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SEPT. S EPT. 88-15, -155, 2021

How a gift from a stranger helped kickstart my mental health recovery

A FIRST-PERSON ESSAY BY EDUCATOR, ADVOCATE, AND WRITER DR. RACHEL KALLEM WHITMAN


FIRSTSHOT BY JARED WICKERHAM

A pedestrian walks along Forbes Avenue in Oakland.

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SEPT. 8-15, 2021 VOLUME 30 + ISSUE 36 Editor-In-Chief LISA CUNNINGHAM Director of Advertising JASMINE HUGHES Director of Operations KEVIN SHEPHERD Managing Editor RYAN DETO A&E Editor AMANDA WALTZ Staff Writers DANI JANAE, KIMBERLY ROONEY 냖㵸蔻 Photographer/Videographer JARED WICKERHAM Editorial Designer LUCY CHEN Graphic Designer JEFF SCHRECKENGOST Digital Marketing Coordinator DARYA KHARABI Sales Representatives ZACK DURKIN, OWEN GABBEY, HANNAH MORAN-FUNWELA Circulation Manager JEFF ENGBARTH Featured Contributors REGE BEHE, MIKE CANTON, LYNN CULLEN, TERENEH IDIA National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP.

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COVER PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM READ THE STORY ON PAGE 4

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SEPTEMBER 10-12, 2021

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary By Illuminating Six City Parks he Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is bringing six-city park locations to life in honor of its 25th anniversary! The Parks Conservancy will celebrate 25 years of improving, maintaining, and caring for Pittsburgh’s parks in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh by dramatically illuminating six-city park projects the evenings of Friday, October 1, and Saturday, October 2. Known as “Making Your Parks Shine,” each installation will be free and open to the public. In addition, block parties with live local music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities will be held at each location for park users of all ages to enjoy safely. Making Your Parks Shine is made possible thanks to generous support from PNC and UPMC Health Plan. “In previous years, we’ve held gala celebrations to honor Conservancy milestones,” said Catherine Qureshi, president and chief executive officer, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “We wanted to create an event that welcomes all Pittsburghers to safely join us in celebrating 25 years of making Pittsburgh’s beloved green spaces shine by actually lighting them up. We also want to take the time to honor our many donors, volunteers, and collaborators that have

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FIRST PERSON ESSAY

GIFTS FROM A STRANGER BY DR. RACHEL KALLEM WHITMAN Editor’s note: This story contains references to suicide and trauma. If you or a loved one are in need of immediate support, help is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

IT ALL STARTED WITH A MUFFIN. Hmm, I guess it didn’t start with the muffin — it ended with one. You could tell she hated her job. The bagels were burned, the countertop cluttered with old receipts and neglected crumbs, and there were no straws or drink lids as far as the eye could see. When she saw me trudge through the front door, ringing the little bell, she met me with a soft sigh and knowing eyes. I think she could tell I was struggling, too. CONTINUES ON PG. 6

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“I MADE PEACE WITH MY DECISION, MY SUICIDE NOTE TUCKED IN MY PHONE, READY TO BE FORWARDED TO MY LOVED ONES BY THE TIME IT WAS TOO LATE.”

CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman poses for a portrait in the Lawrenceville.

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER SEPTEMBER 8-15, 2021

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GIFTS FROM A STRANGER, CONTINUED FROM PG. 5

“I WAS STILL DEPRESSED AND ANXIOUS, MY MIXED EPISODES STILL HIJACKED MY MIND, BUT THIS WOMAN’S KINDNESS BROKE ME OUT OF MY DISORDERED STUPOR.” I was in the thick of writing my dissertation in disability studies for an Educational Leadership degree at Duquesne University, and I felt like a failure. Draft after draft, a serious case of writer’s block, computer tantrums, human meltdowns, I was doubting everything about my identity as an academic and an educator. Let’s be honest, I was doubting everything about myself. How did I even make it into a doctoral program? When were they going to discover that I was an imposter who didn’t belong? When were they going to catapult me out of the ivory tower? I was trying my hardest, and it didn’t feel like I was making any progress. Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman was a person I’d never get to be. As my dreams felt dashed, I grew more and more anxious about my future. Not just my future in academia, but having a future at all. Doctoral work and mental illness are definitely enemies. The long hours you put into your research, your analysis, your editing is exhausting. As much as I loved what I was doing, I began to feel increasingly overwhelmed. This is common for doctoral students. Doesn’t matter the field. Every rigorous, demanding, high-powered program can leave even the steadiest soul shaking. Heartbreak, homesickness, and hopelessness tag along as you work tirelessly. This is punctuated with moments of terror like when you spill milk on your computer while watching a YouTube video of floppy baby corgis bounding through a snowbank and have a panic attack at the Apple store. And it can be hard to stay positive even when your program chair says he believes in your work because you don’t really believe in yourself. The anxiety that was a lump in my throat turned into a depressed sludge in my stomach. I felt sick all of the time. I found myself at a breaking point with increasing frequency. I would never succeed. I was never going to. Why was this a lie I told myself?

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I was distracted by my edits, anxiety, and depression so much so that I didn’t recognize the insidious, vicious, and toxic bipolar takeover consuming my brain. I was no longer dealing with pure depression. I was no longer dealing with pure anxiety. I started having mixed episodes. Bipolar 1 disorder is characterized by extreme mood states that can undermine and overthrow you as a person. Hypomania, mania, and depression can appear in rapid succession, with the sole plan of taking you down. It’s easy to get lost in a disease that tells you you’ve always been worthless, a disappointment, and crazy. Mixed episodes are pure destruction. They are the combination of desperate depression and agitated anxiety. You feel utterly broken one minute, and the next, you find yourself flying off into a rage, usually over nothing.

PublicSource and Pittsburgh City Paper partnered to co-publish this first-person essay. Once I forgot my umbrella at school and suddenly, I was the biggest idiot who had ever existed. I came home and slammed the front door, cried hysterically, fell apart in my husband’s arms. How could one person be so stupid? When my husband ordered my favorite takeout that evening, I was too depressed to eat. Too depressed to say thank you, to say I was sorry for being this way. I crawled into bed and prayed that I wouldn’t wake up. The world would be better off without me in it. The back and forth, the deep sadness and the fiery rage, the incurable ache in my chest, I couldn’t run from it. Bipolar disorder does an excellent job of erasing your memories, lying to you that you’ve never been happy,

and you never will be. You lose all perspective and become your illness. Bipolar disorder told me that it was time to kill myself. And I listened. My final meal would be a bagel with lox and cream cheese, one of my favorites, and then I’d take every pill I could find. My husband was traveling, and I knew I could get away with it. I knew he’d be better off without his pathetic failure of a wife. My family would be, my friends, my doctoral cohort and professors, they didn’t need me to mar their happiness. I made peace with my decision, my suicide note tucked in my phone, ready to be forwarded to my loved ones by the time it was too late. I was done crying at this point. My eyes were red and my shoulders slumped. I sat crookedly in my seat at the bagel shop, forcing bites down my throat. Everything hurt. Lifting the bagel, biting it, chewing it, swallowing it. I was exhausted. But the next minute, I was furious with myself. I was such a failure that I would probably mess up and not actually kill myself. I was so enraged at the thought of failing that I stabbed a plastic fork into my thigh. My body shook with violent frustration. I don’t know which part of me she saw, but she knew that my day was going as badly as hers. Maybe worse. “Do you want a muffin?” It didn’t register right away that she was talking to me even though I was the only person in the cafe. “How about two?” She came over decked out in her apron and matching visor and placed two plastic wrapped muffins on the table. I looked up at her, and the first thing that stumbled out of my mouth was, “Won’t you get in trouble?” “No. And even if I do, it’s OK. I hate my job. But the muffins aren’t bad.” She paused. Maybe she was thinking of something else to say, deciding whether or not to pat me on the shoulder, but she sighed again and walked back to her


post behind the counter. My bagel was half eaten, and I had two large chocolate chip muffins staring back at me. Part of me wanted to cry into one, another part wanted to smash one, but I did neither. I threw away my bagel, slid the muffins into my bag, and left. I hope I thanked her but I can’t remember. I got home and removed the slightly squished muffins from my bag and placed them delicately on the counter. My husband loves chocolate chip muffins. One for him and one for me. In that moment I thought, “Maybe I’m going to be OK.” Instead of collecting my medicine cabinet in my hands, I unwrapped a sugary muffin and took a bite. It was delicious. I was still depressed and anxious, my mixed episodes still hijacked my mind, but this woman’s kindness broke me out of my disordered stupor. Maybe she did it to get back at a job that was thankless and underpaid but the fact she saw me in that moment, saw me close enough to know that maybe a few muffins might help, meant something to me. As I crunched the chocolate chips, I found myself gaining some perspective. I wouldn’t call them magical muffins, but they did do something powerful. They made me pause. They made me rethink my plan. I thought about seeing my husband’s happy face when I presented him with a muffin. I thought about having a painful and important conversation about feeling suicidal. I thought about how it would feel for him to wrap his arms around me and tell me we’d get through this together. We’d take it one day at a time. One draft at a time. I could do it. But honestly, if I couldn’t finish my program, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. There was more to life than killing myself over qualitative data.

But I did graduate. And not only did I finish my dissertation, I was the recipient of my university’s School of Education’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for 2018. It took time and tears. It took long nights of writing and frantic mornings of editing, but I did it. I told my treatment team I was struggling, and with the help of extra medication and a powerful, uplifting conversation from my chair about what it means to succeed as an educator — that I was already succeeding — helped me turn things around. The process was still hard and I had my dark moments, but I chose to speak up, to ask for help when I needed it. The day I was hooded was one of the proudest moments in my entire life.

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I guess it didn’t really end with two chocolate chip muffins. Since then, I’ve struggled with my bipolar disorder countless times. Hypomania, mania, psychosis, depression, and mixed episodes are part of my existence, but I’ve kept moving forward. I know I will feel suicidal again, but I feel better prepared to regain my stability. To keep my balance. I’m not going to lie and say I’m fixed, healed, cured, but I will always remember the day I got two free muffins from a woman who made a difference without ever knowing it. To this day, I can’t help but smile when I see chocolate chip muffins. It’s a sobering memory with a happy ending, and it reminds me to be proud of what I’ve accomplished and who I am. My diploma hangs in my office, my muffins sit on my counter top, and I know that things will be bumpy, but ultimately I’ll be OK. Just take it one bite at a time.

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Dr. Rachel Kallem Whitman is an educator, advocate, and writer who authored a memoir entitled, “Instability in Six Colors.”

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER SEPTEMBER 8-15, 2021

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

K E E S D N A HIDE BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

A

T 11 A.M. ON A SATURDAY, in a

CP PHOTO: AMANDA WALTZ

The Alice cocktail experience from Hidden Media Network on Liberty Avenue

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a Lego-themed pop-up that appeared in Downtown Pittsburgh storePittsburgh in 2020, but it’s been heavily front, I enter Wonderland. The advertising The Alice since May 2021, with Mad Hatter and White Rabbit 12 active sponsored ads currently running are wearing masks, while on Facebook. the March Hare has on a clear face shield. While many events are labeled as Tables are set with porcelain teapots, clocks, “Free,” clicking on them reveals that the and other knick-knacks, and fake vines cover deal only applies to an email registry the walls and ceiling. Overseeing it all is a notifying you when tickets for the event giant, light-up Chesire cat face. actually go on sale. Even then, it reads Instead of a mysterious bottle of potion that “signing up does not guarantee you labeled “Drink Me,” I’m given a sickeningly a ticket for the actual event.” sweet, peach-flavored shooter with enough I had received emails about The Alice alcohol to get me slightly buzzed — that I had and decided to see for myself how Hidden skipped breakfast that morning didn’t help. operates. So I paid $47 (plus an additional This isn’t exactly the vision author $2.82 in fees) for a single ticket. Lewis Carroll had for Alice’s Adventures in The event took place at 705 Liberty Wonderland, but it’s what the international Ave., a space usually designated for event planning company Hidden Media temporary pop-up events like this — Network has delivered to Pittsburgh in the it has previously hosted the holiday form of a themed cocktail experience designed Miracle bar, which was unaffiliated to transport you into a world of tea parties, with Hidden. The performers wore face talking animals, and magic mushrooms. coverings for the most part (the Mad The Hidden website calls its model a Hatter did remove his a few times), “discovery platform” offering ticket holders “all and hand sanitizer was provided at the best virtual and live experiences in over each table. Beyond that, guests came 30 cities around the world.” You can search maskless and tables were crammed from “thousands of experiences” taking place close together. It was also impossible around the world, an ambitious and seemingly to social distance in the small space impossible feat by any standard. as you were encouraged to wander Not only that, the event locations are around solving riddles and finding often kept secret, and many times even ticket hidden vials. holders are left without a destination until Pittsburgh resident Christina the day before their event happens. Szejk says she felt uncomfortable But the company appears as mysterious as when she visited The Alice in early its approach, and some former ticket holders August. She and her boyfriend were in Pittsburgh have complained that Hidden invited to go with another couple, who misled them. Others question if Hidden has had tickets for the event. the safety of its customers and staff in mind, Szejk says she emailed Hidden claiming that events like The Alice are not beforehand about their COVID-19 profollowing COVID-19 safety protocols. tocols, as she was concerned about the Besides The Alice, the Hidden Pittsburgh positive cases once again climbing in page entices with a long list of ongoing Allegheny County. and upcoming events, a seemingly endless “I asked, ‘Is it COVID safe? What kind of array of themed cocktail experiences, drag precautions are they taking?’” says Szejk. brunches, trivia nights, dance parties, and She says she received a confusing more. Inexplicably, there’s even a secret response about the pandemic situation in chicken wing festival. Under the FAQ Sydney (from what information Pittsburgh section on Hidden’s website, it also says City Paper could gather, Hidden is based anyone can submit an event to be adverin Australia). When Szejk replied that she tised on their site for a price, offered via was in Pittsburgh and the event was the “various paid packages if selected.” next day, someone named “Bella” emailed One of the most popular events back that “the event is compliant with all presented by Hidden is the Brick Bar, COVID regulations.”


“We were like, OK, so we’ll go. And if about upcoming Hidden events in different it looks like it’s OK, then sure, we’ll stay cities. Also confusing is Hidden’s identity. Based and have fun,” says Szejk. “But we said, on records and emails, the company appears if we walk in and it doesn’t feel safe, if any of us doesn’t feel safe, we’re just to be previously or alternately known as gonna leave.” Viral Ventures and Immersive Ventures, or is affiliated with the companies. Aden When Szejk arrived, she says only the performers had masks and the space, which Levin, who is listed as the Director of Viral she called “tiny,” was packed with about 25 Ventures on LinkedIn is also listed as guests, plus the staff. Hidden’s Co-Founder. One Backstage ad from April 2021 was seeking performers “So we took a sip of our drink, and we for a Pitch Black dining experience taking just left,” says Szejk, adding that her party stayed for about 15 minutes. “And as we place in Pittsburgh, as well as other cities. were walking out, the door-greeter person The company seemingly uses both brands stopped us. … I said, ‘This just doesn’t feel by listing the ad under “Viral Ventures safe. There’s nobody with a mask, there’s – ExploreHidden.” no ventilation.’” Szejk says the door-greeter The resulting Pitch Black “immersive then told her, “Please tell the company, please theatrical dining experience,” where email the company. This doesn’t feel safe for customers eat and play “sensory related games” in complete darkness, resulted us, either.” in head-aches for both local diners Because of the difficulty Szejk had emailing the company in the first place, she decided and restaurants. to post a comment on the Hidden Pittsburgh According to an April 2021 story by Pittsburgh online publication Facebook page relaying her experience. The lack of access to the company is no NEXTpittsburgh, DiAnoia’s Eatery in surprise when looking at the Hidden website. the Strip District was serving as the There’s no About Us page, a standard for most host venue for Pitch Black on June 9 businesses, and therefore no company headand 10, with the promise that more dates “may be added to meet demand.” quarter address, bios for the president or CEO, Hidden organizes an event at a host or any other staff member. The only means of communicating with the company is through a venue, with the venue having little single email address, hello@explorehidden.com. to nothing to do with the actual A Google search for articles about the planning or execution of the event. company equally reveals little information, priPittsburgh resident Emily Zambito marily bringing up regurgitated announcements bought tickets to Pitch Black in June CONTINUES ON PG. 10

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HIDE AND SEEK, CONTINUED FROM PG. 9

and says she and her husband were “fully scammed” by Hidden. Zambito shared emails with City Paper showing that, on June 24, she requested a refund after the company suddenly changed the Pitch Black venue from DiAnoia’s to Rock Bottom Brewery. In the email, Zambito says she bought the tickets — which cost $80 per person — thinking she was eating at DiAnoia’s, describing the post-ticket purchase change as a “bait and switch, and honestly a scam.” For days, Zambito emailed back and forth with a Hidden representative, also named “Bella,” until the company agreed to grant her a partial refund on July 1. “It was a really frustrating situation and I feel like they are taking advantage of people post-pandemic who are eager to get back out and be at events,” says Zambito. When asked about their experience working on the Pitch Black event with Viral Ventures, a spokesperson from DiAnoia’s gave a less than glowing review. “Unfortunately, we did not have a positive experience working with the organizers of Pitch Black,” says the DiAnoia’s Eatery spokesperson. “In addition to the two contracted events they booked and hosted in our space, they went on to sell tickets to additional dates at our location that we never agreed to. In the end, they held the events at another location, but made the change after many guests had already purchased tickets. So, people bought tickets thinking they were dining at DiAnoia’s, but on the day of the event, it was held at a different restaurant and communication to the ticket buyers was poor. Many showed up at our location for the dinners, understandably confused, and some even thought they were

45 minutes later by a second cocktail. If I wanted another drink before then, I had to pay $10 for flavored shooters with names like Tweedledee and Tweedle-Rum or Some Kind of Mushroom, which, despite the name, did not contain actual mushrooms. There are, however, also positive reviews about The Alice on social media. The decor and props provide lots of opportunities for selfies, and there are a lot of them to be found on Instagram. “Super, super fun, but Wonderland in Pittsburgh was tight quarters for sure,” posted one user on Instagram when asked about the inside situation because of COVID. A screencap from some of Pittsburgh offerings at explorehidden.com Others across the globe have expressed their dissatisfaction with Hidden events. A 2019 article on an Australian news site says guests paid $152 to attend a Harry Potterthemed Wizard’s Brunch in Melbourne, described as being partly organized by Immersive Ventures and promoted by Viral Ventures. They claim the event disappointed with “sub-par” entertainment, barely any table service, and food that consisted of “deflated” panna cotta and “stale” supermarket cake. Like having our food at the other restaurant. and this is the same with the majority at The Alice, they also had to pay for Altogether, we felt the entire experience of ticketing platforms,” Allen added. “We extra cocktails. was misleading to the ticket buyers.” cannot refund customers if they choose Szejk says The Alice was “cute,” but to cancel at the last minute as it is a huge City Paper emailed Shelley Allen, who not “Cirque du Soleil or anything,” and does PR and communications for Hidden, loss of revenue. They can resell/gift was also not impressed with the drink about the company’s customer service their tickets if they can no longer attend she was served. Overall, she says she approach, and the strict no-refund policy or if possible we move their tickets to has no idea how Hidden could realstated on its FAQs page. another date for them.” istically pull off all the events their Allen says Hidden has a “whole customer There’s also the question if Hidden website touts. service team who deal with complaints/ does, in fact, provide “all the best “How can they be doing this and issues and they can be reached at hello@ virtual and live experiences,” a claim doing it well?” says Szejk. “It’s like when explorehidden.com,” and that customers can I found to be dubious during my visit you go to a restaurant that has a menu also reach out on the company’s Facebook to The Alice. For my $49.82, I received that’s 40 pages long. There’s no way and Instagram pages. one shooter and what looked like a they can do all of this well.” “Tickets sold are the same as a concert ticket, store-bought sugar cookie, followed

“IT WAS A REALLY FRUSTRATING SITUATION AND I FEEL LIKE THEY ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE POST-PANDEMIC WHO ARE EAGER TO GET BACK OUT AND BE AT EVENTS.”

Follow a&e editor Amanda Waltz on Twitter @AWaltzCP

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.FASHION.

CLOTHES MAKE LEAH PATGORSKI BY TERENEH IDIA CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

Clothes Make featured guests get to select where they are photographed, what made you pick Morningside’s Lock & Dam Dog Shop? I picked Lock & Dam Dog Shop (instagram. com/LockAndDamDog) because it’s one of the few places where you can get lunch by the river. The burgers are great, and they have one of these viewfinder binoculars, like we’re at Niagara Falls. Tell me about your style. How would you describe your style, and who are your style icons? I like to keep it simple and comfortable, and wear natural fibers and vintage as much as I can. I’ve been hitting thrift stores since I got my driver’s license at 16. At that time, my friends and I thought Kim Gordon was the coolest.

Leah Patgorski Titles

The bracelet is cool, did you make it? Do you make jewelry often? Thanks. I made it. I haven’t done much

Artist/designer

Interest/ Plants, gardening, running hobbies Website instagram.com/lpatgo leahpatgorski.com

We are very close to the Pittsburgh Zoo, and you kinda look like a cool safari guide. Tell me about this shirt. I got this shirt at a secondhand sale in Charlottesville, around 2004. I like how it has some authority, but it’s mostly playful. I feel like I’m going to accomplish something. In the past few Clothes Make articles, people have bought new shoes. But you have a pair that look, well, not so new. I love them, what is the story here? These shoes are about five or six years old. I have become so attached to them, and, unfortunately, Volcom doesn’t make these any more. I tried ordering some as a replacement a couple of years ago, but the website turned out to be fake, and they sent me incorrect and inferior shoes. More recently, I snagged a cream-colored pair on eBay, but they are the men’s version. I plan to dye those black. It’s hard to find a good, anonymous canvas shoe.

(SHE/HER)

CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA

Leah Patgorski

jewelry, but almost all that I made was wristbands and bracelets. It’s like I’m adorning my left hand with my right hand.

altering something I already own. I have a lot of cool altered skirts for someone who doesn’t often wear skirts. Hmm …

I also love the pop of the red belt, I think belts are overlooked. In fact, camel/tan and red are one of the best color combinations in my opinion. Has your work as a textile artist shaped or changed the way you dress? Do you ever make your own clothes? Working with textiles makes me appreciate fibers and details more, but not so much that my work matches my wardrobe. I have made a few items from scratch; for instance, one time I made matching skirts for my sister and I for a party. But, as you know, it can take a whole day to make a single pair of pants! I’m more likely to be

Do you dress differently for your various roles? Unless I’m dusty from working on the floor or gardening, I don’t change much from day to evening. Pittsburgh has made me more casual. Back when I lived in Chicago, there was more of a need to go home and dress up. That was fun, but now I’m spoiled in reverse. Do you have a gift that you gave to yourself that you’re wearing now? This handmade leather bag was a gift to myself. I’ll probably have it on my shoulder when we’re out here five years from now.

Do you have a gift from someone else that you’re wearing now, or often wear? Well, in a way, this red belt. Years ago, my mom had a shop she liked called Dobson’s, which was in Suffolk, Virginia. She enjoyed buying gifts from there, and once, she told me to pick something I liked. This was my pick. Another time she brought me some pink ruffled pajama pants from Dobson’s. Those will never see the light of day, or night. What are you excited about that is upcoming in September? This autumn? I’m excited to see art shows like Jacolby Satterwhite at the Miller ICA and Femme Touch at The Warhol. Before winter comes, I’d really like to get some roller skates and go to the Velodrome.

Follow featured contributor Tereneh Idia on Twitter @Tereneh152XX PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER SEPTEMBER 8-15, 2021

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EVENT • IRL

EVENT • IRL

Head Downtown to the Cultural District for Lights On!, a multi-day festival welcoming guests back to in-person events and the official kick-off for RADical Days, featuring free events and activities throughout Allegheny County this fall. Thursday evening will feature performances from Arcade Comedy Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, 8th Street Stage, and more. Overall, the event invites you to choose from more than 50 free live music, theater, dance, and visual art events. Seating is available on a first-come, firstserved basis, but people are allowed to bring their own seating, and standing room will also be available. 5-10 p.m. Continues through Sat., Sept. 11. Between Stanwix and Tenth Street on Liberty and Penn Avenue, Downtown. Free. culturaldistrict.org

The Pittsburgh Irish Festival at The Lots at Sandcastle is the perfect way to celebrate the area’s rich Irish history and traditions. Enjoy live Irish dance and Celtic music performances, sample traditional Irish cuisine like Shepherd’s pie and corned beef, hear readings from Irish authors and storytellers, and more. There’s also axe throwing and kid-friendly activities, as well as chances to meet local Irish organizations or investigate your Irish roots with a genealogist. Continues through Sun., Sept. 12. 1000 Sandcastle Dr., West Homestead. $12-35. pghirishfest.org

SAT., SEPT. 11 EVENT • IRL Lego enthusiasts will get a chance to marvel at new exhibits and interactive


^ Beginning Punch Rug class

shows when Brick Fest Live comes to the Monroeville Convention Center. The fan-created convention offers everything from life-sized Lego models to games, photo ops, and limited-edition merch. Builders can also sign up to show off their creations as part of the more than one million Lego bricks that will be on display, and fans of the Lego Masters will get a chance to meet contestants from the reality TV show. 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. Continues through Sun., Sept. 12. 209 Mall Plaza Blvd., Monroeville. $24.99-49.99. brickfestlive.com/2021-2022

SUN., SEPT. 12 ART • IRL A Fair in the Park from the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh is back this year, and with COVID safety precautions in place, it promises to be a fun time for everyone. If you’re looking for art, everything from ceramics to glass to fiber will be present at the annual outdoor event, meaning you’re sure to find something for yourself or a loved one. There will also be live music and food and drinks provided by The Pickled Chef, Pita Land, Rita’s, Pittsburgh Mobile Bars, and more. 10 a.m.5 p.m. 1047 Shady Ave., Shadyside. Free. craftsmensguild.org/a-fair-in-the-park

MON., SEPT. 13 WORKSHOP • IRL Punch rugs can be a fun, colorful accent to a room, and the Beginning Punch Rug class at Ketchup City Creative will give you the chance to make your own with help and guidance from local fiber artist

Kirsten Ervin. Class attendees can create their own design or purchase one of Ervin’s patterns. The price of the class includes all materials, including an Oxford punch needle, a 7” no-slip hoop, monk’s cloth, and colorful rug yarn. 6-8 p.m. 612 Main St., Sharpsburg. $50. Search “Punch Rug Beginner Class” on Eventbrite

TUE., SEPT. 14 MUSIC • IRL If you love music with a conscience, don’t miss Mdou Moctar at Thunderbird Café & Music Hall. Hailing from Niger, Africa, the group combines traditional Saharan music with classic rock ’n’ roll, offering songs that tackle the mass surveillance state and other social issues. Expect beautiful vocals and shredding guitars. Those unfamiliar with Mdou Moctar should check out their new album, Afrique Victime, before heading to the show. 7 p.m. 4053 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $18.50-23.50. thunderbirdmusichall.com

WED., SEPT. 15 DRAG • IRL Join RuPaul’s Drag Race season six winner Bianca Del Rio for her all-ages show Unsanitized at the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland. Del Rio promises that “she’s vaxxed, she’s waxed, and she has more attitude than ever” for an evening where she encourages attendees to get their vaccines and cocktails. Del Rio was named New York magazine’s most powerful drag queen in 2019, and she has appeared in a variety of films, television, and theater. 8 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $39.50. druskyentertainment.com

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER SEPTEMBER 8-15, 2021

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BIG BOX STORES BY BRENDAN EMMETT QUIGLEY // BRENDANEMMETTQUIGLEY.COM

ACROSS 1. First two letters of AFAIK 6. Three-part shot given to kids, for short 9. Ecce ___ 13. Home to the National Voting Rights Museum 14. Coinbase’s was on 4/14/21 15. Sparkle with morning moisture 16. Steve of 60 Minutes 17. Tools to make béchamel and Bordelaise 19. Hand sanitizer targets 20. Weird weather pattern creator 21. See 44-Across 22. Be in the red 24. Dunking legend 25. Burger topping 28. Fun run 30. Port on some TVs 32. “Just Right” sloganeer 34. Wire letters 36. Organism that retains its shape as it grows 38. Systems of transactions made in cryptocurrency spread through a network, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme 40. Singular their 42. Boom tube?

14

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43. Deliberately leaves out 44. With 21-Across, every last person 46. Work units 50. It’ll leave a mark 51. Xi Jinping’s grp. 53. Campfire waste 55. ___ y plata 56. Prepares oysters 58. Rite site 60. Completely forgot to do something 63. Early word processor? 64. Things placed by a recording engineer 65. Underground metal 66. Waft of smoke 67. X-ray blocker 68. Future capts. 69. Movie with a saloon fight, likely

DOWN 1. Seek help from above 2. Rival for Naomi and Simona 3. Dolphins head coach Brian 4. Bands on the radio 5. Midnight Cowboy nickname 6. Conned 7. Org. assigning PG’s and G’s 8. Like an oval 9. Kind of air filter 10. Deep Space Nine changeling

11. Opera house, for short 12. Cries while wincing 15. Composer Britten 18. Diam. x pi 23. Choice question 25. Anvil spots 26. Initials for a country’s output 27. “Not this again!” 29. Monsieur ___ (Jacques Tati role) 31. Millionths of a meter 33. Three-card game 35. Some sports cars 37. Swear words 38. Battleship guess 39. “Relax” 40. Small jump 41. Chat room qualifier 45. Hindu groups

47. Cheap booze 48. Gleaming the Cube director ___ Clifford 49. Postal worker who goes through your mail 52. Cow’s mouthful 54. Oprah’s production house 56. Google Calendar page, for short 57. Singer/ songwriter Vile 59. The “she” in the 1970 song lyric, “She walked up to me and she asked me to dance” 60. “Things can’t get any worse, and yet here we are!,” initially 61. Golf ball location 62. Going by LAST WEEK’S ANSWERS


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IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-21-009485. In re petition of Purna Akurugoda for change of name to Punna Akurugoda. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the filing of said petition and fixed the 5th day of October, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., as the time and the Motions Room, City-County Building, Pittsburgh, PA, as the place for a hearing, when and where all persons may show cause, if any they have, why said name should not be changed as prayed for

IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-21-8822. In re petition of Nancy Elizabeth Golio for change of name to Nancy Golio Brodeur. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the filing of said petition and fixed the 4th day of October, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., as the time and the Motions Room, City-County Building, Pittsburgh, PA, as the place for a hearing, when and where all persons may show cause, if any they have, why said name should not be changed as prayed for

IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-21-9478. In re petition of Jeremy Dale Kuharcik for change of name to Jeremy James Carmicheal. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the filing of said petition and fixed the 12th day of October, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., as the time and the Motions Room, City-County Building, Pittsburgh, PA, as the place for a hearing, when and where all persons may show cause, if any they have, why said name should not be changed as prayed for

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September 8, 2021 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's Arts & Entertainment newsweekly featuring a first-person essay on mental health in partnership with PublicSource, a guide to "c...

September 8, 2021 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's Arts & Entertainment newsweekly featuring a first-person essay on mental health in partnership with PublicSource, a guide to "c...

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