News Around the Neighborhood

PHLF: A Virtual Tour of Western Shadyside

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Live, Virtual Architecture Tour: Western Shadyside

Wednesday, January 13
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Fee: $7.50

Shadyside is a veritable museum of the forms and styles of domestic architecture built in Pittsburgh’s East End between the 1860s and 1920s. This tour focuses on the neighborhood’s western part, bounded by North Neville Street and South Aiken Avenue. Docents explain how innovations in transportation, growth of the middle class, and the initiative of significant people in local history combined to produce Western Shadyside’s stellar architecture.

Shadyside Map

Ranging across styles from the Second Empire to Arts & Crafts, the tour explores single-family and multi-family dwellings, individual homes and planned developments, and main streets and cul-de-sacs. A deeper look at a home featured in an early-twentieth-century memoir rounds out our excursion into this lovely neighborhood.

This live virtual tour will be held via Zoom Conference. 

Click here to purchase a ticket for your household and you will receive an e-mail with a link to Zoom at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the tour. Don’t see an e-mail? Please check your Junk/Spam folders. Login 15 minutes before the tour’s scheduled start to ensure that it begins on time.

Young Adult Author Sharon Flake Book Launch

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The Life I’m In

Book Launch & Celebration

Tuesday, January 5
3:00 pm

Pittsburgh-based author Sharon Flake’s groundbreaking young adult novel, The Skin I’m In, was released in 2000 to tremendous critical acclaim—lauded for exploring issues of race and low self-esteem, self-love and the power of friendship. In the past 20 years, The Skin I’m In has become a much loved, modern classic resonating with readers of many generations. 

The Life I'm In Cover

And tonight, January 5, Sharon’s launching the much anticipated sister novel The Life I’m In on City of Asylum’s virtual channel.  

Sharon will be joined in conversation by Andrea Davis Pinkney for a live discussion and audience Q&A.
Though Sharon and Andrea Davis Pinkney both specialize in the ‘young adult’ genre, their work appeals to a wide range of readers. 

Symbolic Somatic Experience Presented by Boom Concepts

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Binds & Bonds

Sunday, December 20th
5:00 pm

How can we build the bonds necessary to transform the binds that hold us back?

Binds & Bonds, is a site specific installation exploring the somatic experience in response to trauma and healing. Created by Israel-born artist Dafna Rehavia, the work is a process developed as part of a 2020 residency at BOOM Concepts.

Binds & Bonds

This program is a new video work that walks audiences through the exhibit, and includes a live tour element with the artist. Also included is a collaborative dance piece featuring dancers Shana Simmons and Chezney Douglas. The movement experience creates a visceral and emotional reflection of the three responses to trauma: flight, fight, and freeze. Artwork and dance are bound together in unity demonstrating that through movement, healing begins.

Following the screening the artists will have a live virtual discussion with BOOM Concepts’ Darrell Kinsel and audience members.

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PHLF: A Virtual Tour of the Mexican War Streets

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Tuesday, December 15
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Fee: $5

This live virtual tour will be held via Zoom Conference. Click here to purchase a ticket and RSVP.

(You will receive an e-mail with a link to Zoom at 9:00 am on the day of the tour. Don’t see the e-mail? Please be sure to check your spam or junk folders. Log-in 15 minutes before the tour’s scheduled start to ensure that it begins on time.)

Mexican War Streets Tour

Explore one of the most colorful sections of Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood. You’ll learn about the history of the neighborhood, including creation of Allegheny Commons and the Mexican War Streets, and become familiar with the picturesque variety of Victorian architectural styles there. Historic preservation figures prominently in this tour, highlighting how PHLF and the Mexican War Streets Society used preservation strategies to reverse neighborhood decline and disinvestment. The tour also features historic structures that have been creatively re-purposed by individuals, including the Mattress Factory, City of Asylum/Alphabet City, and the whimsically artful world of Randyland.

Reel Q Presents a Regional Premiere

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Reel Q Presents

A Worm in the Heart

Monday, December 14th
7:00 pm

Join us for the regional premiere and unreleased screening of A Worm in the Heart hosted by ReelQ. This program includes an exclusive live interview with director Paul Rice and executive producer Liam Jackson Montgomery.

A Worm in the Heart

A Worm in the Heart details the extraordinary lives and brave stories of the diverse LGBTQ+ communities across Russia. Shot in six cities along the Trans-Siberian railway and utilizing intimate interviews about current Russian life, this documentary features deeply personal and moving accounts from activists and non-activists alike. The film follows queer Irish filmmaker Paul Rice and his boyfriend Liam, as they go undercover, armed only with two cameras, to meet with the many heroic members of the LGBTQ+ community who risk their lives living authentically under oppressive laws and prejudices—from Nobel Peace prize nominees and international activists, to drag queen performers thriving in remote Siberia.

Letter from the President – December 2020

Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.

– Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 11th should be the first night of the 39th Annual Allegheny West Victorian House Tour. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the House Tour was cancelled and we’re all facing a holiday season with smaller gatherings and pared-down celebrations.

A small group of Allegheny West neighbors have stepped up to bring some holiday cheer to Western Avenue this year, with the added hope it will encourage shopping at our local Allegheny West businesses.

The AWCC Small Business Saturdays ad hoc committee (committee members are Aaron Bryan, Eric Grasso, Bob Griewahn, Sally Graubarth, Abi Webb and Ann Gilligan) formed with the goals:

  1. Promote Allegheny West businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout the 2020 holiday shopping season
  2. Find ways to enhance Western Ave business district for the holidays and engage the neighborhood for COVID-alternate festivities

There was an announcement in the e-newsletter, and is also in this issue of the Gazette, about the Small Business Saturdays raffle sponsored by AWCC. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for doing what comes naturally in December – shopping!

The Committee also has some plans to make Western Avenue a holiday attraction as well as fill in some of the void of our cancelled House Tour. A Christmas tree will be put up at the corner of Galveston and Western Avenues, decorated with lights and ornaments supplied by the neighborhood and celebrated with a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:00 pm Friday, December 11th . The tree-lighting ceremony will be broadcast live on Zoom for those looking to avoid crowds and/or the cold. Look for the details in a separate article in this Gazette. We hope to see you, masked & person or on-line on the 11th!

In a year like no other, this will be a holiday season like no other. Per the by-laws, as President of the Allegheny West Civic Council, I give everyone permission to do only what you can, to enjoy a smaller holiday without any guilt and to take time just for you and do something that makes you happy. I also wish everyone Peace, Joy and Hope for a better 2021.

This is my last column as AWCC President and Tuesday December 8th will be the last General Membership meeting I’ll preside over before handing the reins to Bob Griewahn, President-Elect. Being AWCC President has been a great learning experience and I truly appreciate everyone who has offered support and encouragement over the past 2 years. The biggest lesson I learned seems obvious but became so clear to me: nothing happens without a volunteer making it happen. Whenever a sentence begins with the words “We should…” it will quickly die on the vine without a sentence containing “I will” nearby. “We should”s are great, it’s how we get new ideas, but I encourage everyone to be aware and thoughtful about suggesting volunteer opportunities for someone else to implement. Be the “I will”!Finally, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the 2020 outgoing AWCC Board Members – Tom Barbush, Sara Beck Sweeney and Robin Zoufalik. Your service to AWCC is much appreciated.

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

Recipe for Holiday Irish Coffee

adapted from the Gilligan Family recipe collection 

Heat cup. When warm, put a teaspoon of brown sugar and a jigger of whiskey in the cup.
Add hot black coffee to about an inch from top. Put whipped cream on top. Serve.

AWCC Informational Meeting – December 8, 2020

Via Zoom (details)
Tuesday, December 8th at 7:30 pm

  • 7:30 – Gather, Enjoy Holiday Zoom Backgrounds
  • 7:35 – Update: City of Pittsburgh, Mayor’s Office
  • 7:40 – Update: Councilman Wilson’s Office
  • 7:45 – Update: Representative Wheatley’s Office
  • 7:50 – Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • 8:00 – WANID End of Year Report (Mark Fatla, NSLC)
  • 8:20 – Treasurer’s Report
  • 8:30 – Trivia Contest: Victorian Christmas Edition
  • 8:45 – Conclude

Allegheny West Small Business Raffle

Win a $100 Gift Certificate from your favorite Allegheny West business for shopping and supporting local businesses! Allegheny West Civic Council is sponsoring a raffle to make your local holiday shopping even more enjoyable. Simply make purchases from at least 3 AW businesses and add your name to win a $100 gift certificate. Use the button below to enter the raffle. See list of businesses in e-newsletter; contact business about curbside pick up and delivery. Happy local shopping!

  • Open to Allegheny West Residents only.
  • You must make a purchase at three (3) Allegheny West businesses for one (1) raffle entry, or
    make purchases at five (5) businesses for two (2) entries.
  • Purchases must be made between Saturday, November 28th and Saturday, December 19th.
  • The winner must provide receipts of purchases.
  • The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate at the Allegheny West business of his/her/their
    choice. Winner will be announced on Sunday, December 20, 2020.

AWCC Tree Decorating & Lighting Ceremony

On what would have been the first night of the Victorian Christmas House tour, join us instead to celebrate the lighting of the AWCC 2020 Christmas Tree!

WHERE: Southeast corner of Galveston and Western Avenues
WHEN: Friday, December 11th, 6:00 pm

Note: If you are planning to join the tree-lighting in person, please wear a mask and stay socially distanced.

Join the live broadcast via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 899 6972 4081 Passcode: 979088

Saturday, December 5th 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

We’re requesting donations to light and decorate the tree
Please bring donations of Christmas lights and tree ornaments to 910 Maolis Way.
Encouraged: Light strings, non-breakable ornaments, homemade ornaments, ribbons, tree topper

Sunday, December 6th 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The Committee will put up and secure the tree, and start stringing lights and adding decorations.

Monday – Thursday, December 7th-10th, 2020

Additional decorations can be placed in the marked box near the Christmas tree at Western Ave and Galveston.