selection of bar bites, snacks, burgers, flatbreads and sandwiches. Come in after work, before the game, late night at night, or any time you need a quick bite or a night out with friends. Bar Louie. Less obligations. More libations.

BROAD STREET BISTRO

1025 BROAD ST., NORTH VERSAILLES 412-829-2911 / BROADSTBISTRO.COM Broad Street Bistro is a neighborhood restaurant offering daily specials. ALL food is prepared fresh and made to order. It is family friendly with a special kids’ menu.

EIGHTY ACRES

1910 NEW TEXAS ROAD, MONROEVILLE/PLUM 724-519-7304 / EIGHTYACRESKITCHEN.COM Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar offers a refined, modern approach to contemporary American cuisine with a strong emphasis on local, farm-totable products.

FULL PINT WILD SIDE TAP ROOM

5310 BUTLER ST., LAWRENCEVILLE 412-408-3083 / FULLPINTBREWING.COM Full Pint Wild Side Taproom is Full Pint Brewing company’s Lawrenceville location and features a full service bar, huge sandwiches and half-priced happy hour. Open 4 p.m.-midnight, Mon.-Fri., and noon–midnight on Saturday. Check us out on Facebook for upcoming shows and events.

MERCURIO’S ARTISAN GELATO AND NEAPOLITAN PIZZA

4400 FORBES AVE., OAKLAND 412-622-3225 / THECAFECARNEGIE.COM An excellent dining experience from James Beard Semi-Finalist, Sonja Finn featuring a locally-focused menu, full service dining, and espresso and wine bar.

5523 WALNUT ST., SHADYSIDE 412-621-6220 / MERCURIOSGELATOPIZZA.COM Authentic Neapolitan pizza, artisan gelato, and an inviting atmosphere are just a small part of what helps create your experience at Mercurio’s Gelato and Pizza in Pittsburgh. It’s not your standard pizza shop; in fact, this isn’t a “pizza shop” at all.

COLONY CAFE

PAD THAI NOODLE

THE CAFÉ CARNEGIE

1125 PENN AVE., STRIP DISTRICT 412-586-4850 / COLONYCAFEPGH.COM Whether stopping in for a weekday lunch, an afternoon latte or after-work drinks with friends, Colony Cafe offers delicious house-made bistro fare in a stylish Downtown space.

4770 LIBERTY AVE, BLOOMFIELD 412-904-1640 PADTHAINOODLEPITTSBURGH.COM This new café in Bloomfield features Thai and Burmese specialties. Standards like Pad Thai and Coconut Curry Noodle are sure to please. But don’t miss out

412-431-LEON

on the Ono Kyowsway featuring egg noodle sautéed with coconut chicken, cilantro and curry sauce.

SAGA HIBACHI

201 SOUTH HILLS VILLAGE MALL, BETHEL PARK 412-835-8888 / SAGAHIBACHI.COM Saga in the South Hills is now under new management. Stop in for exciting table-side preparations and the famous shrimp sauce. Or sit in the sushi-bar area for the freshest sushi experience, with both traditional preparations and contemporary variations.

SUPERIOR MOTORS

1211 BRADDOCK AVE., BRADDOCK 412-271-1022 / SUPERIORMOTORS15104.COM Thoughtfully prepared food, drawing inspiration from Braddock, its people, its history and its perseverance. The cuisine best represents the eclectic style which has become a trademark of Chef Kevin Sousa. Fine dining in an old Chevy dealership with an eclectic, farm-to-table menu and a community focus.

TOTOPO MEXICAN KITCHEN AND BAR

660 WASHINGTON ROAD, MT. LEBANON 412-668-0773 / TOTOPOMEX.COM Totopo is a vibrant celebration of the culture and cuisine of Mexico, with a focus on the diverse foods served in the country. From Oaxacan tamales enveloped in banana leaves to the savory fish tacos of Baja California, you will experience the authentic flavor and freshness in every bite. We also feature a cocktail menu of tequila-based drinks to pair the perfect margarita with your meal.

The best gifts are edible. 1910 New Texas Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15239 724.519.7304 EightyAcresKitchen.com

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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PHOTO: TRAVIS MITZEL

Delicious Pastries members. Top row, left to right: Stephen Gallo, Jesse Ley, Burr Settles Bottom row, left to right: Jonathan Chamberlain, Dan Styslinger, Vince Poprocky

.MUSIC.

NOT SO FINAL FAREWELL BY JORDAN SNOWDEN // JSNOWDEN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

A

LOT CAN HAPPEN in a decade. In

December 2018, Delicious Pastries reached its 10th anniversary, a pivotal mark in which the sevenmember band decided to end their project. Delicious Pastries realized their music evolved, along with the way they create songs, which is now a live process in

which they write and record simultaneously. Delicious Pastries’ sound, rooted in the classic ’60s pop structure with rich melodies and harmonies, was finding itself tinged with heavy basslines, drum loops, and synthesizers. “It feels like, ‘Oh, it’s out of left field, but it was a natural progression in the

DELICIOUS PASTRIES FINAL SHOW WITH SEEDY PLAYERS AND RAVE AMI

10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 1. Howlers, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. facebook.com/deliciouspastries

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way we’re recording now,” says drummer Jesse Ley. “We’re pulling a little more from a slightly broader range of influences. A thousand bands have been able to change gears at any point in their career, and that was certainly on the table, but it just seemed like the best thing to do was call it a day.” To bid farewell, on Feb. 1, Delicious Pastries is taking the stage at Howlers for one final performance. They chose Howlers because of the numerous positive experiences the band had there in the early stages of its existence. Joining

them is rock band Rave Ami and alt/ indie group Seedy Players, which is keyboardist Dan Styslinger’s band. That Friday is also Styslinger’s birthday. “We never played with his band so we thought it would be a cool thing to do,” says Ley. “For a night that has a lot of significance there, everything seemed sort of appropriate.” For the final performance, expect to hear selections from Delicious Pastries entire catalog, along with a few surprises. But, the last show does not equate the end of new music from the members.


First, the band plans to put out a digital collection of previously unreleased tracks that span every era of Delicious Pastries. The release, which will likely coincide with the Howlers performance, will feature alternative versions of familiar songs, demo recordings, and tracks that were slated to be on the records but were cut for one reason or another. Second, the aforementioned new style of music the band has been working on is part of a project with Ley, Stephen Gallo, and Jonathan Chamberlain. Last fall, instead of throwing out the music they recorded, Ley, Gallo, and Chamberlain formed a new entity. And Delicious Pastries fans received one last EP, Sky Fleece.

“IT FEELS LIKE, ‘OH, IT’S OUT OF LEFT FIELD,’ BUT IT WAS A NATURAL PROGRESSION IN THE WAY WE’RE RECORDING NOW.” “[Sky Fleece] was four songs that were going to be on the record that still had the classic Delicious Pastries sound,” says Ley. “So, we put those out as a standalone piece.” When comparing Sky Fleece with Delicious Pastries earlier work, the evolution of their music becomes clear. “There’s a song on the EP, it’s like the third track, and I just wasn’t satisfied with how that song sounded,” says Ley. “We ended up scrapping it except for the vocals and the baseline, and we completely reconstructed the song. So, on that EP, that song feels like an outlier to an extent, but I felt like that would be a cool nod to the direction we were going in, because we had already known that the band was coming to an end.” The three Delicious Pastries members have yet to name the band, but that, along with new tunes, is on the way. “We have plenty of material,” says Ley. “We just need to figure out a way to brand it. [It] feels good and it’s very exciting.”

Follow staff writer Jordan Snowden on Twitter @snowden_jordan PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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.FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 31.

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY BY ROB BREZSNY // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: You’ll have a knack for enhancing the way you express yourself and present yourself. The inner you and the outer you will become more unified. MARCH: You’ll discover two original new ways to get excited. APRIL: Be bold as you make yourself available for a deeper commitment that will spawn more freedom. MAY: What are the gaps in your education? Make plans to mitigate your most pressing area of ignorance. JUNE: Your body’s ready to tell you secrets that your mind has not yet figured out. Listen well.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: You’ll be invited to make a pivotal transition in the history of your relationship with your most important life goals. It should be both fun and daunting! MARCH: Don’t waste time and energy trying to coax others to haul away the junk and the clutter. Do it yourself. APRIL: The growing pains should feel pretty good. Enjoy the uncanny stretching sensations. MAY: It’ll be a favorable phase to upgrade your personal finances. Think richer thoughts. Experiment with new ideas about money. JUNE: Build two strong bridges for every rickety bridge you burn. Create two vital connections for every stale connection you leave behind.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: You have access to a semi-awkward magic that will serve you well if you don’t complain about its semiawkwardness. MARCH: To increase your clout and influence, your crucial first step is to formulate a strong intention to do just that. The universe will then work in your behalf. APRIL: Are you ready to clean messes and dispose of irrelevancies left over from the past? Yes! MAY: You can have almost anything you want if you resolve to use it for the greatest good. JUNE: Maintain rigorous standards, but don’t be a fanatic. Strive for excellence without getting bogged down in a counterproductive quest for perfection.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: Be alert for vivid

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: Start a new trend that will serve your noble goals for years to come. MARCH: Passion comes back into fashion with a tickle and a shiver and a whoosh. APRIL: As you expand and deepen your explorations, call on the metaphorical equivalents of both a telescope and a microscope. MAY: This is the beginning of the end of what you love to complain about. Hooray! JUNE: You’ll have an abundance of good reasons to celebrate the fact that you are the least normal sign in the zodiac. Celebrate your idiosyncrasies! glimpses of your best possible future. The power of self-fulfilling prophecy is even stronger than usual. MARCH: High integrity and ethical rigor are crucial to your success — and so is a longing for sacred adventure. APRIL: How can you make the best use of your likability? MAY: Cheerfully dismantle an old system or structure to make way for a sparkling new system or structure. JUNE: Beginner’s luck will be yours if you choose the right place to begin. What’s a bit intimidating but very exciting?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: Your sensual magnetism peaks at the same time as your spiritual clarity. MARCH: You want toasted ice? Succulent fire? Earthy marvels? Homey strangeness? All of that is within reach. APRIL: Sow the seeds of the most interesting success you can envision. Your fantasy of what’s possible should thrill your imagination, not merely satisfy your sense of duty. MAY: Deadline time. Be as decisive and forthright as an Aries, as bold as a Sagittarius, as systematic as a Capricorn. JUNE: Go wading in the womb-temperature ocean of emotion, but be mindful of the undertow.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: There’s a general amnesty in all matters regarding your relationships. Cultivate truces and forgiveness.

MARCH: Drop fixed ideas you might have about what’s possible and what’s not. Be keenly open to unexpected healings. APRIL: Wander out into the frontiers. Pluck goodies that have been offlimits. Consider the value of ignoring certain taboos. MAY: Sacrifice a small comfort so as to energize your ambitions. JUNE: Take a stand in behalf of your beautiful ideals and sacred truths.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: Master the Zen of constructive anger. Express your complaints in a holy cause. MARCH: You finally get a message you’ve been waiting to receive for a long time. Hallelujah! APRIL: Renew your most useful vows. Sign a better contract. Come to a more complete agreement. MAY: Don’t let your preconceptions inhibit you from having a wildly good time. JUNE: Start your own club, band, organization, or business. Or reinvent and reinvigorate your current one.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: Be open to romantic or erotic adventures that are different from how love has worked in the past. MARCH: You’ll be offered interesting, productive problems. Welcome them! APRIL: Can you explore what’s experimental and fraught with interesting uncertainty even as you stay well-grounded? Yes! MAY: You can increase your power by not hiding

your weakness. People will trust you most if you show your vulnerability. A key to this season’s model of success is the ability to calmly express profound emotion. JUNE: Wild cards and X-factors and loopholes will be more available than usual. Don’t be shy about using them.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: The world may finally be ready to respond favorably to the power you’ve been storing up. MARCH: Everything you thought you knew about love and lust turns out to be too limited. So expand your expectations and capacities! APRIL: Extremism and obsession can be useful in moderation. MAY: Invisible means of support will become visible. Be alert for half-hidden help. JUNE: Good questions: What do other people find valuable about you? How can you enhance what’s valuable about you?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: You’ll have the need and opportunity to accomplish some benevolent hocus-pocus. For best results, upgrade your magical powers. MARCH: Make sure the Turning Point happens in your power spot or on your home turf. APRIL: You should be willing to go anywhere, ask any question, and even risk your pride if necessary so as to coax your most important relationships into living up to their potentials. MAY: If at first you don’t succeed, change the definition of success. JUNE: You can achieve more through negotiation and compromise than you could by pushing heedlessly ahead in service to your single-minded vision.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Here are your fortune cookie-style horoscopes for the next five months. FEBRUARY: A new phase of your education will begin when you acknowledge how much you have to learn. MARCH: Initiate diplomatic discussions about the Things That Never Get Talked About. APRIL: Revise your ideas about your dream home and your dream community. MAY: You have the power to find healing for your oldest lovesickness. If you do find it, intimacy will enter a new Golden Age. JUNE: Solicit an ally’s ingenuity to help you improvise a partial solution to a complex problem.

GO TO REALASTROLOGY.COM TO CHECK OUT ROB BREZSNY’S EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES AND DAILY TEXT-MESSAGE HOROSCOPES. THE AUDIO HOROSCOPES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE BY PHONE AT 1-877-873-4888 OR 1-900-950-7700

Pittsburgh’s lone liberal talkshow host for 30+ years Listen live every weekday at 10 a.m. at lynncullen.pghcitypaper.com 38

PGHCITYPAPER.COM


.STAGE.

O BRAVE NEW WORLD BY AMANDA WALTZ AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

I

N WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S original

version of The Tempest, the protagonist, Prospero, is an embittered duke stranded on a magical island with his daughter, Miranda. But the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s all-female adaptation of the iconic play takes a different approach. Helmed by new PPT artistic director Marya Sea Kaminski, the production opens on the surgical oncology floor of a Pittsburgh hospital where we find Prospero (Tamara Tunie, film and television star, and Pittsburgh native) as a woman battling late-stage breast cancer. “I wanted Tamara to play Prospero because she has an incredible stage presence and authority,” says Kaminski, who chose the bard’s tale as her PPT directorial debut. “This adaptation of The Tempest brings a depth of humanity and grace that is a trademark of all Tamara’s work.” From there, it unfolds much like the original work, with Prospero’s dreams transporting her to an enchanted island. There, she and her daughter, Miranda (Kerry Warren), live alongside the sprite Ariel (Janelle Velasquez), the enslaved

PHOTO: FRANCIS HILLS

Tamara Tunie

creature Caliban (Shammen McCune), and nymphs Ceres and Iris (Julia de Avilez Rocha and Emma Mercier). However, things become complicated when a shipwreck delivers Prospero’s deceptive sister, Tonio (Rami Margron),

PITTSBURGH PUBLIC THEATER PRESENTS THE TEMPEST

Jan. 24 – Feb. 24. 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. Tickets start at $30. ppt.org

Queen Alonso (Deena Aziz), her child Ferdinand (Rad Pereira), Alonso’s sister Sebastian (Aryana Sedarati), and advisor Gonzalo (Laurie Klatscher), as well as jester Trinculo (Jamie Agnello) and the clownish cook Stefano (Bethany Caputo). Members of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus also sing and play island spirits. The Tempest has been gender-

Get ready!

flipped before, namely in Julie Taymor’s 2010 film adaptation, which saw Helen Mirren playing the sorceress and mother, Prospera. But Kaminiski believes the centuriesold mystical drama still has plenty of poignancy. In this case, the play serves as a vehicle for a woman’s “spiritual journey” as she comes to terms with her possible fate. It also offers a chance to explore and raise awareness of the devastating impact of breast cancer, a disease the American Cancer Society estimates will affect one in eight U.S. women. “Cancer is a subject that touches the lives of contemporary audiences – much more so than a Duke whose kingdom was stolen from him,” says Kaminski. “In my adaptation, Prospero feels betrayed by her family – they have not been there for her during her illness – and betrayed by her body too. Over the course of the play, she must decide between vengeance and forgiveness.” Despite its grim storyline, however, Kaminski promises a surprising amount of humor and magic, as well as a number of creative design elements, including a towering basalt wall for the island setting and an “eye-popping parade of costumes” by Nephelie Andonyadis. “In addition to Prospero’s spiritual journey, the play has many other layers,” says Kaminski, describing how lighting and sound create a magnificent storm unleashed by Prospero. “There is also abundant humor in the scenes with Trinculo, the drunken Stephano, and the creature Caliban – not just Shakespeare’s words but the way the actors use their bodies is hilarious.”

March 1-30

3 Course Prix Fixe Menu Multiple Participating Restaurants One month of delicious dining

Learn more at

www.taste30pgh.com PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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PHOTO: SELENA HURST

“Material Landscape (astroturf)” by Selena Hurst

.ART.

DOES THIS SPARK JOY? BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

I

N A TIME when Americans have descended into

a closet-clearing frenzy inspired by the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, their unwanted goods filling up thrift stores all over this great land, it seems like a perfect coincidence that Bunker Projects would debut its latest exhibition A Better Home and Garden. Curated by Bunker Projects board member Emma Vescio, the exhibition (on view Feb. 1-24) challenges assumptions about how “objects exist, how physical spaces can be fabricated, and how we define and

designate preciousness.” Featuring sculptures and installations by artists Selena Hurst and Derek Peel, Vescio describes the show as being inspired by the home decorating and remodeling magazine Better Homes and Gardens and all of the “ridiculous interior spaces that were created during the 1970s.” “We’re taking all of the worst parts of those interior designs to kind of have a comment on consumerism and why do we keep all of these objects,” says Vescio. “Both Selena and Derek’s work are objects that at one point were functioning the way that

A BETTER HOME AND GARDEN OPENING RECEPTION.

Fri., Feb. 1. 7-10 p.m. 5106 Penn Ave., Garfield. Free. bunkerprojects.org

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PGHCITYPAPER.COM

they should have been and now are functioning in a different way.” Hurst goes a bit further, saying, “The title of the show is more of a question because what we’re really talking about … is what makes a home or garden better? What is better in terms of a couch or a wall color? If you can sit on it and it is comfortable, is it not a good couch? That discrepancy is really interesting to me, because with [Better Homes and Gardens], if you saw that on your doorstep and you just look at it, it’s already assuming that your space is not as good as it could be, whatever that means.” It ultimately comments on the temporary quality of home environments, and the way we discard furniture, appliances, and other household goods that are no longer fashionable or useful. Among the works


PHOTO: BUNKER PROJECTS

Twin Lamps by Derek Peel

is a soft sculpture chair by Hurst, created by photographing a chair, printing it out on fabric, and sewing it into a chair that serves its intended purpose, but isn’t durable enough to hold someone for a long period. Also on view are sculptures by Peel that incorporate what they call “mostly household objects and either found or second-hand personal accessories and merchandise,” including broken or junked ceiling fans, lamps, and air conditioners. Peel describes the work they produced for the exhibit as “meant to illustrate sort of a psychosomatic or psychogenic response to stress by material surroundings.” “There is tremendous pressure in our society to strive for trending definitions of perfection in our lifestyle,” says Peel. “For some people it’s impossible to keep up, and it takes a toll both physically and mentally. If you see your environment as a living thing, imagine if it internalized things like anxiety and frustration like people do. What kind of effects would that have?” In a different way, Hurst knows firsthand the anxiety and frustration caused by living spaces, as she lost many of her belongings to a devastating house fire in 2017.

“Of course there is this trauma that comes with losing things and the danger of the situation, but also there’s that disillusionment that at any time something that you thought was safe and sound and stable could just break down,” says Hurst, adding that the experience informs much of her work. Vescio believes the show’s message extends beyond any individual home to entire landscapes, including the one surrounding Bunker Projects. “Pittsburgh’s changing so much, even within the last five years it looks completely different,” says Vescio. “Buildings and people in Garfield are constantly changing, and we’re thinking about that as well, how buildings … and people are just disregarded.” But while A Better Home and Garden hits on serious topics, and even contains content that could be viewed as depressing, such as plants brought in to decay over the course of the exhibition, Vescio stresses its enjoyable aspects, including an interactive foam ball pit installation. “It could be upsetting, but we’re doing it in a really playful way, where it’s not meant to make you angry, it’s meant to make it fun,” says Vescio.

Follow senior writer Amanda Waltz on Twitter @AWaltzCP PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

Suz Pisano

.THEATER.

BACKSTAGE BY LISSA BRENNAN // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

NAME: Suz Pisano, North Side TITLE: Costume designer. “I make magic happen.” FOR WHOM: Individual performers and choreographers working in movement-oriented performance

SO YOU ESSENTIALLY DO EVERYTHING? Pretty much. If someone can wear it, I’ve made it. I’ve worked very hard to build up my shop, so that we can literally sew anything. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? My mom had bridal shops, and I grew up working there. My grandmother was a seamstress; my aunt was a seamstress. My Barbies had mink stoles and brocade gowns that they made out of scraps that were on the ground. Then I went to college to do something else, and it was great, and then I didn’t want to do it anymore. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON RECENTLY? I just made a leather He-Man chest

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PGHCITYPAPER.COM

piece for Michael Nolan of Venus in Furs. I’ve styled a few looks for his on-stage persona. Tons of costumes for dance schools. I also do things for non-performers; a few months ago, I put together a family Halloween costume for a parent/child quartet going as ABBA, and today I’m working on a family heirloom, an antique bassinet now on its third child that the grandmother thought could be spruced up. I work with burlesque dancers a lot, and that’s always fun; recently, I did a cape that has to turn into an owl for a boy-lesque dancer. DO BURLESQUE DANCERS TELL YOU WHAT THEY NEED, OR DO YOU TELL THEM WHAT’S POSSIBLE? Oh, I follow them, absolutely 100 percent. The costume enhances the movement; it doesn’t create it. I WOULD IMAGINE THERE’S A LOT TO CONSIDER WITH FUNCTION, SINCE PIECES HAVE TO BE NOT ONLY WORKED IN BUT REMOVED? That’s the challenge, figuring out how

it stays on until it comes off. With burlesque, it’s not just what you put into it; it’s how they get out of it. You also are looking at the aesthetics from two ways, not just the outside of a garment but its inside as well; you can reveal the inside of a dress, as well as who’s inside the dress. But function is going to be specific with anything, whether it’s skirts for ballerinas or spandex for wrestlers.

suck to spend hundreds on a costume for one-time wear. Durability under duress is a thing. Straps and elastics are triple-checked before they go out the door. How costumes represent body type is also important. If someone is short and stocky, design becomes key in physical appearance. Not everyone gets that, and I’ve seen a lot of bad gear in the ring.

WAIT, WHAT? WRESTLERS? Yep, I costume wrestlers. Duke Davis and Ganon Jones, Jr. work together as The Mane Event, a male tag-team that would be terrifying. I’m working with an up-and-coming girl, Regina Menold, aka The Honey Badger. She’s a tough, fierce character but also very feminine, so that’s a lot of fun.

DO YOU GO TO THEIR EVENTS? I’m a fan of wrestling and have gone to several bouts. I go to everything I can, but it’s hard because working with burlesque, bands, salsa dancers, belly dancers, I get invited to like 400 things. Plus, I get in my studio, and I can never leave.

HOW DOES WHAT YOU’VE DONE IN DANCE TRANSLATE TO WRESTLING? It’s similar because everything has to stay in place — no wardrobe malfunctions! As with dance, knowledge of fabrics is key, because the floor of the ring can be quite abrasive, and it would

DO YOU EVER END UP AT A BOUT ROOTING FOR TWO OPPONENTS? Not yet, I always say if you’re gonna refer somebody to me, they can’t be a jagoff; I’m really selective. But my clients are very tight-lipped about me because they don’t want me making gear for their competition.


.LITERATURE.

HORNE AND THE HILL DISTRICT BY AMANDA WALTZ AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

T

HE LATE LENA HORNE made her mark as one of the few Golden Age stars of color, who over her 70-year career, dazzled audiences with her sex appeal, vivacious energy, and triple-threat talent. Though she was born in New York, the entertainer and civil rights activist called the Hill District home in the days when the Pittsburgh neighborhood was known as a lively jazz Mecca. Now, local author Kathleen George weaves a story about Horne’s early Hill District days with The Blues Walked In (University of Pittsburgh Press), a novel she’s worked on for the last five years. “The first impulse came from listening to Lena Horne—her singing and her talking and just how feisty she was, and I became really interested in that,” says George, a Johnstownborn Pittsburgh native who teaches theater and creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Set in 1936, the story follows 19-yearold Horne as she navigates life in the Hill District, where she begins performing at clubs like the reallife Crawford Grill. She befriends Marie David, a LebaneseAmerican girl who works at a neighborhood grocer, and Josiah Conner, an ambitious teen boy (both characters were invented by George). As Horne’s star rises, Marie and Josiah follow her career in newspapers and magazines, until a tragic event brings them together again. Along the way, the book touches on

PHOTO: LIFETOUCH

Kathleen George

the racism and sexism the characters would have faced at that time, whether they were African-American or an immigrant like Marie. “Even with people who are envious of someone who has fame, like Lena does, they might not know what she went through, and the hardships that she had,” says George. “I wanted people to come away sympathetic to a lot of different people and their trials.” George adds that she was struck by how well Horne “turned anger to humor,” a trait showcased in her Tony-award winning one-woman Broadway show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. “She was really dishing it out, but everyone was eating it up,” says George. She also credits her own mother for inspiration, who George claims had a similar body type and spirit as Horne. “Her spirit came from a lot of anger

KATHLEEN GEORGE AT MYSTERY LOVERS BOOKSHOP

Sat., Feb. 2. 4 p.m. 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. Free. Registration required. mysterylovers.com

she was carrying, and I really started thinking about women who didn’t get to do everything they were capable of,

and their anger and what they do with that,” says George. “My mother would toss off, as she was washing the dishes and I was drying the dishes, ‘Oh, I always wished I could be an actress and a movie star’.” As part of her research process, George combed through Pittsburgh Courier articles, studied pictures of the MGM lot where Horne would have hung out, and read a variety of books, including Horne’s autobiography and Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne by James Gavin. She also enlisted the help of a former student, who drove her through the Hill District and explained what used to be there. “When you’re dealing with someone who actually existed and doing research, it’s like a puzzle you have to solve,” says George. “I wasn’t changing the facts of her life. I was trying to fit this whole other story in.” While the book enlightens readers about Horne’s life and the Hill District’s rich history, George wants it to touch people on an emotional level. “My hope was that people could get involved in the life there, and really care about the people, which is how I felt as I was writing it,” says George.

MAR RDI RD DI

GR RA AS

The Annual Northside Mardi Gras Celebration is 2 week long party featuring 35+ restaurants, pubs, and businesses offering live entertainment and New Orleans and other Pre-Lenten inspired food and drink specials.

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March 5, 7:00PM Allegheny Elks $10 at the door.

Sales! Music! Food! DRINKS! & MORE! pittsburghnorthside.com/mardigras PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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.TELEVISION.

QUEENS OF THE STONER AGE BY HANNAH LYNN HLYNN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

T

HE BEST AND most empathetic shows treat their characters as one would a friend: with both tenderness and harshness when needed. Throughout January, three shows returned for new seasons that handle aging, weed, and loneliness with empathy and humor, In the premiere episode of its final season, Broad City follows best buds Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer) as they walk from the very top to the very bottom of Manhattan for Abbi’s 30th birthday. The entire episode is seen through the women’s Instagram stories, which capture their personalities in that specific way only social media can. The day involves their usual hijinks — falling down a manhole, vaping in a mall, knocking over a mannequin — until they reach a bittersweet end. Turning 30 is a milestone and, especially for women, a random marker of where you should be in life regarding marriage and childbirth. While wreaking havoc in a mall, the women run into Abbi’s friend from college, who was once a stoner but is now a stressed-out mom with four kids. The meeting reminds Abbi that she’s not where she thought she’d be this age. She wallows in the bathroom at brunch and gets in a fight in the park. But Abbi and Ilana have something her college friend doesn’t — the freedom to run around the city all day, getting stoned, trying on Skechers, and watching a rainbow over the Statue of Liberty.

Grace and Frankie is a show about two women who form an unlikely but unwavering friendship, brought together by heartbreak, but it’s also, inevitably, about aging. Season five opens right where the last left off, with Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) squatting in what was once their home, but which now belongs to whomever their kids sold it to. The women act out, on their third or fourth adolescence at this point. The older they get, the more they say “fuck it” because that’s all they have

PHOTO: COMEDY CENTRAL

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Broad City

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on Grace and Frankie

left, torching a “sold” real estate sign so they can live out their last years in the home they love, then using the blowtorch to light a joint. The barebones truth of the show is that Grace and Frankie are within reach of death, and that goes for the actors too. Fonda is 81, Tomlin is 79. Medicine gets more advanced every day, but it’s safe to say that there’s not going to be a cast reunion on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in 20 years. It can be hard to sell High Maintenance on description alone. The series catches intimate, detailed portraits of New Yorkers’ lives, connected only by their nameless weed dealer, The Guy

(Ben Sinclair). But even for those who don’t smoke, it cuts deep. Season three of the show (now on HBO, previously a Vimeo web series) opens in upstate New York, far from the city to which it’s usually bound. A lonely cleaning woman, Cori (Erin Markey), becomes even lonelier upon the death of her friend and neighbor, an older man who opened his home to her. The wake is full of reminiscing, smoke, and older, jubilant hippies singing an off-key “Crimson and Clover.” The Guy, camping out of his RV upstate, is also at the wake. He’s been spending his time lying in a hammock and smoking on a paddleboard until he meets Lee (Britt Lower), who pays for strangers’ gas and tells him indigo is the color of

Follow staff writer Hannah Lynn on Twitter @hanfranny

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PHOTO: DAVID RUSSELL

Ben Sinclair in High Maintenance

loneliness. It’s not overtly said, but The Guy thinks about getting older. He knows he can’t deliver weed on a bike for the rest of his life but doesn’t know what else to do. He doesn’t want to end up dead in a bathtub, found by a neighbor. On screen, weed is usually a young man’s game. It’s for latchkey teens and slacker 20-somethings. But in these shows, as in real life, it proves as ageless as friendship. Aging is terrifying, if not for what might happen to you than for what might happen to those you care about. With aging comes the fear that one day your best friend will die, or move on in life, away from you. No one wants to go on all their stoned adventures alone for the rest of their life.


a critical eye and be unafraid to argue against the world if it’s possible to build an argument for the things that I believe in. Anything worth caring about is worth looking at with a critical eye, and that’s where I first learned that.

.LITERATURE.

HANIF ABDURRAQIB BY HANNAH LYNN HLYNN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

HANIF ABDURRAQIB

7 p.m. Tue., Feb. 5. 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free. alphabetcity.org

O

N FEB. 5, Alphabet City hosts

Columbus-based poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib. His 2017 They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a collection of essays examining what it means to be Black in America through his relationship to music, from Marvin Gaye to Fall Out Boy. Pittsburgh City Paper spoke to him about the importance of English teachers, staying in Ohio, and his book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest, which releases Feb. 1.

IN YOUR LAST BOOK, YOU WROTE ABOUT DOZENS OF DIFFERENT ARTISTS AND BANDS — WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOCUS ON ONE GROUP FOR GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN? I was interested in archiving the history of a rap group [A Tribe Called Quest] that meant a great deal to me but that I felt might suffer from being lost in a generational gap. If I did not write the story of how this group affected me—which is mostly about fandom and the wide net that fandom can cast—I think some of the stories of their influence and their impact, which is permeating all of hip hop even now, I feel like some of that would be lost.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. THERE IS OFTEN PRESSURE AS A WRITER TO MOVE TO NEW YORK, L.A., OR ANOTHER BIG CITY. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO STAY IN OHIO? The thing that I need to be successful as a writer is to be grounded in a place where I know and love the geography and a place where I am close to people I love and care about. Surely there are things in the periphery of being a writer that living on the coasts would enhance, but I’m really invested in the work. I need a space I can step into that allows me to flourish and be curious and have some kind of whimsical nature, and I think no place does that for me but home. YOU RECENTLY POSTED A PICTURE ON TWITTER WITH YOUR HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER AND A THREAD ABOUT HOW MUCH THAT MEANT TO YOU. WHY WAS IT SO SPECIAL? I think an incredible thing is to see

PHOTO: ANDY CENCI

Hanif Abdurraqib

the bare bones of my work reflected in the earliest teachings of someone who showed me the possibility of language. [It] was a reminder that every part of my lineage as a writer and every part of my constant work as a writer does not just appear out of thin air. There were people

kind of laying the foundation for me for an entire lifetime. WHAT WERE SOME LESSONS YOUR TEACHER TAUGHT THAT STUCK WITH YOU THE MOST, WRITING-WISE? To first and foremost approach work with

WHY DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE’S THAT GENERATIONAL GAP WHERE SOME OF IT MIGHT BE LOST? Hip hop is so young, and it moves so fast, that I think the roots of it aren’t always traced back to where the roots actually are. The roots are sometimes traced back to the most recent touchstone, which isn’t always the root. I also think like older hip-hop fans—I guess I’m one of them—are not always interested in dialogue as much as they are interested in proving how much they know, and I didn’t want to write this book from the standpoint of an expert or as someone who knows everything. I mostly wanted to write as a fan interested in dialoguing with other fans.

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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7 DAYS

OF CONCERTS BY JORDAN SNOWDEN JSNOWDEN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

.MUSIC.

WHEN 2 BECOME 1 BY JORDAN SNOWDEN JSNOWDEN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

PHOTO: STEPHEN HARMS

Native Harrow

THURSDAY JD Simo, Dan Bubien and the Delta Struts, Semi-Supervillains 7:30 p.m. Hard Rock Cafe, Station Square. hardrock.com/pittsburgh

FRIDAY Russell E.L. Butler 10 p.m. 3577 Studios, Polish Hill. 3577studios.com

SATURDAY Native Harrow with Emily Rodgers 10 p.m. Club Cafe, South Side. clubcafelive.com

SUNDAY WYEP’s Alternative Souper Bowl 12 p.m. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Oakland. wyep.org

MONDAY DJ Aunt Buck (Steph from The Lopez) 9 p.m. Ace Hotel, East Liberty. womeninsound.com

TUESDAY Jenny Wilson Trio 5 p.m. Backstage Bar, Downtown. trustarts.org

WEDNESDAY Angela Autumn, Bryce Rabideau 7 p.m. Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle Irish Pub, The Strip. harpandfiddle.com

FULL CONCERT LISTINGS ONLINE

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T

HE LAST TIME Pittsburgh City Paper talked to Ryan Haynes, it was 2017, and he was moving from the Steel City to Nashville in hopes of more musical opportunities — opportunities to focus on his career rather than others. Haynes, who goes by DJ Afterthought, has been a fixture in the local hip-hop scene since 2011, but his career focused on other artists like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Flatline Nizzy. “The past year or two, I’ve been really concentrating on bringing my own brand out,” says Haynes. That brand attracted the interest of industry professionals in Nashville. He signed to 24-8 Management, whose rooster boasts Herobust, Dubloadz, Kaivon and others. But Pittsburgh had a hold on Haynes and so he returned last year. “I realized a lot of the stuff I was doing there I could do anywhere,” says Haynes. “It was a great learning experience, and I got to mingle and network, but I did what I went there to do. Pittsburgh’s my home.” Decked out in a red Daily Bread Sweatshirt and black 412 baseball hat, Haynes had a huge smile and glimmer in his eyes as he talked about his upcoming tour in Australia and New Zealand. This will be his third time touring there, but Haynes’ first time solo. “I’ve played hella festivals and that kind of stuff,” says Haynes. “But it’s always been ‘such and such with DJ Afterthought,’ never just like with my own billing. So, to go out of the country and to be able to play festivals and shows, I’m super pumped.” After performing at Hidden Festival in several cities Down Under, Haynes will open for Lil Yachty in Christchurch, New Zealand and Melbourne, Austrailia, where he will then open for J.I.D. “[My solo work] has always been overshadowed by all the other stuff I was working on, management or DJing for an artist. I never put my own stuff ahead of that. So I’m finally taking the reins and focusing on myself, and it’s doing well.” Putting his music first allowed Haynes to discover a relatively uncharted

PHOTO: DANIEL KELLY

DJ Afterthought

niche. Originally, Haynes would make hip-hop music and electronic music, but would keep the styles separate. Now, he is melding those style together, and audiences are taking notice. “I just wanted to explore it more. Then country started using hip-hop drums and all this random stuff, and it all started to melt together, and I was like okay, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and now that it’s kind of socially appreciable. The more I [merged the genres] the more I realized the EDM fans really loved hip hop, and the hip-hop fans really like EDM.” Haynes points to a video of him performing at a Riff Raff show as early indicator that his multi-genre approach might work. He was playing an EDM edit during a hip-hop set, and the crowd was going insane. (Haynes toured and worked with Riff Raff for years, but cut all ties with him in June 2018 after the rapper was charged with sexual assault.) Touring in front of large crowds allowed Haynes to experiment and play with crossover genres. “There was literally no other experience that would prepare me more

than to just be in front of people live every night playing different stuff to see if it’s working and see their reaction,” says Haynes. “I just found that sweet spot and have been running with it ever since.”

“FROM FEB. 1 ON IS GOING TO BE LIKE THE SECOND PART OF MY CAREER.” Once Haynes returns from aboard and completes a U.S. tour with Juice Wrld, he plans on dropping new music with major rappers like Wiz, Project Pat, Juice Wrld, Layzie Bone, YG, and Kendrick Lamar. “They will be EDM based, but with the hip-hop element. It’s been opening so many doors for me; there’s not anyone really doing this. From Feb 1 on is going to be like the second part of my career.”


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EARLY WARNINGS SPONSORED UPCOMING EVENTS FROM CITY PAPER’S FINE ADVERTISERS

WED., FEBRUARY 13 DRIVIN N CRYIN 7:30 P.M. CRAFTHOUSE SOUTH HILLS. $15-17. 412-653-2695 or ticketfly.com.

WED., FEBRUARY 13 SATISFACTION: ROLLING STONES TRIBUTE 8 P.M. JERGEL’S RHYTHM GRILLE WARRENDALE. $15-27. 724-799-8333 or ticketfly.com. With special guest Wine & Spirit.

THU., FEBRUARY 14 JEFF GOLDBLUM & THE MILDRED SNITZER ORCHESTRA 7 & 9:45 P.M. CARNEGIE OF HOMESTEAD MUSIC HALL MUNHALL. All-ages event. $53.50-128. 412-462-3444 or ticketfly.com.

THU., FEBRUARY 14 JIM BRICKMAN 7:30 P.M. BYHAM THEATER DOWNTOWN. $40.25-80.25. 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org.

THU., FEBRUARY 14 VALENTINE’S DAY SKATE 7:30 P.M. SOUTH PARK ICE RINK SOUTH PARK. Regular rink admission. 412-8331499 or alleghenycounty.us/parkprograms.

FRI., FEBRUARY 15 DEMETRI MARTIN 8 P.M. CARNEGIE OF HOMESTEAD MUSIC HALL MUNHALL. All-ages event. $39.50139.50. 412-462-3444 or ticketfly.com.

FRI., FEBRUARY 15 PITT FLOYD: PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE 8:30 P.M. CRAFTHOUSE SOUTH HILLS. $13-15. 412-653-2695 or ticketfly.com.

SAT., FEBRUARY 16 MAPLE TIME AT LATODAMI WITH A PARK NATURALIST 10 A.M. NORTH PARK LATODAMI NATURE CENTER NORTH PARK. Free event (registration required). 724-9352170 or alleghenycounty.us/parkprograms.

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SAT., FEBRUARY 16 HAILEY KNOX 6:30 P.M. SMILING MOOSE UPSTAIRS SOUTH SIDE. All-ages event. $10-12. 412-431-4668 or ticketfly.com. With special guests Nick Barilla, Victoria Morgan, & Kyle Jennings.

SAT., FEBRUARY 16 TRUTHSAYERS: FELIPE LUCIANO 7 P.M. AUGUST WILSON CENTER DOWNTOWN. $38.25. 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org.

SAT., FEBRUARY 16 THREE DOG NIGHT 8 P.M. CARNEGIE OF HOMESTEAD MUSIC HALL MUNHALL. All-ages event. $67-95. 412-462-3444 or ticketfly.com.

SAT., FEBRUARY 16 18@HEART 8:30 P.M. HARD ROCK CAFE STATION SQUARE. $7. 412-481-ROCK or ticketfly.com. With special guest Zone 8.

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7 P.M. HARD ROCK CAFE STATION SQUARE. $15-70. 412-481-ROCK or ticketfly.com. With special guests Immortal Guardian & LEPROSY.

MON., FEBRUARY 18 FLIGHT SCHOOL THE MUSICAL 10:15 A.M. BYHAM THEATER DOWNTOWN. $12. 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org.

TUE., FEBRUARY 19 THE TIME STEVENS/ LEONARD JOHNSON PROJECT 5 P.M. BACKSTAGE BAR AT THEATER SQUARE DOWNTOWN. Free event. 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org.

TUE., FEBRUARY 19 ANDRES 6:30 P.M. SMILING MOOSE UPSTAIRS SOUTH SIDE. All-ages event. $10-12. 412-431-4668 or ticketfly.com.

TUE., FEBRUARY 19 FLAW 8 P.M. HARD ROCK CAFE STATION SQUARE. $11-13. 412-481-ROCK or ticketfly.com. With special guests Farewell to Fear, Shrouded In Neglect, & Paradigm.

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PHOTO: ROSE EICHENBAUM

David Roussève’s Halfway to Dawn

.DANCE.

LUSH LIFE BY STEVE SUCATO // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

A

NEW DANCE-THEATER work, Halfway to Dawn, explores the life of Pittsburgh jazz great Billy Strayhorn. Written, directed, and choreographed by Los Angeles-based choreographer David Roussève, the piece explores Strayhorn’s life and career as an openly gay African-American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger. The work, says Roussève, “redefines ‘biography’ as the intersection of fact, conjecture, comment, abstraction, and fantasy” and will be performed by his dance company REALITY making their Pittsburgh debut, February 1-2 at Strayhorn’s namesake Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Strayhorn’s family relocated to Homewood where he attended Westinghouse High School and went on to become the main arranger/ writing partner for Duke Ellington. Strayhorn wrote or co-wrote such jazz stan-

dards as “A Train,” “Satin Doll,” and “Lush Life” and was a major influence on singer Lena Horne’s career as well as a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Co-commissioned by KST, the 90minute piece was inspired by Roussève’s attraction to “unanswerable philosophical questions of life.” “At the core of Strayhorn’s life is a dialogue around the very meaning of life, or the nature of legacy. Is life about the genius achievement or about the fame that comes with it?” he says. In telling the story of “Sweet Pea” or “Strays,” as his band mates called him, Roussève says he took a more abstract approach. “A core question behind the piece was ‘how do you capture the truth of a life beyond the mere facts of a life?’” Roussève says. “This meant creating a dialogue around the emotional tones and deeper emotional subtexts of his life and narra-

tive. So text conveying his narrative timeline is video-projected above the heads of the dancers. But the best way to capture the emotional strands of Strayhorn’s life was to leave a linear narrative mode and create a dream-like terrain danced to his music … or an interpretation through dance of the bittersweet emotional through lines of his music.”

DAVID ROUSSÈVE/ REALITY PERFORMS HALFWAY TO DAWN

8 p.m. Fri., Feb. 1 and Sat., Feb. 2. Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Pay what makes you happy. kelly-strayhorn.org

Set to a suite of over a dozen of Strayhorn’s compositions compiled by d. Sabela grimes, Halfway to Dawn unfolds in two acts. The first is set in a 1950s

Follow featured contributing writer Steve Sucato on Twitter @ssucato

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jazz club, and the second in Roussève’s “dream-like terrain.” The cast of eight includes former August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble dancer Raymond Ejiofor and Cleveland-native Dezaré Foster, who like many involved in the piece, had not heard of the unassuming Strayhorn until recently. “I had only heard of Duke Ellington and not Strayhorn, so this project was quite the learning experience that included reading Strayhorn’s biography,” says Foster. She describes Roussève’s movement language for Halfway to Dawn as being a mix of jazz, modern, ballroom, and social dance of the era. “The work creates a world that [Strayhorn] may have lived in and explores the struggles and internal battles he may have gone through,” says Foster. “We as dancers tell his story through the relationships we portray in it.”


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.GABBY NORMAL.

DIE LAUGHING BY GAB BONESSO // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

I

HAVE BEEN SICK now for over a week.

Yesterday was the first day I actually got out of bed and left the house. It was exhausting. I’m told I have a mix of a head cold and an upper respiratory infection, but my hypochondriac brain is telling me it is far worse. If it’s not a head cold, it’s definitely fatal. I feel it all in my head. My skull bones are sensitive! (Are skull bones a thing? I got a D in honors anatomy in high school, so I’m not sure.)

IF IT’S NOT A HEAD COLD, IT’S DEFINITELY FATAL. Anyway, it feels brain related. For years, I have asked my doctor to give me a brain scan. I started asking for one when I was 15. I think that fact alone warrants me a scan, but nope. Medical professionals think I’m “silly.” I’ve been concerned for years that there is water pressure on my brain. I saw it in a movie once. There was this guy and he had really bad handwriting because of water pressure on his brain. I have awful penmanship, and it keeps getting worse. I can’t even read my own writing at this point. All signs point

to water on my brain. It’s hard to believe that a common head cold would hurt my brain bones, my ear bones, my jaw bones, my teeth bones, and my throat bones. (Don’t forget my D in anatomy). Not to be gross, but the amount of fluid coming out of my nose and throat and ears is abundant. Clearly the excess water is either flooding my brain or my brain is on the verge of explosion. The nasal cavity pressure is intense, gang. Now I will admit that when I take Mucinex, I feel some relief. I’ll also give you that I doubt Mucinex cures a brain disorder so this could potentially be a common head cold. But it could also be that it’s the early stage of an undiagnosed heart issue. I know enough about congestive heart failure to know that is involves the root word: congest. Congest is also the root of congestion and I have that right now. What if it’s not an upper respiratory infection? What if my heart is just not beating properly? I mean … maybe a normal person would get sick and be better in a couple days. This is lasting over a week because it’s serious. It’s my heart! It’s my brain! It’s … oh my gosh. It’s neither. It’s my courage! Guys, I’m the Cowardly Lion. “I do believe in colds. I do believe in colds. I do, I do, I do, I do!”

Follow featured contributor Gab Bonesso on Twitter @gabbonesso PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER JAN. 30-FEB. 6, 2019

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“An explosion of energy, raw emotion, and irresistible storytelling.” THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES

WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS? ¿DÓNDE NOS SENTAMOS EN EL AUTOBÚS?

19 DE ENERO – 24 DE FEBRERO DE 2019

JAN. 19 – FEB. 24, 2019

PHOTO: MELISSA WALLACE

Morgan Jade Kirksey and T.J. Newton

.STAGE.

IN THE HEIGHTS

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY

BRIAN QUIJADA DIRECTED BY

CHAY YEW

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L

IN-MANUEL Miranda’s 2005 musical In The Heights is about a neighborhood filled with very nice people. These neighbors fill their days with playful ribbing, harmless flirtation, and widesmiled singing and rapping. OK, there’s a grumpy dad and a vandal named Graffiti Pete, but overall these are friendly, hard-working folks who just want to sing and dance and beat the heat of a hot Washington Heights summer. The result is a pleasant, if inoffensive, couple hours of musical theater that will leave you feeling good, just fine.

PITTSBURGH MUSICAL THEATER PRESENTS IN THE HEIGHTS

Continues through Sun., Feb. 3. Gargaro Theater. 327 S. Main St., West End. $40. pittbsurghmusicals.com

HOW IT WORKS 1.

BY ALEX GORDON // ALEXGORDON@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

The link that brings the cast of characters together is the local bodega called De La Vega Bodega, owned by Usnavi (T.J. Newton). There, he wears a cap and a goatee (while looking a lot like Lin-Manuel), and deals with the various headaches and perks that come when you’re at the helm of a vital neighborhood resource. As you might expect from an ensemble this size, everyone has baggage and aspirations and secrets; sooner or later, they convene in one way or another at De La Vega Bodega. Usnavi wants to keep his store open, take care of his abuela, and eventually voice his feelings for neighborhood beauty Vanessa (Samantha Sayah), who’s dealing

with an alcoholic mother. Nina (Morgan Jade Kirksey) is a promising young student who “made it out” of the barrio to attend Stanford but is struggling with the workload. Usnavi’s cousin Sonny (Austin Rivers) works at the bodega and provides some of the biggest laughs on stage and off, though wishes to be taken more seriously. Graffiti Pete (Adam Fladd) actually kind of has his shit together. And so In The Heights (book by Quira Alegria Hudes) unfolds one song at a time with music and lyrics that range from achingly sincere to memorably funky. Like their characters, this ensemble is deeply likable and every performer has the singing and dancing chops to keep the audience engrossed. But two problems became clear as the night wore on. Sitting so close to the live band (who were excellent) made it tough to hear the performers on stage, particularly on the mouthier rap verses and more elaborate duets. That’s a production gaffe that might just require some tweaking as its run continues. But the problem of the compositions — transparent, low-stakes, mostly unmemorable — is tougher to overlook. Miranda’s talent and charisma and knowing sincerity are all apparent in this production, even if the result isn’t all that great. And it’s no fault of the performers and producers that his idiosyncratic, kidgloves, PSA style doesn’t translate well here. It’s a respectable production filled with personalities I’d like to see again. I just wish the play itself put a little more skin in the game, and maybe a few characters who weren’t so nice.

Follow managing editor Alex Gordon on Twitter @shmalexgordon


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PEEPSHOW A sex and social justice column

POSITIVELY VANILLA BY JESSIE SAGE // PEEPSHOWCAST@GMAIL.COM

A

S SOMEONE who does phone sex and is a member of poly and queer communities, one of the first things new acquaintances ask me is: Are you dominant or submissive? Top or a bottom? Or, more generally: What are you into? What are your kinks? Framing sex in this way has become so commonplace that fitting oneself in these categories is expected. When I say, “I am not dominant or submissive,” I am almost inevitably met with the response, “So, you’re a switch.” Again, I have to say, “Nope.” All these leading questions assume that everyone — or, at least everyone in these social circles — has desires that fit these patterns. But mine don’t. I don’t think about sex in these terms. I would almost always rather be kissed than smacked (though, I have my moments!). I don’t have the patience for bondage or rope play. I am not particularly fond of giving or receiving pain. And I think the missionary position is pretty close to perfection. At lunch with a friend last week, I commented that I am probably the most vanilla person in our social circle, and she laughed and looked at me sideways, as if to say, “That makes

no sense, you are the only one in this group who has made a career talking and writing about sex.” These interactions all point to something interesting: my identity as a queer and poly person who is involved in both sex work and sex writing is taken as evidence of my kinkiness. It is a collapsing of sex-positivity with kink, or BDSM.

“I THINK THE MISSIONARY POSITION IS PRETTY CLOSE TO PERFECTION.” The reason for this conflation is not entirely clear to me. It is mostly likely a combination of factors: the mainstreaming of BDSM, a cultural return to identity politics whereby folks are pressured to identify with a group, the influence of categorization on dating profiles and other digital platforms, etc. What’s clear is that if kink and BDSM are equated with sex positivity,

then vanilla sex is equated with sex negativity. And it is here where I become concerned. I am not concerned about this on my own behalf. I came of age in the ’90s: I have an almost kneejerk rejection of any rigid categorization and a skepticism of group identity. I am not embarrassed to call the majority of my desires vanilla; I am not afraid to try the things that fall outside of the norm if they interest me. My concern is that people coming into sex positive communities now will think that they should conceptualize sex in a narrow way, and worse, that failing to do so will mean that they are boring partners, or that they are close-minded. Kinks and BDSM are important and legitimate expressions of human sexuality, as are many other sexual desires and relationship structures. But the assumption that anyone who engages in non-normative behavior in one domain must also do so in another erases folks’ desires and identities. We need to be careful to hold space for a range of diversity of desires and not frame everyone else’s experiences in terms of our own. That would truly be sex positive.

Jessie Sage is co-host of the Peepshow Podcast, which addresses issues related to sex and social justice. Her column Peepshow is exclusive to City Paper. Follow her on Twitter @peep_cast.

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Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

January 30, 2019 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Volume 30 Issue 05

January 30, 2019 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Volume 30 Issue 05