Essential Pittsburgh
2:31 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

A Virtual Time Capsule of Pittsburgh's LGBT Nightlife

Harrison Apple has been chronicling Pittsburgh's GLBT nightlife through the decades.
Harrison Apple has been chronicling Pittsburgh's GLBT nightlife through the decades.
Credit Center for the Arts in Society / CMU

Harrison Apple has been exploring the underground. In speakeasies, bathhouses and after hours clubs, he’s found a hypothetical time capsule of a rich gay nightlife in Pittsburgh between 1960 and 1990.

Now as Artist in Residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Arts, Harrison not only exhibits his own work, but has been successful in bringing award-winning author and gay rights historian George Chauncey to CMU’s 2013 Kim and Eric Giler lecture in the humanities Thursday afternoon.

Harrison says Pittsburgh has always had a strong gay and lesbian presence. He discovered that many gay after hours clubs were unique to the Steel City because they were customarily populated by working class men and women and not a “gay elite,” as the misperception might be.

“A key number of people shaped the city in their interest. And it’s a remarkable history that changes this idea that nothing’s going on between the coasts and if you grow up in Pittsburgh you either move to San Francisco or you live in the closet," says Apple "That paradigm, I don’t think, should exist.”

Did you know Pittsburgh had a gay cable network in the 1980's? From entertainment to serious local issues.