CULTURE

Wine tips from the Heinz-​Kerry cellar

With her easy tact and predisposition to agree, she might be a diplomat or a counselor — if it weren’t for the one-​liners that slip out, almost as if they’re sneaking up on her, and the highly contagious laughs that follow.

The Lay of the Land

Have you ever stopped to ponder to what extent anatomy — or more correctly, topography — is destiny in the historical development and popular perception of Pittsburgh? Martin Aurand has. In an ambitious, new publication from the University of Pittsburgh Press titled “The Spectator and the Topographical City,” he endeavors…

Andy’s Not the Only One

Sometimes when trying to assess the importance of any one artist, I am reduced to playing the auction trick. What’s it worth? People who have pooh-​poohed Andy Warhol think twice when they hear one of his paintings sells for $14 million. It may be the wrong road to art appreciation,…

Full-​Court Press

Ten bucks says you didn’t know that Pittsburgh is a hotbed of small press activity.

Song of the South Side Slopes

If you went any higher, you’d need a harp. Yard Way on Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes is only about half a dozen blocks long, one would say. One would say that if it were in another city. In Pittsburgh, one would be more apt to say it’s half a dozen…

Shadows on a Wall

The increasingly popular genre of creative nonfiction has taken a new turn with the publication of “Shadows on a Wall: Juan O’Gorman and the Mural at Patzcuaro” by Hilary Masters (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005, $24.95). This book-​length essay combines fact and fiction with artistic metaphor, autobiography and imaginative technique…

Creative Dinners and More

With careers, carpooling and volunteer work, making dinner can be a challenge for busy families! If Stouffer’s is “home cooking” and at tax time you can claim the pizza deliveryman as a dependant, it might be time for a change. Enter a new concept in cooking — meal preparation centers.…

Song of Squirrel Hill

“Jews are just like everybody else, only more so,” Wyoming Benjamin Paris* liked to say. He was an authority on the subject of chutzpah, and the star of his Hill District basketball team — a team with no uniforms or name.

Ukiah: In Pittsburgh!

Of the thousands of materials that fill the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Library in Oakland, all are of local interest, being by or about Pennsylvanians. Hundreds of these are works of fiction; nearly a third of which take place in Pittsburgh. A surprisingly high percentage of the same are…

Art Collector G. David Thompson

What might be described as the great collections built up by Pittsburghers — those of, say, Henry Clay Frick, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Duncan Phillips, Andrew and Paul Mellon respectively, and Walter Arensberg — are perhaps best understood as being financed by Pittsburgh. The actual collections were built up elsewhere.

Salt, Air, Time and a Pig’s Hind Leg

In a food world where cured pork products have been catapulted to sexy heights of connoisseurship by chefs like Mario Batali, Pittsburghers blithely accept, take for granted and plain underappreciate the elegant — and bargain-​priced — sausage and prosciutto made here in a fourth-​generation family business in the Strip.

Song of Kittanning

The tranquil beauty of the Allegheny River at its idyllic venue in Kittanning conceals restless ghosts and a violent history. Safe to say, the 18th-​century Native Americans who lived there never imagined it couldn’t be defended from a few hundred white invaders, or that the fate of two great Old…

Can You Dig It? Yes.

It’s tough to make a non-​fiction work on paleoanthropology entertaining. The search for early forms of fossil man is commonly perceived as a dry one, figuratively and literally; comprising years upon years of tiresome labor by pedantic academics in wretched climates and occasionally yielding a fractured femur with which the…
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