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806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

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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Saturday Night at City Books: Doug Rice

Doug RicePlease join us on Saturday, March 17th at 7:00 pm when City Books welcomes Doug Rice back home to the Northside. A book signing will follow the reading. Limited seating.

Doug Rice is the author of Here Lies Memory, the first book of a Pittsburgh trilogy. Born in Pittsburgh, he currently lives and teaches at Sacramento State University. His fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals and he is the author of eight novels. Doug is currently working on Daughters of the Rivers, the second novel of the trilogy.

“This tale of sacrifice, exploitation, and reclamation is not to be missed.

City of Asylum (2018)

Shobha Rao

Monday, March 19th
8:00 pm

Award-winning author Shobha Rao presents Girls Burn Brighter — a searing, electrifying debut novel about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another.

Shobha Rao

“Rao layers her debut novel with issues that face many young women worldwide, from street harassment and domestic abuse to oppressive societal norms.”
Ms. Magazine

Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. When a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.

Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.

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The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Women Artists at Alphabet City

City of Asylum (2018)

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presents

Inspiration and Tenacity

Thursday, March 15th
8:00 pm

In honor of Women’s History Month, join the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (lead by conductor Christine Hestwood) for a program celebrating female artists.

PSO@CoA

Inspiration and Tenacity honors Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon in anticipation of the world premier of her Tuba Concerto at Heinz Hall on March 16th & 18th. The program, featuring PSO clarinetist Victoria Luperi and trombonist Rebecca Cherian, will showcase the talent and musicianship of these women soloists.

ARThouse’s Vanessa German and PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize-winner Adriana E. Ramírez will complement the evening with readings responding to the issues of the day.

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February 27th: “A terrifying and necessary book”

City of Asylum (2018)

Anna Bikont

Tuesday, February 27th
8:00 pm

The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne examines the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989.

Anna Bikont

“A daring exposure. Bikont’s fearless research … makes this a fantastic book.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth. Her writing in turn subsequently became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama.

Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is a journalist’s account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past.

This reading is co-presented by Classrooms Without Borders in partnership with the Departments of History, English and Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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Christmas Story Hour at City Books

City Books Story Hour

Happy Holidays from City Books

Before the store closes for the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day break, join City Books for an hour of holiday literature, including local playwright and storyteller T. Scott Frank reading Clement Clarke Moore’s The Night Before Christmas. The event will be suitable for families & children of all ages.

Saturday, December 23rd, 4:00-5:00 pm. Refreshments available.

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).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

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

Tomorrow Night 11/4: Gary Fincke

Gary Fincke

Please join City Books as we welcome Gary Fincke on Saturday, November 4th at 7:00 pm as he reads from his new short story collection The Out-Of-Sorts. A book signing will follow and the event is free.

Gary is the author of seven short story collections, including A Room of Rain; The Proper Words for Sin; Sorry I Worried You, a winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; and The Killer’s Dog, an Elixir Press Fiction Prize winner. His stories have appeared in such magazines as the Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, Black Warrior Review, and CrazyHorse.

“There’s no glamour in Gary Fincke’s world, just tough times and hard work. From early on his people know how uncertain life can be—how easy it is to lose hope, and how, sometimes, to get by, we bury what we can’t face.”
– Stewart O’Nan, author of Snow Angels and Last Night at the Lobster

The new and selected stories in this collection, written over a period of thirty years, are firmly entrenched in the culture and people of rust belt cities and rural Appalachia.

These stories are often set against large, significant events like the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Kent State shootings, but are always uniquely local: A mother fends off the police by brandishing copperhead snakes; a woman cares for the dog of an alleged double murderer; a husband who has lost his job works at trying to save his wife from a debilitating phobia.