As a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, I enjoy returning to my Alma mater whenever possible. Usually that means an thought-provoking play staged by the world class drama department or the occasional robotics demonstration so I can keep tabs on the progress of our future evil overlords. However, they’ve unveiled a new project which is more exciting than both of those combined.
Beginning today, September 27th, CMU is presenting an exhibit honoring the one passion I’m sure we all share: the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Miller Gallery located in the Purnell Center for the Arts (at CMU’s main campus on Forbes Avenue) will be hosting an exhibition dubbed, “Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fans’ Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions.”
Now, don’t let the somewhat pretentious name throw you. Fancy titles are just our thing at CMU. The exhibit is not some dull academic exercise. It’s just a long-winded way of saying they’ve assembled a really cool collection of Steeler fans and their Steeler-related possessions.
For example, they’ve collected hundreds of Steelers-related tattoo photos, such as the one you see above. There are a lot more, many far more intricate such as that of Ron Vergerio, who has a mural of players, plays, trophies, our beloved team founder, and a stadium full of fans, intermingled with the Pittsburgh skyline all etched on his torso. If you have ink or your own, you can have your Steelers tattoo photographed and added to the display.
Beyond body art, there are a number of other displays. Jim Shearer’s brilliant web show, “Yinz Luv ‘Da Stillers,” which you can check out on youtube by clicking here, has new episodes produced specifically for the exhibit. And then there’s Denny DeLuca’s homemade Steelers Den which has been moved in its entirety from his basement into the gallery. The Steelers Den is crammed floor to ceiling with hundreds of handmade and customized objects all in some way related to the Black and Gold.
But the exhibit isn’t just to see. Interactive elements include a booth which encourages you to describe your personal game day rituals. I wonder how they’ll feel about me describing my lucky underwear. There’s a display where you’re able to re-enact Franco Harris’ legendary catch and become part of the “Immaculate Reception” footage. How cool is that? And they’ll be setting up a live video-chat so you can debate Leftwich vs. Dixon with patrons at a Steelers bar in Rome.
At 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10, there will be a guided tour of Denny’s Steelers Den with a different kind of “Immaculate Reception” sponsored by Iron City Brewery following from 6 to 8 p.m. I have the date flagged on my iPhone because that sounds like something not to be missed. For those into the social networking who want to follow the exhibit and/or want to take a sneak peek at some of the fantastic things you’ll see there, check out their Facebook page by clicking here.
If you live in Pittsburgh or plan on visiting, I’d strongly encourage you to check it out. Especially if you have kids because forget the Warhol or the Science Center, THIS is what I’d call an educational field trip.
Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Special events such as the Immaculate Reception are also free and all are welcome.