806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Transgender Champion Boxer Fighting to Live Their Truth

City of Asylum (2018)

ReelQ Presents

The Beautiful Boxer

7:00 pm

The Beautiful Boxer is the controversial 2003 biopic detailing the helter-skelter life of transgender (‘kathoey’) Muay Thai fighter, Nong Thoom.

Nong had always been aware of her gender from a young age. After spending time in a Buddhist monastery, she decided to pursue boxing and Muay Thai to support her underprivileged parents and to afford gender reassignment surgery.

Nong Thoom

Nong continued to rise to fame as a successful “lady-boy” boxer at the prestigious Lumprini Boxing Stadium in Bangkok. At the epicenter of all things Muay Thai, Nong went on to become a champion, revitalizing the Muay Thai scene in Thailand and across the globe.

The film, while winning awards and nominations in Europe, Asia and America, raised temperatures in Thailand where censors balked at the frontal nudity.

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Bangladesh in Art and Words

City of Asylum (2018)

Displacement & Belonging:
Ali Asgar and Tuhin Das

Thursday, June 28th
8:00 pm

Join Bangladeshi transdisciplinary artist and cultural producer Ali Asgar, and City of Asylum exiled writer-in-residence Tuhin Das as they discuss their experiences leaving Bangladesh, living in the US as displaced artists, and how displacement has affected their creative work.

Tuhin Das + Ali Asgar

Ali will present their current project No One Home, a work constructed around the concept of human interactivity, displacement, trauma, and queer identity. The key intention of this interactive performance piece is to find the meaning of home and belonging.

Tuhin will read an excerpt from his forthcoming poetry manuscript. The discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A. The event will be presented in Bengali, with simultaneous interpretation into English.

The event is presented in collaboration with PEN America and the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC).

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The Sultry Sounds of Brazilian Songstress Kenia Ashby

City of Asylum (2018)

City of Asylum’s Vocalist Series Presents

Kenia Ashby

Tuesday, June 5th
8:00 pm

Kenia Ashby‘s voice embodies the best of the Brazilian sound – deep and sultry, richly diverse, unexpectedly explosive. Born in Nova Iguaçu (a suburb of Rio de Janeiro), she is renowned for her ability to translate the complex rhythms of her Brazilian homeland into jazzy creations.

Kenia Ashby

“Kenia is a Brazilian original, building a bridge to the next generation of Brazilian music fans… her voice can suspend time, and it can lead you to think about nothing at all, even if just for a few minuts, and in this day that’s nothing short of miraculous.”

From local clubs, to international performances, to her ongoing innovation in recording sizzling Brazilian beats, Kenia creates her own unique blend of Brazilian pop, samba, bossa nova and choro with great stage presence and a gift for engaging the audience.

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Accepting and Embracing Nuero-atypical Identities

City of Asylum (2018)

NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Presents

Stories That Heal


K. Rose Quayle

Wednesday, May 23rd
7:00 pm

Stories That Heal — presented by NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania — is a new monthly reading series that highlights local authors who live with and/or have a loved one who lives with mental health conditions. Their stories of lived experience promote empathy, foster resilience and uncover the truths about living with a mental health diagnosis.

K Rose Quayle

The second event in this series will feature K. Rose Quayle, who writes on the chaos of mental illness in a world that prizes order and self-control. First committed at the age of 15, she embraces bipolar disorder and delights in the humor of being crazy. In her spare time, she also writes a blog on 1980s nostalgia and is the author/illustrator of the Little Quail and Friends series.

Please join us as we celebrate Pittsburgh literature and fight stigma!

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Celebrate the Legacy of Pittsburgh-born Jazz Singer Maxine Sullivan

City of Asylum (2018)

Jessica Lee

Thursday, May 17th
8:00 pm

Acclaimed jazz & blues vocalist, songwriter and recording artist Jessica Lee will debut her new special tribute show The Return of the Pint-Sized Songstress to remember and honor the musical contributions of Pittsburgh-born Jazz singer Maxine Sullivan. Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of the 1930s, Maxine Sullivan would influence generations of singers to come, including Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Jessica Lee

“[In] smoke-filled clubs here and across the country, Lee is …. known for her soulful and skilled handling of gospel, blues, jazz and soul classics.”
Pittsburgh Magazine

Jessica will be joined by local guitar guru Mark Strickland. Jessica and Mark have played and recorded as a jazz duo both regionally and nationally for years. Don’t miss this chance to catch the debut of their latest collaboration here at Alphabet City!

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An Insider’s Peek into the World of Black Panther

City of Asylum (2018)

Walks in Wakanda:
The Black Panther in Comics and Culture

with Evan Narcisse

Monday, May 7th
8:00 pm

The Black Panther is now one of this highest grossing films of all time—and more than that, it has become a cultural touchstone.

Evan Narcisse — co-author of the Rise of the Black Panther graphic novel miniseries for Marvel Comics — will give an insider’s history of the Black Panther in Marvel Comics, and discuss how and why the Black Panther became a blockbuster film. Evan will also talk about his personal journey from critic to artistic creator working in comics.

The Black Panther

This program will include an audience Q&A and a “fireside chat” with celebrated poet Yona Harvey, herself a contributor to Marvel’s World of Wakanda graphic novel.

Don’t miss this timely, relevant, and revealing exploration of a pop culture phenomenon.

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A Spontaneous Creation of Words, Jazz and Dance

City of Asylum (2018)

The Ellipses Condition Presents

Completely Out of Context

Saturday, April 28th
8:00 pm

Completely Out of Context is a site-specific performance created by The Ellipses Condition. Writers and poets will share original works accompanied by improvisational jazz musicians and dancers. Readers will also lend fresh meaning to books grabbed from the stacks around them, intoning their readings with intent inspired by the musicians and the dancers.

The Ellipses Condition

The Ellipses Condition is the partnered artistry of Pearlann Porter and John Lambert, sharing a commitment to the authentic translation of their inner thoughts and emotions into dance, music and words. Their improvisational performances blur the dynamics between movement, musicality and poetry, embodying the philosophy of ‘jazz as a verb’ lived in every aspect of being. Collaboratively they cultivate new audio/physical relationships, lending living bodies to intangible conversations.

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Stephan Crump’s Rhombal, Part of a National Tour

City of Asylum (2018)

Stephan Crump’s

Sunday, April 22nd
7:00 pm

City of Asylum welcomes back Grammy-nominated bassist/composer Stephan Crump. He played here in 2017 with his group Rosetta and earlier with Vijay Iyer Trio. Rhombal will be playing a special jazz concert elegy composed for Stephan’s late brother.

Stephan Crump's Rhombal

“Crump’s compositions impart concise and easily expandable storylines, along with his associates who fluently operate through numerous jazz-based modalities.”
All About Jazz

Stephan is known for the elegance and purposeful groove of his acoustic and electric bass playing, and for transforming his instrument into a speaking entity with magnetic pull. A longtime collaborator with adventurous jazz composers, he is a singular voice. His music can be heard in numerous films and on his twelve critically acclaimed albums as leader.

In addition to Stephan, Rhombal features veteran Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone, a brilliant young trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, and extraordinary drummer Kassa Overall.

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Time-Travelling Jazz that Fuses Past with Future

City of Asylum (2018)

Kevin Sun Trio

Sunday, April 15th
6:00 pm

Brooklyn-based saxophonist Kevin Sun comes to Alphabet City in celebration of his adventurous new album Trio, his debut as a bandleader.

Kevin’s style is as genre-bending as it is time-hopping. As The New York Times describes, his sound incorporates “the shoulder-hugging maneuvers of Mark Turner, the snaky melodicism of Chris Potter, the susurrating quiet of Chris Speed. But Mr. Sun reaches back farther. Sometimes you’ll hear a smoldering kernel of Albert Ayler; when he picks up the clarinet, the tonal gamesmanship of Jimmy Giuffre looms in.”

Trio Album Cover

“[Kevin Sun is] a player who sees the big picture and his evolving place within it…”
The New York City Jazz Record

With Walter Stinson (bass) and Matt Honor (drums), Trio is an exploration of the differing epochs and trends in jazz history, merging the contemporary and the traditional in satisfying ways. These era-spanning compositions are as propulsive and swinging as they are intricate and challenging.

Together, this trio cultivates something wholly new from the seeds of the past.

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Symphony Meets “Synth-ony”

City of Asylum (2018)

Peter Evans & Levy Lorenzo

Wednesday, April 4th
8:00 pm

Electronic musician Levy Lorenzo and trumpeter Peter Evans play a mix of composed and free-structure pieces. Lorenzo’s brings a toolbox of self-built instruments, gongs, dry percussion, laptop and sound processing that he blends with Evans’ acoustic trumpet in a dialogue of noise, mystery, precision and chaos.

Peter Evans + Levy Lorenzo

“Peter Evans cast a deep and disorienting spell..defy[ing] the conventional limitations of the instrument, if not the laws of physics….superhuman precision and trailblazing technical vocabulary.”
The New York Times

Their music is an otherworldly shifting cloud of dense rhythmic frameworks, elaborate notated pieces, open improvisation, and weird drones. Together they experiment at the futuristic border of avant-garde jazz and new music. This is truly a sound like you’ve never heard! And won’t want to miss!

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