Straight Outta Compton goes straight to No. 1 at box office

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


“Straight Outta Compton,” about the rise of 1980s gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A., went straight to No. 1 at the box office, nudging aside the fifth “M:I” along with the just released “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.

The music and drama-soaked biopic grossed an estimated $56 million in North America. Here are the early numbers courtesy of Rentrak:

1. “Straight Outta Compton” -- $56,091,165.

2. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” -- $17,000,000, bringing its gross to $138,136,555.

3. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” -- $13,535,000.

4. “Fantastic Four”-- $8,000,000, for $41,961,218 since release.

5. “The Gift” -- $6,500,000, or $23,577,323 to date.

6. “Ant-Man” -- $5,517,000, for $157,567,253.

7. “Vacation” -- $5,330,000, or $46,852,065.

8. “Minions” -- $5,161,200, pushing its gross to an even brighter $312,929,910.

9. “Ricki and the Flash” -- $4,570,000, or $14,655,717 so far.

10. “Trainwreck” -- $3,836,160, for a healthy $97,955,120.

“Straight Outta Compton” was the biggest R-rated August debut in box office history, ahead of Universal’s “American Pie 2,” according to Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “At the beginning of the summer, the film was on pretty much everyone’s list of ‘must-see’ movies and director F. Gary Gray (‘The Italian Job,’ ‘Friday’) delivered a critical and audience favorite that far exceeded expectations."



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Vacation post - 08-16-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-Today would have been the 69th birthday of former Penguins forward Nick Harbaruk (right). Claimed from the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL in a 1969 intra-league draft, Harbaruk spent four seasons in Pittsburgh. Harbaruk, who at one time was one of four players in the NHL with a college degree, appeared in 74 games during his first NHL season of 1969-70 and scored 22 points. He played in 10 postseason games that spring and scored three goals, including the winning goal in a 2-1 win against the Oakland Seals in Game 1 of a quarterfinal series, the first postseason contest in franchise history. In 1970-71, Harbaruk appeared in all 78 games and contributed 25 points. He followed that up in 1971-72 by once against playing in all 78 games and scored a career-best 29 points. In four postseason games that spring, he recorded one assist. His final season in Pittsburgh was 1972-73. He once again played in 78 games and contributed 25 points. Just prior to the 1973-74 season, Harbaruk was traded to the Blues in exchange for goaltender Bob Johnson. One of seven NHL players from Poland, Harbaruk appeared in 308 regular season games for the Penguins and scored 101 points, 85th-most in franchise history. During that time, he appeared in 276 consecutive games, fourth-most in franchise history. In 14 postseason games, he scored four points. Harbaruk died Nov. 11, 2011 at the age of 67.

-Happy 49th birthday to former Penguins forward/broadcaster/coach Ed Olczyk. The third overall pick in the 1984 draft, Olczyk joined the Penguins at the trade deadline in 1996-97 when he was acquired from the Kings in exchange for forward Glen Murray. In 12 regular season games that campain, he scored 11 points. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and scored one goal. He followed that up in 1997-98 by playing in 56 games and scored 22 points. During that season's playoffs, he played in six games and scored two goals. In the 1998 postseason, he joined the Blackhawks as a free agent. After retiring in 2000, Olczyk re-joined the Penguins as a television broadcaster. He held that position until 2003 when he became the team's head coach. In 2003-04, Olczyk directed the club to a record of 23-47-8-4, one of the worst marks in franchise history. Following the 2004-05 lockout, Olczyk led the team to an 8-17-6 record before being fired. In 113 games as head coach, Olczyk had a record of 31-64-8-10. He is currently a broadcaster with NBC and the Blackhawks.

(Photo: Penguins Hockey Cards)

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Embassy in Cuba

Written by Rob Rogers on .

In a historic ceremony, the American flag was raised over the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. I think ending the Cold War-era boycott, which clearly wasn't working, was the right thing to do. Now it is time to close that other "embassy". 

081615 Embassy In Cuba

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Talkin Bout Practice: Aug. 15

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Pitt had its first organized intra-squad scrimmage of its fall training camp Saturday, a game won by the Panthers' offense. There wasn't much of an exact explanation on what the scoring system was, though defensive back Reggie Mitchell joked that he thought it was rigged in favor of the offense.

Again, the viewing window for the media was a fairly brief 30 minutes, but I was able to take in a few things, including the first few plays of the scrimmage.

** Each of the two first-team plays that we were able to catch were designed passes. The first was a rollout by Chad Voytik to his right, but his throw was batted back by Rori Blair. Voytik ended up catching it himself, technically making it a completion, but he was promptly brought down. The second was a pass to Tyler Boyd near the sideline that was broken up well by Mitchell.

** I didn't get a full count of the defense, but the players on the field for the first team offense were for those first few plays:

  • QB Chad Voytik
  • RB James Conner
  • WR Tyler Boyd
  • WR Dontez Ford
  • TE Scott Orndoff
  • TE J.P. Holtz
  • OL Alex Bookser
  • OL Dorian Johnson
  • OL Artie Rowell
  • OL Adam Bisnowaty
  • OL Alex Officer

** Before the scrimmage got going, there was some special teams work with punt returns involving Jordan Whitehead and Quadree Henderson fielding actual punts against actual players trying to tackle them. Whitehead was hounded right after catching the ball, escaping a tackler who tore off the bottom part of his jersey before being tackled a few seconds later for a one-yard loss. Henderson had a little more luck/success, gaining six yards, though he was chewed out by special teams coach Andre Powell for what he saw as loafing on the play.

** Chris Blewitt and Alec Schuster made all of the field goals we watched them attempt with the staff pumping in crowd noise. All kicks were in the 30-35 yard range.

** Here are the stats from Pitt's offense today:

Pitt scrimmage stats

Pitt's list of defensive players was too long to properly screenshot, but Quintin Wirginis had a team-high seven tackles, Matt Galambos, Jordan Whitehead and Mark Scarpinato each had six, and Lafayette Pitts and Matt Steinbeck both had interceptions.


Along with those practice observations are some comments from coaches and players who met with the media after practice.


Josh Conklin, defensive coordinator


On the scrimmage:

“It was a good day. I felt like we came out and I thought the guys, early on, executed really well. You can definitely tell a difference, just as far as how we’re moving around. I think we’re moving fast. Our first group – our ones and a half – are really playing pretty solid going against really good competition with Tyler Boyd and James Conner, who are putting pressure on you all the time. I’m pleased with where we’re at. We’ve got a long way to go, but the good news is I think we’ve got 21 days until Youngstown State, so we’ll keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together here.”

On Reggie Mitchell:

“He’s head and shoulders above some guys right now. He’s done a really good job of taking what we did last spring and applying it to this fall camp. He’s made some plays.”

On Dennis Briggs, who is currently operating as the first nickel:

“Dennis has a specific skill set that could really benefit us there as a defense.”

On Jordan Whitehead:

“Jordan did really good. We always talk about defensively whether you can feel a guy or not and I think we could definitely feel him. He’s not 100 percent on his assignments or execution, but you can feel him. He’s going to make plays. He can cover a lot of ground, he’s very athletic and he’s very explosive. One time, he came from the opposite hash playing the boundary safety and made a play to the field that not many guys can make. Our whole deal with him right now is getting him reps and throwing him to the fire and seeing if he can get there.”

How close was the loss?

“I thought it was going to be closer than it was. Early on, we played really, really well. The scoring system, I don’t really pay a lot of attention to that. But we want to win it, that’s for sure.”

“Usually, it comes down to a two-minute situation. We gave up a couple on a coming-out situation where the offense is trying to get two first downs. We didn’t stop them and that kind of put the nail in the coffin for us defensively.”

On whether Whitehead's shortcomings are a product of his age/inexperience:

“You live with those with a true freshman. I know he’s going to make some mistakes. I’m not worried about the mental mistakes because he’s a really conscientious guy, he’s a bright football player and he’s athletic. He’s proven he deserves to be out there because he can make the plays.”

Chad Voytik, quarterback


On where the team's passing game is:

“The passing game is always the slower half of the offense to develop. We’re working on that right now.”

On if the team is at a point where one unit is ahead of the other:

“I wouldn’t say so. We made some plays when we needed to. That was really the story of today. The defense was in position, but we just made the plays. I wouldn’t say schematically that we’re ahead of them or anything like that.”

On if he found himself controlling the game:

“I’m trying to learn this offense so well that I can manage it and know when someone is supposed to be on the ball or if they’re in the wrong formation. I’m getting that worked out right now, so that’s really my mission, to make sure everything pre-snap is perfect.”

Jim Chaney, offensive coordinator


On the scrimmage:

“It was an interesting day. I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get a first down out there. My goodness, we started awfully slow. The defense was having their way with us until about halftime. Then we came around and made some plays.”

“What I was most pleased about was our resiliency. When things weren’t going their way, we weren’t panicked on the sideline. They came over, we talked, we kept going and we kept grinding. Eventually, good things started to come our way.”

On if Voytik took control:

"I feel like it. I feel like he’s still learning what we want him to do. I’m asking a lot out of that position right now.”

On backup QB Nate Peterman:

“I think Nathan did some good things, too. Both of them continue to come out here and impress me with some of the things they do. Then, inevitably, they’ll do some bone-headed thing where I go ‘Why? Oh man, I must be the worst coach in football history.’ They’re learning.”

On the team's run game:

“I don’t think we’re close to where we need to be in the run game, to be quite honest. I think we can run on the perimeter okay, we’re doing that adequately enough, but our interior run game is not where we need it to be. We’ve got work to do. Like I said, I don’t think we need to cancel any practices.”

Reggie Mitchell, defensive back


On Matt Steinbeck, who had a pick six in the scrimmage:

"He’s doing big things. Expect him to be out there.”

On the improvement of the defense from the spring until now:

"We’ve come a long way. You can ask anybody, that first scrimmage we had in the spring, it was crazy. We were all over the place. We looked like we weren’t going to win any games this year. Now, we’ve got some confidence and we’re allowed to play a lot faster because we’re not thinking anymore. We actually look like a defense now.”


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG





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A few favorite fashion finds from Style Week Pittsburgh Day 4

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .


Beneath sunny skies on Saturday afternoon, Style Week Pittsburgh Day 4 (co-presented by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp.) brought a variety of art and fashion vendors to Market Square.

Stylebook was on the scene taking in the sights. Below is a few of my favorite things (in no particular order) ...

*Steel Town Jewelry by Audra Azoury*

These laser-cut accessories have designs inspired by Pittsburgh's heritage and architecture. See more from the local brand at

*Younique Stiff Upper Lip stain*

The ladies wearing these vibrant colors by Younique (the same brand known for its 3D mascara) today drank coffee and bottled water without a single smudge! Learn more at

*Knotzland artisan bow ties*

These bow ties are handmade in Pittsburgh and come in a bunch of different styles, prints and textures. Check them out at

*Fall/winter hats by Gina Mazzotta Millinery*

These everyday looks are chic and cozy -- and made in Pittsburgh. See more from the designer by appointment at her studio in the Diamond Building, Downtown, or visit

*Slip-on sandals from ShoeDIVA Boutique*

Call these sandals the grown-up version of jelly shoes and flip flops. They can be dressed up or down and have a flexible sole for extra comfort. Browse the boutique at

*Handmade necklaces by Vintage Valet*

Marissa Zimmerman, who owns the Pittsburgh-based mobile boutique, repurposes beads and pins to create these vintage-inspired styles. Find out where the truck will be driving to next at

Style Week Pittsburgh concludes Sunday with a Brunch en Blanc at Fieldwork Contemporary Gallery in Garfield. Get the scoop HERE.

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