Tuesday, September 27, 2011
After college and before my return to New york City in the mid-1980s, I lived in Pittsburgh for a very interesting year. I worked with the Dance Alloy, performed a few of my own works. I also held wild band/rent parties and got audiences and reviews for a few shows in a huge loft I lived in over on the North Side in an area called Lawrenceville.
Little did I know that those dance company tours to rural Pennsylvania and my rural/urban experiences there would later become the partial setting of my fourth novel. At the time, I didn't even think I could write a novel. I did hack out a short story on a manual typewriter until I nearly sprained a few fingers.
One of the funnier cultural aspects of Pittsburgh life is the regional dialect of its citizens. "Pittsburghese" is spoken mostly by the working class people. The artsy types I hung out with, along with imports like myself, were often bemused and befuddled by the lingo, which is similar, but not identical to Philadelphia dialect.
Pittsburghese gets a little mention in Every Time I Think of You, and reflects the class differences of its main characters.
Example: "Yins gun duntun?" ("Are you all going downtown?")
Here's a very silly song that sums it up:
Enjoy some instructional videos, here, here and here, here and elsewhere on YouTube.
Oh, and here's a video of people driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel into Pittsburgh (see chapter 6). It's a bit pedestrian, but the people in it vocalize the impact of being overwhelmed by a city after exiting the tunnel.