PEOPLE & OPINION

Blending Image and Word

Ekphrasis first began as a rhetorical form used by the ancient Greeks. Defined by Webster’s as “a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art,” it remains one of the oldest forms of artistic analysis, dating back to Homer’s description of Achilles’ blacksmith god-​created shield in The…

Hath Not a Jew

Of Shakespeare’s major comedies, The Merchant of Venice is my least favorite because it’s the least funny. In a post-​Holocaust world it’s difficult to stage the play’s anti-​semitic jokes, and directors often make the understandable choice to shift the tone contour of the play toward the political and tragic.

The World Through a Food Truck

“Just don’t tell Baba our chicken is better.” It’s the only request Ryah asks customers who stop by to visit Leena’s, the food truck she operates out of a ’91 Chevy Step Van that began its life delivering the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette.

Seeing a Garden in a Pile of Debris

Julia had fired up the chainsaw because she had been bored, really. Retirement had been fun for an hour or two, but she needed something to do.

Jim Withers, M.D., Street Doctor

My father was a country doctor; my mom, a nurse. Their relationship was grounded in the values of service and compassion, and they included their children — me, for sure — in that vision. So I made house calls with my dad and, among other things, got to practice parallel parking while delivering Meals…

Passing the Torch

Earlier this fall, a group of about 250 civic and cultural leaders gathered to pay tribute to Teresa Heinz Kerry on the occasion of her handing over the chairmanship of The Heinz Endowments to her sons. From creating Riverlife, to championing causes from the environment to social equity to the…

A Delicious Quandary

In 1968, Pittsburgh Chef Ferdinand Metz cabled from Frankfurt, Germany, to tell his friends that the U.S. Team won the Grand Gold Award in the International Culinary Competition. He was at the top of the culinary world, with 16 gold medals and the grand award given to him and his…

Christmas in Utopia

It’s early morning on Christmas Eve in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania. The year is 1828. Twenty-​seven-​year-​old Catharina Langenbacher awakens to the five o’clock gong of the grandfather clock in the sitting room downstairs. By the time she clambers down the crude staircase, her widowed mother is preparing breakfast. Catharina’s…

Whistleblower

by Jennifer Papale Rignani
In 1991, the smell of Nabisco saturated the air in Pittsburgh’s eastern neighborhoods. The cookie factory was still just that, years away from its second act as a Google anchor. Sears was closed, but its big blue shell sat fading in the parking lot on Highland Avenue. Peabody wasn’t Obama…

Rivera-​Tinsley, Spaulding, Anderson, Farmer, Zangerle, Leonardo, Earnshaw

Camila Rivera-​Tinsley is the director of education at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. She comes to Pittsburgh from The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, where she specialized in private/​public partnerships, doubled the number of students served by the center’s environmental education programming, and increased staff diversity by creating a…

Washington, Nunn, Litman, Palmer, Page, Filoni

Milt Washington, 81: Washington was the long-​time owner of Allegheny Rehabilitation Housing Corp. — one of the largest black-​owned businesses in Pennsylvania. He was a man with a tremendous work ethic, and his success in providing low-​income housing and in several other businesses he owned allowed him to become a committed civic…

Tunnels of Love

First, you had to pull the red wicker settee with its circus-​striped cushions a few feet away from the wall. Then you put the army surplus table Mother sometimes used for the sewing machine next to that, in front of the closed-​in fireplace; and if Father wasn’t using them for…

Among the Trees

by Douglas Heuck
As Meg Cheever said, “The best park in Pittsburgh is the one you are in.” She founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 at a time when Pittsburgh was a long way from claiming victory in stemming the tide of decline that still clung to the city. With a band…

On a Lonely Stretch of Road

by Douglas Heuck
I had occasion recently to pet a wild animal for the first time.

Car Trouble

At 5:30 a.m. one recent morning, I was driving the Parkway East to Monroeville, and actually ON TIME. I began to hear a loud “ka-​thunk” from the front left of my mini-​van. Suddenly, my front left wheel popped clean off. Had it been later, I would have been horrified at…
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