CULTURE

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…

The Box is Back

This was the first good sign: When I asked a group of friends to join me for a tasting of boxed wines, everyone thought it would be fun to participate. No “Ugh, boxed wines!” No questioning of my sanity.

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…

The Bigham Tavern

In the early 20th century, weary men from Mount Washington finished their factory shifts on the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers and ascended the sharp cliff to Grandview Avenue on several inclines, disappearing above the cacophony and grime.

Steel City Spectacle

In recent years, it has been difficult to imagine the Highland Building as a “great success as the modern office building,” as proclaimed in a 1910 newspaper ad. The property on South Highland Avenue facing East Liberty Presbyterian Church hasn’t been occupied for a generation. Twenty-​five years of neglect have…

Creepy creatures!

Given the prevalence of vampires and werewolves in contemporary culture, one wonders why it has taken so long for them to reach the Pittsburgh area. (We’re a world-​class city, dammit!) With typically gray skies and an abundance of abandoned steelworks and subterranean coal mines, our region possesses a strong Gothic…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Anna’s Cucina Rustica

When she was a little girl, Anna Malvone would finish her classes and rush the few blocks to the neighborhood orphanage in Pianura, Naples. There, she helped the nuns in the kitchen, preparing simple meals with ingredients that were plentiful and cheap — tomatoes, garlic, basil and other staples of Italian life…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The virtues of varietals

Good old Gallo hearty burgundy. Are you old enough to remember when that was the go-​to wine for every dinner party? Lord knows what was in that jug, but it always tasted the same — red fruit, easy-​drinking, probably sweeter than we’re used to these days. It was a blend of numerous…

Hyeholde

The goddess Diana plays many roles. She is goddess of the moon and the likely source of the name of Moon Township, which sits along a crescent-​shaped bend in the Ohio River. Here, English settlers farmed the land after the French and Indian War, following the signs of the moon,…

Judging the Best

Say “state fair” or “county fair” and most folks picture themselves under the summer sun, snacking on corn dogs and deep-​fried Twinkies. It’s a summertime tradition across the country.

Divorce in Morningside

Hallelujah! at last, there is a novel about contemporary divorce that eschews shallow revenge-​fantasy clichés of dream jobs, boytoys and boob jobs in favor of a thoughtful, balanced and gently humorous representation of the end of a marriage. Local author Jane McCafferty laudably transcends melodrama in “First You Try Everything”…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A different Jonas

Well, it’s official: the end is near. Whether or not the dire Mayan predictions for the future of mankind come to pass in 2012, it is clear that time is running out for books.The sad inevitability of this is demonstrated both by the ascendancy of electronic readers and the proliferation…

Gershwin in Pittsburgh

George Gershwin will be forever associated with New York City. This most American of composers derived his inspiration from Manhattan’s energy, skyscrapers, jazz, nightlife, and evolving Broadway-​musical art form.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Hough’s

You can’t go home again, Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel about moving on in life, would have you believe that once you leave the nurturing familiarity of the old neighborhood, you can never return or recapture the magic of your youth. Wolfe should have spent a little time in Greenfield or…
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