ShareThis Page
Anthony Bourdain’s derby visit benefited Lions Club |

Anthony Bourdain’s derby visit benefited Lions Club

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, October 25, 2017 12:06 p.m
New Alexandria Lions Club
New Alexandria Lions Club Demolition Derby night was part of Anthony Bourdain's recent CNN profile of Pittsburgh.
East End Brewing Co.
Globe-trotting chef, author and TV host Anthony Bourdain, seen in 2017 with Scott Smith, owner of East End Brewing Co. in Larimer, was worth $1.2 million when he died in June.
East End Brewing Co.
Anthony Bourdain (second from left) watches Chef Justin Severino preparing meat over an open fire while filming a Pittsburgh episode of 'Parts Unknown.'

Along with tucking into chicken paprikas at Jozsa Corner in Hazelwood, discussing the city’s revival with former city councilman Sala Udin, and getting bested at bocce in Bloomfield, Anthony Bourdain took his “Parts Unknown: Pittsburgh” tour east into Westmoreland County, giving viewers a taste of demolition derby.

It was a far cry from his stops in Pittsburgh with, he says, no “tech incubators or fears of gentrification.”

When producers of the CNN show, broadcast on Oct. 22, began researching their visit to the Steel City, they included a stop at the Salem Ukes Club in New Alexandria.

Bourdain interviewed demolition derby driver Brooke Davis and welder Chris Quenzler Jr. inside the private club.

The producers were looking for something, Fred Lydick said, “a little different” for the segment.

Lydick is a New Alexandria Lions Club member and a member of the Salem Ukes Club. He said the Lions approached the nearby Ukes Club to use for filming because it’s a private club where they could control the number of people there, and there weren’t that many other nearby options.

The Lions Club runs the New Alexandria Demolition Derby , with funds raised going to help community groups, Lydick said.

With only a few weeks’ notice, he and fellow Lion Doug Baum approached the board and planned a special event for June 9.

Funds raised from that evening’s derby went to the Lions Club Lunchables Backpack program, which provides weekend meals and snacks for local school children, Lydick said.

“We thought it would be a little free advertising, if you will,” Lydick said.

Well ladies and gentleman just 15 hrs to go and the lights will on and the drivers will be smashing them cars and also…

Posted by New Alexandria Lions Demolition Derby on Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reviews on Bourdain’s Pittsburgh show were, some might politely say, mixed.

Some Pittsburghers seemed to agree with his remarks on the city being in transition, and found the imagery used in the hour-long program a realistic representation.

Others were less pleased with what they perceived as Bourdain’s concentration on the 30-year-old collapse of the steel industry. He also touched on the area’s lack of diversity and whether the growing tech economy will increase the cost of living and force out long-time residents.

Lydick thought the demolition derby’s promotion was a win for the region and for charity.

“The more money we raise, the more we can give,” he said.

Having watched the episode, Lydick is diplomatic about Bourdain’s depiction of Pittsburgh.

“I think he was trying to show the contrast from the past to where it’s headed,” he said.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, or via Twitter .

Categories: Movies TV
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.