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Compass Roses:Maps by Artists

A project by Artists Renee Piechocki and Nadine Wasserman, as part of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival 

Strange Sound Became a Spiral 

In September of 2011, I heard a strange sound emanating from the sky that shook the windows. It made my hair stand up and my gut clench; it felt like it shook the core of me. Researching, I then found videos people had made all over the world with the exact same unexplained sound. A few nights later, 2 am, I found myself driving in a spiral as far as Cranberry to Duquesne, visiting all the places I have lived, driving past friend's houses, places where an important event in my life took place. The whole drive took several hours and I saw the sun rise. The history of me in a place etched in land, traveled via roads.

The Strange Sound: 

Compass Roses main site

TRAF Compass Roses 

WESA interviews 

My Palimpsest Stories of Pittsburgh 


  • I think we were the only girls in the neighborhood with a Matchbox speedway

  • We were also the only brown girls wearing Dirdnls from Germany

  • Some woman would call and harass us, calling us "Salt and Pepper" I think she had a thing for my Dad

  • My Dad and Butch would go out and wouldn't come home till the next day ???

  • The older girls in the neighborhood threatened to beat me up, because I told the kids my age about tampons Our Babysitter, Connie protected me

  • Connie taught me how to braid and plait hair I use to do my Dad's hair all the time She had a nose ring and I always wondered how she blew her nose

  • My Mom crocheted skull caps and did alterations When a Social Worker came, I grabbed my Mom and opened the cabinet and said, we got to get rid of the weed, she'll put us in a home. She said, that's Oregano.

  • The brother of our other Babysitter tried to sexually assault my sister and I; we kicked him in the face

  • Years later saw him at Kennywood and confronted him about it Yeah, I bet that ruined that date

  • Walked off a painting job, when client acted like we were her personal "slaves" Emancipation Bitch

  • Scrounging the car floor for change to buy some nasty @$$ hot dogs; that's how broke I was 

  • One winter, created a tunnel through the snow and it was magical

  • Sometimes we wouldn't go to school when the air turned orange and smelled like rotting eggs

  • Used Church money for candy; would stick comic books in the bible

  • Two men started arguing while I was at the Trolley stop One began to reach for his gun and I said, "not today and not in front of me, too many brothas in jail". They said Yes, ma'am and called me Angela Davis

  • I called my best friend to be on hand while I kicked him out. I found the crack pipes later in the basement

  • Photoshoot with Tom Johnson in a cemetery and church

  • At the age of 17 met Curtis Reaves and all of the Artists squatting in what would become the Brew House Association

  • I became a model for Curtis' photos

  • Lived and worked in the Brew House as the Artist Coordinator

  • My Niece tried to break up an argument between her father and a woman. The woman told her to shut her fking mouth. I dropped the grocery bags I had for them and got in her face, screaming no one talks to my fking Niece like that. I put my terrified Niece in the car. Later, after calming down, I went to the woman and apologized. She said, no one has ever apologized to me, thank you and I'm sorry, I haven't been able to get my meds

  • He ruined every Christmas working on his art projects; I guess he was mad that we didn't want to become Jehovah Witnesses.

  • He threw her down the basement stairs when I got a math problem wrong. I haven't been good at math since.

  • He use to wear white linen pants and when he would give you school work, his ass would hit your pencil. It was really embarrassing when he started dating my Mom like he would mention it in class WTH

  • I had a telemarketing job for non-profits that I hated They would tell me to do better and I'd say, I won't be here long, I'm leaving in September, enjoy me while I'm here. I was talking out of my ass, for I hadn't applied for any jobs. I applied for only one that interested me and in that September, I started working at the Arts Council

  • That was the same year I was diagnosed with Epstein barr, Chronic Fatigue. I had to literally halt the majority of all of my projects. It was terrifying. No one believed me. I lost a lot of work. My fellow artists are terrible at supporting you when you are ill, disabled

  • I survived a murder attempt. My Mother saved me. 


  • Gave myself whiplash during Henry Rollins performance at the Electric Banana

  • Dressed like a man to enter the Graffiti to see my favorite band; they never checked the boys for ID

  • Harassed comedian Sam Kinson in the alley behind the Graffiti

  • Hung out with members of Fishbone Went to Chiefs, where there weren't enough seats I sat on his lap because I was crushing He thought it was cool to stroke my junk to pee on the BMW outside I thought he was a dick

  • Sold my Philosotees near the University of Pittsburgh

  • The small fat grandmas, my first band, where I played bass We got kicked out of the Graffiti open stage and the cook came out to protest our music by beating on a giant soup pot--during the performance, I split my fingers open and blood flew everywhere

  • Stood between a group of neo nazis jocks who were threatening harm to a Muslim family We didn't learn martial arts for nothing

  • Drove to pick up my friends and told them to run, and they did and that is when a drive-by killed a black art student headed to CMU

  • Lauscaux Editions released my tiny book of poems, Tea with Dolores based on over 1,500 tweets; I haven't tweeted since the orange turd

  • Just moving in, I put all of my artwork in the basement. They broke the basement window while cleaning the brick with acid, $ 15,000 worth of artwork destroyed, gone.

  • Working with fellow artist, Brooke Schooles, we created a poetry/music event, receiving funding from the Sprout Fund to bring in Ursula Rucker. It was powerful and everyone made money.

  • Wearing all white to hear my friend's band perform; I had a miscarriage. 

  • Chris Ivey shot the Beautiful Disaster music video in a building  which is now the location of C-Clear non-profit.

  • After watching the movie, Blue Velvet, we ran amok through Shadyside, smashing pumpkins.

  • Neither one of us had cash, so we leapt out of the cab, with the cabbie chasing us

  • At Garfield Artworks, at the promptings of Zed, I read my first poem and realized that I loved performing. 

  • Became the trip-hop outfit, Soma Mestizo, making songs from the poems in our journals.

  • After school, my best friend Debbie and I were bumming around in East Lib and I heard a kitten crying. I tried to rescue it but it bit my hand and wouldn't let go. I had to get shots for tetanus

  • I decided to wear my hair out and wear a dress. All the girls gave me side eye. Two days later I cut all my hair off and gathered it into a bag. When the same girls cried, OMG, where is your hair, how could you, I said, well I got a bag of it, do you want to buy some?

  • Our Gym teacher was always trying to turn the vulnerable girls out and she wouldn't stop sexually harassing me. One day in class when I had had enough of her innudoes, I almost threw a chair at her

  • The other Gym teacher would make you strip naked out of your swimming suit to get a towel while she eyed you up and down I started bringing my own towel After that, the other girls started bringing their own towels too

  • My first kiss happened on Noah's Ark at Kennywood 

  • He started chasing my neighbor, because her breasts came in I threw the necklace he gave me in his face

  • I asked him during a phone call, why do you like me, he said, your hair I hung up 

  • During a school trip to South Park, I jumped over the fence running towards the Bison waving my red sweater It started chasing me and I ran and leapt over the fence Did I tell you that my Dad almost made the Olympics for sprinting?


  • Curated the Power exhibit at Future Tenant featuring over 20 women artists. They have a problem with the floor and told me I couldn't have my opening reception and I said, do you mean I don't have the Power to have an opening reception for the Power exhibit? We opened.

  • Performed the Complaints n'At Choir during the 3 Rivers Arts Festival

  • He aggressively got in my face, so I started to choke him

  • Wearing backpacks, headed to Alaska, we walked from the Hill District to the Greyhound bus stop. Everyone crowded around, taking photos, even saying Negroes going to Alaska...?

  • For a scene in Justin Fornal's movie, I was in the car driving through the Liberty tubes with him hanging on the hood

  • Filming the Alien scene for Justin Fornal's film, "Daestro" and what is now the Cigar Factory

  • Kicked a man who was accosting me on the bridge; he wouldn't let go of my arm

  • One of the Art Institute teachers threatened a student and when I asked him to stop he came towards me and I said, reaching for my metal ruler that they give you, I wouldn't do that old man, I'll fuck you up

  • Moving back to Pittsburgh, on a mission, I recruited poets, jazz musicians and visual artists for an event called the "Painted Phrase". I lied to Rick Schweikert about having a non-profit so he would rent me the space. I made up a mission and vision statement. It later became a real arts organization, Sun Crumbs

  • We started studying martial Tai Chi with a real master; he was a black police officer. His stories were wild.


  • After Sos' computer broke and we lost the whole album and had to start over, I went to North Park to feed the geese

  • Once I moved to the 'burbs, no one came to visit

  • Got my first dog, who I named after the dessert wind, Scirocco. He was my depression dog and kept me out of jail

  • I learned how to shoot a Ruger and a Glock and I hit the bulls eye multiple times

  • I thought I had hung up the phone, but my friend heard him asking me to stop pointing the gun at his face. That's how abusive he was

  • Angry about how trashy our new home was, he threw belongings off of the truck, smashing them. He was the reason we were broke

  • He paid no child support; She stole my money

  • My Grandfather died. And I still don't know where he is buried. They won't tell me.

  • My mentor died shortly after we visited her. I broke one of her many antiques and she said, what do I care, I'm dying. We laughed and cried.

  • While visiting her, her wife brought out a brick of medicinal weed and we smoked. I sunk into the giant leather chair and couldn't speak the rest of the night. I said, my capillaries are chilled, I can't talk right now

  • Completed my play, Saffronia: the Mulatto Slave, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Foundation 

  • Had my first conversation with the musical outfit, Indigenous Resistance. It was the same day he threw a coffee cup at me while I was writing my play and I looked to the heavens and said, god damn, give me some good news

  • I was chased by gang members and ran into the Mattress Factory, locking the door 

  • Created an installation at the Mattress Factory, as part of the Gestures exhibit. Barbera confused me for the other brown artist in the show. Once she realized I wasn't her, she promptly ignored me. I respected her, but I didn't like her. 

  • Lead a spooky tour for a few unlucky people, with Justin Fornal at the Insane Asylum on Route 65. I think it has since been bulldozed and turned into a Walmart.


  • Sugar Daddy gives me my platinum blonde look

  • Looked at buying a building where the Rolling Stones recorded music.

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