News Around the Neighborhood

Jazz @ Home with Off Minor & Tom Wendt

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Off Minor Jazz Series Presents

Way Out West

Sunday, November 22nd
6:00 pm

Dear Friends,

This Sunday evening, with an eye towards keeping everyone safe and well, Off Minor Jazz heads back online and revisits some fan favorites from the archives. But with that signature Off Minor twist, of course.

On Sunday November 22nd, we’ll re-air Way Out West, a concert tribute to the ground breaking Sonny Rollins album. In this album Sonny introduced his “strolling” technique: solo saxophone over bass and drums, without a piano. This intimate, pared-down ensemble became the go-to format for future jazz groups. This concert honors Sonny and the heyday of mid-century jazz.

Way Out West Screenshot

We’ll also spend time at home with drummer & curator Tom Wendt, with his signature behind-the-scenes commentary. Tom revisits the performance and reflects on the ensemble’s chemistry and their one-night-only improvisations. It’s a rare thing for musicians to recap a live set, and this program is like watching the concert alongside Tom. His knowledge of jazz history shines in this program, as he walks us through just what makes Sonny Rollins and this album so unique.

This concert is like watching a movie with director’s commentary. But it’s better because you get to groove along and watch local artists show off their talent. I think it’s a joyful way to spend a Sunday evening in lockdown, or any Sunday evening! I hope you’ll join me online.

Abby Lembersky
Director of Programs

Reel Q Presents Nowhere at City of Asylum

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Monday, November 23rd
7:00 pm

Adrian and Sebastian live an openly gay life in New York as Immigrants. When Sebastian’s visa is rejected, the two must decide whether to return to Colombia where they face rejection and persecution for their sexual orientation or do whatever is necessary to stay in the United States. Nowhere places its characters within the context of the difficult immigration situation in the US while examining the resulting sense of homelessness and lack of belonging. 

Nowhere Still

The evening includes a talkback with the film’s director and 2 lead actors. 

Run time: 120 minutes including talkback

LatinX & Proud! Reading Series Returns

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LatinX & Proud! Reading Series

With poets Casandra López and Angela Velez,
musician FeralCat, and surprise host Eloisa Amezcua 

Tuesday, November 17
7:00 PM

Our LatinX & Proud! Reading Series is celebrating its first birthday, and one year of empowering local and national Latinx authors and performers. In honor of the occasion, we’ve created a powerhouse lineup of poetry and music and we hope you’ll join the festivities! 

LatinX & Proud Reading Series

This event is in proud partnership with Casa San Jose-Pittsburgh and PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud project—a series of tuition-free writing workshops for young, undocumented students to amplify the voices of many living in this country who are marginalized because of their immigration status.

¡Ven a celebrar con nosotros! (Come celebrate with us!)

Celebrating Elena Ferrante

City of Asylum (2020)

A Ferrante Fête

Conversation with translator Ann Goldstein
and publisher Michael Reynolds

Tuesday, November 10
6:00 pm

Elena Ferrante — the nom de plume of an anonymous Italian writer — was named one of TIME Magazine‘s most influential people in 2016 and is frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner. The author of the acclaimed My Brilliant Friend, recently adapted for an HBO series, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers — and yet, know one knows her true identity.

Elena Ferrante Event

Fans of Elena Ferrante are also, unknowingly or not, fans of her English translator Ann Goldstein. So, in celebration of the most recent novel, the NY Times best selling The Lying Life of Adults, Ann Goldstein and Michael Reynolds join us in conversation. They will discuss Ferrante’s collection, and the difficulties and rewards of interpreting literature of English-speaking readers. This program is like a masterclass in Elena Ferrante from the two people responsible for bringing her work to the US.

The Lying Life of Adults is a gripping, totally unforgettable novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. It is a gorgeous book and we hope you join us on Tuesday evening to dig in.

Letter from the President – November 2020

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

 – John F. Kennedy

Impossibly, here we are in November with the holiday season on the horizon.  The year 2020 has already delivered a lot of tumult, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. I truly hope that, despite the challenges and uneasiness around us, that everyone is able to find some moments of calm, much to be thankful for, and many joyful celebrations over the remaining weeks of this year. 

The Allegheny West Civic Council has had to adapt to the events of 2020 – conducting virtual meetings, cancelling the summer Wine and Garden Tour and the Victorian Christmas House Tour, as well as our neighborhood picnics on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.  The business of AWCC, however, continues largely uninterrupted and I would like to stop and thank a few people who have made that possible: 

  • Karen Beer edits and then manages the printing and distribution of the Allegheny West Gazette every month. 
  • Trish Burton compiles the e-Newsletter and delivers it weekly to our inboxes, sometimes more when necessary. Trish also made sure the flower baskets on Western Ave were hung, watered, and paid for this past summer. 
  • Cathy Serventi, as AWCC Treasurer, makes sure our bills are paid on time and our accounts are in order.  
  • Sara Beck Sweeney posts pictures on the AWCC Instagram account (@alleghenywest_pgh). Also, as Sergeant-at-Arms, Sara will be Chief Judge of AWCC Elections.

Karen, Trish, Cathy and Sara join a long line of Allegheny West women who give of their precious time to get things done with no drama or fanfare. If you see them around, say thanks! (At a safe social distance of course.)

Iris and Desmond Adams also deserve a big thank you for making a positive difference in our lives.  Every Wednesday since April they have hosted a Zoom Dance Party, picking a theme matched with 15 minutes of music. They sing and dance, and make us forget everything we’re worried about – anyone who has joined and danced along understands what a gift that 15 minutes is. (Their parents, Dan and Gretchen, might also deserve a thank you for pulling this off every week!)

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and because being thankful makes us happy, we will take some time at the November 10th Membership Meeting to say thanks. Everyone is encouraged to think of something someone in the neighborhood has done that deserves a thank-you and share it with the rest of us.

Finally, (finally!) the Allegheny West Civic Council Election is on Tuesday, November 10th. An overview of the voting process and the plan to communicate voting updates is outlined in this issue of the Gazette. Please participate in the vote and join the Membership call on the 10th to hear the election results. Note, because of the election, the meeting starts at 8:00 pm instead of 7:30 pm.

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

AWCC Informational Meeting – November 10, 2020

Via Zoom (details)
Tuesday, November 10th at 7:45 pm

  • 7:45 – Gather, Say Hello
  • 8:00 – Update: City of Pittsburgh, Mayor’s Office
  • 8:10 – Update: Councilman Wilson’s Office
  • 8:20 – Update: Representative Wheatley’s Office
  • 8:25 – Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • 8:30 – AWCC Election Results
  • 8:40 – CCAC Institutional Master Plan
  • 9:00 – Light of Life Update
  • 9:15 – Treasurer’s Report
  • 9:20 – Thanks!
  • 9:40 – Conclude

The Nominating Committee’s Slate of Officers for 2021

President:  Bob Griewahn
Vice President:  Carole Gomrick
Treasurer:  Aaron Bryan
Corresponding Secretary:  Michael Shealey
Sergeant-at-Arms:  Colleen Storm
Property Committee:  Fran Barbush
Friends of Allegheny West:  Trish Burton
Communications Secretary:  Cathy Serventi

Officers and Committees Serving a Second Term

Membership Committee:  Timothy Zinn
Ways and Means Committee:  John DeSantis
Housing and Planning Committee:  Robin Zoufalik

Updated: Ballot Additions

Membership: Mitchell Schwartz has been nominated by Elaine Stone to run against Timothy Zinn
Ways and Means: Elaine Stone has been nominated by Mitchell Schwartz to run against John DeSantis 
Housing & Planning: Jim Wallace has been nominated by Timothy Zinn to run against Robin Zoufalik

AWCC Election: Nominations Are Open

The Allegheny West Civic Council Election is on Tuesday, November 10th.  After Executive Committee discussions and feedback from Membership, here are the voting guidelines:


  • Assuming there ARE additional nominations made (see next bullet), AWCC Members will vote between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm on November 10, 2020 at the ballroom of the Parador Inn at 939 Western Avenue. There will be signs directing everyone to the voting location.  Masks are required.
  • The Nominating Committee Slate of Officers for 2020 is listed on the previous page. Any additional nominations can be made via the Google doc found in last week’s e-newsletter, as well as on  from the Allegheny West website. (Scroll down on the main page.) You’ll be asked to list the name of the nominee and office nominated to, as well as confirm that the person being nominated has agreed to the nomination..  Nominations will be accepted until Sunday, November 8th at 5:00 pm.
  • Sergeant-at-Arms Sara Sweeney and her two Assistant Judges of Election will collect, count, recount, and certify the election.  They will also be present at the polling site to confirm eligibility and enforce social distancing.
  • If there are NO nominations from the floor (i.e., no additional nominations made on the website by Sunday, November 8th at 5:00 pm), the slate listed will be accepted.  An eBlast to that effect will then be posted Sunday evening alerting voters that it is unnecessary to come out and vote at the Parador on Tuesday, November 10th.
  • The results will be announced at the General Membership Informational Meeting that will begin at 8:00 pm on November 10th on Zoom. 
  • Note that Nominating Committee Election will be postponed until February or March of 2021.

Allegheny Commons North Promenade Bench Dedication

In July 2020, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy started the first of several projects to reconstruct the historic North Promenade–the prominent walkway that runs parallel to North Avenue–within Allegheny Commons Park. The complete project scope, along with frequent construction updates, can be found online at

As part of the reconstruction of a beloved and much-used park, the Parks Conservancy is pleased to offer the opportunity to dedicate a bench within Allegheny Commons Park . Bench dedications are a great way to honor, memorialize, or pay tribute to family, friends, an anniversary, a special moment or a group/organization. The bench dedication project is limited to the Allegheny Commons North Promenade stretching from Federal Street to and around the Northeast Fountain.

Details regarding the bench dedication project in Allegheny Commons are as follows:

  1. Bench dedications include a 2.5” high by 8” wide bronze plaque that will feature a custom dedication message (to be approved and produced by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy).
  2. Donors will be able to approve a digital proof of the final plaque.
  3. It will take approximately four to six weeks after the donation has been received for the plaque installation.
  4. The donation to dedicate a plaque also includes three years of maintenance.
  5. Benches 1 – 9, located around the fountain, are available for a $3,000 donation. Benches 10 – 18, located along the Promenade, are available for a $1,500 donation.