Off Minor Jazz Series: Thelonious Monk

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

The Monktet celebrates Thelonious!
Thelonious Sphere Monk is one of America’s most iconic and original artists. To celebrate his birthday (October 10th), Pittsburgh musicians Thomas Wendt and David Throckmorton have assembled a new quintet—the Monktet—to perform some Monk. With varying instrumentation between tunes, the group shares their unique take on Monk’s extensive catalog, playing with well-known classics as well as showcasing obscure gems.

In-Dialogue series Presented by the #notwhite Collective

City of Asylum @ Home

Celebrating and recognizing arts and cultural workers, especially those who tend to be under the radar and forgotten about, the #notwhite collective has featured speakers from southwestern PA as well as national leaders in the arts.
October’s conversation features Shey Rivera.
The #notwhite collective is a group of thirteen women artists whose mission is to use non-individualist, multi-disciplinary art to make our stories visible as we relate, connect, and belong to the global majority.

Queer Nature Presented by Autumn House Press

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology amplifies and centers LGBTQIA+ voices and perspectives in a collection of contemporary nature poetry. Showcasing over two hundred queer writers from the nineteenth century to today, Queer Nature offers a new context for and expands upon the canon of nature poetry while also offering new lenses through which to view queerness and the natural world.
Artists from the collection join us live at City of Asylum as well as virtually from their homes across the country. 

Mark Rylance: Live at Alphabet City

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

In-person tickets for this program are sold out. You can still join us online. 

Sir Mark Rylance is one of the most decorated stage and screen actors in the world, and a favorite of City of Asylum cofounders Henry Reese and Diane Samuels. Mark visits the Alphabet City stage to read selections from City of Asylum writers-in-residence Horacio Castellanos Moya, Huang Xiang, Rama, Osama Alomar, and Tuhin Das—along with one of Rylance's favorite poets Robert Bly.
This is an incredibly special and unique afternoon, just for the City of Asylum community, and we hope you'll join us.

World Music Series: Taak Ensemble

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

To celebrate National Hafez Day (October 12th in Iran), Taak Ensemble pays homage to this legendary 14th-century poet, weaving his poetry into their performance of classical and folk Persian music. 
Rooted in Persian music, history, and poetry, Taak Ensemble creates their own unique sound using vocals, tombak (Perisan goblet drum), santur (Persian dulcimer), and tar (Persian lute). Having performed at numerous music festivals, universities, and cultural institutions around the country, this concert marks Taak’s debut at City of Asylum.

Story Club PGH Story Slam: Bump in the Night

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Join City of Asylum and Story Club Pittsburgh for a monthly nonfiction storytelling series mixing the spontaneity of an open mic with the experience of live theater. Organized and hosted by the former producers of The Moth Pittsburgh. 
Every show includes volunteer storytellers and featured performers, all taking the stage to share stories based on a theme. October’s theme: Bump in the Night.

Jill Bialosky & Lynn Steger Strong

City of Asylum @ Home

What would life be without pondering ambition, art, family, and desire? Novelists Jill Bialosky and Lynn Steger Strong explore these themes and more in their latest respective novels, The Deceptions and Flight.

Freedom To Create Gala featuring Orhan Pamuk

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Each year we gather at Alphabet City to honor an international writer or artist who has overcome efforts to limit their creative freedom. This year’s honoree is Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

Yiyun Li: The Book of Goose

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Yiyun Li is the author of ten books, including Where Reasons End (Winner, PEN/Jean Stein Book Award) and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Winner, Guardian First Book Award). Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and her honors and awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Windham Campbell Prize, and more. In 2022, Yiyun was named as the director of Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

World Music Series: QWANQWA US debut

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

With multiple European tours already under their belt, QWANQWA, an Ethiopian experimenta/traditional ensemble, embarks on their  debut US tour. The tour visits 23 states with performances including the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Boston Global Music Festival, and the  North Carolina Folk Festival. Plus the City of Asylum stage. 
Founded in 2012, QWANQWA is a supergroup of musicians from the baddest ensembles of Addis Ababa, brought together by a shared passion for the power of Ethiopian music. Named for the Amharic word for “language,” QWANQWA, is a project creating dialogues between cultures, promoting the idea of music as universal language.

Ross Gay: Inciting Joy

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Having delighted the City of Asylum community with readings in 2019 and 2020, prize-winning poet and essayist Ross Gay returns to our stage to share his newly released collection of essays, Inciting Joy.
In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, Ross considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships. How can we practice recognizing that fragile yet integral connection between all of us? How should we expand it?

In-Dialogue series Presented by the #notwhite Collective

City of Asylum @ Home

The #notwhite collective in-dialogue series features conversations with BIPOC, AALANA, indigenous, and immigrant artists and arts administrators. The series reimagines the past and present history of the arts sector by engaging and presenting the wealth of experience, strategies, and tactics of the global majority, notwhite descendants, inheritors of colonialism, indigenous, and immigrants who navigate a predominantly white arts sector. 
November’s conversation feature DOMINIQUE ENRIQUEZ