It was 53 years ago today when the first episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” debuted. The children’s public television show was filmed right here in Pittsburgh and Fred Rogers continues to be known as an expert storyteller for kids and adults.
This week, we are taking a look at some of the folks who share stories in various forms. From bakers to authors, here are some Pittsburghers you should meet.
Kat Schuler//Appalachia Katt is the founder of Rolling Pepperoni. She started selling pepperoni rolls at popups around Pittsburgh for a few years and has opened a storefront in Lawrenceville earlier this year. Each pepperoni roll comes wrapped with a story from Appalachia. RP Unwrapped Vol. 1 is a new book featuring these stories of Appalachia.
Zoje Stage//Horror novelist Zoje is a Pittsburgh author who has published two horror novels with a third on the way. We caught up with Zoje around Halloween to learn more about her book “Wonderland.”
Damon Young//Writer You may have seen Damon Young’s essays in the New York Times or have read some of his work on Very Smart Brothas, a website that he co-founded in 2008. We caught up with Damon for a sandwich after his book “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker” was released in 2019.
Dave Watcher//Comic book creator Meet the comic book artist that has created some popular comics from his home in Forest Hills. Learn more about how he was inspired to return to his love of comic books and make illustrating his full-time job.
Nicole Young//Black women in tech Nicole Young is learning to become a software engineer and documenting her experience as a Black woman in tech on YouTube. Her videos have been viewed almost 200,000 times. We talked to her about how she got her start in tech and some resources for other women who are looking to learn more.
Barbara Johnstone//Pittsburghese Yep, this is an academic look at the language of Pittsburgh. Barbara Johnstone is a professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University. We talked with her about the history of the Pittsburgh speech.
And you probably know about Rick Sebak, he has been telling Pittsburgh stories at WQED, in the same building where Mister Rogers Neighborhood was made since 1987. We caught up with Rick last fall to find out more about his path to filmmaker and storyteller.
But wait…there’s more (‘But wait…there’s more’ is often associated with the late infomercial star Billy Mays, who grew up in McKees Rocks, a fact I learned when there was a signed photo of Mays on the wall of the salon where I got my hair cut. The owner of the salon went to high school with Mays in McKees Rocks. Initially, I could not figure out why a salon would have a signed poster of Mays on the wall, it’s one of those things that is so out of place, it requires further investigation.) Anyhow, if you are looking for more local storytellers here is a list of books by Pittsburgh authors.
Header photo credit: Garbella. The Dear Pittsburgh, I love you mug is available on Etsy. For more made-in-Pittsburgh gifts, follow @Garbella on Instagram.