Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

Giggles the Kookaburra Stays True to His Name

Apr 15, 2013
90.5 WESA

Giggles the Kookaburra lives at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Native to Australia, Laughing Kookaburras have the nickname of the “bushman’s alarm clock” due to their tendency to make their raucous laughing call early in the morning.

Once a year, the Lawrenceville Corporation organizes the Joy of Cookies shopping tour. This year, 26 businesses set out plates of treats along the Butler Street route, giving neighbors a chance to meet in a very merry setting.

One of the three crystal chandeliers in the William Penn Hotel is lowered to the lobby floor for hand cleaning. Dusting and buffing the 1,754 individual pieces takes a three-person team eight hours to complete.

Take a ride on the Duquesne Incline. Its cars have carted Pittsburghers up and down Mount Washington since 1877. And it sounds like it.

Co-owner of Lawrenceville’s House of the Dead, Chuck Cramer believes Pittsburgh stands little chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse.

Adam Nelson plays games and thinks you should, too. Nelson ruminates on how games can change a city’s landscape and its citizens for the better.

Chelsea Banks

Winner of the 2012 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award, Adam Paul Causgrove ruminates on the past, present and future of the mustache.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb isn't busy minding the city's books, he's reading history and genre fiction. 

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak gives us a recap of the Frozen Four weekend in Pittsburgh and talks about Pitt's new women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.   

ItsFreeBurgh / Twitter

  Call it thrifty or frugal, people watching their budgets are always on the hunt to save a few dollars. If you’re looking for things to do that won’t cost you a dime Matthew Spangler is making it his mission to tweet about free deals.  He’ll tell us how his Twitter account ItsFreeBurgh is helping people find free deals in the Steel City.  

Wikipedia

    

Canonsburg, PA, is the home of singer Perry Como, and more recently, Wiz Khalifa. And the town is proud of its connection to American popular music. The borough is now capitalizing on its musical heritage with the establishment of America's Pop Music Hall of Fame. We'll talk with borough manager Terry Hazlett about plans for the museum and the first inductees.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

There’s so much to do and see in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Region you may run out of time before you run out of things to do. The area has been immortalized on canvas by artist N.C. Wyeth and  is home to museums, public gardens and more. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme ventures to this area just below Philadelphia.

Find out more about some of the places mentioned in this segment:

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Cubans no longer need a special permit to travel outside the country. With the new potential for travel freedom, how does one's view of the world change? Because of the relaxed restrictions, Cuban writer and photographer, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now visiting Pittsburgh and the United States for the first time. He joins us to talk about his work for City of Asylum's Sampsonia Way Magazine, publishing Voces, Cuba's first independent e-zine,  and what it took to travel to the U.S.

Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

When the NCAA brings a National championship event to town it tries to make a splash, and the Frozen Four is no exception.

“It’s cool event. I’ve been to five of them and it’s unlike any sporting event I’ve ever seen,” said Robert Morris University Associate Athletic Director Marty Galosi, whose school put in the bid to bring the event to CONSOL Energy Center.

The Frozen Four is hockey’s version of basketball’s Final Four, and just like that annual event, the athletic contests themselves are just the beginning of what fans travel hundreds of miles to see.

Rachel Grozanick / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Office of Public Art has been publishing guides to public art in downtown and Oakland for several years.

Last year, interest in guided art walks increased, and now those are being offered as well. This Saturday, a free, hour-long walk will focus on the South Side.

Wikipedia

The public radio program This American Life has been entertaining audiences for two decades. The program was recently awarded its fourth Peabody Award. Host Ira Glass talks with us about the program, reinventing radio and his status as a celebrity. He comes to the Hillman Center for performing arts this weekend.

Copyright Sarah Lucas; courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

More than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie launched an art museum by charging the curator of the first Carnegie International to find the “old masters of tomorrow.” 

Last week the three curators of the 2013 Carnegie International released the names of 35 artists and groups of artists from 19 countries they think live up to that challenge.

Wikipedia

  We all scream for ice cream, especially when it’s a banana split. You may not know it but the fruity ice cream concoction known as the banana split has a tie to the Pittsburgh region. And it's being recognized by the state. Latrobe City Manager Alex Graziani tells us what it's all about.

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our sports guy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the dismissals and controversy surrounding Rutgers men's basketball, the recent defections of prominent Pitt athletes, and a couple of national championships coming to Pittsburgh.

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

As a civil engineer, and as a reader of fiction, Katie Bates is interested in "why people act the way they do."

Anne Applebaum, The Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

Westmoreland Cultural Trust

  Officials in McKees Rocks hope restoration of the Roxian Theatre will have the economic impact the Palace Theatre has had on Greensburg. We’ll discuss the importance of these theaters to their communities with Taris Vrcek, executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and Michael Langer, president of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

CMU International Film Festival

  Oscar-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy joins us to talk about his latest feature length documentary Fame High which screens Saturday at the CMU International Film Festival. The film looks at the in-class and at-home drama involving students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. We'll talk about the pressures of being a talented young performer in a school full of talented young performers. Dennis Childers, a digital media instructor at CAPA High School in Pittsburgh joins us to talk about the benefits and pressures of attending an arts school.

See a trailer for the documentary Fame High

John Mueller / Wikipedia

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme paraphrases the title of a Philip Roth novella and says, "Hello, Columbus." Just a short drive away, she'll tell us what the intrepid traveler can discover in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State.

Find out more about the places Elaine has visited in Columbus:

La Roche College

Graphic design students at La Roche College have taken the immigrant experience and turned it into a hands-on exhibition.

“Their intent was that their colleagues, students, peers would experience this simulation and have an experience similar to what someone would have who was coming from the southern border country,” said Sister Michele Bisbey, professor of religious studies at La Roche.

Boy Choir Reborn in Pittsburgh

Apr 3, 2013

Pittsburgh will soon have a new choral group.

The Pittsburgh Boy Choir will be the first multi-genre boy choir for the city since at least 1998. Artistic director Todd Alexander said the group will perform many types of music.

“Most of the choral music that has been composed is in the tradition of the church," he said. "But there are many secular pieces and many popular pieces that have been written more recently, and we will be touching on all of those genres."

As the weather begins to warm up and snow starts to melt in Western Pennsylvania, anglers from around the state are beginning their yearly trek to fly-fish in the Laurel Highlands.

With the second most cold-water streams in the nation, behind Alaska, the Commonwealth is home to the most trout anglers in the U.S., besides California.

Monty Murty, president of the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a cold-water conservation organization, said people can fly-fish year round in Pennsylvania, but most start in the early spring and go through June.  

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

North Sider Betsy O'Neill admits: "In a previous life, I probably lived in the 19th century." In her present incarnation, she spent the summer of 2012 immersed in Melvilliana.

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our weekly sports contributor Bob Dvorchak joins us from the Pirates' Season Opener. We'll talk about the upcoming season, the Penguins' push for the Stanley Cup, and even though March is over, the madness continues with the final four.  And looking forward to Pittsburgh hosting the college hockey Frozen Four.

Noah Bendix-Balgley Website

  Monday is opening day of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 2013 season and before you hear the cry of, “Play ball,” there are some other traditions observe, one being the performance of the national anthem. Noah Bendix-Balgley, violinist and concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra talks about performing the national anthem for the Pirates' season opener.

Pittsburgh Opera

This year, the Pittsburgh Opera will celebrate its 75th season. 90.5 WESA Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar, talks with Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn about the upcoming season and their Diamond Jubilee.

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