Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
12:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Celebrating Black History Month Through 12 Oral Histories

Photos of featured oral historians included in the exhibit.
Credit Courtesy PNC

Oral histories from some of the region’s most prominent African Americans will be a featured part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Pittsburgh.

As part of PNC’s Legacy Project, the oral histories will be displayed at 600 Liberty Ave. and are available online.

The exhibit features the oral histories of 12 African Americans, including musicians Sean Jones and Patricia Prattis Jennings, community leaders Alma Speed Fox and Esther L. Bush, and Tony Award winning actor Billy Porter.

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Essential Pittsburgh
7:03 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

"Listen To Your Audience" Jayne Adair Knows What Pittsburgh Likes To Read

Jayne Adair is Executive Director for Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures brings some of the world’s leading authors and speakers to Pittsburgh.

For the last 7 years, Executive Director Jayne Adair has grown the organization’s audience to be one of the largest attended literary series in the country.

Adair plans to retire later this year, so we wanted to speak with her about the experience of working with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, the upcoming season of speakers, and what it takes to bring those big names to town.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Terrifically Cosmopolitan Montreal

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal was established in 1860, making it Canada's oldest art institution.
Credit Daryl Mitchell / flickr

Combining the best of old-world charm and modern sophistication, travel contributor Elaine Labalme finds Canada’s second largest city, Montreal to be “terrifically cosmopolitan.”

She suggests her favorite spots for food, arts and rest in this northern city.

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Arts & Culture
10:07 am
Thu January 9, 2014

'I Got Dibs!' Pittsburgh Isn't the Only Home of the Parking Chair

Credit Lauren Zawilenski / Chicago Dibs Tumblr

It's that time of year again, snow inevitably falls, you spend time shoveling out a parking spot on the street, spread salt, then have to worry about someone pulling into that space while you're away. 

So what do you do? Mark it with a chair? Maybe another piece of patio furniture? How about a tiki torch or your discarded Christmas tree?

The Tumblr blog, Chicago Dibs has been collecting photos of parking spot markers with photos that range from straight forward...

To straight up odd.

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Arts & Culture
10:37 am
Wed January 8, 2014

What Will Peduto Do for Art in Pittsburgh?

During former mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s term, he created ArtPGH, which is part of a 25-year comprehensive plan for the city of Pittsburgh.

ArtPGH encourages public art in the city and involves artists in designing public space.

It seems as if Bill Peduto has some artistic shoes to fill, but the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) thinks he is already making great strides.

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2:55 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Not Just Cute: How the Pittsburgh Zoo's New Cheetahs Play an Important Role

A male cheetah is sedated and about to undergo a series of X-rays.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

From South Africa to Pittsburgh — four cheetahs are now living at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The animals are considered “genetically valuable” according to Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, the zoo's director of animal health. The goal of acquiring such animals is to ensure that future populations of the endangered cats can continue to be diverse.

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3:30 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

New Curator to Oversee Restored Civil War Veterans Post in Carnegie

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pa. has hired a part time curator to oversee its collection of rare artifacts from the U.S. Civil War.

Diane Klinefelter is a historian who served as the library’s director until 2012. She will return in January to take up the new position, which is being funded through a grant from the Massey Charitable Trust.

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First Night Pittsburgh
3:46 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Ice Sculptors Carve 300-Block Ice Labyrinth for First Night Pittsburgh

Ice Creations' Rich Bubin works on 90,000-pound ice labyrinth.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

The Cultural Trust is inviting Pittsburghers to spend the last few hours of 2013 getting lost in a 90,000-pound ice labyrinth.

“In honor of the 20th anniversary, we are building this fantastic ice labyrinth,” Darcy Kucenic, Director of First Night Pittsburgh, said.  “It is a 30 by 40 maze made of blocks of ice, it is five feet tall and the walls will eventually be lit up with LED lights.”

Rich Bubin of Ice Creations in Churchill and his 12-person team are carving and assembling the labyrinth’s 300 blocks.

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3:00 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

First Night 2014: Best of Pittsburgh Comes Together in Cultural District to Celebrate the New Year

Organizers expect huge crowds as Pittsburgh First Night 2014 celebrates the New Year with a lineup of music, art, theater, comedy and fireworks.

The biggest New Year's celebration in Pittsburgh had around 36,000 individuals attend last year. As a part of the festival, there will be more than 150 family-friendly performances, art installations, and events at different indoor and outdoor venues throughout the Cultural District.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Pittsburgh Community for Exiled Artists Receives Grant to Fund Annual Concert

One of the City of Asylum’s post popular events will be back on the North Side next year thanks to a new federal grant.

The $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant will go to fund City of Asylum’s Jazz/Poetry Concert scheduled for September 2014. The event features musicians and poets from all over the world. The free concert is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Hosts First Fringe Festival for Far-Out Theater

The deadline to apply to be part of the first annual Pittsburgh Fringe Festival is rapidly approaching.

Founder and Executive Director Dan Stiker said Fringe celebrates theatre that is bizarre, challenging, and obscure.

“It started in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947 and has since become an international movement of theatre that’s … not seen on the main stages that you’d typically see theatre on,” said Stiker.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Highlighting the Year's Top WESA Feature Reports

Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA News

Looking back at some of Pittsburgh’s top news stories of 2013, 90.5 WESA Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar focuses on features produced in the WESA newsroom.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

WESA News Editors Look at Top News Stories of 2013

From the indictment of a police chief to a bridge covered in yarn. Looking back at the top local news stories of 2013.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh region was impacted by many major news stories during 2013. From a breakthrough in the stalemate over funding for transportation infrastructure, to a police scandal and the election of a new mayor.

WESA’s Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar gives some perspective on the year’s top stories.

At the state level, privatization of government functions were a theme for the Corbett Administration.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:00 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

10 Things Pittsburgh Can be Thankful For

Credit Kelsey Diercks / Flickr

The holiday season is often a time to reflect on why and for what we should be grateful. Pittsburgh Today has published its list of 10 Pittsburgh Reasons to be Thankful.

Doug Heuck is the editor of Pittsburgh Today and talks about some of the positive things Pittsburghers can be thankful for.

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Arts & Culture
3:14 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Is Pittsburgh an Icon of Healthy Living?

Affordable living linked to health benefits, including decreased risk of stress-related diseases and better mental health.
Credit Flickr user Jason Pratt

Apparently living a Pittsburgh lifestyle is good for your health.

Well, not if you think that simply means eating pierogies and Primanti's everyday. 

The Huffington Post focused on nine lessons Pittsburgh offers on living well, as part of their Living Well, On Location series.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:19 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Breaking Down Global and Local Barriers Through City of Asylum

The colorful buildings of the City of Asylum on the North Side, a sanctuary for writers in exile.
Credit Joseph A / Flickr

City of Asylum Pittsburgh was launched in 2004 and has since been a hub of activity on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Created as a sanctuary for writers in exile, City of Asylum is expanding into a vehicle for community development on the city’s North Side.

Henry Reese, founder of City of Asylum, says the organization's role in the community is constantly evolving.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:13 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Vermont B & B's Offer Charming Stays

Credit Paul Kentish / flickr

From historic Bennington, to Burlington on the shores of Lake Champlain there’s a lot to see and do in Vermont.

One of the best ways to enjoy the Green Mountain State is a cozy stay at a bed and breakfast. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some of her favorites.

“If anyone has mastered the art of B & B, it’s Vermonters,” says Labalme.

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Art From the Ground Up
9:21 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Pittsburgh's Callán Rooted in Diverse Musical Backgrounds

Band members in Pittsburgh's Celtic folk ensemble Callán come from diverse musical backgrounds.
Credit Larry Rippel / Courtesy of the artist

Callán, a Pittsburgh-based traditional Celtic folk ensemble, is comprised of artists from a wide range of backgrounds.

Percussionist Kip Ruefle found his way to traditional music by following his interest in the bodhran, the traditional Irish drum. He brings decades of performing rock and jazz into the mix.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:48 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Behind the Stage Door with Rich Engler

Rich Engler and the band Kiss
Credit Rich Engler /

Rich Engler is a nationally recognized concert promoter from Pittsburgh. The former co-owner of  DiCesare-Engler Productions has written a new book called Behind the Stage Door, a retrospective of his 40 years as one of the top concert promoters in the region.

Engler shares some entertaining, personal stories of what went on backstage at many of the largest concerts to come through Pittsburgh, and how he went from rock musician to rock promoter.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:18 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Lincoln Highway: The Nation's First Coast to Coast Highway Turns 100

One of the original concrete bridges on the "Lincoln Highway" in Tama, IA
Credit Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States is recognized in currency with statues, a monument in DC and many other areas along the way.

One commemoration includes the Lincoln Highway. Brian Butko is director of publications for the Heinz History Center and an expert on the highway's history, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Butko's knowledge of the Lincoln Highway begins even before the highway was started.

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:49 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

George Washington's Near Death Experiences in Western PA

Historic markers along Washington's route through the Western Pennsylvania countryside. They mark a driving route that follows young George Washington's first military and diplomatic venture in the Fall and Winter 1753 - 1754.
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

260 years ago this month, a 21-year old major in the Virginia militia named George Washington had two brushes with death in the Pittsburgh area, which could have dramatically altered the course of American history. Decades before he became the father of our county, Washington was on a dangerous diplomatic mission in the Western Pennsylvania wilderness.

We explored this little known chapter of Washington's life with historical re-enactor Daniel Nehrer, and retired Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Martin J. O'Brien at the Harmony Museum, not far from where Washington was on December 27, 1753, at the boundary of French and English territory.

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Arts & Culture
4:03 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

CAPA Students Help Peduto Choose a Burton Morris Painting for Mayor's Office

Burton Morris addresses CAPA students at the Heinz History Center
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Students from the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts enjoyed an opportunity to hear from two Pittsburgh VIPs on Tuesday: painter Burton Morris and Mayor-elect Bill Peduto.

Three dozen CAPA students took in the Morris exhibit at the Heinz History Center, which includes more than 100 of his works. They were also tasked with the responsibility of choosing one piece to hang in the mayor’s office, once Peduto takes over on Jan. 6.

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Arts & Culture
3:38 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Carnegie Museum Continues Tradition of Building Its Collection Through the International

When Andrew Carnegie decided Pittsburgh needed an art museum he did not have any artwork to put in it, so he devised a plan to build a collection using a regularly occurring art exhibition.

“The genesis for the (Carnegie) International, when it was built in 1896 by Andrew Carnegie, was to bring new art to Pittsburgh and to find ‘the old masters of tomorrow’ and collect them for the museum,” said 2013 Carnegie International Co-Curator Tina Kukielski.

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Arts & Culture
10:01 am
Tue December 17, 2013

That Weird Fridge in Your Garage May Be Destined for Carnegie Museum of Art

1960 Westinghouse Center Drawer Refrigerator Print Ad
Credit Amazon

Last week the Carnegie Museum of Art posted a tweet with an old advertisement for a 1960 Westinghouse Center Drawer Refrigerator asking,

“Have you seen one of these in your garage or in your neighbor’s basement?”

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Weekend Watch
3:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 12/14 & 12/15

The women of Continuum Dance Theater opens a new show with a one night event this Saturday. Objects of DESIRE, the latest work by director and choreographer Sarah Parker, plans to “take the audience on a journey through the spectacle that has become ‘chasing the American Dream.’” Constructed from a year’s worth of research, Parker’s piece follows the story of five characters through a fusion of dance and theater performance art.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Cross Country Skiing in the Region

Cross country skiing destinations can be found from Virginia to Quebec.
Credit E01 / flickr

While the song "Moonlight in Vermont" mentions ski trails down a mountainside, cross country skiing is an enjoyable and healthy way to enjoy the winter landscape.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests the best spots for cross country skiing around the region.

“If you can walk, if you can run, you can cross country ski,” she said. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre Brings You Holmes for the Holidays

David Whalen and Justin R.G. Holcomb star in Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's production of Sherlock Holmes & The Crucifer of Blood
Credit Suellen Fitzsimmons / PICT

In a season where theater-goers can see reworked versions of holiday tales like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre is offering a colorful alternative.

The Crucifer of Blood is an adaptation by Paul Giovanni of a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. The play features Holmes and his sidekick, Watson as they wrestle with supernatural demons in 19th century London.

Pittsburgh-based actor David Whalen plays the heroic Holmes for a second time on the Pittsburgh stage following his stint in 2011’s Mask of Moriarty, where he helped the Irish and Classical Theatre reach their best box office results in 17 years.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Black and White Festival Focuses on Holiday Diversity

Mark Clayton Southers is the founder of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company and the Black and White Festival. The festival is playing until December 17 in the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre.
Credit Mark Clayton Southers

A decade ago, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre embarked on a yearly event called the Theater Festival in Black and White, which pairs black directors with white playwrights and vice versa.

These one-act holiday plays offer an opportunity for local theater artists from different backgrounds to work together in a professional environment. Pittsburgh Playwrights founder Mark Clayton Southers and Managing Director Eric Smith have been working very closely with the Black and White Festival.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Museums in Washington D.C. Have More to See This Fall

From free museums to unique restaurants, travel contributor Elaine Labalme talks about why now is one of the best times to visit Washington D.C.
Credit Noclip / wikipedia

With summer heat a distant memory, plenty of free museums and not a lot of travel time required – it’s a great time to visit our nation’s capital.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares some of her favorite spots in Washington D.C. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:29 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Everlasting Holiday Television Classics with Joe Wos

The soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas was a daring endeavor for CBS and Vince Guaraldi
Credit Guaraldi / Wikipedia

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are holiday television staples.

They are aired every single year despite being filmed several decades ago. So why do they still endure?

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