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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
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Carnegie Museum of Art hosts controversial Iranian filmmaker

As a part of the 2013 Carnegie International, the Carnegie Museum of Art sponsored the first ever visit of controversial Iranian filmmaker, Kamran Shirdel, to the United States.

“Kamran Shirdel's films have been censored, banned and celebrated for documenting hidden parts of Iranian society — the plight of Tehran's prostitutes, the desperation of female prisoners, and the reality behind false heroes,” writes Kevin Begos for the Associated Press.

Shirdel began his career studying film in Italy under the likes of Roberto Rossellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini. When he returned to Iran in the mid-1960s, he was given a job creating films for the Ministry of Culture and Art, though he was soon expelled for failing to portray the prosperous images the Shah was hoping to propagate. He went on to create several documentaries exposing the margins of life in Tehran.

Until now, Shirdel’s work has not been well known in the United States. A professor of Iranian Film at Northwestern University, Hamid Naficy says his work will be eye-opening for Americans who don’t know much about Tehran.

Though Shirdel’s engagement in Pittsburgh has ended, he will be travelling to California and New York for speaking engagements at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University.

Where are the heroes for the August Wilson Center

The failure of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in downtown Pittsburgh has become the subject of curiosity for many who question why the institution, in a city that favors underdogs, was allowed to fail.

“Where was the voice and the person who was pointing at the Center, saying, 'Yes! No matter what, yes! Oh no, liquidation? No, we've got this, that's who we are,’” Vanessa German, a Pittsburgh artist told NPR.

It seems that financial mismanagement and construction budget overages found the $42 million center in the red even before the building on Liberty Avenue in the cultural district opened.

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests that the center alienated Pittsburgh’s African American population by abandoning early pioneers of African American culture in the city and by choosing to open downtown, instead of in a neighborhood such as Homewood or the Hill District.

"There are so many plays contained in this story, he would have a field day," German said of the center’s namesake. "Tragedy, disappointment, betrayal — that's the stuff of August Wilson's plays!"

*Note, this story was written by Pittsburgh's own Larkin Page-Jacobs of WESA.

Peduto to encourage immigration to Pittsburgh

Fast Company’s Co. Exist blog is following up the magazine's feature about the mayoral class of 2014 with a post about Mayor Peduto’s goal to bring 20,000 new residents to Pittsburgh over the course of the next decade.

How does he plan to do it? By increasing the amount of housing currently available.

"Retail follows rooftop. That's what [the late mayor] Bob O'Connor used to say,” Peduto told the Post-Gazette. “We don't need to TIF retail centers. We don't need to put public dollars behind big box. They'll come. What we need to do is to build up the population that will shop there and then the retail would never need public subsidy."

The hope is that more residents will help continue to bolster Pittsburgh’s economic growth. Retail and business will follow new residents.

“If you want to come here, and you want to have everything at your fingertips, this isn’t the place for you,” Audrey Russo of the Pittsburgh Technology Council told Fast Company. “If you want to be in a place where you can have an impact and you can touch almost anything ... this is a great place to be.”

Peduto among Fast Company mayors to watch

Fast Company includes Mayor Bill Peduto among "The Class Of 2014: The New Mayors Who Are Building The Future Of America's Cities." Read why here.



West Virginia finds the North Side "an eclectic mix"

Any article on the North Side illustrated with a photo of Paul Warhola's scrap metal dealership is cool by us. See the West Virginia take on the neighborhood here,



Alaska discovers the ToonSeum

The ToonSeum's exhibit on female comic artists gets its due from the Anchorage Daily News here.



Pittsburgh makes Amazon's top cities for love list

It makes sense that Pittsburgh might support a startup like Romeo Delivers; Time magazine notes that Pittsburgh has made Amazon's list of top cities whose residents are willing to shell out bucks for love-related items.

We're 17th; see who else made the list here (http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/03/here-are-the-20-most-romantic-cities-in-america/).

'Remixing helped revival,' writes Sprout leader

Sprout Fund head Cathy Lewis Long tells the readers of Techonomy "How Remixing Has Helped Revive Pittsburgh" 
(http://techonomy.com/2014/02/remixing-helped-revive-pittsburgh).

A Philly-born blogger finds unexpected joy here

One travelling blogger finds unexpected happiness here -- and it's not just because of Primanti's.

http://pursuinghappiness-documentary.blogspot.com/2013/11/day-15-pretty-in-pittsburgh-pittsburgh.html?m=1

Politico Magazine opens with Pittsburgh revitalization issue

The website Politico is launching Politico Magazine with a series, they say, “to showcase innovative ideas originating from cities across the United States and the ways they can be reengineered for Washington and the rest of the country.”

Of course they are starting with Pittsburgh. This inaugural issue contains a cover story, “The Robots That Saved Pittsburgh”; two photo essays: “Robots at Work” and “The Steel City’s Reinvention to Roboburgh”: the P-G’s Jim O’Toole on “The Political Makeover of a Rust Belt City”; and from the Brookings Institution: “Data Dashboard: Pittsburgh by the Numbers.”

Get details here.

Mass. paper finds us a 'delight,' 'delicious'

The Herald of Fall River, Massachusetts, finds a first visit to Pittsburgh "a scenic delight."

Read more of their first "delicious" impressions here.

10 movies that define Pittsburgh

Doug Ray on Buzzfeed give us "10 Movies That Define Pittsburgh" -- and happily none of them is about saving the city.

See the list here.



Live the American Dream here

The Trib's This Just In blog notes that a new Harvard and Berkeley study puts Pittsburgh second among cities where one generation has the best chance to improve its economic lot over the previous one.

See the list here.

We're the most affordable city in the world

What's the most affordable city in the world? Why, it's Pittsburgh, says the Slate Moneybox blog. While they doubt the methodology of the study that placed us at the top, they give us kudos nonetheless.

Read them here.

AlphaLab a hot startup accelerator

CNN Money says AlphaLab is among the hottest of startup accelerators around. Learn why here.
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