CULTURE

A Well-​Woven Contemporary Tale

For his second act, Pittsburgh novelist Jacob Bacharach has turned in another work of enormously entertaining literary fiction set in Pittsburgh. It’s less cosmic than his debut, the 2014 sci-​fi sendup “A Bend in the World,” but equally peppered with highbrow cultural references, trenchant social observations and turns of phrase…

Looking at Lubetz

Stand at the top of the angles stairs in the entry to the Squirrel Hill Library, and you are cantilevered out and over Forbes Avenue, beyond the facades of surrounding buildings. The way the building creases and folds here, you can see outside and back in at the same time.…

Serious Threads

First the Frick announced a new programming initiative in fashion and brought “Killer Heels” to Pittsburgh. The impossibly impractical yet stunningly gorgeous shoes might have made more sense at the Warhol where Andy’s advertising and shoe portrait drawings would have cheekily made the connection between costume, eroticism, design, and identity…

Josh Gibson on Deck

Pittsburgh’s greatest but still relatively unknown sports hero is about to get a curtain call of a different kind. This spring, Pittsburgh Opera unveils “The Summer King,” the world premiere of Daniel Sonenberg’s tale of the remarkable, short life of baseball legend Josh Gibson.

Setting the Steelers Standards

Growing up in a local mill town in the late 1970’s, Steelers’ Super Bowl victories seemed like a birthright. For my generation, it takes little to rattle-​off the roster from the ‘79 season, the last of that era’s championship teams. And while the exploits of future Hall-​of-​Famers Lynn Swann and…

Painting? Have Some Fun!

I spent three decades at a job that wasn’t a job, one at which few have actually earned a living. But cartoons disappear when the newspapers are bundled up for recycling. Heck, newspapers disappear.

Hath Not a Jew

Of Shakespeare’s major comedies, The Merchant of Venice is my least favorite because it’s the least funny. In a post-​Holocaust world it’s difficult to stage the play’s anti-​semitic jokes, and directors often make the understandable choice to shift the tone contour of the play toward the political and tragic.

The Art of Lazar Ran

From origins at the Vitebsk Fine Arts School in Belarus (founded by Mark Chagall in 1918), to safe-​keeping in an Ohio home for decades, the art of Lazar Ran and his contemporaries has taken a circuitous path to appear on the walls of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. The collection…

Seeing the World Through Music

Nietzsche famously castigated Euripides for killing the tradition of the chorus in Greek tragedy, because the audience no longer had music to inform its comprehension. He even felt that Euripides caused the death of tragedy itself by trying to make it too Socratic, too rational.

Exploring the Work of Damianos and Mulcahy at the Westmoreland

To paraphrase a new friend, director general of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts Jamal Shah: in celebrating life, art follows the inquisitive human mind in its desire to delve deeper as it challenges the established reality and surprises us with new realities. It challenges us to deepen our…

The Unconventional Pays Off

Sometimes a building aims to look as if it has always been there. Frequently, architects match the brick of the surrounding neighborhood and use slightly modernized versions of traditional details to make a structure appear that it’s been there longer than it has. This is not such a bad thing.…

Six Books for Your Winter Reading List

by John Allison
This issue, we take up half-​a-​dozen new books in three groupings: literary works from two creative writing teachers, Pittsburgh sports history from two prominent national writers, and the latest from two great local legal minds.

Christmas in Utopia

It’s early morning on Christmas Eve in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania. The year is 1828. Twenty-​seven-​year-​old Catharina Langenbacher awakens to the five o’clock gong of the grandfather clock in the sitting room downstairs. By the time she clambers down the crude staircase, her widowed mother is preparing breakfast. Catharina’s…

Strip Stake

Pittsburgh’s Strip District is the place where everyone comes for everything. With redevelopment occurring on every edge of this one-​half square mile tract, city planners, business owners and residents are looking to strike the right balance. Bring in the new developments and luxury condominiums, but keep the character — the boutiques and…

Quantum’s Surreal “The River” Transfixes

In Richard Brautigan’s classic surrealist novel, Trout Fishing In America, the narrator visits a store selling trout streams by the foot. They are stacked in piles like pieces of lumber, each length corresponding to a different price.
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