Culture

The Pennsylvania Society

The setting could hardly have been more festive: New York City at Christmas with its crowds, carols, shopping, bright lights and snow. No wonder then that Pennsylvania politicos and business seekers by the thousands tore themselves away for the 107th annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Society. As they roamed through the Waldorf-Astoria seeking the next …

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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 to describe an episode from …

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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 blocks high, considering the breathtaking …

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Entrepreneur

Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, actor and native Pittsburgher, once quipped: “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” You don’t need to spend a lot of time with entrepreneurs to realize that many of them have at least smudged the line. For every Willie Loman there are five Willy Wonkas. …

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What is Pittsburgh?

Before Pittsburgh became a place, before it was an idea, before its stories, its heroes, its villains, its tales of exploration, adventure, discovery and struggle became part of the popular imagination and American life, it was a space defined only by the movement of water through mountains, valleys, forests and a dark wilderness. A young …

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There is Life Underground

On a recent Friday evening, the balcony in the South Side’s Rex Theater was at a near fever pitch. Amid a buzzing crowd, models were sipping cocktails and slipping into their custom-made outfits while a new rock band, Magdalene, jammed on the stage below. The evening was conceived as a debut concert for Magdalene, but …

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