I have been asked many times over the past year if I have a favorite interview. Truthfully, I can say no, as every single person who participated in the AP Collection has shared a story that cannot be stacked next to another and compared. There’s something to learn from from each person that has been on the other side of my microphone. Much has happened regarding the development of this project on my end as well. The website layout, the recording quality of each chat, the interview style, and my personal confidence have all developed greatly. The AP Collection is just as much about me overcoming my own stumbling blocks as it is tracking the development of others in their respective creative fields in the city of Pittsburgh. I have learned that anything is possible—yes that’s incredibility cheesy but it’s honest. I’ll continue the cheese a moment longer to thank two very important people: Jerome Charles and David Turner. This project could not have continued without their support. Their assistance is appreciated beyond measure and I will spend my time on this earth finding a way to properly thank them. Outside of their assistance, everything here is of my own creation and funded by my own investment. It feels good to say that all mistakes and triumphs are my own.
Reflection is a common theme this time of year and allow me jump on that band wagon. The following list is a sample of the AP Collection in 2013. This list is not a "best of” list. Instead, I tried to chose a diverse cross section of disciplines—art, writing, comedy, music, culinary arts, and others to reflect the brilliant talent that is right here in our city of Steel that you might of not have yet heard. Check these out—then scroll back through the Collection or use the calendar and category tags to the right of this page and find other great conversations with Pittsburgh's creatives.
Thank you for a great year Pittsburgh. Here's to 2014 and everything that comes with it!
January // Ian Riggins Writer
Originally from Northern Virginia, Ian came to Pittsburgh for undergrad and stayed, completing his MFA in Creative writing here as well. He has made Pittsburgh his home, continuing to write, (Pgh Trestle / Rappahannock Review / Buffalo Almanac) and has begun teaching in Pittsburgh.
February // Brooke Rogers Figuring it Out
Since this emotional and touching discussion Brooke has thrived, maintaining an active and happy lifestyle. We recently went bowling together actually and she's doing better than ever! Although, I did for the record beat her score ;)
March // Demos Papadimas Singer-Songwriter
Demos continues to wield his resonator guitar, harmonica, and bouzouki. As I write this, his band is recording a new album and he continues to play in and around Pittsburgh. If you have a chance to see him perform live do yourself a favor and check him out. Jim Kunz, past guest, ran the sound for this interview (thank you Jim!) so it's a pretty exceptional recording.
April // Tara Sherry-Torres Culinary Artist
Tara continues to be a force of benevolence in the City of Pittsburgh and Sabroso: Comida Latina can be found at many different events in the Pittsburgh area. I've personally thought a lot about what Tara said about place making and community building through food—it was a powerful lesson.
May // Christmas Eger Music Promoter
Since this interview was recorded, Christmas has moved on to Chicago, but her roots still run deep in Pittsburgh. In fact she celebrated her birthday in her old place out in Carnegie a little over a week ago. In classic Christmas fashion she brought together musicians from her hometown to play a huge party bringing together people from all over town.
June // James Rich Small Business Owner
Owner of the Pittsburgh Taco Truck, James continues to feed loyal customers his inspired creations inside tortillas across the greater Pittsburgh metro area. While the food truck laws haven’t yet budged, I personally believe that with the new Peduto administration in City Hall there will be a change to come. Go see James and grab a copy of Pittsburgh Chef’s Table—a cookbook in which he is featured—written by the women of EatPgh.com
July // Matt Gondek Illustrator
If you haven’t checked out Matt’s blog yet and you have questions about working as a freelance artist then you need to stop reading this and go here right now. He is giving you this information for free people. FOR FREE. Also, if you’ve ever wondered where I bought my amazing DEATH hat it was >here<
August // Day Bracey Comedian
Day continues to perform all over the Pittsburgh metro area along with many of the other comedians with which that I’ve chatted, (Derek Minto, Zach Funk, Solomon, Ray Zawodni, Molly Sharrow, Krish Mohan, Alex Stypula, and Mike Buzzelli to name a few) I encourage everyone to follow him on Twitter (@daybracey) too keep up with everything he’s got going on.
September // Anqwenique Wingfield Vocalist
Anqwenique’s latest performance was the highly collaborative cultural experience called, Groove Aesthetic: Bach Boom Box performed at the Alloy Studios in East Liberty. To say this was a success is a severe understatement. It was a happening of epic proportions. The event brought several artists together including: MC Shad Ali, jazz band TRIO +, choreographer Anthony Williams, DJ duo Tracksploitation, MC duo Creative Chemistry, and Magic Organs who provided visual projections, (one half of which is artist DS Kinsell). During the show viewers were encouraged to use their smartphones to tweet and post to Facebook using the hashtag #BackBoomBox, creating an online discussion and connecting audience members to one another which added another layer to the blend of interdisciplinary performances on stage. I can't wait for whatever she does next.
November // Mario Ashkar Filmmaker
Last I spoke to Mario, he was planning a trip to Argentina to film performers in their drag scene. He plans on being there for approximately one to three months in order to really explore the scene and soak it all in. Regardless of where he is and what he’s doing, his camera is by his side capturing it all. I encourage Facebook users to like his page “Mario Ashkar Film” here.
December // Dethlehem Death Metal Band
At the time of this post, the Dethlehem Kickstarter to fund the mastering of their third album has surpassed their goal of $3,000 and is very close to hitting the stretch goal of $4,000. (Seriously, way to go guys!) Stay tuned to their twitter feed and website for updates about shows and the album release.