I picked up the phrase from this short piece on Baltimore, in the Style Magazine of the New York Times:
Over a meatloaf dinner at the Metropolitan Coffeehouse & Wine Bar in Federal Hill, my old friend, the writer Michael Yockel (he hired me at City Paper), is picking apart my theory about his hometown. I’m suggesting that it’s one of the last genuine midsize American vernacular cities — a big small town that’s somehow retained its rough edges, its singularity, its historical quirkiness. Every city, Yockel counters, has its pockets of weirdness — it’s just that Baltimore has had some effective PR over the years thanks to a certain filmmaker. ‘‘And there’s a John Waters waiting to happen in plenty of other cities!’’ he says.Really? Pittsburgh certainly has its quirks and its characters, but I tend to think of the city as reliably middlebrow, desperately clinging to its sense of orderliness and normalcy. Retro beehive hairdos and Divine wouldn't play here - or if they would play in some corners, the city as a whole wouldn't embrace a would-be John Waters flaunting them as urban iconography. (Does Baltimore?) But maybe, as with so many things, I'm altogether wrong, or at least out of the loop.
Where are Pittsburgh's pockets of weirdness?