Between the Issues

The Spirit of Animals Glows in Robin Becker’s “The Black Bear Inside Me”

There’s a favorite scene in Don DeLillo’s sprawling masterpiece of a novel, “Underworld,” where a priest asks his student to name the parts of the boots the pupil’s wearing. The young man struggles with the assignment, allowing the priest to walk him through each aspect of this common accessory, an…

A Summer Sampling: Southwestern Pennsylvania’s County Fairs

For many Pittsburghers, summer memories include fun days — and nights — at county fairs. In this collection of images, photographer David Aschkenas captures the spirit and fascinating culture of the region’s fairs over the past decade.

Black Tie & Tailpipes Gala Kicks Off Grand Prix

by PQ Staff
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Black Tie & Tailpipes Gala on Friday, July 6 at Fox Chapel Golf Club kicked off a week of Grand Prix events, culminating on Sunday, July 15 with the races in Schenely Park. This year was another sell out for the gala as more than…

The Legend of Duke Hock

Sergeant Duke Hock was a legend in the Army while I was still in grade school. He was Jack Reacher before Lee Child was born.

Rocky’s World Behind the Diner Counter

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
Where’s Apollo Creed? Oh, hardy, har, har. Like he hasn’t heard that one like, ten thousand times before.

O Say Can’t You See?

We shout when we should be discussing, and the country in chaos accepts it. We shoot when we should be disarming, and the country in chaos accepts it. We claim that the poor are just lazy, and the country in chaos accepts it. We budget to build bigger prisons, and…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part II

by Greg Curtis
So there we were, in late 1970, having graduated from the U.S. Army Military Police Correctional Specialist Academy, the best-​trained prison guards in the world. We had been assigned to one of the worst prisons in the world, the stockade at Long Bình, Vietnam, better known as the Long Bình…

Black and White

For the first eight years of my teaching career, the only white face in my classroom was mine. I was aware of that fact, of course, but only peripherally. My students were just that, my students. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying I was colorblind. I just didn’t relate to my…

Donna’s Dream and a Life of Roller Skating

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
Donna’s knee has been bothering her lately. Which is why she isn’t lacing up her white roller skates right now, the pair her late husband bought for her in 1963 for, geez, it must have been five hundred dollars. The same pair she was wearing 10 years ago when she…

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s “From Garden to Mexican Table” Gala Honors Rick Bayless

by PQ Staff
“From Garden to Mexican Table — A Gala Tribute to Rick Bayless” raised $260,000 for Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Held at the Pennsylvanian on Thursday, June 14, the event drew 350 attendees. The seated dinner — following a presentation to Rick Bayless — was crafted by a group of the city’s finest chefs led by Bill Fuller…

A Look Inside Google’s Unconventional Bakery Square Offices

What is really behind the brick walls of that redeveloped Nabisco cookie factory building in Bakery Square, labelled with Google’s colorful logo? Think: hammocks, coffee shops, dining rooms, gaming rooms and pool tables. Created in collaboration with local architecture firm Strada, Google’s office space in Pittsburgh’s East End is playful,…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

by Greg Curtis
A few weeks ago, in a post about J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” I mentioned in passing that I was convinced that having spit-​shined my Army combat boots may have saved my life. I didn’t elaborate, and since then several dozen people have inquired about that brief aside. So…

“Galactic Get Down” Revels in Museum’s Vision of the Future

by PQ Staff
On Friday, June 15, the Mattress Factory museum of contemporary art welcomed a sold-​out crowd of over 1,300 people to its annual Urban Garden Party. This year’s theme, Galactic Get Down, took inspiration from the museum’s vision for 2058, 40 years in the future.

An Antique Point of View

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
Someday, Jim Barricella will retire from antiquing. Well, maybe not retire literally, but definitely do something else with his life. Something other than the never-​ending hours he spends at his antique shop, Off the Avenue.

Why Democracy Matters

by Greg Curtis
Just to make it simple, let’s define Europe’s “illiberal democracies” as those countries where elected leaders profoundly disagree with the liberal, inclusive, affluent worldview of the EU’s political classes.
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