January 24, 2008
I wanted to share some excerpts from “The Out Traveler: Andy Warhol’s Pittsburg” by H. William Bain
From the spring 2008 issue of The Out Traveler.
“I am from nowhere,” Andy Warhol was known to say when asked where he grew up. With these four words, he often gave the impression of a strained relationship with his hometown of Pittsburgh, the working-class city that fostered his talents as a child and gave rise to many of the themes that recurred throughout his work and defined his career. Today, Pittsburgh stands as a paradigm of urban renewal, shedding its reputation as the Smoky City and officially claiming the title of “America’s Most Livable City.” In fact, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a haven for “gay nesting” among settled Eastern same-sex couples.
You’ll find Andy’s boyhood home (3252 Dawson St.) in Pittsburgh’s university section of Oakland. The humble brick house has been privately owned for many years, but plans are being made to restore the home to appear as it did during Warhol’s childhood and open it as private housing for art students. Throughout his childhood, Andy’s family attended Mass each week at St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church (506 Saline St.; 412-421-0243).
Visitors to Pittsburgh will find a majestic theater nearby at the Benedum Center (719 Liberty Ave.; 412-456-6666), built in 1927 and restored to its original splendor as Warhol would have seen it.
It was while studying in the commercial art program at Carnegie Institute of Technology that Warhol first began to develop his ideas about the relationship between capitalism and art. Now called Carnegie Mellon University (5000 Forbes Ave.; 412-268-2000), this Pittsburgh institution is recognized as one of the world’s top arts and technology schools. Carnegie Mellon also borders on Shadyside, a mainly residential area where many gay couples now settle. While Pittsburgh lacks a true gay area, one can find several gay bars here, and it’s not uncommon to see shops flying the Pride flag.
Not far from Carnegie Mellon, you will find the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131), which houses a number of Warhol’s works. Called the world’s first museum of modern art, it was envisioned as a showcase for the “Old Masters of tomorrow” by its founder, Andrew Carnegie, in 1895.
…the city is now ground zero for Warhol art, thanks to the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; 412-237-8300), one of the most extensive museums dedicated to a single artist in the world. Opened in 1994, it houses more than 12,000 of his works, including homoerotic drawings, portraits of gay icons, and films that explore the connection between voyeurism and desire, like Blow Job and My Hustler, as well as important documents, records, and source material. Together with the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; 412-231-3169), an avant-garde art museum exhibiting room-size installations, the Warhol plays an integral part in the contemporary art scene touted by Pittsburgh’s urbane gay set.
January 13, 2008
You might be wondering where the “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” exhibit is showing. The answer: the DEA Museum. Although it may just be my ignorance, but did anyone know there was a DEA Museum? Well I am going to a wedding in October that is in Virginia and my mom cut an ad out for this museum in case we want to go. Hopefully we’ll check it out and then I will promptly fill you in on what exactly a DEA museum entails.
I feel like it was designed for pharmacy school field trips.
The ad reads:
“This interactive exhibit delves into prescription drug abuse and explores the history of drug abuse from period pharmacies to rogue internet pharmacies.”
700 Army Navy Drive Pentagon City Arlingotn, VA 22202
November 6, 2007
The Wall Street has an interesting article on Las Vegas travel industry’s recent campaign to sway the gay tourists. It has been highly publicized lately that gay and lesbian travelers tend to come from higher income homes, travel more frequently, and spend more while on vacation. It makes sense to me, my friends and I are in general gay (sorry scott) and if we can find two pennies to rub together we go on a trip. We find a way to take at least one trip a year (usually multiple), even though we are full time students who make almost no money. People want to tap into the booming “gay travel” market. Even my home city. Right here in the city of brotherly love (and I do mean in the gay way) we have expanding recognition of the gayborhood, print ads in gay publications, and a massive online campaign to encourage gay travelers to check out the historic Philadelphia area. (Plus we have casinos now so visit!).
What is interesting to me is Vegas always seemed a little gay. It doesn’t really need to gay up its image. There are 24 hour parties, strip clubs, gambling, and drinking. It is essentially a circuit party with a lot of straight people. The shows are outrageous, the performers are divas, and the drag is superb. I went this summer for a few days with the family and still managed to see an adult lesbian vampire show. I associated Vegas with wild bachleor parties, spring break, 21st birthdays, and gays. But in reality there were tons of families and straight married couples when I was there.
I saw a sign in Paris (the hotel) for gay weddings when I was there, but really thought nothing of it. But the article pointed out a lot of resorts are offering ceremony packages. I think there would be some serious money if Nevada would legalize gay marriage.
What I look forward to even more than potential hotel deals and a stronger feeling of acceptance in Sin City, is the advertisements. The early ads I have seen have been very coy with little hints as to the targeted market, not direct “GAYS COME HERE NOW” ads. I think they are cute, but effective. One was as simple as two manicured hands cutting a wedding cake, another featured a sink that had two men’s razors on it. But as the money flows, the ads will get more brazen. I want to see slutty, stripper filled gay ads.
October 10, 2007
Travel and Leisure conducted a poll of travelers and residents of the things they like and dislike about 25 major urban destinations. The results are interesting, check them out: Results. Philly did well in some very predictable categories, such as, cheap eats, historical sites, good pizza, museums, antiques and farmer’s markets. Philly did awful in things like style, vacation spot for adventures, cleanliness, and safety. Why isn’t there a category for murals? Here are a few categories.
Museum and galleries (I think the list would be different if Pittsburgh was one of the cities evaluated)
2. New York
3. Chicago, Illinois
Home design (I don’t really know what houses look like in charleston, but they must be pretty nice)
2. Charleston, South Carolina
3. San Francisco, California
Intelligent (I was surprised Chicago, which thinks so highly of itself was notably absent in the top 3)
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul
Farmers’ markets (Philly’s Italian market alone should have made it number 1 )
2. Portland, Oregon