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DEC. 2-9, 2020 VOLUME 29 + ISSUE 49 Editor-In-Chief LISA CUNNINGHAM Director of Advertising JASMINE HUGHES Director of Operations KEVIN SHEPHERD News Editor RYAN DETO Senior Writer AMANDA WALTZ Staff Writers HANNAH LYNN, JORDAN SNOWDEN Photographer/Videographer JARED WICKERHAM Editorial Designer ABBIE ADAMS Graphic Designers JOSIE NORTON, JEFF SCHRECKENGOST Senior Account Executive KAITLIN OLIVER Sales Representative ZACK DURKIN Operations Coordinator MAGGIE WEAVER Circulation Manager JEFF ENGBARTH Featured Contributors REGE BEHE, LYNN CULLEN, TERENEH IDIA, CHARLES ROSENBLUM Interns NARDOS HAILE, LAKE LEWIS, KYLIE THOMAS National Advertising Representative VMG ADVERTISING 1.888.278.9866 OR 1.212.475.2529 Publisher EAGLE MEDIA CORP. In memory of ALEX GORDON 1987-2020

FIRSTSHOT BY LISA CUNNINGHAM

Patrons shop from a chalet at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh on Mon., Nov. 30.

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CP PHOTOS: LAKE LEWIS

POST-ELECTION

Monica Ruiz, executive director of Casa San Jose

GUARDED OPTIMISM

Pittsburgh’s Latino immigrant community reacts to Biden’s win with optimism, realism BY JULIA MARUCA // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

J

OE BIDEN’S VICTORY IN THE 2020 presidential election, which saw

many people in Pittsburgh take to the streets in celebration, comes as somewhat of a relief for immigration reform advocates after four years of the Trump administration. Since his election in 2016, Donald Trump’s explicitly anti-immigration policies, such as the so-called “Muslim ban,” cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and family separation mandates at the border, have been at the forefront of many activists’ and allies’ concerns. In campaign materials, Biden has promised to “take urgent action” to undo Trump policies and “modernize” the country’s immigration system, reestablishing DACA and ending the National Emergency paying for the construction of a border wall. On Nov. 23, Biden nominated Alejandro Mayorkas to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration. This was celebrated by immigration advocates, as Mayorkas is the chief author of DACA. At the same time, in the immigrant community itself, many are hyperaware of the limits of Biden’s victory.

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“There really is a sense of relief — I don’t believe that this new administration is going to behave in the same fashion as the one that is leaving. But I also don’t believe this is the savior. It’s not going to solve all of the problems,” says Monica Ruiz, executive director of Pittsburgh-based Latinx immigrant-rights advocate organization Casa San Jose. The group works with the immigrant and undocumented community, particularly Latinos, and provides aid and legal assistance for those in need. “We cannot forget that the criminalization of border crossings came out of the Obama administration,” she says. “Do I think that these four years will be better than the last four? Yes. Do I think that they are the solution to everything? No. If you think about all the damage that has been done, even in just the last four years, it’s going to take many, many years to undo that damage.” Many concerns and problems around the nation’s current immigration process are systemic, and go beyond immediate fixes, though Biden has promised to change some of the least popular policies instituted by Trump, like stopping family separations and reinstating DACA, in his first 100 days.


Monica Ruiz organizes a coat drive for Casa San Jose.

“If you really want to make some change, and make it so that the 12 million undocumented people in this country can not only live here but thrive here, it’s going to take a lot more than anything Joe Biden is going to do,” says Ruiz, pointing to the easy-to-change nature of executive orders as a problem. “We need federal immigration laws, and the way that things are right now, I don’t think that that’s going to happen. Because if you continue to have executive orders, just like the last president did before that, you know those things can be done and undone.” Pennsylvania’s history of ICE raids weighs heavy on the community. In 2019, despite the relatively small numbers of undocumented people making up the population of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, the state ranked highest in percentage of ICE arrests per undocumented immigrants, according to a Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) study. R u i z s a i d t h at a r r e s t s h ave decreased in the Pittsburgh area since

the advent of COVID-19, but the danger is still there, along with new problems brought on by the pandemic. “It had to take a global pandemic for people to not have to live in fear,” Ruiz says, but she stresses that’s just one more thing they’re now worried about in addition to getting deported.

haven’t been working, and it’s been ten months — they’re out of food, they’re out of money, they’re out of everything,” Ruiz says. “Casa has been able to step up to the plate and provide as much as we can to these families because we know that these people didn’t qualify for unemployment and were deliberately

“DO I THINK THAT THESE FOUR YEARS WILL BE BETTER THAN THE LAST FOUR? YES. DO I THINK THAT THEY ARE THE SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING? NO.” For many immigrants with whom Casa San Jose works, both documented and undocumented, the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with concerns about retaliation and potential increases in ICE raids between now and Biden’s inauguration, have stood in the way of immediate relief. “A lot of our community members

left out of the stimulus package. It’s put people 20 steps behind.” Casa San Jose was able to give families a one-time payment of around $700 earlier in 2020, and volunteers were also able to distribute food and encourage participation in the Census. “It was beautiful to see a community coming together and supporting one

another, especially when nobody had anything,” Ruiz says. At the same time, the funding wasn’t enough to fully support families, who are still struggling to pay rent without steady money coming in. For the moment, Casa San Jose is focusing on educating and preparing people for the worst and best case scenarios, holding “Know Your Rights” training sessions to teach community members what to do if ICE comes to their door, and helping people be ready in case programs like DACA are reinstated. “We have some people who have already spoken to lawyers, and we are making sure people know, based on what DACA was, if it’s reinstated the same way. ‘Do I qualify or do I not?’” says Ruiz. “We’ve been having legal clinics that are not just with immigration lawyers, too, some that cover family courts, for instance — if you were married in another country, explaining how you can get a divorce. If something happens, they’re ready to go. They’ve just been waiting so long that any sense of protection would be great for them.”

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

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CP PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ABBIE ADAMS CP PHOTO SOURCE: LISA CUNNINGHAM

.NEWS.

CONDUCT VS. CONTENT

Alexis Johnson’s lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette could set precedent for media being immune against race-based discrimination BY RYAN DETO // RYANDETO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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CCORDING TO HER lawsuit, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist Alexis Johnson met with then-managing editor Karen Kane the morning after Johnson posted a tweet comparing the mess typically made outside of Kenny Chesney concerts in Pittsburgh with the property damage that occurred following a protest in honor of George Floyd. Johnson, who is Black, was then barred by Kane and management from covering the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. (According to court filings, Johnson says this was an on-going ban, while Post-Gazette claims this was just for one day after management rejected Johnson’s pitches.) Shortly after that meeting, Kane lamented that she could not “do anything to Black people! I have to pick better targets,” according to Johnson’s lawsuit. The lawyers representing the Post-Gazette dispute Johnson’s claim as “pure fabrication.” According to the Post-Gazette’s Motion to Dismiss, the Post-Gazette claims that Johnson faced no workplace punishment besides being prohibited from covering topics that she has provided public commentary on. This disagreement is just one of many between the Post-Gazette and Johnson, who filed a suit against the paper in June, alleging it violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by retaliating against someone who opposes or protests race discrimination. The crux of the Post-Gazette’s defense in the lawsuit is that the First Amendment protects the paper from Johnson’s discrimination claim, and that the paper was making editorial decisions. CONTINUES ON PG. 8

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CONDUCT VS. CONTENT, CONTINUED FROM PG. 6

CP PHOTO: JULIA MARUCA

Alexis Johnson speaks to reporters at a Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh press conference in June 2020.

This is rare legal territory, says University of Pittsburgh law professor and constitutional scholar Jerry Dickinson. “On the Motion to Dismiss, [there is] nothing rare about this,” says Dickinson, referencing the Post-Gazette’s attempt to get Johnson’s lawsuit thrown out. “What is unique and rare is a claim that the First Amendment can trump anti-discrimination law.” Post-Gazette spokesperson Allison Latcheran says the paper has no “further comment beyond that which appears in our legal briefs filed with the court” and can’t comment since “this is a matter of pending litigation.” However, a ruling in this case could set a significant legal precedent. It comes down to what is an editorial-content decision and what is a workplaceconduct decision. The Post-Gazette is arguing that its decision to keep Johnson from protest coverage was a content decision and thus is protected, while Johnson is arguing the paper’s decision was a workplace-conduct decision and thus is a violation. If a jury sides with the Post-Gazette, Dickinson says it opens the door to allow newspapers and media companies to ignore or circumvent the Civil Rights Act. Sam Cordes, Johnson’s lawyer,

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believes that could become precedent too. He thinks the P-G’s defense is “pretty outrageous.” “What [the Post-Gazette] is essentially saying is ‘we cannot be challenged on this because that is part of the editorial function,’” says Cordes. “But that is absolutely antithetical to the civil rights law and the First Amendment.” During the meeting between Johnson, Kane, and other P-G management, Johnson pitched “stories about protesters who had been improperly jailed for 72 hours; social media protester bail fund raisers; and other social media campaigns designed to help businesses that sustained damage from demonstrations,” according to court filings. According to the Post-Gazette’s court filing, Kane said Johnson “could not be assigned to protest coverage that day because of the general understanding that reporters should not cover events about which they had publicly expressed opinions.” This was because of Johnson’s tweet. Lawyers for the Post-Gazette said they could not comment on the case beyond providing the paper’s legal reply to Johnson’s Response to the Motion to Dismiss. Johnson’s court filing calls this decision a “reassignment” and one that never

should have happened because Cordes says the tweet in question is a race discrimination complaint and it is legally protected. In Johnson’s response to the Post-Gazette’s request to dismiss her lawsuit, she argues that the Post-Gazette’s decision to reassign her was race-based, and the paper’s defense is attempting to claim that the “First Amendment allows it to make race-based employment decisions with legal impunity.” The meeting between Kane and Johnson occurred on June 1. Johnson did eventually write two stories relating to the Black Lives Matter protest movement; one on July 29 and another on July 30, more than a month after Johnson had filed her civil lawsuit against the Post-Gazette in mid-June. Johnson left the P-G in October and has since landed a job at Vice News. Kane was taken off her role as managing editor in September, and now works as Deputy Editorial Director. In its response, the Post-Gazette denies the assertions that Johnson was reassigned and that the paper is attempting to use the First Amendment to seek immunity from anti-discrimination laws. The paper argues that it merely rejected Johnson’s three protest-related pitches after saying Johnson’s tweet violated its

editorial standards of not having journalists comment on topics they are covering or wish to cover. However, the paper did try to dismiss Johnson’s lawsuit on Oct. 16 “because the First Amendment bars liability for the Post-Gazette’s exercise of editorial judgment.” This is where the waters get murky on what is a decision about editorial content and what is a workplace decision. Dickinson says the main question of the case is “whether it’s right or wrong to remove [Johnson] off the beat because of her comments.” Cordes, who has an extensive history with workplace discrimination cases in Western Pennsylvania, believes the Post-Gazette is trying to conflate speech with conduct. Kane’s rejection of story pitches is clearly a content decision. But removing her from coverage after a tweet is a workplace conduct decision, says Cordes. “When I make a decision to do something, like hire or not hire, or assign or not assign, it is conduct and not speech,” says Cordes. “That is where the balance is struck. Unless you can show that your conduct is related to speech, then you can’t do it. And you do it in violation.” Dickinson says the inclusion of the First Amendment in the Post-Gazette’s


defense is a serious charge. “You can’t have it one way and not the other,” says Dickinson. “Litigants can’t open the door to a constitutional protection that is so open to them, but close to the door on statutes and pieces of legislation that may harm your case.” Though this argument is rare, it’s not totally unheard of. Dickinson points to Hausch v. Donrey of Nevada in 1993. In that case, Mary Hausch, a managing editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was passed over for a promotion to editor in favor of a male outside hire, then she was given a new position, and a male replaced her as managing editor, with a higher salary. Hausch filed a complaint that the Review-Journal discriminated against her based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Review-Journal argued that applying the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would violate their First Amendment rights and claim that hiring decisions and the paper’s choice of leadership is under the publisher’s “editorial discretion.” The U.S. District Court in Nevada failed to see how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “directly or indirectly infringe on Defendant’s First Amendment rights”

“YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ONE WAY AND NOT THE OTHER. LITIGANTS CAN’T OPEN THE DOOR TO A CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION THAT IS SO OPEN TO THEM, BUT CLOSE TO THE DOOR ON STATUTES AND PIECES OF LEGISLATION THAT MAY HARM YOUR CASE.” and found that the application of the civil rights law was content-neutral. Concerning the Post-Gazette lawsuit, Cordes also takes issue with the paper’s assertion that its decision to reject Johnson was merely over her opining on social media. He says it’s not consistent across all reporters at the paper, and uses that as an argument that the paper

was targeting Johnson. “Sports reporters tweet that they are in favor of the Steelers, and they are allowed to cover the team,” says Cordes. Furthermore, court filings claim that Post-Gazette management didn’t reassign white reporters who had commented on stories they were covering. The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh

union pointed out this summer that many reporters who commented on social media about the tragedy of the Tree of Life shooting were never removed from covering stories related to the Tree of Life. This, combined with Kane’s alleged lament about dealing with Black people and her action in taking Johnson off of protest coverage, is Johnson’s main case for why the lawsuit should not be dismissed. And, according to court filings, Johnson believes that allowing the suit to move forward will reveal more instances to prove her complaint. Dickinson says that he interprets the Constitution through the lens of a liberal, progressive viewpoint, and doesn’t believe the First Amendment should be used to immunize from civil rights law. But, he isn’t making any predictions for how this case will turn out. The case is currently being argued in front of Judge Nicholas Ranjan, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2018, to the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania. “Maybe this opens up an interesting ruling,” says Dickinson. “This case is being heard by a Trump appointee, so we will see how that goes.”

Follow news editor Ryan Deto on Twitter @RyanDeto

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CP PHOTO: LAKE LEWIS

Nikkia Ingram, founder and executive director of Cultivating Resilient Youth

.BLACK-LED COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

RAISING RESILIENCY

How Cultivating Resilient Youth is building up Black teens in the face of systemic forces and pandemic restrictions BY NARDOS HAILE // INFO@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

S

INCE THE BEGINNING of the pan-

demic, Nikkia Ingram has been on call 24 hours a day, but she doesn’t mind. Ingram is the founder and executive director of Cultivating Resilient Youth, and she receives calls all through the day and night from the girls in her organization. Ingram is also a security guard for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and during her everyday interactions with students at work, she felt as if there was a lack of mentorship to prepare them for college, look for jobs, or just simply guide and advise the students. With the suggestions of a few local high school administrators, she created her nonprofit as a way to help. Cultivating Resilient Youth focuses

on serving teenagers by helping them find jobs and fill out applications, as well as providing mentorship programs, mediation, and college trips. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower, uplift, and educate young adults and girls into becoming successful members of the community by building a pathway to a post-secondary education or out into the workforce. Ingram chose the name Cultivating Resilient Youth because “most young people, even though they get a bad rap, they’re very resilient with all that they deal with in the world today, and I wanted [the name] to reflect that.” This year has been especially difficult for Cultivating Resilient Youth because the pandemic has limited the groups

most effective tool: person-to-person mentoring. This has made the struggle to uplift Black teens, especially girls, harder in a region that is disproportionately harmful to young Black people. But Ingram is determined, and she isn’t letting the pandemic or the systemic forces holding down Black youth from slowing her down. The priority for Ingram, specifically when mentioning Black girls, is to give them the tools and platform to use their voices that she says so many are trying to silence. “[Black girls] are always judged and told to be quiet, not to be so loud, not to be so assertive. The school-to-prison pipeline is huge with Black girls. They’re very misrepresented and

misunderstood,” Ingram says. According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, Black girls in Pittsburgh Public Schools are three times more likely to be suspended from school compared to their white female counterparts. Higher rates of suspension and disciplinary notices can often lead to interactions with the justice system. White counterparts who participate in the same behaviors are not penalized or criminalized for their actions at the same rates. “A lot of times, instead of people sitting down and talking, teaching them how to communicate, giving them the verbal tools, they are just persecuted for the things they do,” Ingram says. It’s important as mentors to Black CONTINUES ON PG. 12

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girls, Ingram emphasizes, that they build up their self-esteem and then allow teens the room for self-expression without judgement or hostility. But since the start of the pandemic, Cultivating Resilient Youth has had to adapt, a lot. The group is focused on person-to-person mentorship, and the pandemic has thrown a wrench in that strategy. “We still meet via Zoom, which is still hard to have all the girls participate,” says Ingram. “Girls have picked up more hours at work, they’re helping taking care of siblings, taking care of the household, so it’s hard to get a consistent participation or it’s sporadic.” And recruiting new students has become challenging too, since the organization is no longer in high school on a weekly basis. Without being in school, it’s harder to observe which freshmen students need assistance. “That’s been very hard because they are stuck where they are. That’s been very difficult for my girls because when we come together, that’s their space to be exactly who they are, say what they want, feel what they want, express

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what they want,” Ingram says. “Even on Zoom, it’s not quite the same feeling because you’re in a space where maybe something you need to say about the people that are around you, and you’re unable to do that.” The lack of a safe space for students during the pandemic has encouraged Ingram to begin plans to open a transition home. During precarious times like these, Ingram hopes students and young adults can have a secure and neutral place where they can escape from familial and academic stress. Ingram reiterates that Cultivating Resilient Youth will continue to invest, uplift, and mentor young adults and, specifically, young girls, despite the current obstacles she is facing. “The biggest thing is that in Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, and the world, is we have to learn how to invest in girls more and invest in organizations who are helping girls because if you have a healthy girl, she leads to a healthy mother and a healthy wife and a healthy CEO,” says Ingram. “You know, girls make the world go around, if they’re healthy, in turn society will be healthy.”


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SERVICE industry workers, and venue owners gathered outside Spirit in Lawrenceville last week to plead for relief from the state legislature during the ongoing struggle of the pandemic. Hundreds of restaurants have closed permanently in Pennsylvania this year, and hundreds of thousands of service workers are out of jobs. On Nov. 19, the Republican-led Pennsylvania general assembly decided to move forward with a budget plan to use the remaining $1.3 billion of the state’s relief aid, which could have been used to relieve the beleaguered service industry, to make up for gaps in the state budget. That budget was recently signed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York). The press conference on Nov. 25 was organized by state Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Lawrenceville), who admonished some of her colleagues for their failure to provide aid to struggling businesses and families. State Rep. Austin Davis (D-McKeesport) and incoming state Rep. Emily Kinkead (D-North Side) also showed support. “The majority party of the Pennsylvania general assembly passed a politically expedient and compassionless budget, one balanced by raiding and redirecting Pennsylvania’s remaining $1.3 billion of the pandemic relief fund,” said Innamorato. “We know this $1.3 billion wasn’t the panacea. It wasn’t solving all of our woes, but it was something to help people right now in the short term.” The event featured several speakers from the industry, including Tom Barr, owner of Spirit, who said that the venue and restaurant has been able to scrape together enough money to get through the next couple months, but that he doesn’t know if they’ll be able to continue after it runs out. Liz Berlin, owner of Mr. Smalls Theatre, laid bare the struggles she and her husband have gone through in keeping the beloved Millvale venue afloat. She noted that they were used to having over 1,000 patrons a day and hundreds of events a year, and now they’re down to a handful of patrons visiting their coffee shop, and no events. “Meanwhile the bills don’t stop. OLITICIANS,

CP PHOTO: HANNAH LYNN

Rep. Sara Innamorato speaks on behalf of service industry workers.

The gas, electric, insurance all still need to be paid,” said Berlin. “You would not believe how much it costs to insure an empty building.” Berlin also said that small and midlevel venues are especially endangered, citing the recent closures of Brillobox in Bloomfield, Hambone’s in Lawrenceville, and The Rex Theater in the South Side. “Small and mid-level venues like those and like Spirit are important stepping stones for tomorrow’s great artist,” said Berlin. “Mac Miller played a bar mitzvah at Mr. Smalls when he was a high school kid.” There have been attempts throughout the pandemic to provide assistance to restaurants and venues, like the PPP Loan Program, which most businesses burned through months ago. Unemployment benefits tied to the pandemic are set to expire at the end of December. In September, the National Independent Venues Association estimated that 90% of its members would close their business by October. In September, the National Restaurant Association estimated that 100,000 restaurants have closed throughout the country due to the pandemic, and the lack of relief. Several restaurant and venue workers spoke about how they felt abandoned

by the government, and that they were angry the government was telling people to stay home for the holidays while restaurants remain open for indoor dining. Jamie Fadden Cannon, a freelance lighting director, mentioned that those who work behind the scenes of events have real jobs, not what some people refer to as a “hobby.” She also made a direct appeal to politicians by noting that people in her field also provide lighting, sound, and other services for their rallies. “If we don’t get relief soon, this could potentially flat-line the industry as we know it,” said Fadden Cannon. The press conference wrapped up with Kacy McGill, co-founder of the Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid group, which formed at the beginning of the pandemic to provide financial help, meals, diapers, and other assistance to restaurant workers struggling to get by. They say the operation began on their front porch and now has two distribution centers. “Right now, we feel like we’ve been left to ourselves,” said McGill. “We need political courage from our elected officials, because right now, we feel like we have two options — stay home and die, or go to work, and die.”


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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

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.RESTAURANT REVIEW.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: MEDITERRA CAFÉ IN MT. LEBANON BY MAGGIE WEAVER MWEAVER@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

CP PHOTO: MAGGIE WEAVER

I

N MID-AUGUST, Fairlane in Mt.

Lebanon became another restaurant casualty of the pandemic. But soon after the modern American restaurant officially closed its doors, the Beverly Road space pulled in a new tenant: Mediterra Café. The Mt. Lebanon location is the second for Mediterra Café, which first opened its Sewickley spot two years ago. Both are extensions of the family-owned Mediterra Bakehouse, a bakery known for artisan breads, now a popular staple at many city markets and restaurants. The cafe’s new expansion echoes the setup of the first location, only bigger. Both boast a well-stocked artisan market full of imported and specialty goods. What used to be a bottleshop annex at Fairlane is now filled with cheese, prepared food, and pastries. If you’ve been to the Sewickley cafe, more seating should be an exciting change; it’s not an easy task to snag a table inside the tight dining area. But in addition to more seating, the Mt. Lebanon

spot also has a liquor license. Along with a smattering of canned, local beer in their market space, the cafe sports a full bar with cocktails, wine, and more. Mediterra’s new cafe seating area may be bigger, but the cafe wasn’t any less packed when I went on a Sunday afternoon. My dining partner and I grabbed a spot in the outdoor dining area, but it didn’t make my experience any less uncomfortable. While waiting in line to order, other diners crowded the market space and disregarded the precautionary six feet of social distancing. Crowds of mostly-masked people waited at the bar for drinks while servers fought to push through. An employee eventually went out to do crowd control, but it felt like too little too late. The food is similar to that of the Sewickley menu, though the new location is open later. There’s a mix of breakfast offerings, lunch, and dinner eats; a wide range of desserts and morning pastries; an entirely separate menu for

toast; and, coming soon, a list of tapas for the cocktail menu. On my first visit to the Sewickley cafe in 2019, I tried — and did not enjoy — the Mediterra Café breakfast sandwich. But I was happy to see some changes made to the item, which made me want to re-order.

MEDITERRA CAFÉ 292 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon. mediterracafe.com

This time, brioche was swapped for a homemade English muffin, which arrived appropriately toasty with a light, bubbly texture. Zhoug, a fresh cilantro and garlic, pesto-like sauce, replaced the sour-tasting red pepper spread. Paired with peppery arugula, aged cheddar, eggs, and added bacon, these two changes made a once-forgotten and disliked sandwich into something I wanted to eat again. There was no way the cafe could

Follow staff writer Maggie Weaver on Twitter @magweav

18

PGHCITYPAPER.COM

go wrong by placing smoked salmon on their bakery-made pumpernickel. Matched with labne (a dairy product with a texture somewhere between cream cheese and Greek yogurt), cucumber, trout roe, and dill, the smoked salmon tartine was bright and filled with crisp flavors, though at times the roe was a bit too fishy for my taste. A pimento cheese toastie, which capped my brunch spread, was simple and delicious, made better by use of the cafe’s top-notch red fife bread. Mediterra managed to take the most basic dishes — in this case spicy, peppery pimento, sandwiched and toasted — and make them exquisite with their homemade bread. I understand that controlling hungry people, especially during peak hours on a Sunday, isn’t easy. And now that Mediterra Café is closer to the city, I plan on returning frequently (especially with their recent changes to the breakfast sandwich). But until things return to normal, I’ll get takeout.


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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

19


PHOTOS: GREG MESSMER/SHUA POTTER

Monteze Freeland and Shua Potter in Claws Out: A Holiday Drag Musical

.THEATER.

WAR ON CHRISTMAS BY AMANDA WALTZ // AWALTZ@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

T

HE HOLIDAYS ARE ALL about peace

and togetherness, showing family and friends how much you appreciate them by exchanging tidings of good will and, of course, gifts. But City Theatre will give audiences a different kind of gift this December when it debuts Claws Out, an original drag holiday musical starring Shua Potter and Monteze Freeland as women fighting for the title of Mrs. Claus. “These two women [are] just going after each other. It’s kind of like Golden Girls on steroids,” says Potter, who plays Rachel Claus, a “Mrs. Claus-type character” who is Jewish and from Long Island, New York. Claws Out, which Potter describes as a bawdy bit of “camp comedy hilarity,”

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means more than just bringing holiday joy to theatergoers missing live shows during the pandemic. It also marks the first film produced by City Theatre. The pre-recorded stage production, which was shot in front of a green screen, will stream online from Fri., Dec. 4 through Jan. 10, 2021. Potter says City Theatre artistic director Marc Masterson encouraged him to expand on what was a one-man piece he wrote and performed as part of the theater’s 2019 adaptation of author David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries. But some changes needed to be made, which is where Claws Out co-star and co-director Freeland came in. “[Masterson] said, ‘[Rachel] needs a foil, she needs someone up there with

her,’” says Freeland, who directed Potter in The Santaland Diaries and serves as an associate director at City Theatre. So Freeland created Roberta, a former school principal from WinstonSalem, N.C. who was inspired by female comedy greats like Jenifer Lewis and Carol Burnett. “She’s pretty staunch, she likes to rule, she’s about order — she doesn’t like to play around,” says Freeland. “Whereas Rachel is a ball of fun.” From there, composer Douglas Levine was brought in to write original musical numbers for the work. Potter and Freeland admit that while they are seasoned professionals, they and the rest of their crew had no experience doing film, especially one

that required a lot of post-production. “This has been new territory for everyone,” says Potter. “None of us knew how to rehearse this, none of us knew how to prepare it for the videographer and editor.” The film was shot over the course of a week, primarily at the WQED studios in Oakland. Potter and Freeland performed in front of a 40-by-20 foot green screen, with the floor also painted green to ensure they had plenty of space with which to work. Without an audience to react to their antics, Potter and Freeland had to rely on each other and their crew to get the material to shine. “I miss the audience because they are so integral to a new play process,”


says Freeland, explaining that, typically, they will have some kind of crowd to play to before a new show opens. “We need to hear what works.” Still, Freeland says he saw it as an opportunity for him and everyone involved with the show to challenge themselves. “You really have to rely on your instincts and feel yourself a little bit,” says Freeland. He describes how members of the limited crew also had to take on tasks outside of their expertise. “We needed 20 more people,” says Freeland. “So to see people take on roles they’ve never done before, it allowed their imagination and creativity to thrive. And it was so wonderful to see a group of people who are professional at what they do become a novice, and allow themselves to gain an education so they become professionals in a new way. It’s so inspiring to watch that.” He also credits the theater company for being able to produce a light-hearted show in the face of a pandemic, and the social and political upheaval in what has been a turbulent election year. This is in addition to City Theatre imple-

CLAWS OUT: A HOLIDAY DRAG MUSICAL Streaming online Fri, Dec. 4-Jan. 10, 2021. Tickets start at $15. $50 for virtual live events. citytheatrecompany.org

menting anti-racist efforts in response to the theater industry’s reckoning with discrimination in the community at large.

With that in mind, the creators want Claws Out to serve as an escape from the stress of this year by providing what Freeland calls “good laughs, hummable

tunes, and some drag.” Still, the show is not your typical family-friendly holiday entertainment — Potter rates it as PG-13, though Freeland disagrees. “I don’t think I would let my 13-yearold niece watch it,” he laughs. He says audiences should expect a mix of racy humor, course language, and Broadway numbers. “There are fart jokes, there is stuff you’d see on The Simpsons and Family Guy,” he adds. “It’s for people who just want to sit and have a silly time.” Potter and Freeland will also host interactive Zoom events to complement the show. For $50, guests who live within a certain radius can order a personally delivered box of treats and crafts, and join the stars for a virtual holiday party before and during the film. More than anything, Potter says he wants audiences to have as much fun watching Claws Out as he had making it. “[Freeland] was so easy to work with, we just laughed the whole time writing this show,” says Potter. “So I really hope we bring a lot of smiles to people this Christmas.”

Follow senior writer Amanda Waltz on Twitter @AWaltzCP

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.FILM.

CHRISTMAS RELOADED BY HANNAH LYNN HLYNN@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

E

VERY DEMOGRAPHIC deserves a cheesy holiday movie, one with romance, family drama, and a happy ending around the Christmas tree. There are few options for holiday movies with LGBTQ representation, but Happiest Season, now streaming on Hulu, is the first lesbian rom-com from a major studio. It’s a sweet, funny, and at times puzzling story about learning to accept yourself and learning to accept your girlfriend’s unhinged family. Happiest Season, directed by Clea DuVall and filmed in Pittsburgh last year, is actually partially set in the city, unlike many films shot here, which usually pretend it’s New York. Abby (Kristen Stewart) is an art history PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University and lives with her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis), a journalist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (no comment). Harper is planning to go home to her parent’s house for Christmas, while Abby is planning on staying home, until Harper invites her at the last minute. But it’s not until they’re halfway through the drive that Harper reveals she hasn’t yet come out to her parents, and wants to pretend she and Abby are merely platonic roommates. The film follows the classic holiday movie format where one person in a

PHOTO: JOJO WHILDEN/HULU

Mackenzie Davis and Kristen Stewart in Happiest Season

HAPPIEST SEASON Directed by Clea DuVall. Now streaming on Hulu.

couple loves Christmas in an obsessive, almost unhealthy way (Harper), and the other person is blasé over the whole holiday (Abby). Things seem okay at first, until it becomes clear that Harper’s dad (Victor Garber) who is running for mayor, is probably a conservative Republican, and remaining closeted helps his campaign. Him being a Republican is never mentioned explicitly — it would have been more efficient if it were — but the clues are there.

The rest of the family, meanwhile, thinks they are functional, but are clearly deeply dysfunctional. Harper’s mom (Mary Steenburgen, great as always) has overly high expectations for her daughters, played by Mary Holland, who co-wrote the film, and Alison Brie, whose character makes high-end gift baskets approved by Goop. Harper, the golden child of the family, is too afraid to come out because she doesn’t want to disappoint them. The tension between Harper’s

Follow staff writer Hannah Lynn on Twitter @hanfranny

fear of rejection and Abby’s pain at being hidden becomes central to the movie, and embraces the idea that everyone’s coming out story is different. There’s no doubt that Happiest Season is special, both for its portrayal of lesbian romance and for exploring the complexity of someone accepting their sexuality, but the movie can feel stiff and disjointed. Making history doesn’t always equate to making a great movie, and Stewart and Davis lack the chemistry that is essential to a good rom-com. For me, a good romantic comedy is not just about the natural chemistry but also the dialogue between the couple. They should have banter and quips, but neither Abby or Harper have any great lines, or a distinct personality. Instead, the side characters carry the movie, namely Steenburgen and Dan Levy (as Abby’s best friend), pulling more than their share of the weight. Mostly, it made me want a movie starring just Steenburgen and Levy. (Mother and son? Aunt and nephew? Coworkers? It doesn’t really matter.) The end of the movie culminates in an explosive fight during the family’s Christmas party, in which Harper comes out, but only because she is forced to. Without giving too much away, the pivotal scene is cringeworthy and intense but is quickly wrapped up in a neat way that negates the weight of the moment. It’s hard to balance expectations with a movie like this, one that is groundbreaking but shouldn’t be, and has to try to be everything to everyone, even though that’s an impossible feat. It’s a perfectly fine holiday movie, but hopefully it’s also just setting the scene for other, better movies in the sub-genre.

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Have a gift you want to feature? Contact the CP advertising team at jhughes@pghcitypaper.com to learn more about holiday advertising opportunities. PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

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Men’s Virility Restored in Clinical Trial; 275% More Blood Flow in 5 Minutes A newly improved version of America’s best-selling male performance enhancer gives 70-year-old men the ability and stamina they enjoyed in their 30’s. America’s best-selling sexual performance enhancer just got a lot better. It’s the latest breakthrough for nitric oxide – the molecule that makes E.D. woes fade and restores virility when it counts the most. Nitric oxide won the Nobel Prize in 1998. It’s why “the little blue pill” works. More than 200,000 studies conmrm it’s the key to superior sexual performance. And this new discovery increases nitric oxide availability resulting in even quicker, stronger and longer-lasting performance. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the “goldstandard” of research) involved a group of 70-year-old-men. They didn’t exercise. They didn’t eat healthy. And researchers reported their “nitric oxide availability was almost totally compromised,” resulting in blood now less than HALF of a man in peak sexual health. But only mve minutes after the mrst dose their blood now increased 275%, back to levels of a perfectly healthy 31-yearold man! “It’s amazing,” remarks nitric oxide expert Dr. Al Sears. “That’s like giving 70-year-old men the sexual power of 30-year-olds.”

WHY SO MUCH EXCITEMENT? Despite the billions men spend annually on older nitric oxide therapies, there’s one well-known problem with them. They don’t always work. A very distinguished and awarded doctor practicing at a prestigious Massachusetts hospital who has studied Nitric Oxide for over 43 years states a “demciency of bioactive nitric oxide… leads to impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation.” In plain English, these older products may increase levels of nitric oxide. But that’s only half the battle. If it’s not bioactively available then your body can’t absorb it to produce an erection. Experts simply call it the nitric oxide “glitch.” And until now, there’s never been a solution.

NEXT GENERATION NITRIC OXIDE FORMULA FLYING OFF SHELVES Upon further research, America’s No. 1 men’s health expert Dr. Al Sears discovered certain nutrients mx this “glitch” resulting in 275% better blood now. He’s combined those nutrients with proven nitric oxide

boosters in a new formula called Primal Max Red. In clinical trials, 5,000 mg is required for satisfying sexual performance. Primal Max Red contains a bigger, 9,000 mg per serving dose. It’s become so popular, he’s having trouble keeping it in stock. Dr. Sears is the author of more than 500 scientimc papers. Thousands of people listened to him speak at the recent Palm Beach Health & Wellness Festival featuring Dr. Oz. NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath recently visited his clinic, the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine. Primal Max Red has only been available for a few months — but everyone who takes it reports a big difference. “I have the energy to have sex three times in one day, WOW! That has not happened in years. Oh, by the way I am 62,” says Jonathan K. from Birmingham, AL.

HOW IT WORKS Loss of erection power starts with your blood vessels. Specimcally, the inside layer called the endothelium where nitric oxide is made. The problem is various factors THICKEN your blood vessels as you age. This blocks availability causing the nitric oxide “glitch.” The result is difmculty in getting and sustaining a healthy erection. How bad is the problem? Researcher shows the typical 40-year-old man absorbs 50% less nitric oxide. At 50, that drops to 25%. And once you pass 60 just a measly 15% gets through. To make matters worse, nitric oxide levels start declining in your 30’s. And by 70, nitric oxide production is down an alarming 75%. Primal Max Red is the mrst formula to tackle both problems. Combining powerful nitric oxide boosters and a proven delivery mechanism that defeats the nitric oxide “glitch” resulting in 275% better blood now. There’s not enough space here to fully explain how it works, so Dr. Sears will send anyone who orders Primal Max Red a free special report that explains everything.

MORE CLINICAL RESULTS Nutrients in Primal Max Red have logged impressive results. In a Journal of Applied Physiology study, one resulted in a 30 times MORE nitric oxide. And these increased levels lasted up to 12 hours. “I measured my nitric oxide levels, you can buy a test kit from Amazon,” reports 48-year-old Jeff O. “Monday night I showed depleted.”

A new discovery that increases nitric oxide availability was recently proven in a clinical trial to boost blood flow 275% Then he used ingredients in Primal Max Red and, “The results were off the charts. I mrst woke around 3 a.m. on Tuesday very excited. My nitric oxide levels measured at the top end of the range.”

FREE BONUS TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER Every order also gets Dr. Sears testosterone boosting formula Primal Max Black for free. “If you want passionate ‘rip your clothes off’ sex you had in your younger days, you need nitric oxide to get your erection going. And testosterone for energy and drive,” says Dr. Sears. “You get both with Primal Max Red and Primal Max Black.”

HOW TO GET PRIMAL MAX To secure free bottles of Primal Max Black and get the hot, new Primal Max Red formula, buyers should contact the Sears Health Hotline at 1-800-410-4574 within the next 48 hours. “It’s not available in drug stores yet,” says Dr. Sears. “The Hotline allows us to ship directly to the customer.” Dr. Sears feels so strongly about Primal Max, all orders are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. “Just send me back the bottle and any unused product within 90 days from purchase date, and I’ll send you all your money back,” he says. The Hotline will be open for the next 48 hours. After that, the phone number will be shut down to allow them to restock. Call 1-800-410-4574 to secure your limited supply of Primal Max Red and free bottles of Primal Max Black. You don’t need a prescription, and those who call in the mrst 24 hours qualify for a signimcant discount. Use Promo Code NP1120PMAX377 when you call in. Lines are frequently busy, but all calls will be answered.

THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. RESULTS MAY VARY 1 26326071_10_x_9.875.indd PGHCITYPAPER.COM

11/23/20 2:11 PM


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Joshua Pirl Joshua Smith Jude Vachon Judith Hartung Judith Koch Judith Lenz Juli Wright Julia Lee Julia Posteraro Julia Scanlon Julian Routh Julie & Nick Futules Justin Dandoy Justin Krane Justin Matase Justin McVay Justin Nodes Justin Pekular Justin Romano Justin Rossini Kai Gutschow Kara Holsopple Karen Brown Karen Hodes Karen Van Dusen Kate Jones Kate Roberts Kate Rosenzweig Katharine Kelleman Katherine Oltmanns Kathleen Heuer Kathy Dax Kathy Woll Katie Damico Katie Hudson Katie Markowski Katie Urich Katy Greulich Kay Brink Kayla Cline Keegan Gibson Keith Bare Keith Recker Kelly Burgess Kelly Hiser Kendra Ross Kenneth Mostern Kevin Gallagher Kevin Jameson Kevin Marpoe Kevin Vickey Khris & Tom McGarity Kim Lyons Kimberly Ressler Kimberly Taylor Kristin Komazec Kristina Marusic Kyle Cunningham Kyle Gracey Lady MacBonald Lara Putnam Larry Lynn Laura Adams Laura Drogowski Laura Everhart Laura Heberton-Shlomchik Laura Hershel Laura Myers Lauren Banka Lauren Lief Leah Hoechstetter Lena DeLucia Leo Hsu Lesley Carlin Lesley Rains Leslie Cooley Levon Ritter Liam Lowe Linda Schott Lindsay Forman Lindsay Hagerty

Lindsay Wright Lisa Saks Lisa Steinfeld Liz Hrenda Liz Reid Lois Apple Loretta Deto Lori Delale-O’Connor Lorie Milich Lucas Miller Luke Rifugiato Lynn Cullen Lynne Cherepko Lynne Frank Lynne Hughes Mackenzie Moylan Madelyn Glymour Madison Stubblefield Magda Gangwar Mahita Gajanan Mandy Kivowitz-Delfaver Margaret Buckley Margaret Krauss Marjorie Waters Maria Sensi Sellner Marianne Donley Marilyn McCarty Marina Fang Mark Goodman Mark Solomon Mark Westbrook Mark Winer Marlee Brown Mary Briles Mary Guzzetta Mary Russell Maryellen Lammel Matt Adams Matt Dunlap Matt Malarich Matt Moret Matthew Buchholz Matthew Cartier Matthew Demers Matthew Griffin Matthew Hynes Matthew Kroen Matthew Lamberti Maureen Byko Max Garber Max Moclock Megan Brady Megan Fair Megan Winters Melinda Wedde Melissa Kohr Melissa Melewsky Micaela Corn Michael Colaresi Michael Damico Michael Donovan Michael DiGuglielmo Michael Lamb Michael McKinney Michael Shuker Michael Wasson Mike Beattie Mike Kutilek Mike Weis Mimi Forester MJ Holmes Moira Egler Molly Kasperek Molly Toth Morgan Jenkins Myles Gordon Nancy Dubensky Nancy Latimer Nate Good Nathan Thompson-Amato Nathaniel Feuerstein

Neil Bhaerman Neil Owen Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh Nicholas Gliozzi Nichole Remmert Nicole Connor Nick Goodfellow Nick Honkaal Nick Malawskey Nikki Walton Noah Theriault Norma Bronder Office of Public Art Olie Bennett Guarino Olivia Enders Olivia Tucker Olivia Zane Ollie Gratzinger Paolo Pedercini Patricia DeMarco Patricia Dinkelaker Patricia Oliver Patrick Conneely Patrick Kelley Patty Delaney Paul Hertneky Paul McGowan Paula Majersky Peter McKay Peter Mudge Peter Reichl Rachael Hopkins Rachel Belloma Bonnet Rachel Busch Rachel Dalton Rachel Tiche Rachelle Haynik Rainy Sinclair Randall Baumann Randy Gowat Randy Sargent Raymond Kozlowski Raymond Leech Raymond Martin Rebecca Boyer Rebecca Ciez Rebecca Seibel Regina Yankie Rich Lord Richard Kress Richelle Meer Rick D’Loss Rob Rossi Robert & Erin Blussick Robert Baird Robert Davis Robert Jauquet Robert Lang Robert McKnight Robert Nishikawa Robert Raczka Robert Sage Robin Bolea Ron Vodenichar Rosemary Mendel Ross Reilly Rossilynne Culgan Ruth Craig Ryan Rydzewski Ryan Warsing Samantha Ritzer Samantha Wire Sam Barrett Samuel Boswell Samuel Gordon Sara Innamorato Sara Simon Sara Zullo Sarah Birmingham Sarah Cassella

Sarah Hamm Sarah Paul Sarah Pearman Sarah Peterson Sarah Sewall Sarah Sprague Sarah Vernau Sarah Wiggin Scott Bricker Sean Bailey Sean Collier Sean ODonnell Selene Wartell Shanna Carrick Shannon Kelly Sharee Stout Shawn Cooke Shawn Melvin Sherri Suppa Shirlie Mae Choe Siena Kane Slava Starikov Smitha Prasadh Stacey Campbell Stacey Federoff Stephanie Sedor Stephanie Wein Stephen Riccardi Stephen Wagner Steve Felix Steve Holz Steven Haines Stuart Strickland Sue Kerr Susan Caplan Susan Hawkins Susan Jackson Susan Rogers Susan Smith Susan Speicher Suzanne Kafantaris Tammy Schuey Tara Spence Tara Zeigler Tasha Eakin Ted Schroeder Tereneh Idia Terry Bicehouse Terry Peters Tina Shackleford Tobin Seastedt Todd Derr Tom Samuel Toni Haraldsen Tracy Travaglio Travis Hefner Trenton Tabor Trevor Baumel Trey Mason Tyler Bickford Tyler McAndrew Uwe Stender Valerie Moore Vicki Cunningham Victoria Donahoe Virginia Alvino Young Will Bernstein Will Halim Will Simmons William Doran William Fulmer William J Schoy IV William Lovas William Maruca William O’Driscoll Yonatan Bisk Zack Tanner

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SEVEN DAYS IN PITTSBURGH THU., DEC. 3 MUSIC • VIRTUAL Pianist and musical director Orrin Evans, vocalist Alexia Bomtempo, bassist Luques Curtis, drummer Clarence Penn, and guitarist Leandro Pellegrino — Terreno Comun features some of the most renowned musicians in modern Brazilian jazz music. The project was commissioned by The August Wilson African American Cultural Center, and, according to their website, the song list includes “beautiful arrangements of Brazilian standards with an opportunity for each musician to shine.” 8 p.m. $12. aacc-awc.org

FRI., DEC. 4 ART • IRL View the abstract and surreal work of painter Noah Emhurt’s work at his exhibit Running Amuck, now showing at the Christine Frechard Gallery. “I try to keep things as chaotic as possible,” says Emhurt while describing his own work, which is inspired by street and pop art. 12-6 p.m. Continues through Thu., Dec. 17. 5126 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. christinefrechardgallery.com

SAT., DEC. 5 ART • IRL Artists Nicole Czapinski and Alex Ebstein take recycling to a new level with the opening reception of Extra Fiber, a new exhibition at CDCP Project Space. The show features a variety of works made from reused materials like yoga mats and pipe cleaners, and is described on the CDCP website as questioning “ideas of purpose and value, while delivering a subtle sense of humor.” 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Continues through Jan. 10, 2021. 317 S. Trenton Ave., Wilkinsburg. Free. Appointment only. caseydroege.com

MARKET • VIRTUAL Join Maude’s Paperwing Gallery for Craftivist 2020, a virtual version of their annual event celebrating the intersection of making art and giving back. The virtual event will showcase local artists, specifically ones from underrepresented communities, that will “allow shoppers the ability to find meaningful gifts for the activists in their lives.” The event will take place on Facebook, with posts highlighting artists, as well as interviews, raffles, and more. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Search “Craftivist 2020” on Facebook.

SUN., DEC. 6 ZOO • IRL Human parades are pretty much canceled thanks to the pandemic, but our penguin friends at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are filling in. Every Saturday and Sunday in PHOTO: GREGORY HALPERN

^ Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Get the dental care you deserve. Medicare does not cover dental care1. That means if you need dental work done, it can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of your own pocket. Get Dental Insurance from Physicians Mutual Insurance Company. It helps cover over 350 procedures — from cleanings and fillings to crowns and dentures. Call today to get help paying big dental bills. • See any dentist you want, but save more with one in our network PHOTO: KRAKEN APOTHECARY

^ Herbal body care by Kraken Apothecary, part of Craftivist 2020

December, watch as our cold-weather pals waddle on the PPG Aquarium’s outdoor patio during Penguins on Parade. Zoo tickets must be purchased to view. 7370 Baker St., Highland Park. $15-17 admission. pittsburghzoo.org

MON., DEC. 7 KIDS • IRL We stare at screens all day, so change it up and feast your eyes on some freaking lasers instead. At the Carnegie Science Center Buhl Planetarium, audience members can take in the sights and sounds of the Holiday Magic laser shows with some of their favorite seasonal songs. 2:30 p.m. Continues through Jan. 1, 2021. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $8 for first show, $5 for second show. carnegiesciencecenter.org

LIT • VIRTUAL As part of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Ten Evening Series, join Ta-Nehisi Coates, the 2015 National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, as he discusses his debut novel, The Water Dancer, with Pittsburgh’s Damon Young. Young is the author of the memoir What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, a collection of essays about growing up Black in Pittsburgh. Can’t make the virtual event on Monday? Ticket holders can watch the discussion digitally anytime for up to a week after the event. 7:30 p.m. $15. pittsburghlectures.org

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The Andy Warhol Museum will present Reflections on Warhol, a virtual talk between Pulitzer Prize-winning arts writer and playwright Hilton Als and the museum’s Milton Fine Curator of Art, Jessica Beck. The discussion will cover Als’ research and writing on Warhol, including his ongoing Andy Warhol: The Series, and his essays on Warhol’s relationship with late graffiti artist, Jean Michel-Basquiat. The talk is part of the museum’s global digital initiative, Warhol Without Walls. 2 p.m. Streaming on Eventive. $5. warhol.org

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WED., DEC. 9 THEATER • VIRTUAL The Point Park Conservatory Theatre Company takes a new approach to virtual theater with its rendition of the musical Ordinary Days. Set in New York, the show, which first premiered in 2008, follows four characters whose “ordinary lives end up connecting in the most unexpected ways,” according to a press release. The show will be digitally produced with two casts, and features some genderswapped roles. Director Dave Solomon says audiences can experience both casts, which showcases the “incredible level of talent at Point Park.” The opening night includes a live talkback. 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Dec. 13. $5-15. playhouse.pointpark.edu

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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

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RAH

BY BRENDAN EMMETT QUIGLEY // BRENDANEMMETTQUIGLEY.COM

Meet the Medical Assistants on the Central Outreach Wellness Center hepatitis C squad ince 2017, Central Outreach Wellness Center has been running a hepatitis C outreach program, focusing on the addiction recovery communities. Testing sites, which use rapid test kits, have been set up at methadone, suboxone, pain management clinics, and homeless shelters across Western PA. Today, Central Outreach is the leading curing center for hepatitis C in the U.S. But, this outreach wouldn’t be possible without a team. Today, we’re meeting the Medical Assistants who are part of Central Outreach’s Hep C Cure Squad. Medical Assistants: Emily Nolan, Lexi Fontana, Haley Miller, Jenna Panhorst, Megan Ackerman, and Alex Young, who is also the Director of Marketing. This article is second in a two-part series on the Central Outreach Wellness Center hepatitis C squad.

S

EMILY NOLAN, MEDICAL ASSISTANT I originally started working with Central Outreach Wellness Center while completing an internship in my final semester of college. It was clear within my first week of working how impactful this job is, not only to my life but others as well. Offering competent LGBTQ health care to the community is a truly amazing opportunity, and I was absolutely thrilled when I heard I was hired to be part of this fruitful team. Everyday I wake up, go to work at one of our multitudes of locations, composed of suboxone and methadone clinics, rehab facilities, out-patient facilities, county jails, and house visits. At each facility my team tests for hepatitis C and is a link for the cure. I really just get to help people take a step in the right direction everyday. We take the pressure off of the patient and alleviate many of the difficulties to actually receive treatment. Our outreach program does not make our patients jump through hoops in order to receive the cure. We do our outreach by coming to the patient at either a facility they are at or by scheduling house visits. My team is there for the patient each step. JENNA PANHORST, MEDICAL ASSISTANT A typical, or “normal” day being a part of the Hep C Cure squad is everything but normal. I am very proud of the work that this position has allowed me to do, as it is a great feeling knowing that I am part of a team that can assist with curing patients from Hepatitis C. We have accomplished many things as a team. We find new clinics each and everyday to test at to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C. We have tested more than 8,000 people since 2017 and have cured over 3,000 people. My long term goal in this company is to expand our services to Ohio, as we have recently got approval for us to start testing and curing in that state. In the last couple months, I have been able to share our team goal with many different doctors and nurses at various clinics, and have also been able to schedule repeat visits. My goal is to find as many clinics/rehab facilities as possible to stop the spread of Hepatitis C.

MEGAN ACKERMAN, MEDICAL ASSISTANT I got involved with this by getting my husband cured by Central Outreach Wellness Center and thoroughly enjoying the services that they offered. Providing compassionate care to a population of humans that are often looked over is really what this is about. Typically we go to drug and alcohol facilities. About 70% of IV drug users have hepatitis c. We go anywhere from inpatient to outpatient. We participate with other organizations in events where our services are needed. Many other doctors’ offices don’t want to “deal” with HCV or the person that has it. They make it a complicated process and most people end up giving up seeking treatment through those providers and inevitably put others at risk for infection. We provide a service that has saved thousands of lives already and thousands of more to come. HALEY MILLER, MEDICAL ASSISTANT I can confidently say I am improving my skills and knowledge on a daily basis with the opportunity I was given working on the hep c team. I have grown as a person, teammate and caregiver. I never thought I’d get involved working with infectious diseases; it was never my plan with caregiving due to the high risk level of infection. I can only be blessed to continue to grow with the company to help/cure as many people as possible and to stop the spread of hepatitis c and hiv. My long term goal is to proceed in the field that never stops growing, the medical field, and to always put a smile on my patients face guardless the news they are given. LEXI FONTANA, MEDICAL ASSISTANT A normal day for me is waking up and heading to a clinic (Methadone, Suboxone, Inpatient or Outpatient) doing an education and then rapid testing people for Hep C and HIV. Pending results, the patient then works with me until they are completely cured of hepatitis C. As a team we change lives everyday by educating, testing, and curing. That is one of my biggest accomplishments and I’d love to continue helping people. ALEX YOUNG, MEDICAL ASSISTANT/DIRECTOR OF MARKETING My position at Central Outreach was offered to me post graduation and it has been the start to my career. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others in the way that we do-- improving their quality of life with access to great healthcare. We rely on community organizations to host us at their facilities so we can then test and find people with hepatitis C. This service is convenient for patients because we meet them where they are, even if that is their own home, and send medication to their doorstep if they need it. Easy access to the hep C cure is important because hepatitis C is one of the most deadly infectious diseases in the world according to the CDC, and many people don’t know they have it.

Central Outreach is still offering testing at their North Shore location. All tests – COVID, HIV, Hep C, and STI – are free.

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ACROSS 1. Shiny rock 6. Island greeting 11. “Everything ___ Wants” (Wham! single) 14. Musical set in Argentina 15. Actress Julie of Modern Family 16. Ballerina’s fulcrum 17. Minnesota NHL sang Silent Night? 19. Leather man’s tool 20. Sneaky clever 21. Reasons to get a crib 22. “Lord willing!” 24. Took to court 25. Sonicare rival 26. Basic buck? 31. Preserve measurements 32. Grunter’s sound 33. To be paid 34. What’s for dinner 35. Baking need 37. They’ve got a lot of stars: Abbr. 38. With 25-Down, reggaeton artist who plays Rico Santos in the Fast & Furious series 39. Merchandise 40. Sportscaster Musburger 41. Confrontational Spanish dance? 45. Tenor Mario

46. Major work 47. Follow to the letter 48. Payroll expenses 50. Battle of Verdun conflict: Abbr. 53. Alien craft 54. Hip, hip, hooray! ... or a hint to this puzzle’s theme 57. Now see here 58. Crying 59. Page out of Hollywood 60. Nine-digit ID 61. Shows to debut new products 62. Abstained from

DOWN 1. Lag b’Omer celebrants 2. Badder than bad 3. Full of tricks 4. When to pile into the car, for short 5. Some hiking boots 6. Rub up against 7. Weaving instrument 8. Hedwig and Pigwidgeon of the Potterverse 9. Stifled giggle 10. Holder of hot stuff? 11. New Jersey’s largest newspaper 12. “Yeah, that ain’t happening” 13. Tough to pin down

18. Winter Olympics jump 23. Close chum 24. Tiny diving duck 25. See 38-Across 26. They have a lot of ties to their classes 27. Heavy metal band named after a medieval torture device 28. Messy campsite treat 29. Busted person’s promise 30. Egg’s spot 31. Band with the 2020 album Power Up 35. Greek wedge salad topping 36. Escape from

the law 37. Phobos and Deimos’s dad 39. Newspaper’s name 40. Turned red 42. Conclusion 43. Masters failures 44. The Congo is its most recent member 47. The Descent of Man subjects 48. Prepare for Christmas, say 49. Prefix with nautical or drome 50. Fuse with fire 51. Brown bird 52. Fails to be 55. Put under a spell 56. ___ Lilly (pharmaceutical company) LAST WEEK’S ANSWERS


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IN The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: No. GD-20-11066. In re petition of Andrew Gross for change of name to Andrew Kiesel. To all persons interested: Notice is hereby given that an order of said Court authorized the filing of said petition and fixed the 11th day of January, 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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PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER DECEMBER 2-9, 2020

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Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

December 2, 2020 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's leading arts and entertainment newsweekly featuring City Theatre's drag-tastic virtual holiday show, a Black-led community spot...

December 2, 2020 - Pittsburgh City Paper  

Pittsburgh's leading arts and entertainment newsweekly featuring City Theatre's drag-tastic virtual holiday show, a Black-led community spot...