Skip to content

The Bard of Braddock

Tony Buba, the Bard of Braddock (PA), is the subject of a retrospective of his documentaries at the Anthology Film Archives in New York. The New York Times explains.

Braddock, for those of you who don’t know Pittsburgh, is a small, working class town just up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh proper.  It’s the home of the Edgar Thomson Works (a giant steel mill), owned by US Steel and ground zero for the images and rhetoric of Rust Belt Renewal — now popularized and romanticized as “Rust Belt Chic” — courtesy of a Harvard-educated provocateur of a mayor, John Fetterman, and a place in a Levi’s ad campaign a couple of years ago. Rust Belt Chic shines in state-subsidized urban redevelopment plans that put hockey arenas and skyscrapers for law firms and banks in Downtown Pittsburgh, and it beams in Brooklyn-lite neighborhoods like Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville and East Liberty.  If the Rust Belt is really going to be renewed, however, it needs to be renewed in the old mill towns. That’s Braddock.

Tony Buba, his films remind us, was talking about Braddock before talking about Braddock got cool.

I no longer update my blog about Pittsburgh, but reading about Braddock reminds me both why I find Pittsburgh so interesting.  When I spend so much time thinking and writing about IP law — law designed to encourage the production and distribution of new stuff — it’s important to consider why we should spend equal time thinking about when and how to save (and sometimes update) old stuff.