Plus, why the "Lady Gaga of Vietnam" is exiled in Pittsburgh
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🐄 The Honorable Ruth Butter Ginsburg, now presiding

Plus, why the "Lady Gaga of Vietnam" is exiled in Pittsburgh

Hello and welcome to Wednesday — but not just any Wednesday

Today is Inauguration Day. It's been four decades since last year's election, and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will officially assume their new roles in a swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol around noon. 

Keep scrolling for more on the event and its Pennsylvania connections.

And here's what else: A scary accurate I Spy answer, more Pennsylvanians join the vaccine line, Dr. Rachel Levine gets called up to the majors, and a high-calorie tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

On the waterfront. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @crazycitylady

5 things to know today

🤚 Pennsylvania native Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States when he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in during a stripped-down inauguration ceremony in the nation's capital today. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will be there, but members of the public won't be, given ongoing security threats and the ongoing pandemic. Here's what to expect and how to watch.

🌈 Biden will nominate Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant U.S. health secretary. That means Levine, the public face of Pennsylvania's pandemic response, could become the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation. The Associated Press has more.

🔢 State officials have expanded the pool of eligible COVID-19 vaccine recipients to now include anyone over the age of 65 and those aged 16-64 with serious medical conditions. The change follows federal guidance updates and growing concerns about the pace of the vaccine rollout in states like ours and the longevity of the existing supply. Find more details in this KDKA-TV report.

  • Related: How did "little old West Virginia" set the bar for successful distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine? By enlisting mom-and-pop pharmacies instead of corporate chains. The AP explains.
  • Related: The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a map of vaccine providers across the commonwealth. Find it here.

🚍 A three-month trial of Port Authority's new smartphone payment system is ready to begin after a year-long delay. But the agency needs to enlist 400 riders to help test the technology first. Only regular riders who pay their own fare, rather than having it paid by an employer, school, university, or government program qualify. Interested? Apply here

⚾️ Roberto Clemente, Andrew Carnegie, Jonas Salk, and actor Jimmy Stewart are among the more than 200 people President Donald Trump wants honored with statues in his proposed National Garden of American Heroes — one of his final acts in office. But NPR says it's unlikely the garden will ever get built. Here's why.

5 things to make you smile

🐄 "Ruth Butter Ginsburg" is just one of the homemade, high-calorie creations vying for the crown in this year's Butter Up! contest from the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Head over to their Facebook page here to cast votes for your favorites by Friday. (A winner will be chosen in each category based on the total number of reactions — likes, loves, wows, etc.)

🏆 What goes into making a competitive butter sculpture at home? City Paper writer Maggie Weaver takes you behind the scenes with a buttery version of the 16th Street Bridge.

➡️ East Liberty is a dance hub, and a new partnership between two Black-led organizations wants to make sure it stays that way. City Paper has the story.

💛 KDKA reporter Pam Surano's daughter, Mary, is taking steps on her own again after suffering a rare spinal stroke last year. Watch the video and cheer her on.

📚 Was the book really better than the movie? A local librarian and graphic designer have a podcast that's covered this age-old question with everything from Harry Potter to Die Hard. City Paper has more.

🔒 Unlock I Spy 

Come spy with us

Today our members — aka Incline Insiders — got the answer to an exclusive round of I Spy in their newsletters. That's it above, a painted tree along one of Frick Park's many well-traveled trails.

Think you're an observant Pittsburgher? Want to prove it? Become an Incline Insider and get exclusive access to I Spy, life hacks, virtual events, hand-curated job and apartment listings, cool giveaways, and more. Get started here.

Things to do 

Submit your events to our calendar.


🍹 Explore new ways of supporting Pittsburgh's service industry and the next generation of hospitality entrepreneur with this virtual cocktail fundraiser (Online)

💛 Learn how you can empower women who are entering and returning to the workforce at this Dress for Success Pittsburgh volunteer info session (Online)


♻️ Be confident that you're doing recycling right with this virtual tutorial from Inhale and Recycle This Pittsburgh (Online)


📰 Learn the story of journalist Nellie Bly in "How a sassy girl from Pittsburgh became a legend," a virtual event from Doors Open Pittsburgh (Online)


⭐️ Embrace the light side of the force with a discussion of author and knitting expert Tanis Gray's newest work, "Star Wars: Knitting the Galaxy: The Official Star Wars Knitting Pattern Book" (Online)

❄️ Marvel at the wonders of nature in winter and what lies above and below the snow with this free virtual story event (Online)

Wednesday, Jan. 27

🌱 Explore the many options for bringing more plant-based ingredients into your cooking and baking with this lunchtime webinar from Phipps and the Pittsburgh Vegan Society — multiple dates (Online)

One more thing ....

Meet Do Nguyen Mai Khoi, a Vietnamese celebrity, singer, artist, and political activist who's currently living in self-imposed exile in Pittsburgh after running afoul of the country's ruling Communist Party.

90.5 WESA writes of Mai Khoi: 

"In a nation with a tightly controlled public sphere, she pushed the limits: Moves like dying her hair pink, and once shaving one side of her head, made her seem outrageous enough that she was nicknamed 'The Lady Gaga of Vietnam.' She also drew criticism for saying publicly she didn’t want children, and that she never wore a bra."

But it was Mai's 2016 run as an independent candidate for the National Assembly that began to put her on the outs with the government. Things only went downhill from there. 

Read WESA's fantastic profile here

And if you enjoyed this newsletter, forward it to a friend and help us grow. 

We'll see you back here tomorrow.

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