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The Second City
The Second City

1. Pittsburgh Public Theater presents The Second City, Jan. 6 – 10

We can’t think of a better way to welcome the New Year than by LOLing with legendary comedy troupe The Second City. They’ve launched the careers of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Gilda Radner — to name a few — and now their talented touring show rolls into town for just five nights. Their first show about Pittsburgh since 2008’s Three Rivers Runs Through It, Chicago’s comedy superstars are gearing up to take the Burgh by storm with N’at’s All Folks!, a brand new sketch comedy and improv show directed by Anthony LeBlanc. The irreverent and celebratory roast will have you cracking up via witty jabs and clever commentary featuring local Steel City politics, our world-famous approach to speaking n’at (dubbed “America’s ugliest” accent in 2014) and of course, plenty of sports talk and black and gold humor.

In addition to the local angle, The Second City will perform favorites from their beloved and inimitable repertoire of fast-paced sketch comedy, wacky songs and trademark improv. A who’s who of comedy’s latest best and brightest, the cast features Marlena Rodriguez, Alan Linic, Lisa Beasley, John Thibodeaux, Liz Reuss and Scott Morehead, along with music director and onstage accompanist Dane Halvorson. A cash bar will be open in the theater’s main lobby. Tickets here.

2. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Winter 2015 Celebration, Jan. 12 – 18

This month, let top chefs cook for you. Discover local fare at Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s 2015 Winter Celebration, where you can savor new dishes and great eateries without breaking the bank. Celebrating “New Dishes for the New Year,” Restaurant Week highlights the wide variety of dining options that Pittsburgh has to offer, drawing patrons from all around the city and surrounding areas. For its 2015 showcase, the highly anticipated culinary celebration spotlights unique local restaurants and invites diners to enjoy new and innovative dishes and fine dining. All participating restaurants will offer three-course fixed-price meals or specials that range in price from $20.15 to $35.15. So whether you’re a city, suburban or rural dweller, head into Pittsburgh to stroll the business districts and enjoy unique and accessible meals.

Participating restaurants — which span many city neighborhoods — include everything from Butcher and the Rye, Arpino Trattoria, Avenue B, Seviche, Tender, Cioppino, Habitat, Isabela On Grandview, Meat & Potatoes, Root 174 and Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina (and many more)! Newly expanded for winter 2015, participating restaurants now have the option to extend their week-long celebration to include extra bonus days. Also new this year is a special preview weekend running Jan. 9-11. Don’t miss Restaurant Week’s festive dish-preview Kickoff Party (purchase tickets) on Jan. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Opera in the Strip. Attendees will eat for a cause at the kickoff bash, which supports Animal Friends via charity raffles. The Winter 2015 installment also features an invitational food blogger dinner and a private Wrap Party with participating restaurant owners and chefs.

3. Strip District Music Festival, Jan. 17

Music festivals are not just for summer anymore. And the Strip is not only about food. 80 bands, 16 hours and 11 venues (and counting!) will make for a great way to spend one very rocking January day in Pittsburgh’s unique Strip District. The debut of this multi-venue, music-based winter festival aims to generate neighborhood excitement and promote awareness about Pittsburgh’s vibrant music community during a time of the year that is generally regarded as a slow period for events.

Showcasing both the recent growth and resurgence taking place throughout the Strip District, as well as connecting music fans to new venues local and regional musicians, the mini-fest runs from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Featuring a wide range of musical genres, styles and sounds, performers include everyone from Cello Fury and Ferdinand the Bull, to Beauty Slap and The Red Western. Added bonus? The pay-what-you-want festival features a unique donation based online payment system.

Pittsburgh, MLK, Union Project, East Liberty
The Union Project’s Annual MLK Celebration

4. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 19

There are many ways to celebrate and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and not just on one day. Here are a few suggestions for meaningful and free events happening around town on Monday, Jan. 19 — from East Liberty to the Northside.

One is the Kelly Strayhorn Theater‘s sixth annual East Liberty Celebrates MLK event. Offering pay-what-you-can admission, East Liberty Celebrates MLK runs from noon to 4 p.m. and is open to all ages. During this time of protests and conversations, the Kelly Strayhorn takes inspiration from the themes of resilience, hard work and determination found in the profound and relevant messages of Dr. King’s powerful words. Continuing the theater’s centennial season, the afternoon of activities and performances invites visitors to participate in projects led by Repair the World Pittsburgh, Assemble, Union Project, Fair Housing Partnership, Reading Is Fundamental, Center for Victims, Pittsburgh Cares and the YMCA Westinghouse Lighthouse Project. Attendees will also enjoy lively performers by Dreams of Hope, 1Hood, TCDC, Hope Academy and Soundwaves.

Next, head to the nearby Union Project for the organization’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, “Exploring Our Differences, Together.” The free all-ages event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. and centers on exploring “differences with unarmed truth and unconditional love in the spirit” of Dr. King. The welcoming gathering hopes to inspire a more inclusive and just community. The event will begin with an open discussion featuring community leaders who will facilitate a dialogue about race, cultural identity and disabilities. Next, small group activities will engage attendees in an exploration of the “complex and subtle nature of belonging and dis-belonging.” Participants can also visit the Union Project’s studios to participate in hands-on clay activities. The celebration will culminate with a free community meal.

On Friday, Jan. 23, the Coro Center for Civic Leadership will present their 2015 MLK Jr. Leadership Awards at the New Hazlett Theater from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will celebrate MLK’s values-based leadership, and will honor individuals and organizations throughout the region that “lead from their values in the service of building a more inclusive democracy.” For 2015, the three award categories are: the Distinguished Individual Leadership Award; the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award; and the Distinguished Organizational Leadership Award. Winners will be announced at the event. Purchase tickets for the Coro event.

5. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District, Jan. 23

New year, new you, new art. Bundle up and head Downtown for the winter edition of the Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District. Continuing its 10th anniversary season, The Cultural Trust’s signature quarterly showcase features a free night of immersive art, music, performance, film screenings and more. The winter installment features programming at 25 arts venues (23 of them are indoors!) peppered throughout the District between 5:30 and 10 p.m.

Attend openings at Wood Street Galleries, SPACE, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities and 707 Penn to experience the latest in contemporary art. Join in the fun during the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s scavenger hunt, peruse pieces for your own walls at the 5th annual “bad art sale” at Shaw Gallery, shop under the stars at the Night Market and enjoy select happenings at Crawl After Dark locations. Warm up with live musical entertainment, including jazz and R&B by Velvet Beast at Backstage Bar, neo-soul and funk by Aaron Abernathy and DJ Nate da Phat Barber at the Trust Education Center, steel pan sounds at Urban Pathways and DJ Strawberry Christmas at SPACE. Look for the bright green Gallery Crawl sidewalk signs identifying participating locations to start your culture jamming.

6. City Theatre premieres Mr. Joy, Jan. 24 – Feb. 15

Kick off the New Year with a powerful world premiere play debuting at City Theatre’s Mainstage. Penned by award-winning author, singer and composer Daniel Beaty, Mr. Joy explores the healing process of an entire neighborhood. Theater-goers will be transported to a Harlem community that is suddenly disrupted when a shoe repair shop run by a Chinese immigrant does not open its doors after being a neighborhood pillar for decades. Find out what transpires when residents ask: “What happened to Mr. Joy?” From 11-year-old Clarissa, a budding shoe designer, to Bessie, a “gangsta granny,” the moving solo show follows nine different customers as they reflect on the shop owner’s impact on the community and they all strive to dream again. Making her City Theatre debut is Tangela Large, who stars in all of the play’s roles.

Winner of an Obie Award for Excellence, NAACP Theater Awards and more, Beaty has worked internationally with artists such as Ruby Dee, Mos Def, Tracy Chapman and Phylicia Rashad. Celebrating City Theatre’s 40th anniversary season, the compelling new work is directed by Lou Jacob, who returns to the company after working on Robert Hewett’s The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead in 2009. Special events in conjunction with the play’s run include Sipping Sunday on January 25th, Sunday Talkbacks on February 1st and 8th and a Greenroom Young Professional’s Night on Feb. 6. View a complete performance schedule and purchase tickets.

7. Winter Weather Permitting debuts at The New Bohemian, Jan. 25

Sundays this winter are about to get a lot more fun, thanks to Weather Permitting’s new winter series. The brainchild of Bloomfield-based DJ, event producer, designer and dad Pete Spynda—who is also the force behind popular local events such as Pandemic and the Pittonkatonk Brass Festival—Winter Weather Permitting kicks off on Sunday, January 25th. After transforming Shadyside Nursery into a family-friendly venue for music and merrymaking for the past two summers, Weather Permitting is now setting up shop inside one of the Burgh’s most distinctive spaces. For his latest series, Spynda is teaming up with The New Bohemian—which is housed in a former Czech Catholic built in 1900 which sits adjacent to the 16th Street Bridge along the Allegheny River on Pittsburgh’s historic Northside.

The cozy indoor edition offers a unique creative space for music fans to gather and mingle, warm up with live local music, eat and drink, and even let their kids run around in a safe space that’s open and accessible to all ages. The inaugural winter concert welcomes The Working Poor, The Pressure and Charlie Hustle & the Grifters. The fun kicks off at 3 p.m., and also features The Steer and Wheel food truck, beer from Rock Bottom Brewery and activities for kids. Admission is $10; kids are free. Next up for the winter series are events on Feb. 8 and March 8.
8. Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent opens at The Andy Warhol Museum, Jan. 30

You likely know her iconic work–from her 1985 love stamp to her bright bold posters conveying social messages. Now for the first time Pittsburghers can explore the life and legacy of pioneering American artist Corita Kent (1918–1986). The first museum show to survey Kent’s 30-year career, Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent runs at The Andy Warhol Museum from January 31st through April 19th. Don’t miss the free public opening on Friday, Jan. 30 from 7 to 10 p.m. Part of The Warhol’s ongoing Good Fridays series, the exhibition opening will also feature live music by DJ Huck Finn and a cash bar.

More than 200 prints are featured in the one-of-a-kind exhibition, including Kent’s early abstractions, text pieces and lyrical works, along with ephemera such as cover designs and documents. Also featured will be rarely shown photographs that Kent used for teaching and documentary purposes. A designer, educator, feminist and activist for civil rights and anti-war causes, Kent developed inventive silkscreen and serigraphy techniques, creating thousands of posters, murals and serigraphs that reflect her passion for both faith and politics, and embody messages of love, peace, hope and community. One of the most popular graphic artists of the 1960s and 1970s, Kent’s designs address universal questions and issues from a particularly turbulent time in history, yet they continue to influence artists today and possess a timeless relevance and power.

Kent’s signature style combines bold bright imagery with provocative texts — culled from variety of cultural sources, including ad slogans, grocery store signs, poetry, scripture, newspapers and song lyrics. Her clever “textual amalgams” juxtapose the secular and the religious, pop culture and fine art and pain and hope, and often incorporate poignant quotes from literary and cultural visionaries, such as Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, e. e. cummings and Gertrude Stein.

Looking for family activities in the New Year? Check out NEXTpittstburgh’s Top 10 Family Adventures this January in Pittsburgh.

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Check ImaginePittsburgh.com regularly for more career opportunities and news about the region. You can also sign up for our monthly eNewsletter, or follow us by RSS feedFacebookTwitterLinkedIn or our other social media channels.

 

 

Joy Ike performs at 805 Liberty Ave. during Highmark's First Night (New Year's Eve 2014).
Joy Ike performs at 805 Liberty Ave. during Highmark’s First Night (New Year’s Eve 2014). Photo: JoyIke.com

New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh means live music, puppetry and parades, comedy and magic shows, chainsaw-twirling ice sculptors, fire-breathing dancers and — or course — fireworks.

The first of more than 100 events begin at 6 p.m. at nearly 50 venues across downtown Pittsburgh and conclude with a countdown to midnight from the Highmark Stage at Penn and Fifth avenues. We’re particularly excited that the percussive Afro-Latin ensemble Machete Kisumontao and singer-songerwriter Joy Ike are on the bill.  Other musical performers include Cello Fury, Scottish pipes and drums, the River City Brass Band, jazz bassist Dwayne Dolphin and “The Voice” finalists the Swon Brothers. What will you be checking out?

Admission buttons may be purchased in advance for $8 or at the event for $10. Kids five and younger get in free. See the full music and events schedule at FirstNightPgh.org.

 

NEXTpittsburgh

Powered by Kyle Lawson for NEXTPittsburgh.

Thousands of people packed the 900 block of Penn Avenue in June for a rousing concert by El Gran Combo, a hugely popular salsa band from Puerto Rico hailed by promoters as the Rolling Stones of their genre.

The opening act – Noel Quintana Latin Crew– performs regularly in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh area and the concert, which drew fans from all over the region, was a big hit. But more than that, it showed in a big and public way that the Latin music scene in Pittsburgh is coming on strong.

“I believe there’s a shared vision that music is an opportunity to really bring people together,” says Betty Cruz, non-profit manager for the Mayor’s office, who worked alongside members of ¡Hola Pittsburgh! and other city officials to help organize the event. Others, like Carla Leininger of Global Beats, who has been working this scene for years, would agree with Cruz.

The turnout was indicative of a demographic shift in recent years as the Latino population in Allegheny County doubled from 11,000 to 22,000 since 2000, according to U.S. Census data.

salsa, puertoriqueno, nuyorican, jazz, Latino, music, free, outdoors, concert
Puerto Rican flags and fans were in joyous evidence at the June 2014 El Gran Combo concert on Penn Avenue, part of the Pittsburgh JazzLive Festival.

Meanwhile, the number of Latin bands in Pittsburgh – ranging from Riot Salsa to Andean flute music – has increased from two or three to about a dozen over the last 20 years, according to local musicians and community leaders.

And the music is reaching younger audiences. Requests for Latin music at schools and dance parties is at an all time high, said Gloria Rodriguez Ransom, performance coordinator for the Pittsburgh Latin American Cultural Union.

Even Steelers fans more likely to catch a game than a live band got a dose of Latin culture at the Sept. 28 game, when Guaracha Latin Dance Band performed in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage month.

It’s all music to the ears of Cuban born Miguel Sague Jr., who has performed and promoted variations of Latin music for more than 30 years for audiences more accustomed to rock-&-roll and American jazz.

In fact, there was a time when Cinco De Mayo didn’t exist in Pittsburgh. “May 5 would come and go and you would not see any mention in any bars or any restaurants—even Mexican restaurants,” Sague Jr. says.

It wasn’t until he walked into the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette building in the mid 1990s holding three national newspapers with Cinco De Mayo coverage that local media took it seriously. “I said to them, ‘does Pittsburgh have to continue to be the backwater town of the country?’”

An article was published that year and his Cinco De Mayo celebration at the former Rosebud in the strip district was packed. “By 1996, we had a well-established Cinco de Mayo tradition,” Sague Jr. said.

And yet performing Latin music was an uphill battle, says Miguel “Cha” Sague III, who would tag along with his dad to shows. The swaying hips of the salsa gigs and the colorful outfits of the Caribbean steel drum gigs in a town known for its steel workers and babushkas was at times both a musical act and a social experiment.

“There were always tough guys who laughed, because they didn’t know how to deal with it,” Sague III says. “But they would start to get the picture when the ladies weren’t laughing. And you get (the guys) on your side when you teach them to dance salsa.”

Sague III has carried on the family tradition as the front man of the Guaracha Latin Dance Band, which originally was formed by his father in the late 1980s.

And while there’s actual competition these days from other Latin bands and DJs, Sague III said the crowds are more appreciative. “A lot of the people coming to shows now are Latino,” he said. The same goes for local dance clubs and restaurants. The dance floor at Cavo in the strip district typically is packed on a weekend night with couples salsa dancing and singles flirting in Spanish at the bar.

In Beechview, a neighborhood known for attracting Latino residents, a fusion of Latin music by Geña y Peña helps draw customers—many of them Mexican Americans—to the Casa Rasta restaurant on Broadway Avenue.

“I’m hearing from customers that (Beechview) is like a Latino community,” says restaurant owner Antonio Fraga, who moved to Pittsburgh from Mexico City 12 years ago.

A second Casa Rasta opened last month in East Liberty, which has provided more gigs for Latin musicians. And while Pittsburgh is far from a Latin hub, musicians and restaurant owners from Latin countries continue to trickle in.

Violinist Alejandro Pinzón moved to Pittsburgh about 10 years by way of Mexico, Argentina and Miami. His latest instrumental project, which he plans to debut in Pittsburgh this winter, blends the violin and guitar of South America and Mexico with the rhythms of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Pinzon said the music was well received by audiences in Mexico, where the group already has performed. “People sometimes spontaneously would start singing,” he said. “Then I would play a second voicing or something on the violin, because the audience had then become the singer.”

While fresh faces on the music scene work to build a following, local organizations are doing their part.

The Clemente brothers onstage at the El Gran Combo concert
Luis and Roberto Clemente Jr., who spent their childhood summers in Green Tree, introduced El Gran Combo to a jubilant crowd.

¡Hola Pittsburgh! is a year-long initiative designed to attract professionals and talent relocating from Puerto Rico.

Welcoming Pittsburgh is a national and grassroots-driven effort to ensure cooperation between foreign-born and U.S.-born Americans. The timing seems appropriate, based on studies that show Pittsburgh lags behind most peer cities in net immigration.

Sague III says a true indicator of a well-rounded Latin music scene would be the day he’s competing for Mariachi gigs with musicians of Mexican descent.

For decades, the Sague family provided Mariachi music at Quinceañeras and other traditional Mexican celebrations with musicians of Cuban and European descent. “We were filling a need,” Sague III says. “There were no Mexican musicians here at all. We were looking out for the very few Mexicans who were here.”

But for the greater good, Sague III said he wouldn’t mind the competition. “Mexican musicians will start to appear, and when they do, I’ll help book them,” he said. “When we all cooperate and help each other out, there are more gigs.”

Bonnie Pfister

A few seats still available here for the Pittsburgh premier of Clemente: The Legend of 21 at the Byham Theater Sept. 19-21. Tonight’s show includes a reception at 7 p.m. featuring live music by Geña y Peña.

Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, jobs, career, Roberto Clemente, baseball
“Baseball & the ‘Burgh” Sweepstakes Winner Zaideth Muniz with her parents at home in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

It was the luck of the draw – a random, computer-generated draw – that made a young Puerto Rican engineering student and a devotee of Roberto Clemente the winner of the “Baseball & The ‘Burgh Weekend” sweepstakes. The sweepstakes was sponsored by Major League Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates and ImaginePittsburgh.com – a partner of the ¡Hola Pittsburgh! initiative.

Zaideth Muñiz-Lugo’s name was randomly selected from among 3,000-plus entrants, making her and a guest the winners of a celebration of baseball, the Buccos and the Pirates’ legendary Roberto Clemente from Sept. 19-21. The weekend caps “Clemente Day” festivities in Pittsburgh, commemorating the late humanitarian and Hall of Famer who would have turned 80 this year.

Zaideth (pronounced SIGH-deth) is in her final semester of an electrical engineering degree at University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez on the island’s west coast. She was born in San Juan, but her family now lives in Toa Baja, about 18 miles west of the capital. A self-proclaimed baseball fan, she said she is thrilled to win a trip to the city that Clemente considered his second home. “I like baseball a lot,” Zaideth said. “My dad is huge baseball fan, and he introduced me to the sport.

“Roberto Clemente is an icon in our culture for what he accomplished as a professional baseball player and humanitarian. My parents have a portrait hanging in their living room.”

Gifted batter and right fielder Roberto Clemente was one of the first non-white Pittsburgh Pirates. A native of San Juan, he played for the team for 18 seasons and two World Series victories. He was the first Latino to win a World Series as a starter (1960), a World Series Most Valuable Player Award (1971) and to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1973). He was a four-time National League batting champion, making his 3,000th hit in 1972.

In the off-season he was deeply involved in charitable work across Latin America. On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente died after the aircraft he had chartered to deliver aid to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua crashed into the Caribbean Sea shortly after takeoff. He was 38 years old.

Even as the Pirates welcome Zaideth to town, ¡Hola Pittsburgh! is working to create a welcome to the Pittsburgh region for Latino professionals seeking to advance their careers and build a great life. It is a partnership of local community organizations, government and businesses. The partnership is focusing on Puerto Rico right now because many of the island’s recent university graduates and professionals seek career opportunities in the states. Why not consider Pittsburgh? It’s safe, welcoming, affordable and full of employers in need of people with engineering, healthcare and information technology skills.

Among the events open to the public this week is the Sept. 19-21 Pittsburgh premier of the musical Clemente: The Legend of 21 at the Byham Theater. Tickets holders at the Friday performance will enjoy a reception featuring live music by Geña y Peña.

Bill Flanagan

I’m happy here in the Pittsburgh region. How about you?

Not to say things can’t be better, but I was surprised by a report last week from researchers at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia. The team concluded that Pittsburgh was the “second-unhappiest” city in America, second only to New York.

The report was surprising to me not only because Pittsburgh is at or near the top of many lists – focusing on everything from affordability to stress-free living – but because so many things seem to be going our way these days. Pittsburgh was one of three U.S. metros to lead the nation out of recession, the region’s jobless rate has been consistently below the national average for years and we’ve been recognized as one of the “Best Places” in the world to visit.

Clearly, the researchers missed something.

Now, with the help of MARC USA, a number of very happy Pittsburghers are setting out to set the record straight. Starting today we’re inviting everyone in the region to use the hashtag #HappyinPittsburgh with your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Google+ to tell the world what makes you happy in Pittsburgh.

Let’s create a groundswell of Pittsburgh happiness and show how socially savvy we are at the same time. Let’s make “Happy in Pittsburgh” a trending topic and the source of more good news about the region.

The social media team at MARC USA will track and compile all the posts and share the results at the end of the week. Then we’ll share them with you.

We’ve Got Jobs (Now!) … With More to Come
If you need a few talking points, tell your friends and family about the 24,260 jobs available today across the 10-county region. They can find them on the ImaginePittsburgh.com jobs aggregator, which is updated nightly from more than 900 corporate websites and job boards (including Monster, Career Builder, LinkedIn and Craigslist). Many of those jobs offer family-sustaining wages with room to grow. More than half require some IT skills, a reflection of the knowledge-based economy that’s been created here over the past generation. Occupations in high demand include RNs and nursing assistants; computer systems analysts, support specialists and software developers; and commercial truck drivers maintenance and repair workers and salespeople.

“Baseball and the ‘Burgh Weekend” Sweepstakes
There’s so much going on that ImaginePittsburgh.com is partnering with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball to encourage baseball fans to come visit. We’re running a sweepstakes for a “Baseball and the ‘Burgh Weekend” through the Pirates website from now through the end of August. To be eligible to win, you have to live outside a 75-mile radius from the Point, but no matter where you are, you can help us spread the word. We’re targeting baseball fans within a 300-mile radius of Pittsburgh, along with people in San Juan, Puerto Rico, building on the success of the re-launch of ¡Hola Pittsburgh! last month. And there’s the Pittsburgh – Roberto Clemente connection, too. Aug, 18 would have been the “Great One’s” 80th birthday.

¡Hola Pittsburgh! Puts Pittsburgh on the Map in Puerto Rico
Thousands turned out on Penn Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh on June 22 for the Pittsburgh premiere, of El Gran Combo, billed as “the Rolling Stones of Salsa.” The concert, sponsored by ImaginePittsburgh.com and Fifth Third Bank, was one of the featured attractions of JazzLive International, presented by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

The Allegheny Conference teamed up with the Hispanic Chamber and numerous other partners to bring the world-famous band to Pittsburgh as part of its talent attraction and retention program, Imagine Pittsburgh.com. It turns out that thousands of Puerto Ricans are leaving the island every year, many of them skilled in healthcare, financial services and engineering. The goal of ¡Hola Pittsburgh! is to put our region on the map in Puerto Rico and among Latinos across the United States. Vibrant Pittsburgh will be hitting the road with job and career fairs to spread the word.

VisitPittsburgh organized a media tour around the El Gran Combo concert. The resulting publicity – including this piece in El Vocero (English version here) — drove thousands of Puerto Ricans to ImaginePittsurgh.com. In fact, Puerto Rico represented 47 percent of total traffic to the site the week of July 7. We think we’re on to something – a population “on the move” that’s receptive to an appeal from Pittsburgh. The ¡Hola Pittsburgh! partners intend to stay on the case to help meet the growing demand for skilled workers in our region.

Most Affordable Place to Retire
Of course, you don’t need to have a job or even to be looking for one to consider Pittsburgh. It turns out our region is among the “most affordable” places to retire in the United States. The SimpleDollar.com has conducted an analysis of more than 200 communities across the U.S. to determine the 10 most affordable ones

Our region ranks ninth, the only major metro in the Top 10. Why?

Researchers noted that our cost-of-living index score is about 16 points below the national average, with median home costs at $76,700, and average apartment rents around $684.
“Pittsburgh provides seniors with the opportunity to continue their education through a diverse selection of courses and seminars offered by the various institutions located in the city as well as cultural amenities such as the symphony, ballet, opera, and many museums,” the article pointed out. “Lovers of sports also have plenty of top-notch teams to follow, making the Steel City as a great choice for an affordable retirement destination.”

So, what’s not to be happy about?

As always, thanks for your commitment to our region and for helping to spread the word.

Bill

Zersha Munir

On a July Sunday thousands of Pittsburghers biked, walked and danced through downtown streets as part of OpenStreetsPGH, which roped off the area between Market Square and the Roberto Clemente Bridge for pedestrian use only.

Part of the 100-city-wide Ciclovia movement, OpenStreetsPGH transformed streets into temporary auto-free zones venues where community members can socialize through walking, bicycling, dancing and playing.

The goal of the free event was to form relationships among community members while allowing residents to see the area in a new way. “Unlike other events and festivals, OpenStreetsPGH is not about entertainment, it’s about being active,” says Bike Pittsburgh Communications Manager Ngani Ndimbie. “Rather than providing performances, we’re providing a space. This event was made by communities. We’ll have achieved our goals when people come out in the streets and meet their neighbors.”

Bike Pittsburgh was one of many partners endorsing this event, alongside The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, cityLAB, Pittsburgh Inline Skate Club, Let’s Move Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.

Though this was the first OpenStreets event in Pittsburgh, Ndimbie says, “OpenStreets 2014 is a snapshot of what is to come in 2015.” The group plans to expand, forming advanced partnerships with community groups Neighbors In the Strip and Lawrenceville United.

Learn more about the event here.