Plus, the Pittsburgh playlist of our dreams.
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➡️ Gov. Tom Wolf has COVID-19

Plus, the Pittsburgh playlist of our dreams.

Hey there, it’s Thursday. 

As Twitter reminds us, there are really only two kinds of days during the pandemic: Days packages come and days they don't. 

Yesterday was the former for us. That's because reader Ginny N. made a special delivery.

Ginny emailed in the morning to say she had an incline ornament (shaped like the funicular cable car) that she wanted to send to us. I responded with "we would love that" and my address. 

An hour or two later, there was a knock at the door and a shimmery green bag left on the doorstep. Inside was the ornament (see below) and a note: "Hi Colin — I bought this at a church bazaar, Third Presbyterian, around 20 years ago. I thought it was clever! Merry Christmas, Ginny …" 

The moral of the story? Our readers are the best — and packages are always welcome, especially nowadays. 

Here's what we're delivering in this newsletter: Who's suing us now, Gov. Wolf tests positive for COVID-19, and the Pittsburgh playlist of our dreams.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

Thank you, Ginny! Happy holidays. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @colin_deppen

4 things to know today

🆕 Gov. Tom Wolf has tested positive for COVID-19. "I have no symptoms and am feeling well," Wolf said yesterday in a statement, adding that he's following CDC and Department of Health guidelines. Meanwhile, his administration has been weighing new statewide restrictions amid a sharp rise in cases across the commonwealth. WPXI has the latest here.

🍽 We all know that Pittsburgh's restaurant industry is hurting — but new research reveals just how badly. A study by regional economist Chris Briem found a decline of more than 31,000 local industry workers compared to this time last year. “Full-service” establishments, those built around dine-in service, have been the hardest hit, with a 54 percent drop in employment from one year ago. 90.5 WESA has more on the impacts in this article

🗳 Black turnout for Joe Biden didn't grow as much as white turnout in Allegheny County. Why? The answer is a complicated mix of factors, ranging from displacement, to population loss, to misinformation and apathy. City Paper has more here on what that looked like.

🏛 A day after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a push by Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn the commonwealth's already certified election results, President Donald Trump joined a new and equally "improbable" challenge being led by Texas' attorney general. Here's the Associated Press with more on the long odds and precedent involved. 

😢 Don't miss us 

Our members are getting a private party.

What's it all about? Imagine this newsletter come to life: We'll be gathering on Zoom to play games like I Spy and our news quizzes live and in person (*not really in person). We'll also have a quick cooking demo from Shannon Daly, the Pittsburgh food blogger we profiled in this newsletter a few months back. And, of course, hilarity and high jinks will ensue. 

Want in? Become an Incline Insider today, and we'll see you there.


(📸: Incline illustration)

We recently asked you all to help us make a proper Pittsburgh playlist by telling us about a local musician who's been your go-to soundtrack this year. And then the floodgates opened. 

We got dozens and dozens of responses, and we're sharing a Top 30 of sorts (*in alphabetical order) with you today. 

Here's the Pittsburgh playlist you helped create. It's everything we hoped for.

Most importantly, if you like any of this music … buy it on Bandcamp and support local artists who are having a really tough year with performing arts scenes everywhere essentially ground to a halt.

From the top in 3, 2, 1 … 

1. Bastard Bearded Irishmen

Sound: Celtic rock, punk, acoustic, Irish folk / Suggested single: Pirates of Three Rivers

2. BB Guns 

Sound: Hip-hop / Suggested single: Valley

3. Bindley Hardware Co. 

Sound: Country, folk, alt-country / Suggested single: The Ballad of Manuel Garcia

4. Black Cat Moan 

Sound: Blues rock / Suggested single: Wanna Be Free

5. Buffalo Rose 

Sound: Americana, folk / Suggested single: I Feel So Good 

6. Cisco Kid 

Sound: Psychedelic soul, roots rock / Suggested single: Slide Right In

7. Clara Kent 

Sound: Soul, hip-hop / Suggested single: Outside (ft. Bilal Abbey)

8. Different Places in Space

Sound: Psychedelic rock / Suggested single: Dark River, Orange Sun

9. Donora 

Sound: "American indie pop, rock, shoegaze" / Suggested single: Just You and Me My Dear

10. Dopamine 

Sound: Indie thrift pop / Suggested single: Betty Boop

Find the whole Top 30 on a Spotify playlist we made here. (Spotify is free to use, if you don't have it already.)

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Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.


🎄 Get into the holiday spirit with "Liza, with a Tree! A Holiday Drag Variety Show" hosted by Schwa de Vivre (Online)

🎶 Tune in for a free livestream of Pittsburgh Opera's Soldier Songs, a libretto about the soldier’s experience (Online)

🎩 Get tickets to see actor Scott P. Calhoon portray Charles Dickens in this one-man performance for the holiday season (Online)


🎉 Hear breathtaking renditions of holiday classics with Pittsburgh Opera's resident artists at the Holiday Hoopla concert (Online)


👀 Peek inside one of Pittsburgh's most unusual mansions — the Bayernhof Museum — with this Doors Open Pittsburgh virtual event (Online)


🎭 Join the Riverfront Theatre Company for a virtual performance of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol (Online)


✋ Get your stampers ready for a virtual Bingo bash benefitting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Western PA/WV chapter (Online)

One more thing ...

Guess what? Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson is getting his own stamp. 

Per the Post-Gazette: "The forever stamp will be part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, honoring people whose work contributed to arts and culture in the Black community. Wilson’s stamp will be the 44th in the series. The stamp will be dedicated on Jan. 28 during a ceremony that will be streamed on Facebook and Twitter." 

Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you back here tomorrow. 

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