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Multimedia presentation by
John Beale, Christopher Rawson and Curt Chandler
On June 4 in Los Angeles, as twice before in New York, more than 200 former Pittsburghers in the showbiz industry turned out to give testimony to their affection for their heritage. It was an opportunity to meet old friends, to discover how few degrees of separation there are among Pittsburghers, even those who have never met, and to sing the "Mister Rogers" theme song, "Won't You Be My Neighbor."
Providing most of the organizational muscle such an undertaking requires was the crew of "A Tale of Two Cities," a quirky, personalized documentary about the great city Pittsburgh once was, the uncertain city it now is and the creative dynamo it might become. Made by once-and-present Pittsburgher Carl Kurlander, a longtime film and TV West Coaster himself, it sings the praises of Pittsburgh's greatest export, creative and entrepreneurial talent.
The filmmakers were as curious as we were to see who and how many would turn up. The film and TV industries that dominate Los Angeles are notoriously star-driven. Just as it takes a name above the title to get a Hollywood project off the ground, wouldn't Angelenos decide to come only when they heard that one of the A-list expats had signed on?
We needn't have worried. That's not the Pittsburgh ethic. As one after another of the expats noted, taking in the crowd pouring in under the palms, Pittsburghers are real folk. Debra Levine, daughter of one-time KDKA Radio personality Mike Levine, proved a prophet in her RSVP: "This will be the most condensed gathering of real people in the city of Los Angeles."
First Published June 13, 2006 12:00 am