CULTURE

Quality Close to Home

I enjoy being a wine contrarian — advocating for delicious white wines when people are conditioned to order red, and pouring domestic for customers who wouldn’t dream of drinking anything but an import.

Point and Shoot

You would never have thought it. That an ordinary medium, which simply traps the light that falls onto a surface and somehow saves it could be so powerful. You could rank it with the invention of the printing press. Nearly 200 years later, my little point-​and-​shoot may surprise you, as…

The Power of the Pelt

Behold the beaver! Beady-​eyed, snubnosed and bucktoothed, it is hardly a thing of beauty, yet the pursuit of this oversized rodent across North America launched more ships (and keelboats, rafts and canoes) than the lovely Helen of Troy, for all her charms.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

An artrageous centennial

Centennials don’t happen every day. For the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh it is lasting a good year and then some. In 2008 Vicky Clark curated an exhibition at The Carnegie Museum of Art, “The Popular Salon of the People,” which surveyed the history of the AAP’s Annual Exhibition and showed…

The Golden Triangle Shines

Ten years ago, the death knell tolled for a much-​vaunted plan to re-​energize Downtown Pittsburgh through an explosion of eminent domain and new retail. The ambitious plan, led by Mayor Tom Murphy, succeeded in creating a gleaming new building that housed a Lazarus department store, as well as an unfortunate…

A Checkered Past

Renaissance, schmenaissance. To read Joe W. Trotter and Jared N. Day’s new book, “Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II,” is to realize an inconvenient truth. The skies above our city may have cleared, but racial inequities of generations past still cast a pall on the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Reanimation

Night drivers in western Pennsylvania will know the quickening experience when a deer is caught by the car’s headlamps. Usually it’s a momentary, harmless event, but always a bit of a shock. Filmmakers (Jean Cocteau, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch) use the same kind of device to sometimes devastating effect. In…

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.

Dramatic Movement

In an empty annex of the Strip District’s typically post-​industrial Gage Building, propped against a supporting beam on the hard factory floor, disparate objects sit like the sad leftovers from a garage sale. Karla Boos, founder and artistic director of Quantum Theatre, surveys the items with Jed Harris, veteran Pittsburgh…

Art in the Trees

Junior high woodworking class is as close as many of us have ever gotten to making something with our own hands. We developed a tactile awareness of the silky smoothness of well-​sanded wood and that need to run our fingers over the soft warmth of a finished piece of walnut.

The City Revisited

After a year-​long anniversary celebration in 2008 and two national championships and a global summit in 2009, one might think that the city’s appetite for tributes would be pretty well sated. But there is always room for a little something more, particularly when the fare is as lovingly prepared and…

Anatomy of a Tar Baby

Move over, David McCollough and make room for Ken Gormley, another native son who brings honor to Pittsburgh as a narrative historian of the highest order. Gormley, the new dean of Duquesne University’s law school, clearly shares McCullough’s belief that “history is the story of people,” and manages to transform…

Medicine, Murder and the Mon

Corporate histories commissioned by the client are seldom (read never) impartial, and UPMC’s “Beyond the Bounds” is no exception. Author Mary Brignano lays on the praise in this glossy tribute to UPMC founder Thomas Detre, M.D., and his protégé, current President & CEO Jeffrey Romoff.

Portrait of Penn Avenue

Whether the cultural district or the Strip District, Garfield, Point Breeze or Wilkinsburg, Pittsburghers know Penn Avenue as the heart of every neighborhood that grew up along it.

Collected Treasures

When Ailsa Mellon Bruce died in 1969, she left behind a collection of fine and decorative arts that was as extraordinary as it was extensive. The daughter of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon and sister of the equally noted collector Paul Mellon, she had spent much of her…
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