Professor Angela Washko‘s feature-length film, "Workhorse Queen," was the winner of the Grand Prize for Documentary at the Buffalo International Film Festival in October. Workhorse Queen explores the complexities of mainstream television’s impact on queer performance culture. The film follows Ed Popil, a.k.a. drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis, a 1960’s era housewife trying to liberate herself from domestic toil through performing at night in secret – an homage to Ed’s own mother. After seven years of auditioning to compete on the reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race, Popil was finally cast onto the show and thrust into a full-time entertainment career at the late age of 44. As a feminist media artist working in a variety of forms, Washko is committed to telling complex and unconventional stories about the media we consume from unusual perspectives. Washko’s practice spans interventions in mainstream media, performance art, digital works, documentary film, video art and video games. Learn more about Washko.
Keith Cook, a professor of biomedical engineering and interim head of the Biomedical Engineering Department, has been awarded a $1.45 million grant from the U.S. Army Congressionally Directed Medical Research programs to develop a pulmonary assist system (PAS) to support military veterans and other patients with long-term, incurable lung disease for a period of months to years. This award funds the comparison of the performance of a proposed PAS pump, the Cardiodyme CDX, to the function of established, commercial pumps to ensure the pump can provide appropriate blood flow rates with low levels of blood damage, clot formation and activation of the immune system. Cook's research focuses on applying engineering to critical care medicine. This research melds mechanical, chemical and material science concepts toward the development of artificial and tissue-based lungs, pulmonary drug delivery, and the computational modeling and prevention of coagulation in medical devices. Cook is faculty director of the Bioengineered Organs Initiative at CMU and is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Learn more about Cook.
Assistant Professor of Music Monique Mead was commissioned by the Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts to create an educational video, "Spark Your Creativity," for ARCA's Educational ArtReach Program in the Allegheny-Clarion Valley Schools in Foxburg, Pennsylvania. The video features Mead and her children, harpist Isabel Cardenes (17) and pianist and video executive producer Tino Cardenes (16), as they explore the larger process of creativity – in any endeavor – with music performance as the metaphor. As director of Music Entrepreneurship at the School of Music, Mead is passionate about helping students create new avenues for music in society. Inspired and mentored by Leonard Bernstein, she has been a lifelong activist for classical music as a violinist, educator and innovator. Performing as a soloist, chamber musician and presenter, Mead has devoted her performing career to nurturing new audiences and deepening the musical experience for seasoned concertgoers. Since 1998, she has appeared regularly on German television and radio featuring her innovative youth concerts with prestigious German orchestras in Berlin, Munich and Cologne. In the U.S. she has collaborated with the Pittsburgh Symphony and San Diego Symphony, among others. She currently serves as board chair of Chamber Music Pittsburgh. Watch “Spark Your Creativity.”