News Around the Neighborhood

Less than one week away! CIRCLES: going in

Black Joy. Femme. Cycles of Life and Love.

Co-Presented with August Wilson African American Cultural Center and Kelly Strayhorn Theater, CIRCLES: going in is a full-length dance work celebrating #BlackGirlMagic.

Circles Flier

Layering dance, visual arts, and a live original score, the work presents snapshots of popular culture through choreographer Staycee Pearl’s lens as a Black woman. CIRCLES is a colorful, unapologetic, and daring path to self-reclamation. 

August Wilson African American Cultural Center

An Exciting Mix of Music, Culture, Joy and Thought

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Creating Make a Joyful Noize

Thursday, October 28th
6:30 pm

Are you in need of some joy? Of course you are, so tune in virtually on Thursday, October 28 to live a moment of joy through a multi-disciplinary feast for the eyes, ears, and soul.

Enjoy this therapeutic film which follows the creation of Make A Joyful Noize (MAJN). Commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of its 125 Commission Project, Make A Joyful Noize is a multimedia universe that blends music, film, interviews, spoken word and dance to capture the visceral, contagious and unapologetic energy of black joy. Joy gives us a reason to live, even when it seems life has forsaken us. Black joy is entertainment, therapy, self-love and salvation. It is the force that allows us to still laugh and love. It is a special magic that sets the world on fire. MAJN presents the majesty of black joy through spirit, pain, resistance and love as a healing force for transformation. The visual and musical curation is unfiltered and unapologetic Black joy—a special kind of healing and magic that sets the world on fire.

BTANAbout the Black Transformative Arts Network (BTAN)

The Black Transformative Arts Network, addresses the goals of uniting Africana Children, increasing the visibility of Africana Arts and Arts Educators in Pittsburgh, healing and building Africana knowledge, power and networks for participants and community.

Follow BTAN on Facebook @BTANPgh

OCH&S-PBP-LEAD Thursday Discussion/Lunch

From the Office of Community Health & Safety:
This Thursday (10/21), from 11-1, we would like to invite you to a discussion with partners from the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) National Support Bureau along with Pittsburgh Police from Zone 1, Diversion Coordinators from the City’s new Office of Community Health & Safety, and case management partners about substance use, mental health, and criminal-legal involvement for people in the Northside as we are developing citywide diversion programs.
We will be meeting at Nova Place at 11am, providing a bagged lunch, sharing ideas until 12, and then walking around the community until 1pm.

We recognize that this is short notice, but we would love if you could join us and would appreciate if you would share this opportunity with those who are part of your community groups. I will send the invitation to all of you – please forward to your connections. We ask that recipients respond yes/no so that we can make sure we have enough for everyone to eat.


Laura Drogowski

Office of Community Health & Safety
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Bossa Nova meets French Jazz

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Aimée Allen Trio: Strings and C(h)ords

Sunday, October 24th
6:00 pm

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, vocalist Aimée Allen‘s intimate connection with music began as a child.She eventually moved to Paris where she discovered the deep relationship between francophone audiences and Brazilian bossa nova, leading her to form Les Bossa Novices, defining her style and sound. She brings her trademark soulful originals and lyricism to life with world-renowned bassist François Moutin and multi-dimensional guitarist Tony Romano. They make nine strings and two vocal cords sound like much more, with rich sonic landscapes and passionate, adventurous explorations of jazz improvisation and musical storytelling. The repertoire will include new arrangements of standards and old and new compositions. The trio provides a warm, dynamic, rhythmic experience like no other.

There are two ways to watch the program: In-person at our venue Alphabet City or live-streamed online. 

Please scroll to the bottom to review our Covid-19 safety policies for indoor programs @ Alphabet City, including the proof of vaccination requirement.

Doors Open: Ghosts of Pittsburgh (Virtual Storytelling)

Join Storyteller Alan Irvine for an evening exploring the darker side of Pittsburgh’s history with ghost stories from the City’s days as a frontier settlement up to modern times. Discover the spirits of the Heinz History Center and the old Pittsburgh Playhouse, as well as the most fiendishly haunted house in the city.

DATE/TIME: Monday, October 25 | 7 pm to 7:45 pm

The Live Stream will be presented on Zoom. The login link will be provided in the email confirmation once you purchase your tickets.

Alan Irvine told his first story over 40 years ago while working as a camp counselor in Louisiana: a ghost story told in the cabin after lights out. He has been telling ghost stories ever since. Over the years, he has collected Pittsburgh ghost stories, “true” tales and legends, and delights in sharing Pittsburgh’s darker side with audiences.

An Afternoon with Nobel Prize-Winner Wole Soyinka at Alphabet City

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Freedom to Create Keynote with Wole Soyinka

Saturday, October 9
3:00 pm

Each year we gather at Alphabet City for our Freedom to Create Keynote to honor an international writer or artist who has overcome efforts to limit their creative freedom. We are so excited that this year’s speaker and honoree, Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka, is joining us in person for this event on Saturday, October 9th.

Whole Soyinka

Originally from Nigeria, Soyinka is an acclaimed writer, playwright, critic, and activist. He became the first ever African Laureate when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. A co-founder of the Cities of Asylum movement, Soyinka was imprisoned for his criticism of the Nigerian government and spent many years living in exile in Europe and the United States. He last visited Pittsburgh in 2006 when he participated in Jazz Poetry on Sampsonia Way.

On Sampsonia Way in 2006

On Sampsonia Way in 2006 (Credit: Christopher Humphrey Photography)

Soyinka will read from Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth—his first novel in almost 50 years—and then be joined by American author Richard Wiley on stage for questions and conversation.

Wole Soyinka rarely visits the United States, so this opportunity to hear him read in person should not be missed. Tickets for this event are free but capacity is limited…be sure to make your reservation early! And for those who prefer to watch from home, the Keynote will also be streamed on our virtual channel.

We look forward to seeing you on October 9th to celebrate Wole Soyinka’s new book and his return to Pittsburgh!

Afro Yaqui Returns for an Evening of Energetic Music

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Afro Yaqui Music Collective Presents:

Maroon Futures

Sunday, August 29
6:00 pm

Join us for an evening of global freedom music with the award-winning revolutionary jazz ensemble The Afro Yaqui Music Collective performing from their 2021 album, Maroon Futures. 

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective (named after the indigenous music of the Yaqui people of northern Mexico) fuses the music of first nations in the Americas with funk, jazz, and hip hop to create a new rhythm that liberates spirit and soul. They are a postcolonial big band who imagines a world where many worlds fit. And boy are they fun!

Afro Yaqui performs at City of Asylum several times a year and are consistently one of our most popular concerts. Fusing education of rarely heard musical styles, with activism, with toe-tappin, head bobbing rhythms, an Afro Yaqui concert never disappoints.

Co-led by Gizelxanath Rodriguez, a Mexican operatic vocalist and cellist of Yaqui indigenous descent, and Ben Barson, a composer and baritone saxophinst,  the collective is a site of several intercultural collaborations, working with musicians, poets and dramaturgs from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wisconsin, and Pittsburgh.

There are two ways to join us for this evening of live music and dance—virtually from home or under the tent on Sampsonia Way. Tent capacity is limited and fills up quickly, so act fast to join us in person.

Join Us for the Eco-Justice for All Series

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Eco-Justice for All
Reading with Brenda Hillman

Thursday, August 19
7:00 pm

“Brenda Hillman’s poems embrace all aspects of what it means to be alive in this tenuous world at this dangerous moment. However you identify, you are most probably, at this very moment, a part of the pulsing, mysterious articulation that is a Brenda Hillman poem.”
– Celeste Gainey

Brenda Hilman

City of Asylum presents Brenda Hillman, a poet of inventive, playful, and transcendent verse who has contributed greatly to the field of ecopoetry, at our final reading of the 2021series.. With books dedicated to the natural elements of earth, air, water, fire, and most recently, wood in Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days, Hillman writes experimental lyrics with political thrust. Poet Laureate of Allegheny County Celeste Gainey will join Brenda Hillman in conversation about her work and approach to writing with environmental justice in mind.

Virtual only: Eco-Justice for All! Reading with Brenda Hillman;
Thursday, August 19, 7:00 PM EDT; Run time: 60 minutes

PHLF: Walking Tours Resume

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WALKING TOUR: Pittsburgh Bridges and River Shores

Four Dates: August 10, 14, 20 + 21
Fee: $10.00
Limit 20 People per Tour

Pittsburgh is a city of bridges. No matter how you count them, there are hundreds of bridges spanning our many waterways, valleys, and ravines. Bridges also offer changing vistas on the natural and manmade features of the cityscape, giving us different perspectives on our physical environment as we cross them. In Pittsburgh, these works of artful engineering are also a source of pride.

Join us for this tour as we take a loop bounded by the Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol Bridges and the north and south shores of the Allegheny River. Taking in sites ranging from the historically preserved Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel to the recently opened Allegheny Overlook Pop-Up Park as well as the bridges and river, this tour reveals the dynamic relationship between humans and nature that characterizes much of Pittsburgh.

PHLF Bridges Tour

This is an in-person tour. Please read the important information regarding registration in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

To ensure participants’ safety, PHLF employs a radio audio system that transmits from the tour guide’s headset to earpieces worn by each tour participant. All units and lanyards are sanitized before and after each tour. Participants may use their own headsets or earbuds (with standard round jack), or PHLF will provide a disposable earpiece, if needed.

We require that all persons wear a face mask fully covering the nose and mouth at all times during the tour.

Participation in the tour is contingent on signing an acknowledgement and release, which, among other things, verifies participant’s understanding that PHLF is unable to guarantee compliance with the foregoing Covid-19 recommendation.

Upon receiving your registration, we will email the acknowledgement and release; please sign and bring it to the tour.

Tour Dates and Times

Tuesday, August 10
10:00 am — 11:00 am
Cost:  $10.00
Total participants: 20
Click here to purchase tickets

Saturday, August 14
11:00 am — Noon
Cost:  $10.00
Total participants: 20
Click here to purchase tickets

Friday, August 20
10:00 am — 11:00 am
Cost:  $10.00
Total participants: 20
Click here to purchase tickets

Tuesday, August 31
6:00 pm — 7:00 pm
Cost:  $10.00
Total participants: 20
Click here to purchase tickets

Tour meeting and ending point: 107 Sixth Street, in Downtown (in front of the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel). Please arrive 10 minutes before the tour’s start time. The tour route is largely flat but includes stairs at several points.

See dates and times below and click on the links to purchase a ticket. Please take care to note the different tour times and days.

Sabira Cole Film Festival + Reel Q Screenings

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Submitted by the Sabira Cole Film Festival

Fan Do Brazil

Tuesday, July 27
7:00 pm

Fan Do Brazil

Join City of Asylum and the Sabira Cole film festival for a screening of Fan Do Brasil and a live post-screening discussion with filmmakers Stephanie James and Stephen James.

Film synopsis: Rui Moreira, famous Brazilian dancer and choreographer, is also the artistic director of “FAN”, Festival of Negro Arts in Brazil. In a country where blacks are still victims of social injustice, this festival is an opportunity to revisit the contribution of Afro-Brazilians to the culture and economic development of the country, and to offer artistic expression to a quest for identity. which is reminiscent of that of the Afro-Caribbean.

Futuro Beach

Wednesday, July 28
7:00 pm

Join us for the regional premier and unreleased screening of “FUTURO BEACH,” a film by Karim Aïnouz, hosted by ReelQ. 

Futuro Beach

Film synopsis: Part gay romance, part inquisitive self-journey, FUTURO BEACH is a stunning examination of lives lost and found. Donato (Wagner Moura) works as a lifeguard at the spectacular but treacherous Praia do Futuro beach in Brazil; Konrad (Clemens Schick) is an ex-military thrill-seeker from Germany vacationing with a friend. After Donato saves Konrad from drowning, but fails to save his other friend, initial sexual sparks give way to a deeper, emotional connection. Donato decides to leave everything behind, including his ailing mother and younger brother, Ayrton, to travel back to Berlin with Konrad. There, he finds both confusion and liberation, and his journey for love soon turns into a deeper search for his own identity. Eight years later, an unexpected visit from Ayrton, brings all three men back together as they struggle to reconcile the pain of loss and longing, instinctively drawn to each other in search of hope and a brighter future.