CULTURE

Public Interest Radio

Marco Cardamone offered a blunt assessment in recalling the transformation from Duquesne University’s radio station WDUQ to 90.5 FM WESA, an all-​news National Public Radio format: “We got pretty clobbered,” he said with a chuckle. “The backlash was much greater than we anticipated. You always lose part of an audience…

The Arts Engine

On a cold spring night in April, arts traffic streamed along Penn Avenue in several frenetic directions. Downtown, patrons for the PSO’s performance of Bach’s beloved Brandenburg Concertos poured out of restaurants toward Heinz Hall, dodging ticket-​holders for the sold-​out “Book of Mormon” at the Benedum Center. Four miles miles…

The social wasteland

Themes of social, psychological and emotional isolation have been the stock in trade of American writers for as long as the concept of a national literature — and the elusive Great American Novel — have existed, variously attributed to religion, race, politics, drugs, wars, fragmented families, generation gaps and gender issues. Now Michael Bishop,…

Raising the Bar

The widely repeated story goes something like this: Gary Saulson, PNC’s senior vice president for real estate, would regularly have lunch at a certain restaurant, from which he would have a direct view toward the Liberty Travel Building, a billboard-​slathered misshapen lump, whose prominent location at the corner of Liberty…

A purposeful re-​hang

A useful trick for carnegie museum of Art visitors is to read the label on the wall beside the art. In the lower corner is the accession number, for example, 96.1, which indicates the year in which the work was acquired, 1896, followed by the order in which the work…

A Sustainable Aesthetic

What is sustainable, or green architecture, anyway, and what is it supposed to look like? The fact remains that the operation of buildings uses 40 percent of the earth’s energy resources, so construction aimed at reducing that consumption is both admirable and necessary. But do you know it when you…

Mateo’s

Grandson Mateo, now 8 years old, was a newborn when Franco and Lisa Gualtieri started cooking real Italian food in a small kitchen for pickup and delivery. When Mateo was 4, his grandparents opened the tiny restaurant they now operate on Brookline Boulevard and named it after him.

The Sentimental Anarchists

Sentimentality is not often associated with terrorism, yet authors Paul and Karen Averich display an unmistakable nostalgia for the so-​called first American Age of Terror in their wildly sympathetic history, “Sasha and Emma: The Anarchist Odyssey of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman.“

Ecce homo!

Feeling discouraged? Lacking self esteem? Skip the self-​help books and read “Last Ape Standing” instead. Subtitled “The Seven-​Million-​Year Story of How and Why We Survived,” this engaging précis of recent developments in paleoanthropology is imbued with enough enthusiasm for evolution to cheer and inspire even the most miserable Homo sapiens.

For the children and the community

Mist emerges with an audible hiss from the vertical stainless steel poles of “Cloud Arbor,” the new artwork by Ned Kahn in the redesigned Buhl Community Park on the North Side across from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. A delighted toddler runs toward it, to assess the wafting, San Francisco-​like…

The Time of Arkus

Leon Arkus was the fifth director (196880) of the Carnegie Museum of Art during its most transformational phase since the building of the museum in the late 19th century. The Scaife Wing and the Heinz Galleries came into being under his supervision, allowing The Carnegie to function as a contemporary…

The Arts Equation

Bouncing, energetic, at times maddeningly social college students erupt into their academic class on Friday morning wearing black leotards topped with layers of pastel tank tops and an odd assortment of what can only be called shoes because they are on their feet.

A tragedy for the ages

I don’t think anybody can get a handle on what makes me tick… without understanding what I learned from the deep relationship I formed with Virgil,” wrote the late Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno in his 1997 autobiography, “Paterno: By the Book.” The remark refers without irony to…

Downtown!

I moved to Pittsburgh with my wife, Audrey, on May 1, 1972 when I accepted a job with The Hillman Company. We moved here from sunny Denver, Colo., and in our first month, it rained 28 days. We thought it was among the dumbest decisions we had ever made, but…

Inventing the Modern World

World’s Fairs asks two questions of themselves: “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?” Sometimes they look backwards as well, perhaps a little wistfully. They also fall into the category of jamboree, a 19th-​century slang word of American origin indicating a noisy assembly of people and things for a…
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