That's Aaron Burch from the excellent lit journal Hobart and the tireless Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network (and the LitBlogCoop) on the street in Pittsburgh, unable to buy a Sacred Heart of Jesus because the store was closed. They drove four hours, from Michigan, for the Gist Street Reading Series -- a few pictures here.
Since this was the Gist Street summer BBQ, it was held outdoors, in an overgrown oasis behind tall gates in a vacant/rundown part of Pittsburgh called Uptown. Pittsburgh has almost 200,000 fewer people now than it did in 1950, and there are dozens of areas like Uptown which make you imagine buying a rundown old building with a bunch of outdoor space and making an oasis of your own. Well, they do that to me.
In any event, the reading was very well attended, the BBQ was well consumed, and the homemade icecream was delicious with some brownies on top. The readers, all from Graywolf Press: noted poet Martha Collins and newcomer Joe Campana; poet-turned-novelist Susan Wheeler; and novelists Paul Lisicky and Robert Hill. I'd be most interested in getting my hands on a copy of Hill's When All Is Said and Done, a midcentury family drama-farse with a memorable Jewish mother.
Since it was my first literary event in Pittsburgh, I ran around and met everyone I could! Um, no, I sat on the sidelines with a beer. Next time, I'm sitting up in the funky balcony area, tho -- those people seemed to win all the raffle prizes.