CULTURE

Moby Dick Spouts at Pittsburgh Opera

When Herman Melville’s classic 1850 novel hits Pittsburgh March 17 for a four-​show run at the Pittsburgh Opera, audiences will set sail with Captain Ahab on his obsessive pursuit of the infamous white whale that robbed him of his leg and, perhaps, his sanity.

A Terrific Look at the Sophisticated History of Black Pittsburgh

by John Allison
“Smoketown” is a gift to Pittsburgh on a number of levels. When an accomplished national journalist and author turns in a deeply researched and gracefully written work about your town, that’s a win. Beyond that, Mark Whitaker, a former editor of Newsweek, gives Pittsburghers the gift of enhanced understanding of…

A Peek Inside the Pittsburgh Playhouse

The Pittsburgh Playhouse building in Oakland, which serves as the performing arts center of Point Park University and the Conservatory of Performing Arts, is nearing its end, as a new state-​of-​the-​art theatre complex is set to open on Forbes Avenue in downtown later this year. Photographer David Aschkenas documented the…

The Perfect Winter Blend

by John Allison
I loved reading “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia” by Dan Kovalik, a lawyer with United Steelworkers of America in Pittsburgh, even though I disagreed with just about every page of it. We all benefit from hearing sustained arguments by serious people who challenge our beliefs and assumptions. In the end,…

An Artful Blend

At their best, cities cultivate relationships among buildings across time. Destroy too many historic structures, and you lose memory, craft, and persistent cultural value. Fail to build new buildings well, and you risk stasis and irrelevance. The balance of time periods should be art as well as commerce. Accordingly, a…

Different Takes on Homelessness

Given the unprecedented recent spate of destructive hurricanes, Contemporary Craft’s exploration of homelessness couldn’t be more timely.

A Creepy Mill Town

Calynn Lechner isn’t sure what’s looking back at her. The clay face she’s sculpting has a beak like a turtle and lobster-​ish whiskers. When she’s done, the skin will look gelatinous, like a jellyfish’s. “It’s a smorgasbord of everything,” says Lechner, 23, her tattooed arm moving slowly as she uses…

A Bold Look at Race Through Art at the Carnegie Museum of Art

When Vogue lauded “20 /​20: The Studio Museum of Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art” as the most important art show in America, they guaranteed a critical response. Setting aside the hyperbole, the magazine established race as the context for viewing and thinking about the exhibition, stating that “as…

Diamond Horseshoe Ball Kicks Off Pittsburgh Opera’s season

Pittsburgh Opera officially started off its 201718 season with the Diamond Horseshoe Ball at the Omni William Penn on Friday, September 22.

Rock ’N Soul Gala Remembers The Stanley Theatre

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 2017 Rock ‘n Soul Gala raised $458,000 and 450 seats were sold. Lead sponsor of this year’s Gala was KeyBank and Presenting Sponsor, UPMC and UPMC Health Plan. Gala guests enjoyed dinner on the Benedum stage with live entertainment by Vintage Trouble, followed by a dessert…

The Fate of a Prison

For a sprawling building in an ambitious Romanesque style on a conspicuous riverfront site, Western Penitentiary has spent most of its life in architectural obscurity. After an auspicious start, it fell quickly from prominence. Now, it may soon fall to the wrecking ball.

What Lies Beneath: The Frick Gets Undressed

It’s the first article of clothing you put on and the last one you take off. It comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, ranging from exceedingly comfortable to helplessly imprisoned. It can be sporty, sultry, dull or disturbing, and is quite literally the foundation of the outfit…

Living in Harm’s Way

by John Allison
Lynda Schuster has had quite a life. now safely squared away in Squirrel Hill, she spent the 1980s and ’90s in one danger zone after another. She reported on wars, insurrections and misery in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor.…

Short Takes: “Shopping Mall” “North and Central”

by John Allison
Matthew Newton lets you know by Page 10 that he was diagnosed with obsessive-​compulsive disorder as a teenager. These days, he’s a productive and well-​adjusted married man and dad, doing great work at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and his skills as an inquisitive writer and thinker are evident from…

Gimme That Old Time Music

Every first and third Sunday of the month, at around 5 p.m., the front door of Hambone’s, a bar and restaurant in Lawrenceville, becomes a portal to an alternate universe. Standing on Butler Street you will see men and women disappear through that door carrying banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and…
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