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Independent Bookstore Day Festivities at Alphabet City

Independent Bookstore Day

11:30 am

All-ages children’s puppet show, The Girl Who Swallowed the Sun, with Felicia Cooper and story hour with Bookseller Jen.

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Book signing with City of Asylum exiled-writer-in-residence, Osama Alomar. Alomar has recently published his new poetry collection, Teeth of the Comb. Copies will be available for purchase.

1:00 & 2:00 pm

Tours of the Alphabet City building (and optional apartment tour).

4:00 pm

Raffle drawing

5:00 pm

Casellula @ Alphabet City opens for dinner

Throughout the Day

Surprise discounts, scavenger hunt for kids, free coffee, and half-price espresso, lattes, and pastries.

City of Asylum Bookstore will also offer exclusive merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by major publishers and authors. Of note are the exclusive, limited edition chapbook by Michael Chabon and signed artwork by Oliver Jeffers and Jenny Lawson.

Lauded Author Porochista Khakpour Debuts Manuscript

City of Asylum (2017)

Porochista Khakpour

Friday, April 28th
8:00 pm

Award-winning author Porochista Khakpour (Iran) will present her forthcoming work, Sick: A Life of Lyme, Love, Illness, and Addiction. The book is being published by Harper in 2018, and this is the first time it will be presented by the author.

Best known for her groundbreaking works of fiction, Porochista breaks new ground with this memoir of chronic illness, repeated misdiagnosis, and addiction. Her book feels especially timely in the context of the conflict over the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Porochista Khakpour

Porochista’s previous novel The Last Illusion was a 2014 “Best Book of the Year” according to NPR, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, Popmatters, Electric Literature, and more. Her first novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects was 2007’s California Book Award winner in “First Fiction,” one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Fall’s Best,” and a New York Times “Editor’s Choice.” Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America and many other publications around the world.

Porochista’s visit to City of Asylum was made possible by author Mia Alvar, who read at COA in 2015 and is a member of our national Advisory Board.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

A New Film on Pittsburgh – Sunday, April 9th

City of Asylum (2017)

Premier Screening with the Filmmaker

Life and Dreams in the Burgh

Sunday, April 9th
8:00 pm

Life and Dreams in the Burgh weaves together factual and fictional stories to present a multi-layered meditation on Pittsburgh’s peculiar character – what haunts us and what we dream of, how we live and how we would like to live.

Life and Dreams in the Burgh

In the fall of 2015 Tatiana Istomina was a visiting artist at City of Asylum. While here she did lengthy interviews with fourteen Pittsburghers from all walks of life (an artist, a medical student, a dishwasher, a foster mother of six, and others) to explore the collective consciousness of our city.

In addition to the interviews, the film includes digital animation, found footage and video imagery created by two Pittsburgh-based artists, Sofia Sandoval and Emily Newman.

Tatiana Isomina will be present for a Q & A after the film.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

Jazz Ensemble The Daniel Bennett Group debuts Album at Alphabet City

City of Asylum (2017)

The Daniel Bennett Group

Saturday, April 8th
8:00 pm

Manhattan-based saxophonist/woodwind jack-of-all-trades Daniel Bennett has been hailed as one of the most original and unpredictable musical voices of his generation. When joined by renowned guitarist Nat Janoff and trend-setting drummer Matthew Feick, the result is an artfully eclectic synergy of classical music, surf rock and avant-pop.

The Daniel Bennett Group

The Daniel Bennett Group will be premiering their new album, Sinking Houseboat Confusion. The band was recently voted “Best New Jazz Group” in New York City Hot House Magazine and their new album has been praised for “single-handedly reviving the nearly forgotten genre of instrumental pop.”

You are unlikely to hear a sound anything like theirs, so don’t miss out!

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

Heroic Chinese Lawyer to Speak at City of Asylum

City of Asylum (2017)

Presented in partnership with Duquesne University and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

Teng Biao

Tuesday, March 21st
8:00 pm

Teng Biao has been called one of China’s “unstoppable lawyers.” He is a prominent member of the weiquan, or “rights defenders,” movement, a loosely knit coalition of Chinese lawyers and activists who tackle cases related to the environment, religious freedom and freedom of speech and the press.

Teng was also one of the founders of gongmeng, the Open Constitution Initiative in China in 2003. In 2006 he was counsel for the blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng (who has presented twice at City of Asylum).

For his activism Teng was banned from teaching, forced out of a job, disbarred from practicing law, jailed and tortured. He is now free, but living in exile in the U.S. as part of Harvard’s Scholars at Risk program. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Religious Freedom and Rule of Law Defender Award, the Prize for Outstanding Democracy Activist, the Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Grants, NED Democracy Award and the Human Rights Prize of French Republic.

We are honored to welcome Teng to City of Asylum to share his story with us and to take questions about China.

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these events, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

Ghanaian Master Musician Osei Korankye at City of Asylum

City of Asylum (2017)

Ghanaian Master Musician

Osei Korankye

Thursday, March 9th
8:00 pm

Osei Korankye

Master musician Osei Korankye is one of the very last remaining seperewa (Akan harp) musicians in Ghana. Osei has dedicated his life to preserving this traditional instrument and sharing its unique sounds and history with Ghanaian and Western students.

Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see this instrument in a live solo performance. Osei’s artistry and contagious joy makes new fans of the seperewa where ever he plays!

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Did you know that there is a restaurant in City of Asylum @ Alphabet City? During these concerts, Alphabet City will be set up so that you can have dinner during the event (or simply order drinks).

Reserve a Table for Your Visit

Celebrating the Life of James Baldwin

City of Asylum (2017)

Sembène – The Film & Art Festival Presents

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Tuesday, February 7th
7:00 pm 

James BaldwinJames Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket presents an intimate portrait of one of the most celebrated African-American writers of the Civil Rights Era.

Through unnarrated archival footage and personal interviews, this documentary offers a unique window into the life of author and activist James Baldwin. The film explores how Baldwin – born black, poor, gay and gifted – came to become “a prophetic voice that called Americans to confront their shared racial tragedy.” The story of his life is both a social critique as well as a timely plea for equality.

“Stays with you after the program ends.”
– The New York Times

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Children’s Event by Visiting Brazilian Storyteller

City of Asylum (2017)

For Kids and Families

Storytelling with Antonio Rocha

Saturday, January 28th
11:00 am 

Antonio Rocha

Last summer we went to Japan….now we go to Brazil, as part of our journey around the world in storytelling.

Internationally acclaimed performer Antonio Rocha (Brazil) takes children and families on the “journey of lifetime” through his unique brand of animated storytelling. His program, Animalesco: Animal Tales from Around the World, entertains and educates. It is alive with realistic sound effects, wildly imaginative animal characters, and playful audience interaction. And though in English, it is peppered with Spanish and Portuguese. Kids and parents alike are delighted by Antonio’s passion and enlightened by this ecologically-themed performance.

Antonio is a recipient of the Parents Choice Gold Award and has performed at such prestigious venues as the National Storytelling Festival and The Smithsonian, and The Kennedy Center.

His show is a pure delight for all ages and not to be missed!

Reserve Your Free Tickets

Grand Opening, City of Asylum Books @ Alphabet City

City of Asylum (2017)

Please join us for the Grand Opening of

City of Asylum Bookstore
@ Alphabet City

Saturday, January 14th
11:00 am to 4:00 pm

City of Asylum Books

Specializing in translations, from children’s books and cookbooks to literature from around the world.  Plus unique shelves featuring books by publisher — like New Directions, Archipelago, Dalkey Archive, the New York Review of Books, Copper Canyon, and Ugly Duckling — and the entire collection of the Library of America, thanks to the donation of LOA Patron Lewis Bernard. Mostly new books but also a selection of “pre-owned” with low mileage.  And a selection of first editions, including many Nobel Prize winners dating back 100 years.

Free coffee and treats
10% off on all book purchases
11:30 am:  Children’s Storytelling 

Parking:  http://www.alphabetcity.org/about-us/parking/

Locally-shot Films and International Writers in January

City of Asylum (12th Year)
The New Year is about to begin – and, with it, the formal opening of Alphabet City. The bookstore will be open and we will be adding new technologies and features each week, with the grand opening of Casellula @ Alphabet City later in the month.


 

2017 will open on January 5th with the next film in the Sembène Film & Art Festival: Chico & Rita. This animated film moves from Havana in its pre-Fidel days of big spenders to New York in the heyday of jazz and Paris when foreign musicians were hot. Roger Ebert wrote about it: “It’s entertaining to watch, and I enjoyed the way they slipped in such real-life figures as Dizzy Gillespie beside the fictional leads.The music is terrific. Idania Valdes dubs Rita’s sensuous, smoky singing voice, and the film is essentially constructed as a musical.”

Suzanne Rivecca will be a visiting writer-in-residence at City of Asylum in January (yes, we are fast-becoming known as the Miami of the North, with our balmy weather!). On January 10th, she will be reading from her latest work, which she will be finishing during her residency. Suzanne was nominated by Jill Bialosky, poet and editor at W.W. Norton, who is on our Advisory Board. Her “Death is Not an Option” is a highly praised short story collection.

Did you know Pittsburgh’s very own Randy Gilson (of Randyland) is in a film? To celebrate, we are hosting a double screening of Pursuing Happiness – a documentary featuring one of our favorite Northside neighbors – on Saturday, January 14th and then again on Sunday, January 15th.

View the Schedule at alphabetcity.org for All January Events