Best (and Worst) of Pittsburgh




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Arts, Entertainment & Leisure

Best Reopening: Dormont's Hollywood Theatre, which was treated to $300,000 in renovations in 2006, is now under the management of Motion Picture Heritage Corp. (MPH), a group based in Indianapolis that operates, and seems to truly appreciate, classic cinemas. According to Bill Dever of MPH, the art-deco-style single-screen theater, built in the 1920s, will host classic films, "B-movies," independent films, current releases, family matinees, film festivals, theme nights (including Rocky Horror Picture Show) and live music. The venue reopened this August, and future plans for the 298-seat venue include a cafe and lounge. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont; hollywooddormont.com. - J.W.

Best Clubhouse: When it comes to battling cancer, medical care is only the half of it. Gilda's Club Western Pennsylvania offers a program of social and emotional support for anyone living with cancer - men, women, teens and children along with their friends and families. The club organizes social activities and in-house lectures and workshops such as yoga and meditation, nutritious cooking and stress reduction, and includes a state-of-the-art kitchen, a children's playroom and a media room. Membership is free; donations support Gilda's Club. 2816 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/338-1919, gildasclubwesternpa.org. - C.H.

Best Re-Invention of a Pittsburgh Radio Legend:
What a year Lynn Cullen's had. One of Pittsburgh's favorite broadcasters, the self-proclaimed "Lone Liberal" of daily talk fell victim not once but twice to radio station format changes in '09. But who needs "old media"? Cullen now entertains loyal listeners here and around the world via online streaming on City Paper's Web site. Her show airs live from 10 to 11 a.m. every weekday, with previous broadcasts archived for download from the site at any time. "I'm thrilled to be back with my audience again," Cullen says, "annoying right-wingers 24 hours a day." "Lynn Cullen Live" can be heard at pghcitypaper.com. - J.W.

Best Neighborhood Artwork:
The Pittsburgh region is a bastion of local pride. You'll see a glimpse of it as you cross the Rankin Bridge to enter the borough of Braddock and are greeted by a stunning 10-by-12-foot mosaic mural, which spells out the words, "Welcome to Historic Braddock," in bits of sparkling mirror, tile, stone and stained glass. Uptown sculptor James Simon unveiled the mosaic in the summer of 2007 as part of Braddock's Community Day festivities, and it continues to inspire residents: This summer, planning began for a 10-panel mural to be mounted on the facade of a new housing development for senior citizens on struggling Braddock Avenue. - Melissa Rayworth

Best Reason to Go Into the Woods at Night: Relax - we're not talking about spying on your neighbors. We're talking about the "Star Parties" thrown by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. Scheduled throughout the year at both Wagman Observatory (Deer Lakes Regional Park, Allegheny County) and Mingo Creek Park Observatory (Mingo Creek County Park, Washington County), the parties are free-of-charge (though donations are always welcome). AAAP members arrive just before sunset and set up their personal telescopes, sharing the celestial view with anyone who wishes to take a peek. 3ap.org. - M.R.

Best Ballroom Dance Lessons:
Whether you have two left feet and you're trying to avoid looking like a fool at your wedding, or you're an advanced dancer who lives to perform, Absolute Ballroom Dance Center of Pittsburgh is sure to teach you some fun new moves. With ballroom classes for all skill levels, students learn to waltz, swing and foxtrot. And if you're looking for a challenge, the center also specializes in African dance, West Coast swing, Argentine tango and other spirited styles. 6617 Hamilton Ave., East Liberty; 412/441-1461, absoluteballroompgh.com. - C.H.

Readers Poll: Arts, Entertainment & Leisure

Best Music Venue, Classical:
Heinz Hall
Sixth Street, downtown
412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org

Best Music Venue, Jazz: (tie):
Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
1815 Metropolitan St., North Shore
412/323-4000, mcgjazz.org

Firehouse Lounge "Thursdays with Etta Cox"
2216 Penn Ave., Strip District
412/434-1230, firehouse-lounge.com

Best Performing Arts Venue:
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
Seventh Street, downtown
412/456-6666, pgharts.org

Best Theater Company:
City Theater Co.
1300 Bingham St., South Side
412/431-2489, citytheatrecompany.org

Best Movie Theater:
A.M.C. Loews Waterfront 22
300 Waterfront Drive, West Homestead
412/462-6923, amctheatres.com

Best Library:
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Main
4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland
412/622-3114, clpgh.org/locations/main

Best Music Venue, Pop: (tie):
Mr. Smalls Theatre
400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale
412/821-4447, mrsmalls.com

Post-Gazette Pavilion
665 Route 18, Hanover Township, Washington County
724/947-7400, livenation.com

Best Place for People-Watching: (tie):
South Side
southsidepgh.com

Kennywood Park
4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin
412/461-0500, kennywood.com

Best Fitness Club:
Club One
club1pittsburgh.com

Best Local Dance Company:
Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Co.
5824 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill
412/521-6094, 412/425-3766, bodiographybc.com

Best Weekend Trip:
Washington, D.C.
washington.org

Best Camp Site:
Cook Forest State Park
River Road and Route 36, Clarion, Forest and Jefferson counties
814/744-8407, cookforest.com

Best Walking Trail:

Frick Park
2005 Beechwood Blvd., Squirrel Hill
412/422-6538, pittsburghparks.org

Best Fitness Class:
Hot Yoga at Amazing Yoga
amazingyoga.net

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Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

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Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
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The 412

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.
Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Next time you get a call from a telemarketer, just be thankful you don’t live in Atlanta.
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Four Pittsburgh Chefs Honored on James Beard Long List

The four are semifinalists for James Beard Foundation Awards, considered the most prestigious of the nation's culinary honors.
Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

No offense to the motor city, but auto companies are eyeing the steel city to develop the next generation of driverless vehicles.
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Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

In a year when youth-hockey participation is expected to increase, Pittsburgh Penguins players weigh in on the role of the hockey parent.
Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

There’s a magical, snowy landscape right in your backyard.
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On the Blogs


1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.

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All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

The highly anticipated restaurant from Derek Stevens opens is located in the Union Trust building Downtown.

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Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

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Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

While it's not among Downtown's best, Social House 7 is a fine place for a drink and a bite — but we're stuck on a bizarre element of the décor.

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Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Love Affair Between Pittsburgh & Keisel is a Two-Way Street

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Where else but Pittsburgh would a football player, two years removed from his playing days, be able to raise about $85,000 in one night for the staging of an event that involves the gathering of a crowd to watch a man shave?

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Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Check out the chic decor from Pittsburgh-based artist and designer Janice Nelson.

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The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Reviews of "The Great Wall" and "Fist Fight," plus local movie news and notes.

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

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Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Columbus-based store, where you can customize your own candle fragrance, is expected to open in March.

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The hottest topics in higher education
Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

An art director from Warner Bros. Studios will visit La Roche College to talk about the Oscar-nominated film with ties to Pittsburgh.

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