Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts is a leading exponent of early jazz piano. He's played everywhere from New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Tonight Show to the major jazz clubs in the French Quarter.


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Scary Stories @ Alphabet City

  • City of Asylum @ Alphabet City 40 West North Avenue Pittsburgh, PA, 15212 United States (map)

Before leaving the War Streets last year, I participated in a project described as Scary Stories by film maker Tatiana Istomina. As many of you know, I have had several paranormal experiences in places where I have lived including New Orleans, Harlem and on Veto Street in the Mexican War Streets.

I recorded my experiences and actually illustrated a story from a person in a different state. I have no idea what she used! So this should be interesting.

I told her about the haunted house I lived in while living in The Garden District of uptown New Orleans, the violently haunted apartment on 270 Convent in Harlem that was the home of a cursed stride pianist, and my multiple paranormal experiences on Veto St., including a full body apparition that vanished before my eyes, a terrifying UFO sighting at exactly the same spot, and a humorous experience of mistaken dead identity, yet again on Veto!

Ooh Keedz! Very scary!!!!!! I am willing to tell you my scary stories even if she didn’t use them in the film!

See the Film

Join us for a screening of the locally-produced film project Life and Dreams in the Burgh hosted by the film’s creator, former City of Asylum artist-in-residence Tatiana Istomina (Russia).

Free Tickets

Reserve your seats for the screening.


About the Film

Life and Dreams in the Burgh is Tatiana Istomina’s experimental film weaving together factual and fictional stories recorded in Pittsburgh, PA. The film conjures up the psychological landscape of the city troubled with social and economic tensions, haunted by memories of its past and the dreams of possible and impossible futures.

The project was supported by the City of Asylum, which invited Istomina for an artist residency in the fall of 2015. During her stay Istomina recorded lengthy interviews with fourteen men and women living in Pittsburgh: an artist, a medical student, a dishwasher, a foster mother of six, and others. Fragments of these interviews formed the audio track of the film.

The non-linear narrative wanders through several loosely connected themes: the city’s peculiar character and geography, its post-industrial economic decline, racial segregation, crime, various everyday challenges as well as enjoyments of urban life—all filtered through the narrators’ individual experiences. The layered tapestry of their fears, hopes, dreams and fantasies reflects the collective consciousness of the city.

The stories narrated by the speakers are illustrated with digital animation, found footage and video imagery created by two Pittsburgh-based artists, Sofia Sandoval and Emily Newman.

About Tatiana Istomina

Tatiana Istomina is a Russian-born artist and writer living in New York; she works with film, video, painting and drawing. Her projects have been featured in exhibitions and screenings across the US and abroad; venues include Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, the Bronx Museum, Gaîté Lyrique, and Haus der Kulturen der Wel.

Istomina studied at Salzburg Summer Art School and worked at many artist residencies, including Yaddo, the Core Program, the AIM program, the ACA, and The Drawing Center’s Open Sessions. She is a recipient of several awards, among which are the AAF Prize for Fine Arts, Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, the Chenven foundation grant, and the Spillways Fellowship. Istomina holds a PhD in geophysics from Yale University (2010) and MFA from Parsons New School (2011).

©2019 Tom Roberts