, Pittsburgh’s resident documentarian and the inventor of the scrapbook documentary, has a brand new documentary out: A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects
. Don’t know about the quirky joys of Rick Sebak, or of Pittsburgh? This is your lucky day.
Since 1988, Rick has been creating documentaries chronicling, poking gentle fun at, celebrating, and introducing new generations to aspects of Pittsburgh large and small, from its rivers
to its amusement parks and the amazing 80s hairdos he captured forever there
, some of his personal favorite things
about the city ranging from Andy Warhol to our abundant retaining walls, from Stuff That’s Gone
to Things That Are Still Here
Sometimes Rick goes on the road to explore other parts of America, documenting the Lincoln Highway
, some of the country’s best sandwiches
, its flea markets
, and its ice cream parlors
. Most of the above links are just clips to whet your appetite, but the Kennywood and ice cream documentaries are full shows. Some of the documentaries play nationally on your local PBS station, but you can also buy many of them from WQED
Rick is such a beloved Pittsburgh figure that Pittsburgh app Yinztagram allows you to insert Rick into your own photographs
, and local printing company Commonwealth Press sells a popular “Sebak is my Homeboy
Rick’s currently working on a documentary about the country’s best pies. But if you want to keep up with him, and with the interesting pieces of Pittsburghiana he digs up, in the meanwhile, there are plenty of ways you can do so. Web short video series What’s Rick Sebak Been Doing?
highlights Pittsburgh events like a pie contest, vintage swap meet, local theater, and neighborhood grape-stomping parties. He writes a monthly-ish column for Pittsburgh magazine
telling the city’s lesser-known stories like the time Liberace was visited by an angel
during a visit. And a couple of weeks ago, he gave a great hour-long interview to a local arts podcast
touching on topics ranging from his trademark narrator’s chuckle (the “giggle transition”) and how hard it is to find vintage pictures of duck pin bowling, to demographic changes in Pittsburgh and its early history as an organ transplantation center, to digital editing and the local invention of the skinless weiner.