“We don’t teach young kids Kung Fu, we teach them self-respect and discipline while practicing Kung Fu,” said Bao, founder of Win-Win Kung Fu Cultural Center in Squirrel Hill. Win-Win Kung Fu offers classes to youth beginning at age 5 and free lion dance training and Chinese language classes for students.
Outside the red door to the Allegheny Elks Club, two of Cheryl Capezzuti’s shimmering puppets dance to the quiet street sounds of a Tuesday night in February. Open the red door, and the brass and drums of big band music pour out the door, setting the mood for revelers draped in shiny beads and feather boas, their eyes shadowed by glittery masks. The line for jambalaya and shrimp po’ boys runs to the back of the wood paneled room. In time, Jack “Johnny Angel” Hunt calls 2016 Northside Mardi Gras King Rick Sebak to the stage to pass over his beads, scepter and crown to his 2017 successor, Randy Gilson of local Randyland fame. As the crowd cheers and cameras flash, Seback reluctantly allows Gilson to pry the crown from his head, and the start of the 2017 Northside Mardi Gras is officially proclaimed. View The Gallery >