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Oct. 1, 2019 - Oct. 14, 2019 PGHCURRENT




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STAFF Publisher/Editor: Charlie Deitch Associate Publisher: Bethany Ruhe

EDITORIAL Managing Editor: Meg Fair Art Director: Larissa Mallon Music Editor: Margaret Welsh Visuals Editor: Jake Mysliwczyk Staff Writer, Arts: Amanda Reed Columnists: Sue Kerr, Jessica Semler, , Gab Bonesso, Kierran Young, Craft Beer Writer: Day Bracey Contributing Writers: Jody DiPerna, Nick Eustis, Ted Hoover, Thomas Leturgey, Matt Petras, Mike Shanley, Steve Sucato, Justin Vellucci, Atiya Irvin-Mitchell, Emerson Andrews, Hugh Twyman, Mike Wysocki

CONTENTS Vol. II Iss. XX October 1, 2019

NEWS 4 | Miles' Masterpiece 6 | Checks and Balances 7 | Brewed on Grant OPINION 8 | Super Majority 9 | C'mon Man! ART 10 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 20 |

Queering Cinema Essential Language Don Giovanni Fantastic Journey Events

MUSIC 24 | Fuzzed Out Buzz 26 | Fading In 27 | Musical Legacy 27 | First/Last FOOD 30 | Nrighborhood Haunt 32 | Day Drinking EXTRA 34 | Savage Love

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iles Saal, AKA Yung Mulatto, was just 21 years, two months old when, in the grip of severe depression, he took his own life a week after Thanksgiving 2017. When you talk to Saal’s family and friends, you get a strong sense of the kind of son, friend and artist he was. But, If you want to get a complete picture of Miles Saal’s life, or more accurately, what he was going through at what was probably the apex of his condition, you have to take a journey into his prolific art portfolio. After Saal died, his parents, Dr. Felicia Snead and Jimmy Saal, found an apartment full of drawings. There were self-portraits, drawings of friends, album covers he’s done for several musicians, and thousands of others ranging from several doodles on one page to fully completed works. But there’s one, in particular, that tells Miles’ story from his own point of view The piece is called “2 Miles” and it’s two self-portraits of Miles Saal. One is drawn in full vibrant color and the first Miles is confident and talent-

Self-portrait drawn by Miles Saal on one of his many notebooks.


ed saying things like, “People seem to really like my art!” “I’ve got real talent!” “I’ve got lots of friends that love me and I love them!” The second Miles is brooding, drawn in black and white except for a light-blue tint to his face. This Miles Saal is hard on himself to say the least. “Everyone is just pretending to like you,” “no talent faker,” “Maybe if you weren't so stupid …,” “the world would be better off if I was never born.” This image, which the Current agreed not to publish, shows the internal struggle with the depression that Miles Saal dealt with every day. A struggle, despite having so many people in life, ultimately fought alone. It’s been nearly two years since Saal passed away and his mother wants to use Miles’ story to hopefully prevent others from going down the same path. That’s the priority of the “Yung Mulatto Project.” “This project has two main goals,” says Snead, a radiation oncologist with UPMC Cancer Centers. “To celebrate and be a memorial for Miles and his work and to be a conduit to talk about depression and mental illness. “After Miles passed, a lot of

NEWS his friends and other artists who knew what happened to him started coming out and talking about the hard time they’ve had dealing with their own mental health issues; a lot of them didn’t know where to go for help. This needs to be part of the national conversation.” The Yung Mulatto Project kicks off Oct. 13 with an opening event at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. The event will feature an open forum to discuss mental health issues as well as performances and exhibits by other artists that Saal Collaborated with including Clara Kent, LiveFromTheCity, Alona Williams, Corrine Jasmin and deejay aesthetics. An exhibit, “The Selected Works of Miles Saal” will be on display at the August Wilson Center through Dec. 8. The project is funded by the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Snead is also partnering with Pittsburgh organization, Leading Education and Awareness for Depression (LEAD). Lead is running the open forum portion of the event. One of the main focuses of the project will be how mental health issues are handled by medical professionals. “What makes you so angry and frustrated is how depression and mental health

are handled in the medical community,” Snead says. “It’s hard to find a therapist, half the time they don’t take your insurance and they’re not accessible. “This is a real disease … and it needs to be treated. If you have cancer, you don’t hesitate to get treatment. This is the same thing because it will get worse if it’s not treated. We need to learn to speak to our loved ones gently and effectively to help them get treatment.” Miles Saal began playing the piano at the age of six. He and his parents lived in Jacksonville, Florida until Miles senior year in high school. In Jacksonville, he played in the youth symphony and was a good student until his junior year of high school. Snead says her son was introverted and artistic and his grades started to suffer. They had him evaluated and his parents were told he was gifted and had a very high IQ. Maybe, doctors would surmise, he had attention deficit disorder. A lot of children battling depression and mental health issues are often misdiagnosed as having ADHD. Miles was put on medicine for ADHD, but it of course didn’t help. Jacksonville wasn’t a very diverse place, Snead says. And Miles, whose mother is black and father is white, was bullied. The family would move to Pittsburgh before his senior

Miles Saal, AKA Yung Mulatto, drew this cover for his friend Mars Jackson's "Heart Dance." The piece is part of the book, "Yung Mulatto Project."

year, where he attended CAPA High School. Florida wasn’t only tough on Miles Saal. After moving to Pittsburgh, Snead sought out therapy and it was who therapist who first suggested that Miles Saal may be suffering from depression. Miles Saal became difficult to communicate with, he was lashing out at his family, his parents and his younger brother. After CAPA, Miles Saal went to IUP to study music and, later, film. Once he came home, he would see his family at least once a week, but communication was still dif-

ficult. While communication between father and son was somewhat better, Snead says it became even harder for she and Miles to communicate. It was around this time when Miles’ engagement with visual arts grew. His family knew he was having success as an artist, but he was still battling severe depression. Then in 2017, Miles agreed to seek treatment. While he wasn’t on medication, he was in therapy. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, Snead says Miles seemed like he was doing so much better.


NEWS “It was one of the best days we’d had in a long time. He was selling his art work and making a reasonable living as an artist. I told him how proud I was of him and how much I loved him. He was doing what he loved and he was doing it well,” she says with a quickly fading smile. “I thought we were turning a corner. But then, a week later, we got the call from his roommate that Miles had passed.” Snead trails off and stops speaking. She stares at the table and begins to softly cry before saying, “My heart ... is just broken.” That broken heart has led her to this point. She wants the Yung Mulatto Project to initiate conversations between family members and friends. She wants to see change in the way mental illness is handled in our healthcare system. “It’s impossible to get any information on what’s going on with your own family members; your own children,” she says. “We should be helping our loved ones, helping to facilitate their treatment. I’m a cancer doctor. When someone is diagnosed, the first thing we do is ask, who can we call. We spend so much time with family members making sure they are involved in every aspect of their care. Everyone buys in and hard work is done by the patient and their team. How can someone seeking help for depression buy in to treatment if they have to do it in isolation. “After he was gone, we found out how influential he was as an artist,” she says. He produced quite a few songs for local artists, he created album covers, he did graphic design work. He tried to uplift and shine a light on other

people. I’m definitely a proud mom of who he had become.” It wouldn’t be fair to the memory of Miles Saal to end the story here. Yes, the young man met a tragic end, but in his very short time on earth, he made a difference to those around him. Yes, he was a good guy, gifted artist, talented musician. But in the three or four years before he passed, he was probably the most influential person in Pittsburgh’s music scene that you’ve never heard of. Patricia Snead and Jimmy Saal knew there son was a talented artist, but they soon found out that he worked with and was an influence on many people in the Pittsburgh music scene. One of those musicians/artists was singer/songwriter and visual artist Clara Kent. Kent and Saal lived close to each other in Garfield, but she didn’t know it for quite awhile. “I actually saw Miles’ art before I ever met him,” Kent says. “At that time, there were a lot of venues popping up and people were performing and showing their art. I saw his art at [an event] and thought, ‘man, this is really kinda dope, I hope I run into him,’” she says. Little did she know, she saw him several times a week hanging out on Penn Avenue at places like Roboto. “I started seeing this kid with an afro and a head wrap. I’d see him everywhere. He was always drawing. I later found out that was Miles, and I’d seen him a lot around the neighborhood.” Kent says Saal wore a lot of different hats and “he would attract people to him because he had all of these different energies around


“YUNG MULATTO PROJECT” OPENING EVENT The Yung Mulatto Project kicks off Oct. 13 with an opening event at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. The event will feature an open forum to discuss mental health issues as well as performances and exhibits by other artists that Saal Collaborated with including Clara Kent, LiveFromTheCity, Alona Williams, Corrine Jasmin and deejay aesthetics. An exhibit, “The Selected Works of Miles Saal” will be on display at the August Wilson Center through Dec. 8.

him. I knew he could draw and then I found out about his music and I was like, “You do beats too!’” Kent says Saal collaborated with a ton of artists like Mars Jackson, Benji (Saal did his first album cover) and Sierra Sellers to name just a few. “He was so humble and sweet. His gift was he was able to stand back, take everything in and represent what was going on in his art,” she says. “We were really building a great friendship. It breaks my heart to this day that he’s gone. There just seemed to be so much ahead. It hurts that he’s not here, but he accomplished so much in such a short time. “He was the music-scene historian. He knew about everybody and he’d spread the word to everybody else about who they should be checking out. He was the invisible thread that connected the whole thing.” Hip-hop artist Mars Jackson agrees. He says Miles had an uncanny ability to spot future talent. He would go to shows and then, through his art and social media, broadcast what he seeing to everyone else. “In fact, I met Miles after he tagged me in a picture he drew of me and a couple of other

prominent folks in the hip-hop community,” Jackson says, “He had such a big heart, that’s what got to me. He was always sharing his art. Jackson says some people might not realize how influential Miles Saal was. In 2015 when Jackson met Miles, for most people the hip-hop scene was Mac and Wiz. “Nobody knew that anything else was even building in the community, not even Mac and Wiz,” Jackson says. “Miles knew. Man, that boy was nice,” Jackson says. “He was at every show. He would draw us on those coffee cup jackets, tag us on social media. He knew back then that the people he was seeing were the next Mac and Wiz. People like me, Benji, Clara Kent, Sierra Sellers, and a bunch of others. He would call up different publications and yell at them about who to cover! “He connected this community. It was scary how in tune he was to what was coming next,” Jackson says. “I can’t even imagine how far he would have gone. No ceilings. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that Miles would be traveling the world by now. “I told you. That boy was nice.”







upermajority is a new national organization whose goal is to increase women’s political power. Their mission statement: “We are a membership-based organization that affirms and builds women’s power and serves as a one-stop-shop for advocacy, community building, and electoral participation aimed at transforming our country and building an intergenerational, multiracial movement for women’s equity.” One of the founders is Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood and real-life Wonder Woman. Cecile left PP a couple of years ago, and shortly after released a book. A lot of folks (including me, tbh) assumed she was gearing up to run for office. Instead, she teamed up with a bunch of badass women to create Supermajority. Other founders include Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global, and Ai-Jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. I continued to be pumped when I saw their rollout video, and that the rest of their online content was intersectional. Supermajority is in the midst of a nationwide Listening Tour, and

I learned about their stop in Pittsburgh from their email list and a couple of former PP folks. A chance to spend my Friday night with my pals from the repro-rights movement that I don’t get to see very often? Sign me up. A couple of days ahead of time, I learned that because of my Pittsburgh Current column, I was going to be in attendance as press. I was going to interview Cecile Richards, one of my heroes, and Jess Morales Rocketto, a fierce immigration advocate and Executive Director of Care in Action. I had lots of questions for both of them that were informed by my personal experience in different organizing spaces. How does a national organization mindfully engage with folks while including the folks on the ground who are already doing the work? Morales Rocketto discussed the importance of amplifying the efforts of local groups and organizers and using Supermajority to lift those up. What does it look like to engage folks who’ve been organizing and on the ground for forever along with folks who only fairly recently got interested in social justice? Richards said that after 2016, tons of different


local action groups sprouted up all over the country, and what they’re hearing from these groups is now that they’ve marched, attended town halls, and formed these groups, what’s next? Soon enough, the room in the Kelly Strayhorn Theater was packed. I was expecting to have a reunion with folks I know from repro-rights organizing, but I knew practically no one in the room; this is a good thing. We aren’t doing a good job if we’re constantly in rooms with the same folks, preaching to the choir. I chatted with some of the folks in attendance. A couple of women found out about the event and drove all the way up from West Virginia to attend the bus tour. One woman hasn’t volunteered for campaigns before, but came because she heard about Supermajority when she was watching “The View.” It is a victory that folks who are peripherally interested were moved to come meet strangers on a Friday night. Richards and Morales Rocketto were incredibly powerful speakers. Cecile noted that more than a million women in PA are eligible, but not registered to vote, imagine if we changed that. Cecile continued, “Women have always been on the front lines, it's time we have more political power.” They introduced the guiding values of the organization, five different “Majority Rules.” For example, apart from Rule #3: Our Work is Valued includes “the jobs primarily done by women- from teaching to caregivingare valued and supportive. Above all of those is “The Super Rule”; The lives and experiences of women— particularly women of color— are front and center in addressing all of our nation’s challenges… the people most impacted must be at the forefront of the solutions.” This is consistent with a familiar organizing mantra: “nothing about us, without us.” Looking at the board of Supermajority, their staff, and their intentional framing of issues, it looks like they’re doing things the right way. When I got home, I excitedly posted a couple pictures from the event. I felt like Lois fucking Lane and I got to interview some real-life superheroes. Pretty quickly though, several prominent black women activists and elected officials told me that

they hadn’t heard about the event, so how inclusive could it have been? I don’t know what Supermajority’s outreach process was, but I admitted that they didn’t do an amazing job of inclusive outreach considering none of these local badasses had heard about it. I sincerely hope this was a misstep and not systematic of this new group’s outreach, especially considering how much weight was given to centering the voices of women of color. I have to be honest - when I saw the handful of comments critiquing the event, I became aware of myself getting into my feels about it. I felt uncomfortable. “Don’t they know that this wasn’t my event?” I thought to myself, falling into the all-toocommon white lady fragility trap. I bit my tongue, silencing this urge I had to defend myself (and thus make it about me), did a quick mea culpa, and stepped back. How could I write about this now? As a fellow Planned Parenthood alum and fan of both of the women I interviewed, I was definitely seen as a friendly press person, for good reason. Would it be some type of betrayal to write about this critically? If I didn’t though, that would be a betrayal to the black women on the front lines of the work in this city who spent emotional labor asking about the inclusivity of the group. Ultimately, I decided to write about the interview and include the embarrassing moments of white fragility because vulnerability is important, and it is necessary to be critical of people and organizations we admire. None of us are perfect, and there’s no space to grow if we don’t make space to take negative feedback However, My little internal debate about this was eclipsed by something far more important. On the same day as the event, less than a week after the release of a report detailing how Pittsburgh is a particularly toxic environment for black women -- a report which was generated without the participation of black women -- two black women were brutally beaten by the owners of an Exxon station in Brighton Heights. Over the next few days, protests organized and executed by black women shut down the gas station for good.






y partner and I recently took a tour of the U.S. Brig Niagara in Lake Erie. Our weekday group was about 15 people and I was probably the second youngest. I noticed how many of the men in our group were eager to talk over the tour guide and tell the rest of us about their own boats, nautical service, familiarity with all of the concepts from tying knots to identifying every anachronism in painstaking detail in case we missed the memo about historical accuracy. Oh, and they told jokes about their nagging wives. It was a mansplaining festival. Wives were apologizing, using elbows, sighing loudly. Why do men assume we want to hear their opinions on every damn thing? The Battle of Lake Erie featuring Admiral Perry is already very 'manly' in terms of who participated. The restoration of the ship was led by men. The museum is filled with almost no reference to women and one noticeably distinct section devoted to Black male participants. It is as if the perspectives of the mothers, wives and other women living in Erie deserve no representation. They certainly had voices and opinions. To be fair, the current crew does include women, including the one who was working on the brig while

we toured. She did not seem thrilled when our tour guide asked her to share her feelings about being a female crew member. The tour guide did not ask any of the male crew to disrupt their work to discuss gender equity issues. Mansplaining isn't a phenomanon reserved for boorish Tinder dates and drunk uncles. It is a systemic presence in the workplace; my partner was unphased by the tour extras because she deals with the behavior at work every day. I'm less tolerant, perhaps because I work from home and came from a female dominated industry. If the museum and tour created space for the voices of others involved in the battle, perhaps they'd attract a different audience and remain relevant as their Baby Boomer supporters age out of active docent duty. I'm not suggesting eliminating the traditional content, just streamlining it to create more room for representative stories. If I notice, trust me that the Millenials and Gen Y tourists will take note. Later in our trip, we toured the historical lumber ghost towns of the Clarion River, our guide was a 71-year-old cis, het, white man. He was awesome. He encouraged questions and didn't shy away from tough questions from my social justice

stance on historical representation. And he literally wrote the book (with his brother) on this topic. Granted, we didn't have company on the second tour. I wonder if any docent training program anywhere in the nation teaches white men how to nix the "wife jokes" as part of their duty to tell representative stories? Our Elk County guide talked about his ex-wife with respect and in appropriate context. It seems utterly ridiculous to be sprawled in our Victorian B&B suite in the PA Wilds claiming to strike a blow for visibility. But this is reality and visibility starts with someone being willing to claim space. Because of the 300+ stories we’ve collected for the #AMPLIFY project, I know these queer voices are here now and deserve to be acknowledged. Just like I know queer, female, Black, Brown, Indigenous and other voices were in the PA Wilds during the lumber boom and in Erie during the War of 1812. For more than 300 years, Penn-

sylvania has had many cis het white male voices controlling historical narratives and current conversations. We can and should seriously invest in how women and non binary folks, Black and Brown people of color, Indigenous persons, youth, people with disabilities, queer folks and others who helped to shape this Commonwealth have been telling those same stories all these years. It is important that all cis white het men continuously assess if they are getting out of the way to create space for marginalized voices. That can mean anything from organizing exhibits in museums to training docents and others who interact with the public. We still live in a world where the opinions of a queer woman are preferably consumed in small doses, just like the experiences of Black men in the Battle of Lake Erie are confined to a corner exhibit, both to avoid overwhelming the frayed knots and authentic recreations of the story versions we prefer.




REEL Q BRINGS FILMS THAT SATE DESIRES FOR DIVERSE LGTBQ REPRESENTATION BY JMEG FAIR- PITTSBURGH CURRENT MANAGING EDITOR MEG@PITTSBURGHCURRENT.COM The LGBTQ+ realm is a diverse community with endless stories to tell. But we live in a society that has a fear of deviating from telling the stories of those who have more power under the current systems in place-the stories of cisgender, heterosexual white people. Unfortunately these are so often the people who choose what films and directors get funding, what stories are worth uplifting and pushing. It isn’t all bleak-- the tide is turning slowly but surely. There are diverse, expertly crafted television shows like POSE about the African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom scene in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The 2016 film Moonlight was the first film with an all-Black cast and an LGBTQ storyline to win the Oscar for Best Picture. There is all sorts of wholesome queer love and magic in cartoons like Steven Universe, and shows like Shrill on Netflix have prominent characters who are POC lesbians. That being said, the mainstream representation on display is a tiny drop in the giant bucket of popular culture. Whenever queer characters exist on screen, it can be so validating for those who relate and also a tool for empathy for those who don’t identify as queer. And that’s not to say that queer media is not out there or queer creators aren’t making powerful art across film and television. In fact, there have been LGBTQ creators both in and out of the closet who have been influencing and creating films since the beginning of film. An amazing selection of films in the LGBTQ world will be on display during the Reel Q Film Festival in Pittsburgh. From Thursday Oct. 3 to Saturday Oct. 12th, there will be panels, parties, screenings and eclectic programming that elevate LGBTQ creators and stories. One of these films, Caroline Berler’s Dykes, Camera, Action, dives into the history of lesbian film. It presents the earliest (and usually

Dykes, Camera, Action

tragic) representations of lesbians in film and reveals the lesbian influence on experimental film and the work lesbians did during the New Queer Cinema in the ‘90s and onward. It’s educational, but it’s also very entertaining. Scream, Queen! is a documentary that explores the creation of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, a horror film that some believe is the first gay horror movie that was ever created. In additional to historical documentaries, there are films that explore LGBTQ issues in 2019. Michael Barnett’s documentary Changing the Game is a powerful example of this, following three teenage athletes who


are trans on their respective journeys through the world of athletics. It’s an urgent and powerful documentary that reveals the transphobia so deeply embedded in sports culture. In addition to documentaries, there are feature films, animated piece, short films, international films and beyond. It’s a vast array of experiences, voices and creators, so there’s something for everyone. The body of work on display at Reel Q reveals there are so many queer stories that need to be told, and so many people who can benefit from hearing and seeing those stories. The executive director of Reel Q

Film Festival, T.J. Murphy, took a moment to answer some questions about the upcoming festival at Row House Cinema. How has Reel Q evolved since its inception? What was your goal this year? The film festival started in 1985 as part of a partnership with Pittsburgh Filmmakers. It was a weekend-long event for the first few years, but then we started to grow, and in 1987, we registered as a nonprofit, formed a board and started running as an independent organization. We are now the fifth oldest LGBTQ film festival in America and the sixth oldest in the

ART entire world. We are also the longest consecutively running film festival in Pittsburgh. Our goal this year, as always, is to create a space for the community to engage with award winning queer cinema and make new friends. What does the selection process look like for this festival? How many submissions do you generally receive, and how do you decide what makes the cut? We have a committee of volunteers who meet once a week year-round to screen brand new, first-run festival circuit films from every corner of the globe. We look at roughly 50 feature-length films or more when we’re deciding and more than 300 shorts. It takes the entire year to sift through everything. We keep an eye on what will be meaningful for the Pittsburgh community, and what our audience should see that they may not necessarily be able to access elsewhere. A lot of the films we screen end up disappearing or falling into obscurity, we look for films that are impactful and then make them accessible. Why is it important to have queer representation in film/media generally? Why do you think queer voices and faces are so often left out of popular culture? What can film fans and viewers do to push for more representation? The most important start is to support queer artists. Film festivals have a way of creating a strong sense of community, in this case for the queer community, and it’s so important to have that in Pittsburgh. It’s a great place to meet new people and learn about local and international causes. Coming together as a community with like-minded people and supporting queer artists who are telling our stories on the big screen. There’s something for everyone in our programming and I think that’s telling in today’s climate. All people are hungry to tell their stories and be heard today. What films are you most excited about his year? That's an impossible question to answer! Every film in the line-up this year is worth a trip! That being said, we have some really special events this year. We’re bringing back our Teen Dreams youth shorts program

Changing the Game

on Oct 5th at 1. Open to everyone and pay what makes you happy for anyone 21 and under. Starting at noon that day we’ll be co-hosting a drag queen storytime with White Whale Bookstore, we’ll also be offering light food. On Wednesday the 9th we’re presenting the regional premier of Where Justice Ends, a film at the intersection of two important and timely topics of social justice - conditions within the U.S. prison system and the injustices that befall transgender people encountering the law. Following the film is a panel discussion with director George Zuber and one of the film’s subjects, CeCe McDonald, moderated by Sisters Pgh Executive Director Ciora Thomas. On Friday Oct 11th, we’re presenting the regional premier of Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, an examination of the infamous homoerotic subtext of Nightmare on Elm St 2 and the special place the film holds in the Nightmare franchise as well as the gay film canon. Partly in thanks to evolving social mores, Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - which was considered controversial at the time of its release - is now being looked back upon with a new appreciation and fondness by horror aficionados and

fans of the series. Following the film will be a Q&A with the directors and Nightmare on Elm Street 2 star Mark Patton! Stick around for the midnight screening of the film and a complimentary bloody cocktail. What different kinds of events can people can look forward to this year? We do have some exciting parties this year. Our opening and closing night parties are at Row House— opening night will feature a local queer DJ, drinks and food from Lawrenceville restaurants. It’s a great time to learn all about the festival and to meet all of our volunteers and board members. The closing party will feature a documentary called Gay Chorus Deep South, which follows the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir on a tour of the deep south. It won the best documentary film at Outfest, which is LA’s LGBT festival. This will be followed by a mini-performance by the Renaissance City Choir. After the performance local production company Dump Star Media will be co-presenting our after party with a live performance by Rob Boss, vendors, and more! Since 2006, The Pittsburgh Lesbian

Scream Queen

and Gay Film Society, which organizes Reel Q, also organizes yearround programming outside of Reel Q to serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities of Pittsburgh, as well as the regions around our city. Find the schedule for this year’s Reel Q Film Festival on page 18.


ART extent of people of color, but racist policies meant for people of color typically end up harming white people, too. It ends up harming Americans. You can tell that shared story.

Ibram X. Kendi (Photo: Jeff Watts, American University)


Talk to me about space. About black spaces, and about integrated and protected space. I wanted to emphasize that not just black people but black spaces are viewed as less than or inferior. Spaces where black people govern or are in the majority are viewed as inferior to white spaces. To be an antiracist is to not just view people as equal, but to also view their spaces as equals. For racist white people, the solution to racial problems is herding of people of color into white spaces and the elimination of all spaces created and maintained by people of color. Thereby, it would be very difficult for people of color to reproduce and create culture and ways of life that are distinct from the cultures and ways of life of white people.

directly how policy is impacting the life chances of people. Racist ideas sound chemically engineered to trigger certain sensors in your brain, like fast-food. Historically, the most powerful people have had the bully pulpits and the platforms from which they can project those racist ideas. While antiracist ideas have typically come from the margins of society. Racist ideas are meant to be believed. They are tailored for human consumption. For those who project these ideas -- truth doesn't matter, complexity doesn't matter. With antiracist ideas, what matters fundamentally is truth and logic and evidence.



bram X. Kendi is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a professor of history and the founding director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. With clear, audacious and innovative thinking, his new book, 'How to Be an Antiracist' (One World Press, 2019), blows the doors off institutional racism and its real world effects. In light of the recent study ranking Pittsburgh as one of the most unhealthy cities in America for black residents, Kendi's visit feels especially essential. He spoke to the Current via telephone from his home in Washington, D.C. (Answers have been edited for length.) Can you talk about the terms 'racist' and 'antiracist' and 'not racist?' The heartbeat of racism is denial. Every group of racists in American history have self-identified themselves as 'not racist.' They refuse to recognize their ideas, their policies as racist. A large part of our debate over who or what is racist has been based on differing definitions of

the term. Americans cannot define racists in a way that always exonerates them and, I think, historically, that's what Americans have normally been doing. The term 'not racist' has always been a defensive term. A racist constantly denies the ways in which they are being racist; an antiracist constantly recognizes and admits the ways in which they are being racist, so they can be different and better. You write that Americans have been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy. But we also hear that people need stories and narratives. How do we bridge that divide? It's hard to tell the story of a policy. But you can tell the stories of how people are the victims of racists policies. Not only by telling the story of how people of color are victimized by mass incarceration -- you can simultaneously tell the story of white people who are victimized by mass incarceration. White people have been mass incarcerated, not to the


Can you talk about the intersection of racism and capitalism, racism and colonialism, homophobia, misogyny? Racism reinforces all these other forms of bigotry and bigoted policies. Individuals are not just racialized -- they have a gender or they're non-gendered. They have a class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality. So bigotry towards one's sexual orientation, or one's gender or one's class, intersects with bigotry towards one's race. Can you talk more about the intoxicating nature of racist ideas? Generally speaking, racist ideas connote that the problem is people, antiracist ideas connote that the problem is bad policy. Part of the reason why racist ideas are so seductive and widespread is because they are easy to believe. Antiracist ideas are much more complex and much harder to believe. People regularly see, for lack of a better term, the bad behaviors of people in their face. Regularly. It's easier to believe that the problem in general is precisely what they see on a day to day basis. Since policy is more removed, oftentimes hidden, it's very difficult for people to see


will speak as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Ten Evenings Program on Monday, October 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland


Don Giovanni at Pittsburgh Opera


“It always feels very good to come back here, because I've done a lot of good work here over the years and I really like the people at Pittsburgh Opera,” McIntyre says. Although the opera features a new setting, the plot points remain the same, she says. “This concept really just brings out the darkness and some of the interesting themes that already exist in the opera,” she says. “People will find it gives them a really kind of fresh look at it and makes a lot of the themes instantly recognizable and understandable.” “Don Gionvanni” features current Pittsburgh Opera resident artists and alumni of the program, including Corrie Stallings, who plays Donna Elvira, a woman wronged by Giovanni who aims to seek revenge. Although some productions

Kristine McIntyre (Photo: Cory Weaver)

Louis and Syracuse Opera. The Bay Area resident now calls Pittsburgh home base. “The minute I got here I knew I loved it,” she says. First time attending the opera? According to Stallings, “Don Giovanni” is a good one to start out with. “It's very exciting,” Stallings says. “It’s got a little bit everything.” According to McIntyre, the opera



ccording to “Don Giovanni” director Kristine McIntyre, there’s a reason why the 1787 opera remains fresh. “This notion of a man taking advantage of his position over women is nothing new,” she says. “It feels like this is a story kind of ripped from the headlines.” Pittsburgh Opera opens its 20192020 season with a reimagined version of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” placing the classic opera in a 1940s film noir setting, complete with costumes and stage design reminiscent of the time period. Don Giovanni (Craig Verm) is a charming nobleman who, with the help of his right-hand man, Leporello (Musa Ngqungwana), keeps a journal of his many conquests. Don Giovanni sexually assaults Donna Anna (Rachelle Durkin), then kills her father, the Commendatore (Brian Kontes), who had tried to come to her defense. He seduces young Zerlina (Antonia Botti-Lodovico, a current Pittsburgh Opera resident artist) on her wedding day. By the end of the show, Giovanni faces consequences for his actions.

According to McIntyre, putting the opera into the movie style came about when working on a production of the opera with the Kentucky Opera, where she was asked to think of a new way to approach “Don Giovanni.” “I like to do things in an American idiom. I was thinking ‘American’ and ‘anti-hero,’ and then it just came to me [that] film noir answers a lot of that,” she says. “It's sort of the original place where we let ourselves be fascinated by the bad boys.” McIntyre has also directed the film noir version of the opera at the Utah Opera, Palm Beach Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, bringing this performance to Pittsburgh for the first time. However, this is her ninth production with Pittsburgh Opera. She last directed Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's operatic adaptation of Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” in 2018. "It's always a pleasure to work with Kristine on Pittsburgh Opera productions, and ‘Don Giovanni’ is no exception," Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn wrote in an email to the Current.

Don Giovanni at Pittsburgh Opera

portray her as volatile and wildly emotional, Stallings believes her character is more nuanced than that. “She's a complicated woman who feels things very deeply. I'm in my thirties and I have definitely had experiences in my life with relationships where they may not be the best for you, but there's something about the person that really draws you in, even when you know it's maybe not the best,” Stallings says. “So I think it's very relatable, especially for me.” Since graduating from the resident artist program in 2016, Stallings has performed with the Boston Midsummer Opera, Opera Theatre of St.

is perfect for film appreciators, theatre lovers and opera goers, both seasoned and new. She says, “This production is a really great blending of great music, really intense drama and filmic elements that will be really visually interesting to people.”


“DON GIOVANNI.” Oct. 12, 15, 18 and 20. Various times. Benedum Center. 237 7th Street, Downtown. 412-281-0912 or www.



Jareth the Goblin King by Rhonda Libbey




s September turns to October, society’s collective mind turns to the spooky season of Halloween. It is a time the imagination can run wild, making it a favorite time of year for lovers of the fantastic. Panza Gallery & Framing in Millvale will be hosting a fantastic Halloween special of its own with “As The World Falls Down,” an open

call exhibition for all artists in the tri-state area. Panza Gallery was opened by Mark Panza in 1986 as both a framing shop and a space to feature local art. His daughter, Jennifer Panza, conceived of and organized the upcoming exhibit, inspired by Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy film, Labyrinth. The film is a coming-of-age story where Goblin King Jareth, portrayed by David Bow-


ie, and 15-year-old Sarah, played by Jennifer Connelly, fight for the soul of Toby, Sarah’s infant brother. “I’m a child of the ’80s, and I’m a huge fan of the film Labyrinth,” Jennifer Panza says. “I’ve always had this dream of having a grand Halloween art show and ball, all rolled into one.” With that idea in mind, she found an ideal collaborator to bring the concept to life when she reached out to the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, who were enthused about the concept and willing to assist in recruiting talent. “[Pittsburgh Society of Artists] wanted to help me promote it, and they also spread the word to their members,” she says. As part of the open call, artists were to take inspiration from not only Labyrinth, but also from legendary creators of fantasy illustration. “The artwork is supposed to be fantasy-based but inspired by the work of Brian Froud and Jim Henson,” Panza says. In keeping with this theme, the art submitted thus far runs the gamut of subject matter and medium. Visual artist Bill Karaffa, an exhibition chair at Pittsburgh Society of Artists, entered a painting inspired by the “helping hands,” a mass of disembodied hands that direct Jennifer Connelly’s character through the film’s titular labyrinth. Jim Henson’s influence is also deeply evident in the submissions, particularly that of Christine Fondi, who crafted an original puppet in Henson’s style for the exhibition. Some were even compelled to create outside the bounds of stationary art pieces. Multimedia artist Ethan Michaels submitted an original animated short, inspired both by Labyrinth as well as M.C. Escher’s famous painting, “Relativity,” known for its endless staircases. “As The World Falls Down” will close with a celebration inspired by one of the film’s later scenes, a scene from which the exhibition also derives its name. “Towards the end of the movie, there’s a big masquerade ball that Jennifer Connelly’s character is in,” Panza says. “There’s a song playing by David Bowie in the scene called ‘As the World Falls Down.’” Guests for the Masquerade Ball are

to attend in costume, with the best outfit winning an award. The ball will also feature live music, a DJ, and caricature artist Jack Puglisi. All this is to spread the spirit of the Halloween season, and remind us of the continued influence of artists, past and present. “I hope that people find joy in this like I do,” Panza says. “For me, it’s about a feeling of nostalgia, and I hope people get that feeling, too.”

Unconscious Narratives, Paths of Choice, of Chance or of Fate? by William Karaffa

“AS THE WORLD FALLS DOWN” will be on display from October 4 to 26.

An opening reception will be held on October 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., and the Masquerade Ball will be held October 26 from 6 p.m. to midnight. Tickets for the Masquerade Ball are limited to the first 120 registrants. For more information, visit or

















Piano and Intimate Conversation





speciaL events TICKETS + PASSES












OCTOBER 1 On hearing that it’s been eight years since Centipede Eest last played a show, some might exclaim, “That simply cannot be!” It seems like only yesterday that we were all packing in to smoky bars to hear Pittsburgh’s coolest rock heads play far-out freeform jams. Drawing from avant funk, free jazz and experimental rock, Centipede Eest knew how to get people psyched. The band faded out in 2012 as everyone got busy with life stuff. But tonight, the original four members reunite (minus Josh Tanzer, who has since relocated) to open for Chicago’s ambient krautrockers Bitchin Bajas. If you missed the first wave of Eest fever, take this as a sign and get to the gig. Alvin Row and DJ Mary Mack also appear. 8 p.m. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $10. www.brilloboxpgh. com (MW)


The G1/GW Gallery presents The Red Carpet Project, a collaboration of different art forms meant to humanize women who were victims of domestic violence. This collaboration features paintings and staged readings of the play In Shelter by local actresses. The Red Carpet Project will be available Oct 2 - Oct 5 and Oct 9 - Oct 12. There is no ticket price, but donations will be accepted. 6 p.m. 4106 Howley St. $20 suggested donation. 708-305-2538 or (EA)


The Byham Theater hosts the 19th Off The Record event, poking fun

at the news and newsmakers of the year. A pre-show starting at 6:30 will feature food from local restaurants, all included in the ticket price. This event benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and local scholarships. 8 p.m. 101 6th St. $31.25 - $81.25. (EA) For those 21 and older, come to the Heinz History Center for the start of Heinztoberfest, a monthlong celebration of the H.J. Heinz Company’s 150th anniversary. Tour the History Center after hours while enjoying a hot dog bar and cocktails from Wigle Whiskey. 6:30 p.m. 1212 Smallman St. $15. or (EA) Dancers Against Normal Actions present Zugzwang and Other Works Oct 4 and Oct 5 at City Theater’s Lester Hamburg Studio. 8 p.m. 1300 Bingham St. $20. 412-606-7873 or (EA)

OCTOBER 4 Pittsburgh-based progressive metal trio, Blue Clutch, releases its debut record, Silent Oblivion. Formed in early 2016 by drummer Lia Silverbeams and singer/guitarist Sarah Halter, Rich Kastory joined them on bass and the band has been building its heavy melodic sound ever since. Halter’s clean, powerful vocals lends an almost folk-metal flavor to the trio’s proggy explorations, and a dynamic rhythm section propels the music forward. The release show, at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls, also


features performances by We Were Telepathic and The Night’s Watch. 7:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $10-12. (MW


Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village partners with the Society for Pennsylvania Archeology for a day-long event. Learn how archeologists use modern technology to uncover the lives of prehistoric people and bring artifacts to have them professionally identified. Students, children, active servicemembers and veterans, seniors, and History Center members receive discounted admission. 11 a.m. 401 Meadowcroft Rd. Avella. $15 general admission. (EA) The trajectory of David Bazan over the past decade has been a fascinating one. The singer/ songwriter gained a devoted following while at the helm of the band Pedro the Lion. He was particularly popular with young Christians, who were relieved to hear a fellow person of faith express their own darkest thoughts and doubts. Then over a series of solo records, Bazan dealt publically with his gradual questioning, and eventual loss of faith, thereby alienating a major part of his base. Filmmaker Brandon Vedder has a new documentary about Bazan’s path, which has its Pittsburgh premiere at the Regent Square Theater. The film has enjoyed positive reviews since first showing at SXSW –, for one, called it “poetic and deeply personal.” Whether you’re a fan of Bazan, or just interested in ideas of faith, community and personal liberation, don’t miss it. 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. $12. Cinema. (MW)


Pop-punk devotees, dust off your Vans and break out the Manic Panic. The time has come to join with your brethren this Sunday, Oct. 6 for the sixth annual Four Chord Music Festival. The all-day event, happening at Highmark Stadium, features late-90s mega-hit-makers The Offspring plus Simple Plan, Anberlin, Real Friends, Grayscale, Eternal Boy and more. The fest also includes, for the first time, live professional wrestling courtesy of Ryse Pro Wrestling. 11 a.m. 510 W. Station Square Drive., Station Square. $59.99-$140. 59. www. (MW) Jewell Parker Rhodes, an awardwinning author and North Side native, joins the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series at Carnegie Lecture Hall. Rhodes has published several novels and a memoir but is most passionate about children’s literature, for which she has published five books including her most recent, Ghost Boys. The event is free with reservation either online, by phone or at the door starting at 1:30 p.m. the day of the event. 2:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave. Free. 412-6228866 or (EA) Join the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program for the start of Italian Heritage Month. Attendees can explore their family trees, watch live cooking demonstrations, browse an Italian American bazaar and enjoy more activities on every floor of the museum. Children age 17 and under receive free admission. 10 a.m. 1212 Smallman St. Free for kids, $18 general admission. (EA)


The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh host Scott Hunter for an Artist Talk + Reception featuring his mixed media

EVENTS work, “Mixed Red,�on display until Dec 8. The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided. 5:30 p.m. 212 Wood St. Free 412-361-1370 (EA)


The Heinz History Center, the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium, Disability Rights Pennsylvania and Disability Voting Coalition partner to host a number of speakers and panels on the history of voting access for disabled Pennslyvanians and ongoing efforts to ensure that access. We Count: Pennsylvanians with Disabilities and the Right to Vote is a free event with registration. 1 p.m. 1212 Smallman St. Free. (EA) Three decades in, DMBQ is still making some of the heaviest, most vital, most life-giving psychedelic sludge on the planet. Inspired by the likes of Zepplin, Hendrix and Deep Purple, the Tokyo-based trio (the name stands for Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet) takes those hard-rock grooves past a point of containment. “No Things,� for example, from 2018’s Keeenly, cops a Sabbath riff before exploding into hallucinogenic fuzz. Guitarist and founding member Shinji Masuko (who last performed in Pittsburgh solo, in 2011) has a knack for building and deconstructing sound, and DMBQ knows how to send its listeners to outer space. Go get your mind blown when the band plays Brillobox on Thursday, Oct. 10. Terry and the Cops, Expires and Scam Plans also appear. 8 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., www. (MW)

OCTOBER 11 Take part in a Game Night Sleepover at the Carnegie Science Center. Play giant Jenga and ConnectFour or take part in Mario Kart on the Center’s giant screen. Attendees receive a late night snack, continental breakfast

and free admission to the whole Center the following day. 6 p.m. One Allegheny Ave. $39. 412-237-3400 or (EA)


CPR and various kinds of first aid. Class sizes are limited to 15 people, and pets should be left at home. Preregistration is required. 12:30 p.m. 562 Camp Horne Rd. $80. 412-8477000 (EA)

Celebrate Coming Out Day at the P Town Bar with karaoke. Sing songs with friends and enjoy some jelloshots. Renaissance City Choir will be collecting donations at the door, as well as holding a 50/50 raffle and basket raffles to give away prizes. 7:30 p.m. 4740 Baum Blvd. $10 suggested donation. 412-621-0111 (EA)


The Borough of Dormont holds their 12th Annual Dormont Street Fair. Enjoy live music and local foods while browsing a variety of vendors and booths. 3 p.m. Potomac Ave. Free. 412-561-8900 (EA) St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church hosts a fall food festival. Purchase authentic foods and baked goods, and enter a basket raffle to win prizes. 11 a.m. 73 S 18th St. Free. 412-431-9758 (EA) Take a trip on a Mad Gateway Scientist Laboratory Cruise with the Gateway Clipper Fleet and experience some spooky science. The Mad Scientist and his three lab assistants promise an entertaining trip down the three rivers of Pittsburgh. Kids can participate in the experiments, and a Halloweenthemed DJ dance party will follow. 1:30 p.m. 350 W Station Square Dr. $13 for kids, $26 for adults. (EA)


The Neighborhood Flea holds their last event of 2019. Look for hidden treasures made by local craftsmen and enjoy live music and good food from Pittsburgh vendors. Parking is $3 at The Hub Parking Lot. 10 a.m. 26th St. and Smallman St. Free admission. 412-254-4464 (EA)

RADical Days is holding free admission to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Bring the whole family to view the exhibits free of charge, funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District. Families are also encouraged to check the listings for other free days and events. 10 a.m. 4400 Forbes Ave. Free. radworkshere. org (EA)

OCTOBER 14 Pet owners can sign up to take a class with Animal Friends to learn how to care for their pets in emergency situations. The class will cover pet

Steeltown Entertainment Project offers two eight-week classes to aspiring screenwriters. Introduction to Screenwriting with Jeff Monahan will focus on writings scenes and developing a treatment for a feature screenplay, while Script Development with Tim Papciak will teach writers story analysis and industry insight. 6 p.m. 2100 Wharton St. $300. 412-251-0890 or (EA) Snapology Animation Studio invites kids ages 7-14 to make their own stop-motion LEGOÂŽ brick movies. Children will work in teams and learn to add dialogue and sound effects to their productions, and finished projects will be uploaded to a secure site for friends and family to enjoy. Pre-registration is required. 1 p.m. 1350 Old Pond Rd. Bridgeville. $45. 412-295-1545 or pittsburgh. (EA)

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The Zells, Photo by Shauna Miller




he Zells may be a slacker rock band, but the Pittsburgh group’s latest EP is anything but lazy. No More Heroes sounds like smoking weed on your front porch with your closest friends while you take turns talking about your lives and your overarching desire to drop out of society. Specific? Sure. But the sound of this five-song EP has a little

something for everyone, including tinges of twinkly emo, dashes of power pop and jangly rock. The varied sound was very much a result of the band members each taking on writing responsibilities. All five Zells (Frank DiNardo, Jackson Rogers, Philip Kenbok, Roman Benty, Tyler Gallagher) have writing credits on this release. A band member brings an original idea, and the


band begins to communally work it out. “The important thing is that we get all of our best ideas out there, and everyone contributing lyrically and vocally is a bonus. We like to have multiple ‘lead singers’ at once, and we tend to inform each others’ lyrics,” say The Zells in a collectively composed email to the Current. “The advantage of this is that there is no ownership over the creative

process, and we feel more comfortable with each other as a result,” they wrote. “Plus, there's five songwriters so we have plenty (if not too much) material.” The warm, fuzzy sound, on the other hand, is a result of the band’s recording process. For its last album, the band recorded with Rowdy Kanarek at Post Office Studios. But this EP was recorded in DiNardo’s

basement studio. “We had done pretty much all of our early recordings ourselves, so we felt confident and excited about taking this on especially because we felt like these songs catered nicely to a warm, lo-fi, basement recorded sound,” writes the band. “We've always loved and been heavily influenced by lo-fi stuff like Japanther, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, etc. Also, we're poor as fuck.” But the lo-fi, “low-budget” sound and energy is well suited to The Zells’ attitude and spirit. It’s defiant, happy-go-lucky and self-assured. It feels like the reflection of the millennial and zoomer generations, doing the absolute best with whatever challenges are thrown their way and managing to have fun and make it work while seeming cooly aloof. This shines through in the Zells’ old-school film music video for “Saturday.” There’s roller skating choreography (and a few moments of giggle-inducing wobbliness), matching outfits, cheeky shots and self-aware silliness. The Zells can be seen performing in roller skates in a Christmas-light checkered basement and mock-playing instruments in front of abandoned houses overgrown with ivy. Despite the goofiness, the band plays a lot and puts out solid work. “Maybe a year or two ago, we all kind of realized that this was the thing we've all prioritized most for the better part of the last decade. No matter the turns and challenges life has thrown at us, we all keep coming back to this as the process that fulfills our sense of self, and makes us excited about our day-to-day,” says the band. “Creating, performing, making new friends, and traveling are all cool things that yield new experiences and perspectives. It's a way to grow with the people you care about, we are best friends. And it's nice to have this to talk about instead of our day jobs.”


EP release show with RAVE AMI, STRING MACHINE, CRUEL INTENTIONS, DJ AUNT BUCK. 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. Howler’s, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5.

October 12 - 20

Mozart’s masterpiece meets film noir Benedum Center • Tickets $14+ • Kids half-price English supertitles projected above the stage Tuesday Night Sponsor: Ambridge Regional Distribution & Manufacturing Center

Season Sponsor


MUSIC Rave Ami drummer Evan Meindl will sit behind the trap set. Ley has been here before. He toured aggressively after joining Black Tie Revue in 2004. Though he cut his milk-teeth playing drums in the Natrona Heights area, he has developed quite the role as a jack of all trades. “There’s a luxury in being able to do a lot of things a little bit,” Ley laughs. “In Black Tie Revue, it was keyboards. In Delicious Pastries, it was drums. My role [in Chariot Fade] is to try to do all things. There are things that need to get done and I’m happy to let that happen.” “I’m reluctant to use a label,” he adds. “And it’s turning out really well.”


PAULA LOCKWOOD. 8 p.m. Wed., Oct 2. Spirit, 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $7.

Chariot Fade (Photo: Dustin Walsh)




hen Chariot Fade formed earlier this year, it was contained mostly to three musicians and two rooms of home-recording equipment. Listening to the pristine and ethereal psych-pop of its two-song sampler on Bandcamp, self-released in September, you’d never know the trio’s story was so home-spun. “For the last eight months, it’s been us, locked away, working on new ideas, working on some mixes – we’ve isolated ourselves,” says band member Jesse Ley. Not for long. Chariot Fade will make its live debut Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Spirit in Lawrenceville. “It was like, ‘Oh we have a show coming up – we have to learn how to play these songs,’” laughs Ley. “Tran-

sitioning from a studio-focus band to a performance-focused band has been really fun.” Chariot Fade – which features multi-instrumentalists Ley, Jonathan Chamberlain and Stephen Gallo – formed out of the trio’s roles in the more guitar-driven Delicious Pastries. That band played its final show in February at Howler’s. “We were working on songs that didn’t have names attached to them; some of them started in the previous band and just didn’t fit,” says Chamberlain. “When [Yip Deceiver] said, ‘We’re coming through Pittsburgh. Do you have a band ready?’ we laughed and said, ‘We can get a band ready.’” Chariot Fade is an interesting meeting point of sample-heavy,


groove-based indie rock like Stereolab or Of Montreal and the nuanced psychedelics of ’60s-era French pop. But what does a band that existed almost entirely in recordings made in Ley’s living room and Gallo’s bedroom do when it’s got a gig coming? “We’re learning about how to play live,” Chamberlain says. “It’s an interesting thing. ‘How are we going to do this live? Who’s going to play what?’” On Oct. 2, Chamberlain will (mostly) take on front-man duties, singing and playing guitar and keyboards. Ley will handle keyboards and work on triggering samples. Gallo will play guitar. But Chariot Fade will be a five-piece at Spirit; Dane Adelman, of the recently disbanded trio The Lampshades, will play bass live and

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hi Ilochi is a 19 year old singer/songwriter, journalist, poet, fashion designer, and personal stylist from Pittsburgh, PA. Born in Nigeria, she runs three design and styling businesses. If that wasn’t enough, she has been making music since she was 7 years old and is currently promoting her latest single, “Truth Be Told” which is available on Spotify. I want to thank Chi for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Ravi Coltrane



he best way to break the ice in a conversation with Ravi Coltrane is to ask him about his sopranino saxophone. While he plays tenor saxophone primarily, he has dabbled in the smallest member of the saxophone family, one rarely heard outside of more adventurous players like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell. Having seen him play the sopranino at a jazz festival, this writer got a laugh out of Coltrane by asking him about it a few years ago. “I bought the instrument as kind of a lark,” Coltrane said. “It was so difficult to play it in tune that it never left my house for about five years! It has some grit to it.” Performing with trumpeter Ralph Alessi’s group during Winter Jazz Fest 2019, he had clearly mastered the instrument when he pulled it out at the end of the night. But looking for new challenges has been a passion that runs in the family. His lineage could put him on a musical fast track, but Ravi Coltrane didn’t become a professional tenor saxophonist until he was in his 20s. The son of John and Alice Coltrane, he never got to know his father before the revered tenor saxophonist passed away in 1967. His pianist mother continued recording music, combining spirituality with free flowing jazz. Ravi playing a significant

role on her 2004 Translinear Light album, which was both a comeback for her and a swan song, as she died in 2007. No less than drummer Elvin Jones, his dad’s former powerhouse associate, convinced Ravi he was ready to play in the early ’90s. While his father’s legacy is always at arm’s length (literally, in his case), the younger Coltrane has developed his own musical personality and devoted audience. His September residency at New York’s Village Vanguard was marked by several sold-out nights. His Pittsburgh band features pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Kush Abadey. While the live performances are one thing, Coltrane expressed hesitancy two years ago about when his next album will appear. “There’s such a flood of jazz recordings. I’d like to get back to making records at some point but I feel like I have to have a reason! Making a record just because you have the opportunity to make a record is not enough of a reason,” he said. Apparently the emphasis on high quality is another family trait.

RAVI COLTRANE. 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $35. 412-320-4610

The first album you ever bought? The first album I ever bought as crazy as it sounds was To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. Growing up, I never searched to buy albums because they were always available thanks to my siblings and parents. As an adult, I knew after I heard I had to buy TPAB. It’s an absolute masterpiece. Your last album bought? The last album I bought was Chasing Summer by SiR. Favorite album of all time? Without hesitation I have to say Baduizm by Erykah Badu. She inspires everything I do, and that album got me through so much and still does. A timeless body of art. “On & On”, “Next Lifetime”, “Otherside Of The Game”. Amazing. Least favorite/most disappointing album? I hate to say because I love LOVE this artist, but I’d have to say Apollo XXI by Steve Lacy. Now don’t get me wrong, Steve is an amazing artist. I am inspired by his work, and style. His artistry is like nothing I’ve seen before, but I didn’t understand the approach he was going for, or at least the message he was trying to convey. In layman’s terms I was a bit confused listening to this album, there were a few good tracks in my opinion, but I still feel it could’ve been better.

Last concert? The Top Dawg Entertainment Tour in 2018. Favorite concert ever? TDE Tour in 2018, ha. That concert was absolutely insane! Least favorite concert? I honestly don’t have one. Every concert I’ve been to I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully it stays that way for a while! Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh? I am loving the talent I’ve seen come out of this city as of late. It’s truly inspiring to witness, we need more of it. For the most part I am pleased with the music scene, although I must say we have to learn to support each other a bit more so it isn’t such a huge challenge for an artist to “make it out” if you will. Hugh’s Final Thoughts Thanks, Chi. It is amazing to me all the creative endeavors you are able to accomplish and it is not necessarily because of your age, although that is impressive. When I am introduced to young artists, I always imagine the wonderful future you are making for yourself and I get so excited as I look forward to witnessing your progression. Hugh Twyman (AKA HughShows) has been documenting the Pittsburgh music scene since 2004. His website ( features a comprehensive Pittsburgh Concert Calendar, episodes of HughShowsTV, a newly launched public Pittsburgh music database, exclusive audio streams from local bands, thousands of his concert photos and his trademark First/Last interview series. Support Chi:;

First concert attended? Lil Romeo in 2008. PITTSBURGH CURRENT | OCTOBER 1, 2019 | 27


Melvins (Buzz Osborne, center) Photo courtesy of Chris Mortenson



hen Buzz Osborne visits Pittsburgh Saturday, Oct. 5 for punk-metal veterans Melvins’ concert at Rex Theater in South Side, he won’t hit the haunts most tourists frequent. There will be no baseball game at PNC Park, no visit to the fountain at The Point. No photos from the Mt. Washington overlook. No sammich at Primanti’s. After soundcheck around 4 p.m. that afternoon, in fact, he’d prefer to stay at the club and eat take-out for dinner. It helps him focus on the task at hand. “It’s really all about the work,” says Osborne in a phone interview from the road, shortly after arriving in Kansas City. “I’ve often said, ‘Why are we here?’ I’m here to do my job and unless I take this as seriously as I would any other job, it’s not right. We’re presenting music and we’re expecting people to pay for this. It’s a job. I have to take it seriously.” That dedication to the craft has paid off for one of underground rock’s most accomplished and storied guitarists, a man whose best

work frequently toes the line between Black Sabbath and Captain Beefheart. And Osborne – better known to fans as King Buzzo -- keeps busy. Melvins seem to start a new tour before even unpacking from the last one. And the band has hit Pittsburgh hard in recent years. Osborne and company played at the former Altar Bar in Strip District in 2016 with Helms Alee, and at Rex Theater at least twice – in 2017 with fellow Ipecac Recordings artists Spotlights and in 2018 with All Souls. None of those even come close to a local debut; that happened when Melvins first played Pittsburgh back around 1990, in the band’s heady, pre-Atlantic days, Osborne says. “It was a lot more hilly than I expected and it looked like the set for ‘Deer Hunter,’” which, of course, it was. “Pittsburgh was good enough for the Andy Warhol Museum – it’s good enough for us.” Some bands skip Pittsburgh in favor of going from Cleveland right to Philadelphia. Not Melvins. It’s


playing Pittsburgh and Cleveland. And Philadelphia. And Columbus. The trio, which features Osborne, drummer Dale Crover, and bassist Steven McDonald, does nothing if not hit the stage with a preacher’s fervor for the pulpit. “Pittsburgh’s on the way to everything else,” Osborne says. “I’m not afraid of anywhere. I’m happy we can do a show where people are out at all. If there’s someone in Pittsburgh who wants to see us, I’ll play.” For those keeping count, yes, Melvins is rotating live staple “It’s Shoved” into the fall tour rotation, Osborne confirmed. But he also guards the secrets behind the setlists carefully, while stressing there’s a method to it all. “You think of [the setlist] more as you would a Broadway musical – when you go to see ‘West Side Story,’ they don’t mix up the set,” Osborne said. “We work out the sets before we leave. We play a different set every night and it shows. I’ve really thought about this set and this set order for reason. Every bit of that 60

minutes matters.” Melvins isn’t touring to support a new full-length LP, though it recently released split-singles with both Redd Kross and Flipper. “At this point in the game, touring and selling one record in any traditional form is absurd,” Osborne said. “We’re out here to sell all of our records.” To that end, he said, fans can expect an eclectic set with material from throughout the band’s 20+ studio albums, half-dozen EPs, and scores – upon scores! – of one-off singles. “I want to transform myself, be somewhere else, when I’m up on stage,” Osborne said. “I want to give people something they don’t always get when I’m up on that stage.” “It’s a tough road to hoe. But that’s the plan.”


with RED KROSS, TOSHI KASAI. 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. The Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $28. www.

On December 5th, 1933, Prohibition ended, restoring once again American's right to enjoy a good cocktail. Come celebrate this landmark day in style at the Speakeasy at Max's Allegheny Tavern. You will be transported back in time to go to a place where the gin is cold and the piano is hot. Enjoy unlimited hor d'oeuvers while you sip complimentary Quantum Spirit cocktails and wine from Pittsburgh Winery. Dip your cup in the bathtub gin while you enjoy live jazz.* Immerse yourself in the spirit of the 30's! Costumes are not required, but they are encouraged. The party ends at ten. Or does it? Rumors are making their way around town that an after party is being hosted at a secret location, to keep the celebration of the 21st Amendment going into the night. Hmmmm.... *a cash bar will also be available Tickets available at:




Current Photos by Jake Mysliwczyk

appy October! It’s the month for all things spooky, so each week we’ll be exploring one of Pittsburgh’s favorite neighborhood ‘haunts’! We start off in Castle Shannon at Someone Else’s Bar, where, much to customers’ delight, the decorations remain up year-round! Tucked back on Willow Street, where the Blue Line trains rumble by every couple of minutes, Someone Else’s Bar stands as a colorful beacon. The neons shine in bright white and reds, and the walkway to the front door has been transformed into a cornucopia-scene of fall, with bales of hay, gourds and pumpkins exploding around you. Before you’re even in the door you realize this place is going to be different. You walk in the door, and BAM. It is red, white, hearts and sugar skulls everywhere you look. Hearts and garland drip from the ceiling, and every tabletop has mason jars of Hershey Kisses, Twizzlers, and M&Ms. The aesthetic is creation of proprietor Else Franzmann, who is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her name-sake bar this month. And don’t let the ‘bar’ part fool you. While there is a lovely bar with plenty of seats, always full of people, the vibe at the Someone Else’s is very family-friendly. “I knew I wanted to attract families from the day I opened. My original slogan, which I never did get to use, was going to be ‘Babies in The Front, Bikers in the Back,” she recalls as she breaks into laughter. Meeting Franzmann, it’s very easy to see where the bar gets its look. With bright red lipstick, gleaming eyes and a beaming smile, it’s easy to see that Someone Else’s Bar is truly her creation, one that she’s been working on for, well, ten years. “When I first opened, I thought I would be a mostly-bar, some food, but,” she says, gesturing to the colorful chalkboards that festoon the wall with specials, “that didn’t last.” While it’s easy to be taken by colorful decor and candy on every flat surface, Someone Else’s Bar is bringing back


customers because of the quality of its food. Customers rave about the pulled pork, which you can get on a bed of fries, in a wrap, sandwich or even quesadilla. They pile in on Wednesday for Wing Night, and Thursday for $3 appetizer night. Hot Pepper Cheese Balls that you’ve only paid $3 for taste even better, if you can believe it. And I’ve heard their tuna melt is to die for. It’s not just the food that keeps people coming back and lining up out the door. It’s Franzmann herself. In the ten years she’s been opened, she’s greeted almost every single customer that comes through the door. She spends every dinner service flitting around the bar and dining room, refilling drinks, asking after family members, greeting folks by name and making every person in the place feel special. “Sometimes I freak people out,” she chuckles. “I had one regular come in and I said, ‘Hey, that’s the shirt you had on the last time I saw you! He looked sort of alarmed.’” But that’s just how she is. She remembers drinks, names and details, and her loyal customers recently rewarded her with a very high honor: the Bethel Park Chamber of Commerce Sapphire Award for the Woman Or Minority Owned Business of the Year. “It was a popularity contest, but in the best possible way,” she explains. “It was voted on by the public, meaning my customers. It was an absolute honor to win.” For the woman who has spent over $100,000 on candy in ten years to delight folks, it’s nice to see those efforts weren't in vain. For as much as her customers love her, and love her they do, it’s safe to say she loves them just as much. Stop in during the entire month of October to celebrate Someone Else’s Bar 10 year anniversary. There are spooky-good specials, and prizes that will make you scream in delight. Think your neighborhood ‘haunt’ should be featured next? Email your idea to bethany@pittsburghcurrent. com.






ept. 9, 8 p.m.: I’m at Tony Luke’s, a sandwich shop in Philly. For over a decade I’ve been an avid fan of cheesesteaks and rabid hunter of the best in the city. What I was not

aware of was the secret lovechild sandwich Philly kept on tuck called roast pork. It’s basically shaved pork loin on a roll with sharp cheddar and broccoli rabe, a

weird baby broccoli that they cook up like spinach and spread onto the sandwich. The two most popular spots – Dinic’s and John’s – are closed. So, I’m at the bronze winner. It’s not a bad sandwich. Sharp, juicy, cheesy, doughy, and sour. It’s weird as hell. Not something I’d eat daily, but would definitely recommend it to a friend. You’re my friend, right? Sept. 10, Noon: I’m back at The Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn. I’m in town for the Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 party, but check in at the AirBnB isn’t until three. I kill time with the most expensive pounder I’ve ever drank in my life. They don’t do flights, but you can purchase 4oz pours for $4 each. A 4 for $4 for Forbes. Your choices are 38 NEIPAs, four heavy stouts, a pils, and a heffe. I go with a crispy boi, two hazies, and a stout. I would not recommend this. For the same money, I could have had two 12-ounce pours of heavy ale and not felt like a used condom afterwards. Instead, I’m gauging the clarity of this 4%, $4 4oz pilsner while admiring the malt build or whatever bullshit people say when drinking well-crafted lawnmower beers. I leave with a four pack of Triple Cream, a 10.5% oatmeal hazy. My drunk doesn’t match my tab, but you win some and you lose some, mostly the latter in this city. Sept. 10, 4 p.m.: They failed to mention that the on-site parking at this AirBnB is an additional $75/day. Sept 10, 7 p.m.: We arrive at the


Wine Enthusiast party and are greeted with pastrami sandwiches and merlot. I brought a can of pickled peppers to the affair. It’s the only thing I make with my hands that is worth ingesting. Lauren Buzzeo, Managing Editor, is appreciative of the gesture. Everyone is in his or her finest threads. I’m rocking a Fury Brewing x Knotzland Fresh Fest collab bowtie. The room is filled with successful people looking to become more successful through connections they’ll drunkenly make and likely forget once the booze wears off. But it’s fun to pretend that this is the most impactful conversation you’ll have this year, hour, fourth minute. One person of note was author Em Sauter, a mousy white woman with a librarian demeanor who draws comics about craft beer, Pints And Panels. Her knowledge is only out-matched by her intrigue and interest in beer, and the stories surrounding it. In a sea of personalities vying for attention, she stood out as an island of tranquility and reality. Sept. 10, 10 p.m.: I don’t know if this is the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had in my life, or it’s just the booze talking. What I can tell you is that it came from an Arab dude in a cart on a corner in Greenwich Village and is better than anything you’ll pay three times as much for in Pittsburgh. Have I mentioned that diversity is a strength? Sept. 11, 11 a.m.: My fiancé accidently pokes a hole in one of the cans of Triple Cream. My choices include getting drunk at 11 a.m. or letting the beer go or getting drunk at 11am. Sept. 11, Noon: What better way to soak up a triple IPA than with chicken and waffles from Brooklyn? If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Sweet Chick. The staff was entirely female, mostly black, and the patrons were so diverse I thought they were filming an after-school special. They even have vegetarian fried chicken for the people who have trouble fully committing to

vegetables or healthy dieting. Sept. 11, 2 p.m.: Garrett Oliver needs no intro, but for those who don’t know he’s maybe the most famous and well dressed brewer in the world, and happens to be black. He’s the Master Brewer at Brooklyn Brewing, which today I learned created the concept of collaborations in brewing. We’re given a private tour and history lesson of the brewery and sample a few of their wares, my favorite being the Key Lime Gose. He gives us some tips on finding success in the industry, which includes persistent emailing, before leaving us to cook a five-course quail dinner for 35 lucky New Yorkers. There are some Swedes in the building for some kind of corporate outing. Did you know Sweden was the largest consumer of Brooklyn Brewing outside of Brooklyn? One of them comes over and points to the colorful six pack of Berliner Weisse he just acquired from the gift shop. “Super cool, yah?” Super cool, indeed, Sven.

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met a guy right around the time my boyfriend dumped me. I met him on a dating site, but he was really only interested in my boobs and me giving him head. I really like having him in my life and he’s very attractive, but he won’t do anything with me other than let me give him head while he watches porn. I’m very insecure, so I feel like part of the reason this has been going on for so long is because I’ve never had someone so attractive be into me. He asked me to sign a “contract” that requires me to drop everything and send him pictures whenever he asks. I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend, but he can have as many girls as he likes. I do a lot of stuff for him, and he doesn’t do a single thing for me. I should have said no, but I was feeling very shitty about myself and thought I had nothing to lose. Currently he lives a two-hour bus ride away and he won’t pick me up. He’s also only available on weekdays. He keeps telling me to come out to see him, but I can’t justify a twohour bus ride with nothing in it for me. I almost cut him out completely after an older coworker touched my butt—I confided in this guy, and he told me it would be hot if I showed my coworker a photo of my boobs. That he would say something like that makes my blood boil, yet I still haven’t cut him off. Maybe I’m just overreacting and expecting too much of him, as he’s told me multiple times that he doesn’t like sex and he never wants to see my lower half. Don’t Understand My Behavior Stop seeing this guy—or stop servicing this asshole, I should say. This piece of shit swooped in when you were obviously

feeling vulnerable (right after your boyfriend dumped you), and he’s been leveraging his good looks against you ever since. And it’s not just head he’s after, DUMB. He gets off on seeing you debase and degrade yourself—he wants to watch as you feed your self-esteem into a shredder—maybe because it affirms how attractive he is or maybe because he’s just that sadistic an asshole. And while you may think you have nothing to lose, this asshole clearly sees what you have to lose: your self-esteem, which he is disassembling bit by bit. I know people with similar blow-and-go arrangements; they provide what’s called “no recip” oral to selfish and sometimes sadistic tops. But they do it for the right reason—they do it because it turns them on. If being this guy’s on-call cocksucker turned you on and got you off, DUMB, if this was a thrilling adventure for you and a break from your regular routine, a brief/erotic escape from the person you knew yourself to be (sexy, attractive, valued, etc.), this could be a healthy and playful release. The guys I know who do this—and they’re all guys—don’t have any illusions about the men they’re servicing catching feelings for them. And most importantly, they get off on it. It turns them on to be treated this way, to play this role, to have this kind of cocksucker-on-call arrangement with someone who plays the role of the selfish, domineering top. But this doesn’t turn you on, DUMB, it makes you feel terrible about yourself. And I can tell you where this is headed: This guy’s assholery is going to escalate over time. Cut this guy off now.


I’m a 26-year-old woman in a two-year relationship with a 32-year-old man. I love him and we live together. He recently revealed that he thinks the word “vagina” is disgusting. He likes the word “pussy,” but “vagina” turns him off and he hates when he hears the word. I think this is ridiculous, immature, and, honestly, a bit insulting. I am proud of my vagina—I love it. Am I crazy to be a bit upset about this terminology conflict? Vaginas Always Love Useful Erections “First of all, VALUE is correct,” said Dr. Jen Gunter, an ob-gyn and author. “There is nothing disgusting about the word vagina. However, to many people, the word vagina has this connection because telling people that vaginas are dirty or gross or disgusting is a core tenet of the patriarchy. Vulva and clitoris have sadly been along for this societal shame-driven ride. I can see how a heterosexual man might have trouble with the word vagina because he has received that messaging since birth.” But just because we can see how your boyfriend might have developed a problem with the word, VALUE, doesn’t make your boyfriend actually having a problem with the word okay. “There’s an issue when a grown man finds the word vagina disgusting,” said Dr. Gunter “I am curious if her boyfriend’s inability to say vagina is a ‘bedroom-only’ phenomenon or an ‘everywhere’ phenomenon. If it’s bedroom-only, maybe she can help him work up to using the word by introducing it more. Exposure therapy! However, if his disgust at the word is an ‘everywhere’ phenomenon, then I can appreciate how that is a sticking point for VALUE. I wrote a whole book, The Vagina Bible, for this very reason. If he read it and appreciated

how not saying the word vagina has been oppressive for women, maybe it might help? Again, exposure therapy!” My husband likes to give and receive enemas during sex. I was very inexperienced sexually when we met in our early 20s and very much in love. He introduced me to enemas, and I went along at first and almost enjoyed the novelty. But in time, it started to feel less appealing. After we had kids, there was less opportunity for this sort of thing, and I eventually realized I didn’t like anal play. The enemas began to feel physically and psychologically violating. He introduced anal plugs as an alternative, but I still felt violated and frightened whenever he put one in me. I went to a sex counselor who told me I had the right to say no. My husband began pursuing his anal interests alone. Now we’re both 68. My sexual drive has waned, but his has not. He would prefer that I be more accommodating. Absolutely No Anal Love You can and you should continue to say no to any and all sex play— anal or otherwise—that leaves you feeling violated and frightened, ANAL. You can also say, “I’d like a divorce,” to a man who has proven himself incapable of taking “no” for an answer decade after miserable decade. And while your offer to allow him to find anal playmates online falls under the “perfectly reasonable accommodation” header, ANAL, I’m more concerned with your unmet need for love and tenderness than I am with your husband’s unmet needs. To that end, I think you should go find a tender lover—right after you find yourself a kick-ass divorce lawyer. On the Lovecast: Why are bi women blazing so hard? Listen at

Current Comics Rob Jones



by Andrew Schubert


John Kichi


Heroineburgh By H-Burgh and Zeus

Sucks to Be an Animal

By Sienna Cittadino

CARTOONISTS CARTOONISTS WANTED WANTED pittsburgh current is looking for local artists who would like to have their comics featured on our twice-monthly funny pages.

20 | OCT. 23, 2018 | PITTSBURGH CURRENTemail:

Best in Show

By Phil Juliano



CLASSIFIEDS For more information on how to place your classified ad, please call 412-945-0817





Certifying for medical marijuana cards! Register online OR call 888-316-9085 + NOW HIRING! Email resume to


Specializing in Auto, Home, Life, & Business Insurance John Kwateng Insurance Agency is seeking a part time/full producer. Ideal candidate must either hold a Property & Casualty License or Life and Health license. Please send resumes to

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Check out Jim Krenn's Podcast every MONDAY. PITTSBURGH CURRENT | OCTOBER | 35 PITTSBURGH CURRENT | October 1, 20191, | 2019 35


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S n L i E a I l G p H T n i IN

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