August 17, 2022 - Pittsburgh City Paper

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AUG. 17-24, 2022

Lisa Dorman >

Meet Pittsburghers finding new careers during the Great Resignation

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pghcitypaper.com AUG. 17-24, 2022 VOLUME 31 + ISSUE 33 Editor-In-Chief LISA CUNNINGHAM Director of Advertising RACHEL WINNER Director of Operations KEVIN SHEPHERD News Editor JAMIE WIGGAN A&E Editor AMANDA WALTZ News Reporter JORDANA ROSENFELD Art Director LUCY CHEN Photographer/Videographer JARED WICKERHAM Graphic Designer JEFF SCHRECKENGOST Digital Editorial Coordinator HANNAH KINNEY-KOBRE Marketing + Sponsorships Manager ZACK DURKIN Advertising and Marketing Coordinator EMILY RADAMIS Senior Account Executive OWEN GABBEY Sales Representative MARIA STILLITANO Circulation Manager JEFF ENGBARTH Featured Contributors REGE BEHE, NATALIE BENCIVENGA, MIKE CANTON, LYNN CULLEN, TERENEH IDIA, JORDAN SNOWDEN Interns RAYNI SHIRING, DONTAE WASHINGTON National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP.

FIRSTSHOT

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Asian Lantern Festival at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on Fri., Aug. 12.

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COVER PHOTO: RAYNI SHIRING READ THE STORY ON PAGE 4

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022 4/18/22

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2:28 PM


CAREER SWITCHING EMPLOYMENT

BY MATT PETRAS // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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E FO R E TH E PAN D E M I C struck, 37-year-old Lisa Dorman had established a 10-year career in fundraising, working for landmark organizations like the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Foundation. But after the sweeping virus overturned regular working patterns for most Americans, she quit her job to start a potted houseplant-selling business, and enrolled in the Bidwell Training Center’s Horticulture Technology program.

the Great Reassessment or the Great Resignation, and which shows no signs of stopping. Dorman, one of many Pittsburghers to ride the Great Resignation wave, felt like she didn’t previously have options in her life outside of a nine-to-five office job. But she watched her husband bounce back from a layoff in the corporate finance world by recasting himself as a chef and felt inspired to try something similar. In the two years since the pandemic first set in, adults of all ages have made

“Nobody wants to work somewhere where they’re not valued .” “Pittsburgh is notoriously gray. We have a lot of days that the sun doesn’t come out or only comes out for little bits of time,” Dorman says. “As somebody who has had anxiety for my whole life, plants have really helped my mental health.” While the coronavirus pandemic brought death, chronic illness, and financial insecurity for millions of Americans, it also encouraged many to drop a job or career field they didn’t like in favor of something they find more meaningful and less exploitative, a trend dubbed

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similar life changes. Pennsylvanians quit their jobs at a rate of 2.7% in May, which is less than most states, with rates as high as 4.8% in Alaska, but about the same as the national rate, according to July U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Bidwell’s programs come completely free to students, paid for by a combination of public, nonprofit, and individual donor funding, but the accelerated eight-month program requires a big time investment, which can make it difficult


to pursue other work during that time. Dorman is grateful to go to Bidwell but acknowledges that her decision to quit her job to train in an unrelated field comes with some degree of unpredictability and risk. “It’s really difficult, and it is kind of terrifying,” Dorman says. “It’s not lost on me that I’m in a position of privilege that I’m even able to make this change and make this leap and pursue my dream, but I’m very grateful to my husband who’s an amazing saver and amazing budgeter.” Many in the Pittsburgh area who struggle the most with employment are those trying to get back into the labor force or struggling to obtain employment outside of low-paying jobs because of factors like lack of education and training, as well as criminal records. T. Charles Howell, director of workforce development and financial coaching at Mon Valley Initiative, which works to connect employers to people seeking new jobs and careers, says he’s found that people largely do not want to work in fields like restaurants, hotels, and landscaping, and favor fields like health care. “Nobody wants to work somewhere where they’re not valued,” Howell says. “The notion that a paycheck is enough is not true. And I think the way that the pandemic highlighted the mortality and how

close it is for all of us really changed the calculus for a lot of people, no matter what their skill level is.” Tanisha Long gave up bartending in 2017 for a customer service job at Sprint with the intention of returning to the University of Pittsburgh to study English. The 32-year-old Crafton resident hoped to escape the long hours and financial troubles associated with bar work, but found, once the tuition fees started rolling in, she was still drowning in debt. Long eventually went back to school just as COVID-19 struck the United States, expecting a normal college experience. Instead, schooling went remote and a corporate buyout meant she now worked for T-Mobile. And then a gruesome video of cops killing George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, led to restless people taking to the streets in protest. In Pittsburgh, Long played a big role, leading Black Lives Matter protests. Juggling school, work, and organizing made Long immensely busy, but virtual schooling made it manageable. She would sometimes attend class through her headphones while at a protest or at work, she says. By the end of 2021, she had a bachelor’s in English writing and grew “miserable” at her retail job. CONTINUES ON PG. 6

CP PHOTO: RAYNI SHIRING

Lisa Dorman

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CP PHOTO: RAYNI SHIRING

Lisa Dorman

“The customer base changed, the company changed, the values changed, the expectations changed. Everything was miserable,” Long says. “I think they tried to make up all the pandemic losses at once, and it just put a lot of pressure on people.” She heard from a friend that the Abolitionist Law Center, a local social justice-oriented law firm, was hiring a community organizer, so Long applied and got the job. She loves it and believes she’d still be at T-Mobile if not for the pandemic. “I actually feel like I’m helping people. I actually get to see my work be impactful,” Long says. “I don’t feel like my whole job involves manipulating people into buying things they don’t need.” Most of the time, both before and after the start of the pandemic, workers who leave a job find themselves out of the labor force or unemployed the following month, according to July Pew Research Center data. Still, people who believe they have weak job security are more likely to look for a new position in the next six months than someone with a lot of job security, and wealthier workers believe they have job security more often than middle- and

lower-income workers. About one-fifth of people in the United States say they are considering looking for a new job in the next six months, according to the Pew data. Additionally, workers who are Hispanic and Black, younger, or less educated are more likely to change jobs compared to other demographics. And about half the job-swappers from 2019 to 2021 didn’t just change jobs, they shifted to another occupation or industry.

“I actually feel like I’m helping people. I actually get to see my work be impactful.” Some Pittsburgh-area residents have had the resources and opportunities to quit their jobs and move onto a new career path that suits them better, getting into fields like coding, media, and, like Dorman, industries as niche as

horticulture. Great resignation career shifts don’t always mean leaving service industry positions for white-collar jobs. For Jeff Rhodes, a 58-year-old Harmony Township resident, the transition went the other way. Rhodes worked as an office manager for GES, a trade show company, until his office closed in February of last year. That got him thinking. “OK, so what am I going to do with my life? I tried looking around and seeing what else was out there, and I thought, ‘Maybe this is the universe’s way of kicking my rear into gear,’” Rhodes says. “Because years and years and years ago, I toyed around with the idea of being a barber and just never followed through for one thing or another, you know, starting a family and all that kind of stuff. It just seemed so daunting.” He asked around and found an older man who took him on as a barber apprentice. He passed his certification test in April and found a job working as a barber at The Cut Company, a business in Baden, close to his home. He loves it and found the work to be more personable


and social than he expected. “When you are fortunate enough to get return clients, you get glad to be able to see them and talk to them again. Like I have one guy, that’s one of my regulars, and we’re both Star Wars fans, so when he’s in the chair, I get to talk Star Wars with him,” Rhodes says. “It’s an interesting career on many levels.” For some, the Great Reassessment has meant staying in the same field while recalibrating work-life relationships. Kahmeela Adams, a 46-year-old Swisshelm Park resident, worked as the program coordinator for the Office of Public Art in Pittsburgh. Adams had a daughter and, not too long after, the pandemic hit. She had already switched to part-time work with OPA to be able to spend more time with her daughter and decided to take the plunge and work fully for herself. “I had spent a lot of years helping other artists create their works and their visions and make their dreams a reality, and then I just, I needed to do it for myself, finally,” Adams says. Now, Adams spends her whole work week on her own terms, largely earning an income from podcast production

CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

Kahmeela Adams, owner and operator of RuggedAngel Productions, poses for a portrait in her Swissvale studio.

and freelance writing. She helps clients with every step of the podcast process and hosts some herself, such as the art podcast Sounds from the Studio, and writes for outlets like Looper, a pop culture website with 42 million monthly visitors, according to its owner, Static Media. She works mostly at home, but spends about two days a week at an office space near her home that she shares with her husband, a city of Pittsburgh lawyer. If the pandemic never happened, she suspects she wouldn’t be working for herself. “I probably would have stayed in my comfort zone of just relying upon the steady paycheck and going to the office and just doing what I knew,” Adams says. Having a daughter forces Adams to think about the example she sets. She wants her daughter to know she can pursue whatever she likes whenever she’s old enough to worry about the job market. “I also want to be a good role model for my daughter,” Adams says. “I want her to be able to see that there are other options. You don’t have to necessarily just go work for somebody if you don’t want to. You can find and make your own marketable skills and do your own thing.” •

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022

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LABOR

SCORCHED EARTH BY JORDANA ROSENFELD JORDANA@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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O CAL O RGAN IZE R S s ay t wo recent firings at Starbucks shops in Pittsburgh align with a broader retaliatory strategy aimed at thwarting union efforts across the country. These latest dismissals bring the tally of union firings to at least six in Pittsburgh and 72 nationwide, according to Phil Halin, an organizer with the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Workers United, who says this pattern amounts to a “scorched Earth policy.” “You could put this at any period of organized labor, and this is always the way the bosses work,” he says. Brett Taborelli and Shea Gannon, two local pro-union shift supervisors who were longtime Starbucks employees before they were recently terminated, say managers at their stores — Penn Center East and Bakery Square, respectively — enforced company rules, or “standards,” differently depending on whether the employee in question was a union supporter.

PITTSBURGH STARBUCKS WORKERS UNITED twitter.com/pghsbuxunited

“If they find out that you are a union sympathizer or a union supporter, it’s like any little slip-up, no matter how minor, is suddenly going to be the worst thing that you could have possibly done,” Gannon says. “[T]hey’re going to come down at you with everything they can, and they’re not doing the same against people that they have confirmed don’t support the union.” In a statement emailed to Pittsburgh City Paper, a Starbucks spokesperson denies allegations of union-busting, writing, “We have fully honored the process laid out by the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] and encouraged our partners to exercise their right to vote in the election to have their voices heard. Any claims of union busting are categorically false.” This Monday, Starbucks also accused NLRB members of misconduct and called for a halt to all union elections nationwide.

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CP ILLUSTRATION: LUCY CHEN

Taborelli worked at Starbucks for eight years before he says he was fired last month for being two minutes late. He tells City Paper that, prior to the organizing efforts, he found Starbucks reluctant to discipline employees for misbehavior

in the past. In one instance, Taborelli says he fought to get Starbucks to discipline a store manager for calling an employee a “fat c—” but says “they didn’t do anything about it.” A Starbucks spokesperson denies

that any of their stores enforce standards inconsistently or arbitrarily. As the Starbucks union effort surpasses its 200th store, organizers nationwide allege the company is engaging in a variety of union-busting tactics


including holding “captive audience meetings” while workers are on the clock to spread misinformation about unions, threatening to freeze pay during union negotiations, and firing employees, who they call "partners," who lead union efforts. It is illegal to fire workers for union activity, and Workers United is currently pursuing reinstatement for many of the fired workers. Earlier this year, a Starbucks representative told City Paper the company planned to bargain in good faith with unionized stores. Since former CEO Howard Schultz, who has a long history of anti-union activity, has returned to power at Starbucks, union advocates say the company has been on the warpath, targeting stores with suspected or confirmed union activity. Although local organizers believe the union will win in the end, they say the firings have caused pro-union Starbucks workers to fear for their jobs. In the longterm, however, Halin believes Starbucks is “shooting themselves in the foot” with this strategy. The firings are “energizing the general population of workers on this campaign,” who are frustrated and angry about how Starbucks is behaving towards them, according to Halin. “For years, Starbucks tells its employees, ‘We care about you, we want to be a good employer, we care about your needs,’” Halin says, “And then, when workers peacefully come together to declare their needs, the company goes out of its way to squash them.” Halin says this has “led to people who weren’t willing to discuss the unionization before saying, ‘Well, look at how bad

faith the company is asking. Clearly, I might need something to protect myself, like a union.’” In addition to galvanizing remaining partners, organizers are also betting that Starbucks’ firing of vocal union supporters will diminish customer satisfaction, since, Halin says, the best workplace organizers tend to be competent and well-liked employees who understand how the business runs and see ways to make it better. When those people are retaliated against for union activity, Halin says, “the store runs worse without them.” “What [Starbucks] sells is the experience,” Halin says, “and that experience is almost entirely tied to the workers themselves. “ Indeed, Halin says, the Downtown Market Square store has closed early on three occasions since management fired two pro-union shift leaders last month. Starbucks confirms this, saying the store closed early once because employees were on strike and twice for lack of available staff. Gannon says that, through her efforts to unionize her store, she has seen workers realizing their power. “I know that I work for a company that has been making record profits year after year, and I think that they can afford to accommodate us a little bit better,” Gannon says. “I think a lot of people, especially the people in my generation, are sort of wising up to the fact that corporations don’t actually have our backs. And that the only way that we are going to be able to get what we deserve from the work we do is by joining together and having that solidarity, and saying ‘Hey, this business doesn’t run without us.’” •

Follow news reporter Jordana Rosenfeld on Twitter @rosenfeldjb

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RESOURCE GUIDE

LOCAL UNIONIZATION EFFORTS BY JORDANA ROSENFELD // JORDANA@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

S

INCE DECEMBER 2021, when a Starbucks location in Buffalo, N.Y. successfully unionized with a Workers United local, almost 350 Starbucks stores nationwide have filed for or held union elections. According to data from unionelections.org, ballots are currently being cast, tallied, and/or

verified in almost 100 elections, and 37 stores have voted against unionizing. Starbucks has just under 17,000 stores in the U.S., more than half of which are operated by the corporation. There are about 40 corporate-owned Starbucks stores in the Pittsburgh area, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

WINS

June 16. Out of 15 eligible voters, 10 for 0 against • 7707 McKnight Road, Ross. Filed for election May 31, votes tallied Aug. 3. Out of 42 eligible voters, 16 for 4 against • Also, a Greensburg store unionized with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 30

• 4765 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Filed for election Feb. 11, votes tallied April 13. Out of 22 eligible voters, 20 for and 0 against • Amos Hall, 4022 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Filed for election March 4, votes tallied May 6. Out of 44 eligible voters, 10 for and 3 against • 425 Craig St., Oakland. Filed for election March 23, votes tallied June 28. Out of 27 eligible voters, 9 for 8 against • 7 Market Square, Downtown. Filed for election March 23, votes tallied May 26. Out of 23 eligible voters, 8 for 1 against • 1400 East Carson St., South Side. Filed for election April 4, votes tallied May 31. Out of 19 eligible voters, 6 for 4 against • Penn Center East, 3464 William Penn Highway, Wilkins. Filed for election April 14, votes tallied June 16. Out of 36 eligible voters, 15 for 6 against • 5932 Penn Circle South, East Liberty. Filed for election April 19, tallied

LOSSES • 4840 McKnight Road, Ross. Filed for election April 4, votes tallied May 31. Out of 24 eligible voters, 6 for 11 against

ELECTIONS STILL OPEN; results waiting to be finalized • A likely win at 5310 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Filed for election May 20, votes tallied July 26. Out of 17 eligible voters, 8 for 6 against • A likely loss at 4885 McKnight Road, Ross. Filed for election May 20, votes tallied July 26. Out of 18 eligible voters, 4 for 6 against •

Source: unionelections.org/data/starbucks

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5738 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 345 Kane Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15243 412-521-8010 • jccpgh.org/employment/ # of employees: 200+

What does your company do? The JCC of Greater Pittsburgh is one of the largest social service, recreational and educational organizations in the region, serving more than 20,000 people annually. The JCC houses state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facilities, aquatics centers, gymnasiums, playgrounds, auditoriums, dance studios, classrooms and meeting areas. Comprehensive programming and services include childcare and preschool, after-school and school’s-out programs, day and overnight camping, senior adult activities, fitness and wellness programs, special needs services, arts and cultural activities, social justice and civic engagement and scores of programs for the community.

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big Burrito Restaurant Group 5740 Baum Blvd Pittsburgh 15206 (corporate office) 412-361-3272 • bigburrito.com # of employees: 900

What does your company do? big Burrito Restaurant Group operates 17 restaurants (soon to be 19 as we reopen our first Mad Mex in Oakland and a brand new Alta Via location in Market Square). Our restaurants include: Mad Mex, Alta Via, Alta Via Pizzeria, Casbah, Eleven, Kaya, Soba, Umi, and a catering division.

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022

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CP PHOTO: AMANDA WALTZ

Justin Avi at Saint Ravioli

FOOD

ALTRUISTIC RAVIOLI BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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LOOMFIELD has started to look a bit more heavenly, and it has nothing to do with the grand St. Joseph Church that has long loomed over the busy thoroughfare. The former site of Claussen Cafehaus on Liberty Avenue now has stained glass accents in the windows and signage sporting little dumplings with halos. The storefront is the new home of Saint Ravioli, a one-man operation started by Justin Avi. The former insurance salesman took up residence in the business after years of making and giving away homemade raviolis through an Instagram account that now has over 3,700 followers.

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Pittsburgh City Paper found Avi standing at his work station in front of the store window, through which passersby can watch him feed long, wide strips of fresh pasta dough through an electric roller attached to a Kitchenaid mixer. At the time, he was busy making 500 dozen raviolis in preparation for Bloomfield festival Little Italy Days, taking the flattened dough and hand-pressing it into a tray with 12 round molds. He squeezes dollops of his signature fourcheese mixture (or quattro formaggi in Italian) into each mold with a pastry bag, and then cuts and shapes them into little, scalloped dumplings. “My goal today is to get 60-something

dozen done,” he says, his Kitchenaid busily whirring. After years of only operating online, he made his in-person debut at the 2021 Little Italy Days, where he says he sold every one of the 280-plus dozen raviolis made for the event. He worked with Connor Claussen, who had been running the store as Claussen Cafehaus. Avi, who had been making and distributing raviolis out of his Bloomfield home, says Claussen invited him to sell his product on the sidewalk in front of his establishment. As Avi explains, Claussen later realized he no longer wanted to run Cafehaus and transferred the lease over to him. In February, Avi says, he moved into the

space, where he shares rent and kitchen resources with another business owner who also works with food. Avi says he began making raviolis about five or six years ago after receiving a pasta roller as a gift. Over the years, he has experimented with different flavors, including “a few winters ago” when he used ducks he harvested from a successful hunting trip. When the pandemic hit, he decided to put his ravioli-making skills to good use by distributing the popular pasta to friends and Instagram followers who missed dining out at restaurants. “I did it at the beginning of the pandemic to keep myself connected to people,” says Avi.


CP PHOTO: AMANDA WALTZ

Raviolis being prepared for Little Italy Days in Bloomfield

myself connected to people,” says Avi. He added a philanthropic angle by requesting donations to help support his friends in the service industry who were struggling financially during the shutdown. (Avi says he previously managed Mercurio’s in Shadyside and worked at Iron Born in the Strip District.) “I was, like, look, the restaurants are closed down, I know so many people in the restaurant industry,” he says, adding that many of his unemployed friends didn’t have worker benefits but had families to support. “I was, like, if anyone lost their job or needs a meal or something, hit me up. If you’d like some raviolis and have the means, feel free to donate.”

SAINT RAVIOLI

4615 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. instagram.com/saint.ravioli

Customers responded with generosity, says Avi, giving the example that someone donated $100 for a few dozen ravioli. He did his first ravioli “drop” for Thanksgiving 2020 with dumplings containing ingredients befitting the holiday (turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, and ricotta). Since then, his flavors have included Italian wedding soup, slow-cooked carnitas raviolis made for

Cinco de Mayo, and Shepherd’s pie for St. Patrick’s Day. He has also made veganfriendly raviolis with butternut squash and zucchini. He took the charity aspect of St. Ravioli to the next level by using it to support different causes. He says he previously raised $725 for Hearts of the Homeless and over $1,000 for the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. He calls the approach “altruistic ravioli,” a quality that led to the business getting its name. He recalls that, during a poker game over Zoom, one of his friends called him “Saint Ravioli,” and it stuck. As Saint Ravioli grew in popularity, he decided to quit his job selling insurance and make pasta full time. Still, he says the stress of COVID-19 made him realize that, while he wanted to own his own business, he didn’t want to run a restaurant. Instead, people can order raviolis and pick them up at the storefront, and then prepare them at home. Moving forward, Avi says he wants to hire a small staff to keep up with demand. He also wants to add other items to his menu, including agnolotti, another filled pasta akin to a smaller ravioli. “The structure of it, it creates a little pocket that holds sauce, it’s like a genius pasta design,” raves Avi, adding, “Ravioli is great, it’s the king of the stuffed pastas. If it’s the king, agnolotti is the queen.” •

Follow a&e editor Amanda Waltz on Twitter @AWaltzCP

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CP PHOTO: RAYNI SHIRING

Dusty Hanna, co-founder of Skull Fest

MUSIC

BRING EARPLUGS

BY JORDAN SNOWDEN // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

D

ON’T BE SURPRISED to hear Dusty Hanna, Skull Fest co-founder and owner of Allentown’s Skull Records, being wished a “Happy Birthday” during this weekend’s 12th annual punk and heavy metal festival. It’s not actually his birthday, but he doesn’t correct them — the gathering of over 70 hardcore acts is one heck of a way to celebrate another rotation around the sun. It’s all due to Skull Fest’s origins as a 30th birthday party thrown in 2009 for Hanna and his festival co-founder, Jimmy Rose.

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SKULL FEST 12 Multiple times. Thu., Aug. 18-Sun., Aug. 21. Multiple locations. $25-50. skullfestpunk.com

“We threw a party with eight bands and jokingly called it a fest,” says Hanna. “It went over so well, we decided to do it again the following year.” It was after the second year that Hanna and Rose moved the festival’s timing so that the event could be held

during the summer. “But every year, some of the people that came to the first one still think it’s my birthday,” says Hanna. This year’s Skull Fest, which now boasts an international lineup and draws punk fans from around the world, is the first one since 2019, but promises to be the hardcore event of the season — one attendees have grown to know and love. Hanna and Rose made sure to book at many of the same venues that hosted the festival years prior, including Brillobox, Cattivo, and more. Plus, DIY CONTINUES ON PG. 18


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BRING EARPLUGS, CONTINUED FROM PG. 16

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every Monday thru Thursday at 10 a.m. at www.pghcitypaper.com

CP PHOTO: RAYNI SHIRING

Dusty Hanna

performance space Babyland, which closed indefinitely in 2021, is reopening just for the occasion. “Skull fest is kind of like a holiday, and Polish Hill is where most of the punks live in the city, and that’s where Babyland is as well,” says Hanna. He credits the neighborhood rallying together for the festival as being the reason why Babyland is making a return to live music for one weekend, “to help us celebrate the punk holiday that is Skull Fest.”

classic midwestern punk band Zero Boys make its festival return, as well as Chaotic Dischord, who originated as a parody of punk bands in the ’80s and will be playing the event for the first time. “But people like them so much they’ve been at it ever since. Should be a good laugh,” he says. There’s also F.u.s, one of Hanna’s favorite hardcore punk bands coming down from Boston and ® adolescents, a band made up entirely of ex-members of California-based band Adolescents.

“It’s a celebration of the crazy culture that is punk rock and hardcore music.” This year marks one significant change to the popular festival. In addition to the Latinx-centric show put together by John Villegas and added to the festivities a few years ago, Oyo Ellis of local punk band Killer of Sheep is introducing a show centering around Black hardcore bands, featuring Soul Glo, YDI, Rebelmatic, and Minority Threat. Skull Fest kicks off Thu., Aug. 18 at Babyland and closes out Sun., Aug. 21 at Cattivo. Hanna says he’s excited to see the

And Butler’s Population Control will be making its first appearance in the city in over 20 years. “It’s a celebration of the crazy culture that is punk rock and hardcore music,” says Hanna. "It’s just a crew gathering of some of the more unique people from all over the world. We’re glad to be back.” For those who may be taking part in Skull Fest for the first time, Hanna offers some advice: “Be safe, be ready to see some crazy stuff, and bring earplugs.” •

Follow featured contributor Jordan Snowden on Twitter @snowden_jordan

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Donating Blood Can Improve Your Mental Health

ur community has an ongoing need for volunteer blood donors to help patients O in area hospitals. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood to survive. Trauma victims, people being treated for cancer, and patients undergoing surgery are

just some examples. Clearly, patients who receive blood transfusions experience positive outcomes. But there are also amazing benefits for blood donors. Volunteering to give blood is a simple way to improve your health and happiness while helping those in need. Studies have shown that volunteering can combat depression, increase self-confidence, create a sense of fulfillment, and maybe most importantly, provide a sense of purpose. This is due in great part to the “happiness effect” you experience when your brain releases dopamine - a type of neurotransmitter that influences mood.

Album cover of Ben Harper's Bloodline Maintenance

A volunteer is someone who does something – especially helping other people – willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.

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Volunteering may also counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety; boost your sense of pride and identity; and keep you mentally stimulated. Keep in mind that volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your day. For example, it takes only about an hour for a whole blood donation. If you’ve never donated blood before, visit our Youtube channel for videos showing how simple the process is.

BY MIKE CANTON // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

“When you don’t know what to do with yourself, do something for someone else.” - Lilian Jackson Braun

MUSIC

"Keep your programming fun."

Y

EARS AGO, in my radio hosting infancy, there was a lot of work to do catching up on missed music, as well as staying current from then on. One day in the studio, I mentioned to one of the other volunteer hosts that I was enjoying a new Ben Harper track. Her response was, “Oh, yeah! Ben Harper’s fun.” Often I’ve heard the adage “Keep your programming fun.” Well, from this vantage point, adjectives like “poignant,” “relevant,” and “cathartic” carry similar weight. The Soul Show I host on WYEP does, and should, make you smile, dance, tap, think, blink, and cry. Can you just key “fun” into the streaming services? Cool. That sounds like fun. Just remember that some of the world’s best tunes were conceived from strife.

Ben Harper’s Bloodline Maintenance of 2022 jumps right into think and blink. You’ll find yourself rewinding on the first three tracks to make sure you don’t miss any of his social lament. Even on a later track, “Smile At The Mention,” Harper starts a love song talking about the South’s issues and the North’s hypocrisy before getting down to romantic business. The horn licks are sweet, too. The opening bass line of “More Than Love” reeks of “Stand By Me,” and stays with a beautiful old-soul feel. This is a Top 20 album on first audition. It could easily climb. There was fun in the pain. And while I’ve got your attention, here’s another album to check out: Nueva Luz by Los Dorados. Great, edgy instrumentals from south of the border. •

Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in five markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.

There are other surprising perks of blood donation, too. For example, many blood donation centers pride themselves on their sense of community and camaraderie. People who give blood frequently develop friendships with the donor care staff and their fellow donors, who are all committed to helping save lives. Donating blood also offers an opportunity to relax. Platelet donation in particular allows you to chill out, because the process takes around two hours. You can stream a movie on your device or listen to music on your headphones. Vitalant’s 10 donation centers have TVs positioned in front of the donation lounges. Choosing to donate blood can potentially change your life … and will definitely make an extraordinary impact on somebody else’s. Inspired to become a volunteer blood donor? If it’s important to you that your blood helps a patient right here in the Greater Pittsburgh area, please consider Vitalant. Formerly Central Blood Bank, Vitalant is the exclusive blood provider to Allegheny Health Network and UPMC hospitals. To make your life saving, happy-raising appointment to give, please visit Vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL.

Please schedule your appointment today. CALL 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825) OR VISIT VITALANT.ORG. PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022

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SEVEN DAYS IN PITTSBURGH FRI., AUG 19

IRL / IN REAL LIFE EVENT VIRTUAL / STREAMING OR ONLINE-ONLY EVENT HYBRID / MIX OF IN REAL LIFE AND ONLINE EVENT PHOTO: PAUL CARRUTHERS/MOTOAMERICA

^ MotoAmerica SuperBikes at Pittsburgh International Race Complex

THU., AUG. 18 PARTY • IRL

Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, or PAAR, is touted as one of the country’s oldest crisis centers, and for 50 years has worked to help people who have experienced sexual violence. The organization will celebrate this 50-year milestone during a special fundraising event at Square Cafe. The Summer PAARty will include food, cocktails, and tunes by local favorite, DJ Selecta. Donations raised will help PAAR provide no-cost services to victims of sexual violence in Allegheny County. 5-8 p.m. 134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. $50. paar.net

STAGE • IRL

The Sunshine Boys is ready to shine at South Park Theatre. The Neil Simon play follows Al and Willy, two former vaudeville comedians set to appear in a television reunion. The problem is that they can’t stand each other. Orignally staged in 1972, the play was also adapted into a 1975 film starring George Burns and Walter Matthau. 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Aug. 28. Corner of Brownsville Road and Corrigan Drive, South Park. $16. southparktheatre.com

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FRI., AUG. 19 ART • IRL

The gallery here will invoke a hit Netflix program with its latest group show. Attend the opening reception for Stranger Things, an exhibition featuring works by 12 artists. Details are scant on what to expect but the name alone should draw fans of the retro series about a bunch of kids fighting supernatural forces. 6-8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 25. 527 N. Taylor Ave., North Side. Free. gallery-here.com

FILM • VIRTUAL

Join Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for an online screening of High Tide Don’t Hide. Part of its monthly Virtual Environmental Film Series, the documentary follows a group of teenagers in New Zealand who embark on a fight against climate change. According to an official synopsis, the teens join the global School Strike for Climate only to “face political indifference, their own privilege, and the ongoing struggle to be heard.” 7 p.m. Free. RSVP required. phipps.conservatory.org

EVENT • IRL

Get revved up when MotoAmerica SuperBikes speeds into the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The North American road racing series will showcase national and international professional riders as they battle for the championship title. Enjoy seven different classes of road racing, as well as carnival games, kid zones, and camping. Fans 16 and up can even ride their bikes on the track after the final race. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Continues through Sun., Aug. 21. 201 Penndale Road, Wampum. $25-80. Free for kids 12 and under with paying adult. motoamerica.com

SAT., AUG. 20 OUTDOOR • IRL

Wax your mustache and put on your 19th-century period clothes, it’s time for Vintage “Base Ball” Day at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. The annual event takes spectators back 150 years ago to the origins of the sport, even down to using original rules and phrases. This year will mark the 160th anniversary of the very first baseball game between

the original Addison Mountain Stars and the Mountain Club of Altoona on Aug. 20, 1862. See the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder, Addison Mountain Stars, and Keystone Base Ball Club, all Western Pa.-based teams from the Vintage Base Ball Association. 10 a.m.4 p.m. 401 Meadowcroft Road, Avella. Included with Meadowcroft admission. heinzhistorycenter.org/meadowcroft

FILM • IRL

Enjoy a night of cheesy 1970s horror when Jump Cut Roadshow presents a screening of Invasion of the Bee Girls. Hosted at the Parkway Theater, the film follows a government agent investigating cases of men dropping dead in a small Californian town. What he finds is a plot to transform women into a swarm of seductive murderers using radiated bee serum. 10:30 p.m. 644 Broadway Ave., McKees Rocks. $8. jumpcuttheater.org

ART • IRL

The Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University will pay tribute to an influential multimedia artist and CMU grad with a new survey exhibition. Dara Birnbaum: Journey is described on the Miller ICA website as


FRESH CONTENT Every Day.

SAT., AUG 20

pghcitypaper.com

The 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Pretrial Services urges you to enjoy your weekend out in Pittsburgh but

make the right choice, PHOTO: COURTESY OF HEINZ HISTORY CENTER

^ Vintage “Base Ball” Day at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village

tracing the artist’s “evolving examination of media throughout her career,” and will include the premiere of a new, commissioned work. The show promises to interrogate how we consume media with the advent of television and the internet. Continues through Dec. 11. 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. Open to the public. Masks required for entry. miller-ica.cmu.edu

SUN., AUG. 21 DRAG • IRL

Hot Metal Hardware, a collective with the stated mission of advancing the “exploration and expansion of safe and supportive spaces for all gender performers,” will host its first-ever Drag’n Tales All Ages Drag Show at Glittersty. Anyone interested in drag, regardless of age or experience, can come to mingle and watch the show. While you are there, do not hesitate to look around for drag supplies, local art, and unique finds. 7 p.m. Doors at 6 p.m. 201 Grant Ave., Millvale. Free. facebook.com/HotMetalHardwarePgh

MARKET • IRL

Trying to find a special gift for that slasher, monster, or supernatural film lover in your life? The Horror Realm Craft and Flea Market at Library Volunteer Fire Co. will have vendors selling movies, books, posters, and memorabilia representing a wide array of frightening titles. There will also be arts, crafts, and other handmade items. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 6581 Library Road, South Park. $5. facebook.com/HorrorRealmCon

MON., AUG. 22 ART • IRL

The Carnegie Library of Homestead will host a Screen Printing Workshop presented

by Artists Image Resource. Learn the basics of screenprinting, including how to prepare images and how photo processing works, as well as ink properties, monoprinting and paper stencil techniques, and more. Participants will get to make and take home a print based on images provided by the library. 6 p.m. 510 East 10th Ave., Homestead. Free. Registration required. facebook.com/airpgh

don’t drink & drive.

TUE., AUG. 23 MUSIC • IRL

Experience a fusion of Afro-Cuban, Cuban, and American music in an outdoor Downtown venue when Hugo Cruz and Caminos play at the Backyard. The event features Hugo Alexander Cruz Machado, a Cuban-born, internationally renowned drummer and vocalist. Cruz will be joined by his band, including Mark Micchelli on keyboard, Jeff Bush on trombone, Colter Harper on guitar, and Eli Namay on bass. 5 p.m. 149 Eighth St., Downtown. Free. trustarts.org

WED., AUG. 24 STAGE • IRL

Don’t miss your chance to see the award-winning show Grand Hotel: The Musical at New Hazlett Theater. Inspired by Vicki Baum’s 1929 novel, the show follows a group of guests staying in a Berlin hotel. Front Porch Theatricals will present its production of this successful show, which won multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards and ran for over 1,000 performances on Broadway. 8 p.m. Continues through Sun., Aug. 28. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $23-38. newhazletttheater.org PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER AUGUST 17 - 24, 2022

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Return to the Magic & Mystique of the Renaissance!

PITTSBURGH

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SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS AND LABOR DAY MONDAY 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM • FREE PARKING

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