Arts & Culture

Essential Pittsburgh
3:36 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

When "Silly Remarks" Become Landmarks: The Gettysburg Address 150 Years Later

An 1863 daguerreotype of Lincoln, at the time of the Gettysburg Address. He was 54 years old.
Credit Alexander Gardner / Wikipedia

150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln stood in Gettysburg, PA, at the site of one of the most important battles of the American Civil War to consecrate a cemetery for those who died for the Union cause. Lincoln’s speech was brief but had a lasting historical impact.

In the new book titled, The Greatest Speech Ever: The Remarkable Story of Abraham Lincoln and His Gettysburg Address, Judge James L. Cotton, Jr. looks at the influence Lincoln's famous words.

“The Gettysburg Address has just as much meaning and relevance today as it did 150 years ago,” says Cotton.

But he says the address received little appreciation in Lincoln’s lifetime.

The Retraction Heard 'Round the World

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Kennedy Presidency and Assassination Explored by Pittsburgh Playwright

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One of the events marking the occasion is a reading of the play “Noah’s Ark,” which was inspired by James Douglass’ book “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.”

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Arts & Culture
2:10 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 11/16 & 11/17

The Heinz History Center teams up with Pittsburgh Tintype Studio this Saturday for Frozen in Time: Tintype Photography in the Civil War. Expert Jason Snyder, owner of Pittsburgh Tintype Studio, will be on hand to discuss the 19th century process and technique that was popular with soldiers during the Civil War. The exhibition also includes an 1860 tintype camera on loan from the Smithsonian.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:29 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Getting Away With That Special Someone Before the Holidays

Find some relaxing and scenic places to visit before the hustle and bustle of the holidays. El Tovar Hotel is one of the premiere lodges in the Grand Canyon region.
Credit Dustin Williams / Flickr

With winter on the way, there’s no better time to escape the early snows by flying south, taking in gorgeous views, or embracing the snowy winter, with high alpine excursions.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her top four favorite pre-holiday destinations.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:22 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

No Horizon Anymore: A Yearlong Journey at the Bottom of the World

Still from the film No Horizon Anymore
Credit Keith Reimink / No Horizon

When Keith Reimink graduated from film school in New York City it was just a year after 9/11, and there was no film work to be found anywhere in the city.

His solution? Get as far away as possible and work as a cook in the interior of Alaska. This job spawned fifteen years of cooking and traveling.

Reimink's travels eventually lead him to the South Pole in 2009 and resulted in the self-directed, self-funded documentary No Horizon Anymore: A Year Long Journey at the Bottom of the World

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:04 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

A Conversation with the Iconic Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm in studio A
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Celebrated NPR host, Diane Rehm conducts her daily interview show with a distinct curiosity and a distinctive voice.

As host of The Diane Rehm Show for more than 30 years she was the first radio talk show host to interview a sitting president in the Oval Office.

With no formal radio training, Rehm says she has always felt at home on the air.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:29 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Blood Brother Comes Back to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh native Rocky Braat is known as Rocky Anna by the orphans he lives with in India, Anna is a term of endearment meaning big brother.
Credit Blood Brother Film

This week, the award-winning documentary, Blood Brother comes to Pittsburgh's  Three Rivers film festival. It's about a remarkable Pittsburgh man named Rocky Braat, who has made a drastic change in his life in order to help others.

Rocky made the decision to change his career path and gave up his life in the Steel City to go to India and live with children at an HIV/AIDS orphanage.  His best friend from school, director Steve Hoover decided to follow Rocky and chronicle his journey.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:27 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Father and Son Go to War

Credit Flickr

It has been twelve years since the US war in Afghanistan began, and for some families the conflict spans two generations.

Army Colonel Tom Stokes, and Air Force Reservist Brenden Stokes, a father and son duo, both served in Afghanistan within months of each other.

Colonel Stokes was deployed to Afghanistan as a behavioral health social worker whose job is to provide behavioral prevention and outreach to soldiers in the most harsh locations.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:35 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Reporting on America's Longest War

War reporter Carmen Gentile
Credit Carmen Gentile / Facebook

Pittsburgh native Carmen Gentile, has been an embedded freelance reporter with American troops throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s longest war.  

Despite a slow removal of troops from the Middle East, Gentile says the violence is far from under control.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:10 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

What Makes a Child a Gold Star Child?

Gold Star Children, was founded in 2008 to raise awareness about American child survivors whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving in the US military.
Credit Gold Star Children

An estimated five-thousand American children have lost a parent to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

Children who have lost a parent to war are the subject of the documentary Gold Star Children: Two Generations Sharing Loss and Healing, premiering today on the Pentagon channel.

The film’s writer, producer and director Mitty Griffis Mirrer, is a gold star child. Mirrer says the documentary is about helping the current group of gold star children.

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Weekend Watch
12:07 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 11/9 & 11/10

The largest film festival in the region returns beginning this weekend. The 32nd Three Rivers Film Festival is a celebration of all the things that film can be. This year’s docket features approximately 80 films from a wide variety of genres, from independent American cinema to documentaries, restored classics, international films, and competitive short films. The event features visiting filmmakers, informal discussions, live music events and more.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Autumn Coastal Destinations with the New Girl

This is an ideal time of year to see the famous light houses of the Outer Banks.
Credit Nathan Adams / Flickr

Coastal Destinations make for the best fall travel, according to travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

With better prices on off-season and cozy spots for cuddling, Labalme outlines her top five waterfront excursions. 

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Weekend Watch
8:50 am
Sat November 2, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 11/2 & 11/3

Shimmiers and shakers unite: the first ever Pittsburgh Bellydance Festival runs this weekend. The premiere festival features several days of dynamic workshops, lectures, vendors, and performances. Workshops will be held throughout the weekend, and non-preformers can come out and cheer on competitors in the intense Belly-Off in the Burgh competition.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:36 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Día de los Muertos: The Pittsburgh Way

Together, families do arts and crafts like decorating sugar skulls, to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
Credit Flickr

According to Tomas Tecuanhuehue, Head Chef at Casa Reyna Mexican Restaurant in the Strip District and native of the Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, El Día de los Muertos celebrations often span over five days.

Celebrations begin on the 28th of October and end on November 1st. Each day celebrates something different.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:22 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

The Phoenix: A Rising Theatre in Pittsburgh

Blue/Orange will be the first play performed by the Phoenix Theatre Company.
Credit phoenixtheatrepgh.org

“One door closing, is another one opening up” says Andrew Paul, former artistic director and co-founder of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre.

This appears to be  a relevant motto for him and Pittsburgh theater veteran Mark Clayton Southers, founder of the 10-year-old Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, and former arts director at the August Wilson Center. Southers and Paul had been let go from their former theatres earlier this year.

Now the two journeymen are collaborating to start a new theater company in Pittsburgh called, The Phoenix, designed to produce cutting edge plays and a focus on diverse casts. The company will be christened this evening with an opening night performance of the play Blue/Orange, which deals with issues related to race and the mental health care system.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:05 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Tom Savini Master of Special Effects Make-Up

Tom Savini sculpting "Fluffy," one of the grotesque monsters from the 1982 film Creepshow.
Credit Tom Savini / Savini.com

Celebrated as the "King of Splatter" and "Wizard of Gore," Tom Savini is a legendary special effects makeup artist who has worked on dozens of films from Dawn of the Dead to Friday the 13th.

Now he passes along his passion with his Special Effects Make-up Program at Douglas Education Center in Monessen, PA.

The Bloomfield native recounts his early horror movie influences, his relationship and work with George Romero, and how his experiences in Vietnam shaped his work as an artist.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:46 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

A Sign of the Times: Exploring Indie Horror Films from the 1950's to 1980's

Beware of the Blob! Did you know The Blob has a campy theme song?
Credit Brian Albright / Regional Horror Films

Low-budget horror and sci-fi films terrify and entertain audiences despite their anti-Hollywood feel.

Author Brian Albright documented the best and worst of these flicks as well as their shooting locations in his book Regional Horror Films, 1958- 1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews. He says many of the films were crafted by producers without extensive horror movie experience.

“Their take is a lot more interesting with a lot more melodrama,” he explains, specifically in reference to The Blob.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:34 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Haunted Travel with the New Girl

One of Pittsburgh's best haunted tourist attractions
Credit Scott / Flickr

For year-round chills and thrills, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers her top five list for best spooky vacation spots.

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Civil War Events
3:36 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heinz History Center Provides Glimpse into Civil War

The Senator John Heinz History Center is giving people a glimpse into Pennsylvanians’ lives during the Civil War by looking at our lineage.

Visitors this month will have special opportunities to track their ancestors and view tintype photos taken 150 years ago.  They will also see how the entire Civil War exhibit currently on display was created.

Andy Masich, History Center President and CEO, said the center receives thousands of calls every year from people interested in tracking their ancestors - but none are as interesting as Civil War ancestors.

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Arts & Culture
11:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

RAW/Pittsburgh Brings Art Together

Patrons enjoy the latest RAW/Pittsburgh exhibition.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Kristy Dubinsky, from Irwin, recently walked through the RAW/Pittsburgh exhibition enjoying the diverse collection of emerging artists.

“There’s definitely a collaborative nature and aspect to this,” Dubinsky said.  “They bring together everything from fashion to music to fine art, photography, film.  It’s just a great way to bring everybody together.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:49 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

The Science of Fear & the 1938 War of the Worlds Broadcast

This sculpture by Michael Condron in Surrey, England was inspired by The War of the Worlds
Credit WarofDreams / Wikipedia

Seventy-five years ago today, a salivating, tentacled Martian slithered out of a deep hole in the ground of a New Jersey farm. 

Today, we know that this alien did not really incinerate the people of Grover’s Mill with its heat-rays. But after the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast on CBS, many believed the country was under attack. The result was said to be mass hysteria.

The following day Orson Welles, the narrator and director of the broadcast, apologized to angry listeners, stating that it was not real, but a hoax. Some 12 million people listened in but to this day we are not sure how many actually believed it was true.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:38 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

The Filmation Generation: Lou Scheimer's Legacy

The trademark Filmation logo and "ding!" sound effect were familiar openings to Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s and 80s.
Credit filmation / wikipedia

Earlier this month, Pittsburgh native and renowned animator Lou Scheimer passed away. He was best known for creating Saturday morning cartoons such as Fat Albert, He-Man and The Archies throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

According to Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum, Scheimer’s shows were more than fun, animated cartoons.

“He brought a certain morality to cartoons and showed that they could go beyond violent action and silliness. Fat Albert addressed a lot of issues of inner city youth like smoking and stealing,” says Wos.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:17 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

The Most Haunted Places in Pittsburgh

Scares among the stacks? Apparently the most haunted places in Pittsburgh are the libraries!
Credit Joseph A / Flickr

Each year as Halloween approaches, people flock to corn mazes, pumpkin patches and local ghost tours.

According to Samantha Bennett, storyteller and guide for Haunted Pittsburgh Tours, this city is extraordinarily haunted.

“I didn’t even know how haunted it was until I moved here." she says, "It is packed with ghosts because Pittsburgh’s history is filled with labor strife and industrial accidents which gives it a lot of spiritual activity."

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:31 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Pittsburgh International Airport Has Steady Growth Without Being a Hub

Credit flickr user PIT Airport

While we're no longer a US Airways hub, the Allegheny County Airport Authority continues to bring new development and flight routes to the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Through internal modifications and innovative marketing and promotional strategies, the Airport Authority has managed to maintain a positive impression and steady growth.

“Pittsburgh is always on the top of the list when airlines need to land or take off in an emergency…from hurricanes to blizzards,” says Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:24 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

It's Not Over Until the Living Dead Sing

Michael Dailey and Shannon Kessler Dooley play the characters of Ben and Barbara in Night of the Living Dead the Opera.
Credit Microscopic Opera Company

Zombies are coming to the Kelly Strayhorn stage in an opera! Night of the Living Dead the opera is the brain child of director Stephen Catanzarite.

He began the process of making an opera out of the cult classic when Bill Hinzman, who played cemetery zombie number 1, asked him about putting together a musical version of the movie.

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Arts & Culture
3:25 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Art Exhibition Explores Themes of Violence, Healing

"El Chupon II" by Claudia Alvarez
Credit Claudia Alvarez / Photo courtesy of the Society for Contemporary Craft

A group of toddlers stands with their hands in the air; another toddler points a gun straight at them.

This is the first thing visitors to the new Contemporary Craft exhibition ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out will see.

The scene is part of a ceramic sculpture series by Claudia Alvarez, who is one of fourteen artists included in the exhibition.

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Weekend Watch
6:19 am
Sat October 26, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 10/26 & 10/27

This weekend, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre takes on the works of Tony and Emmy award-winning choreography powerhouse Twyla Tharp with a pairing of two of her creations. “An Evening with Twyla Tharp” features “Nine Sinatra Songs” and “In the Upper Room.” With “Nine Sinatra Songs,” Tharp blends ballet and ballroom movement, all set to songs by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:21 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Did Daniel Handler Kill Edward Gorey?

Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket is the author of the children's and teen's "Series of Unfortunate Events" books.
Credit Wikipedia

Master of wit and noir author Daniel Handler pitched the story idea for his now-classic “Series of Unfortunate Events” series in a bar, for a reason.

According to Handler, he figured that the idea of “terrible things happening to orphans over and over again," would not go over well with the editor, and he might as well be in an establishment that served alcoholic beverages after she said no.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:11 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Pittsburgh's Homestyle Cuisine are Coming into Season

Pittsburgh home-style favorites like Pierogis are starting to draw more attention as the weather gets colder.
Credit Liz Gosselin / Flickr

All over the country there has been a resurgence in down-home, comfort foods, especially heading into the winter months. In Pittsburgh home-style meals have never gone out of style and these days regional cuisines are being translated by and for Pittsburgh diners.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette restaurant critic Melissa McCart notes that Pittsburgh takes great pride in their home-style meals and picked up on another restaurant trend, single concept restaurants.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:41 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

New Girl Talks Resort Visits for the Holidays

Xel Ha Lagoon in Riviera Maya
Credit Grand Velas Riviera Maya / flickr

Get out of the cold weather, curl up by your computer, and book your holiday destination tickets today!

That’s the advice from travel contributor Elaine Labalme. She suggests booking early for warm-weather travels and offers five hot spots for the upcoming season.

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