The City of Pittsburgh will co-host two naturalization ceremonies at noon on Monday, Oct. 26 and Tuesday, Oct. 27 in partnership City of Asylum, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Pittsburgh Field Office. Nearly 60 new Americans will receive their citizenship at the ceremonies.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh will deliver keynote remarks at Monday’s ceremony in Schenley Plaza.

Tuesday’s ceremony at City of Asylum will include remarks from City of Asylum President and Co-Founder Ralph Henry Reese and Kheir Mugwaneza, director of Community Assistance and Refugee Resettlement at Northern Area Multi-Service Center, the largest refugee resettlement agency in the Pittsburgh metro area.

These public ceremonies underscore Peduto’s aim of bringing residents and leaders together to celebrate  neighbors as they make their final step on the path to citizenship.

Learn more about the city of Pittsburgh’s welcoming initiative here.

Bonnie Pfister

Pittsburgh’s got jobs — plenty of them. There are 20,000 positions open today across the 10-county region on the ImaginePittsburgh.com. That’s a one-stop shop for information about employers, careers and job postings that are updated nightly from more than 1,000 jobs boards and orporate websites.

Here are few of the jobs available right now from ImaginePittsburgh.com’s Featured Employers 

Insurance Agent at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

Search Engine Marketing Specialist at MARC USA

Technical Support Desk Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh

Assistant Director of Residence Life at Washington & Jefferson College

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the parent organization of ImaginePittsburgh.com, is hiring for several positions including a web developer, market research analyst and a both a director and administrative coordinator for investor relations.

Not quite what you were looking for? Check out our Neighbors page to see what kinds of careers young and mid-career professionals are pursuing. You can reach out to the Neighbors for networking ideas via the LinkedIn addresses include in their profiles. And stay up-to-date with new job postings and other news about building a great life in the Pittsburgh region via our monthly newsletter, our RSS feedFacebookTwitter or  LinkedIn.

Zersha Munir

In true Pittsburgh fashion, it rained for the majority of my first visit to the city, and well into the three years I’ve lived here as a student. On bad weather days I hide in the Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art with the sentiment that, “I’ll see the other museums eventually.” Three years later, eventually manifested itself as a hot day in mid-May when I stopped by to see the reconstruction of the Andy Warhol Museum.

"Silver Clouds"
“Silver Clouds”

Spearheaded by museum director Eric Shriner, the reconstruction is in celebration of the museum’s 20th anniversary. The newly remodeled space will be showcased to the public this Saturday, May 17, with free admission from midnight until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Now, let me be honest: I knew the Campbells Soup cans and the Marilyns, but this Pop Art pioneer’s work was only vaguely recognizable, like that catchy tune from the Six Flags commercials. Now that I’ve spent two hours immersed in his work, I’m practically a Warhol connoisseur, and I do get the little pleasure of referring to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable exhibit as the EPI (Oh, haven’t you heard of it?).

The first of the exhibits greets visitors with several black and white photos of Andy, looking charming as men do in old-timey photos. This juxtaposes with the ongoing “Figment” project displayed in the main lobby, which live-streams footage from his grave site. Though he’s left us, Warhol’s art feels alive; there’s motion in the imperfections of his work, be it blotted line technique, hand-painted Pop Art or silk-screen printing.

The museum is now organized chronologically, adding a level of clarity when viewing his pieces which balance meticulous detail with the clever crudeness of a child. Andy’s college-level pieces are reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s book art for Roald Dahl. The pieces are displayed on the perimeters of the room, enveloping patrons in an open area with plenty of space to move.

My favorite exhibits are the EPI and “Silver Clouds.” The EPI is a wonderfully sensory experience: beating drums, flickering films from “The Factory,” flashing strobe lights and you, all rhythmically existing in a small dark room. “Silver Clouds” is a room of silver, sausage-shaped balloons that elicited laughter from me and some Minnesota natives as we bopped the chubby metallic astronauts back and forth.

I found Warhol’s work instantly engaging, and the museum’s new layout lent itself to a more immersive experience by putting a visitor in the center of a room lined with art. I’ve decided that I quite like his style, specifically the confidence his work exudes regardless of lack of precision or abundance of color. My new suggested mantra: live each day like a Warhol print.

If you’re unsure what that means (and you probably should be), stop by on Saturday for the showcase of Andy’s work, hands-on activities, and appearances from NYC DJ AndrewAndrew and author Bob Colacello.

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Find a job, advance your career in the Pittsburgh region at ImaginePittsburgh.com.

ImaginePittsburgh.com

sherlock profileThe Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is about to take its cutting-edge capabilities to a whole new level.

On Feb. 1 the Oakland-based center will unveil Sherlock, a high-performance data handling system that will allow researchers to discover otherwise hidden patterns among what can amount to massive amounts of data. An 11 a.m. celebration will include comments from Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon and University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. A technical symposium outlining Sherlock’s potential will follow.

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center – or PSC — was established in 1986 as a collaboration among CMU, Pitt and the Westinghouse Electric Co., with support from several federal agencies, the state and private industry. It specializes in analyzing masses of digitized information – sometimes called Big Data — across multiple computer servers. Supercomputing is used in economics, science and medicine for such purposes as enhancing cybersecurity, climate modeling and severe weather prediction, understanding how infections spread and testing preventative strategies, and more. The center’s scientists say Sherlock can create graph analytics by studying a network with as many as 10 billion “edges,” or relationships, among items – be they economic data, people, genes, climate indicators or more.

“Sherlock gives PSC the first system available to researchers that is optimized for a particularly difficult family of questions regarding, for example, security, medicine, public health, and social dynamics,” said Nick Nystrom, the center’s director of strategic applications. “These problems cost individuals and society in time, money, and human suffering. Sherlock also helps keep Pittsburgh — and Pennsylvania — at the forefront of high-performance computing.”

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, a 10-county coalition that markets the benefits of doing business in southwestern Pennsylvania, and assists companies looking to relocate or expand here, salutes the PSC’s 27 years of pioneering work. Click here to learn more about Friday’s events, here to read or listen to the Jan. 29 story on WESA 90.5 FM, or here to read about the PSC’s founding.

Bill Flanagan
Emily Padgett as Alex Owens in “Flashdance – The Musical”
Photo Copyright Broadway.com

Flashdance – The Musical more than echoes the movie set in Pittsburgh in 1983, it brings it back to life on the stage. I caught the premiere.

I’ll leave theater criticism to the pros like Christopher Rawson at the Post-Gazette, although I think his assessment is right on target. It’s a feel-good musical with great dancing, especially by Emily Padgett, who plays Alex. (You can watch our video featuring the show’s three leads — two of them from the Pittsburgh region — here or below.)

It’s been years since I watched the movie, but I remember Flashdance well. I had just moved to Pittsburgh in 1982 and they were shooting the movie around town. It was exciting to be here in the midst of Renaissance Two, with new skyscrapers going up and a genuine subway under construction.

Little did anyone know that a year later, Pittsburgh would hit rock bottom. When Flashdance premiered in theaters in 1983, the metro unemployment rate topped 18 percent and tens of thousands of people were moving away, many of them young.

Just as the young steelworker in the movie (and the show) was trying to reinvent herself as a dancer, Pittsburgh was challenged with reinventing itself, forced to compete as a post-industrial city. (Not to say we don’t still make stuff here. We do – but most manufacturers will tell you they’ve transformed themselves to compete in a technology-intensive world, another exercise in creativity and hard work.)  Thirty years later, Pittsburgh’s been re-imagined and re-made, with a diverse economy driven by manufacturing, finance, energy, health care and IT, and a high quality of life provided by decades of investment in the arts. That includes the Benedum Center and Heinz Hall — where Flashdance – The Musical made its world premiere – and in outdoor recreation, especially our growing network of riverfront trails.

Art and industry have been integral to Pittsburgh’s comeback, but they’ve provided the region’s character for more than a century – ever since Andrew Carnegie built his music hall in Oakland, if not before. The parts of the play that I enjoyed most were those that juxtaposed the creative and hard work of both industry and the arts – the pride in creating, working and excelling that’s also part of Pittsburgh’s character. If I had a word of advice for director Sergio Trujillo as he takes his show on the road to Broadway – admittedly knowing nothing about what it takes to create a theatrical hit – it would be to make a little more of these themes. I’d love to see a scene where the dancers and the steelworkers somehow share the joys – and challenges – of their professions.

Some folks may criticize the indeterminate time period of the play. The movie was set in the ‘80s, the show includes many more modern elements. But I kind of liked the fact that a number of the backdrops featured golden bridges and blue water, the revitalized riverfronts of today in addition to the classic industrial steel mill settings. Pittsburgh’s authenticity and beauty came through.

So, here we are, 30 years after Alex and Pittsburgh began their transformations. Our region’s back in the global game – and Flashdance is back home on stage. Quite a feeling.

Bonnie Pfister

When Pittsburgh netted its most recent “America’s Most Livable City” rating, it was the region’s recreational opportunities that pushed it to the top of list of 379 metro areas.

For some, recreation simply means the Steelers. And the Penguins. And yes, the Pirates. Not to mention a welter of college sports. But in its 2007 ranking, the Places Rated Almanac also stressed the amenities beyond spectator sports, namely 5,000 acres of state parks, 43,000 acres of lakes and rivers, 142 golf courses and the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

Building upon sustainability — both for the region, and the individuals who live here — is Venture Outdoors. Founded in 2001, the non-profit works to encourage folks of all ages and levels of fitness to take greater advantage of our natural assets and singular topography. Global publications touting the region’s transformation from smoky to sustainable often feature photos with Venture Outdoors’ kayaks as a bright-yellow counterpoint to the skyscraper skyline.

Copyright Robert F. Bukaty, Associated Press / The sun, nearing winter solstice, travels low across the sky in a multiple-exposure picture made in Maine in 2002.

But the organization’s impact is about more than just good PR. Between 2006 and 2011 membership doubled, as newcomers to the city as well as life-long residents embrace more active lifestyles and appreciation for the environment.

“We offer a lot of beginner-friendly activities to encourage people to get out of the house and into the outdoors,” said Lora Woodward, Venture Outdoors public program director. “We have programs throughout the year, but winter in particular is a perfect time to showcase western Pennsylvania and the forest and parks that we’re so thankful to have.”

Tonight’s Winter Solstice Hike recognizes the longest night of the year with three- to four-mile trail around the North Side’s Riverview Park. A more fast-paced 5-6 mile hike hike on Thursday, Dec. 27,  will burn up calories across bridges and through downtown. Hikes beginning on Jan. 1will traverse North, South and Schenley parks and several North Side neighborhoods, while other activities introduce snow shoeing. Dozens of activities continue throughout the winter throughout Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, and in the Laurel Highlands — including cross-country skiing to dog-friendly walks, yoga and hikes that culminate in tastings of locally made soups, stews and beers. Learn more at Venture Outdoors’ website or blog, or via Twitter and Facebook.

One other thing: Venture Outdoors may be one of the city’s best-kept secrets for the single-and-looking. Most VO events that I’ve participated in have had a strikingly high number of female participants (not a few of whom were themselves striking numbers). My theory is that as girls we often tended to be less exposed to outdoorsy activities growing up, and appreciate the support of a group when we finally realize what we’ve been missing. In any event, if you’re looking for a place to meet individuals who are reasonably fit – or at least game enough to try something fun – in a friendly, not-creepy setting, this could be it.

A version of this post originally appeared on ImaginePittsburghNow.com in December 2011.