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This Old Punk: Poster Collection from Pittsburgh's 1970s and 80s Punk Scene

This Old Punk is a punk history as told by local Pittsburgher, Harriet Stein, through her phenomenal collection of posters, stickers, records, tapes, and photographs. Spanning the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Harriet’s collection is a reflection of the chaotic and prolific art and music scene that developed here and has been faithfully documented by its fans. 

There are many ways to navigate these items. Just like the scene itself, these objects are often contradictory, unverifiable, and incomplete records of the social realities they come from. It is our hope that by making this particular collection available, visitors will have a chance to examine their own memories, discover unknown concurrencies, and collectively broaden our understanding of the city’s history.

Harriet generously collaborated with the Pittsburgh Queer History Project to digitize these posters and offer her narration. Her own story traverses the many landscapes of Pittsburgh from well known punk venues like the Electric Banana and the Decade, to less easily recalled places like the Lions Walk, and the Pan-Icarian Brotherhood Hall. Harriet’s collection also reaches to the gay after-hours club Travelers, the women’s collective Wild Sisters / Bloomers, and the Holiday Bar, while talking about her experience as a lesbian in Pittsburgh, whose home has always been punk rock.

Use the subpages to explore the poster collection and featured items. Please, leave your comments to contribute your perspective, and share widely with others. 

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Addition to the Vanna (aka Michael Obusek) Collection

In early 2018, Vanna - also known as Michael Obusek - donated sixteen new VHS tapes to the PQHP Archives. These tapes, which largely document drag performances at Pegasus (818 Liberty) in the early 1990s, show Vanna as an entertainment organizer, pageant competitor, and gracious host.

Vanna's sixteen tapes have been added to the existing Vanna (aka Michael Obusek) Collection here at the PQHP Archives and are now available to watch online. Use the menu on the left of this page to see what's new!