Category Archives: Pittsburgh Events

“Pack rat” doesn’t begin to describe Andy Warhol . . . Hoarder, indeed!

He wore a toupee and a girdle, suffered from bad, pasty skin and disdained physical contact. Yet he would be seen at all the big events and major openings, rubbing tuxedo-clad elbows with the rich and (in)famous, the high and the sober. He was a celeb’s celeb, posing with, then photographing, the likes of Liza and Dolly and Diana and Liz, then painting their portraits … then asking them for their autographs.

You and I know him as Andy Warhol, the Pop Art prophet whose posthumous profits have earned him first place among artists at auction and who is forever honored with his own artful museum.

Yet to paint an accurate portrait of Andy, we need to forget (just for a few paragraphs) Marilyn and Mao and those dollar signs he so obsessively silk-screened. The real star in Andy’s life was his obsession with “stuff.” He collected everything — and, after a recent visit to the Warhol archives proved — I mean everything.

He was the ultimate Pack Rat, and I don’t use the capitalization lightly.

Starting in 1974 and continuing through 1987, Andy would toss this and that into corrugated cardboard boxes — things he bought, things he was given, things he got for free, things he “borrowed” from hotels — “time capsules,” he called them.

Image 1 - Andy Warhol Signed Photo with Beckett Letter of Authenticity 8" x 11"

Armed with a $650,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Andy Warhol Museum is embarking on an effort to photograph, digitally scan, catalog and preserve the contents of hundreds of capsules. They’ve already opened and begun to inventory 100, and have 472 more to go, a project that should take six years.

During a recent visit, I browsed through Time Capsule No. 20, the contents of which spanned 1982-85. The latter was the year Andy went to Los Angeles for a guest spot on “The Love Boat” — there’s a healthy stack of unused stationery from Beverly Hills Hotel, a box of bath soap, a pile of phone messages, one of which is from B-actress Mamie Van Doren.

Wearing ill-fitting white gloves that allow me to safely handle the “art,” I open a small sampling of the many letters and notes addressed to the artist (no gossip, no secrets, just cryptic missives from unknowns). There’s a rough skin scraper (bought in Manhattan at Duane Reade), hair dye, mascara, nail polish, lipstick, vials of perfume samples. There’s junk jewelry, a gay porno magazine, a promotional brochure from a Russian airline, several bottles of homeopathic drugs and enough pimple medicine to keep the teens of Fox Chapel acne-free for years.

And I haven’t even begun to snoop what’s on the other shelves.

Some people would call it junk. It’s a word at which archivist and project supervisor Matt Wrbican bristles. “Andy considered the capsules to be works of art — they are pieces of a larger historical timeline,” he  said, adding that the “strangest thing” found to date was a mummified human foot, analyzed by scientists at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and confirmed to be a relic from Ancient Egypt.

But sometimes even timelines show their age, and lines must be drawn. For a Time Capsule, that means destruction. Collections manager Allison Smith reveals the museum junked a “leaking half-empty bottle of Chloraseptic,” but not before the over-the-counter medicine was photographed and all pertinent info logged into the database.

Many people have trashed Warhol while he was alive, but this causes a lump in my throat. Maybe a spritz of Chloraseptic would help?

Matthew points to a sandwich bag of AA batteries that have leaked; they will also hit the garbage bin. “Actually,” he explains, “we’ll put them in a battery recycling program.” Once, of course, they are photographed and cataloged.

I ask nicely if I can have the batteries, sort of an awesome alkaline souvenir from my visit.

I also figure that in some circles, I could claim to have an original Warhol.

I am nicely told, “No.”

I leave empty-handed, but brimming with reminders to do some spring cleaning.

And have that garage sale.

The Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Wanna work at MedExpress? Consider, instead, playing in a dog house. Read on!

Hmmm, looks empty to me. Where are the dogs?

Jacque DeRubbo loves Maverick, her German Shepherd, almost as much as her husband hates the dog.
In fact her husband hates all dogs.
Jaclyn likes to dress Maverick in caps and sunglasses and other assorted clothing and accessories. And she’s thinking of dressing him (the dog, not the hubby)  as James Garner (as Bret Maverick) for Halloween.
How do I know such frivolous fodder?
Jaclyn claims she is the “Manager” of the MedExpress on Mossside Blvd. in Monroeville, PA. MedExpress is one of those drop-in medical centers that you rush into if you (a) have no money; (b) have no insurance: (c) like waiting in an airport-like lounge  for a few hours.
Jaclyn claims she also “oversees” another such “urgent care” joint in Monroeville, as well as one in Murraysville (PA).
How she ever gets “work” done is something I have wondered about for the last couple of weeks.
Let me explain.
Knowing I was in-between books, I was contacted by MedExpress to gauge my interest in working part-time . . . their “part-time” consists of a 12-hour days.
This nightmare began with an email from “Rebecca Burroughs”, who claimed to be a  MedExpress “Recruitment Coordinator”. She called me, “interviewed me” and asked me if I wanted an in-person interview with “Melissa”.
Oops! An email later, she said she “misspoke” and that Melissa was actually Jaclyn. “Please let me know if you have any questions”, she cooed in an email. “We look forward to your interview!”
And so I went to meet Jaclyn/Melissa.
She was late for the interview; she arrived with a woman named Terri, who she had hired to be the manager of the Butler (PA) joint.
Terri is also a dog lover.
Stay with me.
The interview lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes . . . and at least 120 minutes of the “professional” interview was devoted to dog drama. Jaclyn/Melissa and Terri pulled out their cell phones to show off pooch photos. Over and over and over again.
Was I on Candid Camera?
These broads were too young to know Candid Camera. No?
But Jaclyn/Melissa remembered the day she had to reprimanded a doctor when he didn’t wear navy blue scrubs (“And they have to be navy blue!”).
And she knew remembered the day she reprimanded a front office associate about “talking too much to customers”. I’d thought she’d use the word “clients”, but I was barking up the wrong tree.
I felt like I was watching a Fellini flick. Or starring in a Marx. Bros. comedy, with me as Harpo, the silent one.
This is how professional interviews are held?
I didn’t get the job.
I didn’t want it.
Yet I knew I had a tale to tell when I left the doghouse diatribe.
What surprised me even  more was that MedExpress didn’t spend even a medicated minute to tell me, “Thanks, but no thanks”.
I emailed corporate media relations, asking for the reason for such unprofessionalism.
No one ever got back to me.
I mailed Rebecca and asked why all that time wasted.
Her last email: “I am sorry to hear of your displeasure.  While the recruitment process can seem lengthy at times, it is never a waste of our time to thoroughly screen and interview qualified candidates.  So it is disappointing to hear you feel it was a waste of your time.  I will speak with my team on how we can improve our process”.
Perhaps I should have sat, rolled over and licked their faces?
Or kissed their asses?


Why you must never fly Spirit Air. They refuse to acknowledge the Jewish massacre in Pittsburgh.

I hate Spirit Airlines. I only JetBlue, one of the highest-rated air carriers. And for good reason. They rise above and beyond expectations!

I had to book a flight on Spirit (known to insiders as “Air Titanic”) because all JetBlue flights were sold out. I dreaded when I saw the very, very user-unfriendly website that looks like a dying bumble bee on meth.

Gulp! And so I booked.

And so Saturday there was a horrendous massacre less than eight minutes from my house. I do not feel safe. I do not want to fly.

As a press member, I asked a “man” named “Derek Dombrowski” to cancel my flights and refund my money. I would have even taken flight credit . . . one of the most marvelous perks of JetBlue.

Two days after I emailed him, he finally emailed me back.

He claims he has “strong media and communications professional skilled in storytelling.”

Indeed, I know have stories to tell.

And he said no.

I urge you not to fly the “airline” that scams you on everything from seat prices to luggage rules.

Boo! Hiss!


Pittsburgh Frick kicks up its heels, readying for an underwear exhibition. It’s the naked truth!

Those who kicked their heels with joy after catching The Frick Pittsburgh summer exhibition, “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe”, had lots of soul. The exhibit, the first in a series of fashion-focused exhibitions planned by The Frick, was a kick-ass success: More than 24,000 people walked and/or leaped their way through the show’s 12-week run. Killer Heels was such a killer that it attracted more visitors than any other exhibition presented by the Frick in the past decade.

Brands such as Agent Provocateur have changed the face (and bodies) of modern lingerie

The Frick leveraged the popularity of the exhibition to benefit women in need by partnering with the Pittsburgh chapter of Dress for Success, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. No heels were seen: More than 150 pairs of gently worn women’s shoes were donated by Frick visitors during a shoe drive held at The Frick Art Museum on August 13. The donated shoes will allow women to enter an interview, job training program or a new job with confidence.

The Frick is currently preparing for the next installment in its series of fashion exhibitions. “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear”, a traveling exhibition organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, will dress up the Frick from October 21, 2017 through January 14, 2018. The Frick is the exclusive North American venue for this show, which takes a serious look at an alluring subject- the fascinating world of underwear design from the 18th century to the present day. Undressed illustrates how undergarments reflect society’s changing ideas about the body, morality and sex, and the intimate relationship between underwear and fashion and its role in molding the body to an always changing fashionable ideal.

Coos Frick Director Robin Nicholson:  “Regarding the popularity of fashion-related museum programming, the Frick is pleased to have found its niche in the Pittsburgh museum community as a presenter of world-class fashion-focused exhibitions. Fashion’s dramatic rise in popularity and influence in recent years is undeniable-and the resounding success of our presentation of Killer Heels is encouraging evidence that regional audiences have a taste for this subject matter. We look forward to continuing our efforts to appeal to contemporary interests while educating audiences about the Frick’s own collection, which includes a significant body of fashionable textiles and accessories.”

Underwear promises to be quite the draw(er). In the spring of 2016, the museum was awarded a $1 million grant by the Richard King Mellon Foundation to support the presentation of a series of fashion-focused exhibitions over a three-year period. No word if BVDs were part of the deal.

Learn more about the Frick Pittsburgh by visiting