CULTURE

City Theatre’s “Downstairs” Showcases Pittsburgh’s Dazzling Acting Talent

The stage of City Theatre’s “Downstairs” is an open maw of things forsaken, a dirty basement stuffed with so many neglected and discarded items — tools and tires and crates and old clothes and worn-​out furniture — that it casts the audience in the dingy ether of pathos well before the lights go down.…

Liberty Magic: Magic on Liberty

“I know what you’re thinking.” It’s a common expression, an uncommon occurrence — you don’t actually know what somebody is thinking. Were that the case, we’d hardly do any thinking at all.

Bridging Ayn Rand and Pittsburgh

While conducting research for “Atlas Shrugged” during a cross-​country train trip in 1947, Ayn Rand wrote in her journal what she saw when she came upon Pittsburgh while traveling east:

The Flavors of Pittsburgh

The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every Pittsburgher knows these holidays and celebrations. But less familiar are the many religious and secular holidays celebrated by ethnic communities in the region. Photographer Teake Zuidema documents five festivities that took place this year.

Hoopie: A Haibun

The Starcher’s used the word everywhere — In the confined spaces of the one-​story home, the living room floor accommodating all fifteen of the cousins for bed. Hoopie sat with us in that house on top of the rolling hills, overlooking Easter Flower Hollow. It circled the round oak dining room table,…

Appalachian Reckoning: An Antidote to Hillbilly Elegy?

Tasteless jokes abound on the internet, including one I recently read: “Did you know the toothbrush was invented in West Virginia? Anywhere else and it would have been called a teeth brush.” I chuckled before considering the misguided notion that it’s still OK to trash poor whites.

Charlie’s Village Turns 100

It all started after Charles Bowdish returned to his hometown of Brookville, Jefferson County, after a stint in the U.S. Army during World War I. Exposed to mustard gas during the war and left with respiratory illness, he commenced building a miniature railroad and village so finely detailed that it…

Nuts About Nutcrackers

When Steubenville comes to mind, you probably don’t think of the Rust Belt town as a travel destination. Mayor Jerry Barilla has been intent on changing that and the narrative of industrial decline that has dominated the town. Its population of 18,000 is less than half what it was in…

Hard Times in Yellow Dog

In 2014, Joe Meyer moved across Pennsylvania with a dream of transforming Yellow Dog Village, an abandoned limestone mining town in Armstrong County, into a living historic site where tourists could experience life in the early 1900s.

Andy Warhol Returns to Pittsburgh

On an autumn evening in Pittsburgh 40 years ago, a larger than usual, fancier than typical, and more expensive than ever event was staged as an acquisition benefit for the Carnegie Museum of Art. On this special Saturday night, 250 formally dressed ladies and gentlemen entered the Heinz Galleries to…

Short Takes: “The Secret History of KGB Spy Cameras,” “Threads Around the World”

Deep in a secret location cloaked by trees and rolling hills — well, to be precise, inside a home in the leafy suburb of Upper St. Clair — exists a notable collection of Soviet spy equipment. It belongs to Michael M. Hasco, a former Heinz executive whose interest in photography blossomed into full-​fledged expertise…

An Uncommon Life in an Ordinary Place

It would be a shame if this strange and glorious book set in Greene County becomes pigeonholed as “a voice from the heartland” or “a rare glimpse inside the Other America.” Sarah Elaine Smith, a Greene County native now living in Pittsburgh, has surely drawn on observed experience for her…

PICT Conjures a Ghostly Godot with “The Woman in Black”

“The Woman in Black” is one of those rare creations, like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” that has found success in multivarious forms as a novel, play, and film. Based on Susan Hill’s 1983 book, PICT Classic Theatre’s production uses Stephen Mallatratt’s 1987 adaptation (an unusually safe bet for…

Still Squonky After All These Years

Leave your preconceived notion of an opera in the car. Whatever Squonk Opera is, it certainly isn’t what you’re thinking. A description that succinctly encapsulates this Pittsburgh native is futile. Not quite a rock band, anything but an opera. So, what then?

The New MuseumLab: Past Transformed for Future

At nearly 130 years old, the building is an antique, but the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, known casually as the Carnegie Library of the North Side, was built to look centuries old from the start.
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