Peter Kope the the co-founder and artistic director of Attack Theatre shares his busy and creative itinerary this week. He and his wife and co-founder have a son named Xander, pictured here.
Monday, October 6
I have to admit that I am a printed paper and coffee man. So the Post-Gazette and I start the early morning together. I try to make it to Rob Roger’s editorial before Xander wakes up.
8 a.m. – Walk our son Xander to the bus. He is in first grade at Kentucky Avenue School. Each morning we watch the cars, the ants, the dogs, birds, salamanders or snakes that show up while we wait for the bus. It is my favorite morning time.
The rest of the day – Tax Day! Yes for those of you who file extensions…Michele and I will buckle down and magically find all those receipts! We promised ourselves a break and will grab a coffee at Tazza D’oro in Highland Park. Nice to be able to walk to a great neighborhood coffee shop.
Tuesday, October 7
10 a.m. – City Councilman Dan Gilman is sponsoring a resolution honoring Attack Theatre’s 20th Season Anniversary. So Michele de la Reza and I will be there to experience our city government in action live in council chambers.
Lunch – It’s Taco Tuesday at Penn Avenue Fish Market in the Strip and that’s where I’ll be to celebrate and enjoy some great fish. They recently expanded, so there will be space even on Taco Tuesday, and they are just a few blocks from the studio space that we share at The Pittsburgh Opera building.
3 – 7 p.m. – Rehearsal and notes at the Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood. Yes, Are You Still There? The show opened last weekend, but there are always a few tweaks.
8 p.m. – Are You Still There? This is the third of six performances. University of Pittsburgh students will be in the audience tonight courtesy of Pitt Arts, as well as students from the University of Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble. I will lead a special post show talkback and question and answer session. It’s actually one of my favorite activities we do around our performances. The students ask great questions and don’t let us BS too much.
Wednesday, October 8
11 a.m. – I teach movement and dance for the vocal majors in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s a great experience to be on campus and I usually hit the food trucks on Margaret Morrison or grab a “Puppy Love Combo” from Joe’s Hotdogs at Tech Street for lunch.
Afternoon: Construction Junction in Point Breeze- I try to stop here once a week or so just to check things out. There is always something tantalizingly or justifiably useful that I need at this mecca of odd things–from giant foam boulders to cool chairs, this is just a nice place to pick up a few hundred door knobs if that’s what you need.
Dinner – There are two different barbecue places in Homewood that I like. Both have those giant barrel grills parked in front of the building and are always busy—The Dream BBQ (7600 N. Braddock) and Showcase Barbecue (6800 Frankstown). I like them both…my go-to is 4 bones, greens and potato salad. I will pick up my order in the afternoon, have a little nosh and have plenty left over for a late night snack. I get the sauce on the side to enjoy the flavors.
8pm – Are You Still There? – performance number four. The Pittsburgh Coliseum is actually a former trolley garage as well as former roller rink. Tonight I’m breaking out my Roller Blades for a post show skate.
Thursday, October 9
Noon – Meeting with our friends from Chatham Baroque to discuss our Monteverdi project that will debut in April. We’ll meet at the Pittsburgh Opera building and decide on coffee and snacks, either at Marty’s Market or the new Public Market. Both are great decisions and I can pick up milk for tomorrow at either one.
4 p.m. – Pick up Xander from school and head to Oakland for a hair cut from his favorite stylist, Bess, at Hair Friends located above Peter’s Pub. Not a kids’ salon, but fun to chat with owner Bill Rizzo, who has been there since before I moved to Pittsburgh in 1992. The interior feels lived-in with creaking hardwood floors and big house plants. The walls are covered in photographs with jazz and blues music playing in the background.
After the hair cut, go down the street for frozen yogurt at Razzy Fresh on Forbes, or maybe to the Dave and Andy’s on Atwood.
7 p.m. – East End Night reception at Are You Still Here? Trying to reach out to our friends in the East End with some special activities for folks to mingle and meet in our retro café at the Pittsburgh Coliseum before the show. Michele and I get to talk about the development of the show, the fact that there is actually a business called www.oldphones.com where you can get old phones (and its located in Highland Park), some hors d’ouerves and our beer of choice, Yuengling, to round out the festivities.
8 p.m. – Are You Still Here? The penultimate performance!
10.30 p.m. – It’s a post show drink at my local watering hole Park Place Pub in Highland Park. They have recently leased the kitchen portion of the bar to a chef that does a great burger. Decent taps and it’s pretty laid back (except during baseball games but sadly that’s over).
Friday October 10
11 a.m. – Teaching at Carnegie Mellon
Lunch – Salem’s in the Strip – Can’t rave about this place enough. I get the Masala sauce on my rice first then add the chili chicken and a little lamb/goat with the chick peas as my side…it’s a great meal. This place is always busy but the food is fresh, fast and good. That’s the benefit of working in the Strip. I have been coming here since they opened a few years ago and it just gets better and bigger and more friendly.
Afternoon – I picked up a new book that I am reading from a local author—Spike Bowan. He is the brother of the mother of one of Xander’s classmates. That’s a Pittsburgh connection. Looks like a great read, all told from multiple first person perspectives. He’s great; can’t wait to spend a little time with “War in the Backyard.” Oh, did I tell you I devour spy books?That’s why I love traveling. I can read spy books, thrillers, anything that mentions the CIA/DIA—pick some initials and I am in!
8 p.m. – RUST? Closing night (We always develop an acronym for our shows. TDB, TATN, TST, HU—simple pleasures)
10 p.m. until it’s done. Strike. Yes it all has to come down tonight. I love theater!
Saturday October 11
10.30 a.m. – Our dear friend Mike Grzymkowski passed away from cancer in 2010. He was a father, husband, business entrepreneur, a great friend and so much more. His family spearheaded the creation of a memorial garden at his alma mater, Shady Side Academy in Fox Chapel. The dedication is today. So we will join with his family to celebrate our friend’s too short but amazing life.
Afternoon – Head to the Children’s Museum to check out the new installation, Bounce! It’s about bouncing balls. How can that not be interesting? The Children’s Museum always does a great job of teaching and playing at the same time and it’s a fantastic organization. Our son loves to go there and I am very grateful that he lets me go with him!
8 p.m. – Choices, choices, choices—either the Pittsburgh Dance Council’s presentation of Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet at the Byham Theater or the CSA Artist Series at the New Hazlett. Both will be great for totally different reasons. Local and homegrown or something from “the outside.” Actually have strong connections to both. The dance field is surprisingly small.
Sunday, October 12
Morning — Walk to Tazza D’oro for a coffee and a hot milk steamer with whip cream for Xander. The whip cream is really tasty and they are very generous.
1 p.m. – Steelers game. OK so I grew up in Cleveland, but my Browns left a long time ago in the dark of the night. They are now the Ravens, but that is an entirely different conversation. Going to hang with Rob Brandegee—he and his wife Ava founded Little Earth Productions and actually produce the Terrible Towel! It will be beers, and if we are lucky, some pre-game croquet in Highland Park.