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View Article  New development will raze GLCC building

Rumors circulated last week that the building housing Pittsburgh's Gay & Lesbian Community Center would be razed as part of a planned new development on the prime intersection of 5 roads in Squirrel Hill. 

They were right.

According to Saturday's Post-Gazette, a $50 million residential/retail development mix is slated for the corner of Murray and Forward, home to the former Poli's building along with other smaller retail establishments.  Including the GLCC, too.  And the Squirrel Hill Theater.

Called Forward Square, the development by R.E. Crawford and Cambridge Venture Partners is proposed on a 150,000-square-foot site at Murray and Forward avenues. The nine-story project would include a six-story hotel, 20 condos on the three other floors, a restaurant similar to Sonoma Grill, several retailers and a two-story water plaza.

Sales agreements have been reached both for the former Poli property on Murray Avenue, including its two parking lots on lower Forward, and with Alderson-Forward Properties, which owns an adjacent building at 5800 Forward now housing five businesses, including the six-screen Squirrel Hill Theater.

Wow.  What exactly is a two-story water plaza?  The article described plans for the martial arts facility to move a few blocks up Murray into the plaza housing Starbucks (now there's a combo), but no plans for the relocation of other businesses.

We just went to see The Dark Knight at the Squirrel Hill Theater last night.  What a shame if it doesn't reopen elsewhere in the community -- they just began accepting debit cards!  For those moviegoers who prefer to avoid the hyper-manic, teen hormone drive experience that is the Waterfront, the Squirrel Hill theaters are good choices.  Our experience last night was only slightly diminished by the self-conscious cooing of college students sharing their wordly experience as they slowly trickle back into town.  Slightly.

And the GLCC?  Plans are underway to purchase a building in the future, but I've heard no significant announcements regarding a capital campaign.  So I assume they relocate and rent.  Board vice-chair Kat Carrick indicates that moving can actually be progress for the Center:

 you know there is a future for the glcc!
the only question is where we are relocating
this is an opportunity to acquire a building we identified in our 5 year strategic planning work -- one that is handicapped accessible, with better parking and on the bus line ....in order to  better serve the community
we will be working with city and county officials to ensure we have a smooth transition to a new space

Where would you like to see the GLCC relocate?   I think East Liberty or the Northside would be ideal, assuming space is available to meet the requirements outlined by Kat.  The dated notion that queers are afraid to come to the City went out the window with the advent of some hot new eateries and Whole Foods.  East Liberty is probably unaffordable by now as it continues to morph into East Side.  What's available on the Northside?

And would this be a great chance to partner with the Squirrel Hill Theater owners to redevelop the Garden Theater into something, well, functional?  I have no idea how all that development stuff works, but there's more parking over here than near the current location and plenty of bus lines on North Avenue. 

One can only hope the GLCC remains in Pittsburgh proper.  Squirrel Hill has been a good home and it is a shame that all of the recent renovations will be for naught, but this could be an opportunity to propel our community forward. 

Take a moment to check out the very well-done GLCC website http://www.glccpgh.org Now is a good time to step forward and pay attention.  Attend a board meeting to hear relocation plans for the horses' mouths.  Volunteer.  Donate. 

Stay tuned.

View Article  Happy Anniversary to Ledcat and Sue

Friday marks five years for us.  Celebrate with us!

Anniversaries can be tricky when you are in a relationship that has no legal status.  There's the day we met, our first date, our first kiss, the day we became exclusive, the day we moved in together, or even the day we had our domestic partnership officially registered with the City to tap into those benefits.  Soon, we'll have the day we become part of the Citywide Domestic Partner Registry. 

Lots of days to pick from.  All of them important in their own way, but none of which has any social recognition anywhere near the degree that heterosexual marriages receive.  No one in our mutual families can name our anniversary and none of them have ever asked, even as we've participated in celebrating theirs.  No cards or gifts or registries.  No vowel renewals.  Just the occasional question if we plan to go to California and the odd reference to events that took place before we coupled.  That's it. 

I'm spending our anniversary at Kennywood.  We'll have some fries and some funnel cake, then hold hands in the scary rides.  Our real celebration will come with a fall trip to Cleveland.  Ledcat gets to tour the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.  I get cable for three whole days.  And room service. 

Five years of happiness and love.  No acknowledgement needed.

View Article  He closes Lawrenceville Giant Eagle and now plans to run North Side Giant Eagle?

Giant Eagle entrepreneur Bill Bricker is quite the guy.  He is closing the Giant Eagle in Lawrenceville because it isn't profitable and has purchased our corporate owned store on the North Side.  Huh? 

The North Side store had to cost a pretty penny b/c corporate has invested a ton of money to make it well, decent.  It is clean and I have almost gotten to the point of purchasing produce and/or deli meat.  Not yet, but they almost had me with the self-scan registers. 

Now here comes Mr. Bricker with a track record of closing another store in a struggling community after a 4 1/2 year commitment.  What makes our struggling community any different?  Could it be the opportunity to cut corners and take us right back to the days of yore when chaos, nastiness and general upheaval ruled the day?  If the arrival of a nearby Shop n Save made him uncompetitive, why?  What happened?  Why couldn't he keep up?  What happens to us down here when another corporation rolls into the Northside with a grocery store? 

Listen, Mr. Bricker, we want a clean store.  A lot of people depend on that store and most of them are the low-income folks you just screwed in Lawrenceville.  If, to remain profitable, you need those of us who used to shop at MacIntire Square and Camp Horne to continue patronizing our local store, you have to continue the improvements.  I still just come in for quick things, not my major shopping.  And the first corner you cut, I'm out of there. 

I don't hold out any high hopes for Mr. Bricker's plans.  We on the Northside are his "rebound" investment.  I guess he thinks spillover from the NorthShore is a better bet than from Children's Hospital.  Clearly, Mr. Bricker isn't a "community" investment kind of guy.


View Article  Good doggies!

Tonight, Ledcat and I moseyed up to Riverview Park for the first lesson in our outdoor dog training class.  The goal is to help dogs learn to deal with distractions in public places.  Since Xander and Deus are big scary dogs that bark at sources of fear, it seemed like a good idea.

The class is being held in this nice quiet grove.  The boys were very well-behaved and earned lots of treats for being obedient.  Our trainer laughed at us because our biggest challenge was keeping the boys from becoming jealous of each other when rewarded. 

We did look mighty silly wearing our makeshift treat aprons aka Home Depot tool aprons with "clickers" velcroed to our fingers and waving wooden spoons covered in peanut butter.  But it worked.  First, the ignored the deer that walked through the grove.  Xander finally learned to cope with Nico, the dog in the space next door.  He even did well with the folks walking around the upper ridge. 

Best of all, Xander proved useful in staring down the stupid and selfish idiot who showed up with his little yappy dog ... off leash.  I hate that more than just about anything in the world.  Our trainer - who is a badass Northside livin' connoisseur of coping with poor behavior -- told him off and ordered him to leave (she has a permit for private usage).  He started arguing about being a tax payer and FU and all that good stuff.  So I walked Xander closer to the edge of the ring and secretly instructed him to bark.  Which he did.  Very loudly.  The guy then made a point of driving right up to me (I didn't flinch b/c I knew Ledcat had my back) and turning his car around with a flourish.  Proving what, exactly?  That he's an asshole who might run over a lesbian and her dog?  I got his license and know the Pgh dog cop.  Ha. 

Put your dog on a leash.  It is never cute to those of us who follow the rules and want to enjoy the public spaces, too.  It is never cute.  Roll your eyes and sigh and rationalize away.  While your little yapper (I have a yapper too) dances around being adorable, my much better behaved large scary dark dogs have their pleasures curtailed because of your inconsiderate, thoughtless choices. 

I just want to walk my dog through the park without having to contend with you running daintily toward me yelling "he won't bite" as your miscreant heads my way.  Yes, he will bite in the right circumstances.  Because he is a dog and when I spray him with repellant to avoid a confrontation with my properly leashed dog, he's gonna get pissed.  I would.  Technically, he should bite you for not being more careful with his precious self, but that's between you. 

Leash your dog.  Please.  I don't want to give Xander the secret command to scare you away.  But I will. 

View Article  Pittsburgh Black Pride


Thursday - Meet & Greet

Friday - Aggressive-One & Ms. Fem Show
      After Party Prom - DJ Nick Nice

Saturday - Basketball Game Old Skool vs New Skool   Downtown YMCA
      White Party

Sunday A Day at The Park  
      church service
      Closing Party @ Pegasus (818 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA)  

Check out the Black Pride website here.

View Article  Faith in Faith

This comes from 365gay.com

(New York City) A priest who attempted to protect a 21 year old transwoman from four teens who were hitting and verbally harassing her was beaten in front of a shelter for gay and trans young people.

The teens were pelting Alessandra-Michelle Carver with garbage and yelling transphobic insults outside the Carmen's Place shelter in Queens when Fr Louis Braxton attempted to chase the youths away.

"One of them hit me with a garbage can," Carver told The Daily News. "Then his friends started joining in."

Braxton, who runs the shelter, was able to scare off the teens while Carver made it inside the building.  But minutes later the youths returned with metal poles, belts, and construction equipment including empty paint cans and a miter saw, and began beating Braxton.

"Father was trying to make peace with them, but then one of them hit him in the back of the head with a paint can," Carver told the Daily News. "He fell to the ground, and they kept hitting him."

Carver said she and other teens fended off the attack on the priest. Two of the residents also were injured.

 In making their escape the four ran past Transportation Authority Police officers who apprehended them.

I'd like to know more about a priest who runs a shelter for gay and trans young people.  It is like a little jolt of faith in a world filled with Barack Obama.  Nice.

View Article  A Really Cool Thing at The Quiet Storm

So tonight I scheduled a business meeting at The Quiet Storm who have been really nice to my work avatar -- donating to our foster parent dinner, handling our meetings, etc.  So I brought three new people in for dinner and two were very excited -- had always wanted to try it and never made the opportunity.  Meal was delish as per usual. I  had a zucchini burger.  And ginger lemonade which was really good. 

Anyway, today was just a so so day.  Very hectic pace and lots of distractions so I didn't have any sense of accomplishment, more just the feeling of passing time.  The meeting was productive and my mind was spinning as I headed for the register, trying both to discern how to get the project moving to the next step AND how I was going to walk out with the 20 or so copies of City Papers sitting in the rack without looking like a dork. 

While my head is processing all of this fabulous data, the nicest thing of the entire day happened to me.  A woman came up and told me she liked this blog.  We had met before through my work, even though I'm not sure she believed that I remembered her.  Even though I couldn't recall her name, I did recall her because she has the loveliest voice and she was really nice during our project.  People really undervalue the impression that being nice can leave on others.

Sure, it is nice when someone tells me they read this blog.  Of course, it is nice.  But it is nicer that someone would interrupt their dinner -- and their personal time with their friends or family -- to say hello.  It makes it personal and that's pretty cool. 

Bruce Kraus may not return my call.  Pah. It matters more that someone makes an effort to make a small personal connection. 

Thanks, A.  Bumping into you really ended my day on a positive note. 

Other stuff you should know ...

A new study finds that openly gay military men and women don't undermine morale. 

Jesse Helms died.  His granddaughter is still in office and still a closeted lesbian pandering to the Helms' legacy. 

Straight people are defending themselves from anti-reggae bigotry with a big splashy parade. 

Ledcat and I have signed the boys up for an outdoor obedience class.  This should be fun.  We are going to learn to avoid distractions.  I could use that skill.  I'm going to walk in a 5K.  I ran in a 5K in 1992.  No one believes me, but I have the shirt to prove it. 

View Article  Dyke March Pittsburgh DIY

View Article  Untitled

View Article  Obama and Faith Based Anything: I Knew It!

Color me not surprised by this little pronouncement from Mr. Theocracy.

Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.

"The challenges we face today, from putting people back to work to improving our schools, from saving our planet to combating HIV/AIDS to ending genocide, are simply too big for government to solve alone," Obama was to say, according to a prepared text of his remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "We need all hands on deck."

Obama proposes to elevate the program to a "moral center" of his administration, by renaming it the Office of Community and Faith-Based Partnerships, and changing training from occasional huge conferences to empowering larger religious charities to mentor smaller ones in their communities.

Some of those hands, Senator Obama, happen to be doing a damn fine job without being faith based.  How about funding us?

Faith based institutions do not serve the entire public.  They serve their faith based constituencies.  Some folks play by the rules and don't play the conversion card.  Too many don't and we cannot afford -- we cannot PREVENT -- them from inflicting their agenda on the vulnerable people they are entrusted to serve. 

What's worse is that faith based entities are going to suck up resources previously allocated to secular organizations -- organizations already doing good work and perhaps heavily affiliated with unpopular and underserved communities.  Like ours.

This is pandering, pure and simple.  It is the #1 reason I am opposed to electing Barack Obama, but I have no choice do I?  And he seems to know it.  Damn.

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