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Government Handouts

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Paul Ryan took some heat for his comments about the inner city and their culture of not working. What about the ones on the Hill and their culture of not working? 

042514 Government Handouts

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When children come to court, it's questions galore

Written by Liz Navratil on .

When 21 children came to Pittsburgh Municipal Court today, they had plenty of questions.

"Do you execute people?"

"What if you don't know who actually committed a crime?"

The children, ranging in age from 6 to 16, were invited to the courthouse as part of Bring Your Child to Work Day. It was the first time municipal court employees offered the program, court administrator Angharad Stock said.

She said the children began their day in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, where Judge David R. Cashman showed them pictures of a drug suspect before and after she became addicted.

They also toured the Allegheny County Jail and then returned to Municipal Court, where they had a question-and-answer session with representatives from the Allegheny County district attorney and public defenders' offices, Ms. Stock said. The children watched a short bit of a preliminary hearing and then returned to watch their parents work.

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Record Store Day sales up 11% over last year

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

GambinoRecord Store Day on Saturday was a big hit, as you probably know if you visited a record and saw all the people there.

The main stats, according to Nielsen Soundscan, are that it increased sales at indie record stores by 91 percent over the prior week, and RSD sales were up 11 percent over last year.

The hot vinyl came from Childish Gambino, Afghan Whigs, Nirvana and Flaming Lips.

Here are some other stats:

-- Independent Record Stores represented 19.4 percent of the total national volume of all Physical Album sales this week. This is the highest share of Physical Album sales for the Independent stores since SoundScan started tracking sales by store strata.

-- Vinyl LP sales at Independent record stores were up 280% vs. the prior week and up 58% vs. the week of Record Store Day last year. This is the most successful Record Store Day week for Vinyl LPs.

-- Fueled by Record Store Day exclusives, Independent Record Stores represented 85% of the total national volume of Vinyl LPs this week. In 2013, Independent Record Stores sold 82% of the total national Vinyl LPs.

-- This week represented the second-highest sales volume for the Independent Record Stores in a non-holiday week since 2008.


dttb-largeVinyl Highlights:

-- Vinyl LP Sales increased 176% this week over last week at all stores.

-- Sales of 12” Vinyl exploded this week increasing more than 3,100% over last week, and up 113% over the same week last year.

-- RSD 2014 is the most successful Record Store Day ever for vinyl with LP sales up 58% over the week of RSD 2013.

-- Vinyl LPs accounted for 52% of all album sales (CD, LP, other album formats) at Independent record stores this week. The week of RSD 2013, LPs accounted for 37% of all album sales at Independent record stores.

-- Of the top 50 Vinyl LPs in the U.S. this week, 43 titles were either exclusive Record Store Day releases, or were widely released for the first time this week.

-- The top 50 Vinyl LPs combined to sell 35% more copies this week than during the week of Record Store Day in 2013.

-- 68 different Vinyl LPs sold more than 1,000 copies this week, compared to 17 Vinyl LPs with exceeding 1,000 copies sold during the week of last year’s Record Store Day.

-- YTD Vinyl LP sales are now up 36% vs. the same period last year and are on pace to exceed last year’s record-high volume.


Billboard’s Top Vinyl LPs for the week ending 4/20/2014

flaming1. Childish Gambino/Because the Internet
2. Afghan Whigs/Do To the Beast
3. Notorious B.I.G./Life After Death
4. Bruce Springsteen/American Beauty
5. Jimi Hendrix/Live at Monterey
6. Grateful Dead/Live at Hampton Colliseum
7. Tame Impala/Live Versions
8. Joy Division/An Ideal For Living
9. Flaming Lips/7 Skies H3
10. Ramones/Meltdown With the Ramones

Billboard’s Top Vinyl Singles for the week ending 4/20/2014
1. Nirvana/Pennyroyal Tea
2. Flaming Lips & Devo/Gates of Steel
3. The Cure/Just Like Heaven
4. David Bowie/1984
5. Love/Rush / 7 and 7 is
6. Frank Zappa/Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow
7. Pantera/Poison Idea/Side By Side: The Badge
8. Paramore/Ain’t It Fun
9. Fleetwood Mac/Dragonfly
10. Garbage/Girls Talk S**t

Source: Nielsen SoundScan

 

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Steeltown Film Factory down to 3, sets April 26 auditions for staged readings

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

STP logo
And then there were three. 
 
Steeltown Entertainment Project’s Film Factory is down to three contenders, with the winner to be chosen May 17 at Point Park University. 
 
They are:  Stephen Knezovich, a fifth-generation Pittsburgher and visual artist who holds a master of fine arts and whose project is titled “Franksgiving”; Julie Jigour, a California native pursuing a master of fine arts in dramatic writing at Carnegie Mellon University, “Rainy Days”; and Randy Kovitz, adjunct faculty instructor, actor and writer-director of short films whose project is titled “The Beat Goes On.” 
 
They emerged from a field of 200, which had been whittled to five a few weeks ago.
 
On May 17, their scripts will be read in front of an audience and judges Lauren Elmer, head of post-production for A24 Films; Daniel Hoyos, independent film producer and director of the Seattle Shorts Film Festival; and Kristen Bell (not the actress), director of the Austin-based Fantastic Fest. 
 
The winner of the Ellen Weiss Kander Award will receive up to $30,000, a premiere of their work at the Three Rivers Film Festival in May and a trip to Hollywood. The honor is named for the Squirrel Hill resident who co-founded the Steeltown Entertainment Project and died in 2012 after battling liver cancer.
 
A reception for the filmmaking community, along with anyone interested in learning more about the industry, will be held at Point Park immediately after the May 17 event. 
 
In a new twist, Steeltown will hold an open casting call from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (April 26)  at Point Park’s GRW Theatre, 414 Wood St., to find actors and actresses for the May 17 table reads. Hopefuls are asked to be prepared to deliver a one- to two-minute monologue of their choice; they will not be paid for May 17 but will be if hired later. 
 
Another innovation this year: Steeltown’s Community Showcase, an online resource allowing the public to vote for the best script for a week starting May 17. The winner will receive a $5,000 grant. 
 
Tickets for the May 17 event, $15 for adults and $5 for students, are available through www.steeltown.org/film-factory or by calling 412-251-0890. 
 
This year’s competition will coincide with the Women in Film and Television International Summit attracting such influential players as “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke, CNN anchor and correspondent Martin Savidge, and “Ghost Whisperer” executive producer Kim Moses. 
 

 

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Hats On! For Pittsburgh's Hat Luncheon

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

 The Parks Conservancy's Hat Luncheon is coming up Saturday next week, May 3. I, just like many of the ladies and gents who will be attending this party to support our parks here in Pittsburgh, am on a hat hunt. My colleague, Sara Bauknecht (who is the style editor here at the Post-Gazette) mentioned that it would be fun to have a hat made.

 
Have a hat made? Do people even do that these days? Apparently, yes.

 
Enter Gina Mazzotta. Ms. Mazzotta, who is originally from Pittsburgh, was on her own hat hunt a few years ago but couldn't find anything that she really liked. Ms. Mazzotta had moved to New York City after studying visual design at the University of Pittsburgh and worked for Dolce and Gabbana, Saks Fifth Avenue as well as Armani Exchange before coming back home in 2012.

 

hat2She then decided to learn more about the hat-making process studying under milliner, Amy Hamilton. She was in love with the process, and began creating her own custom designs, holding trunk shows, and even making house calls for hat emergencies.

Hang on to your hat!


Let me tell you about my hat emergency and how Ms. Mazzotta helped at the drop of a hat, so to speak. I needed a custom made hat for a luncheon that was only 10 days away. Oh, and I had a budget of $150 dollars. (Which for a custom creation is a small budget!)


Fear not! Ms. Mazzotta brought a treasure trove of samples to my apartment yesterday, and she listened to what I liked, didn't like, and what could be done in our time allotment. She showed me samples of hats that she has made in the past, along with fabric options of what she has on hand.

I have to admit, it felt really special. Having someone come to your home and pour over choices with you was a luxury. It dawned on me that it wasn’t just about the hat that got me excited, but about the whole artistic process of someone taking my ideas, adding a fresh flair and artistic design, and creating a one of a kind piece for a special occasion. Hats off to you, Gina!


What a fantastic experience! I can't wait to share the final product with everyone at the hat1hat luncheon!

 

(Oh, and I won't be the only one wearing Gina Mazzotta’s design. She has created five other pieces for some high profile clients for the event.)

 

To check out her lookbooks or to contact her, click here.

 

Gina Mazzotta (above) with some of her hats. To the right are some sample fabrics she showed me during our meeting.

 

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