Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paula Poundstone @ Carnegie Music Hall Library In Homestead Tonight

Mostly, I'm doing this post about a comedian performing @ The Carnegie Library in Homestead because it's an excuse to mention the venue.

Any list of "must see" places in the Pittsburgh region would have to include a few of Carnegie's libraries in places like Braddock and Homestead. The term, "library", doesn't describe most of them well. These were really "community centers", and almost always included a gym, a library collection and reading room and a music hall or auditorium of some kind,usually built with the finest workmanship and design. Often they included showers for workers who didn't have them at home.

The Libraries demonstrate Carnegie's somewhat contradictory views towards his workers. As a boy who pulled himself up from poverty by his own bootstraps and lacked a lot of formal schooling, he valued self education and continuing learning. Likely, he felt most of his employees were not interested or destined to be more than "manual laborers", who needed to watched to keep them from drink and vice. But, at the same time, Carnegie felt there were some who would take to books and opportunity if it was offered and knew that his mills and the future of his company depended on finding, nurturing and promoting them.

The Libraries embody these values, combining a place for kids to exercise, be entertained, stay "off the streets" and away from "vice", and perhaps read if they were so inclined. I say, kids because very few of his workers would have had the free time or energy to enjoy the Library and might visit once or twice a year.

She is number 88 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time,[citation needed] and number 7 on Maxim's list of "Worst Comedians of All Time".[4]

Here's a nice article about the Restoration of The Homestead Library Reading Room, with images that give some idea of it's beauty.

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Any discussion of the region's revival, (the Mon Valley is hardly there yet.) should give credit to the deluxe assets left here by folks like Carnegie.

Here's Patti Smith @ The Homestead Library

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