2016 Winter

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

2016 Winter

The new Westmoreland

Early in October, looking out over the view of Greensburg from the newly reconfigured Westmoreland Museum of American Art, someone remarked that a building’s foundations had been discovered recently in the old parking garage, which is being turned into a garden. In England, such work recently turned up the body…

Sports town bragging rights

Go to any city with a professional baseball, football, basketball or hockey franchise and chances are you’ll find at least one guy in a bar who’ll argue his is the best sports town in America. It’s likely there’s even one in Charlotte after a Hornets victory and a few too…

J. Kevin McMahon, Arts & Culture Executive

It’s not a secret, but I actually was born in Pittsburgh. I don’t talk about it, not because I’m not proud of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh is great. But in Pittsburgh, if you say you were born here, everybody expects you to know everything about it. When I was a little kid,…

Cheers! from around the world

Consider how the weather transforms our lives. As the thermometer drops, so too do our windows and doors as we make the seamless transition from shorts to sweatpants, smoothies to soups, flip-​flops to snow boots and a cotton blanket to a 16-​pound down comforter.

The new sound

Steve Hackman, 35, is an emerging phenomenon in the world of music, fusing classical and popular pieces. Hackman is creating and conducting his hybrid concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Jan. 27 and March 9. A native of suburban Chicago, he has an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the…

Global Glamour

It took Phileas Fogg 80 days to go around the world in Jules Verne’s classic novel. It took closer to three years for a Shadyside couple to complete their residence, a mélange of influences from their international lives and travels. The result is a journey of a different sort; a…

Diversity Through a Local Lens

Earlier this fall, more than 3,550 southwestern Pennsylvanians shared their views on racial and ethnic diversity in a region where the population of African Americans, Asians and Hispanics — and the slice of the labor force they hold — are among the smallest in metropolitan America.

Life on the Monongahela

In the last Ice Age — 10,000 to 110,000 years ago — what is now the Monongahela River flowed north across Pennsylvania into the St. Lawrence watershed. At some point, an ice dam gave rise to Lake Monongahela, which was 200 miles long, 100 miles wide and hundreds of feet deep. Now, a series…

Clouds gathering over Pittsburgh

As his rowboat swept over Penn Avenue, Charles H. Allard looked for the bronze tablet on the Horne’s building. The object commemorated the high water mark of the Flood of 1907, previously the most severe flood to ravage Pittsburgh. Allard, reporting for the Pittsburgh Post-​Gazette on March 18, 1936, couldn’t…

New Zealand

Like everyone else who saw the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, I was somewhat stunned by the dramatic beauty of New Zealand. But I’d never seriously considered visiting until Christmas 2014, when my oldest son was home from Shanghai and said, “Let’s go fly-​fishing together in New Zealand.” I’ve…

Beyond difference

Even before the performance of “Land of Oz” begins, it’s obvious that different rules apply here. Eyes dart around the auditorium and settle down in focused “listening” — sight is the primary way people here share information. To get someone’s attention, wave a hand in the air. To ignore someone, at which…

The Year of Humanities

A multicolored logo flashed over Heinz Field’s immense scoreboard on a bright fall day as a booming voice declared 201516 the University of Pittsburgh’s “Year of the Humanities.”

Transhumanism

It was my first interview with an artificial intelligence — a talking head without a body. The conversation was awkward, but considering that Bina48 is an android, it went better than I expec-​ted. Bina48 is a synthetic replica of a real woman named Bina Rothblatt. We met at a Juniata College conference…

Our new downtown

I was dining the other night at Poros, the fourth Downtown restaurant opened by Yves Carreau. The elegant new space connects PPG Place and Market Square, and as I watched passersby outside the wall of windows, I was struck by how much Pittsburgh has changed. Soon the ice rink at…

Howard, Bairnsfather, Hand, Li, Riley, Fullerton

Christopher Howard will become president of Robert Morris University on Feb. 1. A native of Plano, Texas, Howard comes to Pittsburgh from Farmville, Va., where he has been president of Hampden-​Sydney College since 2009. Howard previously was vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, and…
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