CULTURE

History, Charm and Vitality

by Barbara Eichenlaub
Saxonburg was founded as a German farming settlement in 1832 by brothers Friedrich C. and John A. Roebling, immigrants from Mühlhausen, Prussia, who purchased 1,582 acres. Destined to become history’s most famous Saxonburg resident, John had studied surveying, engineering, architecture and hydraulics in Europe. He soon lost interest in farming…

“May We Live in Interesting Times”: The 58th Venice Biennale

by Steve Mendelson
I have just returned from my 10th (I think) Venice Biennale.

Steak Night at the Firehouse

by Kate Benz
Sunday dinner at Station 17 in Homewood was supposed to be around 5:30. Maybe 6 at the latest. Because this is Steak Night. They almost never get to do Steak Night.

Poetic Mission

by Fred Shaw
With its deep pool of talented writers, Pittsburgh punches well above small-​city status, especially among poetry circles. Reasons for this embarrassment of riches include the exposure many local poets receive for work that wins them awards, ample workshops, university writing programs with strong reputations and a vibrant scene that features…

Treating Patients As People

by Fred Shaw
Healthcare often gets treated as if the only issue is economic: Health insurance-​Goliaths Highmark and UPMC are in a coverage standoff; a “Medicare-​for-​all” bill that could cost up $32 trillion is unveiled in the U.S House of Representatives; insurance rates tick upward. But what about the emotional plight of flesh-​and-​blood…

New Faces at the Westmoreland

by Vicky A. Clark
With a renewed interest in what kinds of people are represented in art museums, a new exhibition at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art offers some rarely seen faces. “Mingled Visions: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis and Will Wilson” (March 30 – June 30) presents images of Native Americans taken a…

Exuberance at the Warhol

by Vicky A. Clark
Devon Shimoyama’s just-​ended exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum proves the enduring power of Warhol’s work 30 years after his death and shows that the museum has no interest in becoming a shrine to a self-​referential and reverential hagiography. “Cry, Baby” brings a young talent to our attention, while simultaneously…

Short Takes: “Engineering Pittsburgh,” “American Dinosaur Abroad”

by John Allison
Without civil engineers, our world would fall apart. They are hidden brains behind what we civilians take for granted — all the marvelous methods for getting us from here to there, safe and sound. To observe its 100th anniversary, the Pittsburgh section of the American Society of Engineers has produced an indispensable…

An Eye-​Opener About Living Black in Pittsburgh

by John Allison
Damon Young recently bought a rather nice house a block away from me. Yet I don’t expect to be invited over, although I am about to lavish praise on his brave, incisive and witty memoir about growing up and living while black in Pittsburgh. Even a blurb-​ready assessment — Damon Young is…

Short Takes: “Thank Your Lucky Stars” “Asia Ascending”

by John Allison
The pleasures of “Thank Your Lucky Stars” are doubled in the re-​reading. The 50 stories tucked into 189 pages encourage a binge. Most are short short, sometimes just a few paragraphs; about 10 are traditional-​length short stories (if size matters). But when you return to browse through the collection, images…

The Bad Old Days

by John Allison
You won’t get depressed by reading Richard Gazarik’s “Wicked Pittsburgh.” The retired Tribune-​Review reporter does not seek to darken the name of our fair city. He merely wants to gather, in one handy and readable volume, key stories of corruption, crime and skulduggery stretching back to the turn of the…

Enter Stage Left

by Douglas Heuck
Prior to her first directorial effort with the Pittsburgh Public Theater (“The Tempest”: Jan. 24­ – Feb. 24), Pittsburgh Quarterly posed a few questions for artistic director Marya Sea Kaminski.

The Peak of Its Powers

by Teake Zuidema
The No. 1 seat in the grand stage box is the best place to be at Heinz Hall. And that’s exactly where I sit with my noiseless camera. All the other seats in the concert hall are empty. On stage, the musicians are tuning their instruments as conductor Manfred Honeck…

Art or Fashion?

by Vicky A. Clark
The Frick Pittsburgh continues its recent foray into fashion with exuberance, exhibiting a group of contemporary paper recreations of iconic outfits from the past. Ranging from the era of the Medici to the early 20th century with costumes from the Ballets Russes, “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art From Paper” though…

An Elegy of the Marcellus Shale region

by Fred Shaw
When U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited Pittsburgh on October 24 last year, his first order of business was to visit a Range Resources well-​pad outside Washington, Pa., announcing that the EPA would continue “removing regulatory barriers and leveling the playing field for American companies.”
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