Thursday, June 28, 2012

EvBetPGH 21 Questions: Andy Mulkerin

Hello! Welcome to EvBetPGH 21 Questions. Modeled off of New York Magazine's 21 Questions, this idea was suggested to me by my friend Allie. So, full credit to her for that. Enjoy!

Meet Andy Mulkerin.

Andy gave me very specific limitations on what kind of picture of him I could use.

Andy is a writer, editor, and drummer. I first encountered Andy on a trip back from Boston while watching a Pens playoff game in the apartment upstairs from Modern Formations. Since then, we've fallen into the same group of friends and have shared many downtown lunches. Sometimes I feel like Andy knows everyone in Pittsburgh, and now having read his answers and with being a lifer and all, I'm pretty sure that's true.

Q1: What is your name?
Andrew Regis Mulkerin

Q2: What is your nickname (/@twitter/instagram/etc.)?
@andybotpgh, everywhere. When I was probably 18 or so, a close friend had robot nicknames for all of her friends, and I was Andybot. It stuck, even though it doesn't really make sense.

Q3: What is your occupation?
I write about music, and edit other people's writing about music, for Pittsburgh City Paper.

Q4: How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
I am a lifer. If you count the suburbs.

Q5: How did you end up in Pittsburgh?
As they say in one of my favorite Clash songs, "I wasn't born, so much as I fell out."

Q6: Who is your favorite Pittsburgher?
Oh geez. Is Rick Sebak too obvious a choice? I'm thinking living Pittsburghers here, since the question is "Who *is* your favorite Pittsburgher"...

Q7: What is the best meal in Pittsburgh?
The best meal I've ever had, ever, was at Bona Terra in Sharpsburg, which I *believe* closed recently. Douglas Dick, the chef there, was named best chef in Pittsburgh for a year or two during the Sousa Interregnum in the late '00s. I had my mind blown by a prix fixe there once -- innovative, interesting, amazingly delicious but not pretentious or overly hipsterish. That having been go-to favorite thing to get for dinner is saag paneer at Taste of India.

Q8: What is your favorite yummy treat in Pittsburgh?
These questions are so open-ended. [Ed. note: What did you want, Andy? Multiple choice?!] I'm gonna interpret this as meaning "sweet." Um, growing up, I loved these things they made at Smith's Bakery in Wilkinsburg, called "covered wagons." They were basically like Ho-Hos. That place doesn't exist anymore, though, so I'm gonna go with some concoction from Oh Yeah! Ice Cream. I like putting Golden Grahams and/or pretzels in my ice cream.

Q9: What was your first job in Pittsburgh?
If we're counting the suburbs, working at Burger King. If we're talking about the city proper, working in interlibrary loan at Hillman Library at Pitt.

Q10: What is your favorite season in Pittsburgh? 
Fall. My birthday, perfect weather, beautiful leaves, Steelers football, Pirates post-season play.

Q11: What is your favorite Pittsburgh neighborhood?
Another cop-out, I guess, but I really do like my neighborhood, Regent Square, for a number of reasons. It's near a great park with amazing tennis courts; it's got trees and stuff but is still close enough to the city-city, it's got amazing hot dogs and beers at D's, and it's actually a neighborhood that's made up of multiple municipalities. I like exceptions.

Q12: You have to choose one - and just one: Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates?
While I generally make the utilitarian argument for football fandom over other sports fandom, because the relatively sparse schedule, I'm thinking a little harder on this one. I don't have a gut answer, so I might actually go with the Penguins, because hockey was the first sport I got *really* into as a kid, and there are so many games in a season, it's the most economical choice.

Q13: Where do you go to be alone in Pittsburgh?
To the suburbs. That's all I'm sayin'.

Q14: What makes someone a Pittsburgher?
I think there's a certain underdog spirit and DIY ethic that colors "real Pittsburghers." We're welcoming of newcomers, but at the same time a little suspicious. We're happy when our neighbors are successful, but we want to know that they worked hard and played the same game as the rest of us in order to achieve that success. And, to an extent, a real Pittsburgher takes Pittsburgh for granted.

Q15: What's your favorite building/bridge/landmark/statue/etc? 
Favorite bridge is Smithfield Street -- it's beautiful, and I had a prescient dream involving it once. I'll also use this somewhat generalized question to give a shout out to the view from the Parkway East around Oakland, coming inbound, especially at sundown. Underrated skyline view. (PS -- That's another thing that makes you a real Pittsburgher: calling it the "Parkway East/West/North.")

Q16: What's your favorite mural/street art thing/graffiti tag?
I have a sentimental affection for the tag Juicy and some other stencil art (little Cupids, etc.) that a friend of mine, who's living in another city for years now, did -- I love seeing them around randomly and thinking of him. Also a big fan of the Canada geese stenciled way at the top of the 10th Street Bridge.

Q17: Who is your favorite Pittsburgh mascot/costumed character?
Jalapeno Hannah.

Q18: What is your favorite Pittsburgh fact?
This isn't so much a fact as an anecdote, but I think it's pretty funny, so bear with me. In 1935, a Pittsburgh journalist was writing a piece on "What the World Thinks of Pittsburgh" (some things never change), and wrote to prominent Pittsburgh-related people worldwide for comment. Gertrude Stein, born on the North Side, wrote back (via partner and secretary Alice B. Toklas): "I only saw it from the air so what can I say except that I was born in Alleghany."

Q19: What do you love most about Pittsburgh?
I like that it's very in-betweeny. Yes, in ways it can be backwards. Yes, there are people here I don't love. But it's big enough that you can usually surround yourself with good people, without forgetting that there are not-so-good people out there. I also like what I mentioned earlier, about it being a generally grounded and sort of DIY culture.

Q20: What do you hate what to change most about Pittsburgh?
It can be provincial; it honestly can be pretty racist; it can be very...small sometimes.

Q21: Pittsburgh burns down. Where do you go?

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