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Cruze Bar Celebrates Its 'Last Dance' As An LGBTQ-Exclusive Space

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Chicago developer McCaffery Interests said in the fall that the 120,000-square-foot space at 1600 Smallman Street would include restaurant and retail on the first floor with office space above.

A long-standing “gay-owned, gay-operated, and gay proud” nightclub in the Strip District is closing its doors this weekend, after one more farewell party. For seven years, Cruze Bar has been a popular gathering spot for the city’s younger set of LGBTQ-identifying adults. Did development push the party spot out of the neighborhood? And what will its departure mean for other queer spaces?

Reporter Stacey Federoff, writing for The Incline, and Pittsburgh Queer History Project co-director Harrison Apple talked to The Confluence's Megan Harris about the bar's place in Pittsburgh history and what's next for 1600 Smallman Street.

Credit Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA

Elsewhere in the program:

Rev. Ricky Burgess announced to The Confluence on Thursday that he's mounting a re-election campaign for his seat on City Council District 9. With a Democratic majority in the city and that district, it's likely the outcome will be determined in the May primary. Activist Leon Ford and former Pittsburgh Public Schools board member Randall Taylor have already declared their candidacies. Burgess touted his experience and close ties with the district as reasons to keep him in office. "Hopefully," he said, "my record speaks for itself."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a petition with Commonwealth Court against UPMC Health Plan on Thursday in an effort to keep the health care giant from ending its business relationship with rival Highmark Health. Higher costs are expected to hit about 70,000 western Pennsylvania patients when the split is final. 90.5 WESA's Sarah Boden reports the petition seeks to enforce Pennsylvania laws about fundraising for charity, nonprofit corporations and consumer protections. UPMC is a nonprofit organization. 

And the next generation of voting machines were on display at a vendor convention in Erie, Pa. Last year, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration mandated all state voting machines must have a paper trail by 2020. WESA's Chris Potter reports that methods for funding the new equipment quickly remain in question. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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