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Personality Test: Artist, writer and musician Jennifer Baron

| Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010

Artist, writer and musician Jennifer Baron is Pop Filter arts and culture editor for Pop City Media, and author of a column on historic signs for Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, a publication of the Senator John Heinz History Center. Baron runs Fresh Popcorn Productions, a locally made line of craft products, and is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh's first and largest independent craft fair, which received the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council's "People's Choice Award" in 2007 and 2009. She is co-editor of the award-winning book, "Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania" (Carnegie Mellon Press, 2009). Baron also was a founding member of the Brooklyn band, the Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records), and has played in Saturnine and the New Alcindors. In 2009 she started the Pittsburgh-based girl band, the Garment District.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:

Kate Winslet. She has that rare combination of old-school Hollywood glamour and quirky grittiness.

Childhood hero and why:

Marlo Thomas in "Free To Be ... You And Me," a pioneering project created by the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Pick one:

A. Go-Gos

B. Goo-Goo Dolls

C. Lady Gaga

D. Yo Gabba Gabba

E. Gabba Gabba Hey!

A. Belinda and the ladies are one of the inspirations for my new girl band, the Garment District.

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

Playskool turntable that plays pastel colored plastic records with bumps that mimic the grooves on LPs.

The superpower I wish I had in real life and why:

Flying, because I love to travel, daydream and star gaze.

My favorite reality show:

"The Loud Family"

Telephone app that I wish I could invent:

The Heeler: an app to make my Chocolate Lab Bailey stop pulling on his leash!

Favorite brunch food:

Huevos rancheros

Favorite guilty pleasure:

Ocean City, N.J., boardwalk fare: Kohr Brothers chocolate and vanilla swirl soft ice cream, Mack & Manco's pizza, Copper Kettle Fudge.

Best mistake I've ever made:

Moving back to Pittsburgh from Brooklyn.

Something I would do over if I could and why:

Quitting piano lessons.

My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:

The Croat Comet, boxer Fritzie Zivic

Favorite lunchtime spot:

Enrico's in the Strip District

Top thing on my 'Bucket List' to do before I'm gone:

Split my time between Barcelona, Stockholm and New Zealand.

In five years, I'd like to:

Make a documentary film about the Croatian folk music tradition in America, with a special focus on female musicians and Western Pennsylvania.

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is:

The topography.

Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

Che Guevara, Leonard Cohen and Le Corbusier

My quirkiest inherited trait:

Biting the inside of my mouth, as everyone in my family will tell you, is directly inherited by my grandmother Merrell Rush Evans.

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Grilled tempeh with avocado, mustard, Daiya vegan cheese, fresh tomato, and sprouts on Ezekiel 7 grain bread.

One word my mother would use to describe me:


Celebrity crush:

Gael Garc'a Bernal

The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:

Tapatio hot sauce

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

A writer.

Exercise I hate most:


I'm deathly afraid of:

Sarah Palin.

If I was auditioning for "American Idol," my song would be:

"Different Drum" (1966, Mike Nesmith)

The first band I saw in concert (when and where):

Peter, Paul and Mary, The Stanley, Downtown Pittsburgh, 1981

The best concert I've ever seen:

The Smiths, The Queen is Dead tour, Fulton (now Byham) Theater, Downtown Pittsburgh, 1986

TV marathon I could watch all day and why:

"The Twilight Zone" on New Year's Day, which I always watch with my husband, because I love its unparalleled storytelling, bold heavy-handed messages, hidden cultural and historical references, innovative plot twists, camera angles, black and white compositions, and acting cameos.

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark

Old ALCOA building, 425 6th Avenue, Downtown

Saturday mornings you'll find me:

Walking with my husband, Greg, and Chocolate Lab Bailey to Coffee Tree Roasters

Best new gadget I've tried recently.

My Chemex coffeemaker, with which I start each day.

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

Drew Barrymore.

The worst advice I ever received:

To take chorus instead of guitar in middle school.

In high school, I was:

Making mix tapes, going to the Electric Banana on all-ages Sunday nights, wearing pink silk pajama bottoms from Canal Jean Company, fantasizing about attending the New School for Social Research, and acting in Mt. Lebanon High School's Theater Company.

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Dean Wareham (Dean & Britta/Luna/Galaxie 500)

The movie that always makes me cry:

"The Cove"

My most treasured fashion accessory is:

Enid Collins purse

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:

A warbled "My Blood Valentine" cassette tape, vintage Volvo manual, and huge 1970s sunglasses.

If I wasn't a musician/artist/writer, I'd be:

Big wave surfer

The last book I read:

"White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s," a memoir of music producer Joe Boyd

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:

Fiori's Pizzaria in Brookline

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

"The Swimmer"(1968, directed by Frank Perry), starring Burt Lancaster

My favorite Web site:

My most memorable fashion mistake:

Hot pink parachute pants worn in 8th grade, and I have the photographs to prove it.

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Frida Kahlo

My childhood nickname was:

Spaghetti Head

My favorite "bad" movie is:

"The Bad News Bears"

My first job:

Teaching assistant, Mt. Lebanon Extended Day Care Program

My worst job:

Cook, Pizza Hut, Missoula, Mont. (best summer, worst job)

My favorite cable channel:


The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:

"Billie Jean," Michael Jackson

Life would be better without:


If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

The Velvet Underground; The Kinks (circa 1965-1969)

I never travel without my:


People would be surprised to know that I:

Was a cover model for the Sandman Mystery Theatre comic book series (Vertigo, DC Comics); and that I once hosted Salman Rushdie and Paul Auster at my old house in Brooklyn as part of the filming of a French documentary.

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