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OCT. 13-20, 2021
WHY IS THERE CONTROV ERSY OVER L A T I P A C T U N L A THE PROPOSED W DEVELOPMENT PLAN IN O AKLAND?
FIRSTSHOT BYY JARED WICKERHAM
The view of Carrie Blast Furnaces from Swissvale
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OCT. 13-20, 2021 VOLUME 30 + ISSUE 41 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 Interns TIA BAILEY, ISABELLA DIAZ, JASON PHOX National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP.
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COVER PHOTO: ARTIST’S RENDERING OF WALNUT CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN READ THE STORY ON PAGE 4
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8/31/21 PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
PHOTO: COURTESY OF WALNUT CAPITAL
Architectural drawing of the Oakland Crossing
THE BIG STORY
AT A CROSSROADS BY RYAN DETO // RYANDETO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
Walnut Capital properties on Coltart Avenue in Oakland where the company is looking to upzone and add denser housing
T THE BORDER of South and Central Oakland lies a largely unused area right in the middle of the city. Boulevard of the Allies, a fast moving and wide roadway, cuts through the neighborhood, dissecting a section of Pittsburgh that feels out of place for an urban corridor. Oakland is a major commercial center, complete with two large universities, thousands of workers, the city’s largest public library, and scores of restaurants and bars, but traveling on this section of Boulevard of the Allies and some of its surrounding roads feels more like traversing a suburban strip mall that has fallen on hard times.
Just about everyone — city leaders, community groups, and local developers — wants to give this section of Oakland a makeover. Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, a registered community organization, is in the midst of assisting on a community plan that could encourage increased density and development of this part of town. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, in tandem with Pittsburghbased developer Walnut Capital, has already submitted a zoning change to city council that allows for more housing and new amenities like a grocery store to be built in the neighborhood. However, despite similar goals, these two factions are not in total agreement. In fact, over the last few weeks, they’ve become adversaries. OPDC is pushing back on the mayor’s request for a zoning change, saying the mayor and the developer shouldn’t be
leading the process and that it should go through community groups ﬁrst. Walnut Capital says it has always been working with community groups and that this site is necessary to unlock Oakland’s potential as a live-and-work neighborhood. And the Peduto administration agrees, adding that the proposed developer could even qualify for time-sensitive COVID relief funds to improve the neighborhood’s streetscape. The argument between the two comes down to a focus on upending a community process versus the desire to improve a neighborhood more quickly than usual, and transform the area into a vision that is largely, if not perfectly, supported. In the middle are also forces of general neighborhood opposition to increased density and questions about the ability of adding affordable housing to the project. Overall, it’s another example of the difﬁculties that surround ambitious urban development. CONTINUES ON PG. 6
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
AT A CROSSROADS, CONTINUED FROM PG. 5
CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
Intersection of Boulevard of the Allies and Zalena Street in Oakland
Walnut Capital’s plan The vision for new development around Boulevard of the Allies in Oakland centers mostly around UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Walnut Capital calls the plan Oakland Crossings, and Walnut Capital president Todd Reidbord says he wants the plan to create a new doorway to Oakland, one that shows off Pittsburgh to the many visitors whose ﬁrst introduction to the city is through the East End neighborhood because they are visiting its universities and major hospitals. The Oakland Crossings plan includes 17 acres that envision adding 1,000 new market-rate units in buildings about 150 feet high near UPMC Magee, creating a pedestrian plaza on a section of Zulema Street and adding more greenspace amenities to Zulema Park, constructing a pedestrian bridge to connect the Oak Cliff neighborhood to Oakland Crossings, streetscape improvements to slow trafﬁc down on Boulevard of the Allies, and adding a new grocery store at the recently closed Quality Inn/Panera Bread site. To accommodate all these proposals, Peduto introduced a zoning change to this section of Oakland, including increased building heights. Reidbord says the plan is to attract more young professionals to this part of Central and South Oakland, so they can live, work, and play in the neighborhood, and to help grow Central Oakland’s population, which shrunk marginally between 2010 and 2020. “In the end, our plans bring more people to Oakland and could help grow the city,” says Reidbord. “I don’t know why that is controversial.” He adds that by increasing the supply of market-rate units in this part of Oakland,
it could keep housing prices from rising for older units in the area, which are mostly used as student housing, or are the homes of longtime residents. Reidbord understands there might be some opposition to converting some homes on Halket Street right across from UPMC Magee into taller, multi-unit buildings. But he doesn’t believe this would ruin the fabric of the neighborhood since most of those homes are already fairly dense living situations with yards ﬁlled with parking lots. Oakland is the third largest job center in Pennsylvania, just behind Center City in Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh. Reidbord says there should be more dense housing in Oakland to allow for new residents to live and work in the same neighborhood.
“THERE IS A REASON WHY PRIVATE DEVELOPERS DON’T WRITE THE ZONING PROCESS” “It kind of feels that Central and South Oakland are not really part of the neighborhood,” says Reidbord. “If we can do this, then we will claim this as part of Oakland.” Reidbord says more residents in this part of Oakland, particularly young professionals, as opposed to university students,
are necessary for something everyone in the community wants: a grocery store. An IGA grocery store on Forbes Avenue closed in April 2017, exacerbating Oakland’s food desert issues. “The question is, ‘What do you need in Oakland?’” says Reidbord. “To me, the goal is to get those people who work in Oakland to live in Oakland, and then more amenities will follow.”
Opposition to Oakland Crossings On Oct. 5, at a public hearing sponsored by Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, several speakers voiced opposition to the mayor’s zoning change proposal and Walnut Capital’s plans. Some were generally opposed to any new housing to the area or anything that would alter trafﬁc patterns, and some were supportive of the plans, but most who spoke weren’t necessarily opposed to increased density or a grocery store, and were instead against the process of the zoning change proposal. Wanda Wilson of OPDC spoke with Pittsburgh City Paper after the meeting and shared similar sentiments. She says she doesn’t believe a developer should be on the ground ﬂoor of a zoning change, and that any rezoning process should originate among community groups and then go through the professionals who work in the city’s planning department. “There is a reason why private developers don’t write the zoning process,” says Wilson, citing anxieties about conflicts of interests between developers and elected officials. Wilson says any future development plans for Oakland should defer to the
Oakland Plan, which is still in process. According to its website, the Oakland Plan “will create a 10-year plan with a shared vision for Oakland’s future and the projects and programs necessary to make that vision a reality.” Wilson acknowledges the Oakland Plan has some suggestions for increased density in the neighborhood, but bristles at the idea of already assigning those visions to one developer, especially before the plan is ﬁnalized. Once it’s ﬁnalized and approved by the city’s Planning Commission, which could take several more months, if not longer, Wilson says she would be supportive of the city reaching out to developers who can fulﬁll the plan’s speciﬁcs. “We are in the process of determining land use for the neighborhood,” says Wilson. “It’s not deﬁnitive, but we are still developing it. There are some visions for more density of development, but it doesn’t have to have to come from just one private development.” In September 2020, before he was defeated in the Democratic Primary, Peduto seemingly endorsed this community-ﬁrst process when announcing the creation of the city’s ﬁrst comprehensive land-use plan, ForgingPGH. “This will come down to neighborhoods and the organizations and the neighbors, and what they want to see,” said Peduto at a press conference in September 2020.
What’s the process? Pittsburgh City Councilor Deb Gross (D-Highland Park) brought up the city’s zoning process at the Oct. 5 public hearing. She said, typically, a zoning administrator will start the zoning change process, CONTINUES ON PG. 8
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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
AT A CROSSROADS, CONTINUED FROM PG. 6
CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
Bill Peduto and Bruce Kraus at the People’s Pride parade
and then that change will go through the Planning Commission. Then, city council will review them before approval or rejection. If a developer wants to complete a process outside of the zoning rules, the owner will then typically apply for a zoning variance. However, this isn’t the only way the city can, and has, made zoning changes. Dan Gilman, Peduto’s Chief of Staff, says councilors have led the zoning change process many times in the past. He says, in September, council introduced a zoning change to Hazelwood and that, when he was on council, he worked with Walnut Capital to start a Specially Planned zoning district for the company’s Bakery Square development. “There are so many zoning changes that have started in city council in my 18 years,” says Gilman. He agrees with Gross that, typically, property owners ask for variances, but says those can be difﬁcult to get for large development proposals. A zoning variance for a large mixed-use housing and grocery store development near the East Liberty Busway station was denied earlier this year, even though the project had support from transit advocates, the mayor, and council. Gilman adds that variances can also fairly easily be blocked in courts. This year, City Paper wrote about how a proposed
food hall in Lawrenceville had its zoning variance blocked by one neighbor in Lawrenceville because the plan was four off-street parking spaces short of code. Reidbord also adds that Walnut Capital is currently undertaking several community meetings about their proposal, and has attracted support of some community groups and labor organizations. He says, even in the fastest case scenario, construction on Oakland Crossings wouldn’t start until spring 2023. Reidbord says waiting for the Oakland Plan to ﬁnalize could push that date back two years, and that the market conditions are ideal right now for the plan, and is unsure what they will be like in two years. Gilman says the city has been working on the Oakland Plan for over a year, and that the fundamental values of that plan so far align with what Oakland Crossings brings to the neighborhood. But one area Wilson and OPDC are stern on is wanting a zoning change to require future developments in Oakland have affordable housing. She says she wants to see a zoning change include an inclusionary zoning overlay district for Oakland, meaning future large developments would have to create a percentage of affordable housing in their plans, like what is currently required in Lawrenceville, and has been proposed in Bloomﬁeld and Polish Hill.
When asked about affordable housing in Oakland Crossings, Reidbord says trying to include a percentage of affordable units at that scale would be too difﬁcult. Peduto hasn’t proposed a citywide inclusionary zoning policy, but the likely new mayor, state Rep. Ed Gainey, campaigned on the policy. It’s unclear how much council supports that policy, but a 2017 report from the city’s Inclusionary Zoning Exploratory Committee found that a 10% affordability IZ requirement, with incentives, was feasible in all neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh City Councilor Bruce Kraus (D-South Side) represents the district where Oakland Crossings is being proposed. At the public hearing, he said opposition to the development was mostly about the process, not the project. He addressed a time limit for federal COVID funds that could be used to help improve streetscapes and other public parts of Oakland Crossings as to why the plan might need to be expedited. But he was also hopeful that the opposing factions could work together to ﬁnd a path forward. “I hope we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Kraus on Oct. 5 after announcing that council will take a bit more time to review the proposal before voting. “But we have time to do that, to work through what it is, and ﬁnd the best solution that interests the community.”
Follow managing editor Ryan Deto on Twitter @RyanDeto
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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
PHOTO: MECCA GAMBLE
LaToya Hamm Wilson of Motherhood Redefined
.BLACK-LED COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.
HELPING MOTHERS HEAL BY DANI JANAE // DANIJANE@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
OR MANY, the joys of motherhood are
hard to put into words. But that isn’t always the story for new mothers and parents. Postpartum depression is a reality for many, and it’s important to help them understand that it doesn’t mean they’re “bad parents” or not ﬁt to be caretakers. A local program that began during the pandemic is aiming to help new mothers through those unfamiliar times when they most need support. Motherhood Redeﬁned is a community of mothers led by LaToya Hamm Wilson,
a Pittsburgh-area native hailing from Wilkinsburg and Penn Hills, and a licensed therapist specializing in maternal mental health. On Motherhood Redeﬁned’s website, she is described as a “self-care advocate.” She says what started as a personal passion project has blossomed into a community of resources for new mothers. “The whole idea behind Motherhood Redeﬁned is to support moms who are struggling with maternal mental health or the stresses that come along with new parenting,” says Hamm Wilson. “I offer
coaching as well as one-on-one counseling services to postpartum pregnant and parenting women. Primarily, my services are created or respond to the issues of Black and Brown women, but they are inclusive to allies as well.” Hamm Wilson describes a culture that conditions mothers to put themselves last, and how she and the community she built wants to redeﬁne that, encouraging pregnant, postpartum, and parenting mothers to think of themselves and go against societal norms.
“I KNEW PERSONALLY WHAT IT MEANT TO STRUGGLE THROUGH MOTHERHOOD, TO NOT FEEL LIKE MYSELF, AND TO NOT HAVE THE SPACE TO OPENLY EXPRESS THE CHALLENGES THAT GO ALONG WITH BEING A MODERN MOTHER.” brought to you by
This reframing of motherhood is made possible through several avenues, including a Redeﬁned MOMS (Moms overcoming maternal stress) Collective Facebook group where members can reach out to each other for support, and through one-on-one and group coaching with Hamm Wilson. The coaching process is a 12-week, entirely virtual program held by Hamm Wilson that helps new and parenting mothers who are feeling burned-out, overwhelmed, and looked over. Coaching boasts beneﬁts like teaching mothers to cope with maternal stress by “focusing on prioritizing your mental health and creating sustainable systems.” “So the coaching I do is group coaching and also one-on-one. I also work as a private contractor with a local mental health agency here in Pittsburgh as well. I do one-on-one counseling services through that private practice, and my Motherhood Redeﬁned community is a private online community that’s currently run through Facebook,” says Hamm Wilson. “It’s a community where women are able to join and receive accountability as well as get some of their answers to their questions answered through peer support.” Hamm Wilson is an adoptive and blended mom, who also has biological children of her own ranging from the ages of 10 to 21. When she’s not running Motherhood Redeﬁned, she works as a social worker in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Her own experience as a mother and working with families in her capacity as a social worker has given her a unique insight into the needs of mothers, especially those with young children. “I service mainly women with children under the age of two. I help them in adjusting to life as a mom and balancing work, life, and relationships while still parenting and ﬁnding opportunities to engage in things that they enjoy as well. So a lot of
self care,” she says.“I also ﬁnd a lot of my clients have challenges around perinatal mood disorders, and those disorders became enhanced during the pandemic. Whenever we had to be forced into isolation, a lot of struggles that they had, that they were suffering with, were magniﬁed during that time.”
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MOTHERHOOD REDEFINED motherhoodredefined.co and instagram.com/motherhoodredefined.co
Women who join Hamm Wilson and the online community she has created see a lot of beneﬁts, mainly just from the experience of having a support system they haven’t found in their everyday lives. She says the main beneﬁt is that her services are virtual, which means she can see clients as far as New York and D.C. This is also beneﬁcial to parents who, in the pandemic world, are also serving as part-time teachers for kids in online school. They don’t have to worry about commuting to and from different locations, they can just log in from home. Hamm Wilson says she initially started Motherhood Redeﬁned as a way to organize her own thoughts about motherhood and mental health. “I knew personally what it meant to struggle through motherhood, to not feel like myself, and to not have the space to openly express the challenges that go along with being a modern mother,” she says, adding that it served as her selfcare practice during a time when she also needed it the most. “We live in a world where mothers, Black mothers, especially, have to be strong,” she adds. “But I believe there is strength in vulnerability. So to be able to connect with so many women, share my journey authentically, and support them through theirs, is liberating.”
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Follow staff writer Dani Janae on Twitter @figwidow PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
CP PHOTO: LAKE LEWIS
.FIRST PERSON ESSAY.
CLINGING TO THE PAST Pittsburghers hang on to history. Is my own worth determined by a “pre-autistic” self? BY ELI KURS-LASKY // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
ESPITE THE FACT that I say “soda”
instead of “pop,” have no interest in eating pierogies, and have only used the word “yinz” ironically, I have a lot of Pittsburgh in me. Here in Pittsburgh, we talk about what is by framing it as what was. We give directions based on the landmarks that used to exist, but are no longer. Sports fans tend to reference arenas that have long since been replaced: The Igloo — where the Penguins won their ﬁrst three Stanley Cup Championships. Three Rivers Stadium — which hasn’t existed in more than 20 years, though we will never tire of hearing about the Immaculate Reception.
We are grit and steel and hard work and a myriad of superstitions that keep the Penguins and Steelers winning. A mere 19 days after I was born, the city erupted in cheers as the Penguins swept the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. We are our history — we are everyone and everything that came before us. I wonder if I’m Pittsburgh in that way, too. I was in my mid-20s before I got an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. It came after a succession of big changes left me drained, distressed, and no longer able to hide the symptoms I had so expertly learned to mask for my entire life. I was
hiding the pain of making eye contact; of staying in overstimulating environments; of losing the ability to process words; of being nauseated by touching certain common textures — chalk, metal, money, newspapers — but telling no one.
PublicSource and Pittsburgh City Paper partnered to co-publish this first-person essay. CONTINUES ON PG. 14
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A HAUNTED ATTRACTION AT HISTORIC HAUNTED HILL VEIW MANOR,
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CLINGING TO THE PAST, CONTINUED FROM PG. 12
I AM STILL TRYING TO UNLEARN MORE THAN TWO DECADES OF MISUNDERSTANDING MYSELF AND NOT HAVING THE LANGUAGE TO EXPRESS WHAT I WAS EXPERIENCING.
RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED • HAUNTEDHILLVIEWMANOR.COM FOR INFORMATION
10/15 - TheCause (Grateful Dead Tribute) 10/16 - Brids Aren’t Real (matinee) 10/16 - Monophonics 10/19 - Perpetual Groove 10/20 - Chris Cain 12/21 - So Down 10/22 - Miyavi 10/23 - Gimme Gimme Disco 10/24 - The Blue Stones 10/26 - The Happy Fits 10/29 - Jack Swing Halloeeen 10/30 - Slappers & Bangers 10/31 - Yonder Mountain String Band 11/04 - The Hillbenders play The Who 11/05 - Riz La Vie 11/06 - DJ Big Phill: Union
11/09 - Pokey LaFarge 11/11 - Augustana 11/12 - Maggie Rose 11/14 - Real Estate 11/15 - Post Animal & Ron Gallo 11/16 - Titus Andronicus 11/17 - Seppa 11/19 - Delta Rae 11/20 - PGH Indie Rock Fest 11/21 - Champagne Drip 12/08 - Morgan James Christmas 12/09 - Hackensaw Boys 12/10 - Batstard Bearded Irishmen 12/15 - Hot Mulligan 01/27 - Lucky Chops 03/03 - Patrick Droney
Cafe open 5pm to close Tuesday - Saturday 4053 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 • (412) 682-0177 thunderbirdmusichall.com 14
All the strategies I had been using to adapt and assimilate were suddenly — or so it felt — being forcibly stripped from me. The sheer magnitude of change, and thus distress, was enough to completely topple the ability I had previously — somehow — cobbled together to appear competent and conﬁdent when it came to blending in with my peers. Years of faking it — and being good at faking it — meant that my autism diagnosis surprised most other people as well. I began thinking about Pittsburgh — if, and how, it played a role in any of this. Does the way we, as Pittsburghers, talk about our environment trickle down to how we talk about people? Is who I am now limited by who I was perceived to be previously? I often worry that the answer is yes, as though I used to be “unautistic,” then one day opened the door to some elusive Narnia-like portal, was diagnosed, and all of a sudden, I “became autistic.” And I was convinced that if I did a good enough job of lowering my support needs, I would ﬁnally be able to placate the confusion and judgment I perceived coming from all the people who knew me before my diagnosis. I am still fearful of being held to the standards of the perceived existence of an “unautistic” version of me, as if I’m some long-gone landmark that people can’t bring themselves to relinquish. It is misguided, though, to think I ever existed as a non-autistic version of myself. I have always been my quirky autistic self. I stopped hiding, not because I felt ready or relieved, but because the shame was a hellish buildup of utter exhaustion and pain that I could no longer keep to myself. In a lot of ways, I had to relearn myself. I hoped to ﬁnd some kind of “paper trail” of my autism’s existence even before I was aware of it and began peppering many of my appointments after my diagnosis with questions of, “Wait, so was this (insert thing I did or said or felt) an autism thing?” My doctor said yes nearly every time.
Growing up not knowing I was autistic felt like being untethered, my understanding of self orbiting around feeling like I was constantly falling short without any knowledge as to why. I thought my inability to adapt to a world not made for my kind of brain was some kind of personal failure. Is autism like a football — something that can be caught and, unlike at Three Rivers Stadium, hopefully dropped? How much ableism is championed in the hope and expectation that this can be ﬁxed if I try hard enough? I have tried, though. I have tried so hard that I emotionally crashed and burned as a result. In the days and weeks leading up to my diagnosis, the crash and burn seemed to be on a nightmarish repeat every single day. As the pile of distressing things seemed to grow bigger by the moment, the threshold of what triggered me to the point of extreme shutdown rapidly shrank. I was experiencing such intense autistic shutdowns that, on multiple occasions, I completely lost all sense of where I was. A year after graduating from college magna cum laude, one form my extreme shutdowns took was me getting lost in small spaces. Sometimes, the visual monotony of repeating tile patterns in public bathrooms overstimulated me until I felt so paralyzed that I couldn’t ﬁnd my way out of the bathroom. I felt isolated and unsure of how I could possibly explain this to anyone around me; I was humiliated. I had come to assume that things were supposed to be this consistently difﬁcult and grueling. I assumed that everyone felt like crying when noises got too loud; or spent entire conversations trying to calculate the frequency, duration, and intensity of eye contact they should be making, and then were forced to spend several hours just recovering from that eye contact; or negotiated with their brain in efforts to ration their energy well enough to interact with others, eat, stay hydrated and shower all in a single day.
It took me a while to acknowledge just how much energy I was using for the simplest of tasks, how much energy I expended just to maintain some baseline appearance of composure. Without adequate support, though, keeping up this facade was difﬁcult at best and totally impossible and harmful at worst. I am still trying to unlearn more than two decades of misunderstanding myself and not having the language to express what I was experiencing. I am not “more autistic” now than I was then; now I have the language I didn’t have then. I spent more than 20 years convincing myself I was just inherently bad at normal human things for no reason, except that maybe I was really lazy (a trait that has never described me, yet I am always terriﬁed that’s how other people perceive me). It didn’t occur to me to seek out resources on my own because I truly thought everyone felt like this. While Pittsburghers have trouble moving on from the past, the city remains an integral part of our identity. No matter
where I go, I will always be from Pittsburgh. No matter how well I mask, I will always be autistic. I still wonder (and worry) about how others perceive me. Do people talk about and think of me like an old house in Pittsburgh, where my current worth is dictated by my past (read: “pre-autism”) self? Was my past The Igloo — championships and all — and my present is the empty lot there now? THIS ESSAY WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT THROUGH THE PITTSBURGH MEDIA PARTNERSHIP
The same year I was diagnosed as autistic, Pittsburgh, once again, erupted in cheers as the Penguins, once again, were crowned Stanley Cup Champions. As the entire city celebrated, so did I, albeit in a much quieter and smaller way. I was doing the terrifying, but celebratory, work of unlearning how to disappear. Just like Pittsburgh, my own personal history is full of grit and hard work and superstition.
Eli Kurs-Lasky, a Pittsburgh native and devout Penguins fan, typically experiences Pittsburgh through writing and photography (self-taught).
CP FILE PHOTO: ALEX GORDON
The Civic Arena, aka “The Igloo,” in 2010
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
TIME FOR A CHAAT BY RYAN DETO RYANDETO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
N PITTSBURGH, the most ubiquitous
Indian food is curry, and the most ubiquitous curry is probably chicken tikka masala, the tomato-based chicken dish that’s popular with just about everyone. But Pittsburgh is home to a signiﬁcant South Asian community, and there are many other delicious Indian foods to try. That includes Indian street foods, which people can eat on the go. Most Indian street foods fall under the chaat category of South Asian cuisine. Chaat is a family of savory snack foods that originated in India and has since expanded to Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Most chaat are made to be eaten with one’s hands, as the word derives from the Hindi words for delicacy and licking one’s ﬁngers while eating. Luckily for Pittsburghers, especially those in the North Hills, Cranberry has a very ﬁne establishment that excels in chaat and other Indian street foods: Rajbhog Indian Market & Cafe. CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
RAJBHOG INDIAN MARKET & CAFE 20111 Route 19, Suite 302C, Cranberry. rajbhogpittsburgh.com
Rajbhog, which opened in 2018, is located in a strip mall that shares space with JOANN Fabrics and Cranberry Cinemas. The location is ﬁlled with a sleek, well-lit market containing specialty spices, fresh vegetables, Indian yogurt, paneer cheese, rice, and Indian snack foods like masala-spiced potato chips. The market alone warrants a visit, but Rajbhog also has a charming cafe offering a large menu with a wide array of curries and tandoor chicken combos. But the street food is the star of Rajbhog’s menu. The cafe has a large variety of chaat dishes — like bhel puri (puffed rice with onions, potatoes, coriander, and chutney) and dahi bhalla (lentil dumplings dipped in whipped yogurt) — as well as samosas, dabeli (spicy potatoes inside a buttery bread roll), and something Rajbhog calls a “Bombay Sandwich.”
The Bombay Sandwich at Rajbhog Indian Market & Cafe
I tried the Bombay Sandwich and it was satisfying in a way I didn’t expect. It’s basically a panini made with white bread and loaded with a perfect combination of Indian (and vegetarian) ingredients. A soft layer of spiced potatoes rests on the bottom and is topped with red onion, cucumber, tomato, and chutney. A middle layer of bread soaks up any extra moisture from the potatoes or chutney, keeping the outside of the sandwich crispy. A thin layer of paneer cheese melts just a bit and adds a nice richness, creating a ﬁlling, yet fresh sandwich that’s perfect for lunch on the go. I also sampled the chicken and lamb samosas. They were delightfully crispy and packed with ﬂavorful meat. I would suggest being liberal with the coriander and tamarind chutneys that come with the samosas, as they provide some much needed moisture. Rajbhog also offers kathi rolls, also called kati rolls, a Bengali dish that usually involves a skewer-roasted kebab wrapped in a paratha ﬂatbread. There are
10 different kathi roll options, ranging from lamb, chicken, paneer, and even an egg version. Most are ﬁlled with yogurt, garlic, onions, and spices to provide a rainbow of ﬂavors. If none of those options persuade you, Rajbhog has excellent Indian pizzas, combining one of America’s favorite foods with Indian ingredients like chicken tikka masala, paneer tikka masala, and
THE CAFE HAS A LARGE VARIETY OF CHAAT DISHES — LIKE BHEL PURI AND DAHI BHALLA — AS WELL AS SAMOSAS, DABELI, AND SOMETHING RAJBHOG CALLS A “BOMBAY SANDWICH.”
Follow managing editor Ryan Deto on Twitter @RyanDeto
pav bhaji, a mashed and spiced vegetable curry served as a thick gravy. Rajbhog even has the Indian version of Coca-Cola called Thumbs Up — similar to the American version, but a bit less sweet — to wash everything down. In the end, everything at Rajbhog is tailor-made for a lunch crowd looking to skip the fast food drive-thrus and explore the fast foods of South Asia.
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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
BACK AND FORTH BY TIA BAILEY // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
HEN BETH CORNING saw heated
Facebook discussions on topics like gender, race, identity, and religion prior to the 2020 presidential election, she found herself wanting to comment back to people she disagreed with, but her daughter advised her not to. Now, almost two years in the making, the choreographer, dancer, and founder of Corningworks dance company has instead used the social media comments as inspiration for a twowoman theatrical dance performance. Corningworks’ the other shoe, performed by Corning and actor/director/ playwright Kay Cummings, will be held from Wed., Oct. 20-Sun., Oct. 24 at The New Hazlett Theater in the North Side. “Kay and I decided to write to each other stuff that we would not put on Facebook,” Corning says. “Every two weeks, we would sort of talk to each other, and we would send each other things. One thing would lead to another and it grew out of these, this back and forth.” Corning says it was originally a work that was going to open four weeks before the November election. “A colleague of mine and I had been thinking it would be kind of an interesting work to do for two women of a certain age to make a production representing that demographic about how we felt about the country at that moment in time.” The show will be under Corning’s ongoing project The Glue Factory, where all the performances feature works from artists ages 45 and up. Corning started this when she was 40 and realized that she wanted to work with more people her age. “Glue used to be made from the hooves of retired race horses, so when the horses would be ‘retired,’ their hooves would be turned into glue,” she says. “And so many years ago, a friend of mine — we weren’t 40 yet — said something about, working with [choreographer Mikhail] Baryshnikov and all these people was like a glue factory, and I went ‘Oh my god, can I have that title?’” Once the script for the other shoe was written, it was time for the dance portion to be written as well. But the choreographers of the show — Donald Byrd, Martha Clarke, PHOTO: FRANK WALSH
Corningworks’ the other shoe
“TO ME, IT’S ABOUT BEING LIVE, IT’S ABOUT SHARING A VISCERAL MOMENT ... YOU COME IN AND YOU’RE BEING PROVOKED. YOU’RE BEING ASKED TO THINK, YOU’RE BEING ASKED TO FEEL, AND YOU CAN’T DENY.” Li Chaio-Ping, and Max Stone — were only told the title of the show, without seeing the script, and went from there. “Kay and I certainly know a lot of impressive choreographers and artists, and we really sort of decided who we thought would be an interesting representation, with different voices,” Corning says. “Women, men, cis, and otherwise, and different ethinicities and different philosophies. We didn’t want to tell them too much because the idea was we wanted them to sort of ﬁgure out what the other shoe was for them.” The choreographers “responded from their own perspective, their own place in the world, their own physical language — offering a coterie of diverse voices, representing different genders, races, and life experiences,” according to the event’s webpage.
THE OTHER SHOE. Wed., Oct. 20-Sun., Oct. 24. The New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $30-35. corningworks.org
Something interesting about the artists working separately, according to Corning, is how some of the moves they came up with were similar to each other’s. “The kind of work that these choreographers make and I make really tend to
use their own language,” Corning says. “So it’s not like a jazz movement, like step ball change step ball change and you do that. But interesting enough, there are sort of these gestures that are so human, which makes the links really interesting.” Because of this, she says the solos match up well, even though it was not intentional. “It’s interesting to now keep working these solos and trying to make certain that I keep it compartmentalized,” Corning says. “I don’t lead one sentiment into the next, even though, without these guys knowing, they did on their own.” The process of performing others’ work isn’t foreign to the dancer, but she more so wants to make sure that she does the choreographers’ ideas justice. “As a choreographer, you know there’s so much vulnerability asking other people to do your work,” she says. “Everybody forgets their own vulnerabilities.” Looking ahead to the performance, Cornings is excited to be in front of a live audience again. “To me, it’s about being live, it’s about sharing a visceral moment,” Corning says. “You come in and you’re being provoked. You’re being asked to think, you’re being asked to feel, and you can’t deny. And there’s a vulnerability to performing live for both the artists and the audience. And I think that’s what I’m most looking forward to, moving into a new chapter in my life.”
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
SEVEN DAYS IN PITTSBURGH
IN REAL LIFE EVENT
MIX OF IN REAL LIFE AND ONLINE EVENT
STREAMING OR ONLINEONLY EVENT
PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM / ESTATE OF MARISOL
^ Marisol’s 1963 “Dinner Date”
THU., OCT. 14 ART • IRL Explore the works of Marisol, an artist whose contributions to the American Pop movement have largely been written out of history in favor of a white maledominated narrative, in Marisol and Warhol Take New York at The Andy Warhol Museum. Situating her work alongside one of the most famous pop artists, the exhibit examines Marisol’s role in New York’s gallery scene and her investigations of the female experience in an attempt to write her back into the era of 1960s art. Continues through February 2022. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. Reserved tickets required. warhol.org
FRI., OCT. 15 FILM • IRL If you like rock ’n’ roll and the history
behind it, head to The Harris for a documentary on one of America’s best rock bands of the ’60s. The Velvet Underground, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes, showcases just how the group became a cultural heavy-weight for so many music lovers. Featuring interviews with “key players” of the time including Lou Reed, never-before-seen performances, and even Warhol films, this documentary is a must-see. 5:30 and 8 p.m. Continues through Thu., Oct. 21. 809 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $11. trustarts.org
STAGE • IRL Enjoy a theater performance that challenges what you know of the genre. Live from the Edge at City Theatre brings a show that tracks the evolution of language from childhood rhymes to poetry and theater. Created by UNIVERSES, a national theater company of color dedicated to “creation, development, production, touring, community engagement, and educational dissemination,”
the show will entertain with hip-hop, gospel, Latin jazz, and blues performances. 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 31. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $20-65. citytheatre.culturaldistrict.org
SAT., OCT. 16 MUSIC • IRL For a long time, rock was thought of as a boy’s game. Though there have always been women acts since the beginning of rock ’n’ roll, they haven’t always gotten the credit they deserve. Concerts like Women Who Rock have set out to dispel those myths, while rocking for a good cause. This year’s event at Stage AE, featuring DJ Femi, The Vindys, Michele Michaels, Sheila E., Rita Wilson, Orianthi, and Lauren Monroe, will knock your socks off while raising money for Magee-Womens Research Institute. 6 p.m. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $50-250. womenwhorock.info
FEST • IRL Be on the lookout for superheroes and cosplay among the chain stores and restaurants this weekend as 3 Rivers Comic Lite heads outdoors to The Waterfront. Comics fans will join writers, artists, and a wide range of vendors for photo ops and lots of outside-the-box shopping opportunities including jewelry, paintings, embroidery, toys, and tons of comic books. 10 a.m. Continues on Sun. Oct. 17. E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead. $5 for early bird, free after 12 p.m. 3riverscomicon.com
FEST • IRL Whether it’s the pumpkin in the town square of Halloweentown or the Great Pumpkin in the Charlie Brown classic, enormous gourds are a staple of the season. For those who want more than seeing them on TV and laptop screens, the Monster Pumpkin Festival hosted by Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Truck Pittsburgh is the perfect opportunity to see similarly colossal
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^ Charles Yu
gourds in real life. The festival will feature Atlantic Giants, the largest variety of pumpkin in the world, with record weights over 2,500 pounds. 10 a.m. Continues on Sun., Oct. 17. 2865 Railroad St., Strip District. Free. tinyurl.com/pghpumpkin
SUN., OCT. 17 MUSIC • HYBRID Mary Lou Williams was a blues legend whose music “transcends time in American culture.” As a Black woman of the genre, her voice was crucial in forming what we think of as the blues sound today. A Williams’ scholar, Deanna Witkowski, has composed a biography of Williams’ life — Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul — for lovers of blues and those who are new to the genre. This evening, Alphabet City @ City of Asylum will feature Witkowski performing songs in-person from Williams’ compositions, with a virtual performance available for streaming. 6-7:30 p.m. 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free with registration. alphabetcity.org
MON., OCT. 18 LIT • VIRTUAL Join TV writer, fiction and nonfiction writer, and now novelist Charles Yu for a discussion of his 2020 novel Interior Chinatown in Ten Evenings, hosted by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Interior Chinatown explores race, pop culture, immigration, and assimilation through the media stereotypes male Asian actors are often boxed into: the “Disgraced Son,” the
“Background Oriental Making a Weird Face,” or even the supposedly top-shelf “Kung Fu Guy.” The book won the 2020 National Book Award, and Yu also received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award. 7:30 p.m., available for online viewing for a week. $10-15. pittsburghlectures.org
TUE., OCT. 19 OUTDOORS • IRL Admire Pittsburgh all lit up while biking along the riverwalk with Peak Experience: Pittsburgh Riverfront Evening Photo Ride. The 10-mile ride will allow riders to stop and capture the city’s beauty after the sun sets. With the moon reflecting off the rivers, it’s sure to be a sight to see. 6:30-8:30 p.m. North Shore Drive, North Side. $15-18. tinyurl.com/venturepeak
WED., OCT. 20 STAGE • IRL The curtains at O’Reilly Theater are opening for the first time since 2020 for a Pittsburgh Public Theater performance. First premiered in 2003, and continuously revived by the theater for many years since, Rob Zellers and Gene Collier’s The Chief follows Steelers’ founder Art Rooney from his early life onward for a play the PPT boasts “theater lovers, football fans, and history buffs will all but rejoice” in. This year’s rendition is directed by Kyle Haden and stars John Noble. 8 p.m. Continues through Sun. Nov. 7. $40-85. 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. www.ppt.org PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
PHOTO: MIKE CANTON
SOULSHOWMIKE’S ALBUM PICKS Nigel Hall’s Spiritual BY MIKE CANTON // CPCONTRIBUTORS@PGHCITYPAPER.COM
IGEL HALL, longtime member of
jam band Lettuce, is also well known as a founding member of The Nth Power and as a solo artist. His latest project, Spiritual, follows a period of introspection and escape from substance abuse. It is clearly cathartic, and is without a doubt a contender for my favorite album of 2021. Yes, there are months remaining in the year, but sometimes you just KNOW.
Why haven’t you heard much of Spiritual on The Soul Show? Well, terrestrial radio still follows FCC regulations for acceptable language, and there’s plenty of cussing. I caught up with Hall at the Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival early this month, and he said the language was necessary. I get it. It helps to convey the deﬁance, anguish, conquest, and even exuberance that he expresses about his ordeals. If I had to pick an artist to carry soul music’s legacy forward, Nigel would probably be the one. There’s lavish instrumentation — I love the ﬂute! “People In Search Of A Life” is Stevie Wonder-esque. “Change Directions” is edgy funk, with consciousness to match the mood. “The Sun” is an extension of the Roy Ayers school of solar idolatry. “Caribou” is homage to Earth, Wind & Fire — hold that thought for another day … There’s more. This month, Soulshowmike’s Album Picks ventures into podcast territory. Enjoy segments of my recent Nigel Hall interview online this week at pghcitypaper.com.
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 three markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.
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IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-21-11988, In re petition of Mellissa Lee Pearson parents and legal guardian of Olivia Rose Brown for change of name to Olivia Rose Pearson. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 10th day of November 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-21-11166 In re petition of Cynthia Jean Edmond for change of name to Abiyah Tabitha Baht Israel. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 16th day of November, 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-21-10830 In re petition of Victoria Maria Zanotelli for change of name to Victoria Maria Angiolini. 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 November, 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-21-009709 In re petition of Jason Michael Damon for change of name to Michael Jason Martin. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 25th 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 Melissa C. Lewis Attorney for Petitioner. Address: 3810 South Water St. Pittsburgh, PA 15203 Phone (412) 281-9906
IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-21-008876 In re petition of Barbara Higginbotham for change of name to Nubia Menen Njeri. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 27th 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-21-010779 In re petition of Ashlee Lynn Hagan for change of name to Ashlee Lynn Murray. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 15th day of November, 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-21-011411 and No. GD-21-011410. In re petition of Riley Cole Stensland and Kira Jewelene Hovanec for change of name to Riley Cole Moon and Kira Jewlene Moon. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the ﬁling of said petition and ﬁxed the 10th day of November, 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-21-10696 In re petition of Gina Maria Menold for change of name to Regina Marie Badger. 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 November, 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
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER OCTOBER 13-20, 2021
Pittsburgh's arts and entertainment newsweekly featuring a cover story on a fight over the future of an Oakland development plan, a review o...
Published on Oct 12, 2021
Pittsburgh's arts and entertainment newsweekly featuring a cover story on a fight over the future of an Oakland development plan, a review o...