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THE ORIGINAL ISSUE 16 1 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 1

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s e W

ell, dear reader, this is goodbye. Not a “see you next time,” but an actual farewell. By the time you read this, my undergraduate education will be complete. It’s been a fantastic ride, and thanks for traveling with me over the past few years. From the first week at the Activities Fair to my graduation, The Original has been my constant throughout college. The Original is turning its page to the next chapter of beauty and creativity. This year, we may have experienced some growing pains, though we’ve created the foundation for even more beautiful issues to come. Who knows what’s next for me, though I am excited to see where The O travels next. What neighborhood

we’ll highlight, what amazing artist will turn up, what new students will be accomplishing. I’ve seen Pittsburgh transform in just four short years, always cycling in fresh ideas and inspiration. This issue, we’ve focused on Downtown, a neighborhood with a rich history and a growing future—much like this magazine. This is our Sweet Sixteen, though we don’t get our own TV show or fancy car. Instead, we get to share our stories with you lovely readers (party hats are always encouraged). And The Original certainly has a lot to celebrate. Love always, Karley Snyder Editor-in-chief

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The Executive Board

KARLEY SNYDER SARAH BAUMANN MICHAEL KNARR CHRISTINE SCHAUER AMINATA BALLO JAKE TRETTEL LUCIA VENTO ERIKA FLEEGLE JARRETT KRAUSE RIKKI LI

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR, MANAGING EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR, WEB MANAGER CREATIVE WRITING EDITOR DESIGN EDITOR ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR BUSINESS MANAGER ASSOCIATE EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR

About us

contact us

THE ORIGINAL IS A NONPROFIT, SEMIANNUAL PUBLICATION DEDICATED TO HIGHLIGHTING THE WORK OF YOUNG WRITERS, ARTISTS, AND LEADERS IN THE PITTSBURGH REGION. FOUNDED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH IN 2006, THE ORIGINAL IS MANAGED BY STUDENTS WHO AIM TO BRING ACCESSIBLE ART AND CREATIVE WRITING TO THE PUBLIC, WHILE ALSO PROMOTING THE CITY ITSELF.

PLEASE DIRECT ALL LETTERS OF ADORATION OR HATE MAIL TO THEORIGINALMAG@GMAIL.COM. WE APPRECIATE BOTH. MAYBE WE’LL EVEN PUT YOUR COMMENTS ON OUR WEBSITE OR WRITE YOU BACK. WE ALSO ACCEPT UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS OF ART, PHOTOGRAPHY, CREATIVE WRITING, NONFICTION, AND OTHER ADDITIONS YOU THINK WE’LL LIKE. WE LIKE JOKES AND SUGGESTIONS TOO, SO IF YOU HAVE ANY GOOD ONES, PLEASE SHARE.

join us THE ORIGINAL IS ALWAYS WELCOMING NEW MEMBERS TO OUR HAPPY LITTLE FAMILY. OUR MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO ALL UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH STUDENTS AS WELL AS OTHERS RESIDING IN THE PITTSBURGH AREA. SHOOT US AN EMAIL, AND WE’LL HOOK YOU UP.

advertise with us FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ADVERTISING IN FUTURE ISSUES OF THE ORIGINAL ON OUR WEBSITE, OR AT OUR NEXT EVENT, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THEORIGINALMAG@GMAIL.COM. WE ARE ALSO WORKING TO MAKE ADVERTISING SPACE AVAILABLE TO UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS EITHER FREE OF CHARGE OR AT DISCOUNTED RATES. CONTACT THEORIGINALMAG@GMAIL.COM FOR DETAILS.

Dont Copy us, please ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT © 2015 THE AUTHORS & THE ORIGINAL MAGAZINE. DON’T COPY US, PLEASE. PRINTED BY KNEPPER PRESS. THE ORIGINAL IS MADE POSSIBLE BY GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PITT ARTS AND THE UNIVERSTY OF PITTSBURGH’S STUDENT GOVERNMENT BOARD.

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TOR

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The Contributing Staff AssistNt editors

Writers

Photographers

THEO MCCAULEY

ERIKA FLEEGLE

SARAH BAUMANN

DHEERAJ JALLURI

NIKITA KARULKAR

ARIELLE BERK

TALLON KENNEDEY

MICHAEL KNARR

GRACE EGGLESTON

RIKKI LI

AJA JONES

Designers

CRISTINA MCCORMACK

MICHAEL KNARR

ZERSHA MINUR

CHRISTINE LIM

AMINATA BALLO

JULIETTE RIHL

SVITLANA MALYKHINA

MICHAEL KNARR

KAYLEN SANDERS

CRISTINA MCCORMACK

RIKKI LI

KARLEY SNYDER

MATTHEW PENNELL

CHRISTINE SCHAUER

JORDAN VOGT

JAKE TRETTEL JORDAN VOGT

Creative writing

Illustrators

ANASTASIA DESIMONE

DANIELLE HU

KATE KOENIG

AMBER TORRISE

REBECCA MARTIN

ASHLEY WERTZ

BRITNEE MEISER ARIELLE REED KARLEY SNYDER

KAITLYN VOLLMER

THANK YOU TO TERRANCE HAYES FOR HIS CONTINUED SUPPORT!

SAMMI TONER

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Con 01 02 Intro 02 04 08

EDITOR’S NOTE WHO IS THE O NEW & NOTEWORTHY

On campus 12 14 16 20

A NEW WAVE PITT GETS THRIFTY THE POPCORN MUNCHING PICASSOS SECULAR ALLIANCE

03

People we like 24 26 28

WARD ALLEBACH BOUND BY BLOOD MUSICAL LIVEWIRES

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nte 04 05 in focus

34 38 44 46

THE BOOK STORE TOUR SUSTAINABILITY PUT ON THE RED LIGHTS A MAN WORTHY OF MANTRA

Community Guide: Downtown 50 52 56 58 60 64 68

DOWNTOWN ITS SHOWTIME HARRIS THEATRE NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S MEATBALL GETTING LOST IN DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH VIGNETTES FROM 3PM GALLERIES GALORE

06

Creative Writing 74 76 78 80 81 82 86 90

RETURN TO NATURE INKED ELIZA THE CROSSWALK BLUES MONOCROMATIC FRANCE THE FINGER THE CREOLE PINT 7

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CAMPUS RENOVATIONS Two adjoining buildings on campus recently received a slight facelift. David Lawrence Hall received a few fancy new additions, including upscale desks and a renovated lobby area. Sister building Posvar Hall now welcomes Pitt’s College of General Studies office, located on the ground floor.

WINGHARTS CLOSES After the death of P-Caf, upperclassmen were disheartened by the lack of party bars in Oakland. The void was filled by Wingharts, a burger & and whiskey bar with a few other locations in the city. Wingharts came and went quicker than expected, perhaps meeting an evem more untimely death than its predecessor. Can an eatery last in this spot for more than a few months? Hopefully the recently opened AD’s Pittsburgh Cafe can withstand the test of time.

REST IN PEACE, PEETS We were heartbroken when beloved Caribou Coffee vanished from Forbes Avenue. Peets was a decent replacement, but soon after opening it too disappeared. Will Oakland ever get a decent coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks?

text: karley snyder + michael knarr photos: sarah baumann design: michael knarr

CH

}

BUONGIORNO, OLIO?

Although Joe Mama’s has long since been gone - the Oakland hotspot closed in late September - replacement Olio Trattoria opened last November with the aim to bring casual and affordable Italian cuisine to Fifth Avenue. As of this printing, however, it appears that plan may have gone awry as the restaurant is currently closed. Who knows what will come next?

NEW & NOT 8

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S

{BYE BYE, PIZZA SOLA

In what cruel universe is it okay to take away the only place in Oakland where you could get $5 Yuengling pitchers and play board games? Pizza Sola had a few locations in Pittsburgh, with its first store opening in Southside. Owner Jim Aiello sold all his locations due to struggles at the restaurant, such as loss of key employees and financial challenges. Replacing Pizza Sola will be Top ShabuShabu and Lounge, a traditional Chinese “hot pot” restaurant. But where else can we drink beer and play scrabble?

S

S

NO END FOR CONFLICT CHICKS AND BUBBLES

Americans love fried chicken. Americans also love bubble tea, an Asian cuisine classic. The newest dining option on Oakland Avenue has combined the best of both of these worlds. Chick’n Bubbly blends Korean style fried chicken and Taiwanese bubble tea, a fusion that some have described to be as addictive than cocaine. If you’re in the know, try Chick’n Bubbly and get back to us.

As last year drew to a close, Conflict Kitchen’s reputation became marred by locals’ disapproval of the restaurants choice to serve Palestinian delicacies. The eatery was accused of presenting a one-sided account of Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and temporarily closed after a death threat was made against employees. The restaurant has long sinced reopened and enjoyed strong business in the new year. Who knows what cuisine (and conflict) will be cooked up next?

TEWORTHY 9

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ON camp 10

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A NEW WAVE

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he University of Pittsburgh’s Women’s Studies Department is one of the oldest in the country, but when sophomore Amanda Chan first arrived at Pitt in fall of 2013, she sensed a void that needed to be filled. As a woman and a member of a racial minority, Amanda saw the need for a campus feminist publication that educates the public and promotes intersectionality. In response to an overwhelmingly patriarchal society, Amanda created a society of her own: Slutciety. Initially, Amanda tried writing for already-established campus publications like The Pittiful News and Her Campus, but she was left feeling unfulfilled. She sought a platform to discuss women’s issues and cultural criticism, not school satire or trite reports listing musthave lipsticks. Feeling like the lone feminist voice, Amanda developed Slutciety, a haven on campus where all things promoting gender equality can be put down on paper.

“I’d rather have a really good low barrier to entry – it is open to publication that nobody reads than anyone on campus who expresses an one that is male-catered and trivial,” interest. Ideas can be pitched at the says founder and current editor-in- first meeting of every new edition, chief, Amanda. Indeed, Slutciety from which nine will be chosen. For is neither of those. It has quickly new writers, a comprehensive list blossomed into a monthly campus of guidelines is provided regarding magazine that tackles issues content and style. Later, all articles spanning from media sexualization undergo an extensive, collaborative to interracial dating with a feminist process of revision. The final product flair. is a minimalist magazine that lets Although Pitt is home to various the intelligent articles speak for female-oriented organizations, like themselves. Campus Women’s Organization Slutciety is a growing success story, and others, Slutciety is the sole a publication of humble beginnings organization that openly identifies that has managed to develop a as feminist. It takes this role very significant presence in the campus seriously, holding its writers to community. It was established extremely high standards, in mid-March of 2014 and is swiftly regards to style and content, and broadening its audience. “As each striving for an academic, inclusive issue came out, we would get people tone. emailing us saying, ‘We love your “If your article can be summarized magazine. I want to join,’” Amanda by a Tumblr post, what are you says. Most notably, this past fall, doing that’s different or better?” Slutciety hosted Zerlina Maxwell, This is a question that Amanda asks of all her writers. Nonetheless, TEXT: KAYLEN SANDERS writing for Slutciety has a

ILLUSTRATOR: AMBER TORRISE DESIGN: AMI BALLO

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a political analyst, writer, and commentator with far-reaching influence. Over 250 students came out to hear her thoughts on sexual assault and consent. It was an enormously successful event, a validation of the hard work and ambition for a magazine that had debuted only months prior, at the end of spring semester earlier that year. To think that the first issue of Slutciety was produced using the founding members’ own print quotas! Now, paper is the least of the magazine’s worries. The magazine is a known entity on campus. Such expansion is also key to intersectionality; that is, acknowledging the intersection of race, class, gender, and other social categories in systems of discrimination. Moving forward, one of Slutciety’s main objectives is to collaborate with other organizations at Pitt. A member of Black Action Society reached out to the magazine, and Slutciety is considering teaming up to plan a workshop on self-esteem for people of color. Even so, Amanda admits that addressing intersectionality can be daunting. Last semester, a member of Slutciety requested greater coverage of LGBTQ issues, and the magazine is working to make that a priority. The January 2015 issue’s front page featured a story in response to recent suicides in the transgender community, emphasizing the need to take action. When asked what she likes most about the magazine, writer Emily Steele says, “It’s unique to see everybody’s views. It adds more variety.” Discussing intersectionality may not be an

easy task, but Slutciety knows that it is a valuable and necessary endeavor to make sure a diversity of voices is heard. In fact, the magazine’s unwavering commitment to intersectionality has led to a proposed renaming. The name of Slutciety stemmed from an intricate clash of concepts in Amanda Chan’s mind. “Society has a tone of order and tradition, whereas slut is the exact opposite, with feelings of resentment, bitterness, and chaos. Mush them together, and you get Slutciety,” she explains. The problem? Due to the historical sexualization of minority women, the derogatory term “slut” cannot be universally reclaimed in a positive way. Thus, Slutciety is in the process of turning a new page: it will rebrand itself The Fourth Wave. This new name is a testament to the fourth, current wave of feminism, marked by technological prowess and gender inclusivity. Further, it illustrates the magazine’s readiness to be a safe, affirmative space for all readers. Co-vice president, Zoë Hannah, is already looking ahead. “I think in the future we’re going to want to implement Slutciety at other schools,” she says. But, for now, the magazine still has goals in mind at Pitt: expanding physical publication size, advancing graphic design, and focusing on fundraising and writing. At its heart, Slutciety seeks to inform students about feminism and how they can help the cause. Slutciety wants to send ripples of consciousness through the student body one issue at a time. A new wave has indeed begun, and this is only the beginning.

WANT TO JOIN? SLUTCIETY MEETS EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 8:30 P.M. IN WILLIAM PITT UNION 918. 13 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 13

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pitt gets t pitt these aren’t your grandad’s clothes

text: juliette rihl photo: sarah baumann design: michael knarr 14 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 14

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s thrifty L

ast February, when “Geology 1333Sustainability” teaching assistants Paul Heffernan and Anna Greenberg were brainstorming project proposals with six of their students, they weren’t focused on drafting a complete, functional business plan; they just wanted their group to receive a passing grade. A year later, the two environmental studies majors have watched their shell of an idea transform into Pitt’s very first thrift store, the University of Thriftsburgh. The store, which opened March 18, is located in room 111 of the O’Hara Student Center in 430 square feet of conference room-turned-thrifter’s heaven. Its shelves hold over 1,000 recycled clothing items for students and staff to peruse; on one of its walls hangs a canvas mural, hand painted by a fellow environmental studies student, as nothing can be painted directly onto the university’s walls; mannequins gaze out the storefront window onto O’Hara Street and passersby. “I don’t really thrift that often,” admits Heffernan, when asked how the idea of a thrift store came about, “but I support it. It’s a good alternative for the constant need to replenish clothing that I think is inherently unsustainable.” Greenberg also confesses to not being a major thrifter, but the two decided to pursue the project after receiving overwhelming support across campus. Surprisingly, the project has had few obstacles to overcome. “We haven’t really met any opposition to it,” says Greenberg. “We got really lucky.” What isn’t surprising is how anticipated the store’s opening was. Over 1,500 students signed ‘support pledges’ backing Thriftsburgh’s creation. “There’s almost universal appeal— you can tell environmental kids its environmental, you can tell socially conscious kids it’ll help the textile industry and human rights, and you can tell people who don’t care about that stuff that they can go buy cheap clothing,” explains Heffernan. “We all wanted to figure out a way to reduce waste, but at the same time it’s a cool, cheap place to buy clothes, so we figured it could serve a couple of purposes,” agrees Greenberg. Thriftsburgh is open a total of 20 hours a week, Wednesday through Saturday, and is operated almost entirely by students. Its staff includes two paid student coordinators, who are compensated by PittServes for pricing new items, managing volunteers, and making inventory decisions. In addition, student volunteers help operate the store and are compensated with store credit.

Students weren’t the only ones eager to get involved with Thriftsburgh. Several administrators were paramount in getting the project off the ground, including Misty McKeehen, the director of PittServes. PittServes is a university-wide initiative focused on increasing the culture of community service in the Pitt community. Although created only about a year ago, the office has already connected with hundreds of community partners. McKeehen is responsible for maintaining PittServes existing programs on campus, including Alternative Break, Jumpstart, America Reads, and Pitt Make A Difference Day (PMADD), while helping launch new programs as well. McKeehen first heard Heffernan and Greenberg’s idea at the Student Sustainability Symposium last April and was immediately intrigued. “As we were coming into Pitt’s ‘Year of Sustainability’, we thought, ‘What a great way to get students to participate in sustainability by recycling and upcycling their clothes.’” Meeting on almost a weekly basis, McKeehen, Heffernan and Greenberg organized the Thriftsburgh effort in the PittServes office. “I love the fact that Thriftsburgh was a student generated, student proposed idea. I’ve really played a cheerleader role and a support role for them. That’s what really excites me— to be able to see it come from the students into fruition. That’s ultimately what we want to see, students taking leadership roles on campus.” Thriftsburgh also fills a large void in Pitt’s campus, McKeehen asserts. “I think [Thriftsburgh] is going to fill a need on campus for students. Even in Oakland, what do we have besides Rue 21? There are a couple of clothing stores, but they’re not going to meet everyone’s needs.” The store continues to be overseen by the PittServes office under the supervison of Erika Ninos, the sustainability program coordinator. Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff, was also hands-on in the store’s creation. The idea was brought to her by Heffernan, Greenberg and McKeehen this past fall, when she held the title of vice provost and dean of students. She met with Heffernan and Greenberg twice to discuss the plans for Thriftsburgh and was responsible for allocating its space in O’Hara. As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. Thriftsburgh was funded in large part by the Pitt Green Fund, a board of students that reviews environmental project proposals and allocates its budget,

provided by the Student Government Board, to programs that “make Pitt’s operations more environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and energy efficient.” The Green Fund gave $2,400 to help finance Thriftsburgh, a large portion of which was used to purchase a Panther card reader, the project’s largest expense to date. For the Green Fund, Thriftsburgh turned out to be a worthwhile investment. After store expenses are accounted for, all proceeds from the store will be funneled back into the Green Fund to help finance more sustainable projects. “Dean Humphrey really liked the idea of keeping (the proceeds) within the university,” said Greenberg. “It keeps the community’s money within the community,” adds Heffernan. Why spend a small fortune on a Panther card reader? Unfortunately, as of now the store can only accept Panther Funds due to liability issues. While this means that only Pitt students and staff can shop (Panther funds are not available to people unaffiliated with the university) Thriftsburgh will hopefully be able to start taking cards and cash in the near future. Students and staff members can also earn store credit by donating clothing items, a system that fits perfectly with Thriftsburgh’s recycling and sustainability themes. While Thriftsburgh accepts donations, the bulk of its initial inventory came from donations to the Pitt Give a Thread campaign. Give a Thread was a city-wide clothing drive held this past November through March. About 1,800 of Give a Thread’s collected articles were donated to Thriftsburgh. The rest were sent to Goodwill of SWPA, Dress for Success Pittsburgh, the University Career Development and Placement Assistance Office, and other organizations, or were recycled into materials for alternative uses. When asked where they hope to see the project in ten years, Greenberg and Heffernan are optimistic and ambitious about Thriftsburgh’s future. Greenberg hopes that the project’s sustainability and uniqueness allow it to continue growing and expanding its positive impact on the Pitt community. “I would want to see it as something the students and school really promote. Other schools in the ACC have thrift store-like operations, but none of them have a thrift store on campus. I’d like to see it be a selling point for visiting students.”

stop by the university of thriftsburgh from 3-8 pm thursday and 12-5 pm wednesday, friday and saturday in the o’hara student center at 4024 o’hara street in oakland. 15

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The Popcorn Munching MunchingPicassos Picassos text: nikita karulkar photos: grace eggleston design: rikki li

Featuring your friendly neighborhood “tortured souls” name: nikita karulkar year: 2018 major: neuroscience

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orms. They start out symbolizing your new-found college freedom and the chance to make new friends and create lasting memories. But after a while, we can all agree that sharing your shower with at least 19 other people grows old, and being awoken at midnight to the smell of horribly burnt popcorn wavers even the most resolute of souls. Whether you love it or hate it, your dorm becomes an integral part of your college experience. Despite it all, the friendly folk in this article managed to take what sometimes becomes the most dreary of places, and give it their own personal spin. They represent another side of art, far away from all the Renaissance sculptures and Mona Lisas. These dorm residents showcase their serious skill on white boards and doors, lighting up Pitt’s dorms with their personalized decorations.

forbes “We started decorating our doors for Halloween, and we spent around 3 hours turning our rooms and our [shared] bathroom into a haunted house. After Halloween, my roommate, Ben, had the idea to reuse the decorations we bought for subsequent holidays, and with this, cobwebs became snow and the hanging skeletons were redecorated to become pilgrims, elves, etc. Our friends also like giving us stuff to put up on our doors.”

floor: 5 names: jeremy manin, ben posey, andrew kendell, and mike ferretti graduating year: 2018 majors: engineering interesting fact: “one element of our door art is a poster for a movie that a bunch of friends and i started making.”

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nordenberg “The door art is very simple. I made a bunch of 3D snowflakes one day and decided to put them up on the door to get in the holiday spirit. Since it’s still winter, my roommates and I decided to keep the snowflakes up, and change our name tags—an efficient way to keep the doors festive! We have hearts up now, but we’ll be changing them to four-leaf clovers soon!”

floor: 5 name: maria francesca ysabelle martinez graduating year: 2018 major: biology (pre-med) interesting fact: “i can play the ukulele.”

“My door decorations are themed around the central holiday for the month. So for February, it was all about Valentine’s Day!”

floor: 9 name: brianna dela torre graduating year: 2018 major: biology interesting fact: “i love crafts.” 17 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 17

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holland floor: 2 name: laken delaney graduating year: 2018 major: biology (pre-dental track) interesting fact: “i am from a small town in the backwoods of pennsylvania (i’m a country girl going to college in a big city) and owning, showing, riding horses is my life passion.”

“Our door, as well as the empty closet at the end of our hallway, were decorated for Halloween and Christmas. I plan on decorating the door for the month of March (St. Patrick’s/Irish Theme) and April (Easter).”

floor: 4 name: kaysey mcgrath graduating year: 2018 major: psychology interesting fact: “i danced for thirteen years.”

“We started out with only putting up a few encouragements on our door, mainly in case we had a bad day and needed to see something nice and inspiring. Then it kind of grew and exploded into a place where we put up tons of inspirational quotes that could apply to everyday life. Even though we live in a corner where hardly anyone can see them, it’s still a nice reminder to us and to any visitors that life is good, and should be lived to its fullest.”

name: michelle duong graduating year: 2018 major: neuroscience interesting fact: “i can speak 3 languages (english, vietnamese, french).” 18

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lothrop “It is a white board drawing of Carl and Russell from the Pixar movie, Up. They are supposed to represent my roommate and I. I had a lot of fun drawing this, since this is one of my favorite movies. I usually change the drawing on my door every month or two.”

floor: 1 name: emily corrigan graduating year: 2017 major: pre-pa interesting fact: “i was voted most artistic in high school.”

“My door art is a pencil sketch from 2010, when I was experimenting with shading metallic surfaces, and I have always been a fan of Tony Stark’s eccentric suit. From a young age, I’ve sketched favorite characters as a way to hone my skills as an artist, and to decorate my walls with personal heroes.”

floor: 11 name: courtney phillips graduating year: 2015 major: english writing and literature interesting fact: “i’m a street art enthusiast.”

as the artists in this article have shown, it doesn’t take a lot of expensive craft tools or “eureka” moments to make your space feel like home. the main thing is to let your art reflect your personality and the things you enjoy, so that you always have a place you can use as a sanctuary. so rev up those mental gears, get your scissors ready, and let your creativity flow! 19

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freedom

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t n t p t t g W i o u

religion

an interview with pitt’s secular alliance

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hey’ve been called the “Atheist Club” on campus, a generalization as egregious as it is misrepresentative. Meet the University of Pittsburgh’s Secular Alliance, a student collective whose members explore the space where religiosity and social issues clash. Recently, The Original spoke to the group’s secretary, Kenneth Ward, to delve deeper into what the alliance is truly about. Q: For any readers who may not have the clearest idea, first and foremost - who is the Pitt Secular Alliance? A: Who is the Pitt Secular Alliance is a big question! I think like Pitt itself, we’re a group of people who come from all sorts of backgrounds. We come from different parts of the world, we’re studying different things here at Pitt, and the thing that binds us together at PSA is an interest in talking about social topics as they relate to religion and faith. What we are first and foremost is a social discussion group; a place to make friends, talk about your story, about current events, and then you go grab a bite to eat together. Q: So then what’s a secular alliance in general? A: I don’t think the word “secular” is heard very often, so there’s this generalization that we’re the “atheist club” on campus. While we certainly have members who would identify as “fullblown” Atheists, we also have members who would identify as people who are questioning their faith, members who wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a God, and people who still feel strongly about spirituality. So we have this breadth of identities that would be excluded by the “Pitt Atheist Club,” and really the uniting idea is Secularism, or a passion for the separation of church and state, and creating love and acceptance for nonreligious peoples. I guess a good comparison would be: You can’t generalize Pitt Rainbow Alliance as “The Gay Club,” they’re much more inclusive than that -- and as long as Pitt Secular Alliance strives for inclusivity and open-mindedness, we’ll be more than “The Atheist Club.”

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Q: That’s a fantastic comparison to make. As part of the alliance, It seems like you guys inherently work against labeling people. Is that fair to say?

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Oh definitely! So since the club is often the first time somebody gets to be openly nonreligious, I anticipate an initial therapeutic “angry” phase from some people. They may resent their family for trying to raise them religiously, or a church they used to be part of--and they’ll make generalizations about peoples of faith. What I’ve seen over our last two semesters is a great maturation phase in those types of people. I think we work to talk in an understanding way about people of faith. We had an event last semester called “Hug an Atheist Day” that I think might’ve helped work against nonreligious stereotypes. We were just outside the William Pitt Union giving out candy and offering hugs to strangers. I think it’s a positive move for nonreligious people and the PSA to be seen as friendly and sociable; some people may be surprised that we’re not angry god-haters, but just regular people. Q: You mentioned “over our last two semesters.” Does that timeframe solely encompass your involvement with the alliance or has the alliance itself only existed for about a year? A: This is a complicated one! So the Alliance as it exists today basically started one year ago in Pizza Sola. I met with several other founders who decided to restart a club that disappeared. I was in the original Secular Alliance at Pitt four years ago in my Freshman year, and now I’m happily graduating leaving behind a new rebranded Pitt Secular Alliance. Q: What happened to the last secular alliance? A: I can only speculate, but I know that a strong board graduated Fall 2011 [and then we dissolved]. We’re making sure that doesn’t happen again, we have an amazing group of juniors and sophomores who will keep the group alive. A successful club grooms its future

leaders, I have a strong feeling about who our future leaders would be. I see this type of thing happen in the Campus Women’s Organization for instance; you prepare to fill the gaps left by graduates and people who study abroad - you train a replacement. Q: It’s great to hear that not only will it stay alive, but that it should thrive under strong leadership to boot. Having been a part of both groups, what’s different about the current alliance versus the former one? A: I feel much closer to this alliance. We sit in a circle during discussions, so I learned names and faces, and I think it puts everyone on the same plane, both average members and leadership. In the old group we used a lecture hall, so leaders had this front-of-the-room position, everyone else sat down. Not to say the old group was worse, I think back then there was a lot of momentum actually. We had speakers, we organized a protest against Duquesne’s rejection of a Secular Alliance at their school, there were exciting things happening. It’s a shame it fell apart, but if it hadn’t, I don’t know that I would have been able to meet all these great people who are a part of the group now. Q: So, what does an average meeting consist of for the group? The group picks a topic, sometimes current events does that for us, like the unfortunate Chapel Hill shooting. If there’s a new member we do names and a short icebreaker without fail. It’s important that we don’t feel like strangers. I keep a tally of who’s raised their hand to speak, and stop people from interrupting. Really, fact checks are the one exception - if someone says something false we’ll allow for a correction. Afterwards we get something to eat at Red Oak Cafe, Panera, Golden Buffet, or when the weather allows us, Schenley Plaza.

Q: From what you’ve said so far about the alliance and its members, I keep picking up a “The Breakfast Club” kind of vibe. Is that a fair assessment for me to make? A: I remember a lot of fighting and tension in the beginning of The Breakfast Club, but in the way that different backgrounds emerge as friends with common ideas, you could say that. I was going to say we don’t have a John Bender, but maybe we do. Know what’s crazy? In an interview with an atheist, the most blasphemous thing I’m going to tell you is [that] I don’t like The Breakfast Club very much. Q: So what does the alliance do in terms of events? A: Most of our events are focused around social outings, like game nights for playing Cards Against Humanity or Settlers of Catan, going out to museums, or food-based celebrations like ice cream socials. We also do a handful of communitybased events like trash pickup downtown, planting trees at the botanical garden, and just last week we packaged condoms for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. Q: You’re graduating this semester, but do you have any ideas about what’s on the horizon for the group next year? A: Something outside hopefully, since we’re still riding on nice summer weather come the beginning of Fall Semester. I like to imagine people just enjoying themselves, food, maybe frisbee, out on the Schenley Plaza Q: As a final question, sum up the alliance in ten words or less. A: We are: a social club for all open to thinking about religion.

text + design: michael knarr photos: julie hemphill

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Ward Allebach “THE NUMBER ONE FEAR THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR LIVES IS NOT DEATH—DEATH IS NUMBER TWO. NUMBER ONE IS PUBLIC SPEAKING…. I HAVE NEVER SHARED THAT FEAR.”

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once watched Professor Ward Allebach jump on a table in front of the class, flailing his arms and shouting excitedly about sustainability. The man certainly doesn’t lack confidence. His approach to teaching, however, extends beyond this theatrical dimension. Ward creates an open and reflective classroom atmosphere, where he acts as a mentor and assists students in realizing their dreams. He explains: “I don’t consider it teaching, just sharing my experiences.” His presence in the classroom is as an equal—understanding that students have just as much to teach, as he has to teach them. His classes focus heavily on the individual: Students manage their own sustainability projects in the Pittsburgh community, run class meetings, and arrange guest speakers. They even decide their own grades! Ward says he does not believe he is in a position to put a value on students’ work. So, if anyone disagrees with a grade they receive, all they need to do is speak up. Ward has a singular mission in his career: “To inspire and to empower…. This is the idea that influences everything I say and do in all of my classes.” With an inspiring passion for the subject matter and utmost confidence in his role as a mentor, it is difficult to imagine Ward as anything but a geology professor. Once upon a time, though, he was indeed a child. Ward says, “I always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I won an award for writing in the fourth grade…I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” In fact, that’s how his career began. Ward attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 1988. He then entered the communications field and worked for five years writing for various media outlets. His writing career coincided with the development of the third wave of the environmental movement, and while living on the Jersey Coast he found himself covering many new environmental issues, such as

TEXT & PHOTOS: JORDAN VOGT DESIGN: AMI BALLO

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whales washing up on the shore and the red tides. The news outlets he was working with, however, did not allow the time or space he needed to properly research these issues and inform the public, so he decided to return to school. While pursuing an M.S. at California State University, Fullerton, Ward began work in the nonprofit world. He founded a 501-c3 nonprofit organization called Green Networking for Orange County. His all-volunteer work with this organization focused on helping other nonprofits through workshops and seminars focused on the management of nonprofits. “I began to aggregate a lot of information”, says Ward, which led to a teaching position at California State Fullerton. In 1995, he received his Master of Science in Environmental Studies from California State. The original plan was to go back, learn more about the environment, and then return to writing with a greater knowledge the topic. His goal of informing the public and empowering the community remained though his time in southern California led to a slow shift from writing to educating. In 2000, Ward made the move to Pittsburgh. It was partially motivated by his environmental conscience: “I was like a fish out of water in that heavily metropolized area,” Ward said. There was (and still is) a huge gap between the number of people that the southern California ecosystem could sustain, and the actual population—with the latter heavily outweighing the prior. He also made the move in order to create a new nonprofit organization with a friend in Pittsburgh, Education.org. This was a website designed to help students find higher education opportunities. The move was motivated with his family in mind as well. When he and his wife, Lisa Steagall, had their first child named Daisy, they decided that densely populated southern California was just not the place for them to raise a family; rather, Pittsburgh was where they would to start this stage of their lives. By moving back to Pennsylvania, his new family was returning to the life he knew while growing up. Ward was raised in a small town outside of Philadelphia called Souderton. His childhood consisted of building forts in cornfields, playing in

the woods with his friends and three brothers, climbing trees, riding bikes, and swimming in the creek by his house. His passion for the outdoors was heavily influenced by these childhood experiences in nature, and Daisy (and later, Jacob as well) would have the opportunity for a similar upbringing. Once he was in Pittsburgh, Ward reached out to Mark Collins (the Environmental Studies advisor at the University of Pittsburgh), to propose the course that he taught to several colleges in California. Collins loved the idea and immediately began working to implement the class; though, the politically weighted course title “Environmental Activism” became known as “Management of Nonprofit Environmental Organizations”, which Ward has been teaching ever since. The Pittsburgh community was incredibly well-suited for Ward. He said, “I love Pittsburgh because it has a small town feel with all the amenities of the big city. You can see anything you want!” The environmental community here is very active as well, and since moving here in 2000, Ward has been involved with Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, the North Area Environmental Council, Pine Creek Watershed Coalition, Bradford Woods Conservancy, Pittsburgh Vegetarian Society, and Keep

the Antibiotics Working Campaign. Not to mention the vital impact that he has had on student organizations on Pitt’s campus as well. “I have felt more and more that teaching is my purpose,” Ward said, “Who could possibly get more out of their life? I’m helping young people fulfill their dreams.” He is an incredibly positive force in the lives of his students, and in my opinion, succeeds in his mission as a teacher every single day that he walks into the classroom. Ward strikes an incredible balance between critical yet hopeful views on the society in which we are living. “I’m trying to be positive. Everything in our culture is instilling fear; telling you you’re not good enough. Those messages are constant and it’s bullshit.” Day in and day out, Ward Allebach comes to class with a smile (and usually a Hawaiian shirt and hiking boots), fighting off the endless amounts of bullshit that separates each of us from happiness. And one of his few hopes for the future, alongside having happy kids and a more peaceful world, is to keep doing exactly that. “My hopes for the future? Well, I want to keep doing this as long as I can; I love teaching.”

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lad Tepes. Dracula. Elizabeth Bathory. Nosferatu. Carmlla. Lestat de Lioncourt. Barnabas Collins, Bill Compton, and (regrettably) Edward Cullen. These are history and fiction’s most famous vampires. They’ve evolved through centuries of folklore from their origins in the dark forests and stone castles of Eastern Europe to today’s page and screen. Our strange, innate preoccupation with these bloodsucking beasts has spawned countless novels, films, television shows, and, in the case of the University of Pittsburgh, a special undergraduate course taught by an equally fascinating professor. Robert Carl Metil, Pitt’s resident “vampire professor”, has been teaching “Vampire: Blood and Empire” since the fall of 2011, a little over a decade since the course’s inception. Since then, students of all majors and interests have rushed to fill the class roster to learn the science and spirituality behind one of horror’s most prolific monsters. “I think that students find it appealing because it directly stimulates both their active imaginations and their unconscious minds,” Metil says. “As I teach the course, it also explores the alluring yet disturbing connection between love and horror, a relationship which most students intuit but cannot explain.” Sitting in Metil’s office, dimly lit by the small pine tree still decorated for Orthodox Christmas and the waning afternoon light, I get a glimpse of some of the course material he uses in the form of the various Ukrainian books lining the walls. Most of the course material focuses on literature and popular culture, though Metil has added elements of Slavic literature and film, cultural and medical anthropology, archaeology, religious studies, mythology, and psychology to enrich the course’s philological methodology, trying to define the ways that the word “vampire” propels literature and sheds light on cultural history. In terms of discourse, vampirism is used to discuss historical and contemporary social issues that wouldn’t normally be associated with the media’s ideas of the modern vampire – the breakdown of the nuclear family, fears of immigration, coping mechanisms for grief, and notions of love, fear, change, and the toxic relationship. Defining the vampire is the first task.

While descriptions of the pale-faced undead tend to rule our imagination, Metil suggests an alternative. “A vampire can essentially be an unclean spirit,” he says. “It’s something that takes a hold of you, possesses you, and takes something from you.” This definition largely stems from his upbringing. The son of a Ukrainian mother and Carpatho-Rusyn (a Ukrainian-related group) father, Metil was raised on the traditional folklore and works it into class instruction and discussion. “Ukraine and her people have experienced what is arguably the most violent and brutal history of all European nations,” he says. “In that sense, Ukraine is an ideal domain from whose vantage point we can launch a fruitful discussion of such topics as diverse as vampirism and political repression.” Metil’s mother Mary, along with his late uncle Edward, studied Russian as heritage speakers at Pitt in the mid and late 1940s. She is perhaps the oldest living member of what is today’s Slavic Department. As a young child, she experienced several phenomena that thrust her into the world of Ukrainian folk belief – Metil uses these experiences as case studies in his course. “In Ukraine, the vampire is traditionally viewed as a spiritual concept, and pertains to the spirit of someone who has died an unclean death,” Metil notes. An “unclean death” in this case could mean a death by violence, untimely accident, or sudden illness. Vampirism could also be caused through direct infection with a vampiric contagion. The term “vampire” could also be applied to someone living who preys upon and derives sustenance from the life of another through a variety of means. Historically speaking, considering Ukraine’s violent and turbulent past, “the unclean dead outnumber the clean.” This leads to a certain reverence surrounding the topic. When visiting relatives in west central Ukraine, Metil recalls that no food or drink was covered or removed from the table after sundown, but was instead left until the next morning. A female cousin, Nastya, explained that the practice is observed for “those who walk at night”, or generations of the unclean dead and other restless spirits, as well as the newly dead, who are believed to inhabit our world for forty days before crossing over to the next. “In my classes,” Metil says, “I

compare this ritual to the American one of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa Claus on the night before Christmas, but as one of a serious nature that potentially carries sinister consequences if it is transgressed.” In another experience in Ukraine, he remembers a communal dinner in his grandfather’s village of Martinivka. All present at the table shared a long ceremonial cloth called a ruchnyk, forming a sort of “magic circle”. “I also noticed how large portraits of the many young men (including my great uncle) who died in the Soviet Army in WWII as heroes defending their homeland from Nazi invaders were displayed prominently together with the icons of saints. This may be seen as yet another material gesture to remember and acknowledge the many members of the family and community who died by violence, and whose material remains may not even have been recovered,” he concluded. Former students of Metil’s constantly comment on his enthusiasm and dedication to the course. “Often,” he says, “they are surprised and curious to find relevance in their own lives and experiences and those of people they know with the new perspectives we explore together.“ But Metil has learned just as much from his students. “They are a steady source of intelligence on popular culture, whether it concerns the latest video game or the nuances of the Harry Potter and Underworld film series.” Outside the classroom, Metil is considered “a poster child for the humanities” due to his extensive work and research abroad. During both communist and post-communist times, he has been a foreign student and researcher throughout Eastern Europe, studying language, literature, and musical traditions. He also directs former students in Independent Study projects, the topics of which range from the application of differential equations to projections of outbreaks of folkloric, literary, and cinematic vampire contagion to instances of demonic possession and healing, and other occult and paranormal phenomena. He has also been a performing musician in several Middle Eastern dance and various cultural performing arts groups, and is, admittedly, a pretty good pumpkin carver.

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e a t y s e l f e a . e t y r e e t r f y s e

bound b y blood

y d e s d y e d e r t y

s e k h e r g l s s f s d s d . n d , n

uncovering the great mystery behind pitt’s vampire professor

text: erika fleegle photos: robert metil design: rikki li

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text, photos, + design: michael knarr

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musical livewires the men of pittch please are upping the a capella ante

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A

t the Quarterfinal Round of the International Collegiate Championship of A Capella – or the ICCAs – the men of Pittch Please went to battle against a capella powerhouses from across the Great Lakes Region. Friendly faces turned feudal as the boys clashed with representatives from their home turf, including the University of Pittsburgh’s own C-Flat Run, Pitches & Tones, Sounds Like Treble, The Pitt Pendulums, and The Vokols. “The ICCAs can strain intergroup relations sometimes,” remarked Joshua Lorah, shrugging his shoulders. This prompted nods from some of the other members, a silent show of solidarity with the sentiment of their co-president. “We try to help out – doing sound tech for other groups, things like that. We have ‘mixing events’ that are

sharing is commonplace, and goes far beyond the occasional delivery of baked goods. As an example, three of the men on Pittch Please’s roster – Noah Danielson, Howard Kim, and Lorah’s fellow president, Sam Kopansky – are also current members of other groups on campus. These gentlemen had an added challenge at the ICCA’s – facing off against their teammates. Group crossovers are a foreign concept at other schools, however, such as ICCA hosts Carnegie Mellon University. There, individual groups appear to be far more territorial over respective members. The pressure is high, the competition cutthroat. And this is completely understandable – after all, CMU’s The Originals have set an impressive standard, winning their division for two years running. Last year, the group bested runner-up C-Flat Run in landslide

LORAH REMARKED, “WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IS HOW YOU CONVEY YOUR STORY TO THE AUDIENCE TO MAKE THEM CONNECT WITH YOU.” always fun.” Smiling, he added, “The President of C-Flat Run even brought us donuts once.” The tiny practice space in basement of the Cathedral of Learning slowly shrunk as more boys funneled into the room for weekly practice. The sense of camaraderie between them was tangible, evidenced by one-armed hugs and playful jabs. Outside of competition, it’s evident that Pitt’s a capella community is closely knit. Beyond supporting one another at shows,

fashion – more than 100 points separated first and second place. The difference between second and third – between qualifying for the next round of competition and stumbling at the finish line – was a mere 5 points. “When we started, our goal was to match, if not beat The Originals,” offered one of two musical directors, Tyler Kirkland. Of course, this was the ambition when the group was in its beginnings, performing under a slightly different name.

A statement prefaced with “when we started,” like Kirkland’s, seems rightfully odd considering that the group has only been an officially sanctioned organization at Pitt for about a year. To this day, their origin story is still being written. Pittch Please is a group in its infancy, which makes its impact all the more noteworthy. Pitch Please, however, is a group whose book has concluded, a book with a beginning and an end, and one that is a prime example of the cliché, “when one door closes, another opens.” Kirkland, a veteran of the musical game, is its author. “There was no all-male a capella group on campus,” he mentioned, moving across the room. Lorah explained earlier that Kirkland is a historian of sorts, recounting the founding of both the group where “Pitch” is spelled correctly as well as the one where the word is stylized with a second letter ‘t.’ Initially, the group pulled from campus organizations, Kirkland recalled, including The Pitt Pendulums, Panther Rhythms, and choirs. Now, the boys are always on the hunt for diverse, new talent, but have found that searching beyond the ‘standard’ pool of applicants is just as important as looking within it. “Where we find people is often surprising,” Lorah remarked, mentioning that it’s important to make sure that the group is dedicated to the cause. “Whatever [our members] see the group as is what they’ll treat it as.” As the boys came together under the title Pitch Please, they consequently planned a performance. This performance, Kirkland noted, was to be their first official concert. It was also meant to be their last. This decision didn’t sit well with the audience, however, nor did it satisfy the members. “Sam in particular pushed really hard. He didn’t want to give it up.” Although a soon-to-graduate Kirkland was reluctant to continue, Kopansky’s persistence paid off. Instead of dissolving, the existing group

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added a few new members to their roster and an extra letter to their name at the start of the fall semester. With the blessing of the university and an updated logo designed by Chris Henderson featuring Pitt Script, a calligraphic-style font, Pittch Please officially entered the a capella scene. And what a big splash it made.

Fast forward to this year’s Great Lakes Quarterfinal, where Pittch Please made its ICCA debut. Armed with a roster spanning approximately six years of students – some freshmen, some alumni – the boys performed a variety of songs, including their favorite piece – Zedd and Foxes’ hit Clarity – where Kirkland shone as a soloist for the group that almost wasn’t. Other groups sang well, but where they excelled in technique, they fell behind in charisma. Onstage, Pittch Please delivered both skill and stage presence. As Lorah remarked, “What makes the difference is how you convey your story to the audience, to make them connect with you.” The boys most certainly made the connection with their audience at the ICCAs. Upsetting the frontrunner from the host university, Pittch Please surpassed The Originals by just over 20 points, making them the first place finishers for the Quarterfinal Round, stunning the Carnegie Mellon University fanbase. Pittch Please rounded out its night at the ICCAs with an encore performance - “Isn’t She Lovely?” a fan favorite. Although both groups qualified to advance to the Semifinals, neither one scored high enough to move into the Finals.

Looking forward, the boys’ spirits are high. They plan to release an EP toward the end of this semester, in late April or early May. They’ve passed 1,000 likes on their group’s Facebook page, something they specifically mentioned as a goal for the year. And above all else, they have made it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with. A smiling Kirkland summed up the sentiment best. “Pittch, we made it.”

JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF PITTCH PLEASE? WANT MORE? FOLLOW THE BOYS ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR UPDATES ON MEMBERS, UPCOMING CONCERTS, ALBUMS, AND MORE. FACEBOOK: PITTCHPLEASEOFFICIAL TWITTER: @PITTCHPLEASE INSTAGRAM: @PITTCHPLEASE LOOK OUT FOR AN OFFICIAL WEBSITE LAUNCHING THIS SUMMER AS WELL AS AN EP COMING SOON, AVAILABLE ON ITUNES, SOUNDCLOUD, LOUDR, AND SPOTIFY. AND REMEMBER, THAT’S PITTCH PLEASE WITH TWO “T’S.” 31

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in Focus 32

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text: cristina mccormack + kaylen sanders photos: cristina mccormack + kaitlyn vollmer design: rikki li

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the book store tour T

he saying goes: come to Pittsburgh for the bridges; stay for the books. Maybe not quite, but the steel city’s thriving literary scene is certainly a well-kept secret. Forget Borders and Barnes & Noble. Pittsburgh’s array of independent bookstores spans from the all-purpose to the anarchist, the eclectic to the classic. If you’re a book lover, it’s impossible to be bored. Join us on a tour of the bookstores we scoped out around the city — you’re guaranteed to find one to call home.

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aliban Book Shop on South Craig Street is the bookstore in Pittsburgh to get lost in. Do not let small storefront deceive you: the mere three rooms full of books is like going down the rabbit hole of bookshops. Although the space itself is small, it feels anything but small when you go inside. The bookshelves, each completely filled, line the store and sit diagonally across the wood floorboards, and almost touch the ceiling in their height. Even the floor itself becomes a shelf, with books stacked horizontally and vertically all throughout the store. The store is said to hold around 35,000 books. Nothing is more enticing on an unplanned snowy Saturday afternoon than the warmth of Caliban Book Shop. Upon entering, I am immediately taken by the cozy feeling of the store, and start making my way through the aisles, skimming my fingers across the spines of old books until I find an intriguing title. Caliban Book Shop specializes in selling used and rare books. Some titles and authors are recognizable, but most of the books are unknown to me. I do not find this intimidating though, I let myself go on a treasure hunt among the books. To me, each book seems like a friendly stranger at a bus stop. I open up books with words so old and unknown to me and just enjoy reading random pages I probably will never see again. Many people stop in and directly go to the counter asking about specific editions of books. The very knowledgeable store co-owner, John Schulman, has an answer for each of his customer’s questions. If you do go to Caliban Books, I recommend you let yourself linger. Linger on older books with beautiful bindings and soft pages and look down aisles you would never usually go down. Discover the basement filled with paperbacks, and flip through paperback mystery novels. People throughout the store do the same as well: some stand as if in a trance, eyes scanning titles, while other small groups of people share books they found with one another. The aisle that holds my attention the most is the

poetry section. As a reader of poetry, I particularly love that Caliban Books dedicates an entire aisle to poetry. In other “big name” bookstores, the poetry sections tend to be lackluster in their selection of strictly recognizable poets. Here, I am pleasantly surprised to discover poems of authors I have never heard of and cannot help but dive into the language. I stand there for over twenty minutes, pulling out books and reading poems, placing them back, only to return to read the poems once more. Speaking to the store’s co-owner, John Schulman, I realize that it is not only my favorite section of the store. “Out of all the sections, I’d have to say the poetry aisle is my favorite. I used to write poetry, so I wanted a good selection here.” He pauses for a moment, “That, and the Local History section. Pittsburgh has such a rich and diverse local history.” Mr. Schulman is happy to help answer my questions and share his thoughts on the bookselling business. He tells me it takes hard work to own a bookstore, like any business, but that it has been his passion since he started selling old books from his apartment. Him and his wife, Emily Hetzel, opened Caliban Books in 1991 on South Craig Street and their business has been growing stronger ever since. When asked if it’s hard to sell books the old fashioned way today in the modern age, Mr. Schulman reassures me that by maintaining low prices and friendly staff, and opening up their own business on the internet, it has not been too bad, especially in its prime Oakland location. “Bookstores are what make a neighborhood vibrant,” Mr. Shulman says with a smile. Looking around the store and at the excited faces coming through the door with questions about specific book editions, I can see what he means. Caliban Book Shop, with its deep blue storefront and welcoming staff, feels right at the heart of Oakland and for that, has my full hearted recommendation.

my book recommendation: why we never talk about sugar by aubrey hirsch a great place to find: a book from any genre 410 south craig street, pittsburgh, pa 15213 http://www.calibanbooks.com/

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my book recommendation: the sirens of titans by kurt vonnegut a great place to find: a gift for the book-lover in your life 5522 walnut street, pittsburgh, pa 15232 www.kardsunlimited.com

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ards Unlimited may not be exclusively in the business of selling books (it’s mainly a great place to find the perfect card and trinket for your loved ones on their birthday) but its small collection of books is sure to steal your heart. Unlike the other independent bookstores in Pittsburgh, Kards Unlimited has a small cultivated selection of only new books. The books are located in one long aisle of creaky floorboards along the left hand side of the store when you enter. There’s a little something for every book taste, ranging from children’s books to fiction to gag gift sex books. If you are looking to try out a new genre or maybe find a new edition of a loved one’s favorite read, then this is definitely the place to check first. Scattered throughout each genre are little laminated recommendations from the shop’s employees. Each recommendation includes a description of why they love the book they chose. The different ways in which Kards Unlimited displays the books (some are stacked by color, others in groupings by author) is also quite appealing to the eye. Although the selection is not of

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he back of Classic Lines’ business card reads “A bookstore is the only place the only place to find the book you didn’t know you wanted.” This is the perfect description of what you should expect to find at Classic Lines. As the new kid on the block, Classic Lines is still building its reputation at just three months old. However, it is hard to tell that the store just opened its doors in October of 2014. The store boasts over 7000 books currently, an eclectic mix of generally more popular titles and authors. The collection has a little bit of everything new and old. Store owner Dan Iddings wanted to offer Pittsburgh a store that sold a selection of both used and new books, as the majority of bookstores in Pittsburgh tend to have a selection of only used books. “Right now, we have about forty percent new books and sixty percent is used books. That’s a good place to be at.” Mr. Iddings tells me, with his hands folded atop the large counter. The used books, located alphabetically on the bookshelves that rim the perimeter of the store, are all in fantastic condition. Very few of these books look very “used” at all. The new books are presented individually atop the bookshelves, making the browsing process very easy and these titles grab your attention immediately. The crossroad selection

a wide variety of books, careful attention to detail was clearly put into this book selection. There are books that are consistently talked about and other books I’m surprised to see on the shelves. This includes a collection of short stories, Vampires in The Lemon Grove by Karen Russell, which I personally have had on my “To Read” list for a while. Among the classics, I find the Penguin editions of Jane Austen books and lovely little collections of poetry particularly captivating. After reading most of the recommendations, you will probably end up like me: with a pile of books you want to purchase but cannot quite afford to buy on a student budget. Finally, I decide to treat myself with a purple and yellow edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titans, based on the written employee recommendation that it had her favorite first page of a book ever. Reading the recommendations is a little like getting a book recommendation from a friend. I trust that the store and its employees will not lead me astray in their recommendations, which speaks volumes of the store’s ability to maintain high quality. of both new and used books makes it my favorite in Pittsburgh. Mr. Iddings informs me that the initial collection of 1500 books came from his own personal collection, which makes him quite the groomed book caretaker. If you want a book recommendation, though, you will have to talk to him personally. He likes to take a more individualized approach in his bookselling. “It’s more of like an interview. ‘Which authors have you read? Well, if you like that author, then you might like this author.’” What is very clear is how Mr. Iddings and his staff really care about creating a good atmosphere for their customers. The well-lit space is wide and easy to navigate and there is plenty to look at throughout the store, which not only sells books, but art and glassware additionally. Overall, the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. Classic Lines also hosts special events for local authors, whose dates are listed on the store’s Facebook page. Located on Forbes Avenue of Squirrel Hill, Classic Lines has one the best bookstore locations in the city and it truly feels like a part of the community there. Not to mention, there are great places nearby to grab a cup of coffee and open up your newfound reads.

my book recommendation: the goldfinch by donna tartt a great place to find: that one book you’ve always wanted in your collection 5825 forbes avenue, pittsburgh, pa 15217 https://www.facebook.com/pages/classic-lines/685643054851974 37 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 37

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TEXT & PHOTOS: JORDAN VOGT DESIGN: AMI BALLO

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his series is not linked in place or time, but by the relationship contained in each photo’s border. It is a relationship of harmony amongst humans and the environment, and it is something that we witness less and less of every day. Harmony is rare because our culture separates the ideas of civilization and nature. Rather than living peacefully as a species on this Earth, humans believe that they must conquer nature in order to survive. The problem is that we are not just surviving—entire lives are being committed to consumption. In America, we spend unprecedented amounts of time working to be able to buy more things, only to have less time to use them. Consumption originally provided conveniences, which would allow to time to live. But with all of the time we spend working, how much are we really living? And the biggest problem is that we are forcing this lifestyle onto other cultures. Globalized Development enters countries that contain communities that directly survive off of their environment. Corporations use up the natural resources, and anything that business can’t profit off of directly is destroyed. The people living in these places can no longer survive in this deprived ecosystem. The result: They must participate in the capitalist system, which exploits them. In the meantime, humans are taking more resources than our planet is able to provide. Because of all of this consumption, we are producing waste at an alarming rate. The human race is changing the essential functions of our planet with extreme levels of pollution; which causes rising sea levels, melting ice caps, changes in global weather patterns, species extinction, long-term drought, and forest devastation. The condensed version of this description: Climate Change. The International Panel on Climate

Change (IPCC) said last year in its fifth report that global climate change is certainly happening, and that if we do not decrease our resource consumption and environmental pollution, then the damage will be irreversible, with continuous negative human impact. The IPCC is an international scientific organization, of which 195 countries are currently members. What the scientific community is telling us is that as we pollute the air that we breathe and the water that we drink, we are ultimately only destroying ourselves. It is overwhelming to consider a solution to environmental problems because so many issues are out there (e.g. the symptoms of climate change). But these matters are all mere indications of a larger problem: the commonplace belief in society that humans are separate from nature. Proposed solutions at a structural level, such as changes in policy and regulations, are heavily debated and politically gridlocked. They oftentimes don’t cater to individuals or to local communities. However, recommending changes in lifestyles, such as “greener” buying habits, are not possible for everyone in our current system when economic situations are considered. There is, however, one change that everyone can make: break down our culture’s idea that humans and nature are separate. Adopt a new mindset! To slowly eliminate this root cause of our destructive relationship with the environment will lead the way to changes that can save our planet and the quality of human life upon it. The most common response to the environmental crisis is to propose technical solutions and policy changes, but these solutions can only be successful when the people support them and believe in them. We are all responsible for restoring a balance with the environment; it is not a job that we can place on any single group of people. Out of love for all life on earth, have hope that change is possible, and be a part of it.

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“ADOPT A NEW MINDSET! TO SLOWLY ELIMINATE THIS ROOT CAUSE OF OUR DESTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ENVIRONMENT WILL LEAD THE WAY TO CHANGES THAT CAN SAVE OUR PLANET AND THE QUALITY OF HUMAN LIFE UPON IT.”

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“HARMONY IS RARE BECAUSE OUR CULTURE SEPARATES THE IDEAS OF CIVILIZATION AND NATURE.” 42 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 42

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put on the red lM i g h t s

eet the Cell Phone Disco, an electromagnetic art installation nestled in the back alleys of Downtown Pittsburgh. Dreamt up in 2006 by Dutch artists Ursula Lavrencic and Auke Touwslager, installations of the Disco have become a reality in multiple locations across the world, including Spain, Germany, the Netherlands - and more locally - Chicago and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh’s version of the exhibit was designed to be a permanent one. The Disco was commissioned by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, installed on the back of the Benedum Center, and unveiled to the public in late November of 2010. In 2015, the piece is still shining brightly. But how does it work? The 16’x16’ screen acts as a rudimentary mirror when not in use, but dormancy is a foreign concept at the Disco. The screen is brought to life by the electromagnetic forces produced by cellular phones. Electromagnetic light is not a part of the visible spectrum. However, when mobile devices are used in close enough proximity to the board, their consequent electromagnetic data are picked up by the Disco’s antennae and then transmitted to a receiver. The receiver then transmits that data into processors which power more than 2,000 red LED lights which adorn the screen, lighting up the surrounding cityscape. In the presence of the disco, using a cell phone never looked so good.

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text + design: michael knarr photos: abby wang

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n bad weather days I hide in the Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art with the sentiment that, “I’ll see the other museums eventually,” referring to the cluster of museums to which Pitt offers free admission for its students. This experience did indeed manifest itself nearly a year before I graduated, as a hot day in mid-May when I stopped by to see the then reconstruction of the Andy Warhol Museum. Spearheaded by museum director Eric Shriner, the museum was under reconstruction in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Everyone seemed excited to celebrate the Pittsburgh-native’s accomplishments, but then again, when weren’t they? Warhol is one of the city’s most talked-about celebrities, his paraphernalia featured in souvenir shops and honored with his own “Andy Warhol” bridge, one of the three sister bridges across the Allegheny. Oakland born and bred, Warhol studied commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology before moving to New York, where his reputation exploded and skill set expanded. He opened “The Factory” a

catch-all studio for his art/film/sculpture/ fashion work, and from then on, its history. I mean, everyone knows Andy… right? Now, let me be honest: I knew the Campbell’s Soup cans and the Marilyns, but to me this Pop Art pioneer’s work was only vaguely recognizable, like a catchy commercial jingle. Now that I’ve spent two hours immersed in his work, I’m on my way to becoming a Warhol connoisseur, and I do get the little pleasure of referring to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable exhibit as the EPI (Oh, haven’t you heard of it?). The first of the exhibits greets visitors with several black and white photos of Andy, looking charming as men do in oldtimey photos. This juxtaposes with the ongoing “Figment” project displayed in the main lobby, which live-streams footage from his grave site. Though he’s left us, Warhol’s art feels alive; there’s motion in the imperfections of his work, be it blotted line technique, hand-painted Pop Art or silk-screen printing. The museum is now organized chronologically, adding a level of clarity when viewing his pieces which balance meticulous detail with the clever crudeness of a child. Andy’s college-level pieces are

reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s book art for Roald Dahl. The pieces are displayed on the perimeters of the room, enveloping patrons in an open area with plenty of space to move. My favorite exhibits are the EPI and “Silver Clouds.” The EPI is a wonderfully sensory experience: beating drums, flickering films from “The Factory,” flashing strobe lights and you, all rhythmically existing in a small dark room. “Silver Clouds” is a room of silver, sausage-shaped balloons that elicited laughter from me and some Minnesota natives as we bopped the chubby metallic astronauts back and forth. I found Warhol’s work instantly engaging, visually and mentally, and the museum’s new layout lent itself to a more immersive experience by putting a visitor in the center of a room lined with art. I’ve decided that I quite like his style, specifically the confidence his work exudes regardless of a lack of precision or an abundance of color. My new suggested mantra: live each day like a Warhol print. If you’re unsure what that means (and you probably should be), stop by for a firsthand experience.

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a man worthy of a

mantra A NEWCOMER’S LOOK AT THE WORKS OF ANDY WARHOL

LOCATED AT 117 SANDUSKY STREET, THE MUSEUM IS OPEN TUESDAY TO SUNDAY FROM 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M., WITH SPECIAL FRIDAY HOURS FROM 10 A.M. TO 10 P.M. THE MUSEUM IS FREE TO ALL PITT UNDERGRADS WITH A STUDENT ID. FOR THE 21+ CROWD, THE “GOOD FRIDAYS” SERIES OFFERS HALF PRICE ADMISSION AND A CASH BAR.

text: zersha munir photos: jacob trettel design: michael knarr (modified for print from imaginepittsburgh.com)

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community Downtown 48 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 48

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rom Oakland, any 61 or 71 will take you there. Downtown is our next-door neighbor, full of possibilities - dining locations beyond Sorrento’s pizza and entertainment options beyond frat parties. While it’s known for its Business District, with companies like PNC Bank, U.S. Steel, PPG, to name a few, Downtown also houses the rich cultural district of our Steel City. Andrew Carnegie and Henry Heinz started their fortunes here, as did artists like Andy Warhol. Downtown has something for everyone - a perfect intersection and centrality to this city. Bound by the Allegheny and the Monongahela, the Golden Triangle is a convergence point. Of art, finance, culture. Of smiling faces and briefcases and coffee shops and theaters. Of bridges, buses, and bikes. While it’s often a midpoint - a bus drop off for a student coming back from winter recess - Downtown has much to offer those strolling by. In this Community Guide, we offer you a few snapshots at this very special neighborhood. Who knows what else you may find?

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downtown

“no finer place for sure,

everything’s waiting for you”

text: karley snyder photo: sarah baumann design: michael knarr title credits: downtown, petula clark

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s m

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TEXT: ERIKA FLEEGLE PHOTOS: AJA JONES

o u fl a B T sp d w d m b co th b e ch it

DESIGN: RIKKI LI

IT’S SHOWTIME!

C m a in se co n k a st fl

o

behind the scenes of Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera

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suddenly, i regret leaving my character shoes at home.

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’m sitting inside one of the many rehearsal spaces at 719 Liberty Avenue, the home of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera – the CLO. This is a big weekend for the city’s major theater organization – auditions for the summer season are underway. Amid the winter chill, Liberty Avenue is flooded with handfuls of hopeful dancers, singers, and actors looking to take their place on the stage of the Benedum Center in the coming months. The rehearsal room is packed – a flurry of leather, spandex, and shuffling feet. Since early morning, dozens of dancers have been turning and leaping and waltzing across the floor under the watchful eyes of directors and choreographers. I walk right into the middle of the judging portion. Bright, upbeat music bubbles out from the piano situated in the far right corner of the room. Dancers are called out in groups of three and asked to dance a given combination of steps before the judges. Their movements, to the untrained eye, are effortless, even flawless. Every shuffle-ballchange and metallic clack of their tap shoes falls into its perfect place. But it’s not that simple. “This is by no means polished,” says Aja Jones, the CLO’s Marketing Manager. “They only have a few minutes to learn the combination.” The combinations are small selections from each of the musicals included in the 2015 summer season, each only between thirty seconds to a minute in length. The polishing will come later, after castings have been announced. For now, the directors are looking for dancers who can keep time and “perform” the piece to the best of their ability – a beaming smile will do in place of a missed step. Three more dancers advance to the center of the floor, hitting their starting poses. “Are you ready, girls?” a director calls. “Knock it out.” The CLO has been knocking out arts entertainment for the city’s enjoyment for over half a century. In February of 1946, the Civic Light Opera announced it would be offering musical theater performances during the summer months. This idea had midwestern origins – a Pittsburgh city councilman was inspired by a performance from the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the first American summertime musical theater troupe, and decided it was exactly what our city needed. After official discussions and financing from local retail magnate Edgar J. Kauffman, the CLO had its first premiere at Pitt Stadium. In the 1960s, the performances moved to the

now-demolished Civic Arena (later the Mellon Arena, the former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins), the world’s first major venue with a retractable roof, so audiences could enjoy theatrical performances under the stars. The company has made a few moves since then, finally settling into their homes at the Benedum Center in 1988 and the Cabaret at Theater Square on Penn Avenue in 2004. Seasonal performances are also offered at the Byham Theater on Sixth Street. The final round of dancers finishes their combination. The director calls out again, “Shoe change! Ladies in character shoes, men in jazz shoes.” The room is a flutter of movement once again. “Make sure you limber up,” another choreographer adds. “Warm up your legs and back.” The next choreography sample – a selection from The Wedding Singer – is up next. Lindsey, the instructor for this number, advances to the front of the rehearsal space, standing between the mirrors and the first row of dancers. Immediately, she begins breaking down the first eight counts of the music. “You’re facing a diagonal, your head is down. Right arm circles back on one, two, comes around again on three, four, facing front and prepping for a double turn on five. Turn on six, seven – this is fast!” The dancers mimic Lindsey’s movements, stopping momentarily to check proper foot placement and make sure they can fit both turns into the small musical space. “You’re landing on eight, second position, arms out.” They snap into position, legs spread and arms out to the sides. They repeat the moves again, first without, then with the music. The next eight count begins. “Hold one, pop your chest out on two. Come up three, step forward four. Pinch your shoulders back like you’re holding a walnut!” It’s an abstract thought, but it works. More counts are taught and reviewed over and over again. Every single head movement and arm position is articulated, ensuring uniformity from the entire group. Even the flipping, cascading hair of the dancers is perfectly timed. Though this is in no way an official performance, every red lipstick-lacquered mouth and wing-lined eye is open and expressive, some even making eye contact with the judges – always a safe bet. After teaching a few more counts, Lindsey divides the men and women and teaches them their separate parts.

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“IT’S LIKE A BIG FAMILY, AJA NOTES. “PEOPLE COME BACK YEAR AFTER YEAR. A LOT OF REGIONAL THEATERS DON’T HAVE THE STRONG FEEDER SCHOOLS WE DO.” 54 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 54

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The environment of the rehearsal room is incredibly supportive, though subtly competitive. Aja explains that a lot of the dancers are local, and points out two former students of the CLO Academy toward the front of the room. The CLO established the Academy in 1989 as the premier training academy for musical theater in Pittsburgh. Students from ages three to eighteen can enroll in introductory- to pre-professionallevel programs designed to develop their confidence, performance ability, and help them on their way to a future career in the arts. The Academy also boasts a 100% post-secondary placement record, sending alumni off to such prestigious schools as Boston College, The Julliard School, and New York University. But as for the entire Pittsburgh ensemble, “it’s like a big family,” Aja notes. “People come back year after year. A lot of regional theaters don’t have the strong feeder schools we do.” It’s a happy reunion for the production staff as well – most of the choreographers and directors for this season will work on other productions throughout the year, but will return to Pittsburgh for the Summer Season. Within a few minutes, Lindsey has already taught another few blocks of eight counts. As the dancers get into position to start, the music changes – increasing the tempo to twice its original speed. This has little effect on the dancers – they slip into the new tempo with ease. Lindsey intermittently makes changes to the choreography, calling out character notes throughout: “Let’s make a fist instead. That looks weird.” “You just walked into a room and you are walking down a red carpet. Ladies, give me shoulder! Men, give me… strength.” “Give me that hair, okay? “… and all that jazz.” Here, someone inevitably sings, echoing Chicago’s Velma Kelly. Finally, they reach the end of the combination. The piece ends with four counts of a forward walk, hips swaying. Arms rise, long and dramatic, above the head. And at the last moment, the ladies drop to the floor, left leg bent beneath them, balancing on the ball of the foot,

right leg extended to the side, foot exquisitely pointed. The director offers his advice now: “Hold in your core. Don’t let anyone know you’re going to drop.” “Keep it smoky, not showgirly!” The group divides again into men and women, rehearsing the entire combination several times. The judging process begins again – groups of three are called to the front and are rotated through. When they’re not performing, the others are marking the moves, counting through the beats in their heads. Auditions will carry on through the weekend. The Pittsburgh CLO’s Summer Season will open on June 9 with Mary Poppins and close with Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella on August 16. Though it’s more than a year away, the 2016 season is already in its planning stages – the CLO has already secured rights for Matilda The Musical, based off the beloved Roald Dahl book, for the beginning of the 2016 Summer Season. “It’s an ongoing process,” Aja says. “We send out an audience survey every year to see what the public wants to see the most. We were lucky to get the tours of Cinderella and Kinky Boots on board, and they’re bringing Billy Porter along. It’s huge.” Porter, a Pittsburgh native, is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Creative Performing Arts School and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts. He received a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2013. When it comes to rehearsal time, there’s less than you’d think. Since the Summer Season shows only run between one to two weeks, most ensemble members are rehearsing one show during the day and performing a completely different one at night. “It’s exhilarating to be so involved in such a concentrated amount of time.” As I’m leaving the Benedum, another young woman enters, this time a singer. She checks in with the security guards, exchanging hellos. Perhaps she’s part of the larger family that returns year after year. “How are you?” they ask. “I’m plugging along,” she replies, cheerful and breathless, her voice clear as a bell. “Trying to live that dream!”

to find out more about the pittsburgh clo or to purchase your tickets for the upcoming summer season, visit https://www.pittsburghclo.org.

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Harris

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TEXT: CRISTINA MCCORMACK ILLUSTRATIONS: ASHLEY WERTZ DESIGN: AMI BALLO

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he evening is blistering cold and uninviting as I ride the 71C bus to downtown; however, movie-going has always been one of my favorite ways to battle the Pittsburgh cold. What leads me downtown is the prospect of simply having to sit in one place and be transported from my world for two hours. For me, a trip to Harris Theater is not just an entertaining one, but a meditative one. Film viewing is the kind of exploration I enjoy doing by myself every once in a while, a time I have to contemplate a subject that is not directly related to my own sphere of living. Harris Theater’s storefront is the brightest spot on Liberty Avenue on a Friday night. The neon sign does not read tacky, but like a slice out of movie going past. The black reader board letters display the motion picture being played that evening. With such a nostalgic storefront, it is surprising to learn that the movie theater was recently restored in 1995. Harris Theater also keeps alive the history of Downtown Pittsburgh before its Cultural restoration. The theater first opened on September 14, 1931, under the name Avenue Cinema, making the theater eighty three years old. The first film shown at Avenue Cinema was a German operetta, “Der Foersterchrist.” Even today, Harris Theater is one of the city’s movie houses to routinely show foreign cinema, just another emphasis on the importance of film as a representation of culture outside of Hollywood entertainment. When I visit Harris Theater in January of 2015, it is to see a French film by the name “Two Days, One Night.” I get to the theater with just enough

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time to buy my tickets and snacks. I am pleasantly greeted by the staff members and am glad to see no long line for tickets. “One student ticket, please.” I ask after making my way through the front glass doors. “That’ll be five dollars.” The staff member says after checking my University of Pittsburgh card, which is another great aspect of viewing a movie at Harris Theater. It is easy to forget that cinema is an appreciation of the arts when commercial movie theaters today focus more on the money-making side of the business than the films themselves. Seeing a movie at the Waterfront means spending over ten dollars on a ticket, which brings up the common complaint that movie going today costs a good bit of money. The fact that Harris Theater can provide high quality projection of films for half that price for students deserves recognition and respect. Pittsburgh Filmmakers still believes in the provision of art for the public at a reasonable price, maintaining that art is at the center of the city’s cultural vitality. The lobby of Harris Theater is small and painted a blue color to match the bright blue of the storefront. II make my way to the snack counter and browse over the selection handwritten on a chalkboard. There are the usual movie snack affairs, except at much more reasonable prices and size selection than other theaters. The inside of the theater feels laid-back, with tables full of local flyers and walls covered with movie posters. To the left of the lobby is a stairwell that leads upstairs.

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Harris Theater is unique among the other movie theaters of Pittsburgh in that it has balcony seating, in addition to ground level seating. After viewing movies from both the top and bottom theater seating, I can say I did not notice a difference in my enjoyment of the projection and sound of the films I viewed. Because the screening room is tall in its height, I appreciate the option to view the screen at a more eyelevel arrangement from the balcony. At the bottom of the stairs leading up to the balcony seating, I discover a small metal plaque giving a short history of Harris Theater. Upon reading it, I am shocked to learn that the theater was named after John P. Harris, a former Pennsylvania state senator, who also founded the world’s first all-motion picture theater in 1905 on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh. A visit to Harris Theater in downtown Pittsburgh is a reminder that to find the history of a city, one only need look to the art establishments of the city. Until the 1960s, the then Avenue Cinema continued to show commercial art movies. However, during the 1960s, when Liberty Avenue developed into the red light district of Pittsburgh, the theater was converted into a pornographic film theater. Other cultural establishments in downtown Pittsburgh also suffered during this period. During this time, the downtown movie palace, Loew’s Theater, also shut its doors in 1964. These transitions were attributed to multiple factors, including the rise of television, the segregation of the city during 1960s, and the suburbanization of the Pittsburgh

area. It was not until the revitalization of Pittsburgh and in particular, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s purchase of the pornographic film theater, that the movie theater reborn under the name “Harris Theater.” Today, Harris Theater is one of the three theaters that Pittsburgh Filmmakers operates. As Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ mission statement promises, “[Pittsburgh Filmmakers] is committed to the artist and the advancement of artistic excellence in visual arts.” Harris Theater presents the best of the best of motion pictures. It shows a range of obscure to more popular commercial art films. In general, the theater is solely concerned with providing the public the opportunity to view films that are excellent pieces of art and it doesn’t matter how widely the films have been advertised. This is the crucial difference between the Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ theaters and other commercial movie theaters; one is dedicated to art while the other is dedicated to profit. Movie-going is a cultural tradition that has transformed with time, but keeping the art of film at the center of its mission makes a visit to Harris Theater an overall better experience. The screening room of the theater is long, and I walk down the aisle with my small bag of freshly popped popcorn and find a seat in the center of the theater to get the best sound and visual experience. The theater is half full, quiet, and well situated. Together, we are ready to be transported to France for two hours, just as the lights begin to dim.

FOR SHOWTIMES AND MORE: HTTP://THEATERS.PITTSBURGHARTS.ORG 809 LIBERTY AVENUE, PITTSBURGH, PA 15213

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TEXT: CASSIDY ZIMMERMAN PHOTOS: ARIELLE BERK DESIGN: RIKKI LI

NOT your grandma’s MEATBALL T

Emporio’s Modern Twist to a Classic Dish

he meatball, a popular yet often overlooked entrée, has become the feature of one of Pittsburgh’s downtown eateries. However when first hearing of Emporio, the concept of a meatball-oriented menu left no impression on me. After all, Italian food, people, and culture help characterize the Pittsburgh area. Festivals, grocery stores, and authentic restaurants comprise only some of the surrounding Italian influence. Consequently, meatballs did not initially register as an innovative concept. This restaurant though takes the basic meatball and turns it into an experience. Lending a classy twist to a basic food Emporio advertises itself as an authentic eatery, “featuring gourmet meatballs, 32 draft beers, wine and classic cocktails—all made fresh daily in our scratch kitchen.” The idea for a meatball-based restaurant sprung from the multiple burger bistros bombarding Pittsburgh according to managing partner Mike McCoy. Places like Burgatory, Stack’d, and BRGR made their names by allowing patrons to select and tailor their meals by choosing from a list of meats, sauces, seasonings, and various toppings. Modifying what has proven to be a successful premise, Emporio allows customers to select from beef, pork, chicken, and vegetarian bases. Nine different sauces and gravies, including vegetarian and gluten free options, invite those of all diets to partake in the meatball feeding frenzy. The unique flavors, including 58 pork bolognese, tzatziki, and

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spinach-almond pesto, allow customers to expand their palates. Emporio also offers the serving options of sliders, panini, grinder, or plain “saucy balls.” You don’t have to be a meatball fanatic to enjoy the culinary expertise though. The menu also offers “snacky things” like mushroom arancini, house cut french fries with malt vinegar aioli, and crab balls romano. Endless opportunities present themselves, from classic to creative. Ultimately, the question remains: why meatballs? The Meatball Shop in New York City served as one source of inspiration. McCoy also adds that the meatball functions in a way that many of the burger joints simply do not. “Meatballs are nostalgic,” he states. They remind you of family gatherings, of Sunday afternoons, of Grandma whipping up homemade meatballs for dinner. Combining this nostalgic flavor with a modern atmosphere, Emporio was born.

“meatballs are nostalgic,” he states. they remind you of family gatherings, of sunday afternoons, of grandma whipping up home-made meatballs for dinner. 4/15/15 12:31 AM

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To create such an atmosphere, McCoy explains the restaurant plays a “fun, upbeat, high energy playlist” that mixes different music genres, appealing to everyone. Various personalities come though in the music as well as the employees. Other than the company t-shirts, servers are not restricted by dress code. By wearing a funky skirt or different colored jeans wait staff are able to express themselves. Emporio functions as a component of something much larger, making it even more unique. The meatball joint, a part of Sienna Mercato, is one of the company’s three eateries. Each offers its own specialty and taste but, coexist within a single building for a fusion of foods. With it’s slogan “Good. Times. Three.”, Sienna Mercato claims to “bring a unique restaurant experience to Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.” In addition to Emporio, Mezzo and Il Tetto complete the trio featuring wood-fire pizza and a rooftop beer garden respectively. Sienna Mercato’s distinct layout was not always part of an overarching master plan. Initially, the owners only wanted to add a rooftop deck onto their eatery, similarly named Sienna, in Market Square. They soon found that logistically, it did not make sense to build the rooftop dining area on the small building. Pursuing the vision regardless, a building that fit the criteria was located via connections with other downtown business owners. The owners were obligated to buy the two attached floors beneath in order to acquire the rooftop and its remarkable view of the city though. Thus, three different concepts for the three different levels were conceived. Inside, visitors enjoy a cozy and rustic, farm inspired area, adding to the

s. of ng r.

authentic feeling. The Italian aroma hangs in the air making mouths water and stomachs growl as soon as they enter the front door. McCoy describes Emporio as the more “fast and casual” of the three. Mezzo may be “a little more upscale, but still very affordable,” serving up Italian cuisine and wood-fire pizzas. Step onto the roof garden for a contrasting image. The surrounding city creates a modern, uptown feeling. Bright lights lend to the view. Aside from the food, McCoy asserts: “What’s unique about Sienna Mercato is we want people to come in and be able to spend their whole nights here.” Other restaurants may rush customers out the door in order to receive maximum profit, but this establishment breaks the norm. Sienna Mercado brings innovation and atmosphere, as well as credibility to the table as “all three concepts feed off of each other”. And within the threepronged establishment Emporio, more than just a meatball joint, adds to Pittsburgh’s restaurant culture with its creative premise and authentic dishes. Next time you’re on Penn Avenue, stop by 942 for McCoy’s favorite spicy pork meatball with arrabbiata sauce served on a panini. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, get creative! Customize a unique meatball masterpiece to satisfy your personal palate.

get a taste of emporio’s meatballs! 942 penn avenue, pittsburgh, pa 15222 telephone number: 412-281-2810

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Getting Lost in Downtown Pittsburgh

(IN WHICH LIFE DOESN’T HAVE A GPS AND THAT’S OKAY)

B

ack in my senior year of high school, I had a teacher set aside some class time to make us write letters to our future selves. She told us not to open these letters until we graduated from college so we could give our messages a good four years to sink in. I found this letter again recently while I was cleaning out my desk, and, being the impatient person I am, opened it two years early. Most of the letter was pretty amusing. I asked myself if I had good friends in college (which, fortunately, I do), and I asked if I still remembered how to conjugate French verbs (which, unfortunately, I don’t). There were a few doodles squeezed into the margins and a healthy line of hearts trailing after my signature. What surprised me however was a single line that I wrote at the very end of the letter: I hope you’ve found what you’re looking for. I don’t remember writing this sentence, or more importantly, why I wrote it in the first place, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot. What was I looking for? Or rather, what did my past self hope my future self would find? Did this imply that I had lost something to begin with?

I suppose that’s a possibility. I feel like I’ve been lost for a while, though more mentally than physically. For example, when someone asks me “what are you going to do with your life?” most of me just wants to disappear into the floor. There could be a law of solidarity or something involved with this though because I’m terrific at getting lost in real life too. Give me a map and a place to be and I can guarantee I’ll be miles off course within a few hours. It’s a superpower. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the reason I get so lost is because I know I’m in the wrong place; that the place I want to be is always where I’m not. What, then, would happen if being lost was my intention? How can something be lost if it doesn’t need to be found in the first place? I decided to test this theory by purposely getting myself lost in downtown Pittsburgh. I knew it wouldn’t be too difficult; I had ventured downtown a few times before, but always with a destination in mind and my face buried in Google Maps. This time, I would have neither. It was a chilly Saturday, but by no means gloomy; the sky

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TEXT: RIKKI LI PHOTOS: CHRISTINE LIM DESIGN: AMI BALLO

was bright and cloudless, with a sun the color of golden apples. For this adventure, I had also managed to convince Christine, a fellow OMag-er and photographer, to get lost with me. We boarded the 61C and established the general rules: we would navigate our way downtown using coin flips. Heads would mean “turn left” and tails would mean “turn right.” We could flip the coin whenever we wanted, and if a certain place caught our eye, we’d go inside. Any of these rules could be broken for the sake of spontaneity and whimsy. Our first coin flip told us to exit the bus at 5th and Smithfield. The streets were loud and crawling with construction— sections of sidewalk had been gouged out, revealing a network of cables and orange cones. We sidestepped a crowd of workers, passing Smithfield Church and its “When Jesus said follow me, he didn’t mean on Twitter” sign out front. It wasn’t long before we were apprehended by what looked like a royal-blue toy store that stood out conspicuously from the neighboring gray buildings. Five minutes in and things were already getting interesting, I thought. That was promising.

First place of interest: S.W. Randall Toyes and Giftes (or as we nicknamed it, “Santa’s Workshop”) Walking into the store put an immediate hush on the world, which was unexpected in the most pleasant way. It was the same kind of quiet that I associated with putting your head under the covers at night; a soft, comforting sort of silence. The store looked a lot bigger than I had expected too, three floors of powder-blue carpet and fairy lights filled to the brim with all the toys you could ever imagine. Briefly, I wondered if this was what it felt like to step into the dreams of children. We perused the store slowly, the shelves of porcelain mermaids and dark-eyed dragons, walls of board games and Lego sets, a room full of dolls in glass cases, another room brimming with stuffed animals. We stopped to admire an 8-feet tall giraffe plush, so tall that he almost brushed the ceiling. “He looks like a Bernard,” I said. “Yeah, I would be careful with him, he’s $6000,” an employee said from behind us. She had platinum-blonde braids, dark plum lipstick, and smiling eyes. “I’m Lauren. If you want the giraffe, you’ll probably need a Jeep to take him home.” Unfortunately, we didn’t have $6000 or

a Jeep, but we did manage to get a selfie or two with Bernard before we bid him farewell. When we asked Lauren to tell us more about the store, she said that it was “definitely epic.” “Anne Hathaway was here when they filmed The Dark Knight,” she told us. “She changed into her Catwoman costume in our plushie room over there.” She jerked a thumb back towards the jungle of stuffed animals. “I’ve seen Brittany Spear’s grandmother here too, with her grandchildren, no kidding.” “That’s so crazy,” I said. Lauren leaned against the staircase banister and smiled at us. “Yeah, we get all kinds of people here,” she said. We left S.W. Randall’s and consulted another coin flip that told us to turn left on 7th and Smithfield. It was getting progressively colder, the kind of cold that made it hard to talk and that left our hands numb and unusable. Needless to say, at the next intersection, our attempts to flip the coin failed spectacularly, and we came to the mutual agreement to forgo the coin all together and just take random turns as we pleased. Tracking our progress became a bit haphazard, but that was nice too, in its own way; now we

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were inarguably going to lose ourselves to the city. time of day and month. I remembered coming here one A questionable amount of lefts and rights later, we night in September, where there had been music playing, stopped to examine a couple of magnolia trees, their people laughing and dining, and colorful lights strung in branches covered in blooming pink flowers despite the the trees still satiated with leaves. snow and the bareness of the soil. Now, the square was bare and quiet. However, after “Those aren’t real, right?” I asked Christine, trying to turning a couple corners, we happened upon a small get a closer look. skating rink, surrounded on all sides by the mirrored “I don’t think so?” she said, and snapped a few photos turrets of PPG Place. Here, we watched children and for good measure. We hung around for a bit longer, families wrapped in puffy coats circling the ice, skating staring at the trees and remembering spring. It felt outto Demi Lovato’s Give Your Heart a Break. It was a of-place, considering how cold it was, but not in a bad charming little pocket of life, so bright and happy, and way—kind of like hearing I realized that perhaps on old song on the radio and the energy of downtown realizing that you still knew Pittsburgh hadn’t waned and wonder. every word. at all for the winter—it “A ship is safest at harbour. But that’s not what ships (It wasn’t until I got home had simply moved to a new are for,” one said. A little sailboat had been scribbled that I learned that the location. next to the quote. I thought about the safety of harbors, magnolia trees were indeed Eventually, we continued the suspense of being lost at sea, and imagined what it fake. They were actually part on, cutting through some might be like to lose yourself to an ocean so endless that of a collective art piece called quieter, more deserted it melted with the sky. Magnolias for Pittsburgh by streets. We found a curious “With all due respect, Mr. Warhol, your bridge is a little Tony Tasset, created in 2003. trail of bread slices on clichéd,” said another. I laughed at that one, imagining Each tree was made of handthe sidewalk at one point, instead a bridge made of Campbell soup cans, rendered sculpted bronze and contained unbroken crusts with the in various pop colors. The structural integrity of that about 800 individually soft white centers eaten out. bridge would probably be questionable, but at least it’d painted magnolia petals. In Oddly, it reminded me of be interesting. making the trees, Tasset said Hansel and Gretel; as if the My favorite piece of graffiti however came in the form of that he had hoped to “create a universe was trying to give us a three sentence love story. “I love you Nikki!” one person little magic, fairy-tale moment its own kind of breadcrumb wrote. Below that, a vehement scribble, “She’s a hoe.” in the daily hustle and bustle trail to lead us back home. And next to that, a proud declaration, “I fucked her.☺” I of downtown Pittsburgh.”) suppose Nikki must have been one hot commodity. Third place of interest: When we reached the end of the bridge, we decided Second place of interest: Toonseum to turn back around, if only to read the graffiti one last Andy Warhol Bridge Entirely by coincidence, time—just in case we had missed something. Straight ahead from the we somehow managed to magnolias, we could see the end up in exactly the same We walked on. A right on Ft. Duquesne, then a left, iconic yellow arch of one of place we started, on 5th and and then another left, and we somehow ended on Penn Pittsburgh’s many bridges. Smithfield. Avenue. We cut through Market Square, a little plaza of Christine and I decided to “It’s weird,” Christine said, cobblestone streets that was depressingly quiet at this take a breather there, mainly as we bypassed the same for the sake of poetic justice. construction workers, jumped The Allegheny River was over the same sidewalk holes. surprisingly beautiful that Hello Jesus, hello Twitter. day, a bright turquoise expanse of glittering water Hello S.W. Randall. “Even though we’ve walked this way interrupted by tessellations of ice. The bridge itself was before, it still looks unfamiliar.” pretty peaceful too—only one Port Authority bus rumbled She was right. I knew that we had been in this exact past as we stood there contemplating the water, the spot no more than an hour ago, but I found myself ground vibrating beneath our feet. We walked across the noticing things that I hadn’t seen the first time. Most of bridge slowly, admiring the copious graffiti that had been the stores, for example, all had two doors, one of which etched into the metal with varying shades of amusement was always labeled, “Please use the other door.”

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“Why have two doors if you’re not going to use one?” I wondered aloud. At 7th and Smithfield, we decided to go straight instead of turning left like we did the first time. Christine shrugged. “Maybe there’s only one way in and one way out,” she said. As we continued down the street, a bright red sign suddenly caught my eye. It read, “Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art” and had a small Mickey Mouse hand pointing towards the museum’s door. This was too good to pass up—I was a huge comic book fan. We ducked inside, only to find that the museum, called Toonseum, was really no more than a long rectangular room. Sitting at a small desk right in front of the door was a girl reading a comic book. She looked up when we entered and smiled. “Hi, how can I help you?” she said. Her name was Dani Grew, and she was the store manager of Toonseum. She told us a little bit about the museum’s history, how it was founded by a Pittsburgh freelance cartoonist

named Joe Wos in 2008. His mission was to create a space where people could come and appreciate the feats and versatilities of cartoon art. “I love comics because it’s a whole big medium,” Dani told us. “Cartoon art is unique because you can use it to express what you normally couldn’t express with writing. It can tell so many stories.” “What’s your favorite superhero?” I asked her. She thought about it for a moment before smiling ruefully. “I have to say Spiderman,” she said. “I love him in all of his renditions.” After paying an $8 admission fee, Dani gave us free reign of the museum. “I just finished setting up a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exhibit too,” she told us. “It’s technically not yet open to the public, but you guys can be the first to see it.” Really, the museum was like stepping into a comic book fan’s modest lifelong collection. There were old Marvel comics propped up on desks and framed storyboard panels

DON’T BE AFRAID OF BEING LOST. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE SPONTANEITY AND MISPLACEMENT.

hanging on the walls, ranging from Nickelodeon to anime to D.C. to Calvin and Hobbes. After perusing the main room, we ducked into a small hidden hallway to see the aforementioned TMNT exhibit. This room was bigger, filled with various Marvel paraphernalia, displays of old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise, and a superhero’s cape and mask, contained in a glass case on the wall that said “break in case of emergency.” What was most interesting about this room however was an old easel propped up in the corner, surrounded by art supplies and facing a huge wall of drawings from previous Toonseum visitors. Apparently, this easel had belonged to a famous animator whose dying wish was have his desk be used by generations of future artists, so it would always be a “place of creation.” Christine and I weren’t exactly artists, but we took it upon ourselves to leave our own masterpieces on the wall of drawings. She drew a smiling Baymax from Big Hero Six, and I drew Captain America’s iconic shield. After we had finished, we pinned our drawings to the wall, stepped back, and, having left our mark, departed shortly thereafter. Looking back, I wish that I could come up with some riveting life lesson from my whole experience of getting lost in downtown Pittsburgh, but really all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed myself without even knowing that I would. Here’s the thing: I’ve found that if I go into a day looking for something interesting or exciting to happen to me, I’ll most likely be disappointed. All I really need to do is remain open and receptive; to just step back and let life do its job. So, to my past self (and my future self): Don’t be afraid of being lost. There’s nothing wrong with a little spontaneity and misplacement. Sometimes, being lost might even help you realize what you were missing in the first place. I hope, for you and for anyone else still searching, that you find exactly what you are looking for.

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text: rikki li photos: christine lim design: michael knarr

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s e t t e n g i v m p 3 m { fro a glimpse into

y café it c ’s h g r u b s t downtown pit

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“i wonder if he misses a different time, the easy camaraderie of locals before they learned how short 24 hours could be.� 66 Oi16 for Copy Edits.indd 66

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T

he curly letters on the café window remind me of an era I never knew, sepia-toned evenings and cigarette smoke, train whistles and soft red lipstick. “It’s so organic,” says my companion and I agree. The tables look like they belong on a patio, an Arcadian garden, with little menus bound in aged leather and lights shaped like foxgloves. Organic, I think, and write the word on my palm. Soft opera drifts through hidden speakers. We sit at a table, open our menus. The walls are made of carmine brick and are framed by potted plants. A blackboard advertises, “breakfast all day!” An empty blue china vase stands in the corner. A dusty chessboard itches for players. The café is empty.

From the kitchen, a curtain swishes and a man emerges. His hair is grey and his face is soft with age. “Sorry I’m not a plucky young man,” he says, “but I’m the only one working here.” Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and every dish is $7.95. I order a blueberry lemonade and an Italian omelet, while my companion orders an iced coffee, some tomato soup. The man smiles, tell us “Pittsburgh has changed. No one has time for cafés anymore.” He disappears into the kitchen, and I can hear the sound of a blender, a knife on a chopping board. He returns with a basket of warm bread, two ramekins of jam and butter. “Let me tell you,” he says, “the downtown worker doesn’t have time for anything, not anymore.”

The door opens, Two weary travelers annex a table with their suitcases. Our waiter walks over and they ask for a coffee without looking him in the eyes. He shuffles back into the kitchen and the strawberry jam tastes like misery. When our food arrives, the travelers depart. I can still see their coffee steaming from my seat. Our waiter serves us with a sad little smile. “I don’t think those women were happy with me.” We eat like we’re ravenous, like we’ve never eaten before. Our waiter sweeps the floor, soft and shy, and tells us about big business, music, psychology. “I’ve written three books,” he says, “and when I get out of here, I’ll publish them.” “What are they about?” we ask, between bites of red pepper and potato, caramelized onion and fluffy egg, hunks of bread soaked with spicy tomato. He leans on his broom, as if telling a secret, and says, “The first one is about evil.” “The second is also about evil, and the last one is a romance novel.” I wonder He laughs. how long he’s been alone. “You get tired of evil after a while.” I wonder if he misses a different time, the easy camaraderie of locals before they learned how short 24 hours could be. “Thank you,” he says when we pay our bill, and hands us a little card that says come have coffee with me. “Give this to a lad who catches your eye,” he says, “and come back again sometime.”

city café, located at 951 liberty avenue is open everyday from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. 67

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Galleries Galore PITTSBURGH’S PROMINENT ART SCENE PERVADES DOWNTOWN

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e

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ittsburgh is one of the nation’s best-kept cultural secrets. With museums, libraries, concerts and universities abound, it’s an up and coming cultural metropolis with an ever-expanding art scene. One thing that sets Pittsburgh apart is the accessibility of culture, specifically art. Pitt is one of many local universities that offer its students free admission to the city’s museums, including the Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Mattress Factory and the Heinz History Center. Its Pitt Arts program features discounted theater tickets as well as the opportunities for “Free Art Encounters” which include free event tickets, transportation and a meal. However, not only students have it easy. The city works to ensure all events and exhibits are affordable for the general public, a prime example being its free admission art galleries, a downtown collaboration between the city and skilled artists. Located in the heart of downtown, at the intersection of Sixth and Wood, is a triangular brick building which houses the Wood Street Gallery. The gallery’s installations are swapped out two to three times a year, and its main feature at the moment is an introspective set of pieces dealing with the “Absence of Self”. These include the works of four artists including Ivana Franke, Lauri Astala, Bryndis Hrönn Ragnarsdóttir and Mirjana Vodopija.

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Astala’s short Spanish film, “On Disappearance” (2012) features a chilling script about presence and time, and intricate camerawork that projects the patron into some of its shots. Franke’s installation, Seeing With Eyes Closed, asks patrons to close their eyes and sit in a dark room in front of strobe lights. The lights then project patterns and movement which the patron registers through his or her eyelids. The pieces make use of media and technology, sometimes imported from other countries. Wood Street Gallery’s other new exhibit takes art to the streets with funky and function bike racks in a myriad of shapes, including clouds and lightning bolts, and Pittsburgh bridges, all designed by local artists. Street art is popular in Pittsburgh, ranging from murals, to creative and quirky signs, to employed graffiti, and it’s exciting to see that the city is actively integrating its own form of art to its streets. These pieces are visible on the short walks between Wood Street Gallery and the rest of downtown’s art venues, including the 707/709 Penn Avenue, SPACE and Future Tenant galleries.

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PITTSBURGH IS ONE OF THE NATION’S BEST-KEPT CULTURAL SECRETS.

707 Penn Gallery (sister to 709) recently premiered artist Danny Bracken’s creations which combine sculpture and video to form the total package. Bracken’s wood and pipe kaleidoscope-like pieces of wall art are aesthetically, intellectually and emotionally pleasing. The structures look like they belong in an interior design catalog and zoom in on scenes of people performing daily activities in their homes. The scenes are accompanied by related sound effects and instrumental music, urging the patron to pay special attention to movement. These, among other installments are featured for about four months each, but try to see them sooner so you have ample opportunity to revisit your favorites! Catch any 61 or 71 Port Authority bus heading inbound from Oakland, and hop off at the Wood Street stop. From there, it’s just a short walking distance and you should be able to hit all of the galleries within just a few hours.

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Return to Nature Our rebellion ventured beyond the red line of our mother’s word, ignoring the barriers between worlds. Sap-slick trees sweated and chanted as we murdered past vegetation, Green Soldiers with a young-blood kinship, waiting for the fire to start. By not letting it in. By corroding our ears with clouds. Mother knew not of our wax heads dripping with heavily with smirks during our flight amongst the retreating leaves. Modern day-dreams set off the alarm in my life, where each pin-pricking sound byte entices me to envision present tragedy; A grown-up kid of concrete, daughter of the dime in a disposition where innocence and serenity is unknown without a strong flashlight. “Where is home, sissy?” words my brother let escape from his curling lips. Then the blood from his back poured out in the pattern of the words I left unanswered, unsaid. The branches betrayed their allegiance. Wooden defiance that clogged my veins and killed my voice. I saw my brother momentarily flirting with agony, suspended, bleeding like a veteran above me. But I was impaled backwards that day. Over trouble-caught seas and days of unrest, His scar healed— Mine sieved crimson for years.

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Inked I think that I will always love you The way that the pen loves the paper Kissing it softly To leave its impression Long after they have parted

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Eliza 1.

Reasons your hands shake: if they’re there, you don’t find them in the contours of her shoulders or in her eyes: they’re like a city on fire, you can smell the smoke.

2.

Assume I was under a sky and with teeth bared. Can I tell you now? Is there anything I can remember, any word I haven’t yet fed to each hungry night? It’s there, it’s a whispering beneath the car radio. Hips like a dangerzone like a warship like my hands are emitting sparks as I touch them. I’ve never been grass under feet but I would paint you like a horizon.

3.

“It’s the small things that end up killing you, most days.” You say it, fingers clasping your bra behind your back – fingers that move with ease. (because the sun always sneaks through the blinds and lands on your shoulders: hovers, refuses to move) You’re killing me most days.

text: rebecca martin photos: sarah baumann design: christine schauer

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text: arielle reed design: christine schauer

5:02 and I’ve burned my tongue again, black dorm coffee, milkless, bubbling the roof of my mouth to blisters, and I can’t help but remember last week when I saw him at the crosswalk, surprising us both at our sudden proximity, awkward, split-second eye contact voicing that peculiar sense of familiarity-turnedstrangeness that now hangs heavy between us, dark hair pushed from eyes I don’t want to remember are flecked with gold in the right light, his new headphones, two flattened tomatoes pressed tight to his ears, mine the same earbuds they were freshman year, when we would meet in the courtyard, mouthing hellosgoodbyesiloveyous smiling, so we would still understand each other over the rhythms of our conflicting music, mismatched, like we didn’t yet know we were, but right now, I’m remembering last week when I’m panicking at his sight, my coffee-gloved hand reaching up to hide my face with the grandé cup, full to the brim with the scalding, too-sweet concoction that I intended to let cool before I was forced to use it as a shield, a preoccupation, a distraction, the two of us pivoting apart, those brown eyes suddenly fascinated by the sky, my own looking for anything but him, hand moving of it’s own will, thrusting the cup to my lips, sipping frantically to feign nonchalance, gulping too much, swallowing fire, spilling it down my coat as he passes, I hope he didn’t see.

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Monochromatic text: karley snyder photos: sarah baumann design: christine schauer

mash the cobalt, and throw it into the atmosphere this creates the sky (until it sprinkles into the sea) take that glow-apricot, red-brown, and compress— that is the mountains (The Rockies, maybe Appalachian) emerald infused with jade, viridian, maybe—blossoms the leaves, grass, and trees. (seasons unravel— so do shades) but sometimes shades turn to shadows.

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France text: kate koenig photos: sarah baumann Design: christine schauer

The house with the red door shone at the end of the cul-de-sac like a beaconing light. The paint on the picket fence was a faded off-white, the house was of the same faded color. On the curb stood a woman with messy russet hair holding a brown leather case in one hand and clutching a bible against her chest with the other. She approached the vibrant door and rapt her knuckle three times. Shuffling from within was followed by the slow opening of the door, revealing a man, face half-hidden. “What do you want?” “Hello, I’m selling King James Bibles today. Would you be interested in this investment?” She flashed her best car salesman smile. “No, don’t think I am,” he said, gripping the door and moving to close it. “Good day.” “Do you ever think of dying?” She prompted, edging her foot forward inside the threshold. “Do you?” The man paused, glancing down at her feet, not quite intruding in his house, but there just enough to make a statement. “Do you?” “Sometimes.” After a brief pause, the old man asked, “Would you like to come inside?” and opened up the house to the russet haired woman. She smiled, stepping over the threshold with her bibles, into the warmth of the old man’s house. “You have to excuse the mess. I wasn’t expecting company,” he said, closing the door behind the woman. “Tuesdays are terrible days for company.” The woman surveyed the entrance. Clean. Orderly. Old. All things seemed in order. The house was similar to the others on the street, a typical suburban household that she’d never known, but always found so fascinating. The kitchen was off to the right, a shining tea kettle perched on top of an ancient stove. In the middle of the kitchen a small table waited with two empty chairs on either end.

“Care for some tea?” The old man asked, indicating toward the kitchen and the shining tea kettle. This house was very much like the ones in the neighborhood. The only discernable differences were the emptiness of the house, devoid of running children needing to go to soccer practice, the usual hive buzz that accompanied such a house in this area, and of course, that brilliant red door. Yes, this man was the perfect man to buy a bible. Ripe with age and as lonely as the forgotten pack member. He’d consume the bibles, she knew. “Lovely home you have here,” The russet haired woman said, stepping onto the linoleum. The brightness of the kitchen came from the great bay window in the back, overlooking the encroaching wood that lay just beyond his small yard. The afternoon warmth seeped into the room as the tea was prepared. “Used to drink coffee when I was young. Made me so jittery,” The old man drowned his tea. The russet haired woman politely sipped hers, watching the old man lean back in his chair, rubbing his forearm with great thought in his head. She sipped and thought. He sat and pondered great mysteries she wanted to tap into, if only to find her angle. She was preparing a question but he beat her to it. “How old did you say you were?” “Old enough to pay taxes,” she smiled, her white teeth practically glowing. “Old enough.” “Hm,” he said. “Selling bibles?” “Selling His word.” “When did you first think of dying?” He prompted, watching her from behind his back-rimmed glasses. “I almost drowned when I was twelve. I was very young then.” “I was young too. Saw my buddy go up before my eyes like the fourth of July,” he said. “Couldn’t drink coffee after that. Too

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jittery.” The woman laid her bible down on the table and edged it toward him. The gold lettering glinting in the light. She rested her hand on top of it like she was swearing in in court. “The Lord heals all. Illness, suffering, Catholicism, he heals it all.” They continued into his den, a place devoid of the delicate touches most homes exhibited. There was a beat up sofa and a matching arm chair, a tea stained coffee table and a small TV on a stand. On the wall was a singular picture of a red-lipped woman winking at the camera, her curls a mess in the wind. A cross rested under her. “Have you ever been to France?” The man asked, pulling out a dusty picture album. “Nice place. Okay food.” “I’ve only seen France on TV and read about it in books. Always thought it’d be a wonderful place to go,” She said, watching him flip through the black and white album. She longed to see it in color. “My buddy was all jittery like he’d had coffee the first time he’d been on a French beach. It was a wonderful place, but this was years ago before I married Elaine. I’m sure the beaches are nicer now.” “Is that Elaine up on the wall? She sure is lovely.” “She was something. Like a firecracker, you couldn’t help but watch her. She was all color and light and excitement. Boy, oh, boy was she fire,” he leaned back in the arm chair, putting his hand through his wiry hair. “She’s the reason I started going back to the docs. You can’t let a woman like her down. It’ll make you insane to upset her. She’s no longer lights and color

and excitement.” “She read the bible?” she asked. “She read everything, but yes, the bible too. It gave her some peace, I think. Especially about me. She was always fussing over me. A typical feisty Italian girl. I was much wider when she was feeding me, you see. Couldn’t get me to go to the doctor though.” “Doctors can be intimidating, I suppose,” She said. “My father’s one. He’s intimidating.” “They tell you what you already know. Elaine already knew, but she still insisted. I’ve got one tomorrow you know, a doctor’s appointment. I know, of course, but it’s for Elaine.” “I don’t go to the doctor anymore. I just trust this book now and trust I can meet my goals with it.” “You never been to France, huh?” “Never been.” “Do you read?” “Every day.” The old man leaned forward in his chair, their knees were practically

on the wall was a singular picture of a red-lipped woman winking at the camera, her curls a mess in the wind. touching. The scent of tea hung between them. She was clutching her bible, watching the old man watch her. An unsaid agreement lingered after the scent of the tea. “I think I’d like to make an investment.”

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text: britnee meiser design: christine schauer

The Finger

I’m on my way to meet Mikesomething for dinner when my headlights shine on a gaunt orange Tabby cat creeping out from beneath a snow-coated truck. It’s a back road, so I don’t think twice about stopping the car in the middle of the street and getting out with the engine still running. My eyes stay locked on the Tabby as I inch closer. It’s watching me, too. I’ve gotten good at rescuing cats over the years—this is number fourteen. The Tabby is weak, fatigued from lack of food and the brisk winter air. I approach it and squat down, my heels getting soaked in the snow, and hold out my hand in front of its nose. “Hello, sweet thing,” I say. “My

should’ve been in the display case.” I pause, lingering on the thought of them, all thick, shiny skin and dark meat, as they try to intertwine with my own fingers, or creep down to the small of my back. Then I picture one of them in my mouth. I imagine the taste of pork, of warm skin—of blood. I only knew Mike for a few minutes, or however long it took my number to be called from behind the counter, but what I discovered was enough to put him on my List. He’s a large—mostly tall but also a little round—man with gelled back hair and a tan in December. He works in stocks—his words—fifty hours a week, makes a large sum of money, and avoids his wife’s phone calls.

cats are easy. you don’t have to worry about them masking their intentions. name is Beth. I’m going to take care of you.” The Tabby sort of cocks its head and continues to watch me, shifting focus from my face to my outstretched hand—the latter of which it sniffs, then moves toward me. It starts to rub up against my leg in affection, purring. That’s when I encircle my hands around its tiny torso and pick it up. It immediately nestles its head into the crook of my arm. Cats are easy. You don’t have to worry about them masking their intentions. I place the Tabby—a him—in the back seat on a pile of blankets I keep for emergencies like this one. He curls up without complaint. I fasten my seatbelt and put the car in drive once again. “I’m going on a date with a man named Mike,” I tell the Tabby. “I met him at the deli a couple days ago. I remember thinking that his fingers looked like pork sausages. They

He didn’t tell me this last part, but in the middle of our conversation his cell phone rang, and on the caller ID was a woman named Jenine. He hit “ignore” with his left hand, making the tan line where his wedding band usually rested perfectly obvious. “I can’t wait for this monstrosity of a date to be over so I can take you home to meet all your brothers and sisters,” I say to the Tabby. He’s sleeping silently in the back seat. I gave Mike my phone number because he asked for it, and because I could already see the layers of gooey, dirty scum beneath his posh Armani Exchange exterior. He called that evening. I was too busy slicing my arms with the aluminum lid of a wet cat food can and watching the blood seep from the gashes slowly, coolly, mesmerized by how the harsh crimson clashed against the smooth porcelain of my skin. I didn’t hear the phone ring, but he left a message, telling me not to call him back, but

to pick up the phone when he tried again in an hour if I wanted to get dinner. So I did. The next day at work—i.e. yesterday—I told some of my coworkers about my date with Mike. “Ooh Beth,” Lauren cooed, “That’s wonderful. It’s about time you meet a good man, a gorgeous little thing like you.” I smiled at her. Spinsterly Lauren was the leader of the office’s hypothetical Beth Fan Club. They all adored me here; doted on me like I was something to be cherished. I’d gotten so good at playing my part as Friendly, Hardworking Office Girl that sometimes, I almost believed it was true. All it took, though, was one look in the mirror, once glance at my arm and my stash of aluminum lids, to shove me off my pedestal and onto all fours amidst the filthy remnants of who I really am—of what I’ve done. I was no one worth praising. “It’s not going to work out,” I told her as I proofread a press release for my boss. “Why not?” another, Lisa, from a cubicle over, asked. “He’s married.” I heard collective sighs and ‘shame’s over the clicking of keyboard keys from reporters in all directions. “Why’re you going out with him then?” asked Danny, the hopeless romantic I shared my cubicle with. “You’re much too good to slum it with a cheater, Bethy.” I turned, looking him square in the eye. “Maybe I’m not as good of a person as you think I am.” He laughed, along with the rest of my surrounding co-workers. They all thought I was joking. “Come on, let me fix you up with my brother,” Lisa said for the millionth time when the laughter quieted. “He really is a sweetie, Beth, and he’d treat you right.” Fortunately for Lisa’s brother, sweet guys weren’t on my List.

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As I pull into the restaurant’s parking lot, I spot Mike standing outside the entrance with a handful of flowers. I throw back my head and let out one loud guffaw, waking up the Tabby. I screech into a parking spot and shut off my car, then turn to face the cat. “Okay, sweet boy, I’m going to go eat some dinner with that icky man, but I swear I’ll be back soon.” The Tabby meows quietly, then nestles his head in the blanket once again. “Hey, Baby!” Mike shouts when he sees me half way across the lot. I take a deep breath. Play your part, Beth. And, action. “So, Theresa,” Mike begins, taking a gulp of his wine. His meat club fingers encase his entire glass, and he spits when he talks. “What’s it like being a stewardess?” I smile and explain in great detail what I learned about the job of a stewardess from the Internet. Then I, too, take a large sip of wine—not for the nerves, but as a reward. I’m basically an expert at being anyone other than myself. Mike nods as if he really cares, and then is quiet until he can think up another completely unoriginal thing to say. We’ve been here about a half hour, and this has been the routine. I excuse myself to the restroom. “You are Theresa Smith,” I whisper to myself in the mirror. “You live in Manhattan on the West Side, you are a stewardess, and your parents are dead.” Three lies and a truth. I splash some water on my face, and then reapply the makeup I’d just washed off. I watch myself in the mirror again. My face is pale, round, my features disproportionate, my reddish brown hair unruly no matter how hard I try to make it appear sleek. I look small, weak, plain. I am disgusting. I keep my eyes locked on themselves as I pull up my long sleeve and hover my thumb over one of my two-day old wounds. Then I press down on it, hard— until a little bit of blood forces its way out of the poorly patched-up slice. I run my finger over the droplet and then place the warm liquid on my tongue to serve as a reminder—to give me motivation to do what needs to be done. The girl in the mirror smiles something sinister and hard. Her teeth are razors. She doesn’t want us to be sad anymore. At the end of the date, Mike picks up the tab. As he escorts me to the doors, I feel his hand find its place along the curve of my back, just as I suspected it would. I get goose bumps, but I don’t lose focus. With my free hand—the one not holding the bouquet of roses—I feel the edges of the Buck pocket knife in my coat. I remember the look on the cashier’s face when I purchased it from the hunting supply store, the words he said—what does a pretty little thing like you need with a sharp knife like this? Mike walks me to my car—except it isn’t my car, it’s two spots down from my real car—and presses me against the trunk. “Theresa, Baby, I had a really nice time with you,” he croons, his groin pressing into me. He closes his stumpy hands around my waist and leans his face down to meet mine. He’s sweating and breathing heavily. “You’re married,” I say, and I turn my head in time for his lips to just brush mine. “No, Baby,” he says. His hands move up and down, up and down, like I’m a piece of dough he wants to flatten out. I feel his penis getting hard against my hip. “Yes,” I reply. I reach into my jacket pocket and close my hand around the knife. He moves one of his own hands up to my mouth, caressing the side of my face and running his thumb across my bottom lip in a gesture that is meant to seem romantic, but also used to silence me. The timid girl I used to be would surrender here, fall prey to his scheme and go limp in his arms like the catch of the day. But I know all the tricks, now—I know he probably did this to reel in his gullible wife—and I’m getting tired of playing along.

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As a kid, I spent a lot of time alone, and in my free time, I was obsessed with looking up random facts. One of those facts—and believe me, I don’t know why this one stuck with me over all the others—was that, absent of pain receptors, biting off a finger requires the same amount of force as trying to bite a rubber band in half. This useless knowledge came in handy the day I got attacked. I didn’t have my knife then, didn’t hide my identity, didn’t have a reason to feel unsafe. I let the bastard walk me to my doorstep. He pinned me there, even more aggressively than Mike is doing now. He started kissing my neck, shoving a hand up my shirt, and ignored my efforts to try to make him stop. When I attempted to scream, he stuck his finger in my mouth. Pointer finger, left hand, shoved in so far that

the tip was touching the back of my throat, choking me. He had long, graceful fingers, fingers fit for playing the piano or changing chords on a guitar. Also, apparently, for gagging women. His knuckle collided with the front of my tooth, pressing on it, making it ache. I felt the bile rise in my throat, and then I didn’t think—I acted. I bit down on his finger, clamped my jaw long and hard, and didn’t stop when I tasted blood, felt the rubbery resistance of muscle, or heard his paralyzing screams. I only stopped when there was no barrier preventing my molars from meeting each other. When I felt his finger, limp and unhinged, in my mouth. I spat it at his feet as he clutched his red hand in horror. He looked at me, mad with anger and pain, screaming profanities my way. But I tuned him out.

For the first time ever, I felt truly empowered—the frail, pretty girl with the bony arms and gap-toothed smile could stand up for herself. She was strong. And she didn’t want this feeling to go away, ever. He reached down for his finger but I stomped on it with my heel, piercing the skin and crushing the bone. When he tried to push me I kneed him in the groin with my free leg, causing him to fall backwards down the steps and smack his head against the pavement. I think the fall really disoriented him, because when he got up, he didn’t come at me again. Instead he walked off swiftly, slightly wobbly, in the opposite direction. He was crying. I sat on my front step for a long time. My energy went away when my attacker did. Motionless but for my nails digging deeper into my arm

with every passing second, I was unable to focus on anything except The Finger. After a while it began to rain, and a stray cat with matted fur and a mangled ear came into view, approaching The Finger. At first, it didn’t seem to notice I was there, but then it clasped The Finger between its teeth and trotted up the step and onto my lap. I carried the cat, with The Finger, inside, and they both slept in my bed with me that night. That was Rescue Mission #1. Finger #1. Since then, the ratio of cats to fingers hasn’t always added up. I feed them real food, of course, so they don’t need to eat them— but, for some reason, they always prefer them. Mike shouts shrilly after I use my knife to cut off his sausage finger, the one against my face, in one fluid movement. He staggers back

w b l

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and falls to his knees, letting go of his hold on me and focusing instead on the gap where his finger used to be. Before he can look at me once again I am out of there, dropping the roses and running to my car at full speed. In a matter of seconds—I’m getting good at this, you see—I start my car and back out of the lot with one hand. In the other is Mike’s plump and bloody pointer finger. Once I am on the road and safely out of Mike’s view, I turn my head to the Tabby in the back seat. He watches me curiously, as if he wants me to explain. “That went just as well as I’d hoped

I carry the Tabby, who holds Mike’s mangled finger in his mouth, into my apartment, where I house more cats than pieces of furniture. When I place him on the scratched up hardwood in front of his furry peers, he immediately retreats behind my legs. I head into the kitchen with the Tabby—from this point on known as Fourteen— on my tail, followed closely behind by Three and Eight. They see what’s in Fourteen’s mouth; they anticipate what will happen next. I pull from the fridge a jar. Inside are several pickled fingers. The cats are all crowded around

we don’t belong to anyone, and nobody belongs to us. we are together in our loneliness in that sense. it would,” I tell him. I’m out of breath, and I can feel myself grinning wildly. The rush. I hold up Mike’s finger so the cat can see it. His ears perk up. “You can play with this for now, but you’ll have to share it with your brothers and sisters when we get home.” I toss Mike’s finger onto the blankets. The Tabby snatches it between his paws and starts gnawing on the bloody end. His chops are coated dark red in a matter of seconds.

me, looking up at me with their beady yellow eyes, and I toss a couple fingers from the jar and into the air. They love it—it’s a game that keeps them occupied long enough for me to grab an empty food can and slip away, unnoticed, into the bathroom to slice my arms. I shut the door, careful not to glance into the mirror, pull the lid from the food can, and sit on the floor. I exhale as I press the lid to my arm, about to apply pressure, when I hear a small

meow. One of the cats is scratching at the door. I open it up to find Fourteen— bloody from the finger, and alone. I’m about to shut the door on him, but he hurries into the bathroom before I get the chance, and grazes my leg. This is unusual—the cats and I live symbiotically. I let them share my home, I provide for them, and in turn, my conscience is cleared for a while. We don’t belong to anyone, and nobody belongs to us. We are together in our loneliness in that sense. I sit on the floor again and Fourteen crawls into my lap, purring. He tries to climb onto my shoulder, almost like an embrace, making me accidentally drop the cat food lid. For the first night in many nights, though, I don’t want to pick it back up. Instead I scratch Fourteen behind the ear, shutting my eyes and reclining my head. I listen to his purring, to his quick, pulsating heartbeat, to the subtle hum of the heat coming from the radiator. Behind my eyelids, in the dark, and grasping this little life so close, I can almost bear the pain of being me. For now, that’s good enough.

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text: sammi toner photos: sarah baumann design: christine schauer

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The Creole Pint C

harlie watched the gun in the man’s pocket as he walked in to Cready’s Tavern. The bottom of the pocket poked out, creating a slight bulge where the barrel would be. The man walked like a half froze stiff, but his tanned skin showed no signs of cold. A black bowler hat sat on his head, covering his eyes. Wasn’t exactly the kind of hat one normally wore when robbing a place, but then again Charlie had never been a robber, nor had she ever been robbed. But after watching all those stories on the news, you begin to develop your own picture of a robber. This wasn’t hers. The black of his bowler hat matched the color of his tie, and an off-white shirt was tucked into black slacks. His shoes clicked on the wooden floor, but she never looked down to see what color they were. The man sat two stools away, staring at the bottles wrapping around the island in the center of the bar. None of the regulars noticed the gun, and they went on yammering about newspaper clippings as old as the cracks in their shoes. A group of younger men slapped bets in each other’s hands trying trick shots at the pool table. Charlie’s fingers gripped the wood with each crack of colliding billiard balls. “Do me a favor,” Charlie said. “Take the gun out of your pocket now. And if you’re gonna rob me, I suggest you do it fast. Bar’s closing in an hour.” The man looked in Charlie’s direction. “Why do you think I’m here to rob you?” His voice cracked but he didn’t look nervous. Charlie rubbed a dirty cloth over a clean glass. “Take the gun out of your pocket,” she said. The man tipped his head back and the whites of his eyes glimmered in the low light. He faced Charlie and removed a revolver from his pocket, letting the gun swing by the trigger guard in his pointer finger. “That loaded?” Charlie asked. The man gripped the gun by the barrel and offered it to her. Charlie opened the chamber. Four bullets sat neatly in the holes, but two spots were empty. Charlie stared at the two holes, hoping the man lost them as opposed to the alternative. He didn’t look like a killer. She laid the revolver on the table, barrel facing a framed black-and-white photo of a worn down New York fishing boat. Charlie liked to think about what happened after the picture was taken. Men poking along the bay, heaving nets of oysters onto the slimy boat floor, the odor of two-day sweat and fish scales permeating every crack of the boat’s hull. She wondered why Cready kept the picture up when he was terrified of the water. “You got any scotch?” the man asked. Charlie set the glasses on the table and poured an inch of the amber liquor into each. “What is a man like you doing in New York on a night like this?” Charlie asked. “Would you believe me if I told you I was a businessman?” he asked. “Depends on what that means to you.” The man picked at his nails, scraping the dirt line from under the white tips. “I’m a head hunter. I scout for fresh faces for a major corporation.” “Which one?” “A major one.” The man smirked and turned back to his drink. “It’s someone new every time. Mostly it’s just fixing resumes, talking to employers to see who needs a helping hand.” “You get people hired?” Charlie asked. The man nodded. “Guess you’re good at your job then.” “It’s boring as hell,” he said finally. “‘Cause you know no matter how many people you fix up, they’ll never remember you. You’re just another man in a suit to them.” He sipped at his drink and went back to his fingernails. Charlie found herself examining her own cuticles, as if the man was trying to hint towards her the dirt under her nail beds. “Bruce Mercer,” the man said without looking up. “What?” “That’s my name.” “Oh.” Charlie tipped her drink back and watched the man do the same. Bruce shifted the bowler hat on his head, pushing it forward so it covered his eyes and then shifted his fingers over his hands, tapped on the bar, and shifted the hat again so only one of his eyes was shielded. She’d never seen a man move his hands more. Charlie refilled the glasses and tried to remember how many drinks the two of them had already. “Why do you care if you’re remembered by them?” she asked. Bruce frowned into his glass but didn’t say anything. Charlie shifted the drink in her hand. “That’s BM for Bruce Mercer?”

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He nodded. “You still haven’t told me yours.” Charlie removed her knife from the depths of her pants pocket. Bruce jumped as she flicked it open and stayed tense as she carved his name in the wooden countertop. As brooding as he was from far away, Bruce didn’t seem all that intimidating up close. “Charlotte Reem. Regulars here call me Charlie,” she said. “I’d rather stick with Charlotte.” “Your choice.” Bruce leaned over the counter and plucked the bottle of scotch from the rack. “I’ve only ever seen drunken idiots pick away at a table like that. It’s the sixth, by the way.” Charlie finished the carving, a splintered “BM 3/6/87” in front of the stool he sat on. “Why do you do it?” he asked. “I’ve found people come back more often when their names are on something,” Charlie said. “Doesn’t matter what it is. Doesn’t matter how big it is. They know it’s there, and that’s all they care about. Oldest letters I have are ’69, but this place was built in the 40s. Shame I don’t have any of their names on here.” “Your family’s name in there somewhere?” Charlie poured another glass for herself. She couldn’t drink too much; Tom was bringing the good scotch tonight. But she kept tipping them back anyways. “How about a house brew?” she asked. Bruce looked surprised. “Depends on what it is.” “The Creole Pint. Dark as the midnight roads.” She brought out two taster glasses. “Few months after I came to work here, Tommy Crew told me a bartender was like a teacher: she couldn’t figure out how to brew, so she decided to serve instead.” She filled the glasses with the dark ale. “I told him not only I could brew my own beer, but he’d get the first glass. He’s still sore about that first sip.” They held their glasses out in a silent toast and drank. “Chicory?” Bruce asked. “Chicory,” Charlie said, and refilled the glasses. “Buddy of mine brought a bottle back from a New Orleans trip he took years ago. First thing I ever drank working here. Seemed right to brew it myself.” Bruce held the glass in the lamplight, admiring the dark glow of light through beer. Charlie’d done it once or twice herself. “It’s not just chicory, is it?” he asked. “Nope,” she said. Bruce looked back at the ale. “It’s a nice brew.” He poured the second shot down his throat and tipped his hat back on his head, exposing eyes the same brown as his hair. “My father never let me drink, not even when I was old enough. I had to sneak a beer or two when he wasn’t home, but it wasn’t until I moved out that I went to a bar for the first time.” “Military man?” “Navy. Remembered for his service, not his kindness. Strong man, too strong for my mother. She ran and left me behind. Haven’t heard a word from her since, not a

birthday card or a goodbye note that came twenty-five years too late. Never been able to settle down since. Just left Rochester and a woman who was talking about kids.” Charlie paused to rub the glasses clean. “Rough luck.” She didn’t mention she started working here after her husband cheated on her with a friend, that she couldn’t stand to be around him or his home even with her seven year old son waiting for her. Andrew chose to live with his father when the divorce became final, a choice Charlie was neither happy nor surprised about. He’d be about Bruce’s age, but he never came by for a drink yet. Bruce examined his nails again, ignoring Charlie’s stare. “Their names aren’t here, are they?” “Not since I last looked,” Charlie said. She watched as Bruce’s eyes moved to the gun for the first time since putting it down. She’d never seen anyone look at a gun less. “Sorry about your family,” Bruce said. He picked up the gun but didn’t aim it at her.

she’d never seen anyone look at a gun less. “Do me a favor and leave a couple of bucks in the drawer, will ya? Hate to go completely broke.” Bruce squinted at the regulars towards the back, but still no one seemed to notice the gun. “Did I taste a little molasses in that Creole Pint?” Charlie chuckled despite the gun and knelt down beneath the counter. He leaned over the edge to see what she was doing, but the gun was out of sight. She handed the recipe card to Bruce. “Still legible? That card’s been in there a long time now.” He nodded. “Nice handwriting,” he said, and headed for the door. “Bruce,” Charlie said. “Why are there two bullets missing?” A corner of his mouth twitched upward again, and this time it was a half smile. “I put a bullet in the counter; it’s how they remember me.” “You’re gonna put a bullet in my counter?” “Don’t have to, not with that carving.” He walked back towards the table. “But you can.” He placed the gun on the table, barrel pointing to the door. “Maybe I’ll come down again, see if I can’t find new letters in that table.” Bruce let the door swing close. Charlie stared at the gun until she heard a car engine, and didn’t pick it up until it faded away. The revolver fit in her hand like beer in a glass, cool as a bottle pulled straight from the fridge. She wondered if Andrew would ever come down to see the hole it left.

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Hello lovely Original readers! As we wrap up this issue of The Original Magazine, we also wrap up this year and will be turning over a new leaf come the fall. It has been a lovely ride that I am glad you joined us on as this issue has followed Pittch Please through its travels as a new á cappella group at Pitt. From the Original’s staff trips through Downtown Pittsburgh, through restaurants and bookstores, and all throughout the city. We had an excellent time putting together this issue for you all and hope you had just as an enjoyable time reading it. I look forward to what next the next issue and what next year has in store for us as a magazine as I will be handing over my managing editor and photography editor positions and will be putting on the hat of editor-in-chief. We have some incredible things in store for the issues to come, so stay tuned. In the mean time, take your time looking back through this beautiful issue 16 and share it with all the people you come in contact with. The wonderful team here at The Original has poured their heart and soul into this issue, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with you. In all your endeavors I wish you the best, and can’t wait to share even more experiences with you next year. In the meantime… Stay Original! Sarah E. Baumann

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Profile for The Original Magazine

Issue 16: Downtown  

Issue 16: Downtown  

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