Black (and Gold) Friday

Written by Dan Gigler on .

In honor of the orgy of crass consumerism that is taking place at malls and big box stores all over America today, I give you the first and only Blog 'N' Gold Christmas gift guide (ever), for that hard to shop for Steelers fan who already owns every single piece of officially NFL licensed Steelers merchandise known to man ...

slacker1. Pictured at right is the Steelers Altar window at South Side punkster boutique Slacker, 1307 E. Carson St., which features all kinds of cool gear from local purveyors of fine t-shirts, ChampYinz.One of the featured T's this season is "Heath Miller: The Champagne of Tight Ends" as well as Steel Heart. Check 'em aht.

Also on the South Side:


2. Also in the clever, one-of-a-kind gifts department, the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University is selling some unique, handmade items inspired by their excellent fall/winter exhibition, Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals and Obsessions.

If you're unfamiliar, the exhibit dips its toes into the downright madness of Steeler fandom and how Steelers fans express themselves organically via their own creations.

troyballFeatured are walls lined with photographs of hundreds of Steelers fans with team themed tattoos; the reconstructed game room of Mr. Denny DeLuca of Carnegie; live Skype feed from the Roman Steelers bar, La Botticella; a movie screen projection of Jim Shearer's web show, Yinz Luv Da Stillers; and a massive 9x8x2 foot replica of Heinz Field.

Among the items for sale are temporary tattoos based on the ones on display in the gallery; handmade winter gloves with six Super Bowl rings stitched in; and the "Hairy Helmet Antenna Ball" pictured at right.

The exhibit, which runs through the end of the NFL season, has already brought record crowds to the gallery and drawn national attention for its unique focus runs through the end of the NFL season. If you haven't stopped by, put it on the holiday to-do list as well, for a different place to take the relatives and friends when they're in town visiting. I mean really, how many times can you do the Incline?

book3. One of the better books on the Steelers to come out in recent years is The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, The Cowboys, and the Fight for America's Soul by Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne.

I actually purchased this book, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet, and probably won't until football season ends. Fortunately, the inimitable Gene Collier, who is exponentially smarter, wittier and a better writer than I could ever hope to be, reviewed it for the paper.

Gene commends the book for its football meat, but said it misses the mark a bit as a social examination of America in the 1970's.

Here's an excerpt:

It's all there in shards, I suppose, but not as a fully formed narrative. Yet, I wouldn't let that discourage anyone who can enjoy great stand-alone chapters on Tony Dorsett, Duane Thomas, Fats Holmes and numerous other larger-than-life NFL icons. The chapter on Mr. Holmes' acute paranoid psychosis is little less than chilling. All of the authors' chapters, taken as straight history-as-feature-writing performance, are highly successful.

Full-framed profiles of Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, John Stallworth and smaller snapshots of a host of behind-the-scenes characters lend this work special authenticity.

Commendable as well is the overarching portrait of doomed steelworkers, clinging to false hopes somehow represented by the defiance of people such as Mr. Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, Dwight White and others.

Read Gene's entire review.

4. Speaking of Gene Collier, his wonderful one-man play, "The Chief," about the life of Art Rooney (co-written with Rob Zellers and impeccably acted by Tom Atkins) ended its seven-year annual holiday run at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in January, but was captured on film and turned into a full-length DVD.

Here's a description from The Chief's web site. (Available through the PG Store)

Watch the trailer:

Atkins is truly amazing as Rooney, and the play delves into the history of the man and the team that he built, all the while giving glimpses into a Pittsburgh (and National Football League, for that matter) that no longer exists except in the mind's eye.

If you've seen the play, you know how excellent it is; if you haven't now's your chance. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.


pg_plus5. Warning: Shameful plug ahead! For the gift that keeps on givin' consider a subscription to our premium site, PG+, and receive access to Ed Bouchette's exclusive blog on the Steelers and Gerry Dulac's weekly live chats.

In addition, there is a a ton of members only coverage on the Penguins, Pitt basketball and the Pirates from Dave Molinari, Shelly Anderson, Ray Fittipaldo, Dejan Kovacevic and Bill Brink.

$4.99 a month or $36 if you sign up for the entire year.


6. Finally, I received several emails about this since it was featured on Blog 'N' Gold last week, the Italian Terrible Towels, or Ascugimano Terrible (below), from Giovanni Poggi's Roman Steelers bar La Botticella are available at Carl & Mary Dozzi's Italian specialty good store, Buon Sapore, located in the South Side Works complex.


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