806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

“A film of terrible beauty”: Screening on August 10th

City of Asylum (2017)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

Come Back, Africa

Thursday, August 10th
7:00 pm

“A heroic film… a film of terrible beauty, of the ongoing life it captured and of the spirit embodied by Rogosin and his fellow artists.” — Martin Scorsese

Come Back, Africa chronicles the life of Zachariah – a black South African living under the rule of the harsh apartheid government in 1959, and one of the hundreds of thousands of Africans forced each year off the land and into the gold mines.

Come Back, Africa

Shot in secret in order to portray the true conditions of life in South Africa at that time, the film contains a cast of non-professional actors improvising their own real dialogue from a framework of loose plot points. Come Back, Africa experienced censorship worldwide, and many of the actors in the film left the country after the film was made.

After the screening, Sabira Bushra of Sembène – The Film & Arts Festival will lead an optional Q&A discussion about the history and themes of the film.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

When making your reservation,
please add that you wish to see the film under special notes.

Final Neighbor-to-Neighbor Deadline on August 4th

Neighbor-to-Neighbor 2017

Final Neighbor-to-Neighbor Funding Opportunity of 2017

This is it: the final round of Neighbor-to-Neighbor grants is coming up in August and we can’t wait to see what you’ve been cooking up!

Anyone who lives or works on the Northside is invited to apply for a $1,000 grant by 5:00 pm on Friday, August 4th.

So far this year we’ve supported projects to redd up bus stops and vacant lots, host community movie nights in the park, support youth performing arts, and establish new community groups.

Ready to add your idea to the mix? Apply now!

Get Started on Your Neighbor-to-Neighbor Application

Need Help Finishing Your Application?

Join Diana for a cup of tea at Arnold’s Tea on East Ohio Street leading up to the deadline to discuss your project ideas and get answers to your questions about the application process.

Friday, August 4th | 12:30 – 4:30 pm
Arnold’s Tea, 502 East Ohio Street

Reserve Your Spot

PEN America to Hold Public Town Hall

City of Asylum (2017)

PEN America Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, July 27th
8:00 pm

Join PEN America representatives Julie Trébault and Rebecca Stump to discuss new initiatives by PEN America, including the Artists at Risk Connection, new regional programming and more!

PEN America

PEN America will discuss the upcoming regional programming expansion, its partnership with City of Asylum, local press freedom opportunities and the ARC program. All community members are invited to come and help guide an open discussion of all facets of PEN and share ideas about what sorts of programming you’d most like to see locally.

The event is free and open to anyone interested in the realm of free expression, literature and artistic freedom.

A reception will follow this discussion, which will give attendees the chance to chat with representatives one-on-one.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

When making your reservation,
please add that you wish to see the film under special notes.

PHLF: The Story of Roads and Bridges in Pittsburgh

Roberto Clemente Bridge

Join us at the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center for our ongoing programs on house restoration, architecture, history and other aspects of historic preservation, community development and urban planning.

Location: Landmarks Preservation Resource Center, 744 Rebecca Avenue
Date: Thursday, July 20th
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Contact: or (412) 471-5808 ext. 527

Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges, is also known for its convoluted roads. Some streets intersect each other three times. Others change names a few times. Giving directions, one often says, “Not that right, the other right,” or “Go straight,” which means angle left. The development of the city’s roads is linked to the development of the city’s bridges. In writing the book, Images of America: Pittsburgh’s Bridges, published in 2015, the study of historical maps became a key research tool. Maps revealed bridges that were eliminated when valleys were filled in and streets that were rearranged when new bridges were built. This research showed that by going back far enough in time, there was an explanation for each irregularity. This presentation will show these findings through maps and images past and present, explaining the city’s inconsistencies and abnormalities that make it unique.

About the Presenter

Todd Wilson is an award-winning professional engineer in Pittsburgh who has been photographing and writing about bridges his whole life. A transportation engineer, he is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and serves as History and Heritage Chair for the Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Wilson is a trustee of PHLF and a former Landmarks Scholarship recipient.

All lectures are free to PHLF members. Non-members: $10

RSVPs are appreciated: or (412) 471-5808 ext. 527

Check out for more PHLF tours and events.

PghCHR: Protect Your Civil Rights

Join the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations for a series of listening sessions regarding civil rights protections with regard to City services.

Be Heard

Report your issues of unfair treatment, prejudice, intolerance, bigotry or discrimination to the Commission. The Commission enforces the City’s anti-discrimination ordinances*, including in the delivery of City services.

Listening Session #1

Thursday, July 27th
Starting at 6:00 pm
Manchester Citizen’s Corp
1319 Allegheny Avenue

Light refreshments will be served.

Free Tickets for Northsiders: Resounding Sound

Resounding Sound

Texture Contemporary Ballet
July 20-23

Texture kicks off its seventh season with high energy in Resounding Sound. With two live bands and thrilling new choreography, this is one show you will not want to miss!

Resounding Sound includes a new ballet choreographed by Kelsey Bartman to the music of legendary icon, Bob Dylan. Sacramento-based musicians, Justin Edward Keim and Vincent Randazzo, will be playing renditions of select songs, including “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Just Like A Woman.”

Alan Obuzor also brings Pittsburgh-based Meeting of Important People (MOIP) back to the stage to play selections from their latest album, Troika. Come hear MOIP rock the New Hazlett once again as the dancers bring their music to life.

Resounding Sound also features other works from Texture’s extensive repertoire including two pas de deuxs, Lacrimosa and Reminiscence, and the fun trio Ice Ice. A solo piece, Song for Viola, and group work, Allowing at Most, a Caryatid, will also be danced.

You’re Invited

Thanks to the generous support of the Buhl Foundation, Northside residents and workers are invited to attend this performance for free. A limited number of tickets are available online, so reserve your seat today.

Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 pm Friday, July 21 at 8:00 pm Saturday, July 22 at 8:00 pm Sunday, July 23 at 2:00 pm

Public Meeting: Affordable Housing Trust Fund

On Tuesday, July 18th at 6:00 pm, Councilmen Lavelle and Burgess will be hosting a public hearing to discuss legislation to raise the realty transfer tax by 1%, invest 10 million annually into the Housing Opportunity Fund, and issue a $100 million bond to increase affordable housing.

$100 million dollars into the Housing Opportunity Fund for example will assist residents in:

  • Paying their rent
  • Living in new affordable housing
  • Buying their home
  • Repairing their existing homes
  • Buying and rehabbing abandoned houses
  • Clearing liens and judgements from their properties

For the full flyer, as well as the number to call in if you’d like to speak (you do not need to call in if you just want to attend) please visit

Letter from the President – July 2017

So what are you doing on Tuesday evening?

See suggestions below.

In both July and August there will be no AWCC Membership Meeting on the second Tuesday of the month. Attendance always drops off because of vacations in these months, and everyone deserves a little break anyway. The monthly Membership Meetings will resume on Tuesday, September 12, and each second Tuesday in the months that follow.

During this summer hiatus, the Civic Council’s committees will continue to meet on their regularly scheduled days. And during this time, if you have an issue that requires action please feel free to let us know by emailing

Now back to that question about Tuesday evening: If you’re in town on the second Tuesday of July or August and find yourself longing for the excitement, friendly faces, fun, and refreshments of your regularly scheduled Civic Council meeting, don’t despair. Here are a few suggestions to get you through the night:

  1. Grab a cool refreshing beverage and sit out on the front steps. In no time at all, you’ll have an impromptu block party underway.
  2. Stroll to the Allegheny Commons for an iceball from Gus & Yia Yia’s. Have a seat on a park bench, and in no time at all you’ll have an impromptu picnic underway.
  3. Head to the corner of Western and Galveston and order a cool refreshing beverage while seated at an outdoor café table. In no time at all…
  4. Call a friend who has the misfortune of not living in Allegheny West. Invite them to visit you. Then do #1, #2, or #3. Try really hard to be kind and understanding when they keep telling you that there’s nothing like this where they live.

The Summer of 1962 was cause for ongoing concern in the community that would one day be called “Allegheny West.” The almost daily front page headlines touting the “urban redevelopment” of the entire lower Northside brought new – and dismaying – details with every edition. The familiar amenities and landmarks that this generation had known all their lives were being added to the growing list of sites that would “makeway for the new Northside.”
Far beyond the initial pronouncements of some new shopping, office, and housing structures, as the specifics began to arrive it was clear that the entire of Allegheny’s central business district was to be leveled. More than 300 buildings in total would be razed. The project was so Herculean that at the outset it was viewed as pie-in-the-sky.
But ridicule turned to shock as the “take zone” expanded to include churches, schools, theaters, houses, stores, hotels, the railroad station, Boggs & Buhl Department Store, and the revered Allegheny Market House.
All of these were fully functioning every day destinations, where thousands of residents lived, worked, played and did their weekly shopping.
But an equally horrific scourge had also arrived: real estate speculators. In the free-for-all of redevelopment, outside money began to pour in, acquiring whatever was available in the hope of being bought out at an inflated price by government acquisition. Across the lower Northside – and especially in the neighborhoods abutting the Commons – properties were being snapped up by owners who had no interest in maintaining or improving. Some, in fact, found it more cost effective to empty and board a building rather than deal with day-to-day operation. And they competed for properties against those who would locate their business or residence there. Prices were going up, and both the appearance and the viability of neighborhoods was going down.
Of course, for neighboring owners who lived or operated businesses in the vicinity this was disastrous. Everyone could only guess at which rumors were or weren’t true, and worry about whether the next sale would hit even closer to home. Along Ridge Avenue, the acquisitions by Allegheny County for a proposed college had begun. Had the neighbors been privy to the original site plans, they’d have had even more to be concerned about: an extended buildout across 20 years that would take the campus north to Western Avenue and east and west to Brighton Road and Allegheny Avenue.
On the 800 block of Brighton Road and the 900 block of North Lincoln Avenue, entire block faces of houses had already fallen to the wrecking ball – intended for “future developments” that were never to come.
Just as the neighborhood was beginning to organize itself, the immensity of the task actually was expanding dramatically. And while some were resigned to their fate, others were convinced that by banding together there was a different outcome available – although imagining what that outcome might be was becoming increasingly difficult.
John DeSantis
President, AWCC

PechaKucha Night Pittsburgh Vol 27

PechaKucha Nights are informal, fun gatherings held in more than 900 cities worldwide, where creative people share their ideas, works and thoughts in a 20×20 format; a presentation style with 20 images that advance automatically for 20 seconds each, as the presenter talks along with the images.

Tuesday, July 18 at 7:00 – 9:30 pm
City of Asylum, 40 W North Avenue
Doors open at 5:00 pm

Among the 11 local presenters will be Allegheny West’s own Brian O’Neill, author of the 2009 book The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the 21st Century. Brian will talk about the inadvertent plug his book just got from Donald Trump and what has changed about the city since the book was written.

Arrive early for dinner or drinks at Casellua. Enjoy great food, wine and artfully curated cheese plates.

Shop and browse City of Asylum Books, an independent bookstore specializing in works in translation and world

If you have questions about PechaKucha Night or how to pronounce “PechaKucha”, please contact Greg Coll at . We look forward to packing the house!

Co-organized by Greg Coll with AIGA Pittsburgh, AIA Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Alleys, Axles & Ales Tour: Volunteers Needed

We’re seeking neighbors who are willing to open their homes (and garages) for the Alleys, Axles & Ales tour.

The target date is September 23. We also need volunteers who are willing to work in preparing and executing the tour. Please contact Carol Gomrick at if you are able to help.