Seasonably Social: Spring 2017


Faith's *You're in-the-know* Info

Faith Bennett
Founder, Publisher, Editor

March is here (already!) and this month is special - as Pittsburgh wraps up her Bicentennial Year. It is in this month that hosts the return of more hours of sun (we turn our clocks forward, and say goodbye to winter and our year-long celebrations with the city – and hello to spring, and a renewed passion for what’s ahead) that I am pleased to introduce you to our first official Quarterly: Readers, meet SBM Seasonably Social, Spring Issue.

You will still be able to snag our Monthly (SBM Portable Planner and Social Calendar) in digital and print too. Our Monthly and Quarterly serve two different purposes. The Monthly is more portable and meant to be used as a daily resource to help you celebrate and commemorate each day in a special way, by keeping you In-The-Know while On-the-Go. You will also enjoy the monthly Social Soles interview and Fun, Fashion, and Food there, in addition to business listings and postings that are there to help you pull your plans together into a Themed Event! Whether you are on a romantic date, out on your own, with friends, spending time with your parents, or kiddos, … You name it, we thunk it! 😉

The Quarterly grew from our Monthly, as an answer to the request for MORE! We have always maintained - a holistic approach to Lifestyle, with a great respect for Mother Earth. A “Use Less – Live More” Approach, and so began our digital publication to stay GREEN, while providing content in a way that offers Mobile Ease and allows for Social Sharing. We have VERY BUSY Social Media Lives. When we were asked for more, we gave it great thought, to provide Print, along with Digital, while staying conscious regarding consumption. While our Monthly is more “Portable and On-the-Go”, the Quarterly is more “Sit Down and Enjoy the Show”.

So please, take a seat... Enjoy learning about those who were welcomed into our Social Circle, and mark your calendar to see them IRL (in real life)! Look back with us in our Social Seen Photo Vault at all the fun. There are a few events there that fulfilled our Social Animal love, so get in your “awe”s! And make note to check out our Extensive Searchable Social Calendar of Events on our .com to fill your own planner for what’s ahead.

The Quarterly is full of Social Soles, our interview series based on the saying: “You Don’t Know Someone until You’ve Walked in One’s Shoes.” Learn more about Jan Griffith, Parade Organizer and 2017 Grand Marshal of The St. Patrick’s Day Parade (talking about All Things Irish); Ronda Zegarelli, President of Acrobatique Creative and Creator of Pittsburgh Earth Day (her new office space is also featured in our Social Circle this issue- she’s pretty awesome!); and Adrian Gordon, Artist Educator at The Warhol (talking about Warhol programs and LGBTQ+ Youth Prom).

You also get a triple serving of Fun, Fashion, and Food (FFF). We add to our Merch every month, so if you wanna show your Pittsburgh Pride while you theme to celebrate, shop our Yinz Collections. If you want to flaunt your Lips and Lashes, Feelers and Flutters, shop our Social Butterfly Collections. There’s something for everyone!

Social Psychology helps with Spring Cleaning our Physical Space AND Head Space! Spring means Re-Awaken, so it’s time to Re-Organize, Re- Structure, and Re-Vitalize… Spring Clean your LIFE!

And from there, we look forward in Social Expectations! So much on the calendar for Pittsburgh’s summer. Can you even believe we are already planning?! Stay Social with us daily across Social Media platforms, so you NEVER miss a thing!

To (y)our Spring being a REal AWAKENing…


Social with us Daily!


Colony Café

1125 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Colony Café, a brand new coffee and wine bar downtown has partnered with Animal Friends to create the cat-mosphere while you sip.

Cat cafés, which are popular in Japan and Europe, offer customers a chance to hang out with cats while relaxing in a café atmosphere. New York City has four, and both Colony and Black Cat Market have their cat eyes on Pittsburgh. Due to health code regulations, at Pittsburgh cat cafes - cats must live in a designated area for visits from customers instead of roaming freely.

While sipping away, you’ll be able to peer through a large glass window in the café to see the cats, or visit with them for a small fee.

Café management has experience fostering cats and running catsitting businesses, and says: “It’s really all about the cats. There is overcrowding in shelters. So we would act as a giant foster home; we would have 12 to 15 cats at a time. Instead of going to a shelter and seeing a cat in a cage, you can play on a sofa like you would at home. It’s a different way to experience the cat.” Go check them out.  They are the Cat’s Meow.

Mindful Brewing Co.

3759 Library Rr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15234

Mindful Brewing in the South Hills, explained the takeover of the former McGinnis Market as a Total demo, reno, and transformation into an airy, aspiring 10-barrel brewery and taproom with a 250-person capacity with a second-story bar and patio. The ground floor contains a full-service kitchen, where Upscale American is on the menu and the dining room is bright with floor-to-ceiling windows and giant TVs for sports.

Mindful Brewing is brought to the Burgh by Non Relations: Dustin Jones and Nick Jones. Nick is also owner and general manager of Carnegie’s 99 Bottles. Marcus Cox, from Melbourne, Australia will also be joining the team.

Flagship beers will be determined in time, but the opening day lineup is already planned. There will also be dozens of local and regional beers on tap in addition to a few draft cocktails and wines. There will also be take out via beer growler or pick from 600 - 700 bottles of beer from the coolers.

Mindful Brewing is neighbors with Spoonwood Brewing Co. and Hitchhiker Brewing Co. Sounds like a destination Spot for Craft Beer Lovers!



with a Twist

5807 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

We love Painting with a Twist, where you can go out with friends, sip your favorite liquid, enjoy step-by-step instruction with an experienced and enthusiastic local artist, and leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a new-found talent you’ll want to explore. They have over 5,000 paintings to choose from!

It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 105 – there’s fun to be had! While most of the classes aren’t pre-sketched on the canvas, that’s okay: it just allows for more creativity! You get to end the night with pride, accomplishment, and a “whoa, I just painted that on my own” feeling. The studio is relaxed, stress-free and, most importantly, fun! Offerings include public classes for adults & kids with a calendar full of special promos. Bring your favorite drinks, snacks, and have a blast!


Acrobatique Creative

100 Fifth Ave. Suite 407
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Acrobatique Creative, whom we’ve already loved for a while - has done so much awesome work, that they had to expand, and we wanted to be there to see their new space! The agency provides a broad range of services, from branding and marketing, to public relations and event planning.  Visit their beautiful website to see a full list of services!  Their new space is located at Coterie Company in the gorgeous Frick Building.

Acrobatique’s next BIG THING is Earth Day, a city wide celebration dedicated to educating, inspiring, and celebrating sustainability in the region.  We can’t wait.  Check out the list of events here. It all kicks off on April 20 with the Ecolution Fashion Show – you don’t want to miss out!

socialsoles_headingInterviewed by Kiley Fischer
with Introduction by Faith Bennett


The Social Soles interview series is based on the saying, “You don’t really know someone until you have walked in her shoes.” We thought it would be interesting to begin each interview asking our guest to bring a pair of shoes that are significant to her. They can be the ones she was wearing when she first heard about her family’s history; The ones she wore the day she moved to Pittsburgh in 1973; The pair she was wearing when she went to her first Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; The pair she wore the first time she stood at the review stand; A pair we would have never guessed...What shoes will she bring?

We associate shoes with memories: good and bad. The question steers the path of the conversation. This route will show us a side usually not seen in the one we are talking with. A more personal side. We are excited to see in which direction we are lead – by the choice in footwear and the memories stirred. Come. Let’s take a celebratory walk…

Whether you might have had a distant and long-lost relative visit Ireland once or if your grandparents still spoke Gaelic at home, everyone is Irish for a day in March. Pittsburgh has been hosting a St. Patrick’s Day parade since the early 1800s and it’s now one of the largest in the U.S. It takes an army of volunteers to set it all up and Jan Griffith, the Parade Organizer and 2017 Grand Marshal, is involved in its running each year. She and her husband, Terry, are highly active in the Pittsburgh Irish community and are proud to share their Irish heritage through Irish organizations, celebrations, and music. Who else could we have chosen to talk to in March?

Social Butterfly Magazine: Tell me about the shoes that you chose.

Jan: (Picks up her shoes and puts them on the table.) They’re kind of weird.

SBM: I love them!

Jan: Sometimes they have green laces, sometimes they have red laces. Now they have the St. Patrick’s laces, the green and white. There’s a lot of work done that day, and they’re my work boots.

SBM: They’re fantastic! These boots see a lot.

Jan: They’re a mainstay on St. Patrick’s Day. My job on St. Patrick’s Day is to ride through the front of the parade and then, when I get to the reviewing stage, I’m standing next to the announcers and making sure the order is right. If things are out of order, I’m telling the announcers, “It’s on page 33! Go to page 21! No, no, page 40!” The boots just scream Irish.

SBM: They probably have all sorts of stories to tell. How many parades have they seen?

Jan: Oh, probably four or five. After I found them, I said, “These are definitely my parade shoes.”

SBM: If they could talk, what kind of stories would they tell?

Jan: They would tell about a lot of excitement. There’s a lot of noise, especially when people fire off large guns right in front of us. We have a pirate group that likes to load a double charge into a blunderbuss and make it really loud for me because they’re friends of mine. There’s the 116th Irish Brigade and they like to fire old muskets. These shoes would also talk about a lot of work – they’ve had their miles put on them.

SBM: They’ve seen a lot of fun.

Jan: They have seen a lot of fun. They’ve seen clowns, they’ve seen horses and dogs and Irish organizations. I usually have a dressy coat on, but if you look at me from the knees down, there’s my good ol’ Docs.

SBM: They definitely have a lot of flair.


Jan: I think so. I’m the only one with green boots. I even had the Governor – Tom Corbett when he was Governor – stop and go, “Whoa! Green boots!”

SBM: These obviously have many, many miles on them and so many great stories to tell, but if you could walk in anyone else’s shoes, whose would you want to walk in?

Jan: It’s nobody famous. I would say a man by the name of Patrick Driscoll. He was my great grandfather. He came over from County Cork, Ireland via Liverpool on a steamship in the 1800s with nothing. He got over here, settled in Ohio, and it just grew from there. I would have loved to see his experiences coming from a little country town – not even a town – coming from little Cork and landing in New York harbor.

Why did he make his way to Ohio, what drew him there? He married there, they had several children, what was his experience like? How did he assimilate into the culture? Back then, he was an O’Driscoll, but coming through immigration, they dropped the “O.” My grandfather, to his dying day, whined that he wanted his “O” back.

SBM: That’s incredible. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade probably means that much more to you because of him.

Jan: It means a lot to me because it’s an opportunity to show our Irish pride, but it’s also a chance to share that with everybody. We bring in a lot of things that the little kids are going to love. I’m always on the lookout for groups that maybe aren’t Irish, but are going to add to the general hilarity and good time. By coming there to see that, and “Mom, let’s go to the parade – they have dogs, they have horses,” they’ll go to the parade and they’ll start seeing the other parts of it. We have floats from Irish organizations that portray the Irish history. Just being part of such an enormous diaspora is incredible.

SBM: Obviously the parade is a big part of the city, but it’s so cool to see that it’s so deeply seeded in one of the people in charge of it. What all goes into planning the parade?

Jan: We start meeting in October and then we have bi-weekly meetings in February and March until the parade. Everyone’s in charge of their own little section. There’ll be someone in charge of the floats, someone in charge of the specialty sections. We have political leaders, personalities. The forms go out in November, then they come to me in January. That’s when the madness starts.

It’s up to me to put all these names in a database and then arrange marching order. There’s a protocol for some groups, but then I try to look at where groups have been in the past. Groups from the back get moved up, groups from the front get moved back. You can’t put dogs by firetrucks or horses, horses can’t go by bands or anything that will spook them. You keep that in mind and you get some flak, but there’s a reason for everything.

There’s such work put into this by everyone and to see it unfold on parade day, is hard to describe. It’s very much like the day after Christmas. That morning you wake up and there’s the gifts and the big dinner and the relatives and then that evening you’re kind of like, “Oh. It’s all over.” All that work is over in a couple of hours.

I can’t describe the feeling of standing up there and seeing them come down in that order and thinking, “Wow. We did it again. Another successful thing.” There’s no “I” in this. We’re all in this together. They’re such a great group to work with, they really are.

There’s Miss Smiling Irish Eyes. They find a girl between 18 and 22 who’s been involved and her family is involved in the Irish community and she’s chosen to represent the Irish youth. We’ve had people who have been in Irish dance troupes since they could walk and they stay involved.

The Grand Marshal is never a celebrity like other cities have. It’s always somebody who’s worked for the Irish community here and our way of saluting them.

In some cities, they bring in somebody who has kind of an Irish name, some celebrity. Not here. It’s an honor given by your peers. We’ve had some great Grand Marshals. In fact, 1999 is sitting there. (She motions toward her husband, Terry.) We’ve had the head of the Irish Institute in the past.

The oversight board is a group called the Irish Society for Education and Charity Incorporated. That’s the parent organization of all of this. They make the major decisions and give scholarships away. I’m proud to be on the board for that. We meet a couple times a year and choose the Grand Marshal, although anyone can nominate the Grand Marshal.

We have a meeting in January and it’s by secret ballot. It may be someone who’s been on the parade committee for years and really served their time there. Or maybe it’s someone who’s not been on the parade committee, but has been a member of Irish organizations. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you for your service to the community.” The Grand Marshal also gets a shillelagh.


SBM: I love that. I love that it’s a true honor to be the Grand Marshal.

Jan: It’s more personal. It’s not a politician, it’s never gonna be. People have said, “Oh, this so-and-so, this star, maybe we could get somebody else.” We just look at them and say, “No. No.” We’re such Hollywood on the Mon now, there might be somebody in town, but no. We’ll never take that away from our own people. We’ll let a celebrity ride in a car, but they’ll never be Grand Marshal.

(In late January, Jan got some news she hadn’t been expecting – she was named Grand Marshal for the 2017 iteration of the parade!)

SBM: Jan, congratulations! That’s fantastic! How did you find out you had been named Grand Marshal?

Jan: I am on the Board of Directors of the Irish Society for Education and Charity, Inc.  We are the oversight board for the Parade and one of our duties is to name the Grand Marshal from a list of nominees submitted by the Irish Community. At our meeting on January 21st, the vote was held and an anonymous person nominated me for not only my Parade work but my past involvement with several Irish Organizations and productions.

SBM: You’ve been working with this event and this community for so long and Terry has been Grand Marshal in the past – what was that moment like for you? I can only imagine the emotions you must have been feeling.

Jan: When my name was announced as this year’s Grand Marshal after the final vote, I was shocked and very humbled. Then I was elated and felt very honored.

Terry and I are the first husband and wife to serve as Grand Marshals.  It brings back a lot of memories of that time. I’m excited and can’t wait.

SBM: We love that Pittsburgh is such a family and such a community. You don’t get that other places.

Jan: You don’t. We’re very long transplants, we moved here in ’73. My son was 3. I’m more at ease here than I am in my hometown of Wheeling. I go to Wheeling and think, “Can I go home now?” I just absolutely love the people here in Pittsburgh. I can’t describe it. I try to tell my out of town friends in Columbus or Florida or other places, not just Pittsburgh – all the little towns around it and the suburbs – we’re all drawn together. Sports, the universities, the health systems. It just shows in the parade.

SBM: How did you get involved in the parade in the first place?

Jan: I used to go with friends all the time. We’d stand on the corner and we wanted to be part of this. A new group took over the parade and it became more inclusive to new members. I met the then-chair, Kevin Donahue, and said I’d like to get on the committee. My first couple of years, I was addressing envelopes for the float committee and sending out their forms for them. Then, moved up to doing some PR and taking gift baskets to different radio stations to promote the parade. One year, I had surgery, missed a meeting – (she laughs) don’t ever miss a meeting, they volunteer you. The woman who had typed up the lineup passed away, and someone else did the lineup and asked if I wouldn’t mind typing it up. I said, “Okay” and they dropped off this legal pad with the names of groups and numbers. I still have that pad, I’m keeping it.

After it’s typed up, it would go to a printer, and then be shipped to everyone in the parade. It couldn’t be changed. So before we would send it, all the changes had to be written in. The Chief Marshal, Jim Green, and I got thinking about it and said, “there has to be a better way.” We said, “database.” They would use index cards and lay them out around the house. Now I just have to plug in the information in, pull it into another sheet, and it can be changed all the way up to the day before the parade.

We’ve brought it into the 21st century. It makes me happy people aren’t walking around with index cards and note pads. Nobody sees me two weeks before the parade.

It really is so much fun. The people I’ve met are absolutely incredible.

And then parade day, we also have Market Square where we do Irish Fair in the Square. Different musicians come in, there’s entertainment, there’s face painters and vendors there, dancers are there. It’s a nice way to keep it very family friendly. It’s really nice. It’s great.

SBM: It’s nice to have that additional festival, too.

Jan: It is. The Irish Festival helps us with it, too, they have a booth over there and sell their wares and give people information about the festival. It’s a big joint effort. We get no government funding. We get all of our money from donations. We sell the t-shirts, we have a parade sponsor button and anyone with a sponsor button, we have a thank you party for them two weeks before the parade. We have fundraisers. We do 50/50 raffles. We have a shillelagh raffle. We raffle other big items like hockey tickets and baskets.

It costs thousands of dollars to put on this parade. Even if they’re not getting paid, people are in it just for the spirit of the parade.

SBM: It really speaks to the sense of community.

Jan: It does. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed thinking of the thousands of people who are in the parade itself. We can have upward of 75,000 people marching on a good day. If the weather’s good, they all come out. It’s such a thrill when you’re looking down that empty street and then all of a sudden you see the police coming and you know what’s coming.

Our honor guard is the 116th Irish Brigade. They’re dressed in Civil War uniforms carrying Civil War flags that were actually flown in the Civil War by the Irish Brigade. They march down the street and then they get to us and fire the salute with the old muskets. You just get chills because you know that is part of the heritage, the way the Irish immigrants came over and fought in the Civil War.

We use real Irish horses, big, beautiful Irish horses, Irish dogs. It’s just so fun being immersed in it.

For more information about the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade, check out their website as well as their Twitter and Facebook accounts. To learn more about the Pittsburgh Irish community, visit The Pittsburgh Irish Network online.

Social Calendar of Special Days

Check out the Social Calendar of Special Days Here!


Third Thursday: A Celebration of Iris van Herpen

Have you been Seen?

Check out our Photo Vault for more photos:

& Ice


10th Annual
& Canines

MAKEnight (21+):
My Snarky

PBT: Alice in Wonderland Dress Rehearsal

History Uncorked:

Sewickley Chocolate Walk

2017 Pittsburgh
Heart Ball

Lunar New
Year Parade

Third Thursday: A Celebration of Iris van Herpen

South Side

Tropical Forest Congo Festival

11th Annual Member Father Daughter Dinner Dance

Harry Potter Film & Cultural Festival

4th Annual St. Patrick's Day Party

Stadium Series:
vs. Flyers

Lights! Glamour!
Red Carpet

23rd Annual Mardi Gras Gala


Interviewed by Kiley Fischer

August Wilson grew up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and remains the only recipient of an honorary diploma from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh due to his heavy use of the institution. It wasn’t his only honor: August received many honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Humanities from the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees from 1992 until 1995. August’s work is renowned with two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama and a theater in his name in New York City as well as Pittsburgh’s own August Wilson Center. He died at age 60 in 2005, but his 1985 play “Fences” hit the big screen in 2016 directed by and starring Denzel Washington. The Pittsburgh center bearing his name is running “Fences Up Close: A Pittsburgh Experience,” an exhibit featuring props and costumes from the film, through March 10. We talked to co-curator Janis Burley Wilson about the exhibit and its meaning for the area.

Social Butterfly Magazine: Janis, thanks so much for talking to us about Fences Up Close. Tell me about the exhibit.

Janis Burley: The exhibit is “Fences Up Close: A Pittsburgh Story.” We had an opportunity to partner with Paramount Pictures and Denzel Washington. The film was done here and includes a lot of Pittsburghers in its production. Paramount sent us costumes from the film: we have Denzel Washington’s costumes and Viola Davis’s costumes. We have photography taken on set from Paramount Pictures and we have a leather-bound photo album designed by a leather and jewelry designer. We have interviews with August Wilson talking about Fences when it went to Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. We have iPads that features pictures of people who were on set – they took selfies in their costumes. We have the baseball, we have the bat, we have a lot of pieces that came from the movie.

We were excited. When Paramount said yes, we put it together in about two weeks. When you go there, the set looks like the back of the house. We appreciate the help of all the artists involved.

SBM: What was the experience of curating this particular exhibit like, especially with such deep ties to Pittsburgh?

Janis: It was fun. I told them what I wanted and they did it! I told them I wanted Denzel’s costumes and I wanted Viola Davis’s necklace and the bat and ball. I wanted everything and they said okay. I wanted people to feel like they were in the movie when they walked on set. Our carpenter was a carpenter on the film. The wood in the fences was even used in the film.

It’s very, very close to what the backyard looked like.

We got a big sign from Pittsburgh Filmmakers – a huge poster from when the movie was playing. It was a big collaboration.

SBM: What have the reactions to the exhibit been like?

Janis: People love it. If they saw the movie, they definitely recognize the costumes. We have it set up sort of like a museum and you can get very close to look. They’re excited, they’re proud. I think they appreciate the opportunity to learn more about August Wilson. They want an exhibit all about August Wilson and this gives us a chance to do that.

SBM: What should Pittsburghers in particular know about Fences?

Janis: August Wilson is considered one of the most important American playwrights. His work is production around the world. There’s a theater on Broadway named after him. He died too young – who knows what he would have accomplished. He wrote a cycle of 10 plays that represent the 20th century. They’re about family, they’re about hope, they’re about despair. They’re about black families in Pittsburgh but anyone can relate. That’s what draws people into his work and his writing is so rich. A simple sentence has so much meaning. We’re honored to celebrate his work in a facility named after him. I think people should be very proud of the August Wilson Center being in Pittsburgh.



See more photos from the


in our Photo Vault here!

See more photos from the

10th Annual
Cupids & Canines

in our Photo Vault here!

Amazing Butterflies

See more photos from the


in our Photo Vault here!

See more photos from the

Shadyside Pup Walk

in our Photo Vault here!

Interviewed by Kiley Fischer

John Griffiths, Phil's co-handler from the "Inner Circle"

England, Scotland, Germany - they all have their Candlemas poems pointing to the weather for the next six weeks. In Pennsylvania, those poems became a groundhog.

Punxsutawney Phil has been seeing his shadow at Gobbler's Knob for 130 years. The Inner Circle plans each year's events, as well as cares for Phil himself. After Phil saw his shadow this year, we talked to Phil's co-handler, John Griffiths, to learn more about Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog and his legend.

Social Butterfly Magazine: What is it like working with Pennsylvania's mythological being?

John Griffiths: It's 365 days of never knowing what you're going to get from Phil. One day he's a calm, sedate, loving animal and the next day he's like a honey badger. Ron and I both spend a lot of time with him and he tolerates us.

SBM: How does one become a member of the Inner Circle, let alone a handler?

John: To become a member of the Inner Circle, you have to be nominated whenever there's a vacancy - when someone either has run for the hills or they've passed away. To become a handler, there's a test: you have to have the lowest IQ of the whole group and you're automatically in for handler.

SBM: (Laughs) What is kind of a normal Groundhog Day like for both you and Phil?

John: There is no normal Groundhog Day. Basically it starts the day before through the evening. We usually get him up here around 1:30 or 2 o'clock in the morning and put him in the stump and he's rarin' to go by the time we open the doors in the morning.

SBM: He definitely seems like he's being a good sport.

John: Yes. You've got to understand, for a groundhog in the wild, this is hibernation time. Even though he gets a little feisty, he calms down really quick, too, especially being outdoors. He's used to be in a controlled climate.

SBM: I feel like most everyone out here can relate to that.

John: (Laughs) Yes.

SBM: What has been the most memorable Groundhog Day that you've had?

John: Hmm. Well, actually, the most memorable Groundhog story happened before I was in the club. The doors were thrown open on an old stump we used to have and Bill Deeley, our now-President, reached in and there was no groundhog. He had dug down through the bottom of the stump into the dirt. Bill leaned over to our president at that time and said, "He's not in there." Our President said, "You better pull something out of there." Bill reached his whole arm in there and finally got a hold of Phil and pulled him out.

SBM: (Laughs) Oh my gosh! Phil's definitely a lot of fun and a great Pennsylvania tradition that's really, really spread.

John: We're lucky to have him in Punxsutawney. It keeps us on the map, it keeps Pennsylvania on the map, and it's just a fun event for everybody around the United States and worldwide.

SBM: Speaking of that, what is the furthest away that someone has told you they've traveled from?

John: There's a girl in town from Russia today for Groundhog Day. We've had them from all over - Australia, a lot of European countries. It boggles your mind how far they come. There was a woman from Lithuania at our banquet.

SBM: Wow! They saw Phil see his shadow this morning - which prognostication were you hoping for?

John: Me? I'm on the early spring bandwagon all the time. I love winter, I love the change of seasons - that's why I live here in Pennsylvania - but I'm all for the early spring if we can get it. ◊


FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera Operatically Emphatic
FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera Operatically Emphatic

Have you been Seen?

Check out our Photo Vault for more photos:

Chili Cook Off and Wing Thing
Chili Cook Off
and Wing Thing

FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera Operatically Emphatic
FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera Operatically Emphatic

CLO Ambassadors' 20th Anniversary Wine Tasting
CLO Ambassadors'
20th Anniversary
Wine Tasting

Amazing Butterflies
Amazing Butterflies

Beauty and the Beast After Dark
Beauty and the Beast
After Dark

Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade
St. Patrick's Day

Sewickley Soup Crawl

Spring Flower Show: Enchanted Forest
Spring Flower Show: Enchanted Forest

Material Worlds Fashion Show
Material Worlds Fashion Show

The 21st Annual UPMC Children's Ball
The 21st Annual
Children's Ball

Shake Your Booties…Down Bourbon Street!
Shake Your
Down Bourbon Street!

PDCDC Awards Dinner
PDCDC Awards Dinner

socialsoles_headingInterviewed by Kiley Fischer
with Introduction by Faith Bennett

The Social Soles interview series is based on the saying, “You don’t really know someone until you have walked in her shoes.” We thought it would be interesting to begin each interview asking our guest to bring a pair of shoes that are significant to her. They can be a pair of ballet slippers she wore during her years as a dancer; The shoes she wore the day she first saw an Audrey Hepburn film; The first pair she wore on stage; The ones she wore the first year Pittsburgh Earth Day brought the city’s celebrations together; A pair we would have never guessed...What shoes will she bring?

We associate shoes with memories: good and bad. The question steers the path of the conversation. This route will show us a side usually not seen in the one we are talking with. A more personal side. We are excited to see in which direction we are lead – by the choice in footwear and the memories stirred. Come. Let’s take an elegant and classic walk…

April is when spring truly starts to take hold and the green of the world starts to make its return. It’s also when the world comes together to celebrate Earth Day and to support environmental protection.  We should take time to mention Rachel Carson’s homestead is just outside of our beautiful city, and if you are any bit the environmentalist, you know why we had to shout out!

It’s been generations since Pittsburgh was known as a dirty steel town, and P G H sure cleans up nicely! In Pittsburgh, Earth Day is not just a day on the calendar, it’s a city – wide celebration “dedicated to educating, inspiring, and celebrating sustainability in the region”. The signature event highlights the sustainability leaders of the area and the ways the city has changed and evolved. Keeping all of that in mind, we knew exactly who we needed to talk to for April’s Social Soles: Ronda Zegarelli, a native Pittsburgher and leader of Pittsburgh Earth Day.

Social Butterfly Magazine
: Tell me about the shoes that you brought.

Ronda: My shoes are ballet slippers. Not real ballet, but Audrey Hepburn ballet. The reason why they’re my favorite is because Audrey Hepburn, to me, is my idol and she epitomizes style and goodwill and giving back and classics. I’m a lot funkier than Audrey Hepburn but her core values have always been important to me. I have loved her and her movies and her style and what she represents. For me, the memories of watching her in “Funny Face” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Charade” and all of her good movies just makes me feel better about myself because she’s inspirational to me. I didn’t want to show off my rock ‘n roll boots because at this stage in my life, I want to be able to feel like I have something that is functional, but makes me feel confident.

I brought a quote from Audrey Hepburn because they asked her about ballet flats and she said, “Heels can bring you pain, but a ballet flat will never hurt you.” I just love that because I really feel like when I’m walking through downtown, I’m representing my company well, but that I’m also feeling really good.

SBM: You’re talking about what she projects, and then you look at something like Earth Day and they really do fit together.

Ronda: It’s about giving back. They’ve been doing Earth Day in Pittsburgh since the 70s. We wanted to brand the city locally, regionally, as a city that is a leader in sustainability. When I went to the office of Mayor Peduto and said we would like to have a city-wide celebration of sustainability, he got behind it because he felt like that’s great that somebody wanted to take everyone hosting Earth Day events – not just ours – throughout the city, and host them for free on We offer that because not everybody can be a sponsor, not everybody is downtown where we curate our events, but we want people to all be recognized, not just if they’re a sponsor. We’re able to do this because we have wonderful sponsors. Some of our programming is artistic, but a lot of it is really the core of what we’re doing in this city to be leaders.

On Thursday, we always do a fashion show at the Fairmont called Ecolution. We work with Richard Parsakian who is from Eons – he’s an amazing man – he is the curator of the fashion show. He works with the Izzazu Salon and Spa. We came together and started working with local artists and asked them to use material to make costumes. We had people last year who made costumes out of bubble wrap, a costume out of filters. We did a runway show at the Fairmont, which is a very sustainable hotel. This will be our third year working with them and they’ve been an excellent partner.

On Friday morning, we’ll be doing a business breakfast at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. This is our third year working with them as well. This is kind of the real deal – this is the sustainable leaders including Grant Irvine, the Sustainability and Resilience Officer in the Mayor’s office. He is an excellent speaker. We have leaders from Pitt Ohio, from WindStax, from UPMC Health Plan. Sustainability isn’t just about business, it’s about wellness. UPMC Health Plan has a great wellness program, they’re leaders and one of our awesome sponsors. The backdrop to the breakfast is the city and it’s really lovely, looking at the stadiums.

We do a food truck roundup. This year it will be closer to Mellon Square Park. We already have 12 food trucks signed up.

We’ll also be doing programming in Market Square, we have some really exciting things that are in the works. That’ll be Friday and Saturday. There will be music, arts, entertainment, education.

We’re excited because we have a new event with PNC at the Tower at PNC Plaza. That’s exciting for us. This year, they’ve generously offered their use of their new James E Rohr Auditorium to host a speaker. They’re the most sustainable green bank building in the world. It’s a cool opportunity.


SBM: It sounds like this year is going to be amazing.

Ronda: It’s going to be really, really awesome. We’re excited. We wanted Pittsburgh to be recognized. I’m born and raised here. My husband is also my inspiration. He’s in the movie and film business and recently relocated to Pittsburgh and he just can’t believe what is going on with the city and the foodie community and technology. I’m very proud to be a Pittsburgher and I wanted to recognize the leadership because I didn’t feel like anybody was culminating all of these businesses and saying, “Let me showcase you and how you’re making a difference.”

Going back to Audrey Hepburn and why these shoes, my business partner and I want to make a difference. That’s why we decided we wanted to take on Pittsburgh Earth Day. I know in my heart this is the right thing to do.

We also have a really exciting new program we’re introducing this year called Earth to Table. You have Farm to Table, but now we’ll have Earth to Table. We’re going to be calling out to restaurants to work with us and the team at sustainable Pittsburgh to work on highlighting one of their dishes or cocktails during the weekend of Pittsburgh Earth Day. We’re asking them to highlight something organic or locally sourced. They can pick whatever they want and we’ll highlight it on our website. We’ll link to their restaurants and we’re branding that Earth to Table. That’s going to be a cool new part of the event.

SBM: Where did all of your interest in Earth Day come from? It sounds like it’s something that’s really close to your heart and that you’re really passionate about.

Ronda:We have all of these leaders and I love seeing the city move forward and thrive. Pittsburgh Earth Day is the brand, but under that, we’ve taken on some subthemes. One of them is Steel to Sustainable and we want to showcase how we’ve continued to progress.

When my husband moved here, he thought it was still a steel town. He thought it was still this dirty, dusty city and he was blown away at what we were doing in sustainability and technology and food. He just had no clue. That continued to reinforce that we need to tell this story of this city. That’s where our passion came from, was making sure that we got the recognition we deserved as a city.

We wanted to be all-inclusive. We don’t want anyone feeling left out. The Pittsburgh Earth Day website is where anybody can list. We’ll support anybody that wants to give us content.

SBM: With so much going on, what kind of memories do your ballet flats have for you?

Ronda: I studied ballet briefly at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and I think it represents culture and the arts, which is really my true heart and soul. I’m a musician, I’m a singer/songwriter, so it invigorates my creative spirit. When I think of ballet flats, I think of dancing and art and beauty. For me, the memories are watching Audrey Hepburn. She’s been my inspiration of style.

SBM: What kind of stories would they tell to you, to anyone? What would they say?

Ronda: They would tell me that sometimes, simplicity is elegance. Simplicity is classic beauty. Beauty can be understated and simple, it doesn’t have to be flashy.

SBM: If you could walk in anyone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Would they be Audrey’s?

Ronda: They would be my father’s.

SBM: Why is that?

Ronda: He just sent me a text today that said, “We’re soulmates.” He’s cool. He’s elegant and classic and he walks the walk that he talks. I am a lucky girl. I changed my signature line this year to say, “With gratitude,” and that is truly what means something to me. (She pulls up the message.) That’s the quote from my dad: “You are my soulmate, we are one. Love, dad.”

He’s 80 years old and he’s cool. I just bought him a sweater for Christmas from the John Varvatos store in Boston and they said, “Is this for your husband or your son?” and I said, “No, it’s for my father.” They said, “Your father?” I said, “He’s 80 years old,” and showed them a picture and said, “he’s cool.”

Pittsburgh Earth Day will take over the town April 20 – 22. For more information about Pittsburgh Earth Day, check out their website as well as their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

Social Famous Calendar

Check out the Social Famous Calendar Here!



Earth Day


SBM Earth Day Merch +


Fruit, Veggie, & Nut Flower Tray


Fashion: 1. Bunny Ears (Target Holiday) 2. Green Ruffle Dress (Holiday Editions, Amazon) 3. Floral Print Rain Boots (Zappos!) 4. Happy Earth Day Yinz Mega Button Pin – Green 5. Happy Earth Day Yinz Mega Button Pin – Blue 6. Happy Earth Day Yinz Tank Top 7. Happy Earth Day Yinz Tank 
For more details on all apparel and accessories listed above Click Here!

Food: Fruit, Veggie, and Nut Flower Tray 1. Oranges 2. Trail Mix 3. Blueberries 4. Heirloom Grape and Cherry Tomatoes 5. Bananas 6. Kiwi 7. Spring Water



Ecolution Fashion Show
Ecolution Fashion Show

Have you been Seen?

Check out our Photo Vault for more photos:

Picture This!

Maple Syrup Festival
Maple Syrup

Cocktails & Kryptonite
Cocktails & Kryptonite

Wigle Whiskey 5th Anniversary Party
Wigle Whiskey 5th Anniversary Party

Shadyside Pup Walk
Pup Walk

Tekko 2017

Cocktails & Camaraderie
Cocktails & Camaraderie

HealthSouth Sewickley Egg Hunt
HealthSouth Sewickley Egg Hunt

90s Bar Crawl
90s Bar

Ecolution Fashion Show
Ecolution Fashion Show

Paint the Square Green
Paint the
Square Green

Solar Powered Food Truck Festival
Solar Powered Food Truck Festival

WISH 99.7 Spring SaturPLAY
WISH 99.7 Spring SaturPLAY

La Vie en Vert
La Vie en Vert

Paints & Pints 2017
Paints &
Pints 2017

Brew's Beer Birthing Party
Brew's Beer Birthing Party

Youth Invasion
Youth Invasion

26th Annual Car Cruise on Main Street
26th Annual Car Cruise on Main Street

PedalPaleAle Keg Ride
Keg Ride

2017 Brewers Olympics
2017 Brewers

Pittsburgh South Asian Bridal Show
Pittsburgh South Asian Bridal Show

By: Kiley Fischer

Each spring, hundreds of teens hit The Warhol for Youth Invasion, an event for teens and by teens. The Youth Arts Council is only one of the programs at The Warhol that focuses on fostering leadership with creative skills and Andy Warhol’s work. It’s also the Youth Arts Council that plans, organizes, and participates in youth-centered events like Youth Invasion and the LGBTQ+ Youth Prom.

Before we went to Youth Invasion April 28 to capture the event (check out our Social Seen, Monday Montage & Behind the Scene at Social Butterfly Magazine for more!), we sat down with three members of the Youth Arts Council – Adam Smiley, 18; Ali Perry, 18; and Alyza Foster, 15 – to learn more about the event and what it means to the teens.

Social Butterfly Magazine: What is Youth Invasion to you?

Adam: For me, it’s community building. It’s creating an artistic space, a safe space, a place for people to explore artwork and explore their friendships. For me, not everyone has a space in their communities, in their schools. Maybe they don’t have a group of friends, but this is a place where people can come and have that. It’s utilizing the resources The Warhol can pull for us, and using our own creativity.

Alyza: It’s a place for youth to gather and get to know each other. It gives them a new space, too – a lot of people haven’t been to The Warhol before this. It gives them a place to come back to and new experiences they might not get otherwise.

SBM: Well and it can be hard to get that space otherwise when you’re underage.

Adam: Especially if you live outside of the city. You might get a ride into town, but there’s not always a lot open for the youth of Pittsburgh. Where do they go at night? They stay at home.

Ali: I go to a large public school and there’s a lot of people in it, but there’s not always a lot of people you can identify with that have similar interests and tastes. I don’t have a lot of friends that would want to come to The Warhol on a Tuesday after hours, but this is a cool program and extension that we get to go to and that other kids get to come to. It’s cool for everyone to just get to be together.

SBM: Especially depending on where you go to school – the programs that exist could be totally different.

Ali: Exactly.

SBM: How did each of you get involved here at The Warhol?

Adam: I’ve been coming to The Warhol since I was very young, so The Warhol has always been a huge part of my childhood and artistic identity being a local Pittsburgh artist. I got involved with these events through this internship. I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do that without my school’s art department. That led me here and now I can get more involved and get behind the scenes with the galleries I’ve grown up with and be a part of the events there. I can create art that’s going to be a part of this place. That’s significant.

Alyza: I’ve always been coming to The Warhol and I also go to CAPA and if we’re ever having a lazy day, we come over here. My print making teacher also works here and she got me more involved with the Youth Arts Council. It’s really resources through my school for the most part. I live in Allegheny County, but not in Pittsburgh, so I wouldn’t even really know about it if I didn’t go to CAPA.

Ali: My mom’s on the library board of my local library and the youth librarian sent the Youth Arts Council to my mom asking “are any of your daughters interested in this?” At first I was hesitant, but I applied and got an interview. The first meeting, my mom picked me up and I was telling her all about it and I was so excited. It’s been great.

SBM: It has to be cool for you all, too, being artists.

Adam: Definitely all of the members of the Youth Arts Council have a creative way of thinking and are interested in art. Even if they’re not making it, they appreciate it.

Ali: Or they’re into different forms of it, like writing.

Adam: Everyone brings something unique to the table.

SBM: It sounds like there’s a lot you’re all getting from this. What is something you hope other people get out of this?

Adam: I really hope that these events have enough draw to really bring people that wouldn’t come into the city that much and that they discover The Warhol, they discover the community here, they discover the city, and it opens them up to more of the resources here. We have nights where people can come in and screen print and there’s other museums that correlate, too. I hope it introduces them to not just The Warhol but to the safe LGBTQ community in Pittsburgh, the artistic community in Pittsburgh, a lot of the music community in Pittsburgh, too. We have a lot of young artists performing at these events, too.

Alyza: (Laughs.) It’s hard to answer after you! (Laughs.) To add on to what Adam said, I hope it gives them new experiences to take away from the event. They learn something new or they meet new people and they come back. A lot of people wouldn’t just come to a museum to look at art, but hopefully they’ll come and see that you don’t just look at art, you take in what’s around you.

Ali: I think it’s just cool that it’s people in the same place who aren’t going to judge you.

SBM: There’s a lot going on, but what’s something you’re each excited about?

Adam: Definitely the music. As part of the council, we listen to the submissions from the bands and people doing spoken word poetry to perform at Youth Invasion. They’re all high schoolers and they’re all local. The amount of talent that came in…it really opens you up to a whole new scene. A lot of people go through their day listening to the music on the radio if that. I’m very involved in the local music scene, but to see this young, excited, talented youth willing to come in and perform for their peers – that really makes me excited.

Alyza: I’m just excited for everyone to come and see what we’ve been planning. I’m excited to see how the youth get to express themselves, too.

Ali: I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

SBM: Okay – everyone describe Youth Invasion in one word.

Adam: Aesthetic.

Alyza: Immersive.

Ali: Fun.

By Faith Bennett, Licensed Psychotherapist

Winter is associated with hibernation, so when spring arrives, we feel a fever to move and to get things done,
as the weather warms up and the days grow longer. We are re-awakened!

What can you do with this boost of new energy?

Spring Clean your Life!

1. Tidy up the Clutter: Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally

  • In your physical space, donate anything you no longer use. It’s a win - win. You get your space cleared and organized and someone who can use the things you are offering - receives items that may not just brighten their day, but be something they may have actually needed.
  • In your head space, use this time of change as a cue to tidy mental and emotional clutter. Mental refers to such habits as working too late, not pacing yourself throughout the day, having a shut off time,... or on the other end of the spectrum, putting things off that need to be done, because you may not want to deal. Emotional refers to thoughts that may nag, telling you that you need to be more, make more, do more. Such thoughts can be obsessive and such habits can become compulsive and can weigh you down. (Look back at Social Psychology in our January 2015 issue for distorted ways of thinking and how to change them).

2. Out with the Old and In with the New

  • Once spaces are tidied, there will be room for new. Beginning a new practice (exercise/get healthier physically, psychotherapy, religion, class, volunteer…), will help you to be more “present” or mindful, as one must be, when beginning something fresh.  A new regiment also breaks up the monotony of the day giving you “Me Time”.

3. Take a Breath of Fresh Air

    • Spend time outside. Take walks along paths that are new to you and be aware of your surroundings. Plant a garden and watch it grow. Watch nature’s animals as they awaken to the season along with you. Take a spring break!!! Spring Forward!”

Social Psychology Calendar

Check out the Social Psychology Calendar here!

socialsoles_headingInterviewed by Kiley Fischer
with Introduction by Faith Bennett

The Social Soles interview series is based on the saying, “You don’t really know someone until you have walked in his shoes.” We thought it would be interesting to begin each interview asking our guest to bring a pair of shoes that are significant to him. They can be the ones he wore running around as a kid in Pittsburgh; Those he wore the first time he explored The Warhol as a teen; The pair he wore when he walked into The Warhol the first time as an educator; The pair he wore to the first LGBTQ+ Youth Prom meeting he attended in 2015; A pair we would have never guessed...What shoes will he bring?

We associate shoes with memories: good and bad. The question steers the path of the conversation. This route will show us a side not always seen in the one we are talking with. A more personal side. We are excited to see in which direction we are lead – by the choice in footwear and the memories stirred. Come. Let’s take a walk…

April showers bring May flowers and May flowers find themselves made into bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages for thousands of starry-eyed teenagers flocking to prom as the school year starts to wind down. But for many, prom can also be a source of anxiety, reject, and hurt. Each year, The Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Shore hosts the LGBTQ+ Youth Prom, a place where youth ages 13-20 can relish in prom without the fear of judgement or harm. We talked with artist educator Adrian Gordon about his own experiences with Prom, what holding Prom at The Warhol means for local youth, and how The Warhol is working to meet the needs of the community. His spirit and passion is contagious!

Social Butterfly Magazine
: Adrian, let’s start right off – tell me about the shoes that you’ve brought to talk about today.

Adrian Gordon
: Okay! I thought it was so great that your focus is shoes. I’m a big shoe fan. I didn’t bring any special shoes – these are the shoes I wear every day. I love platforms, I love wedges – anything with a little bit of lift. These are the boots I wear most days to work and extracurricular fun events that I go to.

I think that for me, boots are something that are really important to me. I wear boots all year ‘round, even in summertime. I feel like it gives me this aura of preparedness that I find useful in my life. I’m a big boot person, but I also like heels which I’ll wear occasionally.

: There’s definitely a boost that you get with a cool pair of boots.

Adrian: Oh, definitely.

: I love that these boots are just you. In that context, if your boots could talk, what would they say to other people?

Adrian: One thing I’m always striving towards is being a more compassionate human and learning about struggles through shoes is interesting. In general, a good rule of thumb is to think about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially in times of conflict.

On a more superficial level, we can talk about an exhibition I went to at the Brooklyn Museum called, “Killer Heels.” Have you heard of it?

: Oh my gosh, yeah! We actually went last year when it was at The Frick.

: I didn’t get to see it here, but I saw it in Brooklyn about a year ago and I was really interested in the ways they talked about shoes on a less superficial level. They talked about shoes as objects of power, as fetish objects, as something that can give insight into someone’s identity in a way that isn’t just kind of covering your foot from the ground. I’m really interested in thinking about shoes on a deeper level, also. I’ve been thinking about how, historically, they’ve kind of effected populations.

SBM: I love that. You see a pair of sneakers and it’s like, “Okay, but what does that say about that person?”.

Adrian: Right! What does that shoe say about that person’s life story? The way even the sole can kind of wear away in certain areas indicates their style of gait. It’s really interesting..

SBM: That’s really cool. I don’t think I would have thought about that in terms of what you can learn from just literally looking at the shoe, not even thinking about the story.

Adrian: Oh, yeah.

SBM: You’re talking about compassion and really wanting to walk in other’s shoes in time of conflict, if there’s someone whose shoes you could walk in, who’s would those be and why?

Adrian: I struggle with that question, and I think my initial response is to go back to the idea of: in situations where there’s a misunderstanding or trying to understand someone’s perspective or point of view, I think that’s a really good time to think about how that person’s life story has affected their politics or their personality traits. I don’t know if there’s one particular person, I would say there’s a multitude of people I try to understand by putting myself in their shoes.

On a very basic level, maybe John Waters. (Laughs.) He has really great style! Bringing it back from the deep end! (Laughs again.)

: Bringing it back to the light side! Talk to me about prom.

Adrian: Yes! This is the fourth time The Warhol is going to be hosting LGBTQ+ Youth Prom. Originally, we had the name Youth Pride Prom, but we switched over to be more inclusive of gender and sexual orientations.

Our first year that we held prom here in 2014, it was Gatsby themed and we had over 200 in attendance. The next year was a great combination of The Wizard of Oz and Candyland and we called it “There’s No Place Like Candyland” and we had over 300 youth in attendance.

: Wow!

Adrian: Yeah! Then last year, the theme was “Disruption,” so we explored LGBTQ youth boundaries and resistance and history of resistance. We made protest signs that we had at each table and we had other making activities in the studio.

This year, we’re expecting and hoping to have over 300 youth again in attendance, which is great. A lot of schools do not have opportunities for queer youth to experience a safe environment, particularly surrounding these kinds of rite of passage activities like prom. There’s a history, a long history, of discrimination against LGBTQ folks in general, but particularly youth who don’t have as much autonomy as adults.

As kind of silly as a prom may seem, I think it’s a really important event to give youth a sense of grounding in their identity, particularly because a lot of schools don’t provide that for them.

SBM: You definitely see stories in the news every year that jump out where schools barred individuals from prom because they didn’t wear what they were expected to wear. I never understood that and I love that this event offers them that space.

Adrian: I agree. I actually brought this sheet with me because I wanted to say that according to GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey, 71.5% of LGBTQ youth avoided school functions and 65.7% avoided extracurricular activities because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. 15.6% were actually prevented from attended a dance or function with someone of the same gender or identity. There’s statistics that really back up the need for queer youth events, particularly in Pittsburgh with being a smaller city and having less organizations.

: There’s definitely a boost that you get with a cool pair of boots

Adrian: Someone who used to work at The Warhol, Adil Mansoor – he’s an amazing educator, he works on the Dreams of Hope Queer Youth Arts and Theater program in Pittsburgh – collaborated initially with GLESN to hold prom. Then, the year I started working on prom in 2015, we had a community partnership with TRHIVE of Southwest Pennsylvania who does education and outreach in the Pittsburgh area.

The initial foundings were really Adil Mansoor.

: That growth must be so cool for you to watch, especially with how many kids are involved.

Adrian: Yes! A lot of kids are involved. One of the ways we try to have this be a youth-centered and youth-led event is we hold prom planning meetings. The first meeting, we ask youth their ideas for a potential theme, potential activities, decorating opportunities, what types of screenings they’d like in the theater because the theater is open during prom, what type of music or DJs they want at the event. We’re really trying to make this an event that’s led by youth and their voice is being heard. And for the youth, it’s really a youth event. Adults aren’t deciding what type of music that’s playing at prom.

: And it really comes back to that idea that – at a lot of high schools, there are prom committees. It really is that full experience you’re talking about.

Adrian: Yeah. We want them engaged on the same level that any other prom would be.


SBM: What was your own experience with prom like growing up?

: I went to my school Prom in 2007 and had a fine time. With that said, the Homecoming Court (where they crown a King and Queen of that year’s graduating class) along with feeling exclusionary, really just bored us. The tradition really turned us off. I see huge value in queer culture. There is a resiliency that has been born of necessity, a result of working outside traditions like Prom and Homecoming because of historical exclusion. This is one reason why we do not do any crowning or courting at the LGBTQ+ Youth Prom at The Warhol!

: That makes a lot of sense. What has been something really exciting for you in all of this – in seeing Prom and programming grow?

Adrian: One main thing for me is seeing the openness with youth in terms of gender identity. As a man of trans experience, I had a very different childhood growing up in Pittsburgh and going through Pittsburgh Public Schools. I was fortunate enough to have a GSA at my school so I did take part in that, but there really were not as many opportunities for youth to get involved, particularly queer youth with queer youth programs – at the museum or at other institutions in Pittsburgh.

I’m really thankful to impart my knowledge on a personal level but also a professional level to youth looking for more opportunities to get involved in queer programming in the city. I’ve definitely seen the kind of broadening of acceptance in the general public but also organizations have been coming up with more opportunities for youth to get involved.

: That is really cool, and it has to be really good for youth – you have that personal experience. You’re not just preaching at them or someone saying, “Well, I think it would be…”

: (Laughs.) I definitely think personal experience is really important when dealing with certain demographics, just to have that real baseline conversation of, “I’ve been there and these are some ways I’ve found to be effective to get through this type of situation” and to impart that knowledge with a real level of honesty.

There’s a need for change in this city, and hopefully we’re contributing to that in a positive way for youth.

: I mean, the way the numbers are growing, I feel like you definitely are.

Adrian: We’re really excited about the numbers. In fact, our other major youth program called Youth Invasion, which is a youth-led and youth-focused youth-takeover of the museum is another way for youth to have their voice heard in what happens at the museum. Our largest Youth Invasion – over 900 people entered the museum. At that point we actually had a few issues with the over-capacity of the museum and we had to tone down our promotion of the event.

There definitely has been some major success in terms of participation.

Because the galleries aren’t open during prom, we can have fewer people in the museum which is fine because it gives a more intimate feel to prom.

: Tell me about prom night itself. What can kids who come expect?

Adrian: Prom is an event that has a traditional structure, but also a non-traditional structure because we’re at The Warhol. We have a sit-down dinner from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then there’s dancing with a DJ from 7 to 10 p.m. Along with dinner and dancing, the photo booth in the lobby is open all night and it’s free to take photos. We typically have a photo frame making activity available for them. In addition, we have a screening in the theater. We’re working to source material from the archive to screen.

Last year, we had an amazing hair designer who collaborated with other stylists to provide hairdos during prom and then we had a number of makeup artists in the basement as well who were doing teens’ makeup, too.

We also have our educational studio open during the event and we’ll be silk-screening on bandanas during the event, too. The screens will relate to the theme the teens choose and it’ll hopefully include some of their own imagery as well.

: That is awesome!

Adrian: It’s a lot going on. (Laughs.) We’re trying to make this as accessible as possible.

: What has been your experience with working on the prom?

Adrian: It’s been fantastic. As an individual and as an art educator at the museum, I’ve grown a lot working on this program. When I first starting working here, I was mostly doing docenting in Factory, our educational studio and this was one of the first youth programs I worked on.

My passion is working with queer youth. It was an amazing opportunity for me. It’s interesting because when I was a kid, I participated in some of the youth programs here at the museum, so I feel like I’ve come full-circle with being a teen and coming here and having these mentors to becoming similar to my mentors and hopefully mentoring young queer folks through our programs. It’s been an amazing experience.

: What kind of prompted you to the career path you chose?

Adrian: I grew up here, I moved and went to college, and then I moved back here and I had a very close friend who worked in the education department here. I had maintained my connections here and the director of the education department when I started was actually someone who was one of my teachers in high school. It was these amazing connections I had made and so I reached out and they were hiring.

: Is that something you kind of knew you wanted to do then, steering toward education

Adrian: It was. I feel like I got a kind of great introduction to careers in the arts through interning here as a teen. Some of the people I looked up to the most were doing what I’m doing right now. I feel like it was a kind of natural transition for me to be interested in the same kind of career path of the folks who really influenced me when I was younger.

I actually didn’t get a degree in education – I got a bachelor of fine arts. But that’s really useful for working here at the museum. Our youth programs do involve art and that knowledge has been infinitely useful.

: Do you have a favorite medium? I feel like you can do pretty much anything here!

Adrian: The main thing we do here at the museum is silk-screen printing – Warhol’s preferred method of art creation was silk-screen printing. We do a lot of that and with most of our programs, we try to incorporate silk-screen printing.

In addition to that, with the youth programs, I would say working with textiles. Our last Youth Invasion last year, we had a fashion workshop and we worked with a silk-screen cooperative on the North Side. We worked with yardage and they constructed garments they had on display at the Deutschtown Festival.

I would say mixed media if I had to sum it up.

SBM: I’m suddenly really sad that I’m almost 10 years removed from being allowed to do any of these programs because this is awesome.

Adrian: (Laughs.) Come by! We’ll print with you.

: Speaking of Warhol’s preferred medium – what’s your favorite places in the museum?

Adrian: Favorite galleries?

SBM: Exactly.

Adrian: That’s hard! Let me mention that we have seven floors. It’s the largest museum dedicated to a single artist in the country and our collection is massive because Warhol was a prolific artist. Some of my favorite Warhol pieces are his early drawings. In the late 1950s, he did a series of figures of men and it’s just graphite on paper. I find them really beautiful.

I really appreciate his later work that he made in the 1980s. He made a really large body of religious pieces really close to his death in 1987 in the mid- to late-1980s that I find really impactful. His self-portrait that he made in 1986 is really beautiful as well.

It’s one of the first portraits that shows the kind of granular quality to his face. He was a very self-conscious man, so in his early portraits he oftentimes used overexposed imagery and found ways to remove the blemishes and wrinkles in his face, so I find that later self-portrait to be kind of his coming out portrait.

I had to ask!

: I had to ask!

Adrian: (Laughs.) You definitely had to ask.

The LGBTQ+ Youth Prom will be held at The Warhol on May 27 with tickets available online for $5 and at the door for $10. Youth ages 13 to 20 are welcome, though Adrian said as many youth don’t have identification that matches their identity, IDs will not be checked. There will be security at the museum to ensure safety.

For more information about The Warhol and its Youth Programs, click here to visit their website. If you want to check out more of what The Warhol offers, you can visit their Things To Do page here.



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