Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

Business Lessons Learned in Gettysburg

Feb 3, 2014
SPakhrin / Flickr

Even though the battle of Gettysburg was fought more than 150 years ago, Point Park University business professor George Bromall says there are lessons to be learned from that war, which are still relevant today. Lessons of supply and demand, transportation, construction, and more.

Through a class titled Business History Perspectives, professor Bromall takes groups of undergraduates to the battlefields of Gettysburg to teach the importance of adaptive leadership.

Pittsburgh’s Market Square is going to get brighter with the help of an interactive light, video and sound art installation.

The piece, entitled “Congregation,” will be in the city Feb. 21–March 16 and is part of the Market Square Public Art Program.

Created by Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler, the installation will be played on a 50 ft. projection screen and will run on a 25-minute loop. Lights will shine on the Market Square courtyard and visitors will be able to interact and manipulate the show simply by walking through it.

Escape the Cold and Visit These Florida Beaches

Jan 30, 2014
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iwaswired/4320569453/in/photostream/

Cole Porter’s lyric said it best when he advised listeners to, “Get out of Town.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if people heeded that advice in light of the recent cold snap. Where better to escape than a nice warm beach?

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some of her favorite low-key escapes.

silkscreenfestival.org

Music that is centuries old is being reborn as a new sound in Pittsburgh.

Silk Sound Asian American Jazz Orchestra is an amalgam of different cultures and musical traditions coming together under the direction of Harish Saluja.

Former RMU Ice Hockey Goalie Travels to Winter Olympics

Jan 29, 2014
Brianne McLaughlin Twitter / Twitter

Former Robert Morris University women's ice hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin has made the U.S. Women's Olympic ice hockey team for the second time and is headed to the winter games in Sochi, Russia.

She is the first Olympian to come out of the Colonials’ program and was part of the U.S. team that won a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver games. McLaughlin, who says she “grew up on skates,” is currently in Boston gearing up for the winter games. She says she's proud to attend another match where she and her team have the chance to earn a gold medal.

Not My Life: A Documentary of Slavery in the Modern World

Jan 27, 2014
Not My Life / Facebook

Earlier Robert Bilheimer tackled the international spread of AIDS in a well-received documentary.  In his new film, Not My Life,  he takes on human trafficking.

Shot in a dozen countries on five continents, the film looks at a world where children are exploited daily through forced labor, domestic servitude, begging and sexual violence.

Love and Treasure, a Novel of the Hungarian Gold Train

Jan 27, 2014
Ayelet Waldman / Facebook

“I read about the Holocaust, I wrote about the Holocaust, I studied it in college, and I never had heard this story before,” admits writer Ayelet Waldman, who is in town for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series this evening to discuss her new novel Love and Treasure.

The book weaves a tale around the true World War II story of a Hungarian Gold Train. One of the main characters is an American lieutenant described as a "tough, smart New York Jew" who is charged with guarding this treasure, a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything in the Holocaust.

Waldman has Jewish roots , attended Hebrew school as a child, has visited Israel,  but she says it was Google where she found the idea for this novel.

It seems like social media is starting to touch every part of our lives, and now that includes the concert hall too.

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Music is experimenting with what they’re calling “Tweet Seats” this Sunday. They’re asking some concert-goers not to turn their cell phones off during the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra’s performance of pieces by Ravel, Mozart, and Beethoven, with guest conductor Ian Hobson.

The 100th Anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp

Jan 24, 2014
Hollywood Theatre

This Sunday the Hollywood Theater is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first film appearance of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp character.  Kid Auto Races at Venice Beach will be featured, along with the premiere of a brand new score of The Pawnshop, written and performed by Pittsburgh pianist Tom Roberts.

Roberts says he tried to relate to Chaplin when composing music for The Pawnshop.

Regional Museums: From Toothpick Ships to Grace Kelley Exhibits

Jan 23, 2014
Jon / flickr

Combat the polar vortex and set your sights toward some fantastic regional museums.

Spend a day or a weekend and catch Elaine Labalme's fab five traveling and permanent exhibits, just a short drive away. 

How a Local Poet Laureate Got His Start

Jan 22, 2014
Heinz History Center

This month the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Collection is hosting its inaugural Scholar-In-Residence program.

Receiving the honor is Pittsburgh native Joseph Bathanti. He is also the Poet Laureate of North Carolina and has written eight books of poetry and the award-winning novel East Liberty.

All of his works began with an unexpected move by the young University of Pittsburgh Alum. When he was 23 years old, Bathanti volunteered for the  Volunteers in Service to America program (VISTA) and the experience changed the course of his life.

Bathanti was sent to the North Carolina department of corrections to do his service.

“Lift Johnstown” is throwing a community-wide party Thursday -- a “Project Party.”

The goal of the “party” is to connect Johnstown residents with a local non-profit to help improve the community.

“Lift Johnstown is a collaborative effort to reinvent our community as a vibrant, small city,” Brad Clemenson, coordinator, said. “And one of the many ways we do that is we try to engage people in coming out, making a difference, getting involved, getting their hands dirty, working with people, whatever they like to do, you can help, you can make a difference.”

Stream It! Music to Make You Move in 2014

Jan 21, 2014
yuki55 / flickr

The first month of 2014 is almost over, how's your fitness resolution going?

The New Years' season craziness at the gym should be thinning out, now's the time to really stick with that routine.

Cindy Howes, host of the Morning Mix at 91.3 WYEP and program director Kyle Smith have helped compile a playlist with some of their favorite songs from 2013 to keep you moving as the year progresses. Follow it and stream it anywhere.

Pittsburgh Native John Davidson Seeks Out Challenging Characters

Jan 17, 2014
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Many 1970s TV viewers remember Pittsburgh native John Davidson as a game show emcee, or as one of the guest hosts for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

But Davidson actually got his start in showbiz on Broadway in the early 1960s. And now after many years of making a name for himself on the small screen, he's back on stage playing the part of the Wizard in Wicked. 

Quebec City Embodies the Picturesque Winter

Jan 16, 2014
Michael McDonough / flickr

Our intrepid travel contributor Elaine Labalme continues her trek through the great white north.

This week she talks about Quebec City, capital of the province, where the old buildings reflect classic architecture and vibrant culture.  “It’s very welcoming and it’s a great respite for a few days,” says Labalme.

Round up the cattle and put on your finest 10-gallon hat because this year’s Fire and Ice Festival will take you to the American frontier.

“Wild, Wild West,” the 19th annual winter festival, will be held Jan. 17-19 in Uptown Somerset and Stephanie Williams, executive director of Somerset Inc., said this year is going to be unlike any other.

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.

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.

Terrifically Cosmopolitan Montreal

Jan 9, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

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.

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.

10 Things Pittsburgh Can be Thankful For

Dec 20, 2013
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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