Arts & Culture

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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Essential Pittsburgh
2:20 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Celebrating Hilarious Forgotten VHS Moments

Credit yeswekern / flickr

With the rise of DVDs and BluRay, the American population disposed of their useless VHS tapes en masse, and dropped them off at Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift stores everywhere.

To Found Footage Festival curators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, the tapes are a comedic gold mine. They are providing people everywhere with videos and laughs that can’t be found anywhere else.

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Pennsylvania Wine
2:45 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Website Can Help Plan Your Fall Wine Tastings

Ever wondered which one of Pennsylvania’s 170+ wineries is nearest to you? Have you ever traveled to another county and found yourself wondering where you’ll get your next wine fix? Now you don’t have to with the Pennsylvania Winery Association’s new mobile website.

The association hopes it’s new website, logo, and tagline this (“Keep Tasting”) will get more people out for the fall wine season.

Jennifer Eckinger, executive director of the association, said the industry has been evolving quickly.

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Weekend Watch
9:38 am
Sat October 19, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 10/19 & 10/20

4 local comics artists are coming together this week for Copacetic Comics’s Spooky Party. Four edgy publications by local artists and editors see their releases at the party.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:30 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Madame Presidenta: Why Not Us?

Dilma Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil.
Credit wikipedia

As the granddaughter of a woman who fought for women’s rights in the suffragist movement during the early 20th century, the work that Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, has done is enough to make any grandmother proud.

Her newest project, a documentary titled Madame Presidentá: Why Not Us?, examines the global power of women and specifically, the work of the first female president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff.

The goal for the film, she says, was not to point out how America has not succeeded in putting a woman in the White House. Her aim, as her grandmother so pointedly says in the film, was to figure out “How the hell did they do that?” and look at the eighteen countries worldwide who do have women in power. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:20 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Filming and Reporting in a War Zone

What does it take to film and report in a war zone?
Credit Justin Merriman / justinmerriman.blogspot.com/

Kalpana Biswas, filmmaker and Board Chairperson of Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh, decided to make a film about women and children in Afghanistan, but she had no experience when it came to filming in an area of conflict.

This led her to ask journalists in the Pittsburgh area for advice on how to prepare. One of the major questions that she asked was, “How do I go through filming without endangering myself?”

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Community
1:42 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

After More Than 1 Million Visitors, Pittsburgh Duck To Leave Its Nest Sunday

Netherlands artist Florentijn Hoffman's Rubber Duck Project will leave Pittsburgh Sunday. This was the duck's first US appearance.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Despite an online petition with more than 4,636 signatures (as of this story being published), the Rubber Duck Project will leave Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

“From the beginning we always said October 20th is its date,” said Paul Organisak, vice president for programming at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “The work of art has always been, was meant to be, a temporary installation. The power of it is the concentrated period of time to bring people together knowing that they must get down to see it.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:36 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Coast-to-Coast Wineries From the New Girl

Vineyards offer a variety of ways to enjoy their wines be it through private tastings, spectacular views or a tour through the wine-making process
Credit Udo Schröter / flickr

Autumnal colors and chilly weather prompt the perfect palate for wine tastings around the region. Travel contributor Elaine Lablame suggests some of her favorite wineries from the Lehigh to Napa Valleys. 

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Arts & Culture
12:05 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Local Film Work To Be Showcased Outdoors in Downtown Pittsburgh

We’ve all heard about, and many have seen the blockbuster films filmed in Pittsburgh – be it the "The Dark Knight Rises" or "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

On Saturday some smaller filmmakers will have their work shown during an open-air film night downtown. It’s a partnership between Future Tenant and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and will feature a variety of films ranging from two minutes in length to an hour and 15 minutes.

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Weekend Watch
11:16 am
Fri October 11, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 10/12 & 10/13

The 28th Annual Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opens this weekend. Known as “Reel Q,” the coming two weeks feature 15 narrative and documentary films, alongside three programs of shorts. The festival opens on Friday but continues throughout the weekend. Saturday and Sunday see a wonderfully eclectic set of programming come to the Harris Theater.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:01 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Reel Q Festival Features Some Divine Indie Films to Sample

I Am Divine is a documentary about the iconic drag queen, Divine. It's the opening night feature of the Reel Q festival.
Credit wikipedia

The Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival or Reel Q, runs October 11-10 and will offer 15 full-length films.

Pittsburgh City Paper Film Critic Al Hoff previews some of the best feature flicks including I Am Divine, GBF, Alice Walker Beauty and Truth and Interior. Leatherbar.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:31 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

A Virtual Time Capsule of Pittsburgh's LGBT Nightlife

Harrison Apple has been chronicling Pittsburgh's GLBT nightlife through the decades.
Credit Center for the Arts in Society / CMU

Harrison Apple has been exploring the underground. In speakeasies, bathhouses and after hours clubs, he’s found a hypothetical time capsule of a rich gay nightlife in Pittsburgh between 1960 and 1990.

Now as Artist in Residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Arts, Harrison not only exhibits his own work, but has been successful in bringing award-winning author and gay rights historian George Chauncey to CMU’s 2013 Kim and Eric Giler lecture in the humanities Thursday afternoon.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:12 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Patrick Cassidy Does OKLAHOMA! His Own Way

Patrick Cassidy with his mother Shirley Jones, in a performance of The Music Man. Cassidy is directing the Point Park University musical OKLAHOMA!
Credit Wikipedia

Broadway star Patrick Cassidy is in town directing the musical OKLAHOMA! at Point Park University.  He's been in show business his entire life thanks to his famous mother, actress Shirley Jones. She starred in the film version of OKLAHOMA!

While one might think Cassidy would be tempted to get input from his mother about directing the stage version, he says “I haven’t asked her one question.”

Jones says she's willing to help her son, but understands that he wants to take a different approach with the Rodgers & Hammerstein production.

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Arts & Culture
3:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Mike Doyle

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills) likes page-turning crime dramas and thrillers with a political bent. He has a unique vantage point on novels set in Washington, which — as it turns out — are more true to life than you might think.

David Baldacci, The Forgotten

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Weekend Watch
4:08 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 10/5 & 10/6

The onset of October means it is time for Halloween preparations to begin. This month, the Manor Theater helps movie-lovers gear up for the season with the film series Manor at Midnight. Come out every Saturday in October to view classic ghoulish cinema on the big screen. The series begins with Steven Spielberg’s classic ocean thriller Jaws. Look for the series to continue throughout the month of October, as the Manor answers the important questions: Where is Johnny?

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