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Pittsburgh Pop Culture

Pittsburgh's all-American charm has made it the perfect backdrop for dozens of major films. Some titles you'll surely recognize include “Silence of the Lambs,” “Flashdance,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Groundhog Day,” “Lorenzo's Oil,” and Kevin Smith's “Dogma,” just to name a few. None of these films focus on the city itself as a subject; if you're looking for Pittsburgh history or even historical fiction, you're better off with books. The recent CBS hospital drama “Three Rivers” was also set in Pittsburgh, but it was mostly about organ donors and getting canceled. As for music, American legend Perry Como was born in Pittsburgh (along with a host of other celebrities including Andy Warhol, Martha Graham, Gertrude Stein, Annie Dillard, Jimmy Stewart, Michael Keaton and Jeff Goldblum). Many jazz greats got their starts in tiny clubs around the city. There are a good many books available about Pittsburgh's role as one of the most important cities in the history of jazz. Other great books about Pittsburgh include “Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America” (2005); “The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven: How a Ragtag Group of Fans Took the Fall for Major League Baseball” (2010); and the gorgeous “Pittsburgh: A New Portrait” (2009), which documents the city with vivid photographs and highlights the spectacular historical architecture. “Pittsburgh, Fifth Edition: The Story of an American City” (1999) is a 776-page epic which covers fascinating facts about the city and gives you enough information to fuel several visits, from steel mills to Mister Rogers (whose real neighborhood was just outside Pittsburgh).