CULTURE

On Children’s Literature

“Why do we give children the illusion of a world that doesn’t exist and which all their lives they will compare with a harsh reality?” –Georges Simenon

Frick Environmental Center Achieves Living Building Challenge Status

Great architecture should be built for the ages. Imposing piles, whether in stone or steel, are supposed to indicate heroic resistance to the ravages of the elements as both practicality and art. And yet in the era of the environmental movement, some portion of this equation has been inverted. We…

Pursuing Crime from Pittsburgh to Eternity and Back

“The Gone World” by Pittsburgh novelist Thomas Sweterlitsch is about nothing less than preventing the end of world as we know it. As is often the case in real life,Western Pennsylvania is at the center of the story.

Barebones’ “Lobby Hero” Combines Comedy with Tragedy to Stunning Effect

Dichotomies in art usually succeed brilliantly or fail dreadfully. Bringing together disparate forms is inherently risky: it challenges the artist, but even more so, it challenges the audience.

Terrance Hayes Tackles Current Life in “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin”

“Prismatic” is how the late poet Wanda Coleman once described her smart, resonant American sonnets in a 2002 radio interview with writer Paul Nelson. The impetus of her avant-​garde style was to approach the old form in a new way, making it a more stimulating way to express anger and…

Internationals I Have Known…

When the Carnegie International opens this fall, it may appear as if the world’s latest art elegantly touches down like an ethereal being whose time to visit us has come ‘round again. But if you knew it as I do, you would know that this periodic being is full of,…

Ageless Wisdom: Thaddeus Mosley, 92

Thaddeus Mosley, 92, talks about his work as a sculptor and living a life of contentment.

Look What’s Happening in Cleveland

With the opening of the Carnegie International less than a month away, I drove to Cleveland to see their inaugural international exhibition. Under the umbrella of “Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art,” projects happened as far away as Akron and Oberlin, but the majority were located in three Cleveland…

Car Cathedral

Since its completion in 1931, the towering stone St. Helen’s Catholic Church has stood like a beacon atop Main Street in East Pittsburgh. Now it’s a car club and garage with country club perks.

An Ear for Music and Life

On a Tuesday morning in Squirrel Hill, Ceinwen (pronounced Kine-​Win) King-​Smith taps out notes on her piano. I stumble along, up and down the scale, straining my voice to match pitches.

Rob Ruck Examines Football the Samoan Way

The thing to understand about Rob Ruck is that he’s a runner — a distance runner and a daily runner. He’s the type of guy to run the Pittsburgh marathon a bunch of times, and when he is not running, he is at loose ends and out of sync. This devoted runner…

Grit, Striving and Some Redemption Highlight Rust Belt Collection

A Pittsburgher’s first reaction upon completing the 24 essays in “Voices from the Rust Belt” is bound to be: Jeez-​o-​man, we’ve got it pretty good here.

The Man Who Took Away Snakes

No, he wasn’t always a plumber for the City of Pittsburgh, and he wasn’t always called Pupi either. His wife called him Andy. Pupi told me this story one day when we were hunting at “The Farm.” I was his hunting dog that day. My job was to kick brush…

The Spirit of Animals Glows in Robin Becker’s “The Black Bear Inside Me”

There’s a favorite scene in Don DeLillo’s sprawling masterpiece of a novel, “Underworld,” where a priest asks his student to name the parts of the boots the pupil’s wearing. The young man struggles with the assignment, allowing the priest to walk him through each aspect of this common accessory, an…

A Summer Sampling: Southwestern Pennsylvania’s County Fairs

For many Pittsburghers, summer memories include fun days — and nights — at county fairs. In this collection of images, photographer David Aschkenas captures the spirit and fascinating culture of the region’s fairs over the past decade.
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