One City in Pennsylvania is Poised to Crush the 21st Century …

Photo via Dave DiCello/visit pittsburgh

Photo via Dave DiCello/visit pittsburgh

I came to Pittsburgh to see the future.

On a blustery late-winter morning with a light whorl of snowflakes falling near the banks of the Allegheny River, Sarah, a friendly young PR person for Uber, opened the rear passenger door of a Volvo SUV that had so much electronic gear installed on the roof, it looked like it was wearing a crown. She gestured for me to take a seat. We were in the parking lot of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, a converted restaurant-equipment warehouse just north of downtown. I was about to have a very special Uber ride, and not just because it was free.

I buckled up, and the Volvo headed out on a few blocks of 33rd Street that run under a hulking railroad trestle — an unsubtle symbol of the city’s heralded industrial past. The car turned toward downtown and headed into the bustling Strip District. We went a few miles and then circled back on Smallman Street to the Uber warehouse, which is situated in a part of Pittsburgh that recently has become such a magnet for tech research that one think-tank maven described it to me as “where you really feel you’re in the 21st century.”

The ride took maybe 15 minutes and was uneventful except for a needless stop for a double-parked delivery truck outside one of the Strip’s many food stores and some hard braking when an impatient idiot passed us on the right. I can’t say much more about it because Uber wouldn’t let me in the door unless I signed an imposing confidentiality agreement, and Sarah reminded me several times, in her very friendly way, that the whole trip was “on background.” But I think I can reveal this: Though there was someone in the driver’s seat, for most of the trip the car drove itself. Read more »

Philly and Pittsburgh to Team Up on Tech Commercialization

The University City Science Center.

The University City Science Center.

Good things come from strong partnerships, and a new collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and University City Science Center is definitely something the region can benefit from.

The Science Center announced on Monday that the University of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Institute will participate in Phase 1 Ventures program, the Science Center’s accelerator that helps academics and entrepreneurs move their products to market. The two institutions will collaborate to commercialize a Pitt-developed technology for accurately aligning lower-limb prostheses. Read more »

Pittsburgh Newspaper to Lay Off 153 Staffers

Less than a week after nearly 50 journalists were laid off at Philadelphia Media Network, a paper across the state is laying off even more workers.

Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review announced it is laying off 153 staffers as part of a “sweeping restructuring.”

“We needed to take a close look at our bottom line in the midst of an evolving newspaper industry,” Trib Total Media president Jennifer Bertetto said. “We are doing this to match the changing needs of our readers, subscribers, advertisers, business partners, and our own employees, in order to build an exciting and profitable media future for all of those parties.”

Today’s announcement means more than 200 layoffs have been announced at Pennsylvania newspapers in the last week — and the number could reach 300, depending on how the Tribune-Review’s plans shake out.

Read more »

Even Pittsburgh Is Pleading for Philly Schools Now

Hey, sometimes we can make common cause in the State of Pawnsylvania Pennsylvania.

Today, the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chastises the Pennsylvania House for taking summer break without authorizing the cigarette tax that Philly schools say they need to open at full-strength and stay open all year.

Read more »

WATCH: Woman Arrested, Beat By Cop for Standing Up to Anti-Gay Activists at Pittsburgh Pride [UPDATED]

UPDATE: [6/16/204, 4:17 p.m.]: According to edgeonthenet.com, the police officer depicted in the video below “has been put on desk duty after video surfaced showing him punching a woman at the city’s gay pride parade and festival. Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday the officer will remain on restricted duty for a month during an internal investigation.”  More here.

Things turned hairy at Pittsburgh Pride this weekend when a young woman confronted a group of anti-gay activists who were protesting in the crowd. Her actions not only got her arrested, but, for some unknown reason, spurred a cop to beat her. A video has surfaced of the altercation that has LGBT rights groups fuming. Calls have been made for a formal investigation. Pittsburgh advocacy group The Delta Foundation, an organization that sponsors the Pride celebration, also released this statement:

Video of the incident after the jump

Pittsburgh “Go Topless Day” a Massive Fail

Yesterday was global “Go Topless Day,” a campaign organized by a group that’s trying to achieve topless equity among men and women. Philly apparently didn’t participate, while Pittsburgh, well, tried their best.

A Pittsburgh rally planned by a group hoping to Celebrate Women’s Equality Day by having women march topless alongside men in bikinis turned out to be anything but. Fewer than a dozen protesters showed up Sunday, and none of the women bared their tops – though a handful of men did.

Case in point:

Apparently, they were scared off by warnings that they’d be violating Pennsylvania’s indecent exposure law. Which holds that:

A person commits indecent exposure if that person exposes his or her genitals in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons under circumstances in which he or she knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm.

Breasts aren’t genitals, as far as I know. But OK, chicken out. The event wasn’t much livelier in Boston, but things did get a little more NSFW, to the protesters’ credit.

[Trib-Review]

On Our Gaydar: Pittsburgh

Andy Warhol was its famous son, and Queer as Folk gave it some serious gay cred (even if the show was filmed in Toronto), but Pennsylvania’s “other” city – known more as a gritty steel town – has a very gay-friendly scene thanks to its arts, culture and nightlife centered around Liberty Avenue.

Play

Andy Warhol Museum (photo by Paul Rocheleau)

No self-respecting gay person should visit the home of the Three Rivers without making a day (or two) of it at the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky Street, 412-237-8300). The Pop Art mecca reflects on the famous and infamous moments of the gay art superstar’s life – right down to the Halston fashions, silver balloons and Interview magazines. Diehard fans can even make a pilgrimage to Warhol’s burial site at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in nearby Bethel Park. While in art mode, check out the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way, 412-231-3169). The former warehouse is a cutting-edge art space that feels way more New York than western Pennsylvania. End the day at 5801 Video Lounge and Cafe (5801 Ellsworth Avenue, 412-661-5600) for dancing, drinks and special events.

Read more »