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A Memoir Shining a Light on Undocumented Immigrants Living in the Shadows

City of Asylum (2018)

José Ángel N.

Monday, January 15th
8:00 pm

Author José Ángel N. will read from his memoir, the valiant story of a man living the American dream — illegally.

“With great eloquence and pathos, N. draws on his daily life and references philosophers from Socrates to Kant to describe the netherworld of the undocumented.” — Booklist

Arriving in the 1990s with a 9th grade education, N. traveled to Chicago where he found access to ESL and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator.

Jose Angel N

Despite having a well-paying job, N. was isolated by a lack of official legal documentation. Travel concerns made big promotions out of reach. Vacation time was spent hiding at home, pretending that he was on a long-planned trip. The simple act of purchasing his girlfriend a beer at a Cubs baseball game caused embarrassment and shame when N. couldn’t produce a valid ID. A frustrating contradiction, N. lived in a luxury high-rise condo but couldn’t fully live the American dream. He did, however, find solace in the one gift America gave him – his education.

N’s story represents the triumph of education over adversity. He debunks the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders, uninterested in education or opportunity for advancement. With bravery and honesty, he details the constraints, deceptions and humiliations that characterize alien life “amid the shadows.”

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Introducing Free Association’s Word Cellar Series at Alphabet City

City of Asylum (2018)

Word Cellar Readings

Sunday, January 21st
5:00 pm

The Word Cellar Readings is a new reading series co-curated by Pat Hart and Marc Nieson of Free Association, a literary organization highlighting established and emerging writers in Pittsburgh. Come meet and mingle with some of Pittsburgh’s most exciting local voices downstairs in our intimate stone “word cellar” located on Alphabet City’s bottom level.

This premier installment will feature Words Without Walls co-founder Sheryl St. Germain, author and photographer of Cutthroat: A Journey Through the American West Michael Graybrook, New Yorker contributor and Buzzfeed essayist Shannon Reed and writer/editor Geeta Kothari. City of Asylum @ Alphabet City is honored to be selected as the venue for this inspiring program of authors.

Seating for this event is limited.

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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).

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

Jazz Pianist Cat Toren Returns!

City of Asylum (2018)

TMT Trio

Thursday, January 18th
8:00 pm

JUNO award-winning pianist Cat Toren‘s concert at Alphabet City last May was a sell-out and a big hit with the audience. She returns to Pittsburgh and Alphabet City – but with a different group – for another evening of cutting-edge, full-hearted jazz.

TMT Trio

The New York-based TMT Trio — a collaboration of Cat Toren (piano), Angela Morris (saxophone) and Anthony Taddeo (drums) — will play both original compositions and collaborative improvisations. TMT’s bass-free instrumentation showcases the multifaceted chamber music character of the piano and explores the extension of the roles of all three instruments.

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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.

Storytelling with Award-Winning Illustrator Stacy Innerst

City of Asylum (2017)

Stacy Innerst

Saturday, December 9th
11:30 am

Bring the whole family to meet Golden Kite Award-winning children’s book illustrator Stacy Innerst.

Stacy Innerst

Stacy’s unique illustration style adds a playful, accessible twist to the biographies of a wide range of real-life characters. His art has represented George Gershwin, The Beatles, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Levi Strauss to name a few. His most recent book, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of RBG vs. Inequality was chosen to be a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books. This prestigious honor is awarded purely on artistic merit.

Stacy will tell stories and talk about his art and drawing — a perfect morning for the budding artist in your family! There will be a signing after the talk.

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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.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Presents a Concert About the Nature of Creation

City of Asylum (2017)

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents

Reimagining Creation

Monday, November 27th
8:00 pm

Acclaimed opera and theater director Sam Helfrich joins PSO music director Manfred Honeck and a trio of classical vocalists – Rachele Gilmore (soprano), Werner Güra (tenor), and Alexander Elliott (bass) – with a piano accompaniment.

Clarion String Quartet

Following his widely successful staged interpretations of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion, Helfrich will illuminate the six most famous days in all of Judeo-Christian history with a theatrical presentation of Haydn’s beloved Creation.

The music will be counterpointed by readings from City of Asylum writer-in-exile Tuhin Das (Bangladesh), ICORN poet Esterine Kire (Norway/India) … and other special guest authors! Each writer will present work approaching the topic of creation from secular points of view.

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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.

Jamie Bennett, E.D. of Artplace America to Speak @ Alphabet City

City of Asylum (2017)

Jamie Bennett
Executive Director
of Artplace America

Monday, November 20th
3:30 – 4:00 Reception
4:00 – 5:00 Talk with Q & A
5:00 – 5:30 Reception + Informal Discussion

How can the arts help create equitable, healthy, and sustainable futures?

Jamie Bennett

Creative placemaking is about getting artists and designers, community culture groups, arts research groups, cultural affairs offices and arts organizations out of their silos and into the neighborhoods and regions around them. It has evolved significantly over the past decade. In practice, concept and research there is a diverse and growing body of experience. What began as a small program in 2009 at the National Endowment of the Arts has become a central way of connecting creativity, function, and public life.

This is a chance to hear about lessons learned and the state of the art in creative placemaking from its leading expert and advocate, Jamie Bennett.

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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.

A Concert Featuring The Great American Songbook

City of Asylum (2017)

Tania Grubbs

Friday, November 10th
8:00 pm

Tania Grubbs is a jazz vocalist who brings a fresh approach to the great American song book. Her extensive repertoire ranges from Cole Porter to Carol King, featuring an eclectic mix of standards, musical theater and contemporary jazz arrangements.

Tania Grubbs

Singing as long as she can remember, Tania has been a featured vocalist with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, the Voices of the Boca Pops Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust “Jazzlive” series and The Pittsburgh Jazz Society. Her concert also features Mark Lucas (guitar) and Clifford Barnes (piano/electric bass).

Along with a few new takes on old classics, you can also enjoy dinner or a drink from Casellula at the concert.

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.

Black Detroit: A New History of an Iconic City

City of Asylum (2017)

Black Detroit

Friday, November 3rd
7:00 pm

Join the Sembène Film & Arts Festival for a reading with award-winning journalist/activist Herb Boyd, as he discusses his latest book, Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination.

Black Detroit is a groundbreaking history of the struggles and resilience of African Americans from the city’s birth two hundred years ago until the present.

Herb Boyd

“Boyd…breathes new life into the history of Detroit through stories of the city’s black residents from its earliest days to its bittersweet present…He leaves no stone unturned, making his work an invaluable repository of all that is black Detroit.” – Publishers Weekly

Herb Boyd moved to Detroit in 1943, as race riots were engulfing the city. In Black Detroit, he reflects on his life and this landmark place, combining deep passion and a stunning eye for detail to seamlessly blend personal experience, exhaustive research, and eyewitness accounts to document the Motor City’s work ethic and spirit of resistance.

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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.

A Documentary About the Murder that Sparked a Movement

City of Asylum (2017)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till

Thursday, November 2nd
7:00 pm

Abducted, severely beaten, and finally thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a weight fastened around his neck with barbed wire, 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till was murdered for one of the oldest taboos of the American South: addressing a white woman in public. While the murderers were later arrested, tragedy was compounded when they were ultimately acquitted by an all-white, all male jury.

The death of Emmett Till sparked the black resistance of the South, soon to become the American Civil Rights Movement.

Emmett Till

“As you watch the film…it is impossible not to be stirred by sadness and outrage.” – New York Times

Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his death, the 70-minute film’s investigation into new eyewitness accounts and evidence has already sparked the Justice Department to reopen the case.

After the screening, award-winning journalist Herb Boyd will lead a 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.

Fall Jazz Series: Jeff Bush Showcases His New Ensemble Creations

City of Asylum (2017)

Jeff Bush Presents

4 & 7: Music for Quartet and Septet

Tuesday, October 29th
6:00 pm

Pittsburgh-based international jazz trombonist Jeff Bush presents his own take on the contemporary jazz ensemble.

4 & 7: Music for Quartet and Septet will feature Jeff’s own compositions, played by a jazz ensemble in different configurations. Jeff has played with other bands at Alphabet City to great acclaim from the audience.
Jeff Bush
Jeff’s music has taken him around the world. He has toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and the big band of superstar Harry Connick Jr., played in the pit of countless Broadway shows and made a number of network television appearances including special performances for the NBA All-Star Game and for Pope Benedict XVI. Now an instructor at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh is fortunate to have such a seasoned performer in our midst!

Jeff (on trombone) will be joined by Kent Englehardt (clarinet), Mike Tomaro (bass clarinet), Shanyse Strickland (french horn), Gavin Horning (guitar), Paul Thompson (bass) and Thomas Wendt (drums).

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.