Our Weekend With series looks at the world through the eyes of a designer on their days off. Last time, illustrator Shawna X let us tag along as she navigates life (and her weekend) as a new mother. This month, illustrator and animator Julian Glander shows us his fav haunts in Pittsburgh, PA, where he’s happily settled down after years commuting to New York.
For the last few years, I’ve been splitting my time between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. And now, I’m finally settling into the Steel City. I work remotely so I can live pretty much anywhere, and I’ve chosen Pittsburgh. Here, the people are nice. I live in a huge house with my girlfriend, the great artist and ceramicist JR Phillips, and it’s really cheap. The city is a good home base for traveling. And those are really my only criteria.
On Friday before work comes to an end, I take a client phone call across the street in the graveyard I live across from. It’s really beautiful and quiet and peaceful, and a constant reminder: life is short, keep your problems in perspective, all that really matters is saving up enough money to buy a cool headstone.
With the sun still out, I headed over to Copacetic Comics in Polish Hill, the best comics shop in the world. It’s a tiny, super-densely packed room in the attic of a creaky three-story building. I look for Death of the Master by Patrick Kyle, and they have it, so that’s that. Across the street is Gooski’s, an old school punk bar with the friendliest staff, a great jukebox selection, and high quality chicken wings. My kinda place. It’s almost 5 p.m., so not too early to have a beer. I’ve timed this trip perfectly.
I answer a couple emails at the bar like the disgusting yuppie I am, and now I’m finally off the hook. I meet up with the homies at The Row House in Lawrenceville, a really dope one-screen theater that plays old movies. This week they’re doing Clue (1985) with a rotating ending. After the movie everyone wants to go out but I’m in a bad mood because I guessed the murderer incorrectly—I was so sure it was Colonel Mustard. Maybe I’ve just got mustard on my mind. I’m walking distance from home so I call it a night.
On Saturday, I wake up super hungry. One of the things I miss most about NYC is that it’s hard to get a good bagel here. JR and I meet some friends at Pigeon Bagels in Squirrel Hill. They do a good job, but it’s all the way on the other side of town, so it’s a bit of a special treat.
As I write this, I wonder, should I lie and say I had an action-packed Saturday? That I went to a museum, walked a nature trail, and hit up an estate sale for some mid-century gems? The truth is, I go back home and work on some comics. I relish the weekend workdays: no client emails come in and even Twitter is kinda quiet, so it’s an optimal time to get things done. JFC, when did I get so old?
Later that evening, there’s an art opening at Pullproof in Garfield. It’s a collectively owned screen printing studio that’s run by my buddy Xtina Lee. We walk in and a band called Merce Lemon is playing, a singer-songwriter with her dad on guitar. I’m a fan now. There’s also a bunch of really great art on the walls, as part of a group show of paper-based works by female+ artists. I drink a beer out of a trash can full of ice.
Again, I become very hungry all of a sudden… Why does this keep happening to me? So I duck across the street to Spak Brothers Pizza. Everyone working there has a million tattoos and piercings, and it’s kind of crusty and dirty, but the pizza is dope. By the end of the night, we end up at a beloved dive bar called Brillobox. I dance a little bit and everyone’s embarrassed.
Sunday begins with another late start to the day. I love sleeping and really prioritize it. We bike to The Strip District—it’s a long stretch of street downtown that becomes a crazy bustling market on the weekends. We hit up Pamela’s for breakfast, a landmark diner that is way overcommitted to the ’50s kitsch thing. It’s really hard to eat healthy in Pittsburgh. They put French fries on everything, including salads, often without warning you on the menu. I order The Morning After Breakfast Special and drink three cups of coffee. I feel disgusting.
Then we walk through the strip. People are selling food, sports memorabilia, little handmade souvenirs, all the classics. Hundreds of feet in the air are some illuminated signs that I love: a big Heinz Ketchup bottle and a smiling fish for Wholey’s Fish Market. I’m also noticing a lot of iterations of the Smiley Face Cookie, which for whatever reason is a local trademark/icon/mascot. I love it! I’m going to 3D model him when the time is right.
We head home through the crisp air. It smells like a bonfire. This could be the last nice weekend before the long, brutal Appalachian weather sets in, so I’m savoring some time in my backyard. I never thought I would be a Garden Person but maybe this happens to everyone as they get older. IDK, lately I want to be more meditative and focused on my projects. When I’m in New York I get so caught up in what everyone else is doing, and I go out every night and spend all my money. Here there aren’t as many diabolical distractions. My head is clearer and I’m more excited about the work I’m doing.
In September, I planted a bunch of evergreens so I’d have something to look at year-round. I water the Old Gold Juniper, the Yews, and the Japanese Sky Pencil Holly. I cozy up with Death of the Master in a hammock. A crunchy leaf falls in my mouth, the first piece of vegetation that has touched my lips in months. Mmm.